Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Terry_Reeves

Royal Engineers Special Brigade

Recommended Posts

Susangela

Hello Mangoman and Terry,

Thank you both for the detailed information and links. I will use this to research further and pass my findings onto other members of my family. I have digitized the one photo I have of GJ Williams and hope this maybe of interest and of use helping to archive and remember those who fought in the Great War.865385611_GilbertJamesWilliams.jpg.8ef6315e14bb070c5799f9122e6becf4.jpg

Susangela

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Susan

 

Many thanks for the photograph.

 

TR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KeithC

Hello Terry

 

Further to my post back in February 2015  about William Pearson Green, Pioneer 128927, 1st Batallion, Special Brigade, Royal Engineers.

Killed in action 28th June 1916, aged 25 years, I have manged to obtain a photo of him as attached. 64624240_WILLIAMPEARSONGREEN001(1).jpg.4b9753584dcb02071be0b5d8b54ebc8d.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Keith

 

Many thanks, very kind of you.

 

TR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Milton LHG - Karen

Terry

I wonder if you could help;

I am researching the soldiers on our local war memorial in Milton, Cambridgeshire.

One of the names is George Henry Mansfield who enlisted with the Suffolk regiment (9709) and transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Special Brigade (128699).

He died on the 4th July 1916 and is on the memorial at Loos-en-Gohelle, Pas -de - Calais.

This seems a long way North of the Somme Region which I where I think he was deployed. I am struggling to find which battle he died in and who he was serving with. 

I am hoping you can help.

Many thanks

Karen

Mansfield GH - Roll Card.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brianmorris547

Terry

I had occasion to look at MH 106/2033 the Admissions Book for 31 Ambulance Train 01/07/1917 to 14/07/1917 this morning because one of my CPRE men 81714 Pnr N Brown came up on a FMP search. I noticed five Special Brigade men in the book.

92538 Pnr Hughes, A (number does not check out but that is the number in the book) - N Special Co - 01/07/1917 to Bailleul.

128735 Spr Newton, G F - A Special Co - 01/07/1917 to Bailleul.

209551 Pnr McGinnes, H R - O Special Co - 10/07/1917 to Doullens.

153921 Spr Hoare, J - Q Special Co - 14/07/1917 from Aubigny to Etaples.

214697 Pnr Cooper, A - 4 Special Co - 14/07/1917 from Aubigny to Etaples.

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves
4 hours ago, Milton LHG - Karen said:

Terry

I wonder if you could help;

I am researching the soldiers on our local war memorial in Milton, Cambridgeshire.

One of the names is George Henry Mansfield who enlisted with the Suffolk regiment (9709) and transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Special Brigade (128699).

He died on the 4th July 1916 and is on the memorial at Loos-en-Gohelle, Pas -de - Calais.

This seems a long way North of the Somme Region which I where I think he was deployed. I am struggling to find which battle he died in and who he was serving with. 

I am hoping you can help.

Many thanks

Karen

Mansfield GH - Roll Card.jpg

Karen

 

Welcome to the forum.  

 

It is a little complicated. On transfer from the Suffolks he was posted to "C" Special Company, 1st Battalion, the HQ being at Punchevillers on the Somme up until 4 July 1916. .

 

On 4 June 1916 4A Battalion was  formed by taking C company from 1st Battalion, J Company from 3rd Battalion and O Company from 4th Battalion. They were sent north to the Loos battlefield. On the 4th of July sections 13 and 14 of C Coy were carrying in various pieces of equipment into the line near Hulloch for an operation on  the 5th  against 5, 6 and 17 Bavarian infantry regiments.  There is no mention of any casualties on the 4th  but there were two men killed by gas on the night of 5/6th July.

 

What has happened is this:

 

1. His death was recorded as being with his original battalion and  all other records of this have just followed on.  4A battalion was disbanded in February 1917 and companies were sent back to their original battalions which may have led to the confusion.

 

2. Either his death was not recorded in the war diary for the 4th July, not unusual, or that he was actually one of the casualties on the night of 4/5th. There is no way of being sure I am afraid. 

 

If I can help further please let me know.

 

TR

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves
26 minutes ago, brianmorris547 said:

Terry

I had occasion to look at MH 106/2033 the Admissions Book for 31 Ambulance Train 01/07/1917 to 14/07/1917 this morning because one of my CPRE men 81714 Pnr N Brown came up on a FMP search. I noticed five Special Brigade men in the book.

92538 Pnr Hughes, A (number does not check out but that is the number in the book) - N Special Co - 01/07/1917 to Bailleul.

128735 Spr Newton, G F - A Special Co - 01/07/1917 to Bailleul.

209551 Pnr McGinnes, H R - O Special Co - 10/07/1917 to Doullens.

153921 Spr Hoare, J - Q Special Co - 14/07/1917 from Aubigny to Etaples.

214697 Pnr Cooper, A - 4 Special Co - 14/07/1917 from Aubigny to Etaples.

Brian

Thanks very much Brian.

 

TR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
toofatfortakeoff

Jus a late addition to this but I interviewed Harold Hannan who was in this company in the production of gas as a chemist. He lived in the Star and Garter home in 1996 ish. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves
21 minutes ago, toofatfortakeoff said:

Jus a late addition to this but I interviewed Harold Hannan who was in this company in the production of gas as a chemist. He lived in the Star and Garter home in 1996 ish. 

Thanks for that. Can you provide any details please?

 

TR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
toofatfortakeoff

Will dig my papers out-this might just be all I have left fingers crossed! 

Edited by toofatfortakeoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brianmorris547

Terry

I was reading another Admissions Book today, 31 Ambulance Train again but MH 106/1986 for 18/07/1917 from Remy to Boulogne. Four more SB men noted:

156613 Barlow G - A Spec Co - GSW arm.

220324 Pnr Binns, V - Spec Co ? - GSW wrist, buttock (The question mark was in the book, It was not clear if it meant which company or whether Special Brigade).

146469 Pnr Florence, S - N Spec Co - SW shdr (R)

104151 Pnr Watson, W - Either 3 or Z Spec Co (I think small z) - SW arm (R).

Brian

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Thanks Brian

 

Binns was definitely a Special. It looks like they were querying the company. 

 

TR

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SueAnthony

Good day. I am looking for any information about my grandfather, Arthur Edgar BURTENSHAW, Pnr 129852. The only document I have is his Certificate of Employment during the War, which indicates he was in 'HQ, Special boys, First Army' from 1 November 1915 to 1 March 1919. I believe he said he had been in C company and was certainly involved with mustard gas and lost one of his lungs during his service.

Any information would be very much appreciated.

Regards

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Sue

 

Welcome to the forum.  Unfortunately there is no no service record for Arthur Burtenshaw which was lost in a WW2 air raid.  His medal index card shows he was entitled to there British War Medal and the Victory medal only which indicates overseas service after 1915. In his case this is likely to have been from around February/March 1916. There is no pension record for him, nor is there any sign of him being medically discharged. Mustard gas was first used in July 1917, so if he was gassed it was sometime from then on. It is quite possible that he was treated for this but then returned to duty.  

 

The unit war diaries will give you an idea what was going on. These are held at the National Archives but have been digitised and can be downloaded for £3-50 each, however he may not be mentioned.  C Company was part of 1st Battalion however, in 1917 there were some  administrative changes and the battalion headquarters became known as HQ Special Companies, First Army. Originally there were just four companies, however in early 1916 the organisation was a expanded to five battalions and and a separate company known as Z Company. The battalion headquarters were responsible for keeping their own war diaries until the end of February 1917 when individual companies started to keep their own. Battalion HQs also kept their own diary which gave an overall view of operations in their area.  Below are the links to the diaries:

 

1st Bn - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/6cd868facab54ad7a56a25d8f1f7aa34

 

HQ Special Coys 1st Army. 

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/c32a05cc60cb42ae9cf2cc036844326a

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/8bb36474294041738de7eb3514ebb406

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/626fbf28d59f4456b19fd98305ee9b88

 

C Special Company - three diaries on this page

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=C+Special+Company

 

If you have any further questions please ask.

 

TR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cas

Hello Terry

 

These are items I have of my grandads. Ralph W Russum. Hope they are of use. 

I know he enlisted in Sheffield and his number was 120580. He was definitely in The Special Brigade and at The Somme but other than that, I know little about his war effort. He was not badly injured and returned to Rotherham where he was in the Homeguard in Ww2 and lived to the 1980s. The picture on the dinner menu is Helfaut so I assume  he was there at some point. 

 

Caroline 

 

 

15401396715552158392048806544911.jpg

15401397038603937776412471370311.jpg

15401397239978471960162753213743.jpg

15401397383906810418250358277661.jpg

15401397657221281593820452141318.jpg

15401397857134354488015603477020.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Caroline

 

Welcome to the forum and many thanks for the photographs, they are very interesting. The last reunion dinner took place at the Imperial Hotel, Russell Square in London on 25 September 1981,  only ten members were fit enough to attend. Some companies also held periodic reunions, but as far as I am  aware D Company  was not one of them. In 1958 it was decided to start periodical newsletter a run of which are held at the Imperial War Museum. These contain reminiscences and news of old comrades. The last of these was published in October 1981.

 

I have a copy of Ralph Russem's service record which I will type up for you along with some other information which is likely to be of interest. Would you like me to publish it on here or send it by e mail to you?

 

In the meantime, below are modern day photographs of the Depot Special Brigade at Helfaut.

 

IMG_0577.JPG

IMG_0578.JPG

IMG_0580.JPG

Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cas

Thank you Terry

 

You may publish it on here, if you think it would be of interest to others. 

 

Caroline

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
clk

Hi Caroline,

 

16 hours ago, Cas said:

I know he enlisted in Sheffield and his number was 120580.

 

His papers are on Findmypast (link), and should also be on Ancestry. They show that Ralph attested in Doncaster on 2nd August 1915, and ended up at the end of the war as an officer cadet.

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SueAnthony
On ‎20‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 10:16, Terry_Reeves said:

Sue

 

Welcome to the forum.  Unfortunately there is no no service record for Arthur Burtenshaw which was lost in a WW2 air raid.  His medal index card shows he was entitled to there British War Medal and the Victory medal only which indicates overseas service after 1915. In his case this is likely to have been from around February/March 1916. There is no pension record for him, nor is there any sign of him being medically discharged. Mustard gas was first used in July 1917, so if he was gassed it was sometime from then on. It is quite possible that he was treated for this but then returned to duty.  

 

The unit war diaries will give you an idea what was going on. These are held at the National Archives but have been digitised and can be downloaded for £3-50 each, however he may not be mentioned.  C Company was part of 1st Battalion however, in 1917 there were some  administrative changes and the battalion headquarters became known as HQ Special Companies, First Army. Originally there were just four companies, however in early 1916 the organisation was a expanded to five battalions and and a separate company known as Z Company. The battalion headquarters were responsible for keeping their own war diaries until the end of February 1917 when individual companies started to keep their own. Battalion HQs also kept their own diary which gave an overall view of operations in their area.  Below are the links to the diaries:

 

1st Bn - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/6cd868facab54ad7a56a25d8f1f7aa34

 

HQ Special Coys 1st Army. 

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/c32a05cc60cb42ae9cf2cc036844326a

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/8bb36474294041738de7eb3514ebb406

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/626fbf28d59f4456b19fd98305ee9b88

 

C Special Company - three diaries on this page

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=C+Special+Company

 

If you have any further questions please ask.

 

TR

 

Quote

 

Many thanks for your reply, Terry. I feared the documents may have been destroyed/lost. I will try to find something more in the diaries you mention. Warm regards, Sue.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves
23 hours ago, Cas said:

Thank you Terry

 

You may publish it on here, if you think it would be of interest to others. 

 

Caroline

His record of service:

 

120580 Sgt Ralph William Russum 1896-1985

 

Educated at Rotherham Grammar School for  4 years and passed the Cambridge Senior Exam in chemistry. This was followed by 1 year at Sheffield University studying practical and theoretical inorganic chemistry passing his exams satisfactorily.  He then took up employment at Messrs Humphrey & Davies Ltd at Rotherham.

 

2 .8 1915. Attested at Doncaster for 231 (Doncaster) Field Company RE.

His occupation is shown as chemist residing at 28 Southbourne Rd, Sheffield.

 

He was interviewed by Lt FW Clark of 231 Field Company to ascertain his suitability for transfer to the special companies who in a letter to the Colonel ic Records at Chatham dated 7 September 1915 stated “he is anxious to be tested and is quite willing to proceed to Chatham for same.”

 

14.9.15  Arrived at M Dept Company, Chatham. This company held special company men prior to posting to France. He was formally transferred to this new branch of the RE the following day.

 

20.9.15 Disembarked France and sent Depot Special Brigade at Helfaut. He would have been billeted in one of the outlying villages.

 

20.10.15. Posted to 186 Company.

 

Between  January/ March  1916 the organisation was expanded into a brigade size formation with 186 Company forming the basis of 1st Battalion made up of four companies A,B C and D. Ralph was posted to D Company.

 

6.1.16  Admitted to hospital and rejoined his unit on 8.1.16.  No reason for admittance is given.

 

25.6.16  Wounded  The unit war diary noted “2Lt Jones, 4th Division front discharged at 2:30 am. Casualties reported - ORs killed 1. Suffering from gas poisoning 6.”

 

27.6.16  Admitted No 2 General Hospital  (Gassed). It is likely that the event on the 25th is connected with his hospitalisation. It is possible that his gassing was caused by phosgene which had a delayed action effect often by 24 to 48hrs.

 

5.7.16  To No 4 General Base Depot from hospital.

 

11.7.16  Rejoined D Company

 

29.8.16  To Admitted to 6 Field Ambulance (no reason given)

 

9.9.16    Rejoined unit.

 

30.12.16 - 6.12.17  UK leave

 

3.12.17 -6.12.17  Leave to Paris

 

3.6.18   Promoted Sgt

 

18.10.18  Transferred to UK for commissioning in R.E.

 

He was sent to No 2 Officer Cadet Battalion at Pembroke College, Cambridge and on 6 January 1919 there was a medical  statement as to disability which is normally associated with discharge from the army. He made no claim of disability.  He  then appears to have sent to North Camp, Ripon where on the 11 January 1919 where a   protection certificate and certificate of identity was made out in his name, although rather oddly the 1914-15 Star medal roll shows him being discharged to commission on 6 February 1919. 

 

His name appears in a supplement to the London Gazette on 2 April 1919 showing that he had been commissioned into the West Yorkshire Regiment as a Second Lieutenant with effect from 17 March 1919.  What has happened is that although  he was destined to be commissioned into the R.E. after the armistice they found that they that they longer required as many officers, hence the process for him was halted at Cambridge. However there were vacancies in infantry battalions and it appears he was offered the opportunity  to transfer, which he took. Coincidentally another 1st Battalion man, Cpl A K Smith joined 2 OCB on the same date as Ralph and the same happened to him.  It appears these commissions were for around 9 to 12 months. He has an officers personal file at the National Archives in WO 374/59848. It has not been digitised but should solve any problems associated with his commissioning.

 

I have one query.  Ralph appears in the 1939 England and Wales Register, along with his wife Dorothy. He gives  gives his occupation as Broom maker. I just wondered how he moved from being a chemist to that.

 

The war relevant war diaries are here and can be downloaded for a small fee:

 

1st Battalion:  http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/6cd868facab54ad7a56a25d8f1f7aa34

 

D Special Company:    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/2c6c8c62594c4212961affa9c43bc65c

           

                                     http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/bfacb46e25a048eb8e3178fc99126b6c

 

TR

 

 

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cas

That's really interesting. Thank you so much. 

 

We had no idea he ever was a chemist but it explains why he was living at an address in Sheffield when he signed up as he lived in Rotherham. He was actually only 16 not 19 so never thought about him being at Uni. 

 

He was a Brushmaker at E Russum and sons in Rotherham as was his Dad and Grandad. The company still exists and is run by his nephew but is now 

Catering supplies mainly.  That's what he always was as far as I knew. He never mentioned the Chemistry. Never heard of Humphrey and Davies but I will ask my Mum if it rings a bell. 

 

 

Caroline 

 

Just to add another little bit of information to the above. Dorothy who you mentioned, my grandma, was the sister of John Harris (author of Covenant with Death). We always knew that some of this book was based on Ralph's war experience but never knew which bits as we believe Ralph told John things he never told us. I can now read the book again this extra information to see what matches up. 

Caroline

Edited by Cas
Extra information

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Thanks Caroline.

 

TR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RobD

Hello Terry. I have recently started researching my Great Great Uncle Corporal William George Roper 120538. So far I have discovered that he served in the 1st battalion Special Brigade, RE, joined  in September 1915 at Chatham having previously been in a territorial force. He was killed on 24th August 1916 and is buried at Sailly-au-Bois military cemetery. He is commemorated on the memorial at Tynemouth Municipal Grammar School - Gate (WMR 34370), North Shields and St Augustins Church Windows WW1 (WMR 34420) North Shields.

 

Also buried at Sailly-au-Bois are four other men of the 1st Battalion Special Brigade who were also killed on 24th August 1916. They are Pioneer Louis Green 178921, Corporal John Clare Hoadley 106153, Pioneer Benjamin Newton 128061 and Corporal James Paterson 106146. I wonder if they were all killed in the same incident/operation? I have looked at the war diaries but something doesn't add up (e.g. location of operations vs burial location, reported number of casualties). I am wondering if you know anymore about William Roper or any of these other men?

 

Many thanks,

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...