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Terry_Reeves

Royal Engineers Special Brigade

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Terry_Reeves
On 05/08/2017 at 19:44, Paul1066 said:

Hi,

I am very new to this, so I hope it might be of interest for some of you here, what a great resource.  I have quite literally spent the entire afternoon digging around on the internet, up until a couple of hours ago I hadn't even heard of the Royal Engineers Special Brigade!


I always knew that my Great Grandfather was in WW1, was injured but not much more beyond that.  It would appear in my Mothers loft we have some documents and medals (including a DCM and a Military Cross).  Below is some further information on Lt Reginald Hassell (born 1874).

 

The Gazette- dated 5th Feb 1919.

T./Lt. Reginald Talbot Clements Hassell, D.C.M., No. 1 Spec. Coy., R.E. For conspicuous gallantry near Fresnoy on 24th September, 1918, when he, with another officer, was in charge of trench mortars to produce smoke barrages during an attack. Having completed their task they took command of a small party of infantry and attacked a post, capturing six of the enemy and machine guns. They then pushed on, bombing up a trench and bombed a dugout, the occupants of which would not come out. They continued their gallant and enterprising work unti'. Lt. Hassell was seriously wounded.

 

The Gazette- dated June 5 1916 (notification of being awarded the DCM)

P.S.2813 Sjt. R. T. C. Hassell, 21st Bn., R. Fus

 

Interestingly he had served in the Boer War, so was considered rather old to be posted over to France, what a fascinating man he must have been!

 

Paul

Paul, thanks for your post. This is what I have have on him it is of any use:

 

Lt Reginald Talbot Clements Hassell MC, DCM. 1 Marine Parade, Bognor. Shipbroker. 1874-1940

 

Ranks 21 Bn Royal Fusiliers.

07.07.16 - Commissioned T 2Lt  South Lancashire Regt - served with 8th Bn.

17.09.16 - T 2Lt RE - to No 2 Company, 5th Bn, Special Brigade.

25.09.17 - wounded

17.03.18 - T Lt RE.

30.05.17 - to England

27.03.18 - Rejoined Special Brigade Depot, Helfaut, France.

28.03.18 - to No 4 Company.

05.07.18 - to No Company.

24.09.18 - wounded.

18.01.09 - to England

 

The citation for his DCM reads "For conspicuous gallantry and good work in command of patrols. On one occasion when leading a raid, he ran into an enemy working party which he dispersed with bombs, and eventually withdrew under heavy fire with no casualties."

 

He has a file at the National Archives in WO339/60119. The war diaries for the units he served with are available for download from the above for a £3-50p per download.

 

Hope this helps.

 

TR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Paul1066

Terry,

This is great, many thanks.  After my initial post, I joined Ancestry (for the free trial), so I found some more details about his military career from that site, which is what I presume you are able to download from the National Archives?  

 

Just a quick question, did individuals volunteer into The Special Brigade? or was it due to their civilian experiences and skills that they joined?

 

Interestingly, his Boer War Diaries (which make for fascinating reading), including letters home to my future Great Grandmother, complaining about food and asking for spare socks are all typed up, with notes.  His WW1 diaries/letters aren't and are very difficult to read, I will try and scan them sometime in the future as it would be terrible to loose them after all this time.


Again, thanks for your efforts.

Paul

 

 

 

 

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Terry_Reeves

Paul

 

The first four companies, formed in 1915, were all volunteers. A circular was sent to universities and colleges as for men with experience in chemistry to enlist. When the organisation was expanded into a brigade size formation in January 1916, the men were all conscripts and/or were transferred from a variety of regiments and corps across the army, principally from the infantry with a large contingent also coming from the Royal Artillery. By then, there was no requirement for ant specialist experience, indeed, not all men in the 1915 volunteer batch had any training in chemistry.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Paul1066

Fascinating, thank you.

 

I can see this being the start of a long process of research! 

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LesleyScarborough

I have just come across Corporal James Wilbert Bardsley (born 20 Oct 1893, Salford, Lancs) whose burnt records are on Ancestry.  They are in poor condition and difficult to read but I can make out that he was an analytical chemist when he attested at Manchester in November 1914 and joined the Royal Fusiliers.  On 24.9.1915 he joined No. 3 Special Brig Royal Engineers having transferred from Perham Down.  In Sept 1916 he was discharging gas from cylinders in the tren/tun (illegible) at Wulverghem and felt ill.  Two days later he developed a rash which was suspicious of Scarlet Fever.  He was isolated 5 weeks and was sent to Birmingham on 3.11.1916.  In Feb 1917 the Clayton Aniline Co. Ltd (through the Ministry of Munitions) asked for the services of 113585 Cpl J Bradley but it looks as though he elected to be transferred to the Army Reserve.  On Aug 4th 1917 Cpl Bardsley reported he was 'subject to occasional disability as a result of gas poisoning, but have up to the present been able to follow my employment regularly, with effort.'  He married on 18 Dec 1918 and died in Southampton in December 1982.

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Terry_Reeves

Lesley

 

Thanks for your contribution.  Corporal Bardsley would have originally served with 186, 187,188 or 189 company and would have been present at Loos for the first British gas attack. It's interesting to see that by electing to transfer the Class W of the Army Reserve he lost his army pay and the additional element for men serving with the Special Companies. I wonder what  what his civilian pay was, possibly it was more than his service pay.  As a Class W reservist he was still technically under military control and could have been recalled to the colours at any time.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Elfed

PioneerJONES, DAVID

Service Number 159329

Died 21/08/1916

Aged 22

5th Bn. Special Bde. 
Royal Engineers

Son of William and Mary Ann Jones, of "Pantycelyn", Tycroes, Pantyffynnon, Carmarthenshire.

 

I'd be most grateful for any further information on the above.  He was the second captain of Tycroes RFC.  We've only recently learned of his death in WW1.  Our first capain was also killed in WW 1 and we are looking for information for a club memorial.

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David_Underdown

Coincidentally I photographed his grave for a relative of his last year (while visiting the grave of my own great-great-uncle), the photo can be found in my blog post on the trip https://halfmuffled.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/centenary-trip-continued/ (just search for Jones).  I can try and put you in touch with the family if you'd like?

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Terry_Reeves
9 hours ago, Elfed said:

PioneerJONES, DAVID

Service Number 159329

Died 21/08/1916

Aged 22

5th Bn. Special Bde. 
Royal Engineers

Son of William and Mary Ann Jones, of "Pantycelyn", Tycroes, Pantyffynnon, Carmarthenshire.

 

I'd be most grateful for any further information on the above.  He was the second captain of Tycroes RFC.  We've only recently learned of his death in WW1.  Our first capain was also killed in WW 1 and we are looking for information for a club memorial.

Elfed

 

David Jones enlisted at Bangor, almost certainly in April 1916 and he  died of wounds received.  In August 1916, 5th Battalion were in action on the Somme and although it is not possible to be exact about the date of his fatal wound, it can be narrowed down to two operations, both of which were in support of infantry attacks in the area of High Wood.  

 

The first took place on the 18th August when a series of smoke barrages were fired from No 3 Company's 4 inch Stokes Mortars in the area of Wood Lane and the eastern corner of High Wood.  The sub-sections involved were 38,39,43 and 44. The Casualties for this operation were:

 

43 and 44 sub-sections - 2 other ranks wounded, 11 missing

 

39 and 39 sub-sections - 2 Killed and 8 wounded.

 

The second operation was on the 21 August which involved 17, 21 and 27 sub-sections.  This  was another smoke barrage in the High Wood sector and two distraction smoke barrages on the Moquet Farm and Delville Wood areas. The casualties were:

 

5 other ranks killed 

1 died of wounds

35 wounded.

 

It is possible that Pioneer Jones was in one of these section and his fatal wound was caused by shell fire, the standard German response to such barrages.

 

TR

 

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Elfed

Many thanks.  It gives a picture of what happened

 

Thanks again

 

Elfed

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Neill Gilhooley

Some more from 9 Royal Scots... I think:

John Laing Harley, RE No 3 Special Coy Pioneer

Archibald Matheson Douglas, RE Special Coy Cpl July 1915

James Templeton, RE Special Brigade July 1915

William Wilson, RE Special Brigade Cpl 1915

Eric Helden Forster, RE Special Brigade February 1918

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Terry_Reeves
1 hour ago, Neill Gilhooley said:

Some more from 9 Royal Scots... I think:

John Laing Harley, RE No 3 Special Coy Pioneer

Archibald Matheson Douglas, RE Special Coy Cpl July 1915

James Templeton, RE Special Brigade July 1915

William Wilson, RE Special Brigade Cpl 1915

Eric Helden Forster, RE Special Brigade February 1918

Thanks Neil.

 

For you information  Eric Forster orginally enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders on 7 October 1914.  He was commissioned as a 2Lt RE in 1918 after attending No 5 Cadet Battalion, Trinity College Cambridge. He served with B Special Company.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Sjack91

Terry,

 

I was wondering if you had any further information on the following man. Where he possibly served? Battalion? What kind of work he would be doing?

 

Arthur Flett

enlisted 31/3/16

Royal engineers Special Brigade Gas Section

Pioneer

155388

wounded around 21/4/1917

Discharged gun shot wounds 2/4/18

 

Arthur Flett joined the Masonic Lodge St Bryde 579 in Uddingston on the closest meeting to the Armistice on 20th November 1918. Living in mount Pleasant, Uddingston he was 28 and employed as a Chemist.  

 

The Hamilton Advertiser dated 21/4/17 reads. "Mr and Mrs A Flett, have received information that their son, Arthur Flett, who is in the Gas section as a Chemist, has been wounded while in the trenches at the front."

 

Any help or scrap of information would be excellent

 

 

Regards

 

Stuart

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Andy Heaton

Hi All,

 

There are a few items for sale on Ebay, which directly relate to the Special Brigade - please note, I've have no connections whatsoever with any of them , but they may be of interest to someone on this forum.

 

There's a postcard for sale which was written by Pioneer E Crook  66366 :

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/04-Aug-1916-WW1-Postcard-Soldier-Pioneer-Crook-Royal-Engineers-Special-Brigade/382270943381?hash=item59011fb095:g:AM8AAOSw5cNYkfOM

 

There are some medals that were awarded to Pioneer: F. Robinson 105374   for sale :

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Royal-Engineers-Special-Brigade-Gas-Unit-on-the-Western-Front/172844537207?hash=item283e565577:g:mNQAAOSwhIFZpp6z

 

Finally, the third advert is as follows :

 

WW1 Memorial Plaque Henry John Milner 1st Bn Special Brigade R.Engineers

 

1st Bn Special Brigade R.Engineers Died: 27 June 1916 Age 29

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW1-Memorial-Plaque-Henry-John-Milner-1st-Bn-Special-Brigade-R-Engineers/372074735725?hash=item56a161e86d:g:iqEAAOSwRFdZuUCx

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RickyDal

Hi Terry,

I am researching my late father Mark Calrow Dalgleish b Dec 1898. He initially signed up underage with the 14th btn,  London Scottish in 1915 and later transferred to the RE specials as a cpl.  I enclose a photo of him and an unknown comrade dated 1915.  His original number with the London Scottish was 4016 and subsequently 106472 with the specials.  He later transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery as a 2nd Lt.  He would not talk about his experiances of the war to myself and two elder brothers other than to remark on the pieces of shrapnel that worked their way from his back to finally emerge from his fingers.  He told us that he had been spotted by the Germans laying gas bombs in no-mans land and they had launched a shrapnel bomb at him.  He kept an eggcup in the house that was half full of pieces of shrapnell.  Apparently he was sent back from the lines to have a week off before being returned to active duty.

Thank you Terry, any information you have on him would be of great interest.

 

Dad at war B&W.jpg

Mark C Dalgleish war record ww1.jpg

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charlie962

Great photo. Which is him ?

 

Forces War Records have a hospital admission for him- soar throat! But it tells us that on 23/8/18 he was a 20 year old 2nd Lt in the RGA ( A Siege Battery) based at Catterick. He had 3yrs 9 months service at that date, ie joined up underage (as you said) Dec 1914 or Jan 1915.

Edited by charlie962

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Chris Lincoln

To Keith C,

 

Re Pioneer Wiliiam Pearson Green & Gunner Harry Green.

 

I have just come across your post on here from Feb 2015. Not sure if you will pick this up or not, unable to message you directly.

I have some info about your Great Uncle William Pearson Green & your Grandad Harry Green from when they lived in Metheringham. I live locally to Metheringham and have been trying to research them.

Perhaps you could drop me an email or message and I can get in touch and pass on the info I have about them just prior to the Great War. Would also be very interested to find out more about them both and any info you have on them. My email is ccpw.5040 (-at-) gmail.com

 

Thanks Chris

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