Structure of WW1 RE Field Company


A poor scan of the only picture we have of William.


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I am researching the war records of my Great Grandfather who served in 1st (East Anglian) Field Company Royal Engineers (Later renumbered as the 483rd Field Company) attached to 2nd Division in France. They entered France on Christmas Day 1914 and he was discharged in January 1919 from Germany.

I have two questions:

1/ What was the organisational structure of an RE Field Company at that time? The Long, Long Tail website (I can't post a link) references three sections, each commanded by a Lieutenant. However, the Company War Diaries clearly refer to four dismounted sections plus the mounted section. I'm also used to an INF company being 120 strong but RE was clearly double that.

2/ I have my Grandfathers medals, they are stamped SPR FC Brown R.E. but I have a photo of him (claimed to have been taken in 1918*) with Corporal's tapes up. Were the medals stamped with rank on entry or discharge?

* I think the picture is post-war because he continued to serve in the TA and I have his Territorial Efficiency Medal that must have been awarded in 1936 and is stamped CPL.


Edit to add pictures now that I'm allowed: He is on the left in the first picture and on the right in the second. The second picture is the one I mention above.

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Apologies for coming to this somewhat late; unless I have missed it I think your question (ii) is outstanding? The rules on what details to impress on medals were not the same for all WW1 campaign medals but my understanding (for army other ranks and NCOs) is as follows.

For the 1914 Star (in line with the instructions for creating a nominal roll set out in Army Order 350), the medal should be impressed with the rank and number* which the individual bore on entry to theatre, together with his unit.

Although not as far as I am aware officially set out, it seems that the same convention as to rank and unit applied to the 1914-15 Star. (As far as number goes - which can be relevant to Territorial servicemen - either their original short (4-digit or below) or 1917-on long (6-digit) number may be shown.)

Conversely, the British War Medal and Victory Medal were to bear the highest rank (including acting/temporary) attained in a theatre of war (along with the regimental number* and unit appropriate to the individual on entry).

The upshot of this is that unless an error was made in creating the nominal roles, your relative's promotion to Corporal would have needed to have taken effect before the Armistice in order to be reflected on his medals.

* this wasn't always followed in practice for Territorials, probably due to a misunderstanding of the instructions for creating the relevant nominal rolls.q

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