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Sullivan

Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps

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Sullivan

The listing of units in the 1st ANZAC Corps, Gallipoli 1915, included the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps in the HQ organisation.

Do any members of this Forum have any information, or, can suggest reading material that will tell me more about the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps.

Thanking all in advance.

James O'Sullivan.

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michaeldr

James

See Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide to Gallipoli page 140

concerning Beach CWGC and the grave of a CPRC

"Rifleman Guy Middlemiss of the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, Killed 6 May, born in Rawlpindi and educated at St. John's School, Leatherhead, was one of three buried here of this unusual unit which served in the Peninsula as General Birdwood's personal escort and guard. He had served with them in India."

That all I have at the moment, but I too will be interest to see in anyone else can throw more light on this unit.

Regards, Michael D.R.

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Simon_Fielding

I found the following links quite useful - perhaps a unit that the ANZACs 'collected' on their way to the Med.?

Simon

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Simon_Fielding

Sorry! These:

http://202.51.141.138/history5.html

http://www.turkishpeople.com/tours/henk/anzac/20.html

http://www13.brinkster.com/tormel/photogra...phs_blazer.html

The Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps

Raised in 1900 as a volunteer unit recruited from Europeans. Alliance began in 1928 and ended in 1949 when the Corps was disbanded. (approx. 150 men)

http://members.tripod.com/regtwarpath/anza.../nz_aus_div.htm

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Andrew P

Hi James

The following was in Charles Bean's 'The story of Anzac' vol 1 pg 215

"The Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, composed of 150 fine young Englishmen who had left Colombo about the time when the 1st Division called at that port, was also attached to the A & NZ Army corps as 'Corps Troops"

It seems the approx strength of this unit at the landing was 1 Officer & 150 men.

Cheers

Andrew

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Terry_Reeves

The CPRC stemmed from the formation of a Volunteer Corps in the colony in 1861 which effectively mirrored the same movement raised in the UK at about the same time. Initially the movement consisted of the Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers but by the early twentieth century also had Artillery, Medical, Engineers and Supply and Transport units.

The CPRC sent a contingent to South Africa in 1902 along with a detachment of the Ceylon Mounted Infantry. In 1910 the force became known as the Ceylon Defence Force.

In November 1914, A Coy of the CPRC was attached to the 1st Bn of the Wellington Regt and as you know, the Force became Corps Troops.

Terry Reeves

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Hedley Malloch

Terry,

I have heard them described as 'Birdwood's private army', but I have no idea of the meaning or the significance of that phrase.

You can find their graves dotted about Gallipoli

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Raster Scanning

Hedley.

Birdwood took a personal interest in this unit and recommended some of them for commissions in the Indian Army.

70 were accepted and departed Gallipoli, of the remainder, to quote Birdwood himself.

" I formed them into a personal escort and camp guard, relieving all other units of these necessary duties. I may add that when we first landed at ANZAC, with the whole country covered with thick, high bushes in which many Turkish snipers were concealed, my little escort proved itself invaluable at scouting through the scrub. Later on, when there was another urgent call for officers at home, I got commissions for them all except one. This man came to me and said that he was a cook, and preferred to remain a cook. I said that I was quite agreeable, provided that he was a good cook.

When, passing through Colombo a few years ago, all my old tea-planter comrades entertained me at luncheon at the Galle Face Hotel, I was welcomed by my old friend the cook, now a stout and prosperous planter"

Quote from Birdwoods Autobiography, Khaki and Gown, Ward Lock and Co, 1941.

This must be how the "private army" title came about.

John

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Sullivan

Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps.

My sincere thanks to all who have contributed information and links to other pages.

James O'Sullivan.

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michaeldr

I would like to second James' vote of thanks

I was particularly pleased to learn that Birdwood looked after his boys and got them commissions; thanks John. My recent reading had suggested that (no doubt like many others) Birdwood knew how to look after himself too. The following is from Compton Mackenzie's 'Gallipoli Memories' published 1929 and refers to a conversation overheard in the GHQ mess:

Junior officer to another conciderably senoir to himself

"I hear, sir, that Birdie has got his K.C.S.I."

"Well, I'm not surprised," snapped the Senior. "He's been writing home for it ever since he came out here."

Regards, Michael D.R.

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SteveB

Bought a picture of 4 Company, CPRC, yesterday. It says it was presented to Lt Col, R Benzie, DSO, VD, on the 20th May 1928. Picture attached. It also has the names of everyone in the picture at the bottom.

SteveB

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SteveB

Bought a picture of 4 Company, CPRC, yesterday. It says it was presented to Lt Col, R Benzie, DSO, VD, on the 20th May 1928. Picture attached. It also has the names of everyone in the picture at the bottom. If anyone wants any close-ups, or details of the names, please ask.

SteveB

post-1747-1152305863.jpg

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SteveB

Close-up. Alot of the men are wearing WW1 medals.

SteveB

post-1747-1152305981.jpg

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Dominion-of-the-North

Steve:

Thank you very much for posting the above photos. I happen to have the medals to Colonel Hannin, who is prominently featured in the close-up of the above photo you so kindly posted, (to the right, balding). Since his career -- both civilian and military - is typical of those who served in the CPRC, an overview of it sheds some light on this unit.

=====================

Lieutenant Colonel William Francis HANNIN, CBE, MC, VD; Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, (formerly Royal Dublin Fusiliers)

Personal Details:

Date of Birth: 3 December 1877

Place of Birth: Banagher, King’s County, Ireland

Occupation: Engineer with Messrs Davidson & Co., Colombo, Ceylon

Education: Belvedere College, Dublin & Clongowes wood College, Sallins, County Kildare, Ireland

Movements/Career:

1905: moved to Ceylon "with a Belfast firm"; joined Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, (CPRC), as trooper; rose to rank of Sgt by 1914

Sept 1914: joined Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps (CPRC) Overseas Contingent

October 1914 - March 1915: served in Egypt; participated in Defence of Suez against Turks, February 1915

25 April 1915: lands with ANZACs at Gallipoli; Sergeant in charge of CPRC Bodyguard for General Birdwood

20 July 1915: commissioned in the field as Second Lieutenant into 1st Btln Royal Dublin Fusiliers; service at Cape Helles, Galliopli

London Gazette, 27 November 1915, p. 11881

War Office

27th November,1915.

REGULAR FORCES.

The undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants, from the General List, to be temporary Second Lieutenants, from dates shown against their names:—

.........

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

William F.Hannin. 20th July, 1915.

7 Aug 1915: wounded landing at Sulva Bay

Sept 1916: Service in the Caucasus

Sept 1917: Service in Palestine

26 March 1918: temporarily promoted Acting Captain

London Gazette, 4 July 1918, p. 7865

R.Dub.Fus.

Temp Lt.W.F.Hannin to be actg.Capt. white comdg.a Co. 26 Mar.1918 to 17 Apr.

1918.

August 1918: Service in France

17 October 1918: action at Le Cateau resulting in award of Military Cross

London Gazette, 4 October 1919, p. 12295

T./Lt.William Francis Hannin,6th Bn., R.Dub.Fus.

During the mopping up of Le Cateau, on the 17th October,1918, when scouts had failed to get touch with platoons working in the opposite direction, he went forward himself under heavy machine-gun fire for the purpose. He also skilfully selected tactical points for his platoon with complete success. He set a fine example to his men by his utter disregard of personal safety, and was always ahead of his platoon in action.

Obituary (June 1947) states:

"He was awarded the M.C. and subsequently the O.B.E. for services in the East: it is not generally known that he was recommended for the Victoria Cross."

March 1919: discharged from Army

Subsequently rose to be Commanding Officer of the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, being awarded both the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration, and the OBE.

Cheers,

Glen,

In Our Dominion of the North

post-5403-1157256422.jpg

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Dominion-of-the-North

Here's Hannin as CO of the CPRC in his Patrol Jacket with Helmet.

post-5403-1157256635.jpg

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wellsms

I'm currently researching men on the Shipston on Stour war memorials (Town and School), including

2nd Lieut Thomas Welford Rainbow, of ‘A’ Coy, 10th (Service) Btn Worcestershire Regiment. Formerly 1747 L/Cpl Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, who served at Galipolli, and so could well have been one of the men Birdwood assisted in getting a commission.

Sadly KIA on the Somme 18/11/1916

A very interesting and informative thread... thanks to all who contributed.

cheers

Mike

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Dominion-of-the-North

Mike:

You might find the following additional intell on your man Rainbow of some interest.

1. Seems to have come out to Ceylon in 1913 (based upon fact that he is in the 1914 Ceylon Directory but not the 1912 edition -- unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the 1913 edition, which would normally nail such a supposition).

2. Upon arrival in Ceylon was employed as an "Assistant" at Colombo Stores, Ltd., a large (and still extant) firm dealing mostly in wholesale sales to local retailers. (I think they have a website from which you might find some more intell.)

3. Rainbow settled in an area of Colombo know as "Colpetty" (known today more often as "Kollupitiya"), in a house called "New Cross". (The area is also know as "Colombo 3" if you look on a modern map.)

4. He joined the CPRC well before the outbreak of the war, as indicated in the excerpt from the Ceylon Directory dated June 1914, below.

Hope this is of some modest assistance.

Cheers,

Glen,

In Our Dominion of the North

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Dominion-of-the-North

From Fergusons Ceylon Directory 1914 - General Directory Section (re: Rainbow)

post-5403-1157298082.jpg

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Dominion-of-the-North

Fergusons Ceylon Directory 1914 - Ceylon Defence Force Section, (CPRC)

post-5403-1157298236.jpg

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swizz

Hi Glen

I was very interested to read all this information about Hannin. I have done some research on the company he worked for and had come across his name a few times.

The company in question were, as you already know, called Davidson and Co. They were based in Belfast but had offices elsewhere in the UK and further afield. By the time of the Great War their primary business was in various kinds of fans - for example I know they supplied them to ships and as part of primitive air conditioning systems in buildings. But the business began (in the 1870s) when its founder, Samuel Davidson, invented a fan which could be used to dry tea leaves much more efficiently - I think previously they had been dried in the sun. This would explain the Ceylon office.

The company magazine for October 1914 mentions Hannin, describing him as 'the manager of our Columbo depot'. I was amazed to read about his later war exploits!

Hope this is of interest.

Swizz

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Black Watch

Some great names there - Captain Trollope, 2nd Lt Boozie, Rifleman Rainbow. :)

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Dominion-of-the-North
Hi Glen

I was very interested to read all this information about Hannin. I have done some research on the company he worked for and had come across his name a few times.

.....

The company magazine for October 1914 mentions Hannin, describing him as 'the manager of our Columbo depot'. I was amazed to read about his later war exploits!

Hope this is of interest.

Swizz

It is, indeed, of great interest to me. Thank you very much. I've done some superficial investigating into the company, but haven't gotten very far -- in particular, I have nothing in writing that links Hannin to Davidson & Co. I don't suppose there's any way to get copies (photocopies or scans?) of the relevant sections of the company magazine you're referring to? I would, of course, reimburse you for any expenses. I would love to be able to add such information to his file.

Did your research into Davidson & Co show any linkage between them and a company called "Brown"? I've found some advertisments from a 1905 Ceylon-based publication which seems to suggest this. See below.

Cheers,

Glen,

In Our Dominion of the North

post-5403-1157429347.jpg

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Dominion-of-the-North

Here's the 2nd half of that advert....

post-5403-1157429635.jpg

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Dominion-of-the-North

This advert (for Davidson & Co., Ltd., sans Brown), echoes its early days as a fan compnay which has expanded into the tea (drying) industry; (also from 1905).

post-5403-1157429853.jpg

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Dominion-of-the-North

This reference from the Ceylon Directory not only harkens back to a partnership with Brown, but suggests Davidson branched out into the role of estate proprietor. (Sorry for the poor quality, but the note suggests Robert Davidson is the Director of the Ankande Estate Company, and Lewis Brown & Co., serves as its Agents and Secretary.)

post-5403-1157430153.jpg

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