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Terry_Reeves

Royal Engineers Special Brigade

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Martin Baker

I wonder if Terry or anyone else might have information about 2nd Lt. Frank Shaw Beckett born 1895 Walsall.  Died 31st May 1918 around Hazebrouck, St Omer, France (that is where he is buried anyway).

 

Commonwealth War Graves ref I.B.14.  Buried in La Kreule Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck, SE of St Omer, France.  Died aged 24 leaving young wife.  Probably no children.
 
Was Royal Engineers, 2nd Special Company.  Rank 2nd Lieutenant.  Sadly no note of his Army number on the information I have seen so far.
 
I am keen to know what he was doing there or what the 2nd Special Company were up to.  Also interested to know his cause of death.

Civil Registration event: Marriage
Name: BECKETT, Frank S
Registration District: Fareham Hampshire
Year of Registration:  1917 Oct-Nov-Dec
Spouse's last name:  Hickman
Volume No: 2B  Page No:  809

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charlie962

His wife in a death notification was Lilian Shaw Beckett of the 4th General Hospital BEF. (TFNS)

Might this suggest he used the name Shaw-Beckett ?

Charlie

 

Edit indeed she comes up as Nurse Shaw Beckett in WW2 records!

Edited by charlie962

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charlie962

Killed in action according to Newspaper obits eg this from FindmyPast

 

               59611a46b1854_BeckettFSdeath1.JPG.88d215ddae848feb2660805ccae519f7.JPG

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charlie962

His pre-commision Service record is available on Find my Past

First name(s) Frank Shaw

Last name  Beckett

Age  20

Birth year  1895

Service number  113217

Regiment-

Unit / BattalionNo      2nd Supernumerary Company

Year1915

Residence townBrighton

Residence countySussex

 

Edit    amongst other things it tells us he was a chemist and made it to CSM of No2 company before commission.

Edit 2    I presume 'Supernumerary' above is a mistranscription of 'Special'?

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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Terry_Reeves

Martin

Frank Shaw Beckett was a pharmacist by profession. He served in the ranks of the RAMC as 135 Cpl before being transferred to the Special Companies as 113217 Cpl RE.  He was one of the original members having transferred  on 28 August 1915 and was almost certainly  present at Loos for the first British gas attack with either 186, 187,188 or 189 companies. There are no war diaries for these early units unfortunately.  

Prior to commissioning on 1 June 1917 he was a acting CSM [company unknown] and joined No 2 Special (Mortar) Company on 31 June 1917 as T 2Lt.  The mortar companies operated the 4 inch Stokes mortar which fired smoke and chemical ammunition. In common with the rest of the Special Brigade they also fired the Livens Projector which fired chemical ammunition and also some high explosive bombs. On the day of his death he was involved in recovering some  88 "guns" a Special Brigade term for the Livens tubes. 

 

He is mentioned in 2 Company's war diary in an operational report and also the report of his death in WO95/487/6 available on line from the National Archives for a small fee. He also has a personal file at TNA in WO339/117623. This will require a visit to Kew though.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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charlie962

Terry, the service record for which I provided a link includes this info which you might like for your dbase, it shows he was a/CSM No 2 special coy

                                   59621c741bac5_BeckettFSservice.JPG.923f776c543f484e9283dad2e658378a.JPG

 

Edit   higher up on the same page it shows him as BEF 6/9/15 onwards

 

Edited by charlie962

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Terry_Reeves

Thanks very much Charlie.

 

TR

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GWF1967

Thomas Clemens, Dvr. 30582. 126 (How) Bde. R.F.A.     B.1896 Battersea. Enl. 9/1/15.  F+F 30/7/1915.

 

 Transfered under Army Order V,  to R.E. 7/8/1916   "posted to No 5 Bn Sp Bde pioneer No. 192425"  

 

  K.i.A.  26/9/1918.  Cpl.192425.  4th Special Coy R.E. ( Stokes Mortars).  Buried. Le Grand Beaumart British Cemetery, Steenwerck. (Headstone photo. 1931)

 

( Brothers. - James Clemens; Pte. 22007. O.B.L.I. /  Robert Clemens; Pte. 67914. M.G.C. /  William George Clemens; Pte. 39796. Beds. - 503776. Lab. Corps)

GBM-WO363-4-007303223-01107.jpg

Scan_20170628 (9).jpg

Edited by GWF1967

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Terry_Reeves

Thanks GWF1967, much appreciated.

 

TR

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Manipled Mutineer

Terry, with reference to Cpl Bromley (cf post 774) I continue to draw a blank and so have given up researching him for the time being. However, I wonder if the following,  on another member of the Special Brigade, may be of interest? 

 

146562 PNR S W MUNCEY RE - ROYAL ENGINEERS

Stanley William Unwin Muncey of Roselea, Impington, Cambridge was born in 1894. In the 1911 Census he was recorded as a chemistry student working in the analysis lab of a jam factory - probably Chivers' Victoria Works. He was still a chemistry student, apparently at Cambridge, when, in 1915, he responded to an urgent call (circular 121/1/1) for men with training in chemistry to serve with the Royal Engineers overseas. He was aged 22 years and 11 months on enlistment. Having visited the Cambridge Recruiting office on 17 February 1916 and been medically examined he reported to the War Office, Whitehall, London on 28 February 1916. He there enlisted for the RE Special Brigade at a rate of 1 Shilling and Eightpence a day (1/2 plus 6d Engineers' Pay) being accepted at Chatham the following day.

 

He embarked for France on 18 March 1916 and disembarked, joining the British Expeditionary Force, on 19 March 1916. He was in a number range which Howard Williamson in Volume II of his Great War Collectors Companion notes as being associated with the 1st Battalion of the Special Brigade. 

 

On 26 August 1916 Pioneer Muncey was transferred to the United Kingdom, probably placed on the strength of the 3rd provisional Company, Special Brigade, RE and was admitted hospital with DAH (Disordered Action of the Heart/Soldiers' Heart/Effort Syndrome). He stayed 90 days being discharged on 23 November 1916.

Pioneer Muncey was discharged under Para 392 xvi King's Regulations by a medical board sitting at 1st Eastern General Hospital,  Cambridge on 12 January 1917, with effect from 2 February 1917. His unit on discharge was the Reserve Company, the Special Brigade (based at Withnoe,  Devonport). His Silver War Badge was issued on 14 March 1917. He acknowledged receipt of his British War Medal and Victory Medal, being his full entitlement, on 30 September 1921.

 

If you have any hints as to which battalion and company he served with, I'd be most interested. 

 

Regards,

 

Anthony 

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Terry_Reeves

Anthony

 

Many thanks for the information. I think Percy Bromley is likely to remain a bit of a mystery unless the appears in one of the war diaries.

 

TR

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Manipled Mutineer

Terry, my pleasure,  and I agree! Are the War Diaries available electronically anywhere, such that I could download them and read them at my leisure?  I read 400+ pages of the 10th DLI'S War diary to find one man who was without service history, so I'm willing to give it a go!

 

On Pioneer Muncey, I have some interesting information from Cambridge regarding  his university career which I will summarise and post.

 

Anthony

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charlie962

On ForcesWarRecords- Hospital Admissions (I seem to have become their publicist?) there are two 1916 records for SW Muncey; Of particular interest is the unit he was with before going to hospital in France 21/8/16:             

                 Special (Cylinder) Company - 4

 

Charlie

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Terry_Reeves
3 hours ago, Manipled Mutineer said:

Terry, my pleasure,  and I agree! Are the War Diaries available electronically anywhere, such that I could download them and read them at my leisure?  I read 400+ pages of the 10th DLI'S War diary to find one man who was without service history, so I'm willing to give it a go!

 

On Pioneer Muncey, I have some interesting information from Cambridge regarding  his university career which I will summarise and post.

 

Anthony

Anthony

 

All the diaries are available on the National Archives web site at £3-50p per download. The 1916 diaries are battalion diaries which give brief entries of the units in the battalion.  At the beginning of 1917 there was a reorganisation which allowed the individual companies to carry out their own administration including producing their own diaries, which tend to be more detailed.

 

I have Muncey's service record which is brief,  but would be very interested to see the information you have.

 

Many thanks.

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Terry_Reeves
3 hours ago, charlie962 said:

On ForcesWarRecords- Hospital Admissions (I seem to have become their publicist?) there are two 1916 records for SW Muncey; Of particular interest is the unit he was with before going to hospital in France 21/8/16:             

                 Special (Cylinder) Company - 4

 

Charlie

Charlie

 

Thanks. He was 146562 Pioneer Stanley William Unwin Muncey and served with No 4 Special (Mortar) Company, 5th Bn.I do not have FWR I'm afraid.

 

TR

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Manipled Mutineer

Charlie - thanks for this, I thought I had checked FWR. My mistake!  Will follow up now.

 

Terry - thanks,  will follow up and post what I find.

 

Anthony 

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Manipled Mutineer

Terry - can I check something: as Charlie says, the medical record (from 31st Ambulance Train) gives under Muncey's unit "Special (Cylinder) Company - 4". However, I note that above you have him as serving with a mortar company: can I ask where you found that out as I scoured his service record and couldn't find it, or are you working on the basis that the ascription (cylinder) in the record is wrong but the company number is right?

 

 

Many thanks once again, 

 

Anthony 

Edited by Manipled Mutineer
Reread previous comments

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Terry_Reeves
11 hours ago, Manipled Mutineer said:

Terry - can I check something: as Charlie says, the medical record (from 31st Ambulance Train) gives under Muncey's unit "Special (Cylinder) Company - 4". However, I note that above you have him as serving with a mortar company: can I ask where you found that out as I scoured his service record and couldn't find it, or are you working on the basis that the ascription (cylinder) in the record is wrong but the company number is right?

 

 

Many thanks once again, 

 

Anthony 

Anthony

 

There are some papers on Ancestry, mainly to do with his medical discharge. His home address was "Roselea" Impington, Cambridge. He was a student at Cambridge University when he enlisted  on 28 February 1916. He was at home until 19 March 1916 and went to France the following day remaining there until 23 August 1916. He was sent home when it was discovered he was suffering from disorderly action of the heart.  He was discharged on 2 February 1917 as no longer physically fit for war service and entitled to the silver war badge. His medical documents show he was serving with No 4 Company, 5th Battalion Special Brigade. This was a 4 inch Stokes mortar unit.

 

TR

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charlie962

Isn't it possible he was with No4 Cylinder  Co 1st Bn until his evacuation Aug 1916  then No4 Mortar Co 5th Bn after coming out of hospital?

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Terry_Reeves

Charlie

 

No. Cylinder companies were alphabetically ordered.

 

TR

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Manipled Mutineer

As promised, some information on his university career, direct from his Alma mater:

 

"He matriculated, that is formally enrolled in the University, on 20 November 1915 as a non-collegiate student. An explanation of non-collegiate is provided at https://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=Glossary%2Fnon-collegiate. He appears to have been at Cambridge for one term only before leaving for war service. We do not have a record of the date of his return but can confirm that he passed the Preliminary Examinations in Science for the Ordinary BA, that is without honours, in Easter and Michaelmas terms 1919. He passed the first set of examinations for the Diploma in Agriculture in Easter term 1920 and this was allowed to count as a Special Examination towards the Ordinary BA. He was also allowed to count the three terms Lent, Easter and Michaelmas 1916 towards the nine terms' residence required for the BA. He graduated BA on 18 December 1920. He appears to have stayed on for at least another year because he passed the second set of examinations for the Diploma in Agriculture in Michaelmasterm 1921. He graduated MA on 4 February 1925. An explanation of the Cambridge MA is at https://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=Glossary%2FMA (source: UA Graduati 12/168).

As a non-collegiate student, he may have resided at Selwyn or Fitzwilliam, both now full Colleges."
 
Separately, I found him in the 1921 War List  of the University of Cambridge under Fitzwilliam Hall as a Corporal,  Royal Engineers, Special Brigade.

 

Anthony 

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Terry_Reeves

Anthony

 

Many thanks.

 

TR

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Martin Baker

Thank you so much Terry Reeves and Charlie962 for the information on Frank Shaw Beckett.  I will do a bit more digging around at the National Archives some day soon.

 

Much appreciated.  Martin Baker.

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Manipled Mutineer
On Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 14:22, Terry_Reeves said:

Anthony

 

Many thanks.

 

TR

 

Terry, my pleasure, and thank you for helping me to notice what was in front of my eyes all the time, namely the reference to the 4th Coy, 5th Brigade in his discharge notification which I had read as a reference to a reserve company. It's made the whole piece of research much more satisfying for me. 

 

Regards, 

 

Anthony 

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Paul1066

Hi,

I am very new to this, so I hope it might be of interest for some of you here, what a great resource.  I have quite literally spent the entire afternoon digging around on the internet, up until a couple of hours ago I hadn't even heard of the Royal Engineers Special Brigade!


I always knew that my Great Grandfather was in WW1, was injured but not much more beyond that.  It would appear in my Mothers loft we have some documents and medals (including a DCM and a Military Cross).  Below is some further information on Lt Reginald Hassell (born 1874).

 

The Gazette- dated 5th Feb 1919.

T./Lt. Reginald Talbot Clements Hassell, D.C.M., No. 1 Spec. Coy., R.E. For conspicuous gallantry near Fresnoy on 24th September, 1918, when he, with another officer, was in charge of trench mortars to produce smoke barrages during an attack. Having completed their task they took command of a small party of infantry and attacked a post, capturing six of the enemy and machine guns. They then pushed on, bombing up a trench and bombed a dugout, the occupants of which would not come out. They continued their gallant and enterprising work unti'. Lt. Hassell was seriously wounded.

 

The Gazette- dated June 5 1916 (notification of being awarded the DCM)

P.S.2813 Sjt. R. T. C. Hassell, 21st Bn., R. Fus

 

Interestingly he had served in the Boer War, so was considered rather old to be posted over to France, what a fascinating man he must have been!

 

Paul

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