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Terry_Reeves

Royal Engineers Special Brigade

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KthDcknsn

TERRY - HAVE YOU GOT THIS ONE

Name: Lawrence Watson MM

Regiment/Corps: 2nd Special Company, Royal Engineers

Age:

Rank: 2nd Corporal

Date Died:25 May1918

Cemetery/Memorial: La Kreule Military Cemetry, HAZEBROUCK

Details: Lived in LEEDS

Can your information be accessed ??

Can you give me any infromation on the above??

I am trying to find out why he was awarded the Military Medal any help appriciated

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Guest annesimpson
Terry,

Hi would you be able to help me find out about.

Name: CRESWELL, JOHN

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Pioneer

Regiment: Royal Engineers

Unit Text: "K" Coy. 3rd Bn. Special Bde.

Age: 24

Date of Death: 08/10/1916

Service No: 130251

Additional information: Son of Andrew and Elizabeth Creswell, of 33, Windmill Terrace, Londonderry.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: A. 9.

Cemetery: POND FARM CEMETERY

Many Thanks Robert Starrett

Hi Robert,

You must be connected to Elizabeth. Within the last couple of weeks I found John Creswell's details on the Diamond Memorial Project site. He is my Great Uncle. Do you have anymore information on John

or William Creswell or William's twin brother who was invalided from the army due to wounds received on July 1, 1916. I hope this reaches you. Many thanks Anne Simpson

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Alison Halfpenny
Over the past few years I have been compiling a roll of men who served in the RE Special Brigade and Special Companies. This formation was responsible for Britains chemical warfare effort.

I am now able to identify some 2-3000 of these men but would like to hear from any forum member who has information about any individual whom they believe served in the Brigade.

In particular, I would be interested in number and rank, any snippets of personal information, and in the case of those men who were killed, the location of any town or village war memorial that they may have been commemorated on.

If I can help anybody with identifying men whom they believe were in the Specials I will be pleased to do so.

Terry Reeves

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Alison Halfpenny

Terry,

My great uncle was in the Special Coy RE. His details are:

William Lawrence MM

Pioneer

197101

No1 Special Coy

Royal Engineers

Died 9 April 1918 Aged 22

Laid to rest:

Browns Road Cemetry Festubert Pas de Calais

Ref Number IV D 1

He was born in Liverpool and had originally joined the army earlier in the war in the Royal Field Artillary service No 56669 however after allegedly receiving field punishment he transferred to the Royal Engineers (or would that have been Pioneer Corps due to his rank?) I remember seeing one photo of Willy on horse back but sadly I don't know what happened to that picture. I do however still have 2 photos of him one in his RFA uniform, complete with spurs ( in the photo he is stood with a sailor but sadly we don't know who he is), and one in his RE uniform with his 'bomber' badge on his right sleeve. I have no idea why he was awarded the MM, have you come across anything in your investigations? Also have you come across the events around Willy's death possibly at the Battle of Lys. Other information I can give you is that Willy played the accordian and the officers clubbed together to buy him an instrument so he could entertain the men. Strangely Willy had worked on the clipper ships before the war but chose not to join the Royal Navy. His memorial is recorded on a plaque is the Florence Institute for Boys, Mill Street Liverpool (currently being renovated), Willy had been a member of this institute but his name is written as 'William Hardacre' (his mothers new married name) due to Willy's mother's new husband seeing him as his own son.

Hope this is of some help to you, if you need anymore information please get in touch.

Thanks for remembering these men.

Ali

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Terry_Reeves

Ali

Many thanks for your contribution. I don't have any details for him, but I can find out. About a thousand men from the Royal Artillery were transferred to the SB. No 1 Company was equipped with 4 inch Stokes Mortars, almost certainly the reason why this RFA man was transferred to them.

Thanks again.

TR

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China Hand

Hi Terry

Your "bumping up" of your query reminds me, now that I am back in the UK and have access to old files, to give you what I have re my grandfather.

He was Sergeant William Barr, RE, no. 106515 (I have his identity disc), M Special Company. He entered France 17/8/1915, discharged to class Z, 10/2/1919. I do not have his medals, sadly. He died in 1959, three years before I was born.

I did review, back in 1996, the relevant War Diaries for M Special Coy (WO95/332, 401, 486 and 549), but found only one reference to him by name, teaching chemistry just around the end of the war, presumably to help the lads on their discharge. He was originally a chemistry teacher, hence, I assume, his original drafting into the Specials.

In 2000, I visited a couple of the locations in Belgium and France where M Special Coy conducted attacks...truly scary to find the roads and farms they attacked still extant.

I only have one piece of ephemera relating to him - a photocopy of an informal poster (A3) of "M Special Company's strafes", the original went AWOL somewhere within the family. This was presumably produced within the unit at the end of the war. But it lists about 50 attacks, with date, locality, division (i.e. in support of), number of cylinders or projectors discharged. I can post this as a photo if that would be helpful (no scanner currently I am afraid) or snailmail it to you if interested.

I also have, albeit bought separately from a book dealer some years ago, a copy of "Gas warfare : monthly summary of information", No.2 August 1917, issued by General Staff, a small pamphlet only c. 16pp. Again I could post jpegs or send you photocopy by snailmail if interested and if you do not already have it (as I suspect you do).

The only other piece of memorabilia I have is an RE sweetheart brooch, which he gave to his fiancee during the war. What is also nice is that I have a lovely photo of her wearing it (see attached photo, with the brooch and also his identify disc). Having (a long time ago) been a TA Sapper, I have used this as a tie pin on suitable occasions.

post-42664-1243366138.gif

The other irony, as I mentioned before, is that his son Jimmy, as a RAF doctor just after the end of WW2, provided medical cover for the disposal and transport of German gas stocks...

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7:29am

Hi Terry

I would be very interested to hear any information you have on the below chap.

Regards

Jim

Name: THOMPSON, JAMES VICTOR

Initials: J V

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Army Service Corps

Secondary Regiment: Royal Engineers

Secondary Unit Text: attd. "O" Special Coy.

Age: 21

Date of Death: 21/11/1918

Service No: DM2/209078

Awards: M M

Additional information: Son of Walter and Mary A. Thompson, of Ely, Cambs.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: 1. B. 9.

Cemetery: PERREUSE CHATEAU FRANCO BRITISH NATIONAL CEMETERY

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Alison Halfpenny
Ali

Many thanks for your contribution. I don't have any details for him, but I can find out. About a thousand men from the Royal Artillery were transferred to the SB. No 1 Company was equipped with 4 inch Stokes Mortars, almost certainly the reason why this RFA man was transferred to them.

Thanks again.

TR

Terry,

Thanks for that, any information on Willy would be great. Its nice to see part of his life being pieced together.

Hope to hear from you soon

Ali.

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mick lowry
Over the past few years I have been compiling a roll of men who served in the RE Special Brigade and Special Companies. This formation was responsible for Britains chemical warfare effort.

I am now able to identify some 2-3000 of these men but would like to hear from any forum member who has information about any individual whom they believe served in the Brigade.

In particular, I would be interested in number and rank, any snippets of personal information, and in the case of those men who were killed, the location of any town or village war memorial that they may have been commemorated on.

If I can help anybody with identifying men whom they believe were in the Specials I will be pleased to do so.

Terry Reeves

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mick lowry

Hi Terry

Did you see my post 124 on this subject. I have hit the proverbial brick wall with regard any more background on George Dawson.

Although i have managed to find out quite a lot about him with the kind help of other GWF members it would be nice to fill in the final

blanks. I have been in contact with RE archives at Chatham to see if i can find out which company he was in, however, there is up to

a six month waiting list for a full response.

Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

Regards

Mick

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Terry_Reeves

Mick

Sorry, I did miss your post apologies to you and anyone else I haven't replied to yet. I'll trawl through the last few weeks and reply sooner rather than later.

Best wishes

Terry Reeves

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mick lowry
Mick

Sorry, I did miss your post apologies to you and anyone else I haven't replied to yet. I'll trawl through the last few weeks and reply sooner rather than later.

Best wishes

Terry Reeves

Thanks Terry

I look forward in anticipation to your next communication

Mick

:)

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tirish

Terry, Here's another for you

K W LOGGIE

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Corporal

Regiment/Service: Royal Engineers

Unit Text: "H" Special Coy.

Age: 18

Date of Death: 22/07/1917

Service No: 106216

Additional information: Son of William and Millicent Loggie, of 4, Glendalough Rd., Drumcondra, Dublin. Junior Assistant to Professor Gilbert Morgan, Royal College of Science, Dublin.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. K. 34.

Cemetery: COXYDE MILITARY CEMETERY

This is William Thomas Keith Loggie, my uncle.

My mother always said he was a victim of 'friendly gas' as it might be called now.

He died in La Panne Hospital (?)

Maybe you could point me to what this unit was doing in July 1917?

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jeremym
Hi Terry

Your "bumping up" of your query reminds me, now that I am back in the UK and have access to old files, to give you what I have re my grandfather.

He was Sergeant William Barr, RE, no. 106515 (I have his identity disc), M Special Company. He entered France 17/8/1915, discharged to class Z, 10/2/1919. I do not have his medals, sadly. He died in 1959, three years before I was born.

I did review, back in 1996, the relevant War Diaries for M Special Coy (WO95/332, 401, 486 and 549), but found only one reference to him by name, teaching chemistry just around the end of the war, presumably to help the lads on their discharge. He was originally a chemistry teacher, hence, I assume, his original drafting into the Specials.

In 2000, I visited a couple of the locations in Belgium and France where M Special Coy conducted attacks...truly scary to find the roads and farms they attacked still extant.

I only have one piece of ephemera relating to him - a photocopy of an informal poster (A3) of "M Special Company's strafes", the original went AWOL somewhere within the family. This was presumably produced within the unit at the end of the war. But it lists about 50 attacks, with date, locality, division (i.e. in support of), number of cylinders or projectors discharged. I can post this as a photo if that would be helpful (no scanner currently I am afraid) or snailmail it to you if interested.

I also have, albeit bought separately from a book dealer some years ago, a copy of "Gas warfare : monthly summary of information", No.2 August 1917, issued by General Staff, a small pamphlet only c. 16pp. Again I could post jpegs or send you photocopy by snailmail if interested and if you do not already have it (as I suspect you do).

The only other piece of memorabilia I have is an RE sweetheart brooch, which he gave to his fiancee during the war. What is also nice is that I have a lovely photo of her wearing it (see attached photo, with the brooch and also his identify disc). Having (a long time ago) been a TA Sapper, I have used this as a tie pin on suitable occasions.

post-42664-1243366138.gif

The other irony, as I mentioned before, is that his son Jimmy, as a RAF doctor just after the end of WW2, provided medical cover for the disposal and transport of German gas stocks...

Hi 'China Hand'

My father, George Oswald Mitchell (G.O.M.), was also a sergeant in 'M' Special Coy RE. He kept a trench diary up to the Battle of Loos and notes of engagements thereafter. I have checked through his trench diary and notes, but unfortunately there is no specific mention of your grandfather. I have also checked through the signatories of the menu of 'M' Special Coy's annual reunion dinner in 1932, but again I am afraid your grandfather's signature is not there. I have used G.O.M.'s trench diary and notes as the basis of a book that has been published recently, Shrapnel and Whizzbangs - A Tommy in the Trenches 1914-18, which deals partly with 'M' Special Coy's experiences - see the 'books by members' section of this website, or http://www.shrapnelandwhizzbangs.wordpress.com.

A possible source of information for you is the run of the Special Brigade Newsletters held by the RE Library at Chatham. However, these are not reproduced or digitalised and you have to visit personally, having made prior arrangement with the Librarian. It took me two days to work through them - a very moving experience.

I would be fascinated to see the poster of 'M' Special Coy's strafes if you can find any way of posting or attaching it. Alternatively, if you can have a copy made and post it to me I would gladly pay any expenses involved.

jeremym

(Jeremy Mitchell)

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Lyffe

Terry,

Do you have any casualties for 3 Battalion, Special Brigade, who might have died as a result of a gas attack near Messines on the night of 31 Aug-1 Sep 1916? I've reason to believe this was a British attack that went wrong. One man who was affected and invalided home was Lt C D Stewart. Although invalided out of the Army in July 1918 he appears to have survived a long time - the last date I have for him is 1937 in Hong Kong.

I'm not interested in names, just whether there were other gas casualties in 3 Battalion.

I've ordered Foulkes' book "Gas! The story of the Special Brigade" from my library.

Brian

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Terry_Reeves

Brian

I know of three from the battalion who were killed. The difficulty arises with the wounded. There is a lack of detailed records from that period and if they suffered adverse effects just 24 hours or so after that, there is the additional problem of proving that they were casualties from the same incident. I have noted this though and if I turn anything up I'll let you know.

TR

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Lyffe

Thank you Terry,

The information about the fatalities is very useful and places what I know about Stewart in context. I appreciate what you say about those wounded as Stewart himself obviously survived.

Cheers

Brian

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China Hand

Dear Jeremy

With apologies for delay, only just seen this - fascinating ! I very much appreciate your efforts to find references to Sgt Barr in your father's materials. He seems to have kept a low profile ! But I am sure the two men must have known each other. I will definitely have a look at your book, which I had not come across before. It will at least give a flavour of things. I may sometime get a chance to look at the newspaper at Chatham.

Re the 1932 reunion, I don't believe he kept much in touch after the war, my mother never mentioned anything, in 1932 he would have been teaching in Aberdeen.

I can now attach some pics of the "poster", one of the whole thing and two of three of smaller sections (ran pout of space for final bit), although I fear at the sizes allowed here it may be unreadable. If you can PM me your snailmail address, I am very happy to mail it to you (just one page under A3).

Again, many thanks for an unexpected surprise ! I am seeing my mother (his daughter, still going strong at 81) tomorrow, and she will be fascinated to hear there is a book that might at least describe some of M Special's work.

Best wishes

Graham

post-42664-1244062715.gif

post-42664-1244062725.gif

post-42664-1244062732.gif

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Andy Heaton

I've some Special Brigade (I think) photos - my Grandfather is on most of them.

I'd be interested to know anything abut this picture

post-38547-1244407390.jpg

I hope that this posting works . . .

Note the officer in the kilt in the centre - someone must be able to identify him. UPDATE This officer has now been identified as

OD Winterbottom of Horton House, Northampton.

Served in the ranks London Scottish

T 2/Lt Cameron Highlanders

A/ Lt RE 17.1.16

A/ Capt 3.10.16

2 ic No 3 Company

T/ Capt 18.9.17 and OC No 4 Special Company

Mentioned in Depatches, 1914

Indefinite sick leave 30.1.1918

(Thank you to Terry Reeves for that information)

This group has been identified (with Thanks to Simon Jones) as 21st Section, 188 Company

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Andy Heaton

And here is another Special Brigade photo.

My Grandfather (on far right) is a Corporal on this photo, but on later images, he is a Sergeant

post-38547-1244409884.jpg

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Andy Heaton

post-38547-1244410103.jpg

Yet another Special Brigade photo . . . .

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China Hand

Nice pics, Andy - do you know which Company it is ?

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Andy Heaton

A Special Brigade Photo, but not of the best quality.

there is at least one soldier with just one stripe (Is that Lance Corporal ?) and those standing at the back of the group don't appear to have any stripes at all - but I thought that soldiers in the Special Brigade were Corporals ?

post-38547-1244410344.jpg

** I've since found out that my Grandfather was in L Company, so this may be a photo of some from that Company **

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Andy Heaton

A smaller group of the Special Brigade in the same location - but where ???

The group is mainly of Sergeants, my grandfather is 3rd from the left of those standing. Again, there is at least one soldier with no stripes.

post-38547-1244410563.jpg

** I've since found out that my Grandfather was in L Company, so this may be a photo of some from that Company **

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Andy Heaton

Same location, but different soldiers; the officer at the centre is also in the next photo

post-38547-1244410735.jpg

** I've since found out that my Grandfather was in L Company, so this may be a photo of some from that Company **

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