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Remembered Today:

Canadian 3rd CEB


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I was checking the service record of my gr-gr-uncle, J.D. Lynch who was KIA with the 58th Canadian Bn on 8 October 1916. His record shows that he was part of the 98th Bn that was disbanded and then assigned to the 58th. After he crossed the channel and went to France, his records show him being located at the 3rd CEB for about 2 weeks prior to reaching the 58th. My question is what was the 3rd CEB? Was it a location to get new drafts of troops ready to go into their front line units? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Rob Simmons

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I suspect this refers to the 3rd Canadian Entrenching Battalion. I believe there have been a number of threads on this forum about entrenching battalions so you may find some extra information using the "search" feature.

In essence, entrenching battalions were intended to play a dual role. On one hand, they were available to provide working parties in the forward area so as to take some of this burden from the infantry battalions. Secondly, they provided a reinforcement pool close to the front, to shorten the time it took for the infantry battalions to receive replacements for casualties. In your case, the 3rd Entrenching Battalion served the 3rd Division, which included the 58th Battalion.

It seems that men were never actually on the books of the entrenching battalion; that is, your man would be on the strength of the 58th from the day he arrived in France. Presumably he first went to the Canadian Base Depot, then at Havre, who sent him to 3rd Ent. Bn. During all this he was probably on the books of the 58th.

I think this is more or less correct, but, of course, I speak only to be corrected.

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Thank you, your explaination makes a lot of sense. I wasn't sure how the personnel replacement system worked, but it just seemed unusual that a soldier would spend 2 weeks in France prior to reporting to his unit. I can see how they new troops would be a good source of labor, plus it would be a means of indoctrinating them to operations in France.

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