Those who served in both World Wars

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by skywalker, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Thunderbox

    Thunderbox Member

    I'm curious as to what your source would be for that second claim. Although there were plenty of reasons for the Germans to be hesistant about the prospects for SEALION, I've never heard that an outsized respect for the British WWI veteran had much to do with it.

    Certainly the Adjutant General's department of the War Office was rather less impressed by the utility of the veteran generation. War is a young man's game, after all, and enthusiasm alone cannot make up for the ravages of time and the atrophying of skills over twenty years. Although it was found necessary, for example, to recall many WWI-era officers from the Emergency Reserve to help train the rush of new conscripts in the summer and autumn of 1940, this was not seen as anything but a stopgap measure, the old lags having plenty of spirit but little knowledge of modern battle conditions.

    Best, Alan

    I'm thousands of miles away from my library, but I think its mentioned in Schirer's Rise and Fall etc - as part of OKW's assessment of British forces and manpower potentially deployed to defend against an invasion. IIRC it came from the same source documents that contained the projected German casualties in various scenarios, such as if London and other cities were defended.

    Many of the WW1 generation would still only have been 40-42 years of age; getting a bit slow for infantry work, but probably just fine for gunnery, support arms or as infantry in defensive tasks (i.e. defending urban fortifications).

    Of course updating modern weapons & tactics skills can be achieved at any battle school; the advantage of "old lags" is that they retain a remembered familiarity with military life, procedures, expectations - the bit that it takes new recruits significant time to come to terms with. This is very obvious when, say, you have a recruits' course that includes individuals with former military experience.

    There is plenty of contemporary evidence that former soldiers remain employable over several decades - after all, that is what happens in UK's current TA and Army reserves, particularly in specialist and officer pools.
     
  2. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    My Grandfather joined:
    King's Own Scottish Borderers (under age - discharged as unfit), then
    Royal Scots Fusiliers (under age - discharged as unfit), then
    Royal Field Artillery in WWI.

    He fought in WWII, but I don't know in which outfit.
     
  3. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    All members of the regiment had to carry out the March and Shoot every year in addition to normal training - in full battle order including ammo, normal field kit and rations. -all ranks from Major General down, the expansive fronted recruiting blokes had the look of horror on the pre march inspection! At the Guards depot we had young lads running on high octane whereas the older hands were running on the fumes from last evenings mess session. A young Jock said to his Superintending Sergeant a middle ranking diety , in a moment of madness or bravery 'will you's mak it tae the ranges Sergeant? He said I might be watching your back for the first couple of miles laddie but after 4 you will be looking at mine and after ten, fifteen or through the night you would be cursing me. The depot run was from Colony Gate for five miles up and over the sand hills then over the assault course and another mile to the ranges where a section had to hit the knock down and pop up targets at 25. 100, 200 and 300 random - with 70% of the issued ammunition, the GPMG had separate targets. One failed in a section the section failed! Many of us have run with the recruits and taken over the GPMG as well as our own kit on the run - just to remind the young Crows that we were still fit - total lies we did it from memory!
     
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  4. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    I'm thousands of miles away from my library, but I think its mentioned in Schirer's Rise and Fall etc - as part of OKW's assessment of British forces and manpower potentially deployed to defend against an invasion. IIRC it came from the same source documents that contained the projected German casualties in various scenarios, such as if London and other cities were defended.

    Many of the WW1 generation would still only have been 40-42 years of age; getting a bit slow for infantry work, but probably just fine for gunnery, support arms or as infantry in defensive tasks (i.e. defending urban fortifications).

    Of course updating modern weapons & tactics skills can be achieved at any battle school; the advantage of "old lags" is that they retain a remembered familiarity with military life, procedures, expectations - the bit that it takes new recruits significant time to come to terms with. This is very obvious when, say, you have a recruits' course that includes individuals with former military experience.

    There is plenty of contemporary evidence that former soldiers remain employable over several decades - after all, that is what happens in UK's current TA and Army reserves, particularly in specialist and officer pools.

    Interesting - I will take a look at Schirer to see. Thanks.

    Remember that I'm not speculating here (and I'm not sure that modern-day circumstances have much relevance anyway - life was considerably tougher in the first half the Twentieth Century, and people aged much faster). I'm describing the War Office's own view at the time. The Home Guard aside, it didn't seem to give too much weight to the 'veteran factor.' Certainly none but the very youngest men of that cohort were ever called up.

    Bet, Alan
     
  5. Ednamay

    Ednamay wanderer

    I have not ploughed all the way through this thread and I don't think I have submitted before, but my father served in both wars, being at Jutland during the first and wherever during the second.

    He was pensioned in 1934 and recalled in 1938 and put on 'alert'; when he went back in '38, he met a number of other pensioners while they all waited for a medical, to discover if any were fit for 'sea service'. Those who weren't were allocated to various roles to release younger men for sea service; he ended up by being drafted to the army for east coast defence, then Ganges to instruct older entrants, finally as instructor at Coatdyke Detention Quarters to cope with 'the lads' - luckily, he was first demob group in 1945.

    Edna
     
  6. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    The March and Shoot - modern?
     
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Just a small point,would the reference Schirer be Shirer who penned the excellent account "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".... typo.

    As regards the quality of troops,the younger the soldier,at his physical peak,given training and motivation,will return performance, a proven fact.

    There is a place in any defence organisation for those who have performed in the past but are in physical decline.Those expected to be involved in battlefield activity will be burnt out but others in the vanguard of leadership will continue in senior staff and command roles.However there is no reason why soldiers with past battlefield and service experience, cannot serve in support roles.It would be wrong to think that the latter could match the trained,younger soldier equipped with up to date weapons.

    Apparently 70 years ago the German feared an Allied invasion of Norway from intelligence that the Allies were massing barges,shipping and troops in the north of Scotland and Iceland.The Swedes were concerned that they would face a request from Germany to use its territory, to access Norway as there was some doubt that Germany could hold the seas to Oslo.

    What caught my eye was the question of manpower that Germany might have been able to spare, to counter an invasion of Scandinavia and especially if Sweden defended its neutrality on a German forced access through Sweden.

    What was pointed out was that German divisions in Denmark,Norway and Finland were known to be already denuded of many of their younger men.

    Without doubt, the cut and thrust of the dynamic battlefield belongs to the younger man.
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  9. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Was it not Montgomery who introduced fitness training for all including himself and staff, Reported that an 'old' colonel complained that if he did the run he would have a heart attack - it is recorded that Montgomery said - 'better to die now than when in command of men in the field!' Fitness with compassion - the army cares!
     
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Will's note reminds me of a Station Commander,he and his three W/Cs, Flying,Technical and Admin were all from the war era.

    The Station Commander took up his appointment,an ex Halton Brat,a Sgt Pilot in 1940 and a Group Captain by 1943 with a good track record in Bomber Command.He was about 36 at the time with his motivation still "bubbling" and he considered that his senior staff should be physically fit.

    His W/C s were in their early forties but he instructed them that on Wednesday afternoons they would be involved in physical fitness activity.Their exercise would be road running on the peritrack. Apparently they were not best pleased.

    Still draws a good laugh at reunions.On the other hand,young groundcrews on the squadrons needed little physical exercise as it was, clambering over airframes ,dragging trollyacs and manhandling PE sets every day, kept us fit.....didn't require organised fitness training.Then was the kick abouts,in the light evenings after work with a visit to the NAFFI following or walking 3 miles to the nearest pub.

    There was the case of General staff dying on the battlefield from natural causes rather than a death caused by the enemy.Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt died aged 57 from a heart attack during the assault on Utah Beach. on 6 June 1944.
     
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

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  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    My grandfather enlisted in 1913 serving with 1IG and then again with RA in Oct 1939, serving At Home in AA Battery.
    His 2 younger brothers also volunteered to serve in both wars. The youngest was too young to be sent abroad in WW1 but served with BLA in 1944/45 in Pioneer Corps, seeing more or less the same areas which my father did with the GAD. The other's service is a bit sketchier with him having served in the main under a false name in WW1 and having "something to do with troop movement" in WW2. He'd served with Innisk. Dragoon Guards well into the 1930s.

    Of his 2 elder brothers: one was badly wounded in WW1 and thus not medically fit and the eldest was too old, for service in WW2.
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    The reason I chose to bump this thread is that in 1949, when I first started marching on the AJEX parade we had lots of veterans from WW1 on parade and each contingent had its own band to lead them on to Horseguards.

    These WW1 veterans sadly drifted away over the years since then and now, I confess, the same has applied to those who served in ww2.

    I doubt if I will see, for example, many Africa Stars on parade this year :(

    Ron
     
  15. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    As mentioned on another thread I have recently discovered that a second old boy of our school died in the Second World War having served throughout the First. Bert Minton, a pre-war regular with the 11th Hussars, arrived in France on 13th August 1914, was badly wounded in the First Battle of Ypres, recovered, served as an infantryman in Mesopotamia and the Western Front, where he was wounded again in the Third Battle of Ypres, rejoined the cavalry for the last months of the war and served postwar in the Rhineland occupation force and in the Chanak Crisis in 1922. In 1941 he died while serving as Mate of the cargo vessel 'Brier Rose' during the Battle of the Atlantic. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial.
    I used his account of the fighting at Messines in October 1914, published in the local newspaper a week later, on our recent battlefields tour and in our school Armistice Day assembly.
     
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  16. kiwi craig

    kiwi craig Member

    This is summery of another research project I have been working on. He did not do any active service in WW11


    Robert Heaton Livingston.
    In the Christchurch memorial RSA’s museum collection there are several items that belonged to Robert Heaton Smith. I have done limited research on him, but would like to contact anyone who knew him, either family or friends.
    Form his records held in the National Archives, and the British National Archives, he has had an interesting career.
    Born in Timaru in 1892, he completed three years Territorial service before joining the NZEF in August 1914, shortly after war was declared. His Regimental Number was 6/86, and wad posted to the Canterbury Infantry Battalion. He left NZ on the first troop ships to head for England. While at sea the ships were diverted to Egypt, arriving there in December 1914.
    In April 1915 he took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, promoted to Lance Corporal, and was wounded in the shoulder at Suvla Bay. He was evacuated back to NZ arriving in February 1916 and medically discharged in February 1916.
    Sometime in 1916 Robert paid his own passage to England, and joined the British Army. In August 1916 he was admitted to Officer Cadet Unit and gained a commission as a Second Lieutenant. From there he was posted to the 4th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. Regimental number 31856. In April 1917 he embarked to France. Unfortunately the British records are a bit vague on detail, this is my interpretation of events. While in France he was wounded again, and evacuated back to England. He was given a desk job while he recovered. He applied to the Royal Flying Corp, to become a pilot. Although he commenced flying lessons he was deemed medically unfit for flying. He went back to France in January 1918.
    He was discharged from the UK Army in May 1919, with the rank of Captain, but sometime during his service he receive an OBE and was Mentioned in Dispatches. On retuning to NZ he completed his law degree. The period between the wars is a bit of a blank. Through newspaper clippings it appears he married, and attended many social functions and invoved with the Mounted Rifle. I can’t find any record of his between the war services.
    With the outbreak of WW11 Robert re-enlisted in The NZ Army August 1940. He maintained his rank of Captain and soon promoted to Major. Robert was attached to the Fortress Area 10, Christchurch and Lyttelton. He left the Army in 1944. Within the RSA’S collection we have many items of Heaton’s, including his saddle blanket, and hat from his time with the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry. These were both ladled Lt/Col R H Heaton OBE MBE
     
  17. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member Patron

    Another veteran of the First Word War who was killed in action in the Second was Pte. 14392911 Frederick William Polkinhorn, 9th Battalion, The Royal Sussex Rgt. He was killed in action on 5.8.1942 in combat on Hill 60 in Northern Burma. He was 42 at the time and the demands of combat and jungle conditions cannot have been easy at his age. He is buried in Taukkyan and his name also appears on the Barcombe War Memorial in Sussex.
     
  18. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    I have been researching a guy who lied in the first world war about his age as he was under age and joined the Artists and then RFC then lied again as he was too old to get into the RAF and flew operational duties in World War 2 and ended up working on the development of the Lancaster.

    Others include Corporal Jones and Private Godfrey!!!!!

    Regards,

    Nick
     
  19. Uncle George

    Uncle George Active Member

    This chain of service is worth a mention:

    Winfield Scott (War of 1812 and American Civil War);

    Peter Conover Hains (American Civil War, Spanish-American War, WW1);

    Douglas MacArthur (WW1, WW2, Korean War).
     
  20. LukeProudfoot

    LukeProudfoot New Member

    My great-grandfather, Henry Charles Victor Bicknell, fought in the Machine Gun Corps in WW1 then enlisted in WW2 in 1940. He served as an AA gunner in the south of England before moving on to RAOC. He was medically discharged in 1942, I'm unsure why as his records don't say.
     

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