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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

RE Units


mutley
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Does anyone have any information on the following RE units:

1st City of Aberdeen Fortress Coy, 18 Forestry Coy, 159 Artizan Works Coy?

I am particularly interested in what they would have been responsible for, was a forestry coy responsible for chopping down trees for construction work etc? What does the Artizan stand for. Any information greatly appreciated. Thanks

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Mutley

Many of the RE Fortress Coys date from the 19th century. In the UK they were part of the Volunteer Movement which were employed to maintain various "defended" ports around the UK, including Aberdeen. These included searchlight sections and works sections which helped maintain the fabric of the defences. There were regular army troops serving overseas in the same capacity. Most of the Fortress units of the volunteer movement had been disbanded by 1907 with the foundation of the TF.

Much has been written about the raising of Kitcheners Army in the infantry sense, but many RE and artillery units were raised on the same basis. From about March 1915, the Mayors and Corporations of various towns and cities were asked to form RE units. These were initially called Fortress Coys but later in the year were redesignated as Army Troops Coys RE, details of which appear elsewhere on this website.

Artizan Works Coys, were just that. They were manned by sappers who had a full range of construction and fabrication skills, employed in workshops or outdoors, behind the lines.

As a matter of interest, I was a member of 1st Fortress Sqn RE in Gibraltar in the early 1970's, formed in March 1772, then the Royal Sappers and Miners, and the first formal sapper unit in the British Army. We carried out pretty much the same sort of work as our predecessors did!

Terry Reeves

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Terry,

many thanks for the information. The man I am researching joined the 1st City of Aberdeen Fortress Coy in 1913 and then went to France in Sept 15. He was evacuated to Blighty on 22 11 15 and then returned to join 18 Forestry Coy at Rouen. He is shown later as a member of 159 Artizan Works Coy. His trade was apprentice machinist on joining in 1913, but his Army service must have put him off engineering as he spent the rest of his life after the war as a gardener! Once again thanks, every little helps.

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Mutley

I was wrong about the disbandment of the TF Fortress Coys. In fact this should have been the Submarine Mining Coys. Prior to the war the Aberdeen Fortress Coy was based at 80 Hardgate, Aberdeen.

Terry Reeves

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