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Royal Defence Corps man in France


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#1 Charleschandler

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 06:15 PM

Hello all,

As you値l see from previous threads, I知 interested in finding evidence of Royal Defence Corps men serving outside the UK. So I was intrigued to see from the pension record of Private Frank Bolton (no 4456 / 11035) on Ancestry that whilst serving with the Royal Defence Corps he is credited with service in France from 5th to 7th October 1916 and was awarded the British War Medal.

It appears that Frank (born about 1865) was a National Reservist who served in one of the Supernumerary Companies of the 4th Royal Berkshire Regiment (probably as one of the prison guards at the Newbury POW camp and then the Cunard liners moored in the Solent and elsewhere) before being 喪eorganised into 259th Protection Company RDC in April 1916. He was discharged in March 1917 as being no longer fit for service.

Firstly am I reading page 3 of the record correctly?

Secondly - I壇 be very grateful for any explanations / interpretations as to what Pte Bolton might have been doing in France whilst with the RDC. I know that the Royal Berks National Reserve were involved in prisoner escort duties on this side of the Channel, and have seen photos of them escorting POWS in east London who were being exchanged back to Germany. Is it possible that these duties extended abroad? And would 3 days in France really have qualified him for the BWM?

Many thanks

Bob

#2 ss002d6252

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 06:14 PM

Do you have a link to the pension file ?

The SWB list states he never served overseas which is obviously at odds with his MIC and service records.

And would 3 days in France really have qualified him for the BWM?


As I understand it yes as it was service in a war zone.

#3 Charleschandler

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:14 AM

Here's the link:

http://search.ancest...kw=Frank Bolton

Many thanks

Bob

#4 centurion

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:22 PM

This extract from Hansard makes it clear that RDC men were employed in guarding "guarding prisoners, railways, docks, &c, both at home and in France" (my italics)
http://hansard.millb...nce-corps-medal

#5 ss002d6252

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:30 PM

As you値l see from previous threads, I知 interested in finding evidence of Royal Defence Corps men serving outside the UK.


There are quite a few men who's MIC's show only the RDC - the problem is finding which cards are not just SWB cards,,:wacko:

#6 Graham Stewart

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 06:08 PM

And yet no RDC units appear in the Order's of Battle at either Base or Line of Communication level, which indicates an individual posting rather than a unit.

Another link to the Hansard defining this;-
http://hansard.millb...19160515_CWA_29

#7 centurion

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 08:42 PM

And yet no RDC units appear in the Order's of Battle at either Base or Line of Communication level, which indicates an individual posting rather than a unit.

Another link to the Hansard defining this;-
http://hansard.millb...19160515_CWA_29

I don't think they would have appeared in either anyway as Ports and PoW facilities were neither base or communications. The Hansard extract quoted is quite early in the war.

I note that RDC men went to sea. At least one, Pte W T Chaldecott, was on duty on RMS Leinster when she was torpedoed in the Irish sea (presumably guarding the mail). I wonder if others were on the Mail packets to France.

#8 Charleschandler

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 12:42 PM

I note that RDC men went to sea. At least one, Pte W T Chaldecott, was on duty on RMS Leinster when she was torpedoed in the Irish sea (presumably guarding the mail). I wonder if others were on the Mail packets to France.
[/quote]

The story passed down in my family is that at least some of them (including my granddad)were on cross-Channel prisoner escort duties, either bringing POWs here or as part of the repatriation / exchange process.

Presumably therefore their units would have remained based in Southampton / Portsmouth etc even though individual men or groups of men were going back and forth across the Channel.

I know my granddad was initially disappointed that this was going to be the extent of his 'adventure' abroad and I've often wondered if his view changed as the war went on and friends and neighbours didn't return....

Thanks to all who've shown an interest in this topic so far.

Bob

#9 centurion

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 01:16 PM

The story passed down in my family is that at least some of them (including my granddad)were on cross-Channel prisoner escort duties, either bringing POWs here or as part of the repatriation / exchange process.

Presumably therefore their units would have remained based in Southampton / Portsmouth etc even though individual men or groups of men were going back and forth across the Channel.


Repatriation/exchange took place through the Netherlands and I think there might have been legal problems with British vessels in a neutral port having armed soldiers on board. However escorting POWs over from France makes perfect sense. But for security reasons if nothing else I doubt that the prisoners would have been handed over to the RDC men on board or on the quay side. It would seem logical that there was a temporary holding 'pen' at one or more channel ports for POWs due to be sent to camps in Britain and the RDC would collect them from there and march them down to the ship. It's also not impossible that this collection facility was manned by the RDC. There must have also been occasions when the cross channel ships had to spend a night moored in France and one imagines there must have been onshore accommodation for non crew members.