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Remembered Today:

Old Contemptible regiment


Guest Graham Briggs

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Guest Graham Briggs

Can anyone advise how the regiments that went over to France in August 1914 called up their reservists to fill the ranks?

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By Telegram;local Bobby or Letter{guaranteed three deliveries a day then ~ Progress}I think I recall seeing Press ads in contemporary local Papers requesting Reservists to Report

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Posters in prominent places? Not sure, but I beleive the French did.

I guess that with the international situation deteriorating (wow - I typed that right!), the blokes would have been on the qui vive anyway. In fact, I think I read somewhere that many reservists reported to their local barracks before the call went out.

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This is not the regular army’s reservists I know, but it is one way of doing it.

In the early hours of the 5th August, a car drove around to the houses of every Holmfirth territorial with his mobilisation papers. But only about four or five men who lived in the outlying districts were still at home. The rest had already been mobilised and marched from the Drill Hall to the station and off to Huddersfield on a special train before midnight, but they still had their official call up papers delivered to their home. One of the lads was sick in bed and even he must have known it was going to happen. He put on his uniform and climbed out of the window while his mother was chatting to a neighbour in the garden.

The orders were first telephoned to the Drill Hall from Huddersfield and passed around the district. A crowd of a thousand people were outside the Drill Hall hours before the declaration of war.

The army reservists must have known to be ready before the call actually came. It must have been well organised because the reservists would need travel warrants for their train journeys. I know their uniforms were ready and waiting in individual pigeon holes with their name and number pasted above at the regimental depots.

One Holmfirth reservist was recalled from Canada.

Tony.

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We have my wifes Grandfathers mobilization papers, it has the infantry record office date stamp 4-Aug 1914, telling him to report to the Worcester depot by the 5th Aug.

Didn't hang about did they?

Nick

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Posters in prominent places?

Certainly did. Have read of several Bedfords Officers (subalterns mainly) snaffling cars & screaming around the countryside hammering posters to anything vaguely wooden that could be seen prominently!

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'Mobilization Regulations 1914' spells it out in detail, much as described above. The army in 1914 was a well-organised, well-drilled and well-led machine.

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I'm by no stretch of the imagination an expert but my Grandfather was an Old Contemptible and was called up as a reservist in late July / early August 1914. According to my late father, Grandad was on annual camp with the TA's in Aberystwyth when his unit were called back home on 2nd/3rd/4th August (Cwm, Ebbw Vale) due to 'imminence of hostilities'. They were taken to the local drill hall, kept there overnight and then despatched to France the next day. Apparently they weren't allowed to go home to say goodbye to their families (although I'm sure some must have managed it).

Don't know if that helps or adds anything!!

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I remember reading in a 1914 copy of a local/regional newspaper (can't remember which) that Boy Scouts were sent out on bicycles to some of the more rural districts in order to serve notice to Reservists, Territorials and members of the Yeomanry

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Guest Graham Briggs

Well, that's a bunch of information and no mistake. Thanks very much guys. Of course it now prompts more questions! Did the regiments in question each get their own reservists back or didn't it work that way. e.g if a man was called back to the Welsh Regiment would he have served in that regiment previously?

Anyone (Grumpy?) know where I can lay my hands on 'Mobilization Regulations 1914'?

Ceinwen - which regiment did your grandfather serve with?

Regards

Graham

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Graham; to the best of my knowledge, Reservists would go to their former regiments where possible; my own Great-Great Uncle was a pre-war Regular in the Devons and went to France in 1914 as a recalled Reservist with the same regiment....his service number was prefixed '3/' which I imagine (although am not absolutely certain) referred to his Reserve status. Similarly, I recall reading of trainloads of Reservists from the Midlands and London steaming down to Cornwall to rejoing the ranks of the DCLI in 1914

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Holmfirth reservists went to their original regiments. Including the 2nd West Ridings, even though the regulars were in Dublin and went straight to France from there. So the reservists formed their own little group and joined the battalion in France.

Tony.

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Graham

My Grandfather was in the RAMC but his field ambulance unit was apparently attached to one of the Welsh regiments (Dad always thought it was the Monmouthshire regiment but haven't been able to prove that yet)

Ceinwen

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Re: the 'posters in prominent places' - would very much like to know more about these - have been puzzling for ages over an old photo of our village in which a poster is stuck prominently to the wall of one of the cottages next to the road - & guess what, the occupant just happened to be a Royal Berks Reservist - are there any examples of these posters illustrated anywhere?

Charles

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Certainly did. Have read of several Bedfords Officers (subalterns mainly) snaffling cars & screaming around the countryside hammering posters to anything vaguely wooden that could be seen prominently!
good job i wasnt stood around,they would have nailed one to my head,thats made of wood as well :lol::lol:
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Well, that's a bunch of information and no mistake. Thanks very much guys. Of course it now prompts more questions! Did the regiments in question each get their own reservists back or didn't it work that way. e.g if a man was called back to the Welsh Regiment would he have served in that regiment previously?

Anyone (Grumpy?) know where I can lay my hands on 'Mobilization Regulations 1914'?

Ceinwen - which regiment did your grandfather serve with?

Regards

Graham

replied as a PM

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"According to my late father, Grandad was on annual camp with the TA's in Aberystwyth when his unit were called back home on 2nd/3rd/4th August (Cwm, Ebbw Vale) due to 'imminence of hostilities'. They were taken to the local drill hall, kept there overnight and then despatched to France the next day".

Ceinwen,

2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment went to France/Flanders in Nov 1914

1st & 3rd Battalions of the Monmouthshire Regiment didn't get to France/Flanders until Feb 1915.

I've not heard of any of the Monmouth's getting to the front before the above dates. Could he have been attached to one of the other Welsh regiments maybe the S.W.B.

Hope this is of some use to you

Martyn

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Martyn; as a total side issue, I wonder if you would be so good as to enlighten me with regard to the status of Monmouthshire during the Great War period......officially Welsh, English or 'Border'? how did the soldiers serving in the regiment thus view themselves? And when did the county 'officially' become part of Wales (or was this always the case, culturally and ideologically-speaking)??

Be interested in your knowledge and/or views,

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Martyn,

Only just seen your message as I've been away (in Ypres!). Looks like Dad was wrong then - he could have assumed it was the Monmouthshire regiment as Grandad's brother was in the Monmouthshires but I don't know when he joined up (his MIC doesn't give a date but his has no Stars only the 2 war medals).

Apparently Grandad talked very little about the war (understandably) although Dad was pretty certain he was Mons and he definitely has the 1914 Star (I have it at home). He was also with his Brother In Law who got the DCM at a place called La Boutillerie, just outside Armentieres in Oct 1914 - would that narrow it down at all?

Your help is appreciated.

Ceinwen

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Martyn; as a total side issue, I wonder if you would be so good as to enlighten me with regard to the status of Monmouthshire during the Great War period......officially Welsh, English or 'Border'? how did the soldiers serving in the regiment thus view themselves? And when did the county 'officially' become part of Wales (or was this always the case, culturally and ideologically-speaking)??

Be interested in your knowledge and/or views,

Andy

Andy

As someone who was brought up by a Monmouthshire family (even though we moved to London!), my family have always considered themselves to be Welsh (hence my very Welsh first name!), (even Grandad and his brothers in the War were Welsh)!

Ceinwen

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"Including the 2nd West Ridings, even though the regulars were in Dublin and went straight to France from there. So the reservists formed their own little group and joined the battalion in France."

Tony, my great uncle served with DWR 1904-1912, and as you say the Bn was in Dublin @ beginning August 1914. He was back living in London at this time and was ordered to Dover where he rejoined his Bn and travelled to France with them. The rest is history :unsure:

Rgds

Andy

PS Another great-uncle was ordered to Warley Barracks and rejoined his Bn in France in November 1914 as part of a draft of reinforcements.

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  • 2 years later...

Going back to the displaying of notices in prominent locations, when the Falklands blew up and troops were being recalled from Easter leave every main line railway station had notices outside telling Royal Marines and Paras to return to their units. That is in case they missed the television news, hadn't listened to a radio, bothered to read a paper or heard all the chat in the pub presumably.

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It was not simply reservists in the UK that responded swiftly. It believe it was a reservist's obligation to advise of his address when he emigrated, although I have no details to hand .There were a very large number of men with reservist obligations in Canada (thousands) who arrived 'home' within a couple of weeks. From (hazy) memory I believe that two liners were used within this early period (Aug) for the job. I have copies of a private diary by one such who was posted to a battalion of his regiment (with 7th Infantry division which assembled at Lyndhurst in late Aug - September) within days of his notification and was sent with the initial objective of aiding the defence pf Antwerp in early October.

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