Royal Engineers

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Greyhound, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Greyhound

    Greyhound Junior Member

    Hello all, first post here but some of you may know me from the GWF.

    Can anyone throw any light on the RE 12 Docks Labour Corps? We have an early WWII casualty on our war memorial, one of a few servicemen buried in a Brittany churchyard. His death went unreported in the local paper. and I'd like, if possible, to find out more about what he would have been doing and what happened to him.

    Initials: N E
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Second Lieutenant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Engineers
    Unit Text: 12 Docks Labour Corps.
    Age: 39
    Date of Death: 09/11/1939
    Service No: 97706
    Additional information: Son of Reginald Crook Mount and Agnes Annie Mount, of Reading, Berkshire; husband of Olive Dorothy Mount, of Reading.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference:Grave 14.
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello, welcome to the forum.

    I think that the Unit title probably gives a good idea about what he was doing.

    Brest was a major BEF supply port for Ammunition, Motor transport and General Stores which were then moved inland to the base marshalling yard at Rennes. The Royal Engineers were responsible for the operation and maintenance of ports and railways etc. and their labour units would have been involved in construction type tasks.

    The men involved would often have been more elderly reservists or those who didn't fully meet physical standards.

    There are a number of burials in Lesneven which pre-date the invasion of Belgium and France on 10th May. I am not aware of any earlier hostile action that far west. Mention is often made of the successful transport of the first BEF units to France without a single loss of life. That this was worthy of comment probably suggests that losses were expected. I think that Lieutenant Mount is unlikely to have died as the result of enemy action, meaning probably illness, an industrial accident or a road accident.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Weren't there Pioneer/Labour units that were actually recruited from Dockers for such specialist jobs?
    Sure I've seen it mentioned before somewhere?
    No idea where now, I'll have a shufti.


    (and of course; welcome Greyhound!)
  4. Greyhound

    Greyhound Junior Member

    Thanks, that all makes sense. Accident seems most likely, and presumably it wasn't desirable for attention to be drawn to these operations, hence nothing in the paper.

    I don't think he would have been a dockworker as a civilian; he had been a pub licensee immediately prior to the war, and I'm inclined to think he may have had some previous military service, as someone who remembers him referred to him as "Captain" Mount. So he was very possibly a reservist.
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I think that his rank makes it almost certain that he had former service as an Officer and was called back from the reserve. The fact that he was known as "Captain" down the pub might not mean that was his actual pre-war rank. Isn't it actually convention that only Majors and above customarily used their rank titles in civilian life ?

    I can't imagine that there were many stevedores in Reading either :)

    I wonder if there would have been Death Certificates issued at this stage of the war, bearing in mind that there had been few deaths at that time due to enemy action.

    Researching this type of unit is difficult. No nice published histories. There may well be a War Diary at Kew as I imagine that if they were still based around Brest, the unit would have been safely evacuated in time with some paperwork. I am sure that the death of an Officer would be mentioned if the document still exists.
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Sorry, I thought the query was as much to do with the type of unit 12 Docks Labour Corps might be rather than pure genealogy of the officer.
    (hmmm, is it genealogy if you're not related? S'pose not..)

    These chaps might be able to help:
    Royal Pioneer Corps
    Seem very proud of their history.
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  8. Greyhound

    Greyhound Junior Member

    Great stuff, guys, that's given me quite a bit to go on. Two very interesting links saved for deeper perusal. I had wondered about a death certificate, but the War Diary is a possibility worth looking into as well.

    This is war memorial research, so it's about lives, deaths, genealogy and military history all combined. You try to put a man's story together, so he isn't reduced to a forgotten name on a plaque. And you learn a lot along the way - I freely admit to having never heard of RE 12 Docks Labour Corps before! But now I'm interested in it as a part of the whole picture.

    Thanks all for your help.

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