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Remembered Today:

Labour Corps - Employment Coy


Ally
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Hello,

Can anyone tell me exactly what the Labour Corps was please? In particular, the 857th Area Employment Coy to which Regimental Sergeant Herbert Henry Jackman was transferred, sometime either in the latter part of 1916 or imost likely n 1917.

I have just purchased and downloaded a document from the National Archives which says that he drowned on 12th December, 1917. CWGC has his date of death as 16th December, and he is buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte.

So I presume that the particular employment coy was somewhere near Calais?? What sort of work could he have been involved with, to have drowned?

He was originally a Company Sergeant Major with Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) 1st/6th battalion, and according to the CWGC site he saw service in France (Somme) where he was 'mentioned in despatches' after an attack on 1st July, 1916.

I do not know yet where the 1st/6th saw action in Flanders, and at what stage Herbert Henry Jackman was transferred to the Labour Corps.

Many thanks for any help you may be able to give me.

Ally, Bribie Island, Australia

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The Labour Corps was an 'umbrella organisation' that was formed to rationalise the many labour units formed during the first half of the war. While primarily concerned with things like road repair, trench digging, the building of camps, the unloading of ships, the loading and unloading of trains and salvage, these units could be called upon to do anything that did not require specialised skills.

Some units of the Labour Corps were mobile. Others, such as the Area Employment Companies, were stationary. As might be imagined, the stationary units were often assigned to places where cargo was shifted from one mode of transport to another.

If the soldier in question died by drowning, it is quite possible that his unit was working at a seaport. (By the way, my grandfather died in this way. He was the foreman of the stevedore gang that worked the harbour in Reykjavik, and drowned while attempting to rescue a man who had fallen in the water.)

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Many thanks Bruce, for your reply to my query. Gives me a better idea of what the 'Labour Corps' did during the war. They were as important to the war effort as the infantrymen.

Cheers,

Ally

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Many thanks Bruce, for your reply to my query. Gives me a better idea of what the 'Labour Corps' did during the war. They were as important to the war effort as the infantrymen.

Cheers,

Ally

My grandfather was wounded while serving with the East Yorkshires during the Battle of Loos, he recivied

severe chest wounds a "Blighty One" and returned to the UK in 1915.

After a long session of convelescense he enlisted in to the Labour Corps and served in the UK and later returned to France in 1917 and was employed on road building and Battlefield clear up, He left France in 1919

and died in the early 50s

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There is a website for the Labour Corps ran by Ivor Lee.

Type 'Labour Corps' into a search engine and it should come up.

I have some info on Area Employment Companies, I'll do some digging.

Sean

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