Posted 29 November 2006 - 10:06 PM
From my understanding of Runners duties, it was not as "quite straightforward" as Post No. 2 suggests.
'SS 148 Forward Inter-Communication in Battle' (March 1917) suggested that officers' batmen should act as runners.
As far as first ANZAC Corps was concerned, in early November, 1917, all batmen of officers attending courses at the Corps School were given "training in pigeon duties, map reading, semaphore" and general message work. The training was conducted by the Corps Signal School.
Another Australian syllabus of late 1917 detailed that the main points in training runners would include;
a) Deportment and manners in presence of officers,
B) Powers of observation and recognition of landmarks,
c) How to convey a verbal message and get a receipt,
d) How to work in pairs,
e) Speed, fitness, care of feet, sense of urgency of different messages, comradeship in taking turns for dangerous runs,
f) A knowledge of trench systems, lie of the ground, plan of attack, duckwalks, headquarters,
g) Recognition of staff badges, signs for different headquarters, dumps, etc.
h) Compass points, direction of enemy,
i) Relay stations and discipline therein,
j) Pigeon handling,
k) Simple map reading, especially in trench maps, and
At the time the last two points were covered in detail, and the men on the course were tested by giving them a trench map with routes to various headquarters marked in, and then working them over it by night.
If available, written messages were enclosed in a message envelope (Army Form C. 398) which was signed by the recipient, and the envelope was returned to the sender, confirming the message had been delivered and the time of it's receipt.
Younger, very fit men were often selected. Runners were identified (normally) by a red brassard.
An image of an original used by Pte 'Snowy' Vinall, of 32nd Battalion, A.I.F., has previously been posted on this forum, by Grantsmil.