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Divisional Wing Staff


TEW
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I have a considerable amount of information about my Grandfather during WWI. Recently I have noticed an odd break in his history and would like to know more about his Army position during this period. He was with the 62nd Division throughout but moved from 187th Infantry Brigade to the 185th Infantry Brigade and back to the 187th.

E.G.L.Whiteaway. (usually misspelled as Whiteway eg in 'Devonshire Regiment History'

His history in France/Germany so far is;

Jan 17 - June 17 Captain with 2/5th KOYLI

June 17- Jan 18 Major (Temp) 2/6th West Yorks. Occasionally OC.

Jan 18 - July 18 Divisional Wing??????

July 18 – Aug 18 Major (Temp) 2/4th KOYLI. Occasionally OC, & 62nd Divisional (Q branch).

Aug 18 – March 19 Major (Temp) 5th Devons

Nov 1918 – Jan 1919 OC 5th Devons and Assumed command 8th West Yorks

It's the Jan 1918 – 10th July 1918 that has me stumped. Firstly, as far as I can tell the 2/6th West Yorks disbanded/left France in Jan 1918 but he receives orders directed to the 2/6th West Yorks till March 1918. I have no info for him transferring out of the 2/6th WY till July 1918 but he can't be with the WY if they've disbanded??

His post from 19/1/1918 is at 62nd Div. Reinforcement camp and his documents are signed 'O/C. 62nd Divl. Wing' and he has dealings with 'The Adjutant, 13th Corps Musketry & Reinfrt. Camp', The Adjutant, 13th Corps d & R Camp [sic]. 'Colonel R.C. Hawking XIII Corps d & R Camp.' In one abrupt letter to Colonel R.C. Hawking my Grandfather says 'As far as I know, my Division sent me here in charge of the Divisional wing not for further training'. His duties included arranging football matches, dealing with misdemeanours, swapping staff posts, and arguing with senior staff over the need for drill and parades every day.

By April 1918 he is still 'O/C. 62nd Divl. Wing' and refers to '62nd Division G Training' and is moving Divisional Wing staff to appropriate posts. Again in April he writes to Lt. Colonel Leer, A.A. and Q.M.G. 62nd Division, having been asked for the whereabouts of an unnamed officer. My Grandfather replied 'In any case until he rejoined his unit on April 12th no information of any value could be obtained, the whole of the wing staff being ignorant of the movements of even their own Division'. Which I thought carried a nice sentiment!!

Basically, If he is OC 62nd Div. Wing, is he also attached to a Regimental Battalion or are the Div. Wing Staff a separate entity. As far as researching this period, are there WO95 diaries for 62nd Div. Wing? I have received information from other sources that he was sitting on Courts Martial on occasions, would this info be in WO95/154?

He seems to disappear at the end of April 1918 and re-emerge with the 2/4th KOYLI in July 1918 possibly as OC, so I have absolutely nothing for May/June 1918, perhaps this is the Courts Martial Period??

Sorry for my first post being so long, any help suggestions gratefully received.

TW

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TW

I think that 62nd Divisional Wing was another name for its reinforcement camp, which looked after drafts which had been sent up from the base area until such time as they could join their units. Certainly the Divisional war diaries should give you a better idea, but look at the AQ (rather than General Staff) war diary. As for the 2/6 West Yorks, although the battalion was disbanded in Feb 1918 he remained on itsd books because he had not been posted to another battaliion, his post with the reinforcement camp being a temporary attachment rather than a permanent posting.

Hope this makes sense.

Charles M

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Thanks for both replies, I'll see if I have any more info to clarify this period. His notes/letters/orders etc are signed 'Divisional Wing' and he refers many times to 'Divisional wing staff'. Also noticed that 62nd Division 'Q' Branch deals with such exciting things as shower fittings.

There are also other abbreviations/units that may shed some light. Any offers on 'Effects Branch 3rd Echelon?? While with the 5th Devons he signs himself 'OC 5th Devons P.R.I' any ideas???? Confusingly, the 5th Devons being Prince of Wales or POW for short he also refers to the POW camp at Orville but on one occasion refers to a prisioner there. This POW camp at Orville in Oct/Nov 1918 happens to be located where he was in Feb of 1918 on the Divisional wing staff!!!

Thanks

TW

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A have a postcard message that mentions 56th Divisional Wing in 1919. Would this be a reinforcement camp for 56th Division?

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TFW

Effects Branch 3rd Echelon is probably the branch that dealt with the personal effects of those who had died and was part of the BEF GHQ 3rd Echelon, which was based at Rouen and dealt with all personnel matters. As for 5th Devons PRI, the only thing I can think of is President of the Regimental Institute. Each battalion had a PRI who was responsible for regimental funds and the canteen, etc.

Kate

56th Div Wing was possibly its reinforcement camp, although if we are talking about 1919 it could be the divisional cadre since it would have suffered a rapid reduction in strength because of demobilisation. Again, the div war diary should be able to clarify.

Charles M

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There is no such thing as a Divisional Wing. Could it be something else?

I ANZAC Corps Reinforcement Camp in late 1917 consisted of the folowing elements;

a) Commandant and Headquarters

B) Corps Depot

c) A Divisional Wing for each division of the Corps.

Divisonal Wings received, maintained and trained reinforcements for units of their own divisions until they were taken over by by units. They also accomodated and administered nucleus personnel of their divisions that were retained under SS 135, and also personnel such as schools, classes, officers and other ranks proceeding to and from leave.

Officers were seconded from units to the Wing. Extra instructors were provided by divisions as required, depending on the number of reinforcements in the camp.

The establishment for officers was for;

1 x OC

1 x Chief Instructor (Major or Captain)

1 x Adjutant & Quartermaster (Captain ot Lieutenant)

1 x Medical officer (Captain)

Chris Henschke

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TEW

I have a profile of your Grandfather as part of my ongoing research into the 5th Devons. Would you be willing to help me out on a few points ? In turn I could probably help further detail his time in the 1/5th if that is of interest.

Regards

Dave

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Divisonal Wings received, maintained and trained reinforcements for units of their own divisions until they were taken over by by units.

Agree, but in addition they seem to have been used for 'top up' training of men already belonging to units. Units of 47 Division in 1918 sent men back to the Div Wing for additional training. This is shown clearly in 141 Brigade War Diary where 500 and 750 were detached from units to the Div Wing between early May and mid-August. (WO95 2733-34) I suspect that the beneficiaries were mainly very raw 18 year old recruits.

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  • 1 month later...

Dave, Sorry for not checking back on the forum for so long. Any info about my grandfather would be very welcome indeed and I would obviously help out with your 5th Devons research. I do have more 5th Devons documentation right up to March 1919.

Thanks

TW

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Tim

Have dropped you a couple of notes via PM. Let me know if you receive.

Regards

Dave

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