Moderator Control Panel ]

Problem about Dispatch Riders

A problem shared is a problem halved. Post your brick walls here and see whether you can offer advice to others

Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby HarryAnnies » Thu May 17, 2018 5:12 am

Hi everybody, at present, I'm trying to look up some information about the role of dispatch riders during the World Wars. I'm not sure if anyone employed as a dispatch rider would actually be classed as having undertaken military service so if anyone could point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated. Actually my grandfather apparently woked as a dispatch rider with the Army, but I can't find any records about him in the military service
HarryAnnies
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 4:59 am

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu May 17, 2018 7:38 am

Can't really add much about dispatch riders, other than to say that I have seen plenty of pictures of soldiers wearing long boots that have been explained as motor cycle boots. Certainly the Army used civilian employees in lots of roles but given the critical nature of ensuring that dispatches get through, that they might be in combat situations also, I suspect that most dispatch riders (as distinct from postmen) would be soldiers. But that's a gut feeling not direct knowledge.

The problem with not finding any records for your grandfather, is much more likely to be due to the situation with the various soldiers' records. WW2 records are still with the Ministry of Defence and are not publicly available - you'd need to send off for them from the MoD. WW1 records were badly burnt in a fire during WW2 so that only between a quarter and a third survive. While the Medal Rolls and Index Cards were not affected, they contain only name, rank, serial number and unit so unless you know that lot already, they are probably not much help as you can't tell your chap from someone of the same name.

For a basic introduction to research, go to the National Archives website and look at their research guides - http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/

Sent from my MotoG3 using WDYTYA Forum mobile app
Adrian
AdrianB38
 
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:07 pm

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby Mick Loney » Thu May 17, 2018 8:00 am

I’d go along with Adrian, as far as I know, Despatch Riders were soldiers, not civilians.
According to wikipedia, (so it must be true :D ), they used Motorcycles (their own at start of WW1), horses and even Camels.
Mick Loney
 
Posts: 463
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:39 pm

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby peter kent » Thu May 17, 2018 8:57 am

Despatch Riders were certainly in the army - in the Royal Corps of Signals.
peter kent
 
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:30 am
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby Amazinggrace » Thu May 17, 2018 9:25 am

I have a photo of my father sitting on an army motorbike and with crash helmet etc. He told me that he was given that job a couple of times. He was in the RASC.
Grace
Amazinggrace
 
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:45 pm

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby MaureenE » Thu May 17, 2018 9:59 am

For free online books about Despatch Riders In WW1 see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Western Front, Historical books online, where there are three accounts
https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Western_Front#Despatch_Riders

Adventures of a Despatch Rider by Captain WHL Watson, 1915 Archive.org. Elsewhere it is stated that editions after the first edition were heavily edited for censorship reasons, but as this edition was published in 1915, it may be the original edition.
Captain WHL Watson was also the author of Tales of a Gaspipe Officer by Despatch Rider. ‘Military cyclists are popularly known as Gaspipe Cavalry’ Blackwood’s Magazine Nos 198, 199 and 201, December 1915-March 1916, and January 1917 Archive.org. Page 795, page 76, page 246, page 360, page 45.
The Daredevil of the Army : Experiences as a "Buzzer" and Despatch Rider by Captain A P Corcoran 1918 Archive.org
For the actual links, see the Fibiwiki page

Despatch riders were also on other Fronts, such as Salonica, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page
https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Salonica_and_t ... _World_War)#Historical_books_online
From The Motor Cycle, Volume 16 Archive.org
"The Supreme Test. The Motor Cycle makes good in the Balkans" page 116B February 3rd, 1916.
"Despatch Riding including Salonika" page [1]74 February 24th 1916.
"With the Salonika Forces" page 214 March 2nd 1916.
The links may be accessed from the Fibiwiki page

Cheers
Maureen
MaureenE
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:04 am

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby Singleton1922 » Thu May 17, 2018 7:00 pm

Just to add to the previous posts - I've been looking into this for a while as I was always told that my late
father spent the war (ww2) in the UK and rode a motorbike. I have no service number and the MOD were unable to trace him using a name and DOB. I sent a photo to the Royal Signals museum and was told his uniform was actually Royal Artillery. I contacted that museum and they confirmed this and said that not all dispatch (despatch) riders were part of the Royal Signals. There is a new RA museum at Larkhill that I hope to visit though I believe they are not fully operational yet.
I hope this helps
Ps any tips on tracing a soldier without a service number ??
Sandra


Sent from my iPad using WDYTYA Forum
Singleton1922
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:51 am

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu May 17, 2018 7:27 pm

Singleton1922 wrote:... not all dispatch (despatch) riders were part of the Royal Signals. ...


Interesting to see that, thanks - I did wonder.

It's rather like not all signallers belonging to the Corps of Signals (or earlier equivalents). If you think about it, every unit had to receive and transmit messages, and it would be absurd to attach members of the Corps to every unit. Ordinary soldiers would be trained in basic signals with the Corps of Signals (etc) looking after specialist means of communications, such as the telegraph network itself.

Presumably dispatch riders were similar.

Sent from my MotoG3 using WDYTYA Forum mobile app
Adrian
AdrianB38
 
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:07 pm

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby Singleton1922 » Thu May 17, 2018 8:16 pm

The person I spoke to from the Royal Signals also advised that some motorbike riders were employed as 'outriders' escorting convoys too.


Sent from my iPad using WDYTYA Forum
Singleton1922
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:51 am

Re: Problem about Dispatch Riders

Postby lcriding » Fri May 18, 2018 1:08 pm

My father was a dispatch rider in WW2. He was in the New Zealand Navy and served in Ceylon/Sri Lanka, delivering messages on his motorbike for Lord Louis Mountbatten. I have a photo of him sitting on his motorbike, wearing a Summer Navy uniform.
lcriding
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:55 am


Return to General research queries


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron