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Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:02 pm

Thanks for saying where the number came from - I've just double checked, and yes, you are perfectly correct - it says, "301733, Pte, R.E."

In other words, he was Private Thomas Cattell, 301733, in the Royal Engineers. Huh? Where did that come from? Apart from the Register? :o This is getting silly - there are about 10 soldiers in WW1 with number 301733 in the Medal Rolls. That's quite usual, these are (sort-of) regimental numbers, so will duplicate. But it is really, really, weird to see on a Medal Roll:
Thomas Cattell Private Essex Regiment 301733
at the same time as seeing on an electoral register:
Thomas Cattell Private Royal Engineers 301733

Same name and number? Different people? Surely not? Surely it must be the same person.

And I think it is - I think that the Electoral Register is wrong. I think the Register says "R.E." when it should have said "E.R.". Have I got any justification for saying that other than just the odds of having two people with the same name and number in different units? Yes, I have.

1. Someone in the Royal Engineers should be referred to as Sapper or Pioneer. Not Private. (Quite possible that there are exceptions - but I've not seen any that I remember.) So the Register saying Private in the Royal Engineers is (virtually?) unheard of.

2. I really don't know how numbering in the Royal Engineers worked in WW1, but it turns out that there is already a 301733 in the Royal Engineers, Pioneer Archibald GH Woodward, 301733 (notice that he has the rank of Pioneer, not Private). Could there be two 301733 soldiers in different parts of the RE? Err - dunno, but it seems less than likely.

I think we can conclude that the Electoral Register is wrong and the RE should read ER.

Putting the stuff together, we get that Private Thomas Cattell of number 4/18 Wheeler St., served as 301733 in the Essex Regiment. The Medal Roll shows that he was in the 11th Battalion of the Essex R and because of the way that Medal Rolls work, this would be his last unit during WW1. By the way, I am presuming that this is Tiggy's grandfather and not someone else with the same name!

He could well have been demobilised from the Army and then rejoined later as a Territorial in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Which would account for family memory.
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby TiggyW » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:30 pm

Wheeler Street is in the area that grandad spent most of his life in, so definitely the right man. Really appreciate you taking the time to sort it out for us. This is one of the times when you wish you'd asked the question 'what did you do in the war grandad?' thanks again.
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:45 pm

I think I can add a bit more to Private Thomas Cattell, 301733 of the Essex Regiment.

That number was originally issued to the 7th Battalion of the Essex (see http://www.1914-1918.net/TF_renumbering_infantry.htm). In other words, I think that when Thomas went to the Essex, he went into the 7th Bn first, and only later moved to the 11th.

I've found some similarly numbered guys:
301714, Alfred Henry Millward, called up 9 October 1916 into the 2/7th Battalion Essex Reg., (effectively that's part of the overall 7th Bn).
301715, Alfred Thomas Payne, called up 9 October 1916 into the 2/7th Bn of the Essex.
301755, William Elsdon, posted to the 2/7th Bn of the Essex on 15 Oct 1916.

As Thomas Cattell is 301733 in the same series and is between some of those numbers, it's pretty certain that he would have been called up in October 1916 as well.

Private Payne is interesting - he's from Birmingham and was initially going into the Worcester Regiment, before being diverted into the Essex - I think as part of his recruitment, rather than later. This suggests (but does not prove) that the Essex were short of men at this time, hence they were pulling in recruits from non-Essex areas - which happened when conscription came in - even to the extent of diverting men originally scheduled to go elsewhere.
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:46 pm

TiggyW wrote:Wheeler Street is in the area that grandad spent most of his life in....


Oh good!
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby teddygreen1 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:53 am

hi thanks for all your help from myself and my sister greatly appreciated. i think the electrol itself is interesting because there are men there from many different regiments ... thanks again
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby ianbee » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:25 pm

There's another one (sorry)
I mean there's another Essex Regiment near number, not another Thomas Cattell!
All of one page -
Turner, Joseph P
reg no 301731
born Studley, Warwickshire
enlisted at Birmingham, 7 October 1916, age 37 yrs 9 mo
2/7 th Essex T.F
(transcribed online as 2/4, but I think that's an error)
He was also later transferred (and I don't think he is on the medal rolls)
Address in Wheeler Street!

Is it odd that his enlistment date is two days before 301714 and 301715 ?
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby teddygreen1 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:23 pm

it is all very curious but think i may have found something. there is a 187 pages to this roll and if you go to number 1 page it is the absent voters west birmingham divison . kath
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:43 pm

Interesting, Ian.

Anyone of a nervous disposition should look away now - this has nothing to do with Thomas Cattell and the conversation might get a bit geeky.

I have two possible explanations. The way I understand the process to work is that the recruit fills in the attestation form and swears the oath - presumably at the same time. The forms go away to the relevant office for the unit and the number is assigned there. Obviously (?) when the sack of forms is dumped onto the clerk's table, there is every chance that they'll get a bit out of order. So that's one possibility for how things get out of order.

The other is that we may not be comparing the same dates. There are two dates on the attestation form. I was quoting the second date in the posts above because another thread convinced me that the second date was nearest to the point at which the serial number was allocated. However I have a suspicion that the recruit goes under military discipline at the point of attestation. It may be that the chap you found, Ian, has his earlier date quoted. It was something like 3d difference in the case of Payne, which would put him back before your chap. I did try to see what the dates were in the case of someone with a full set of forms (another interesting point - all these guys seem to have been discharged early and most of the forms are connected with the discharge process) - however both dates seemed to be used in different contexts. No doubt if money was involved they'd be precise.

So the other possibility is that your chap had his earlier date listed, while Payne has, I know, his later date.

And of course both might apply.

I'm sure someone on the Great War Forum can quote the exact instructions - and someone else will provide the counter examples! :smile:

Sent from my GT-I8190N
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:47 pm

Kath - I thought that's what it was because it had the Army details in but because the format does seem to change slightly, it's nice to have it confirmed.

Sent from my GT-I8190N
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Re: Thomas Cattell. Royal Warwicks. Regt.

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:52 pm

Oh and just generally, Ian's example does rather reinforce the idea of the recruiting office being told that the Essex Regiment needed recruits in some numbers. Otherwise why that number from the West Midlands?

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