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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

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cliff brown

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I am trying to unravel a man's service history. Initially he was serving in a Territorial btn, but transfered to another regiment, serving in two of their territorial btns before going to Officer Cadet Unit/Btn and then being commissioned.

When an NCO wished to apply to go to OCU, was he transfered to another regiment/btn to be assessed? Does anyone know the procedure?

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I have information on a yeomanry soldier who applied for a place in an Officer Cadet Unit of the Royal Artillery. He was accepted (after the application was signed by the Divisional commander), and went to the OCU. Whilst there he was transferred to a reserve battalion of his original unit, keeping his NCO rank, but attached for pay and rations to a reserve unit of the artillery. On passing the OCU course, he was discharged from the Army, and immediately commissioned as an officer. So it doesn't appear that there was any transfer in order to be assessed. The assessment comes from the NCO's own officers, and is ultimately accepted or not by the OCU concerned. The unit the cadet is officially serving in during his time in the OCU seems to be a reserve unit of his original regiment, but perhaps attached for pay and rations to a reserve unit of the regiment he is destined to join when commissioned (at least for the artillery).

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Cliff - three different proceedures repeat again and again in officer's service files -

1). The man fills out an application for commission, which is duly endorsed with the required recomendations and references, and then gets sent to an Officer's Cadet Battalion. His OR service papers will show him as still serving with his "home" regiment and battalion (or corps, etc) until such time as he passes out and is commissioned - and on that date he will be "discharged to commission" (not discharged from the Army) and his service (on paper at least) then starts with the unit into which he has been commissioned. His OR service papers are his "current" papers right up till the date of commission. If he fails to make the grade and isnt commissioned he would normally be returned to his home unit and continue as before.

2). The other common path starts with the same paperwork, but usually with an added acceptance in principle from the unit into which the man is to be commissioned that he is already considered fit for a commission into that unit. In those cases the man is usually commissioned straight away (but often with a proviso such as "on trial" on his papers) and is sent straight to the Depot of his new unit for training - or - to what is often referred to on service papers as a "School of Instruction", again at an Infantry Base Depot.

3). With senior NCO's you often get the usual paperwork - approval - commission - straight into active service as an Officer. That's especially common with "same regiment" commissions, either commissioned into the man's own battalion or another in the regiment.

I've never seen an instance where a man is sent to any third party unit for "assessment" - the assessment is made at the OTB or SoI.

regards - Tom

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With regard to the commissioning of Senior Ranks, Form MT.393A, the application form for a commission, stated that Regular soldiers on a 12 year engagement, or re-engaged, were not eligible for OC Battalions. This changed in the late summer of 1918, when it was laid down that every potential officer would have to attend OC Bn.

As for a filter system operation prior to the man attending OC Bn, the Machine Gun Corps did operate such a scheme, mainly because of the poor quality of officer transferred to it after its formation in 1915. Officer candidates first attended a course at the MGC Depot at Grantham, where weeding out did take place. The successful students were then posted to the MGC OC Bn (later 23 OC Bn).

The Royal Artillery also converted No 4 RFA Cadet School to an Artillery Reception Brigade in November 1917. This provided initial officer training for Gunner candidates and I am pretty sure also acted as a filter system

I have also come across two definite cases in spring 1918 of two senior NCOs being sent to a TF Reserve Bn prior being posted to an OC Bn. CQMS Linton Andrews of the Black Watch, was sent to 5th (Reserve) Bn Highland Light Infantry and those who did not match up in terms of drill and discipline were returned to their units. He himself passed this phase and was posted to an OC Bn at Gailes. Sgt Henry Morgan of the Royal Warwicks was likewise posted to the Reserve Bn of the London Scottish. This system appears to have been rationalised in July 1918, when Infantry Reception Battalions were established at Ripon and Larkhill to provide preliminary officer training.

Hope this sheds a little additional light.


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Thanks for the assistance. This seems to fit in with the papers the relative has. Basically the man was in the Cambs Rgt (my interest), went overseas to join 1/1st Cambs, then a year later was trans to 1/9th King's Liverpool (he hadn't been wounded, so looks like the transfer took place overseas) applied for OC Btn in 1918 (listed in May 1918 as at home. serving D coy, 4th King's Liverpool BEF, which was the Extra Res Btn but serving in BEF). He then went to No 5 OC Btn at Cambridge, then No 23 at Catterick, before being commissioned into King's in March 1919. He relinquished his commission in 1922. I can't find anything to suggest he actually served as an officer in the King's between 1919 and 1922.

Is it possible that, although he was commissioned, he was not required because the war was over?

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