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Thread: WW1 question - Battalion halves

  1. #1
    Junior Member Raggedbanner's Avatar
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    WW1 question - Battalion halves

    I'm just reading the 5th Battalion war diaries which I bought from thee IWM and I'm puzzled by something on pretty much the very first page. The entry from August 5th 1914 mentions, 'The Battalion today moved into its war station, the right half Battalion at BROUGHTY FERRY, the left half Battalion at DUNDEE.'

    Does anyone know what these halves consisted of or how they were determined. For instance, was the right half even numbered Companies and the left odd u=numbered Companies?

    I'd be very grateful if anyone can help.

  2. #2
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    Hello Raggedbanner,

    I study the 5th in WW1, so this is a problem i had to figure out previously.

    The halfs are determined as if the entire battalion is arranged in company order from left to right, then the colonel stands opposite facing them.
    His left hand side and right hand side are the halfs.

    The original eight companies (as territorials still used) and their recruiting areas.

    "A" Company - Kirriemuir, Glamis, and Newtyle
    "B" Company - Forfar
    "C" Company - Montrose and Craigo
    "D" Company - Brechin and Edzell
    "E" Company - Arbroath, Carnoustie, and Monifieth
    "F" Company - Arbroath & Friockheim
    "G" Company - Dundee
    "H" Company - Dundee

    Left hand of Btn – E,F,G,H
    Right hand of Btn – A,B,C,D

    Upon reorganisation into a 4 company battalion they also adopted numbers like most other infantry units.

    No.1 Coy - A+B
    No.2 Coy - C+D
    No.3 Coy - E+F
    No.4 Coy - G+H

    Left Hand - 3 & 4
    Right Hand - 1 & 2

    Upon merging with the 4th btn into the 4th/5th in March 1916, the 5th were C & D companies and the 4th A & B.

    I hope this helps clear up the mystery.

    Cheers,
    Derek.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Raggedbanner's Avatar
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    Hi Derek,

    Thanks so much for your reply. It makes things a lot clearer. Sorry for the delay, I had password problems getting back here. One supplementary question, after the merger, was the 5th the right or left hand side?

    My Grandfather, Jim Ballantine, was from Newtyle and so in A company. He was on summer camp when war was declared and he was one of the early contingent, sailing from Broughty on the SS Architect. I'm trying to piece together his peregrinations throughout the war using the War Diaries from the IWM as his service record was lost in a fire at Regimental HQ and also in a WW II bombing raid of the Public Records Office. I've also posted a few photos of him here.

    There's a photo of the summer camp on the second page of photos in Richard Van Emden's 'Boy soldiers of the Great War' where he's sitting next to Alfred Anderson and where the captions (happily) erroneously states that he was killed in the war.

    Thanks once again,

    Chris Ballantine

  4. #4
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    Chris,

    The fifth were, upon merging with the 4th, the left hand side of the btn.

    Your grandad didn't sail directly from Broughty, they were transported by rail to Southampton on the 30th of October, and sailed from there on the 1st November.

    You should let Richard know of the error, i've had some contact with him, i'm sure he'd be happy for the correction.
    He's planning a revised reprint with more information in the near future.

    Cheers,
    Derek.
    Last edited by Deeko; 9th December 2018 at 13:33.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Raggedbanner's Avatar
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    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for your replies. Of course he didn't sail from Broughty, I don't know what I was thinking. I'll try to get hold of Richard Van Emden and update him.

    Best regards,

    Chris Ballantine
    Last edited by Raggedbanner; 12th December 2018 at 12:22.

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