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Sequence of events once you attended a recrtuitment office?


kerry

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Hi All,

continuing my years-long researching of my great uncle 20792 Pte Albert Lamb, 2 Bn KOYLI, he enlisted at the Army Recruitment Office set up in St John's Rooms, Kiveton Colliery village at some point in late 1914. Was it there that they were checked for age, height, nationality etc, or was that done later and the Army just took names and addresses then called them forward to somewhere else? If so, were they given a return rail warrant to get there or would they have had to pay for it themselves?

They would then have gone somewhere else to start basic infantry training assuming, as Albert did, a recruit passed the basic entry requirements for mobilisation.  Where might that have been? All we have is that his Bn left for France from Hull on 22nd April. But we don;t know what happened in between or where he was. I don't even know what Copany of the 2nd Bn he was in when he was killed (MIA) at the Zwarteleen salient in early May 1915.

If some kind soul could help explain the recruitment process, timings and places between fronting up at the local recruiting office, and entering training, I'd be most grateful.

Thanks in advance....

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Many thanks John, I'll look into this now.

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So from that newspaper cutting (for which thanks again John) it would seem that the whole thing was done on the day you turned up at your local recruiting office, and then waited to be called forward to a training camp presumably to go to the QM's first, to get kitted out?

Edited by kerry
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This was original the post I put in the wrong part of the forum to which replies have been closed there. It may explain better what I'm trying to find out in terms of sequence of events:

"Hello All,

researching the enlistment of my great uncle 20792 Pte Albert Lamb 2nd Bn KOYLI, could I ask for advice regarding the process from turning up at a recruitment office as a volunteer?

The IWM describes in summary terms the 8-stage process. Assuming a volunteer satisfied age, nationality and height requirements at an Army Recruiting Office set up in the local town hall or village community rooms, where did they go from there?

Would they, in my great uncle's case, have been required to go to Pontefract or another KOYLI induction centre, for their medicals and other tests?

If so, would they have been issued rail travel warrants or would they have to pay for their rail or tram or bus fare, themselves?

I'm trying to work out the sequence of events once Albert had fronted up at the Community Rooms in Kiveton Colliery village and volunteered to join the Army.

Thanks in advance.'

I hope this makes my enquiry clearer?

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Kerry,

One Netherton lad had the shock of his life.   He pitched up at the Special Recruiting Office, 201 High St, Dudley on 20th March 1915 (and lied about his age, claiming to be 40 but was several years older), and was on a boat to France on 27th!  His problem was that he had a special skill the Army needed - having been a drayman at a brewery, he was a perfect fit for the Remount Squadrons of the ASC.  He didn't need to know how to dig a trench, drill or shoot a rifle - just do the job he'd been doing for years, looking after horses.  Saluting might have been useful, though...

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If you joined the Territorials, things could be quite formal.  A year or so in and I think it would be rather low-key.   Dudley Chronicle 1.5.15:

Dudley recruits nearly ready DC 1.5.15.pdf

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His number tells us he volunteered to join the KOYLI at the end of December 1914.

He very likely attested on AF B2505 at an RO (you seemingly know where) during which all his particulars would have been taken down and a medical would have been conducted.

He would then have likely returned home for a day or two to finalise any personnel matters before reporting at the Regimental Depot (Pontefract) for kitting out.

Within a matter of days, he would have been sent to a Reserve Battalion of the KOYLI - looking at Records of his contemporaries, this would have been the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion KOYLI who were at Hull, having moved there from the Depot upon the outbreak of the war. He would have received his basic infantry training with the 3rd Battalion, and when his training syllabus was completed he would have been placed in a draft for overseas deployment, evidently to the 2nd Battalion who were already serving in France.

Regards

Russ

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1 hour ago, kerry said:

If some kind soul could help explain the recruitment process, timings and places between fronting up at the local recruiting office, and entering training, I'd be most grateful.

I'm afraid I don't think there is a one size fits all timescale for those early enlistments - a lot will depend on where they were recruited, whether there was a doctor available at the recruiting office and the location of the magistrate to swear them in.

For example.

I'm currently looking at a group of recruits from the town of King's Lynn who volunteered on the 7th September 1914. Names are given in a local newspaper, and the majority enlisted in the 5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, a Territorial Force unit. Part of the the Barclays Bank in the town was opened on that day as a temporary recruitment office. Those attending filled in the initial part of the attestation and then received their rail warrants. Some were released to go home to pick things up \ sort out work, etc and were told to return within 48 hours. The morning recruits then marched down to the Railway Station and boarded the train, where they were met by the mayor. Although he was also a Justice of the Peace apparently the need for them to board the train and that the attestations were only partially completed ruled out him swearing them in. Those enlisting in the 5th Battalion travelled to the town of East Dereham, where the battalion had it's depot, the others travelled on to Norwich and Great Yarmouth (RGA). At the East Dereham depot they completed the rest of the attestation, with an RAMC doctor and the District Medical Officer in attendance. They were the fed and then kitted out. Later in the afternoon they boarded the train to catch up with the Battalion where it was at it's war posting. By evening they were sleeping under canvas with their first full days training lying ahead of them.

Meanwhile the lengthy queues in Kings Lynn, even though this was a cut down process, continued to be dealt with into the afternoon, with small batches matching off to the railway station. These arrived too late at East Dereham to be processed that day and so were put up over night in accomodation at the nearby brewery which had been taken over on the outbreak of war. Initially their enlistments were dated 8th September 1914, but as far as I can tell this was subsequently backdated to the 7th.

The last recruits of the day at Kings Lynn were put up overnight in the local drill hall and despatched to East Dereham in the morning as far as I can tell.

Over the next 24/48 hours some, (possibly all), of those who were given permission to settle their affairs locally returned and they too were moved on. Some names are on a list of recruits who attended at Barclays Bank, but not on the list of those boarding that days trains, and don't appear to readily have service from that period - unfortunately I'm working from initial and surname and unit to be enlisted in. However in at least one case I came across reference to a man's repeated attempts to enlist, having failed the medical at East Dereham.

For me the 5th Battalion group is a bit like the end of All Quiet on the Western Front as so many were killed, plus there are quite a few service records. Soldiers Died in the Great War shows them as enlisted East Dereham.

So what about the ones who were moved on to Norwich? Both the Norfolk Regimental Depot, the Cavalry Barracks and a large civic hall in the city centre had facilities for recruits - each under fifteen minutes walk from at least one of the two main railway stations in the city.

My understanding is that recruits for the Norfolk Regiment who were part way through the attestation process arriving at the railway station would be sent to the Regimental Depot, Artillery and Cavalry to the Cavalry Barracks and the rest to St Andrews Hall, although contemporary newspaper reports are conflicting on this.

At the Regimental Depot they would be complete the attestation process, be fed and kitted out. They would then be sorted into those who had signed up as Regulars, Special Reservists and the first of the newly authorised Kitchener Army Battalions. Depending on the time of day they would either be marched off in batches to take the train down to the Harwich area to join up with the 3rd Battalion, (Regulars and Special Reservists, by then in hutted accomodation in the garrison I believe) or the 7th under canvas. The later recruits of the day would spend the night in barracks at the Depot and travel down the next day.

Those initially recruited for other specialist arms might well complete the attestation process but would be sent on to the linked depot - like Woolwich for the Royal Field Artillery - in order to complete trade tests for suitability.

Although @RussT has very kindly covered the detail thrown up by looking at nearby service records, just like my example above of men from Kings Lynn being shown as enlisted at East Dereham, Norwich and Great Yarmouth on Soldiers Died in the Great War, the same source shows Albert Lamb as enlisted Sheffield.

Hope that helps,
Peter

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Many thanks RussT and Peter for your really helpful and comprehensive replies. I now have enough here to flesh out Albert's story from attestation to embarkation for France for the book I'm writing.

Thank you both again for your time and effort and John too.

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12 minutes ago, PRC said:

Soldiers Died in the Great War, the same source shows Albert Lamb as enlisted Sheffield.

His mother, Isabella LAMB, listed on pension index cards at WFA/Fold3 as living in Wales - that's Wales, Sheffield [22 Manor Rd] more specifically - Wales appears to be right next to Kiverton so seems compatible with both Kiveton and Sheffield.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
mother's name
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Yes, that's correct, Matlock1418. Albert was the youngest son of Isabella and Charles Lamb. Albert had an older brother Herbert, but who, owing to an accident at Kiveton Colliery, was medically unfit for military service.

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11 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

His mother, Isabella LAMB, listed on pension index cards at WFA/Fold3

From a pension index card originally she was awarded a dependant's pension of 7/- pw from 25-4-16  - she later experienced a bit of fluctuation in the monies paid

From the pension ledger page there is an annotation: 15/- Art 21 (1a) from 4-4-17 for life

And also apparently then reviewed and then reduced: 9/- 21-1-a from next draft (after 11.5.23) in lieu of former award for life

Article 21-1a was from the later 1919 Royal Warrant which also allowed for review and reduction of pension awards - Article 21 1a being based to a degree on pre-war dependance level plus a supplement - so perhaps there was an earlier, unspecified, irregularity [?]

M

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That's kind of you to dig this out. I have no idea what the story is, behind this in terms of the irregularities.

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35 minutes ago, kerry said:

I have no idea what the story is, behind this in terms of the irregularities.

Neither have I. Might have been anything from a fraudulant mis-representation through to a clerk's error.  There is no note of any clawback/further reduction so that is potentially a bit more reassuring I guess, but not totally definitive as these ledger pages were not the whole story = ???

Sadly the main pension award file appears lost, likely deliberately destroyed once its use was passed [as they usually were] - oh how we wish had these to access!

The claim appears to have become DEAD 1933 [by 23-11-33 from pension index card] - few mothers gave up a pension voluntarily so most likely because Isabella LAMB had remarried or had died and no father noted as being around to take up in her absence - you are likely to know better than me [but I note at FreeBMD a registration of Deaths Jun 1933 Lamb Isabella 67 Worksop 7b 44 - probably about the right age and place so I think quite likely]

Amazing what one might potentially glean from these fabulous pension records at WFA/Fold3.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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Agreed , intriguing stuff. They were the family of my ex-wife so I have nothing more on the history of the Lamb family.

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On 03/07/2023 at 17:22, kerry said:

I'm trying to work out the sequence of events once Albert had fronted up at the Community Rooms in Kiveton Colliery village and volunteered to join the Army.

Peter's post describes the process as relates to a Battalion of the Territorial Force when the County Associations were vying for recruits with Kitchener's New Armies at the peak of the volunteer recruiting boom in September 1914. As he points out one size does not fit all.

As Russ has said Pte Lamb enlisted at the end of December 1914.  

He apparently enlisted as a regular soldier, undertaking to serve seven years with the colours and five on the Reserve.  We don't know why he chose this route into the Army but it may have been that all the Service Battalions raised by the KOYLI were full at this time and the recruiting agent directed him towards the regulars. The 2nd Battalion had been in France since the 15th August as part of 5th Division and had suffered considerable losses in the battles of 1914.  The 12th (Miners) Battalion KOYLI was actively recruiting at this time but was looking for recruits with specific skills.  Another campaign in December 1914 promoted men who had won the Victoria Cross including L/Cpl Holmes KOYLI -"There is room for your name on this Roll of Honour - Enlist Today".

After attestation a recruit was given one shilling and one shilling and ninepence ration allowance and a rail warrant to the Depot at Pontefract where he officially joined the Regiment and was given a regimental number (20776 was allocated on the 29th December 1914).  After basic training which was around twelve weeks of drill, musketry and a great deal of polishing he was drafted to the 2nd Battalion, a regular battalion. In all probability in the same draft as 20776 Turner who was posted to the 2nd Battalion on the 29th April 1915. 

He therefore avoided much of the chaotic conditions occasioned by those who enlisted in the 'New Armies' as outlined on the IWM 'eight steps'.

He may have joined the Battalion in Hull but it is more likely he remained at the Depot for Training, in much the same way as a pre-war regimental soldier and then moved on to join them at their war station in Hull, possibly after four weeks or so.  During this time his fitness for service would have been tested.  

On 03/07/2023 at 16:05, kerry said:

 All we have is that his Bn left for France from Hull on 22nd April.

For the sake of accuracy his Battalion did not go to France from Hull but he was drafted from the 3rd Battalion, which remained on Home Service. to the 2nd Battalion, presumably on that date, the route to France and joining his battalion in the field would have been through the Infantry Base Depot.

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Kenf48 many thanks indeed for this further, really helpful detail.  It was his descendants who said he departed from Hull but i don't know if that's accurate.  It would seem to me to have been hazardous for troop carriers to sail all the way down the North Sea past the U Boat bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend, but at some point he ended up at Le Havre and then on to Abeele, then Frezenberg then the Zwarteleen Salient.

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10 hours ago, kerry said:

  It was his descendants who said he departed from Hull but i don't know if that's accurate.  It would seem to me to have been hazardous for troop carriers to sail all the way down the North Sea past the U Boat bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend, but at some point he ended up at Le Havre and then on to Abeele, then Frezenberg then the Zwarteleen Salient.

He would have travelled by train with the rest of his draft to the Channel Ports, the most likely route being Southampton to Havre. From there they would have gone to the Infantry Base Depot, in all probability Etaples, before being processed through to their Battalion as reinforcements.  The drafts were usually accompanied by an officer or senior NCO and would travel by train to the railhead before joining their battalion, usually when the Battalion was at rest out of the line.

A closer examination of the 2nd Battalion War Diary shows that on the 28th of April the Battalion received drafts of 65 and 13 rank and file.  At this time the Battalion was attached to the 1st Canadian Division, rejoining the 5th Division on the 5th May.  On the 6th May they attacked the Zwarteleen Salient, I assume you have read the war diary which gives a harrowing account of the attack and its aftermath.  The 14-15 Star Roll shows Pte Lamb entered theatre on the 28th April 1915 which places him in the later drafts. He served for just a week on the Western Front before being reported among the 40 missing NCOs and men lost on the 6th May.  In total the battalion suffered 177 casualties, killed. wounded and missing.  The Roll confirms he was in the same draft as 20776 Turner also shown as entered theatre 28th April 1915.

The diary records many wounded could not be recovered, and with some poignancy records that as late as the 12th May three men crawled in to their lines. Two died before they could speak, the third gave a brief account before he too passed.

As Pte Lamb was in a draft of at least 70 men arriving in April you could search the Roll for the 14-15 Star for those who are shown as arriving in the same draft and then cross reference that to surviving records. (I feel a spreadsheet coming on).  It may throw more light on their embarkation.

If you have not done so it is also worth downloading the next level Brigade and Divisional diaries for maps, op. orders etc, for the attack on the 6th May.

 

 

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Kenf48 once again sincere thanks for your further help. I have no idea why the descendant family told me Hull, which operationally made no sense. I went to the Cloth Hall Archives years ago when Piet Chielens was still there ( now retired) and I was able to extract detailed information on the disastrous attack against the Salient. When time permits I'll certainly follow your pointers regarding the draft Albert was in, and their port of embarkation from the UK.

Edited by kerry
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Hi Ken,

The other issue I've never been satisfactorily clear on is exactly where the Zwarteleen Salient was, in terms whose lines it saliented into - ours into the German front line, or theirs into ours! The attached image of the Int Report for 5-7 May has that sketch which suggests it was a British Salient into the German lines. However, I've come across a German sketch map and written accounts, suggesting the Zwarteleen Salient was created by them pushing into our lines. This was why, on visiting the area in 2015, I had no idea where Trench 41 was, (Albert's start line) and if they made it into the salient in the attached sketch, of Trenches 43, 46 and 44.

WD.png.a2f286ea8cc2cb93ffb2f8621c248a2e.png

Edited by kerry
Missing info.
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Just looking at a few potential lines of enquiry.

Albert is shown on the Commonwealth War Graves Commision website as having died on the 7th May 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial. https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1618075/albert-lamb/

In such cases sometimes the International Committee of the Red Cross will have received enquries from relatives asking if they had any news about the fate of their loved ones, but I’m not spotting anything obvious for Albert. It may simply be that his fate was known about at the time and there was no need for such an enquiry. However the late-ish award of a pension, (April 1916), may imply his fate was unknown for some time. Could be worth checking his entry in the Army Register of Soldiers Effects, (Ancestry or its’ sister site Fold3 only). This will show when the balance of his pay was sent out to his next of kin \ legal legatee. That won’t have happened until the army formally accepted he was dead. (I don’t subscribe so can’t check it out myself).

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, (CWGC), records no deaths of the 2nd Battalion on the 6th May 1915 but 57 on the 7th .Most are like Albert and have no known grave, while a few were buried at the time, and one died at Rouen so probably unrelated. Two however were found on the battlefield post-war and while they may originally have been isolated graves, it looks more likely they were found where they fell. This may help identify the area of the assault.

If you look at their individual CWGC pages you will find an additional document called a Concentration Report attached.

Private 10611 Sydney Barker was originally an unknown soldier of the KOYLI found in 1935 at map reference 28.I.29.c.55.35 and subsequently moved to Bedford House Cemetery. He was identified from part of his disc that had survived https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/4009541/sydney-barker/

Private 20708 John Richard Lorriman was also originally an unknown soldier of the KOYLI found in 1935 at map reference 28.I.29.c.45.60 and subsequently moved to Bedford House Cemetery. He was identified from the service number on his boots. https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/4009564/john-richard-lorriman/

A free reseource like the basic version of TMapper will allow you to use those map references and plot them on contemporary trench maps as well as giving modern day locations and views.

Looking at the Grave Registration Reports for those two men it looks like a few Unknown British Soldiers were recovered at the same time, some with units and some not. So Albert may be resting under one of the Known only to God headstones in the Bedford House Cemetery.

BarkerandLorrimanGraveRegistrationReportsourcedCWGC.jpg.b4b3652acbccf2346c9dea4a1cfcd710.jpg

Image courtesy The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

And looking through those 57 for men with nearby service numbers:-

20822 Lance Corporal John Henry Turner, landed France 28.4.15 (MiC), no obvious service records.
20986 Private Clarence Norton, landed France 28.4.15 (MiC), no obvious service records.
20708 Private John Richard Lorriman, landed France 21.4.15 (MiC)
20752 Private Samuel Leak, landed France 21.4.15 (MiC)
20687 Private Herbert Kitching, landed France 14.1.15 (MiC)
20816 Private William Jackson, landed France 28.4.15 (MiC), no obvious service records
20854 Private Norman Horace Bruce, landed France 21.4.15 (MiC)

Hope that is of interest,
Peter

 

Edited by PRC
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Peter many thanks for this fascinating insight.  The issue of his pension is intriguing and I'll look into that.

Forgive my stupidity but I'm not sure how your quoted map references work - how do i transpoe them onto an actual map please?  I copied pand pasted the first one into Google but drew a blank.

Thanks in advance,

Kerry.

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12 minutes ago, kerry said:

I'm not sure how your quoted map references work - how do i transpoe them onto an actual map please? 

Trench Mapper from WFA

https://www.westernfrontassociation.com/trenchmapper-public/

there is a guide to using it here, note as a non member there is a limit on zoomability.

https://www.westernfrontassociation.com/world-war-i-articles/trenchmapper-by-the-western-front-association/

You could also try tMapper

https://www.tmapper.com

 

 

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Thanks Ken - that worked. The two locations on the WFA web page are nowhere near where I thought the Zwarteleen Salient was.  Back to the drawing board for me.

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