Author Topic: Changing Nature of Special Reserve  (Read 194 times)

Offline Tim Bell

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Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« on: March 19, 2020, 07:03:24 AM »
3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) changed dramatically over the Great War.
I'm thinking that 1/9/1916 was the date they changed from training the Regulars to becoming more of a Depot for men recovering from wounds.  This would also fit with the date that the Training Reserve took over the responsibility for training.  Am I barking up the wrong tree again?

On a slightly different tack, was training for the Territorials principally in the Second Line Battalions until they went overseas in 1917, when 3rd Line took over?
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Offline Timberman

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2020, 07:54:10 AM »

 Hi Tim

The following can be found as part of at this link.

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Special_Reserve


By September 1914, the Special Reserve had provided 35,000 replacements and was becoming so short of trained men that its ability to perform its defence functions was in doubt. The problem was exacerbated by the loss of many of its instructors to the New Army.[19] In the first year of the war, the 3rd Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, supplied over 3,800 officers and men in drafts to its regular battalions, and similar efforts were made by almost every reserve battalion.[20] Field Marshal Sir John French, Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces, acknowledged the great difficulties the Special Reserve faced in "performing the double duty of training drafts...and defending our shores".[21] In 1915, Special Reserve units began assisting in the training of Volunteer Training Corps battalions; the Suffolk Volunteers, for example, received training from the instructors of the 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, and the Huddersfield Volunteers were attached to the Special Reserve battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders.[22] The introduction of conscription early in 1916 overwhelmed the New Army's regiment-based system of training new recruits, resulting in the reorganisation of its training battalions into the centralised Training Reserve in September 1916. The Special Reserve battalions remained responsible for training replacements for their own regular battalions, but when they were at full establishment, new recruits were sent to the Training Reserve.

My Grandfather started off in the 4th Bn before going to the 2nd Bn, but twice when he was wounded and sent back to England he went back to the 4th until he was fit enough to return to France. Then each time he went back to the 2nd Bn.
So this ties in with what you say and the fact they were still supplying their own regular Bn.

Neil

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2020, 10:46:13 AM »
Neil,
This is just what I needed.
Many thanks
Tim
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Offline Keith Brannen

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2020, 01:59:03 AM »
From my research of men (mainly Derby Scheme) with the numbers in the range of 35100 to 35800 (mobilized April 1st 1916 to April 27th 1916) all those who went to the 3rd battalion for training stayed with the battalion until posted overseas (well past the 1/9/1916 changes). Some would not be posted overseas until early 1917. My grandfather Sgt James Brannen 35507, based on numbers near him (as they were sent in groups) was probably posted to the 3rd for training. I also have a photo of him (and other Manchester men) at the NCOs School Of Instruction in York dated May 6th 1917. All have Manchester Regiment cap badges (there are also others of various regiments, none from the new training battalions). Of course, some may have been overseas (one with a wound badge) and were getting NCO training, but my grandfather hadn't been. NOTE: None of the men in the above range were posted to the 4th Battalion for training.

I also found in a file of one of the men (in the 35100 to 35800 range) a list of men transferred from the 3rd to overseas (most with 5 digit numbers) on January 1st 1917. Most of the men went to the 2nd Battalion initially, but by January 26th 1917 they had been transferred to the 22nd Battalion. I have attached a pdf (original documents from fold3, during a freebie), and as I was curious, I research the fate of some of the men.

I agree with Neil about the 4th, my grandfather (only with the 1/8th) fell ill (not yet diagnosed Pyrexia) on October 15th 1918, on the Ambulance train October 20th 1918, and back to England. On his Army Form Z.18 Certificate Of Employment During The War it has him as being in the 4th Battalion, which I assume he went to after his hospital stay.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 02:08:17 AM by Keith Brannen »

Offline themonsstar

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2020, 12:14:10 PM »
Great research Keith.

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2020, 04:40:39 PM »
Great research Keith.
These detailed research subjects provide a lot of depth to our wider understanding - certainly mine.  Thanks Keith.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 06:40:49 PM by Tim Bell »
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Offline Keith Brannen

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2020, 06:14:00 PM »
Thanks, it was very informative for me to do the research.

This thread has also caused me to post my findings for the men in the 35100 to 35800 range (ending my procrastination!).

It is located in the Great War Research Sources section:

http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=10772.0

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2020, 10:08:42 AM »
Hi Keith,

Derby Scheme recruits chose the Battalion where they expected to serve and this generally determined the Battalion where they were posted on Mobilisation.
3rd & 4th Bttns trained for 1st & 2nd Bttn
14th for 11-13th Bttns
25th for 16-18 Bttns
26th for 19-21st Bttns
27th for 22-24th Bttns

Your tables are invaluable to show that mobilisation was not always what the men anticipated.  More importanlty, you provide empirical evidence of the relatively high proportion of men that didn't serve overseas with the Battalion they'd (probably) originally chosen.

Basic training should have been @ 4 months, so I suggest that men who went overseas early had previous Army service.  This would seem to correspond with a shorter period for some 14th Bttn men, which had recruits enlisting in Kitcheners 11-13th Bttns, where many former soldiers returned.

I have similar data for the original 17th Bttn men, albeit not the same.  Training was longer, early discharge was less and deaths were considerably more.  I'll look in more depth when I have made progress with the non-comms project.

Take care everyone.

Tim
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Offline Keith Brannen

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2020, 03:35:28 PM »
Tim,

I was aware that Derby Scheme men could request the regiment they preferred (whether they got it or not, is another story!), but don't recall any information that they could request a specific battalion. As well, I see no evidence (from my data) that it played out when mobilized. It appears that they were assigned a training battalion in batches, based on when they were mobilized, assigned a number, etc. I think by this time, with the number of recruits they were mobilizing, it depended more on where they could slot the men for training.

I did just check the service records I have, and found only six men with previous military experience, none were "fast-tracked". One, 35105, was in jail at times, two (35370 and 35600) were discharged before completing training (67 days and 72 days), one, 35471, whose previous service ended in 1902, did not serve overseas. Of the remaining two, one 35326, trained for 184 days, 35561 trained for 333 days, before they were sent overseas.

It appears that those with short training (especially the fast churn rate of the 14th) before being shipped overseas were done so to replace losses during the Battle of the Somme.


Offline Tim Bell

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2020, 09:32:47 AM »
Hi Keith,
I may be wrong about Derby Scheme men choosing their Battalion.  I thought that was one of the main attractions of the scheme, but I can't find any written evidence.  Perhaps others may know more.
I've seen circumstantial evidence on service records that some men attested in specific Battalions and they were then called up to the corresponing Reserve, but this may be coincidental.
Tim
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 10:44:59 AM by Tim Bell »
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Offline mack

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Re: Changing Nature of Special Reserve
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2020, 12:50:42 PM »
it was always my impression that the derby scheme men were not promised anything regarding a specific regiment,when they filled in their attestation forms,one of the questions was which regiment do they prefer,then they were sent home until their services were required,ime convinced a lot of these men were unaware they would be sent wherever the army decided and not to the regiment they chose

mack