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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Regimental Action


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Having found a record of my grandfather on the National Archives website which lists

his regiments as Liverpool Reg S1389 , Training Reserve Battalion 49901 and Royal Engineers WR1 211959. What does this mean did he transfer between regiments?.

He was taken Prisoner of War but I don't know when,... the family story is that he was taken prisoner aged 17 so that would make it 1915/16

I have not found any reference to Cornelius Harry James Keyte although I have been very kindly given a spool no of WO 363/K398 where it might be located at the NA .

Firstly would like to know the actions of the regiments and try and find where he was taken as a prisoner of war..

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Do I guess from your note that he was born in 1899?

It is highly probable that he was a conscript (this was introduced in 1916). The Training Reserve was created in September 1916 in order to cope with the increased numbers of conscripted recruits.

Legally he could not have been sent overseas until he was 19 (reduced to 18 in March 1918) - although of course there are plenty of cases where a man enlisted under-age, it became difficult if not impossible to do this once conscription came in.

My guess is that he did not go overseas until 1917 at the earliest and more likely 1918. The British lost thousands of men as POWs in March to May of that year.

Yes, he transferred between regiments.

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In nearly all cases once a man was prisoner of war, he remained so until the end of the War. There were very few exceptions, usually with men that were too crippled to be useful to the opposition.

Cornelius's later Royal Engineers number (WR/211959) is a number allocated to the Waterways and Railways Department of the RE. These numbers were not allocated until 1918, so he would probably have been 19 or 20 (born 1898) when taken POW.

I would think that he was probably 17 when he enlisted rather than taken POW.

His Liverpool Regiment number is recorded as 51389 on his Medal Card, not S1389. The Training Reserve was created in 1916, so his TR number would be no earlier than that.

Does the medal card have number 1,2,3 on to designate the order in which he served? Can you post a JPEG image of the card for us to analyse?

I hope this helps,


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