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Terry_Reeves

Royal Engineers Special Brigade

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plattyuk

Hi Terry,

 

I've recently acquired the Great War pair of medals to Lieutenant Frederick Martin Ray. His service papers held at the national archives are sparse but did show that this last posting was given as Royal Engineers, Special Brigade, No 2 GHQ Chemistry School. His civilian occupation was given as School Master.

 

I was wondering if you had ever come across this officer during your research into the Special Brigade.

 

Many thanks

 

Mark 

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

Mark

 

I have a record for a Lt F. M. Ray. He gained his BSc  at London University, however his occupation is given as works chemist.

 

Temp Lt Royal Fusliers. 1.7.17

T Lt RE  1.11.17

Depot Special Brigade 6.12.17

"O" Special Company 15.12.17

Special Factory Section 3.6.18

Demobilised 2.2.19.

 

Does any of this appear in his record? I do have some more information for him post-war, but I wonder if we can match up some of what we have so far?

 

TR

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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plattyuk

Terry,

 

The only information relating to the Special Brigade in his service file is the attached page.

 

The 1939 Register has his as a works manager of a chemical company in Stockton - on - Tees.

 

Ray (8).JPG

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plattyuk

 

Ray was briefly remobilised in 1921 when we was a Private in the 5th Durham Light Inf, he gave his occupation as Chemist and previous service as a Lieutenant in the RE Special Companies. 

 

The pages are poor quality.

 

Ray Service Record 1.jpg

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

mark

 

Yes, I have his post-war attestation above. Does it mention service  the Royal Fusiliers? I suspect he is the same man however.

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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plattyuk
Posted (edited)

Terry,

 

no no mention in his paperwork for the RF. It is on his MIC.

I have his Gazette page for his commission, he was General List attached Royal Fusiliers then his subsequent transfer to the RE. 

 

Prior or to that the London University OTC. 

 

Mark 

Edited by plattyuk

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Terry_Reeves

Mark, then it is the right man. "O" Company war diary is available from TNA for £3-50. I will get back to you with some information about the Special Factory Section, a bit late for me now.

 

TR

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ParaJohn

Terry

My apologies if we have been here before but I am returning to this after several years and a total system crash. My father, L/Cpl 128860 Joseph (Jim) Lines MM (1889-1972), served with ['F'?] 4 Spec Coy RE and was disabled in late 1917. Have we corresponded please - you are not in my address book but it may have been through this forum?

Regards

John (Lines)

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Terry_Reeves
10 hours ago, ParaJohn said:

Terry

My apologies if we have been here before but I am returning to this after several years and a total system crash. My father, L/Cpl 128860 Joseph (Jim) Lines MM (1889-1972), served with ['F'?] 4 Spec Coy RE and was disabled in late 1917. Have we corresponded please - you are not in my address book but it may have been through this forum?

Regards

John (Lines)

John

 

We have not corresponded, but you did send me some information about Joseph Lines. Is there anything I can do to help?

 

TR

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Terry_Reeves
13 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

Mark, then it is the right man. "O" Company war diary is available from TNA for £3-50. I will get back to you with some information about the Special Factory Section, a bit late for me now.

 

TR

Mark

 

Send me a PM with your email address and I will send you some material on the Special Factory Section.

 

TR

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ParaJohn
1 hour ago, Terry_Reeves said:

John

 

We have not corresponded, but you did send me some information about Joseph Lines. Is there anything I can do to help?

 

TR

Thank you for the prompt response Terry. I am belatedly trying to piece together where and how my father received the injury that led to his discharge. I have his MM which indicates "4 Spec Coy R.E". I have the War Diary for "F Spec Coy" at St Idesbalde on 17 Jul 1917 which mentions the authority for his MM was dated 10 Jun 1917. I have a photograph which my father endorsed with "16 Oct 1917 France". He arrived back in the UK on 28 Jan 1918 and was discharged "Unfit for Duty" on 18 Apr 1918.  I have no information about the circumstances of the MM award and have no idea what he was doing or where he was doing it between 17 Jul 1917 (when I assume he was with the unit at St Idesbalde) and his arrival in the UK on 28 Jan 1918. From Australia I am totally reliant on what I can discover on the Internet - apart from the medal card, his military record did not survive and there seems to be no pension record. Given your formidable knowledge of the subject can you suggest please (a) the chances of finding further information and (b) where I should start digging by email? I really appreciate your interest and should mention that this renewal has been sparked by the theme for the December 2018 edition of 'Suffolk Roots' which calls for articles on the aftermath of WW1. I know how my father handled it but not how he received his crippling injuries. He never talked about the war although he did mention the effort involved in moving a 'Stokes Mortar' I recall. I have ordered 'Chemical Soldiers' today but it will not arrive in Oz until mid-June and I do not know how much help the book will be.

Regards

John

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

John

 

The promulgation of the award appears in the routine orders of the Canadian Corps on 13 July 1917 (A & Q Diary) WO95/1055/6. This is  available to download from the National Archives.  Although it not give any details it does confirm he was actually with F Special Company.

 

I will have a look at F Company diary and see if anything more can be be deduced.

 

TR

IMG_5952.jpg

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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ParaJohn

Many thanks Terry. I do not know how I missed that reference but it is further confirmation for which I am grateful. If you can find anything in the F Coy diary covering the latter half of 1917 I would be most interested. Did I send you photographs as I have several (mostly without annotation and therefore less informative) if you want copies.

Regards

John

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Terry_Reeves

John

 

Many thanks for the offer of photographs, I would be interested to see them. I will send you my email address>

 

TR

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leo mcguire
On 25/05/2018 at 14:37, brianmorris547 said:

Leo

Please see the above casualty list posted by GWF 1967 which in post 894 purports to show, if I read it correctly, that the last name on it is 130154 Anthony Mcguire. In January this year I sent Terry the names of the Special Brigade men on this list and I did not find A Mcguire. The last name on the list I read as 130434 Pnr Noble A - RE Depot Coy Special - Incised wound R Hand.

This is confirmed by the Service Record of 130434 Austin George Noble of the RE Experimental who suffered an injury to the index finger of his right hand in December 1916 and was treated in No 10 General Hospital (in his words).

Brian

EDIT: I checked FMP with "Engineers" in the keyword box and 130154 in the Soldier number. It coes back with a hit but just shows a question mark, which means that the document has a name which is obscured or unreadable. I will check it when next at the library unless another Forum Member can confirm that it relates to A Mcguire.

EDIT 2: I checked 130154 on FMP today and it came back with the Casualty List HA 5981 as above, but the number is not 130154 it is definitely 130434 which is A Noble. The original is in the Service or Pension record of 11588 William Ford, South Staffs, according to FMP. A FMP check on 130434 comes back with a Hospital Admission for A Noble and on the same page are three other men of the Special Brigade. It is MH 106/1444 and the names are:

130434 Noble A - 5 Bn SB - Age 20 - ICT L Foot - Discharged to Duty 04/05/1916.

128297 Knight J A - 3 Bn SB (late R Fus) - Age 22 - Flu - D to D 19/04/1916.

128939 Pavinder ? J W - 1 Bn SB (late 13 Lincs) - age 40 - Tonsilitis - D to D 19/04/1916. (Can not find this man in the Rolls and there was no 13 Bn Lincs).

129430 Bowler C J - 5 Bn SB (late 3 Beds) - Age 19 - Gastritis - D to D 09/05/1916.

Brian

EDIT 3: 128938 is John William Parrinder later 565778 Labour Corps.

Brian

Thanks Brian for all your work. I guess I just keep looking.

Leo

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brianmorris547

I'm afraid so, Leo. I have flagged up 130154 A McGuire on my RE index so if I find him I will let you know.

Brian

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Carl Britt

Hello Terry

 

I’m so pleased to find this forum and your thread in particular. Please forgive me if don’t include the details correctly but I don’t really know the protocol. I’m not particularly familiar with military terms regarding ranks or brigades/battalions etc so please excuse my ignorance.

 

My great great grandfather, Thomas John Britt died July 14th 1916 aged 40. He is buried at Bienvillers Military Cemetary. Here are the details that i know of him:

Pioneer Thomas John Britt, 128968

4th Battalion Special Brigade RE

Died 14/07/1916

Lived in Whittington, Staffs. His son Thomas Arthur Britt was in the Staffordshire Regiment. I gather there’s a Staffs Regiment museum in Whittington oddly enough. 

 

Do you have any info regarding what he might have been doing there? What was his job likely to be? What battles were his unit involved in? Is he likely to have died in the first day of the battle of Byzantine Ridge?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Carl Britt

 

8DA9E89C-591D-4A8B-A542-4501030CE5EB.jpeg

F15E0C83-817A-49AE-BF9D-C607F40C37AD.png

2F88E61D-2F31-427A-84A0-89E2D633DC0F.jpeg

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

Carl

 

Thanks for your post and the photo.

 

He was originally in the Army Service Corps with the number T4/057336 before going to the North Staffs Regiment with the number 19514. Is think he may well have been with 3rd Reserve Bn of the N Staffs when he was transferred to the Special Brigade around March 1916. You may wish to check the battalion war diary which can be downloaded from the National Archives website for £3-50p.  He was with a cylinder N, O, P or Q Coy.  He appears to have Thomas John Britt and he is buried at Bienvillers Military Cemetery, France. He was the husband of Rebecca A Britt of The Rock, Whittington, Staffs.

 

I am not able to access   my records until next week but

I will post something more then.

 

TR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Carl Britt

Thank you Terry, yes that’s him! I’ve found details of his grave at Bienvillers on the Commonwealth War Graves Commision. He has an inscription on his gravestone. “We think of you in silence, no eyes can see us weep”

 

I shall indeed look up the battalion war diary, thanks for the tip.

 

That does tie up with the newspaper article which states that he joined as a reservist. He earned his living as a waggoner on a farm.

 

Apologies, but what does cylinder N, O, P or Q Coy mean?

 

For your info he is commemorated in St Giles church, Whittington on a brass plate on the organ. See link: http://inremembrance.freeforums.net/thread/840/st-giles-church

 

His son, Thomas Arthur Britt who also served with the North Staffs Regmt, is buried in St Giles churchyard. He died in 1964 aged 64. Any chance you can find a number for him please?

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

Ca

On 02/07/2018 at 19:30, Carl Britt said:

Thank you Terry, yes that’s him! I’ve found details of his grave at Bienvillers on the Commonwealth War Graves Commision. He has an inscription on his gravestone. “We think of you in silence, no eyes can see us weep”

 

I shall indeed look up the battalion war diary, thanks for the tip.

 

That does tie up with the newspaper article which states that he joined as a reservist. He earned his living as a waggoner on a farm.

 

Apologies, but what does cylinder N, O, P or Q Coy mean?

 

For your info he is commemorated in St Giles church, Whittington on a brass plate on the organ. See link: http://inremembrance.freeforums.net/thread/840/st-giles-church

 

His son, Thomas Arthur Britt who also served with the North Staffs Regmt, is buried in St Giles churchyard. He died in 1964 aged 64. Any chance you can find a number for him please?

Carl

 

The operation in which he was killed was in support of 46 Division. 909 cylinders of gas were discharged at 0100 hrs against 73 Fusilier Regiment. 

 

In 1916 the original four special companies were expanded into a brigade consisting of five battalions numbered 1 to 5 and Z company.  No 5 Battalion was equipped with the 4 inch Stokes Mortar with Z Coy originally being formed to operate flame projectors. The other four battalions used  cylinders to dispense gas and from 1917 onwards were also equipped with the Liven's Projector.  The cylinders were about roughy same size as the ones found in an oxy-actylene welding set. Half-size cylinders were also used.

 

Each of these cylinder battalions consisted of four companies and numbered consecutively throughout the brigade although the letter "I" was not used.  No1 Battalion consisted of companies A - D,  No 2 Battalion,  E-H, No 3 Battalion J-M, and No 4 Battalion N - Q.   It appears TJ Britt was serving with N Coy when he was killed.

 

TR

 

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Carl Britt

Thank you Terry. What an awful job they had in Special Brigade. I can’t imagine many of them died well.

 

I don’t suppose it’s possible to know to any degree where he was likely to have been in his last few days?

 

I’d like to visit his grave and introduce my son to his great great great grandfather. It would be nice to know roughly the landscape he might have seen.

 

Thanks again Terry, I’ll make sure his story is forever remembered in our family.

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

Carl

 

The 4th Battalion HQ was at Bouquemaison which is on the D916 between Frevant and Doullens. The companies were accommodated in this area as there is mention in the war diary of huts being built. Their target on the night in question was the Monchy-au-Bois area about 30 mins drive away.

 

TR

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Michael Haselgrove

Hello Terry,

I am in the process of gathering and attaching to items in my collection such information as I already have and, wherever possible, adding to it. 

In this respect I would like to find out the identity of the owner of a "souvenir painted" steel helmet I have had for many years.  I wonder if you, or anyone reading this, can assist or at least point me in the right direction. 

I say straight away that I appreciate my question is the very opposite of the information you were seeking in your first post in this thread and apologize in advance for this.  I also appreciate that finding a name may be compared to looking for a needle in a haystack.  However, the helmet may be of interest in any event.

I attach some photos of the helmet which, you will see, provides a great deal of information save the identity of the owner. 

Here is a list of the dates and places painted on each side of the helmet:

    

8/8/15                            Landed Le Havre

25/9/15                         Loos  (18)

June -  Dec '15              Arras - Somme

26/12/16                       Wounded Berles au Bois

Septr  '17                       Ypres - Potize Ridge

Octr  '17                         Cambrin - Loos

Octr - Dec. '17              Dixmude (Belgium Army)

Feb - Apl. '18                "Retreat" Ham, Noyan, Nesle, Roye, Moreuil, Amiens

May '18                          Vermelles - Loos, Vimy

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June - July '18               Mailly-Maillet, Aveloy

                                       -Wood, Auchonvillers.

  "          "                        Beaumont-Hamel.

Aug  '18                         River Ancre Offensive

  "       "                           Albert - Bapaume Offensive

Sept - Octr  '18             Bapaume - Cambrai   "

Octr    '18                      Cambrai - Le Cateau  "    

Nov    '18                       Englefontaine, Mormal Forest,

                                        Sambre Canal, Berlaimont.

                                        Armistice.

Jan 14th 1919              Demobilised Duddingston.  

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, I apologize for bothering you with this.  However, if you can help, I will be very grateful.

Michael.       

DSC04186.JPG

DSC04194.JPG

DSC04191.JPG

DSC04197.JPG

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

Michael

 

Many thanks, what a cracking object!  I can say that the owner was an original "Corporal's All". I  will get back to you later with some information. 

 

Best wishes

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Stuart T

Two exact dates (wound, demob) must mean a good chance of a positive ID.

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