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Posted by: Susan Windsor {Email left}
Location: West Midlands
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 6:01 PM
Trying to find information on grandfather Edward Murphy, died Ypes 25 4 16. He was in the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment. He was from South Shields. He is buried in Essex Farm in Belgium.

Any information would be appreciated.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 8:56 PM

Dear Susan,
No individual service record has survived for Edward Murphy so it is not possible to state his military service. The Army medal rolls showed he was a Lance-corporal with the regimental number 3/9297. The ‘3’ prefix indicated he was a part-time Special Reservist before the war and would have been called-up at York when war was declared. He was sent to France on 28th December 1914 where he joined the 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own) which served in the 6th Division. He would have been part of a draft of reinforcements to the 1st Battalion. The engagements of the 6th Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail, at:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/6th-division/
The war diary of the 1st Battalion is available to download for £3.45 from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352360
He was killed in action on 25th April 1916. Essex Farm was used by a dressing station as a cemetery between 1915 and 1917. It was at Essex Farm Cemetery that Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps had written the poem “In Flanders Fields” in May 1915.
Edward Murphy qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Sue Windsor
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 7:43 AM

Thanks for replying so quickly. Do you know the difference between a Special Reservist and a TA soldier at that time. My husband did over 40 years in the army and he does not know.

Last weekend my husband, son and I visited Essex Farm, it was very moving. My brother said my father went over the France may be in the 50s but could not find his father's grave.
Reply from: Susan Windsor
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 10:36 AM

Cannot get the hang of these boards, seem to have replied to myself. Do you know the difference between the TA and Special Reservists at this time. Visited Essex Farm last weekend with husband and son very sad and emotional. Knew nothing about grandfather till recently.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 2:28 PM

Dear Sue,
The Territorial Army was formed in 1908 from the former Volunteers. The men were part time and signed up for four years, which was renewable. They trained in local drill halls one night a week and exercised at weekend camps. There was an annual camp of two weeks which they were expected to attend. The T.A. was administered by County Associations and the men had no commitment to serve overseas. They were paid according to their attendance.
The Special Reserve was a “beefed up” version of part-time soldiering. It was administered by the Regular Army and the men became part of a regiment’s 3rd Battalion based at the regimental depot. Men enlisted for six years’ service and trained full-time for six months on full Army pay. They were committed to being called-up if the Army was mobilised. They could serve overseas. After six months’ initial training the men underwent three or four weeks training a year.
At the outbreak of the First World War it was realised the Territorial Force would be better employed overseas and men voluntarily signed the Imperial Service Obligation by which they agreed to serve overseas.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 12:22 PM
Hello Alan
Thanks so much for last information received on Allen and Payne. Two very interesting men.
I thought that I had sent you the names of these next two soldiers but it transpires that I did not press the send button. Anyway here are their names and details:
1. Private A Quigley. Royal Irish Fusiliers. Wounded at Ypres 14th February 1915
2. Private P W Taylor. 6th Battalion Essex Regiment

Any help that you can be with these two men will be much appreciated.
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 6:53 PM

Dear Judith,
A. Quigley was Arthur Quigley who had been born at Birkenhead, Cheshire, in 1885, the son of William and Jane Quigley. Arthur became a dock labourer and married Elizabeth Broad at Birkenhead in 1910. At the age of 29, he enlisted voluntarily at Birkenhead Recruiting Office on 24th November 1914 and was posted to the depot battalion of Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers which was then at Londonderry. He was a private soldier allotted the regimental number 6337. After basic training Arthur was posted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers which was serving in France. He arrived in France on 1st February 1915 and was shot in the left leg on 14th February 1915, just a couple of weeks into his war. The bullet caused a compound fracture of his left tibia and left a 3ins by 2ins hole in his leg. Arthur was treated in hospital at Le Havre, France, and was returned to England on 1st March 1915 for further treatment at Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool (1st Western General Hospital).
Arthur spent some time at a convalescent depot from 5th December 1915 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers at Buncrana, County Donegal, on 27th June 1916. On 24th February 1917, Arthur was transferred to the 3rd Home Service Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers which was stationed in Ireland.
On 14th January 1918, Arthur was transferred to the Army Service Corps where he undertook his former civilian role as a packer and unloader at docks in France. He served with No. 12 GHQ Reserve Mechanical Transport Company and ended the war at Boulogne. In the Spring of 1919 he returned to England and was demobilized from Prees Heath Camp, Shropshire, on 5th June 1919.
He gave his address as 7, Alvanley Place, Birkenhead.
Arthur Quigley qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He appears to have died at the age of 64 on 15th June 1949 at The Home for the Aged, Parkfield Avenue, Birkenhead. His wife, Elizabeth, had died in 1944.
*
Percival Walter Taylor was born in 1891 and was baptised at Islington, London, the son of Herbert Breedon Taylor, a commercial traveller in coal briquettes, and his wife Alice Maud. Percival had two brothers and was brought up on the Essex coast as the family moved to Prittlewell, which was at Southend-on-Sea. Percival became a porter in a fancy-goods warehouse. On 23rd November 1914 he enlisted in the 6th Battalion The Essex Regiment along with his younger brother, Augustus Norman Taylor, who was aged16. Percival had the regimental number 3933. The 6th Battalion trained at Norwich, Colchester and St Albans. The Battalion then sailed from Devonport to Lemnos, in July 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on 12th August 1915.
Percival was wounded during the Landings by a bullet wound in the left leg and appears to have been treated in hospital in Egypt as he did not return to the U.K. until 23rd September 1916. He remained in the U.K. until returning to the 6th Battalion on 11th January 1917 when the Battalion was in Palestine.
On the first day of the Battle of Gaza, March 26th 1917, Percival Taylor was captured by the Turks and held prisoner at Jerusalem. Jerusalem was entered on 11th December 1917, but Percival might have been moved as his record showed he was a P.O.W. until February 1918. Percival returned to England and was admitted to the King George Hospital, Stamford Street, London, on 18th February 1918. He was discharged from hospital on 23rd April 1918 and was granted two months home leave at Southend-on-Sea. He was then posted to the 18th Battalion Essex Regiment at Great Yarmouth on 24th June 1918 where his medical category was B2, for garrison service. On 4th December 1918 Percival was transferred to the Army Service Corps (No. T/447463) and was posted to 239 Horse Transport Company A.S.C.. He was discharged on 17th April 1919, aged 23.
Percival qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
His younger brother, Augustus, also served in both the 6th Essex Regiment and the Labour Corps, suggesting he too had been wounded.
Percival married Caroline Hobbs in 1921 and continued to live at Southend-on-Sea where he died in 1966, aged 75.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Paul {Email left}
Location: Manchester
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 4:43 AM
Dear Alan,

On trying to research my great grandfathers military history I have encountered this site and really hoping you will be able to help.

His name was Alfred William Bodley born in June 1896 in Loughton, Buckinghamshire.

He served as a Gunner in the RFA regimental number 179143.

On searching the internet I found the below which I presume was printed in local gazette at the time.

"Gunner Alf Bodley, R.F.A., the son of Mr. and Mrs. David Bodley, of Loughton, is now in Eastleigh Hospital, suffering from wounds in the muscle of an arm. These were inflicted whilst in action on June 1st, and he has just been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry at Kemmell Hill."

Just wondering if you would be able to shed any light on his service and the circumstances of his injury and award for gallantry.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards

Paul Bodley
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 2:53 PM

Dear Paul,
No individual service record has survived for Alfred Bodley so it is not possible to state his military service in detail. The Army medal rolls showed he qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service overseas before December 31st 1915, he did not go abroad until some date after January 1st 1916.
The London Gazette of 13th September 1918 promulgate his award of the Military Medal and recorded he was a driver serving with ‘C’ Battery of 87 Brigade Royal Field Artillery (LXXXVII Brigade RFA). This Brigade had served with the 19th Western Division in France from July 1915. ‘C’ Battery was augmented on 9th September 1916 with a section from ‘A’ Battery of 89 Brigade when battery of four 18-pounders was made up to six guns. Both Brigades were in the 19th Division, so their histories would have been similar. Citations for the Military Medal were not published nationally so it is not possible to describe the circumstances in which it was awarded.
Alfred Bodley was transferred to the Labour Corps after he had recovered from his wounds and was allotted a new regimental number: 672459.
The war diary of 87 Brigade RFA can be downloaded from the U.K. National Archives for £3.45 . See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353017
The newspaper article you mention was from the Wolverton Express of June 14th 1918. Kemmel Hill was the highest point in the Ypres salient to the West of Ploegsteert.
The engagements of 19th Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long Long Trail:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/19th-western-division/
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Paul
Date: Saturday 26th November 2016 at 10:03 PM

Alan,

I wasn't expecting such a quick response. Thanks.

I've downloaded and reviewed the war diary of 87 RFA. In the month that my great grandfather was injured at Kemmel Hill the brigade is described as being in the areas of Chaumuzy and Marfaux (approximately 150 miles away from Ypres).

What reasons could there be for this? Could the brigade have been reorganised and as such Alfred would have been with a different division or brigade?

I've done some research around Eastleigh Hospital where he spent some time after being wounded. Interestingly archives have an autograph book that one of the nurses kept. Some of the returning soldiers had written poems and drawn sketches in it. However, there was nothing that furthered my research of my great grandfather.

Are there any other resources you suggest looking at?

Again, many thanks for your time. I've made a donation to the Royal British Legion.

Regards

Paul
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 26th November 2016 at 10:52 PM

Dear Paul,
Thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion.
As there is no individual service record for Alfred it is not possible to state where he served or with which Brigades of the R.F.A. he served other than to identify the period that he served with the 87th Brigade when he earned the Military Medal as published in The London Gazette of 13th September 1918.
Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail places 87th Brigade R.F.A. with 19th Division at Kemmel Hill in 1918, so whether an individual or a battery was detached to Chaumuzy is unclear. See:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/19th-western-division/
The local newspaper reported that Alfred was at Kemmel Hill in 1918. Mont Kemmel to the south of Ypres was held in a thin defensive line by the British 19th Division. The Battle opened on April 17th 1918 when at 08:30 hours following two and a half hours of bombardment, the German infantry attacked the British lines but were beaten off and failed to break through. That evening the French 28th Division took over responsibility for the Front Line at Kemmel and the hill itself.
The 19th Division was not at Kemmel Hill in June 1918.
The next engagement of the 19th Division was The Battle of the Aisne 1918 during the Advance in Picardy between 27th May and 6th June 1918, known as the (Third) Battle of the Aisne, 1918. So Alfred could have been on the Aisne on June 1st.
It is plausible that he had been posted to another battery of the R.F.A. that remained in the Ypres sector. A study of the artillery brigades listed for 19th Division shows a shortfall in 1918 – there are only two listed that would have been with the Division in the summer 1918. They are 87 and 88 Brigades. There should have been more. Men could also be attached to the Divisional Ammunition Column which acted both as an ammunition supplier and a holding unit for men waiting for a posting.
Of course, you should never believe what you read in the papers.
It is plausible that Alfred applied for a pension. The Western Front Association has a collection of millions of pension records not available elsewhere. They charge for a manual look-up because someone has to go to the archive and search the files. See:
http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/all-about-the-wfa/wfa-news-events/pension-records.html
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Peter {Email left}
Location: Billingham
Date: Thursday 27th October 2016 at 2:18 PM
Dear Alan Hope you are fit and well.
Can you please help me with this man John Cropper Pte 34579 York Lancaster Regiment.9th Service Battalion. Born Manchester. Enlisted. Richmond N/ Yorks Residence. Stokesley North Yorkshire. KIA 9/6/17. Former 7885 Yorkshire Regiment. Best Regards Peter
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 12:35 PM

Dear Peter,
John Cropper was born in 1897 and by the time John was 14 he was living with his “uncle”, James Cross, at Wrightson’s Yard, Stokesley. James Cross was a pedlar and was described in John’s army record as a “foster father”. John worked as a bottle washer in a brewery. On 23rd January 1914 he enlisted in the part-time Special Reserve of the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards). This involved six months full-time training followed by six years of annual refresher training at an annual camp. He was 17 years and 67 days old, had blue eyes, light brown hair and a half-inch scar in the centre of his forehead. He underwent his basic training at Richmond and then undertook a musketry (rifle) course between 13th June and 12th July 1914. He had only been back at home for a few weeks before he was mobilised for war on 5th August 1914 and served with the 3rd Battalion which moved to Hartlepool. That town was bombarded by the German Navy in December 1914.
John remained with the 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment until he was sent overseas on 26th October 1915 as part of a draft of reinforcements to join the 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment at Gallipoli. His service record showed his embarkation date was 26th October 1915 whereas his medal rolls index-card showed that as his date of arrival in Egypt. He had sailed to Alexandria in Egypt and then went on to join the 6th Battalion at Gallipoli. The Battalion left the peninsula on 18th December 1915 and went to Imbros, then Alexandria where they arrived on 7th February 1916. The 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment later sailed for France and landed at Marseilles on 1st July 1916.
The medal rolls recorded a group of men from the 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment were posted to the 9th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment and were sequentially numbered. On 23rd September 1916 John Cropper was “posted and attached” to the 9th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment which was then at Zillebeke near Ypres. The 9th Battalion remained in that area where it went into action on June 7th 1917 at 4.10 a.m. after a one-hour bombardment and the explosion of mines under Hill 60 and “the Caterpillar”. The fighting on Hill 60 was in two phases of advance and by June 9th the 9th Battalion had reached its objectives and was relieved. The Register of Soldiers’ Effects recorded John Cropper was killed in action in Belgium on some date between the 5th and 9th June 1917.
He has no marked grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The medals were sent to his sole legatee, James Cross.
Through census and birth records I have not yet been able to corroborate the biographical details supplied for “John William Cropper” as the son of William and Sarah suggested on the Stokesley website:
http://stokesleyheritage.wikidot.com/cropper-j-w
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Adrian Cunningham {Email left}
Location: Melbourne E York S Uk
Date: Thursday 27th October 2016 at 10:55 AM
Dear Alan,
Thank you for your in depth info already received.
With reference to George Cunningham born 1811 in Currie Scotland, serving with the 25th Regt.KOSB. I tried to follow your instructions for finding Colonial military births, but could not get access to this part of the findmypast site.
My request is to find If he had any other children ( other than George Jnr. born in Ireland 1837 to Sarah ) which according to church record I already have. If there was a marriage, the only one I have found was in 1831 to a Sarah McVie, but can't be sure.
Many thanks if you could help in this search.

Regards

Adrian Cunningham
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 27th October 2016 at 12:31 PM

Dear Adrian,
I cannot provide information from the Findmypast website on this forum as that would be a breach of their terms and conditions of use.
If you search "births deaths and marriages" on their site and type "British Nationals" in the box marked Record Set you can choose Army births from the menu.
With kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Joe Freaney {No contact email}
Location: Derry
Date: Tuesday 25th October 2016 at 1:01 PM
Hi Alan

You have given me some excellent info about a number of kinsmen in the recent past. I was hoping that you could maybe work a miracle and provide some info on another kinsman. On going through some paperwork recently, I found 2 photographs of a cousin of my mother. His surname is McLaughlin, from Lisahally, in the parish of Glendermott, Derry, Northern Ireland. He is wearing the uniform of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. That is all I know of him - he was never spoken of. I don't know if he was a casualty or if he survived.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 25th October 2016 at 6:16 PM

Dear Joe,
So few records that provide biographical details such as address or birthplace have survived, so unfortunately it has not been possible to identify an individual McLaughlin in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Joe Freaney
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 4:10 PM

Hi Alan

With reference to the above, I assumed this young man's name was McLaughlin. I now know he was on the other side of the family: I believe his name was George Doherty, 9163, 1st Batt Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Any help would once again be very much appreciated.

Regards

Joe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 6:48 PM

Dear Joe,
No individual service record has survived for George Doherty so it is not possible to say when he enlisted. The Army medal rolls recorded he served with the 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and went overseas from the U.K. on 17th March 1915. The 1st Battalion had returned from India arriving at Avonmouth in January 1915 before sailing for Mudros and landing at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, on 5th April 1915. Private Doherty was wounded and died of his wounds on board the Hospital Ship “Salta” on 24th August 1915. He was buried at sea. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” recorded he was born at Belfast and enlisted at Ballykinlar Camp, co. Down. The registers of soldiers’ effects recorded his sole legatee was his aunt, a Mrs Mary Chapman.
George Doherty qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Beverley Cahill {Email left}
Location: Perth Western Australia
Date: Tuesday 25th October 2016 at 10:48 AM
Dear Alan, I have just come across your site and read your valuable information. I am hoping you may be able to give our family information on my paternal grandfather who served in WW1 his rank was Gnr his regimental No was 5063?3 or is it 50633.....Walter Whittaker his qualifying date was 6/11/1914 his corps was 33rd BDE hard to read...RFA. Campaign 1914. We were told he served In Ireland...would this be true....did he serve anywhere else? My father has passed away...but he passed on a pocket watch to my brother with engraving to Walter with the above reg no on it from the people of Essex. He was born in Great Bardfield Essex England June 1886 if this helps.We would all love to know something about his war records. I do belong to My heritage site...but have never been able to locate any information regarding his military Records . Also would you know if he received his medals...he did survive the war and emigrated to Western Australia.....ps met his future wife In Ireland....they eloped...married by an army chaplain...only found this out recently.
Thanking you
Bev Cahill née Whittaker. Perth Western Australia
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 25th October 2016 at 6:12 PM

Dear Bev,
No individual service record has survived for Walter Whittaker so it is not possible to state his war-time service. The Army medal rolls record he qualified for the 1914 Star by disembarking in France on 6th November 1914 with 33 Brigade Royal Field Artillery (XXXIII Brigade RFA) as part of 8th Division.
It is not possible to state whether Walter remained with 33 Brigade throughout the war. The engagements of the 8th Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail, at:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/8th-division/
Walter Whittaker qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Medals were sent automatically to the recipient.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Beverley Cahill N E Whittaker
Date: Wednesday 26th October 2016 at 5:25 AM

Thank you so much Alan for this information, no wonder I was having trouble finding information about his war records. Last night I heard from a nephew of mine who is in England on a holiday he is about 25 yrs of age and he was visiting the National Archives which took him all day to actually find out that Walter Whittaker had never picked up his medals and apparently after a certain period of time- the medals are returned and melted down. But I believe we may be able to request replicas of them. So down the track we will apply.

Thanking you so much.
Posted by: Jacky {No contact email}
Location: Uk
Date: Monday 24th October 2016 at 9:49 AM
Alan, I wonder if you might be able to point me in the right direction, please? I'm researching a man who was in L Company, # Special Battalion, Royal Engineers, and trying to find out where the battalion was portioned in December 1916. I can access War Diaries via ancestry, but don't see anything relating to the Special Battalions. Not sure even what Division they were in! Do you know if there is an accessible diary online that I could use, please? Thank you
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 24th October 2016 at 10:00 AM

Acky,
War diaries for L Company exist from March 1917. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=%27L%27+Special+Company+Royal+Engineers
Alan
Reply from: Jacky
Date: Monday 24th October 2016 at 10:16 AM

Thank you for such a quick reply! Excellent ;)
Posted by: Brian Wilson {Email left}
Location: Norwich
Date: Sunday 23rd October 2016 at 1:26 PM
Hello Alan,

you were able to help find details of my Grandfathers service during WW1. I have not been able to find service records for him, which is not unusual, but I was told that if he served in the home guard I may find some further information about him.I was wondering if he was entitled to the defence medal as it was not with his WW1 medals when I purchased them.I am not sure what information I would be able to obtain from the MOD.

His name was Arthur J Wilson and he had a rank of Acting Sergeant in 1918. I understand from my father that he worked for Lawrence Scott Electromotors in Norwich and they would have had their own section, It is not clear how long he served either, as towards the end of the war he joined the civil service although this may have been after 1944.

Kind Regards Brian.
Reply from: Alan Greeson
Date: Sunday 23rd October 2016 at 5:48 PM

Dear Brian,
Home Guard enrolment records are brief and may contain little information other than personal details on enlistment, promotions, previous military service, and date of leaving the service. The records are held by the Ministry of Defence. See “How to apply for Home Guard service records” at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records#how-to-apply-for-home-guard-service-records
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Christine Barbour Moore {Email left}
Location: Wigan
Date: Friday 21st October 2016 at 3:55 PM
Alan

Is there any way to find who is actually writing the accounts in War Diary WO95/4056
12th Light Railway Coy RE 1917 - 1918.

Thanks.

Chris B Moore
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 22nd October 2016 at 1:00 PM

Dear Christine,
The answer is yes, but I can’t read the Officer Commanding’s name!
It is the first sentence of the diary. War diaries were written or dictated by the adjutant or a junior officer and were then supposed to be signed-off each month by the Officer Commanding. In an infantry battalion of 1,000 men recording their “Actions in the Field” throughout the war, the person writing the diary might change as officers came and departed which becomes apparent in the change of handwriting. The original (top copy) of the diary was written in blue or violet copying pencil which contained graphite, kaolin and an aniline dye. This original would then be sent to Brigade or Divisional H.Q. on a monthly basis with copies of orders and maps in a folder marked “secret”, whilst a carbon-paper copy of the diary could be kept by the unit in the Field. The copying-pencil was waxy and indelible and allowed for reproduction copies to be made by pressing damp tissue paper onto the original. The use of aniline dyes allowed copies to be taken long after the writing of the original document. Most original war diaries and their appendices were lost in the bombing of the War Office repository in Arnside Street, Walworth, London on 8th September 1940 so the digitised copies available online are taken from copies, which is why they are often hard to read or have slightly blurred outlines to the words.
In WO 95/4056/1 it can be seen that each daily entry for No. 2 Railway Operating Company was initialled MW by the Commanding Officer. There is evidence of the use of blue copying pencil over what might be carbon copies as well as the violet appearance of paper-press copies. The diary for No 6 Railway Operating Company is signed off by the Officer Commanding.
No. 12 Operating Company’s diary was not signed off and was a rather hit-and-miss affair as far as regular and complete entries for “Actions in the Field” go. It makes up for lack of detail by including a schedule of casualties. The day-to-day routine nature of their work and the pressure of time imposed on a small unit against keeping a full diary, perhaps writing by candle-light, might account for the apparent gaps between dates and lack of detail especially if little of interest occurred in between. The No. 12 Operating Company diary appears to have been written by the same person throughout: note the consistent shape of the stroke of the ascender on the letter “d” where it appears at the end of a word.
The Company was small (251 men) and appears to have had three officers at the outset. I can identify: Second-Lieutenant Colin Campbell Henry Royal Engineers (1.9.17 replaced by Capt. Herbert Nerville Every Feilden, South Wales Borderers) and Second-Lieutenant Harry Bardill Buckle, Royal Engineers. The officer commanding appears to be Captain W J S Rinnes or something similar, perhaps without initials but I cannot identify him. See the diary entry for 23rd April 1917 and 11th May 1917. His name is the first word in the diary (“Capt. x sent from Longmoor to command”) but I can’t make it out.
The diary entry for 17th October 1917 reads: “I also received slight wound in face”; 25th October 1918 mentions orders for disbanding 12th Operating Company and the diarist writes: “practically all my locomotives, drivers and firemen”, and on 31st October 1918: “all my officers transferred to other units” so the writer would have been the Officer Commanding.
See also the incident dated 30th April 1918 which is not included in the surviving diary which is mentioned on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail, at
http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/albertmedal.html
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Christine Barbour Moore
Date: Monday 24th October 2016 at 10:47 AM

Thank you Alan. You've confirmed one or two of the Officer's names for me.

One last request.

22/06/18 7pm. Can you the read Special Gas (.......). Can't make out the name of the Gas. Is it 'Stunt'?

As previously mentioned, I have transcribed and typed up, the 12th Light Railway Coy WO95/4056 Diary.
If you would care for my copy (17 pages), please get in touch via my email.

Going to look on the Long Trail 30/04/18. My Grandfather Stanley Corsellis Randall MM was involved in an incident on that date, will take a look just now. Did wonder why the incident was not shown in the Diary.

Going to do some research into the incident Westonhoek 15/06/18 1pm. Two trains crash and 5 men killed. Terrible. Doesn't give the names of the men and I want to know who they were. Imagine going through the terrible War and being killed in an accident.

Kind Regards

Christine
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 24th October 2016 at 7:21 PM

Dear Christine,
The word is “stunt”. It was used initially by the British and Australians to refer to any performance requiring skill: such as a bout of Physical Training or a means of self-advantage such as “It’s a good stunt to fall out before they pick the fatigue party”. As with many such expressions the quality of cleverness became unessential. All that was needed was a break in the routine, an unusual element. The word was even used to refer to a battle such as “The Somme Stunt” or to smaller events such as a “bombing stunt” (Dictionary of Tommies’ Slang by John Brophy and Eric Partridge). “Stunt” perhaps implied disapproval for the release of gas which was haphazard depending on the wind. The paragraph reads: “Special gas ‘stunt’ – Seven trains each of 7 box wagons loaded with a special equipment of gas cylinders left Piselhock R E Park at 7 p.m. in Bedford House in Voormezeele sector – attack at midnight: very successful – Lieut W R Price attached 12th Company who was only man affected by gas poisoning – taken to hospital 25/6”.
‘Piselhock’ was the Peselhoek railhead, north of Poperinghe. See the railway map at: http://www.redwhiteblueday.co.uk/Military-Engineering.pdf
The lines and sidings of Peselhoek were either side of Droogentak Farm.
Bedford House was the Chateau Rosendal, a country house in a small wooded park with moats. Although it never fell to the enemy the house and the trees were eventually destroyed by shell fire. It was off Rijselseweg just south of Ypres. It is now the location of a cemetery.
The only Lieut. W. P. Price I can identify was Lieutenant William Pursell Price in the King's (Shropshire Light Infantry) of “Brookleigh”, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.
Some other notes:
S.G. Train was Standard Gauge train
East Spur and Andover Jct (Junction).
Pugwash was named after a town in Nova Scotia
Culloden (24/7/18) was a loco yard above the village of Vlamertinghe, just north of Vlamertinghe Chateau on track A B 1.
P.E. loco (24/7/18) was a petrol engine loco of the type manufactured by Dick, Kerr & Co. See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick,_Kerr_%26_Co.#/media/File:C01361-40HP_petrol_locomotives_1917.jpg
Track A B ran south from Coppernollehoek , north of Vlamertinghe, passing over Canal de Poperinghe with an East Spur coming off it to follow the line of the Reobartbeek for just a few hundred metres. Google 50°52'05.1"N 2°46'01.8"E for the location of the East Spur. The light railway Line then A B swung East to Culloden (Vlamertinghe) and then Ypres town.
The Reobartbeek stream flowed on past which Pacific Yard on the outskirts of Poperinghe just south of the Poperinghe to Ypres Road.
Quintin Yard was in Poperinghe. Google 50°51'12.8"N 2°43'57.0"E
There is still a standard gauge single-line track and buffers there which can be seen on Google Streetview.
Westonhoek was a large marshalling yard for 60cm gauge. I am wondering if it the same location as Culloden Yard.
Troi Rois is a hamlet on the road from Ypres to Wyteschaete above Bedford House. The C line cross the road there at Woodcote House which was north of Bedford House.
The men who died on 16th June 1918 would not have been Royal Engineers but could have come from any regiment.
Do you think the Captain’s name could be J. W. Skinner as written on 23.4.17 ?
With kind regards,
Alan

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