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Terry_Reeves

Royal Engineers Special Brigade

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margm
4 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

M

 

I can't tell you much about him at all I'm afraid other that his number indicates he joined between May and July 1918. Because of his birth date I do wonder if he was a "starred" man, that is his occupation meant deferred service because of the importance of his job to the war effort. He would have been involved with the gas service however.

 

I would add that the majority of men in the SB, from 1916 onwards, did not have any special qualifications. 

 

TR

Terry, 

Grateful thanks for your very helpful knowledge. Can you give me any suggestion as to how you know from his number that he only joined between May and July 1918? The numbers were entirely sequential, and not geographic? I had wondered if he was in a 'reserved occupation' myself, but had no way of knowing. With hindsight, we know the war was so soon to end, and to a degree, it was known even then that the tide was turning. So why join up so late, in Summer 1918?

NB, thanks to Voltaire 60 for the book recommendation. I shall buy it.

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Terry_Reeves
16 minutes ago, margm said:

Terry, 

Grateful thanks for your very helpful knowledge. Can you give me any suggestion as to how you know from his number that he only joined between May and July 1918? The numbers were entirely sequential, and not geographic? I had wondered if he was in a 'reserved occupation' myself, but had no way of knowing. With hindsight, we know the war was so soon to end, and to a degree, it was known even then that the tide was turning. So why join up so late, in Summer 1918?

NB, thanks to Voltaire 60 for the book recommendation. I shall buy it.

 

Numbering is quite complex. In  your relative's case his year of birth is a clue.  Depending on his actual date of birth he was old enough to volunteer in 1915, and also to be conscripted in 1916. It was just a matter of comparing his number with men whose service records survive who had a similar number.  It is quite possible, in fact likely, that he attested earlier in the war but was only called up in 1918 when he was given his number, which is one that was issued in 1918. Deferred service was not that unusual and in 1918 there was a shortage of manpower in the army, so some men in reserved occupations had this "protection" removed and were called for service.

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Terry_Reeves
42 minutes ago, Stuart T said:

Stuart

 

5th Battalion consisted of 4 Special Mortar Companies. They were equipped with 4 Inch Stokes mortars which fired chemical and smoke ammunition. Samuel served originally with the Bedfordshire regiment with the number 5610. He was born and enlisted in Northampton. The war diaries for these companies Nos 1 -  4 Special Mortar Coys are available for download from TNA.

 

TR

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Stuart T

Thanks.  WO 95/122 is on my list!

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margm
17 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

 

Numbering is quite complex. In  your relative's case his year of birth is a clue.  Depending on his actual date of birth he was old enough to volunteer in 1915, and also to be conscripted in 1916. It was just a matter of comparing his number with men whose service records survive who had a similar number.  It is quite possible, in fact likely, that he attested earlier in the war but was only called up in 1918 when he was given his number, which is one that was issued in 1918. Deferred service was not that unusual and in 1918 there was a shortage of manpower in the army, so some men in reserved occupations had this "protection" removed and were called for service.

Dear Terry,

Thanks again for your help. Please can I be cheeky and ask if you could use the numbering system for The King's Own Royal Lancasters (8th Battalion) to identify the date when my Grandad's twin brother joined up.

He was Corporal 22387 Frederick Robert Myerscough, and he of course was also a St Helens man. He died at Arras on 28.03.1918.

I have read the War Diaries for The King's Own, but I don't know if he was with the battalion all the way through till 1918, or perhaps just a limited time. I would really appreciate it if you could use your knowledge and the strategy you describe above, to help me pinpoint a joining-up date.

With thanks, M

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Terry_Reeves

M

 

I think it would be better if you placed this in the Soldiers section where there is likely to be someone with a good knowledge of the Kings Own.

 

TR

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margm
21 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

 

 

2 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

M

 

I think it would be better if you placed this in the Soldiers section where there is likely to be someone with a good knowledge of the Kings Own.

 

TR

Thanks Terry, will do

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Stuart T

Please does anybody know how to find WO 95/122 on Ancestry by keywords and search terms?  I usually put the piece number in as a keyword but this only brings up 122 Field Company and nothing I can see on 5 Battalion.  I have tried all combinations in the various fields without success.  All RE stuff seems to start about a thousand piece numbers later!

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Terry_Reeves
1 hour ago, Stuart T said:

Please does anybody know how to find WO 95/122 on Ancestry by keywords and search terms?  I usually put the piece number in as a keyword but this only brings up 122 Field Company and nothing I can see on 5 Battalion.  I have tried all combinations in the various fields without success.  All RE stuff seems to start about a thousand piece numbers later!

Stuart

 

Special Brigade war diaries are not available on Ancestry I'm afraid. Which one of the 5th battalion companies are you looking for?

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Stuart T

That's a shame, thanks.  Only the man above in post 854 (seven up from here).

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Jules Moore

Dear Terry,

 

I am trying to find out about my great uncle, Second Lieutenant George William Moore. I know he was killed (28th March 1918) while serving with the RGA (288th) (appear to have joined then on 7th Feb 1918) but from papers we have it appears he may have been involved with the 2nd Special Royal Engineers. Unfortunately I have not been able to find much information on them and would be interested to know about his movements in the war. He signed up to the territorial army in 1913 and was a chemical student. It would also appear that he was a sapper initially before being promoted to Corporal on joining the Royal Engineers. I have tried looking for a war diary for to help track his movements but have not been able to work out which one applies to his regiments. (The 288 one only has 7 pages and jumps from the end of Feb 1918 to March 1919 so I do not know any details surrounding his death either). I have attached the files of what I have.

 

Many thanks

Jules

scan0018.pdf

scan0019.pdf

scan0020.pdf

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Terry_Reeves

Jules, welcome to the forum.

 

He served with 41 Section, G Company, 2nd Battalion. The battalion war diaries can be dowloaded from TNA for a small fee and can be found in two parts:

 

WO95/121/2  and WO95 121/3. These generally only contain the names of officers, but do show movements , training programmes and operations.

 

In March 1917 the Brigade was reorganised and the companies became responsible for their own administration which included their own war diaries. G Company's war diary can be found in WO95/242/5 and WO 95/242/6, although they begin jus a few days before George was discharged to commission.  

 

If I can help further please let me know.

 

TR

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John_D

Hello all - just came across a digital copy of a medal card for my great-grandfather, Ralph Hall Atkinson, and was surprised to find a reference to the Special Brigade. The card looks like it's been copied more than a few times and is covered in handwriting which is not easy to read, but it seems he served in 187 Company as a "temp. lieutenant" (I am assuming that must mean temporary). He was born Nov. 22, 1890, and I have seen his birthplace listed on different documents as both Sedgefield and Barnard Castle. I know that he survived the war and moved to the United States in the 1930s, living the rest of his life in New Jersey. I've included the digital document I received from the National Archives - his card is the one on the top right. I'd be very grateful for any additional information anyone can provide - my understanding of his wartime service had been that he'd been an officer in the Durham Light Infantry, so seeing all these other entries threw me for a bit of a loop. It makes sense though, given that he went on to become a chemical engineer and to the best of my knowledge would have been a graduate student in chemistry in 1914-15

 

WO 372_1_147907.pdf.

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Stuart T

Durham Light Infantry is mentioned (three times), eg DLI attached 184 Company, Headquarters, Chemical Warfare Department, Ministry of Munitions.

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Terry_Reeves
5 hours ago, John_D said:

Hello all - just came across a digital copy of a medal card for my great-grandfather, Ralph Hall Atkinson, and was surprised to find a reference to the Special Brigade. The card looks like it's been copied more than a few times and is covered in handwriting which is not easy to read, but it seems he served in 187 Company as a "temp. lieutenant" (I am assuming that must mean temporary). He was born Nov. 22, 1890, and I have seen his birthplace listed on different documents as both Sedgefield and Barnard Castle. I know that he survived the war and moved to the United States in the 1930s, living the rest of his life in New Jersey. I've included the digital document I received from the National Archives - his card is the one on the top right. I'd be very grateful for any additional information anyone can provide - my understanding of his wartime service had been that he'd been an officer in the Durham Light Infantry, so seeing all these other entries threw me for a bit of a loop. It makes sense though, given that he went on to become a chemical engineer and to the best of my knowledge would have been a graduate student in chemistry in 1914-15

 

WO 372_1_147907.pdf.

John

 

The following may be of use:

Address on joining was given as West Shaws, Barnard Castle

Student BA (Hons) MSc Tripos Parts 1 and 2.

T 2Lt  18 DLI

3.6.15 T Lt     

2.8.15  To Special Companies  (187 Coy)

1.4.16  Transferred to RE  and promoted A Capt as second-in-command H Special Coy.

21.4.16  wounded

Transferred to Ministry of Munitions probably as a result of his wounds.

 

He was entitled to the Silver Badge and has a  record at TNA in WO339/15491.

 

The addresses on his medal card would suggest that he was a student at Cambridge.

 

There was  call from the War Office,  sent to universities, colleges and units in the spring of 1915, for those with a knowledge of chemistry to join these new chemical warfare units which were being formed in response to the German use of chemicals in April 1915. He would have taken part in the first British chemical attack at Loos in September 1915. In January 1916, the Special Companies were expanded into a brigade size organisation and the companies were the ordered alphabetically with the members of the original companies being spread out amongst the newly formed units - hence  H Coy.

 

H Coy was part of 2 Battalion Special Brigade who have a war diary at TNA in WO95/121/2 which is available for download for a small fee.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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GWF1967

Hi Terry,

Pnr.167284 Thomas Bliss.  B.1898. India.  Living. Edinburgh.  Occ. Apprentice Chemist. Enl. 17/11/1915. 

Posted. 24/8/17. "M" Coy Special Brigade,( 3rd Batt.  56-60 Sections).

GBM_WO363-4_007294499_00824.jpg

Scan_20171229 (6).jpg

Edited by GWF1967

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Terry_Reeves
10 hours ago, GWF1967 said:

Hi Terry,

Pnr.167284 Thomas Bliss.  B.1898. India.  Living. Edinburgh.  Occ. Apprentice Chemist. Enl. 17/11/1915. 

Posted. 24/8/17. "M" Coy Special Brigade,( 3rd Batt.  56-60 Sections).

GBM_WO363-4_007294499_00824.jpg

Scan_20171229 (6).jpg

GWF1967

 

Many thanks. Happy new year to you.

 

TR

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Hallaton1

Hi Terry

 

I wonder if you have ever come across one Charles William Flinders  service number 129031

 

He was ex Leicestershire Regiment and wounded in the summer of 1915. I don't know when he joined the RE.

 

He was also wounded twice in the REs on the official lists of 17th August 1917 and 25th June 1918.

I also believe he was at the depot in Saltash in October 1917. I understand that people who served there were sometimes sent to Porton Down establishment. Are you able to confirm this?

Unfortunately I have been unable to establish exactly which unit he was with and I don't suppose it will be possible to do so without some form of service record which doesn't seem to have survived.

He was an old soldier pre WWI with a chequered history and was supposedly a plumber by trade which I suppose would have been useful for some aspects of the work.

 

Any info gratefuly received.

Thanks

Max

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Terry_Reeves

Max

 

Thanks for your post. I have no information I'm afraid, but I can say, from his number, that he transferred around November 1915, and probably joined his unit in France around March 1916. 

 

I have noted his name and the source and will let you know if any thing turns up.

 

TR

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Hallaton1
2 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

Max

 

Thanks for your post. I have no information I'm afraid, but I can say, from his number, that he transferred around November 1915, and probably joined his unit in France around March 1916. 

 

I have noted his name and the source and will let you know if any thing turns up.

 

TR

Thanks Terry.

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Philip CTC

Hello. New to the forum. I collect Silver War Badges and have just purchased one belonging to 155554 John Fraser Ross. His SWB Roll has him as Enlisted 03-04-16 and Discharged  25-04-19 due to sickness. It has him listed as Special Bde Dep. Trying to do some research led me here so i'm hoping someone could shed a bit more light on what he may have done please. Thank you.

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Terry_Reeves

Philip

 

If you browse  the thread you will get plenty of information as to the type of work they carried out.

 

TR

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AlasdairW

Been looking for more information on behalf of another for -

 

Adam Hopkirk SUTHERLAND, Born 1883 Kildonan, Sutherlandshire.

1st Battalion Special Brigade RE (Gas)

Service Number 155223

Family believes he was killed by artillery whilst accompanying artillery limber on 27 June 1916.

 

MIC shows BWM and VM.

 

Commemorated at Aveluy Communal Cemetery extension Somme, Kildonan war memorial and also private headstone.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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