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Tankee sent to USA


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#1 lionboxer

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 09:46 AM

I've found from his service record that one of my men was sent to USA in 1918. I'm not sure if he was at Cambrai but would he have been sent to organise/train a fledgling American tank corps?
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#2 centurion

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 11:12 AM

I've found from his service record that one of my men was sent to USA in 1918. I'm not sure if he was at Cambrai but would he have been sent to organise/train a fledgling American tank corps?
Lionboxer

A tank crew was sent to the USA in Oct 1917 to :-
  • Give demos to US soldiers at various army bases
  • Take part in fund raising and recruitment events
  • Take part in expositions etc etc

Equipped with one (possibly two) Mk IV female tanks they did this right across the US and Canada returning home in Oct 1918. See photo of original crew (minus their commander Captain Richard Haigh and the senior NCO Sgt Burnside) shortly after arrival.

Attached File  brrok small.jpg   57.07KB   2 downloads

By mid 1918 Haigh had 20 men under his command. The original crew were all men who had seen active service in tanks but, given the date of their arrival, not at Cambrai. In mid 1918 a Mk V with crew was sent to the USA to show the improved tank to the US Army. Some Mk IV (without crews) arrived at the end of the war but I believe that these were for training infantry in co-operation with tanks. The US government had requested Mk Vs (as US tankers were trained to drive this model).
Both the US and Canadian tank corps received their training on British tanks in Britain in 1918

Do you have the name and possibly a photo of your man?

#3 centurion

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 11:48 AM

In mid 1918 a Mk V with crew was sent to the USA to show the improved tank to the US Army.

Looking at E cuttings this tank arrived on 22nd June 1918 -however it appears to have had an American crew.

#4 centurion

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 11:56 AM

Could this be your man?

http://1914-1918.inv...ndpost&p=685818

#5 lionboxer

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 08:10 PM

That's great! Alfred Starman is my man. One of four Starman brothers who served. His brother William is on our memorial. Alfred's record is on Ancestry if you can decifer it. Strangely his MIC states RFA and Tanks but he was MGC and no mention at all on his record of being in RFA.
I wonder if he is on that photo taken in USA? How were these men picked for such a cushey little number?
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#6 centurion

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 08:30 PM

How were these men picked for such a cushey little number?

In the case of the initial crew members by all being seriously wounded. Captain Haigh for example walked with one stiff leg so he always seems to be marching in the various photos and film clips. Given that the team managed to visit at one time or another New York (5 times), Boston (twice), Albany, Syracuse, Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, Chicago (probably twice), St Louis, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Des Moines, Duluth, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Camp Upton, Shatuck, Fort Dix and Fort Sheriden and more I'm still researching into, keeping the tank running and loading it on and off low loader wagons cushey little number is not how I'd describe it.

#7 delta

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 11:41 PM

Pre-war, as a young man, Dick Haigh joined the Berkshire Yeomanry. At the start of the war, he volunteered for overseas service.

He was commissioned into 9th Berkshires in late Feb 1915 and deployed to France in 30 Apr; he joined 1st Bn Berks and was soon in action. He was injured during the battle of Loos, sufficiently badly to be out of action until 16 May 1916 when he was posted to 2nd R Berks. He was with the Battalion during rhe Somme; on 1 July his battalion, part of 8th Div, undertook the assault on Orvillers - his CO died of wounds; two officers were killed outright and 36 ORs with the 2IC and 270 offrs / ORs wounded as well as 118 missing. Dick stayed with 2nd Bn Berks until 29th July when he was sent to hospital for six weeks; he returned and after a two weeks command of D Coy. On 16 Dec, Dick volunteered to join the Heavy Section MGC and served with D Battalion. Awarded the MC in the 1917 new years honours list, he was 2IC of 11 Coy which fought at Bullecourt in which the tank took large losses in their support for the Australians and commanded a section at the follow=up up action at Croisilles on 5 May.

Seems to be a reasonable choice to be selected for such a "cushy little number" ------

#8 lionboxer

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 07:39 AM

So it seems by being wounded they all earned their "cushy number" and I expect this is how it was viewed by all of their mates who I'm sure would have been willing to have swapped places on a paid for tour of the USA instead of dodging bullets!!
Upon closer inspection of Starman's record it looks as though he went 9/7/1918 amd returned 9/11/1918 (the writing is faded). If so then he would have possibly been at Cambrai, but I can see no mention of him being wounded to earn him his place in America. He had passed his army school of cookery exam so maybe this was his contribution?
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#9 delta

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 08:55 AM

Just had a look at his record; an ex-regular soldier who joined in May 1916 at the MMGS depot at Bisley.
Posted to No 5 Batttery in France on 29 Jun - he would therefore have received no tank training in the UK.
Sent to the Reinforcement Depot at Camiers in France on 12 Nov 1916 and, eight days later, posted to D Bn as it was forming.
Sent to school of ccookery in Feb 1917 then back to D Bn by 10 March.
Given he was not trained as a crewman, unlikely to have fought at Arras.
Posted to F Bn on 21 Jun and granted UK leave from 23 Oct to 4 Nov 1917; therefore with the Bn for 3rd Ypres and Cambrai.
Posted back to the UK in March 1918.

#10 lionboxer

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 10:57 AM

Delta, did you look at his MIC? States RFA when he went to France which isn't correct (or I'm missing something!) Have you further details of what F Bn would have done at Cambrai? Incidentally, I've just returned (last week) from the Cambrai battlefield where we visited the memorial and Deborah. Pretty impressive I must say. Grateful for any other info about Starman's service you may know.
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#11 Carmania

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 11:29 AM

Alfred Starman sailed from Liverpool on 1st July 1918 on board the SS Grampian, arriving in New York on the 12th. He arrived back at Liverpool on the SS Lapland on the 9th November.

Captain Haigh arrived in Liverpool on board the SS Adriatic on the 24th November.


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#12 centurion

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 11:32 AM

So it seems by being wounded they all earned their "cushy number" and I expect this is how it was viewed by all of their mates who I'm sure would have been willing to have swapped places on a paid for tour of the USA instead of dodging bullets!!

You insult these men. They were all seriously wounded and it was the Tank Corps routine to use men who had served significant time at the front and although recovered might not be fully combat fit on such tasks. Do your own research.

#13 delta

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 12:15 PM

My knowledge is limited to what i can read on his service record.

MMGS were part of RFA - hence the MIC "error"
F Bn (or Sixth Bn) war history is available on the net - or, if you want a hard copy, is readily available.
The Bn was on the right flank of the attack; objectives were to the east of La Vacquerie and then onto the canal at Masnieres so you were close if you visited Deborah.

I must admit, like Centurian, I do find your language offensive - perhaps you might wish to re-consider

#14 lionboxer

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 04:06 PM

Centurian and Delta. I've been pondering on how best to answer clearly. I hope this works.
I apologise to you both for obviously causing you some distress. It was not my intention and I believe my bad grammar or lack of education to put my point across clearly has led to this. Maybe if I'd used one or two of those yellow face thingy's it might have come across differently?!! It was not my intention to denegrate the service of those who were wounded and belittle their efforts. They did their bit and had the wounds to prove it. How serious their wounds were doesn't matter though I should have thought they would have been reasonably fit to handle twenty eight tons of steel without endangering themselves or their hosts. I still stand by my statement that it was a cushy number by comparrison (fighting in a tank). No doubt a gruelling yet worthwhile enterprise for the war effort.
Centurian your parting shot "do your own research" deserves comment. Doing my own research is precisely what I've been doing for the last twelve years. Everybody needs a little help sometime and the GWF has helped me enormously and in turn, despite not being an expert, hope I've been able to help others too. During this time I have researched the fifty three men on my village memorial (with another hoping to be added) and am now working on a database of 140+ men that returned, some seriously wounded. Every year for the past five a group of us from the village have visited the graves or memorials of EVERYONE of those killed in France and Flanders (the others laying throughout the globe will be visited in coming years) and laid wreaths and poppy crosses in remembrance of their sacrifice. Every year for five years the tears have streamed down my face as we hold our private ceremony on the battlefields, remembering those I have researched with whom I feel I know. In addition to the above I have researched my family. Five killed and one seriously wounded with a useless arm that dangled by his side for the remaining seventy years of his life.
Having now blown that lot off my chest I would like to thank both you gentlemen and the others that have contributed to this thread. The family of Alfred Starman will no doubt be pleased to hear of what their forebear did.
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#15 delta

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 05:07 PM

Lionboxer

Thanks for your full and carefully worded response and for the obvious diligence in your research.

Stephen

#16 lionboxer

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 06:40 AM

Thank you Delta for hearing me out. I think that sometimes with these written forums a lot is lost in the actual writing if you understand what I mean. Let's face it, some of us have difficulty in saying what we mean let alone writing it down!
I have visited your website. Brilliant. Your comment about my diligence is an honour coming from someone who has put that together! I have now ordered a copy of the 6th Battalion's history to glean further info.
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#17 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:06 PM

I've found from his service record that one of my men was sent to USA in 1918. I'm not sure if he was at Cambrai but would he have been sent to organise/train a fledgling American tank corps?
Lionboxer


Lionboxer,
Here is a photograph of the crew of the British tank Britannia, taken in New York, USA.
LF

Attached Files



#18 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:17 PM

British tank Britannia parading in New York, USA.
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#19 centurion

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:52 PM

Pre-war, as a young man, Dick Haigh joined the Berkshire Yeomanry. At the start of the war, he volunteered for overseas service.

He was commissioned into 9th Berkshires in late Feb 1915 and deployed to France in 30 Apr; he joined 1st Bn Berks and was soon in action. He was injured during the battle of Loos, sufficiently badly to be out of action until 16 May 1916 when he was posted to 2nd R Berks. He was with the Battalion during rhe Somme; on 1 July his battalion, part of 8th Div, undertook the assault on Orvillers - his CO died of wounds; two officers were killed outright and 36 ORs with the 2IC and 270 offrs / ORs wounded as well as 118 missing. Dick stayed with 2nd Bn Berks until 29th July when he was sent to hospital for six weeks; he returned and after a two weeks command of D Coy. On 16 Dec, Dick volunteered to join the Heavy Section MGC and served with D Battalion. Awarded the MC in the 1917 new years honours list, he was 2IC of 11 Coy which fought at Bullecourt in which the tank took large losses in their support for the Australians and commanded a section at the follow=up up action at Croisilles on 5 May.

Seems to be a reasonable choice to be selected for such a "cushy little number" ------


A brief biography has him at Sandhurst when the war broke out

#20 centurion

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:54 PM

I've found from his service record that one of my men was sent to USA in 1918. I'm not sure if he was at Cambrai but would he have been sent to organise/train a fledgling American tank corps?
Lionboxer


The crew of Britannia consisted of the following:


Captain Richard Haigh MC commander
Lt Rolph - Haigh's assistant
Sgt Burnside - driver
Sgt A G Blunt - Front of house and general roadies duties - a Mons veteran - A Brummie
Corporal Earnest Jagger
L Corp Brumham - a Mons veteran
Pte Bailye
Pte Saville MM
Pte Donaldson MM
Pte Alderman - A Gallipoli veteran

Is one of them your man?

#21 lionboxer

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:39 AM

Thank you Centurian but I'm doing "my own research" and LF is kindly helping. You've closed your excellent thread that everyone was enjoying and gaining immense knowledge from so please don't hijack mine.
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#22 salesie

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:27 AM

Just read this thread, and it is clear that Centurion has no idea how real soldiers think - of course it was a "cushy number" relatively speaking. And would have been recognised as such by the men themselves and their colleagues left behind - this crew would not have been the only ones who had been wounded and/or had had a hard war. I'd bet a pound to a pinch of you know what that there would have been plenty of banter about such a "cushy trip" between this crew and the ones not chosen; I can hear the words now, "You jammy gits!" "Aw, shut yer face, if you lot were any good then you'd be going, yer only jealous!" etc.etc.

"Cushy number"? Too right it was, and the men would have made the most of it (probably bragged about it being so to wind their stay-behind mates up). I see it as the height of pompous arrogance to take offence on these men's behalf, especially when the one taking offence has clearly never served in the British Army (otherwise his earlier words would obviously seem absurd).


Cheers-salesie.

#23 lionboxer

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:56 PM

Bullseye!!

#24 centurion

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:21 PM

Thank you Centurian but I'm doing "my own research" and LF is kindly helping. You've closed your excellent thread that everyone was enjoying and gaining immense knowledge from so please don't hijack mine.
Lionboxer


You asked question and I tried to answer it. Your response shows the height of rudeness. Did you already have those names?


Ah well you can tell a t***p by the company he keeps



#25 lionboxer

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:16 PM

Centurian, It's you that's showing the heigth of rudness by not even bothering to read my posts properly. It clearly states in post no 5 that his name was Alfred Starman. It's mentioned again in posts 10,11,12 and 14. Let's not spoil this thread too by childish name calling. If you, or anyone else can help I would appreciate it.
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