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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Company QM Sgt. William Henry Rimmer RE


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I am trying to track down some information on my Great Grandfather. From his Campaign Medal card I have the following information:

His name is William Henry Rimmer. The index card shows (from top to bottom):

Corps Rank Number

R.E. CQM Sgt 229576

RFA 681662

RE WR/178508

RETF L/Sgt 2202574

He was awared the Victory and British Campaign Medals.

My father tells me (who lived with him in the '30's) that he had served in the Light Railway Companies. He survived the war and was discharged in 1919.

Grateful for any light that can be shed on him.

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The R.E. number 229576 was probably issued in early 1917.

Soon thereafter he seems to have transferred to the Royal Field Artillery. His number, 681662, belongs to one of two Brigades:

680001-685000 276 Artillery Brigade, RFA TF (1/2 West Lancashire Brigade)


680001-685000 286 Artillery Brigade, RFA TF (2/2 West Lancashire Brigade)

The WR/178508 relates to a Waterways & Railways Royal Engineers number issued in 1918.

The 2202574 number is a post 1920 number.

Since he seems to have served after the war, and provided he served beyond 1922, then the Ministry of Defence may still hold his records.


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Many thanks Steve. This has given me a good lead.

From what you have said I believe that he was a member of the 55th (West Lancs) Division. That would certainly make sense as he was Liverpool born and bred. Chances are that he was in either 422, 423 or 459 Field Company, RE.

I understand that 200000 series numbers refer to Territorial Forces, which the 55th was. Not sure where the Waterways and Railways coy comes into though (as in, within the 55th).

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The 200,000 series numbers were Regular Army as far as R.E. were concerned. The T.F. numbers started at 400,000. Though the line between T.F. and Regular was all but erased from 1917 onwards, so I couldn't rule out 55th Division R.E. units completely.

The R.E. Railways Companies (even Light railways) fell outside the Divisional structure, so you woon't find them attached to a Division except for very short periods of time.


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Ah, hmm. Inevitably things are more complex than one would wish. From what you have said about 276 and 286 Brigades one cannot deduce much more than he was in either 55th (West Lancs) or 57th (West Lancs) Div's?

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His first number, 229576, is one of a batch issued to Light Railway men. The WR prefixed number replaced this in the late 1917 or possibly early 1918 as the result of the re-organization of transportation on the Western Front in 1917.

The appointment of Lance - Sergeant was introduced into the RE in 1920 as a result of Army Order 142 (which also applied to the RA and RAOC).


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