Author Topic: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers  (Read 292 times)

Offline emjsw

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William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« on: Friday 07 December 18 21:17 GMT (UK) »
WARNING - THIS POST CONTAINS A STORY THAT YOU MIGHT FIND UPSETTING (I did!)

Hi there,

I am really struggling to find any information about William's service history and wondered if anyone might be able to give me some tips please as I am quite new to this and don't understand divisions, battalions, regiments etc.

On ancestry I have found his medal card and he got the victory and British medals. He was in the Royal Engineers, mounted I think. His regimental number was 209085.

Trouble is I don't know his division or if there is any way to find this out from his regimental number?

If I know his division I can look at the war diary to find out what he might have been doing and where he might have served.

Sadly his military record seems to have been destroyed.

I am hoping the diary might solve a family mystery as he told my nan (his granddaughter) that he was court martialed for shooting a French civilian who had chopped a child's hands off for stealing. I want to find out if this is true. As I have no idea where to find the court martial record (as it is not on ancestry) I thought perhaps the war diary might have recorded this. I also don't know what type of court martial he may have got.

Any help would be greatful received as it is my nan who wants to learn more and she is 92 now.

Thanks and best wishes,
Emma
Sweetland (Chard/Yarcoombe/Honiton)
Garret/Stacey (Somerset)
Boultern/Boulton (Reading)
Crowther (Wolverhampton/Wednesbury/Birmingham)
Myres (Wolverhampton)
Palmer (Nottingham)
Cosby (Leighton Buzzard/Woodstock/Kidlington)
Hope (Oxford/Kidlington/Woodstock)
Williams (Yorkshire/Conisborough)
Draper (Bow Brickhill)
Draper Smith (Bow Brickhill/Woburn Sands)
Smith (Woburn Sands)

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Offline jim1

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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #1 on: Friday 07 December 18 22:26 GMT (UK) »
The RE was split into many parts specialising in various skills required to assist the war effort.
Signals, tunnelling, agriculture, roads, railways, docks etc. but the largest by far were the Field Companies who operated at Divisional level meaning that each Division had at least 1 Field Coy.
There's no way of knowing from his number which branch or Field Coy. he belonged to only his service record will tell you that & as you say it unfortunately didn't survive the Blitz.
There's an outside chance that the 1918 Absent Voter's list might give those details should that have survived & you knew where he was living at the time.
As to the story one would have to assume that the civilian survived or he would have been tried for murder & executed. A trial of such seriousness would have gone before a GCM or FGCM.
All surviving (F)GCM records are held by the National Archive under WO 71.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

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Offline emjsw

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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #2 on: Friday 07 December 18 23:14 GMT (UK) »
The RE was split into many parts specialising in various skills required to assist the war effort.
Signals, tunnelling, agriculture, roads, railways, docks etc. but the largest by far were the Field Companies who operated at Divisional level meaning that each Division had at least 1 Field Coy.
There's no way of knowing from his number which branch or Field Coy. he belonged to only his service record will tell you that & as you say it unfortunately didn't survive the Blitz.
There's an outside chance that the 1918 Absent Voter's list might give those details should that have survived & you knew where he was living at the time.
As to the story one would have to assume that the civilian survived or he would have been tried for murder & executed. A trial of such seriousness would have gone before a GCM or FGCM.
All surviving (F)GCM records are held by the National Archive under WO 71.

Hi there,
Thank you very much for explaining how the RE was divided up. He was a driver and in his army picture he is on a horse so perhaps he worked on getting equipment to where it was needed?
It is so sad that the records have been lost. Sadly he wasn't on the absent voter's list but thanks so much as I hadn't thought of looking there (and I didn't know about it!).
Thanks for giving me a clue as to what sort of court martial he might have had. All he told my nan was that after he was in alot of bother!
I searched WO 71 on the national archives but sadly nothing came up. Thanks also for this lead though as at least I am eliminating sources.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to me.

Best wishes Emma
Sweetland (Chard/Yarcoombe/Honiton)
Garret/Stacey (Somerset)
Boultern/Boulton (Reading)
Crowther (Wolverhampton/Wednesbury/Birmingham)
Myres (Wolverhampton)
Palmer (Nottingham)
Cosby (Leighton Buzzard/Woodstock/Kidlington)
Hope (Oxford/Kidlington/Woodstock)
Williams (Yorkshire/Conisborough)
Draper (Bow Brickhill)
Draper Smith (Bow Brickhill/Woburn Sands)
Smith (Woburn Sands)

Offline Gardenshed

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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 08 December 18 00:41 GMT (UK) »
Would posting the photo help? Might that give the experts more clues? That is just a question as I have no background in this area, just enjoy following the queries and trying to learn a bit. I also enjoy looking at the photos and reading what can be deduced from them so have to admit I may have a sort of ulterior motive.

Offline emjsw

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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 08 December 18 13:08 GMT (UK) »
Would posting the photo help? Might that give the experts more clues? That is just a question as I have no background in this area, just enjoy following the queries and trying to learn a bit. I also enjoy looking at the photos and reading what can be deduced from them so have to admit I may have a sort of ulterior motive.

Hi there,
Thanks for the suggestion, I will try posting one now.
Best wishes Em
Sweetland (Chard/Yarcoombe/Honiton)
Garret/Stacey (Somerset)
Boultern/Boulton (Reading)
Crowther (Wolverhampton/Wednesbury/Birmingham)
Myres (Wolverhampton)
Palmer (Nottingham)
Cosby (Leighton Buzzard/Woodstock/Kidlington)
Hope (Oxford/Kidlington/Woodstock)
Williams (Yorkshire/Conisborough)
Draper (Bow Brickhill)
Draper Smith (Bow Brickhill/Woburn Sands)
Smith (Woburn Sands)

Offline emjsw

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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 08 December 18 13:23 GMT (UK) »
I tried to re attach the photo and my phone is having none of it so here is a link to an old post where I was trying to find his regiment!

https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=787781.msg6432122#msg6432122
Sweetland (Chard/Yarcoombe/Honiton)
Garret/Stacey (Somerset)
Boultern/Boulton (Reading)
Crowther (Wolverhampton/Wednesbury/Birmingham)
Myres (Wolverhampton)
Palmer (Nottingham)
Cosby (Leighton Buzzard/Woodstock/Kidlington)
Hope (Oxford/Kidlington/Woodstock)
Williams (Yorkshire/Conisborough)
Draper (Bow Brickhill)
Draper Smith (Bow Brickhill/Woburn Sands)
Smith (Woburn Sands)

Offline jim1

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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 08 December 18 16:28 GMT (UK) »
About all can glean from the photo is that he's wearing the 1908 pattern tunic. This was modified at the end of 1915 & replaced with the economy tunic & this is the one men wore who went in after 1916. So although your man didn't go overseas before 1916 he was a volunteer & not a conscript.
The photo was probably taken in the UK (no bandolier or war saddle) prior to embarkation.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline emjsw

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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 08 December 18 20:24 GMT (UK) »
About all can glean from the photo is that he's wearing the 1908 pattern tunic. This was modified at the end of 1915 & replaced with the economy tunic & this is the one men wore who went in after 1916. So although your man didn't go overseas before 1916 he was a volunteer & not a conscript.
The photo was probably taken in the UK (no bandolier or war saddle) prior to embarkation.

Hi there,

That is really interesting and all new information, we didn't realise he was a volunteer, he was in his late 30s and had a wife and children at this time.

Thanks ever so much for sharing your expertise with me.

Best wishes Emma
Sweetland (Chard/Yarcoombe/Honiton)
Garret/Stacey (Somerset)
Boultern/Boulton (Reading)
Crowther (Wolverhampton/Wednesbury/Birmingham)
Myres (Wolverhampton)
Palmer (Nottingham)
Cosby (Leighton Buzzard/Woodstock/Kidlington)
Hope (Oxford/Kidlington/Woodstock)
Williams (Yorkshire/Conisborough)
Draper (Bow Brickhill)
Draper Smith (Bow Brickhill/Woburn Sands)
Smith (Woburn Sands)

Offline emjsw

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  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
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Re: William T Cosby b. 1878 Royal Engineers
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 08 December 18 21:24 GMT (UK) »
About all can glean from the photo is that he's wearing the 1908 pattern tunic. This was modified at the end of 1915 & replaced with the economy tunic & this is the one men wore who went in after 1916. So although your man didn't go overseas before 1916 he was a volunteer & not a conscript.
The photo was probably taken in the UK (no bandolier or war saddle) prior to embarkation.

Sorry please could I ask you another question?

My great great uncle who knew William has just told me the only things he knew about William's service:

" The word I had was that due to his
experience with horses, he was put in charge of the stable area where
the horses were used to tow the guns to the front, one of his jobs was
to tow the gun up, do a 180deg to allow the gun to face the enemy lines,
unhook the horse and return to the stable area.

Mum (Ethel) did tell me that one of the things that got him in trouble
was running a crown and anchor game behind the lines and cleaning
everyone out!"

So given what he was doing do you think he might have been in one of the following RE divisions (if they existed as I am just guessing here): field division, artillery division or maybe even the cavalry?

Best wishes Emma
Sweetland (Chard/Yarcoombe/Honiton)
Garret/Stacey (Somerset)
Boultern/Boulton (Reading)
Crowther (Wolverhampton/Wednesbury/Birmingham)
Myres (Wolverhampton)
Palmer (Nottingham)
Cosby (Leighton Buzzard/Woodstock/Kidlington)
Hope (Oxford/Kidlington/Woodstock)
Williams (Yorkshire/Conisborough)
Draper (Bow Brickhill)
Draper Smith (Bow Brickhill/Woburn Sands)
Smith (Woburn Sands)