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Undersize soldier - 'Special Enlistment' ?


punjab612
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Whilst speculatively searching the 'Burnt Records' on Ancestry for possible relatives of my wife I came across a puzzling record. I don't believe he is related but fascinated by the record anyway.

29138 Pioneer Albert John Baxter

Age 37

Occupation Labourer

Attested 18/8/15, Holloway Road London despite living in Barnsley

Rubber stamp impression on attestation sheet 'LONDON, WHITEHALL, 19 AUGUST 1915'

So how and why did Whitehall get involved in recruitment process?

Joins 4th Labour Batt'n Royal Engineers - 703 Labour Corps

Physical description

post-8000-1195735110.jpg

Height 4ft 11¾ inches??

Isn't minimum height, even for bantams 5 foot?

Specialist trade perhaps? But he is described as a labourer

Posted to France, survives and transferred to 'Z' reserve on 25/3/19

Statement of disability on discharge

post-8000-1195735133.jpg

Place of enlistment 'Whitehall'

Medical Category or Grade in which joined : 'Special enlitment'

Any ideas what 'special enlistment' could mean?

Peter

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Do you know if he was attached to a tunnelling company? This might explain the dispensation.

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Do you know if he was attached to a tunnelling company? This might explain the dispensation.

Thanks for that bu didn't find any reference to tunnelling coy in his papers. He seems to have been in 703 Labour Coy for the duration so I guess the question is to RE experts as to what this coy was.

Peter

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Peter

703 Company, Labour Corps was formed from the 4th Labour Battalion, R.E.

They arrived in France (4th Labour Battalion) in August 1915 as a general labour unit working for the R.E. We know, for example, that they were used for road work.

Transferred to the Labour Corps in June 1917 again used on roads.

Men in the company tended to be older as Pioneer Baxter was.

Sorry do not know what Special Enlistment means.

Whitehall was merely one of the recruitment offices

Ivor

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Hello Peter

The pre-war Recruiting Regulations set out the conditions and criteria recruits had to meet. Men who did not meet all these criteria strictly could still be recruited if they were otherwise suitable, provided that particular War Office sanction was obtained.

I think this is what "special enlistment" means in this context, where he was slightly under the minimum height.

Ron

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  • 6 years later...
Very Late to this topic but just done some research on George Henry Blencowe, Pioneer, 115486, 291413 4th Labour Corps Royal Engineers,703 Coy. 31 Labour Corps, that supports the comments above

George (as he was called) was a labourer and 5ft 2ins and age 45yrs on enlisting, eventually was discharged with lumbago from the heavy spadework.

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