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Remembered Today:

Tracing Sapper Robert Miller Chalmers - City of Dundee (Fortress) Electric Lights Co Royal Engineers - WW1


DGC
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I'm trying to track my grandfather's war record:

Sapper Robert Millar Chalmers - enlisted  22.9.14 and dispersed 3.6.19. Date of birth 4.2.1887 and date of death 15.6.1968. Both birth and death in Dundee, Angus, Scotland.
Regimental number: 41041 OR 410413
Other regimental numbers: 305, 36
Unit 430th Field Corp RE is mentioned in his Ancestry record as is Proceeded to BEF.
I've also found something saying Field Company 430th of the Territorial Force was allocated to the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division

Any hints on where to look next would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

David Chalmers

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Welcome to the forum.

You have obviously seen his badly damaged service record (salvaged from a storage site bombed in WW2).

I read it that he served in UK until late November 1918 when he was posted to France, I presume to 430th Field Co. As such he would have no medal entitlement . 

2 hours ago, DGC said:

Regimental number: 41041 OR 410413

410413 is correct as are the 350 and 36.  Those last two are early TF numbers for Dundee Fortress Engineers and the Electric Lights Company.

In 1917 the 3 or 4 digit service numbers of the Territorial Force were changed to 6 digit numbers to avoid duplicate numbers. 410xxx is in the series for Dundee Fortress Engineers.

Charlie

Edited by charlie962
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Huge thanks Charlie.
Another big piece in the jigsaw. I've traced my other Grandfathers war records and regimental diaries which was relatively easy to do as he was in the Black Watch.
However, nothing was known about my Grandad Chalmers until I stumbled across his membership in the Royal Engineers.

Having followed your advice, I now have much more material to follow.

thanks again
David

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Please keep us advised of progress and don't hesitate to ask questions about RE. There are some specialists lurking! 

Charlie 

ps. The LongLongTrail site (see top of page) has useful background including..

"The Fortress Companies at the start of the war

On 1 August 1914 there were 11 Fortress Companies at home and 15 overseas, all on coastal defence duties. Some were entirely for Electric Light (that is, searchlight) duty; others also had Works responsibilities. On mobilisation, men of the Territorial RE took over the home stations, releasing men for duty with the British Expeditionary Force – although not all regulars were withdrawn right away but were released gradually, their places being filled by men who were unfit for overseas service. Territorial troops also moved out to take over some of the overseas stations."

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I note that electric light is associated by LLT with searchlight. I wonder whether this is correct or whether the Dundee Electric Light Co. was responsible for lighting of defences and military/naval defences? 

Dundee in the Great War may have some useful links to follow up?

https://www.greatwardundee.com/the-home-front/

Edited by charlie962
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If I read his damaged service record correctly, he spent most of the war at Broughty Ferry,(HQ?) just up the coast from Dundee. Their library may have something useful?

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2 hours ago, charlie962 said:

I note that electric light is associated by LLT with searchlight. I wonder whether this is correct or whether the Dundee Electric Light Co. was responsible for lighting of defences and military/naval defences? 

Dundee in the Great War may have some useful links to follow up?

https://www.greatwardundee.com/the-home-front/

They supported the RGA coastal artillery. There were two units, 1st/1st and 2nd/ 1st. In 1917 1/1st became 554 (Dundee) Army Troops Coy and served with 2nd Army in France. 2nd/1st became 548 (Dundee) Army Troops Coy in 1917 and were allotted to 71st Division, a home service formation who were responsible for coastal defence in Essex.  In June 1918, the company was sent to Murmansk.

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves
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3 hours ago, charlie962 said:

If I read his damaged service record correctly, he spent most of the war at Broughty Ferry,(HQ?) just up the coast from Dundee. Their library may have something useful?

No very far up the coast, Broughty Castle was the fort covering the approach to Dundee Harbour and will have had searchlights as well as guns.

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2 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

They supported the RGA coastal artillery. There were two units, 1st/1st and 2nd/ 1st. In 1917 1/1st became 554 (Dundee) Army Troops Coy and served with 2nd Army in France. 2nd/1st became 548 (Dundee) Army Troops Coy in 1917 and were allotted to 71st Division, a home service formation who were responsible for coastal defence in Essex.  In June 1918, the company was sent to Murmansk.

TR

Terry, although Chalmers started off 2/1Fortress he was transferred  24/9/1915 (along with some others)  to the 1/2 Electric Lights Company at Broughty Ferry and thus remained in Scotland whilst 2/1 Fortress went off to Essex and subsequently Murmansk. Unfortunately the bit of the svc record that would tell us where he went and when is fire damaged so difficult to read. He had signed his TF overseas commitment on 29/10/14 but was presumably considered more useful at home. 

Here's how Electric Lights seemed to style themselves 1917, when Chalmers passed a proficiency test.

chrome_screenshot_1667924555841.png.23e11b1de6780c1485eb2ed2f587c5c4.png

Do you happen to know if there was a link between Dundee Electric Lights and 430 Field Co? It seems probable that by 1918 there was more need in France than on the Scottish coast for these tradesmen.

I haven't read the 430 War Diary that I linked earlier (I'm not at a pc) and LLT says little other than it was an East Lancs company and part of 66Div so no logical link. 

Charlie

 

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Thanks to you both gents, Charlie and Terry. I am enjoying reading the comments you have shared, and you guys are clearly experts on the subject.
I have downloaded the 430 War Diary and will do my best to follow it in the hope of discovering further relevant information.
thanks again and very best regards
David

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