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Paul Treclyn

Pioneer in the Royal Engineers

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Paul Treclyn

I have some letters written by the sister of Vernon Bramall which largely chart his movements during the Great War. He enlisted when underage into an infantry battalion and started his active service in Gallipoli. That matches the evidence of the medal card, which shows that he was in the Manchester regiment.

He was sent home from Gallipoli due to poor health and then recovered and went to train as a wireless operator. He went back to Egypt as a Pioneer attached to the Royal Engineers and in early 1918 vanished for several months on "special work." This was to his family's consternation as the letter he wrote explaining that he wouldn't be able to write home for at least 10 weeks, from wherever it was he was going, never arrived.

My question relates to this last point. Does his medal card give any clue as to where he was? What is the significance of the 15 to the left of the Star column and does the 5c to the right of it indicate that he was in Persia? I know that he remerged in Palestine by June 1918.

post-21820-1183363423.jpg

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bigronhartley

Hello Paul,

His medal card only gives information as to First Theatre of War entered and date ie BALKANS but no indication where he was for his Royal Engineer Service, it does give the references to the medal rolls which should show which Battalion of the Manchesters he served with and, possibly, which Royal Engineer Unit he transferred to. The significance of the 15 to the left of the Star column indicates entitlement to the 1914-15 Star, the 5c to the right of it is part of the Medal Roll reference number and does not indicate that he was in Persia. Hope this helps.

Regards

Ron

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Paul Treclyn

It does indeed Ron. Thanks very much.

His sister sort of gives the story of where he may have been with the Royal Engineers, which is quite entertaining really:

"It seems that he was sent away on some special work, far, far away from civilisation. He could not say where or what the work was but I expect it had something to do with the wireless or cables, pehaps across the desert somewhere. Anyhow, he sent letters saying he would be away for some time, but unfortunately the letters got lost then he was away for 10 weeks and durng that time he could neither write letters, nor could he receive any. So when he got back to Cairo he received 30 letters, newspapers galore and numerous parcels including the one I sent him for Christmas."

If he couldn't get or send any post for 10 weeks it really does sound like he'd gone off to the wilds somewhere. I daresay I'll get to the bottom of it eventually!

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Stebie9173

The medal rolls for the RE are often not at all helpful in tracking a man's RE career (I have tried to trace my great-uncle and great-grandfather with only very limited success). As Ron mentions the RE/5c Page 1075 is a reference to the 1914-15 Star medals roll. These usually give the battalion of the Infantry Regiment first served with but no detail of the RE Company. The Victory/British War Medal Rolls usually give no information at all.

The Manchester Regiment number suggests a Territorial battalion as does the Gallipoli/Balkans theatre of war. All of the 1st Line ( 1/ ) battalions of the Manchesters were in 42nd Division that landed a Gallipoli in April 1915.

http://www.1914-1918.net/mancs.htm

http://www.1914-1918.net/42div.htm

The later date of entry suggests that he was a reinforcement following the battles at Krithia in June 1915.

Since you know that he was in Palestine in 1918, then he probably left the Manchesters and transferred to the RE in 1916, early 1917 at the latest because 42nd Division went to France in February 1917. He may have been transferred either in the UK or in Theatre in Egypt.

Have you made any enquiries via the Manchester Regiment Forum, yet?

http://www.themanchesters.org/

http://www.themanchesters.org/forum/index.php

Steve.

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Paul Treclyn

I'm very grateful for that additional advice. I will look at the Manchesters forum for sure. I can plot his movements in general terms from the evidence of his sisters letters so that helps to an extent. He certainly sat out a few months in convalescence in England after being in Gallipoli, from late 1915 to mid- or late-1916, when he must have the switch to the RE.

I haven't been able to check up any line of enquiry yet as I've literally only just hit upon his medal card in the last 24 hours. I've been looking for him in all sorts of places off and on for about 5 years and had given up to be honest as his family name, as used by his sister, was Vernon Bramhall and no such soldier appeared to have existed. The card index name is Vernon Bramall. That missing H has held me up for years! Last night I had the brainwave of searching on line for all the Vernon's in the index - it took me about 30 seconds to find him that way.

Luckily his sister had documented the new service number he was given when he transferred - a number which he hated as he called it a "conscripts number" apparently (remembering that he had rushed to join up as a 16 or 17 year old in 1914 or early 1915). So the identification is cast iron.

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Stebie9173

You'll notice that the R.E. number is very close to my great uncles as per my signature.

"Sapper Walter Stephen Beeby MM, 6th Northamptonshire Rgt. 17023 & 12th Div. Signal Coy RE 236948, F&F, 1915-1919"

I, too, have tried to narrow down a date of transfer to the R.E. (known to have definitely been prior to May 1917, as he is mentioned on his elder brothers obituary in the newspaper as being a Sapper in the R.E.

As far as I can narrow it down the dates when that sort of range of numbers was allocated was late 1916, early 1917. The RE seem to have issued batches of numbers to various places, so their allocation to individual soldiers is probably not exactly sequential.

As he survived the war, he MAY be registered on the Absent Voters List for the December 1918 General Election. He should have been too young (minimum age of 21), but he may well have been keeping up the pretense of being older, so if his local AVL is still around, it may be worth a check to see if it mentions his R.E. unit.

Steve.

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Paul Treclyn

Wel I've finally pinned Vernon down in the 1901 census:

113, Hyde Road, Bredbury, Cheshire

James Bramall Head 49 Felt hat/Body Maker Born Chester Bredbury

Mary Jane Wife 46 Born Chester Northwich

Sarah Hannah Dau 23 Silk hat trimmer & Hats Born Chester Bredbury

Ellen Dau 19 Born Chester Bredbury

Arthur Vernon Son 4 Born Chester Bredbury

So he was from the Stockport area in north Cheshire. His sister Ellen was a good 10 years older than I'd anticipated, which explains my failure to trace her for so long - I was looking for someone born after 1891.

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Andrew Brennan

Hello Paul,

Vernon Bramhall was my grandfather. His name was as you say originally Arthur Vernon Bramall.

According to my Mum he never liked his first name and was always know by Vernon. 

The family seemed to have changed the spelling of their last name from Bramall to Bramhall by the time of WW1.

His sister Ellen was always known as Nell.

 

For your information he died in December 1975 in Salford.

 

If you still have any letters from his sister my mum and I would love to see them.

 

Regards,

Andrew Brennan

 

 

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clk

Hi Andrew,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

I suspect that you are already aware, but since @Paul Treclyn posted, some service papers are now online for Vernon - Ancestry link.

 

Regards

Chris

 

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Pat Atkins

Re date of transfer to RE:

 

233760 Pioneer R. Sheldon has a partial service record extant; his number is very close to Vernon Bramall's in the RE Signal Service.

 

He enlisted in 6th Manchesters in Sept 1914, serving in D Coy with the number 2245, wounded in June 1915. After convalescence he served in the EEF and transferred on 15 March 1917 "to R.E. (T.F.) and posting to R.E. Regulars". The record is authorised by the OC Base Signal Depot EEF (Egyptian Expeditionary Force) in Alexandria. After Signals School he served with 75th Signals Company from its formation.

 

Not much, but might help date the transfer to RE?

 

Pat

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Andrew Brennan
2 hours ago, clk said:

Hi Andrew,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

I suspect that you are already aware, but since @Paul Treclyn posted, some service papers are now online for Vernon - Ancestry link.

 

Regards

Chris

 

Thanks Chris,

I already had this record on my Ancestry tree, but it is nice to get the confirmation.

 

Regards,

Andrew.

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