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matthew_family_research

Railway Transport Establishment

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matthew_family_research

Would like to open a discussion about the Railway Transport Establishment. My information is that it was one of the Lines of Communication. I have managed to find details about its formation from original records at the PRO/NA. I shall post these here, if anyone is interested. But I should like to know more about it. How does one go about finding references to it in War Diaries?!

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zijde26

I will read it with great interest. Looking at trench maps, I am always surprised by the striking number of the railway tracks.

Gilbert Deraedt :huh:

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Terry_Reeves

This is not my subject area, but I do have some details of the RTE. If you have any particular questions let me know and I'll see if can answer them.

Terry Reeves

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matthew_family_research

OK, this is my personal problem....

My great grandfather, WO Class I T. W. Bowes, was awarded the M.S.M. on 1 Jan 1917 (London Gazette). Unfortunately, the London Gazette does not give details about why this was awarded, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it...!

I know he served in the R.T.E.

Today, I went to the P.R.O. and looked in WO 95/5453. This is supposed to be a War Diary for the R.T.E. It is extremely short, and is really a resume of the formation of the Unit in question, and suggests that one should go to the 'separate returns'. Presumably, this means you have to know to which Div. etc your man belonged....? Does anyone know what this might be?

For what it's worth, I'm posting here the information about the R.T.E. that WO 97 gives:

The names of the Commanding Officers were Major A.M. Henniher (A.D.R.T.) R.E. and Br. J. H. Turis C.B. Director of Railway. They were appointed overseas.

The date of formation was Aug. 5th 1914 (the date my great-grandfather entered the War).

It was raised in Southampton. Went from U.K. to France, Aug. 9 1914.

Remarks: 'Some of the Officers and all the N.C.O. & men belong to the R.E.'

However, another sheet of paper in WO95 gives these contradictions:

The R.T.E.'s C.O.s were appointed in France, and the date of formation was Nov 1914.

It was raised with B.E.F.

In Remarks: 'Men trained at Longmoor & sent to B.R.F. France, Egypt & Salonika.'

Hope someone can help. Please!

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Terry_Reeves

As I said this is not my subject area , but I'll try and point you towards other sources.

One of the officers you mention was in fact Major (later Brigadier) A M Henniker. He wrote one of the Official History volumes, "Transportation on the Western Front" and gives a broad outline, amongst other things about the work of railways and the Inland Waterways and Docks in France and Flanders. This is available in the PRO library which is at the back of the Microfilm Room, and an excellent, and often overlooked resource. His post at that time (ADRT) stood for Assistant Director Railway Transport.

The Work of the Royal Engineers in the Great War (Miscellaneous) volume also covers some aspects of this.

The RTE was essentially the framework organisation that ensured the smooth running of the military rail system and provided , amongst other things RTO's , Railway Transport Officers to oversee sections of the organisation. The Railway Operating Division operated the trains and rolling stock.

Longmoor had been a railway training centre for RE's before the war, and indeed continued to be so until (I think) the late 1960's. Type Longmoor into your search engine and you will find some information about this.

Not all units kept war diaries as you have found out. The RTE looks to be one of those units. I am guessing here, but WO1 Bowes sound s like he was an HQ man, and therefore did not serve with an active service unit such as a Light Railway or Foreway Company. You are likely to be out of luck as far as his MSM is concerned as well. Although a tiny number of MSM' s were awarded for gallantry, his is likely to be for, just as the name suggests, meritourious service over a period of time.

Terry Reeves

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Neil Burns

Hi Terry,

I have a question regarding the Inland Waterway transport units that you mentioned. Do you recall any mention of American Units?

I'm unfamiliar with this book and an ocean away from it but my Great Uncle was in an AEF inland waterway unit and I've come up empty through most US sources.

Thank you,

Neil

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Terry_Reeves

Neil

I'm afraid I cannot help. The only mention Henniker makes of the US is in connection with The Inter-allied Transportation Council formed in July 1917. This was formed to look at common questions and solutions to the problems of transportation on the Western Front. .

I have have only been dipping into this subject over the last few months, but is certainly proving interesting. If I turn anything up I will let you know.

Terry Reeves

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matthew_family_research

Thanks to Terry for the information.

Re: Thomas W. Bowes, at the time of his MSM his rank was Eng. Cl.-Sjt. Will that make a difference to his attachment?

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Neil Burns

Terry,

Thanks for keeping an eye out.

I knew it was a long shot but I have to admit I jumped when I saw Inland Waterways!

Take care,

Neil

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Terry_Reeves

With regard to Thomas Bowes. When I have come across this rank before, all the men holding it appear to be employed in specialist organisations so it comes as no suprise to see him emplyed in the RTE.

Terry Reeves

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Ivor Lee

The Establishment for the Railway Traffice Section, R.E. was 25 Officers and 174 Other Ranks.

3 Officers were Deputy Assistannt Directors of Railway Traffic and the other 22 Railway Traffic Officers.

The Other Ranks were made up of 1 CSM, 30 Clerks & 56 Checkers (1 Staff Sgt, 4 Sgts & 81 Rank and File), 74 to act as Porters, Goods Guards, Loaders and Train Conductors (1 Sgt with 73 Rank and File).

The remainder of the unit comprised of 13 baten, 4 cooks and 4 men for general duties.

Hope this helps regarding this unit.

Ivor

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matthew_family_research

Hi all,

Just to say that we're not sure that Ivor's unit (see above) is the same as the RTE. Am working on it....!

Anyone, any thoughts?

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bierlijn

To breathe some life into this ancient thread, and thanks to my cousin Rod for supplying it, here is a Christmas card of the RTE.

There might perhaps be a family member Harold Marten on the strength of this unit?

Hugh

post-19252-0-74641500-1396094757_thumb.j

post-19252-0-31728500-1396095351_thumb.j

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