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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Discharged from the Navy, but joined the Army in 1914. WHY ?


The Guardroom
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Having found out that my Gt Grandfather served in teh Royal Navy from 1903 to 1909 and sailed to Hong knog besides other places as a Stoker on many ships, I find it strange that come the outbreak of war in 1914 he signed up as a volunteer to the East Kents as a Pte.

Why not sign up as a volunteer with the navy ?. As a waterman / bargeman in Ment, he was obvouisly a man that loved working on the water. Why sign up to fight as a foot soldier ?

The only reason that could explain this, is that he was discharged from the Navy in 1909 with defective teeth.

Could he have been rejected by the navy first before going to the army you think?

If so why weren't the army so fussy and weren't the navy looking for experienced and fit men (beside teeth) to work as stokers or else where in the navy.

Something that pusselling me and hope someone may be able to offer some thoughts.

Thanks,

Alan

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Possibly because the Navy didn't expand to anything like the same extent as the Army, so there wasn't a huge demand for men in the Navy.

The Navy even diverted some of its manpower 'into' the Army as the Royal Naval Division.

Then again it could have been simply a personal choice - he may have wanted a change.

Ken

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I think as was shown from the Naval infantry Div, more men where needed in the army. He may also have been swept along with the emotion of the time and joined up with his mates.

stevem

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Why not sign up as a volunteer with the navy ?. As a waterman / bargeman in Ment, he was obvouisly a man that loved working on the water. Why sign up to fight as a foot soldier ?

Possibly as a stoker he didn't get to see that much of the water - working below the waterline rather than on the water!

One thought - in 1914 the general feeling was that it would be a short war, in the navy one might be sent far far away and he thought that he'd be back home sooner if serving in the army.

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A stoker in the early century would also be a 'Trained Man' meaning he was also capable of fighting ashore as an infantryman. So maybe with his new dentures in, and his previous experience he was snapped up by the army.

REgards Charles

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Alan,

Not that uncommon from a few members of my own family. The main one being F.Dew in my signature. He was discharged from the Navy with T.B. Two of his brothers not ex Navy joined the Gloucesters at the outbreak of the war as my GG was already a territorial with them. He joined the Army before the war started whether to carry on a military attachment or the Navy wouldn't have him back I'm not sure.

More recent my father in law was in the Navy pre WWII and on the outbreak he joined the Royal Fusiliers as there was no places left for the Navy at his local recruitment office as well as all his brothers were joining the Army.

Simon.

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