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Remembered Today:

George Thomas

Guest fredvickers

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Guest fredvickers

I am trying to trace any information I can on my Great Uncle.

He was a private in the Royal Marines Light Infantry, 1st Royal Marine Battalion, Royal Naval Division. His Service Number was PO/2729 and he is interred at Louverval Military Cemetery, Doignies, France.

What I cannot understand is, if he was in a Naval Division, what was he doing so far inland.

Any information would be much appreciated.


Fred Vickers

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The Royal Naval divisions served exclusively on land under Army command throughout the war. They fought at Gallipoli and on the Western Front and included the poet Rupert Brooke amongst their officers. The divisions were named after great naval leaders i.e. Hood, Anson. The fighting troops were made up of Royal Marines and also Royal Naval personnel - reservists and recruitment meant more men than ships so they were formed into essentially infantry formations. Their relationship with the army could be fractious (see Lyn MacDonalds 1918 book for examples) especially as they confused the Staff by insisting on retaining their naval ranks i.e. Petty Officers refused to become sergeants. Bizarrely the solution to this was to have NCOs wear naval ranks on one sleeve and army rank on the other! Hope this helps.

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