Author Topic: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2  (Read 192 times)

Offline Brewins girl

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Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« on: Friday 17 May 19 13:53 BST (UK) »
I have a puzzle. The writer of some letters in my possession served with REME in WW2 and at this point, December 1943/January 1944, he was still stationed in England. He was on leave for ten days, spanning the Christmas period. In his letter to his sweetheart, written from his home, he said that he would have to return to his Unit in Eastbourne at the end of his leave. His first letter after his return from leave informs us however that he returned to Upstreet, near Canterbury - a completely different place. My puzzle/question is:- assuming that he had been told to report to Eastbourne when he left his unit to go on leave, how would he have received the instructions to report to a different location? The same question applies to any other soldier on leave at that time - what means of communication would there have been in these situations? I imagine that perhaps telegrams were used, or maybe they had some arrangements at railway stations? If anyone can point me in the direction of a source of information about this (printed material at the time perhaps? or an authenticated account?) I would be very grateful. I'm also interested in hearing from a serving or ex-military member of the forum who can explain how they were informed of changes whilst they were on leave (ie post-WW2 and in the modern, technologically advanced era) 
Brooking (REME)
Robinson (RAF)
Southall (Pedmore, nr Stourbridge UK)

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Offline MaxD

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #1 on: Friday 17 May 19 15:53 BST (UK) »
Telegrams.  Have a search of newspapers of the time (I looked at those on FindMyPast).   There are a number of examples of "telegram recalling him from leave" and "official telegram" and similar.  There is also anecdotal material about the ubiquity of the telegram service to be found on the net.  Certain types of telegram were discontinued in 1943 and charges were raised for private telegrams because "manpower [in the telegraph service] is scarce and telegram traffic has grown enormously" quote from a newspaper ad.

In my own 36 years service I don't recall ever being recalled from leave but that was during less turbulent times!

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
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Offline philipsearching

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #2 on: Friday 17 May 19 16:01 BST (UK) »
Telegrams were (I believe) the most frequent method.

There are some stories of policemen being sent to recall people on leave, but the only two I can verify are for a soldier and a sailor who overstayed their leave (so AWOL) c1941.

Philip
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Offline dowdstree

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #3 on: Friday 17 May 19 19:47 BST (UK) »
My dad was a member of the Territorial Army (sorry if I have the terminology wrong) in the late 1930's.

He was sent a telegram on the 3rd August 1939 to report for duty on the following day. War was declared on the 4th August 1939.

I still have the telegram.

Dorrie
Small, County Antrim & Dundee
Dickson, County Down & Dundee
Madden, County Westmeath
Patrick, Fife
Easson, Fife
Leslie, Fife
Paterson, Fife

Offline Jebber

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #4 on: Friday 17 May 19 22:20 BST (UK) »
Have you ruled out the possibility that there was a telephone at his home? We had one at that time, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that his family also had a telephone.
CHOULES All ,  COKER Harwich Essex & Rochester Kent 
COLE Gt. Oakley, & Lt. Oakley, Essex.
DUNCAN Kent
EVERITT Colchester,  Dovercourt & Harwich Essex
GULLIVER/GULLOFER Fifehead Magdalen Dorset
HORSCROFT Kent.
KING Sturminster Newton, Dorset. MONK Odiham Ham.
SCOTT Wrabness, Essex
WILKINS Stour Provost, Dorset.
WICKHAM All in North Essex.
WICKHAM Medway Towns, Kent from 1880
WICKHAM, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Offline Brewins girl

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 18 May 19 07:19 BST (UK) »
Thank you Jabber. I do know that his family did not have a phone, although it is possible of course that neighbours did.

Thank you philipsearching and Max D - I did wonder about telegrams, & certainly he used those to send to his sweetheart very occasionally. My husband thinks there might have been ‘movement control officers’ ( unsure of the title) & he recalls having to report to a railway station at the end of leave, but that was in the late 1950s (National Service)

Thank you Dorrie. Just a matter of clarification - Britain & France declared war on Germany on 3 Sept (not August) 1939 after Hitler invaded Poland on 1 September. 
Brooking (REME)
Robinson (RAF)
Southall (Pedmore, nr Stourbridge UK)

Offline dowdstree

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 18 May 19 08:47 BST (UK) »
Sorry my error with the date. Why on earth did I type August??

I enjoyed reading your post and the answers.

Dorrie
Small, County Antrim & Dundee
Dickson, County Down & Dundee
Madden, County Westmeath
Patrick, Fife
Easson, Fife
Leslie, Fife
Paterson, Fife

Offline Brewins girl

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 18 May 19 08:49 BST (UK) »
No worries dorrie - easily done!  ;)
Brooking (REME)
Robinson (RAF)
Southall (Pedmore, nr Stourbridge UK)

Offline MaxD

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Re: Military communication with Soldiers on leave WW2
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 18 May 19 09:27 BST (UK) »
Sorry my error with the date. Why on earth did I type August??

You may have had the Great war declaration date (4 August 1914) in the dates pigeonhole in your mind!

Brewinsgirl - The people your husband remembers were more likely RTOs  - Railway Transport Officers - whose function was more to look after mass movements but also to assist individuals with problems getting to and fro.  There was indeed a Movement Control function in the Royal Engineers (now done by the RLC) but again primarily involved in the direction of movement.  A little light reading here:http://forcespublishing.co.uk/flipbooks/Army%20Movements/index.html

MaxD
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