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Remembered Today:

Second Lieutenant Eric White (Royal Engineers)


Waddell
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Hello All,

I've come across this soldier in my research and are curious to find out more about him. The soldier is Second Lieutenant Eric White of the Royal Engineers.

The CWGC lists his death as 06/05/1916 but no service number is given. His battalion is 1st/2nd and his nationality is given as United Kingdom. He is buried at Bellacourt Military Cemetery. His parents address is given as Glasgow, however he is listed as a "Native of Sydney, New south Wales".

I know this man attended The Kings School at Parramatta in Sydney during 1909-1910. I believe that his parents lived at Milson's Point during this time. He is mentioned a few times in some family letters I am researching. His medal index card indicates that he arrived in France on 15/01/1916.

I don't know anything else about him and would like to know where and when he enlisted, what actions he fought in and how he died?

Can any Royal Engineers experts help?

Regards,

Scott.

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Thanks Terry.

I realised that. I don't know if he was an Australian or UK citizen. I believe he may have been a brit who returned home to enlist? I'd like to confirm.

Regards,

Scott.

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Thanks Bob.

I wasn't sure about that.

Regards,

Scott.

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  • 1 year later...

I thought I might bump this posting up again as the Forum is quiet.

Son of Mrs A W Abercrombie of 13 Sutherland Street, Hillhead, Glasgow.

Served in 2nd/1st Royal Engineers.

Anyone have any information on this soldier?

Scott.

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The first thing to say is that his Royal Engineers unit in the CWGC records is incomplete. He belonged to a Territorial Division as noted on Soldiers Died in the Great War.

Looking at other burials in the cemetery during the same period would suggest that the unit should be the 422nd (2/1st West Lancs) Field Company which perhaps not coincidentally joined the 55th (West Lancashire) Division in France as it was being assembled in January 1916.

The embarkation date of the 2nd/1st West Lancs Field Company is given as 14th January 1916, so I think this is a strong possibility.

Their War Diary is at the National Archives under WO 95/2916 422 Field Company Royal Engineers 1916 Jan. - 1919 Apr

Perhaps surprisingly, considering his fairly common name there is only one possible file for him at the National Archives:

WO 374/73622 WHITE, 2/Lieut E 1915-1919

This should add some extra detail, assuming the file is his.

There is a possible ship arrival from Brisbane (via Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle, Colombo, Port Said, Marseilles, Gibraltar, Plymouth) on 17-7-1915 at Plymouth, that may be him. The ship was the Osterley of the Orient Steam Navigation Company Ltd. The passenger list shows this man as Mr Eric White, age 21, and an Engineer.

Steve.

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Looking at other burials in the cemetery during the same period would suggest that the unit should be the 422nd (2/1st West Lancs) Field Company which perhaps not coincidentally joined the 55th (West Lancashire) Division in France as it was being assembled in January 1916.

There is a possible ship arrival from Brisbane (via Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle, Colombo, Port Said, Marseilles, Gibraltar, Plymouth) on 17-7-1915 at Plymouth, that may be him. The ship was the Osterley of the Orient Steam Navigation Company Ltd. The passenger list shows this man as Mr Eric White, age 21, and an Engineer.

Thanks Stebie.

Yes, 2/1 is generic for each division looking at the Royal Engineers Museum website so that narrows it down to a likely division. The arrival by ship at Plymouth certainly tallies with the little I know about him and the age is spot on.

I'm not sure why this man didn't enlist with the AIF though.

Thanks for the NA Archives reference. Something else to chase- have been clutching straws with this one for a while.

Regards,

Scott

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  • 2 months later...
.

Perhaps surprisingly, considering his fairly common name there is only one possible file for him at the National Archives:

WO 374/73622 WHITE, 2/Lieut E 1915-1919

This should add some extra detail, assuming the file is his.

Belated thanks Steve.

The records were the correct ones. Turns out that he was "seconded for service with the

British Expeditionary Force" after serving in the Australian Engineers.

Scott

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