23 December 2014

Royal Engineers - Dorsetshire Fortress Company 1908-1914


Here's a taster from my Royal Engineers' database, a corps I've largely, and inadvertently, neglected on this blog due to concentrating on infantry and cavalry.

The Dorsetshire Fortress Company was tiny. Formed in 1908 it consisted of a single Territorial Force Electric Lights Company and was administered by the Dorsetshire County Association. Writing in 1909, Walter Richards, in His Majesty's Territorial Army, wrote of the Dorsetshire Fortress Company:

"It may claim a distinguished place amongst the corps called into existence by the Territorial Forces Act, having since May 1909 its strength up to establishment, 137 of all ranks and... possessing the complete equipment prescribed by regulation."

My database notes that 132 Robert Long joined on 25th May 1909 and 138 Charles Derrick joined on 25th June 1909. Thus number 137, referred to by Walter Richards must have joined a good three weeks before Charles Derrick who presumably had to wait until someone left the unit before he could attest as number 138.

Here are some regimental numbers and attestation dates for the Dorsetshire Fortress Company between 1908 and October 1914. Six digit numbers from the number block 516001 to 518000 which were issued in 1917 are also noted. The lowest six digit number was given to the longest serving man, the second lowest six digit number to the next longest serving man, and so on.

68 / 516007 issued on 30th November 1908
138 / 516013 issued on 25th June 1909
154 / 516017 issued on 7th November 1910
194 / 516021 issued on 17th August 1911
203 / 516034 issued on 4th July 1912
241 / 516052 issued on 23rd May 1913

By 1914 the Company was headquartered at Sidney Hall, Weymouth, with a drill station at Portland and formed part of the Southern Coast Defences.

516061 issued on 9th April 1914
286 / 516065 issued on 5th August 1914
297 / 516074 issued on 28th September 1914
328 / 516097 issued on 1st October 1914

This is my last post on this blog this year. My thanks to everyone who has visited these pages over the past year, a year of particular significance to those of us who hold dear the memory of the 1914-18 generation. My thanks too for visitors to this blog who have subsequently commissioned research. I look forward to undertaking more projects in 2015.

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