DBRE Locations in '45/'46 (Depot Battalion Royal Engineers)

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by RE864CoyPaul, May 24, 2021.

  1. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    Hi, could anyone help me in identifying the locations of three DBRE (Depot Battalion Royal Engineers) in December 1945 and January 1946 please?

    I'm uncovering my Grandads war experience and he returned home from India and Burma at the end of '45, landing in Liverpool in December.

    The only entries after this are as follows:

    13/12/45 - 4 (D) DBRE
    14/12/45 - 5 DBRE
    31/1/46 - 1 (SME) DBRE.

    I'm hoping someone can help me identify where these were please, so I can trace his journey back from Liverpool to when he was demobbed.
    Also, any information as to what these depots were, would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  2. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    Hi Paul

    D = Drafting
    SME = School of Military Engineering

    I have looked at the extract of your grandad's records in your other thread re repatriation from India etc. Based on that extract, on his return to UK he was:
    - initially posted to the strength of 4 (Drafting) D.B.R.E., probably with other members of his unit, pending a decision on where to send him.
    - he was then posted (i.e. drafted) to 5 D.B.R.E., which was a Holding unit (i.e. 5(H) D.B.R.E.) i.e. he was effectively in transit.
    - from there, he was posted to 1 (School of Military Engineering) D.B.R.E.

    At the moment I do not know where 4(D) D.B.R.E. was based, however from my records (incomplete), 5 (H) D.B.R.E. was based at Barton Stacey and 1 (SME) D.B.R.E. was based at Ripon.

    If you have his full service records, could you post an extract of his B103 (Service and Casualty Form) as this may well provide a clue as to the whereabouts of these units, or confirm the above.

    As the name suggests, a Drafting Battalion was responsible for deciding and arranging for the movement of personnel between the different RE units to fill vacancies etc. i.e a bit like a jigsaw puzzle and fitting the pieces into the appropriate shapes, whereas a Holding Battalion temporarily held personnel on strength pending the move to their new unit.

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  3. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    Hi Steve, thanks so much for your help and a lot of information!
    I've taken a few pics of the relevant page of his B103 and will try to upload them on here now ..

    Attached Files:

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  4. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    I also found one more form that mentions the dbre, so I'll add those here although it's not really anything more than what's on the others. It does however have some stamps on it that I'm assuming are connected to him being processed for leaving (posted to Y list then released to class Z)

    Thanks again for everything!

    Attached Files:

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  5. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Paul.

    I had hoped that they might have shown an actual location, but note that the entry in Col D (Place of Casualty) it is only shown as "U.K.". I think it all depends who was making the entries in the individual's records!

    By comparison, my dad's B103-2 (Service and Casualty Form) showed actual locations e.g.
    - Stockton on Tees (Aug 1940),
    - Hurworth (Feb 1941),
    - Felton (when on a course) (June 1941),
    - Halifax (July 1941, when posted to 2 (FB) D.B.R.E. ) prior to transfer to another Field Company.
    Thereafter, Col D shows a general location - Home. MEF, Home. UK, NWE.
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  6. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    Thanks again Steve.
    Yep, unfortunately my grandad obviously had admins who were light on the details lol

    having the Barton Stacey and Ripon locations is fantastic though, so thank you for that! And the drafting depot location isn't really that important to be honest (at least for my Grandads records) as he's only showing there for one day and to be honest, I guess there's every chance he didn't actually physically go there and was just diverted straight to Barton Stacey, considering its such a quick jump from drafting to holding depots. I know from other family service records that it's not uncommon to have entries that are purely administrative and in all likelihood the actual person didn't physically go there.
    Even if my grandad did, it was only for 24 hours, which is a drop in the ocean to the six years service he put in :)
    But the holding and SME locations are fantastic to now know, as he was definitely at those locations and the latter he was at until May '46 (it's actually 75 years ago today!) when he was posted to the Y list for release! (The release paperwork is stamped with 1SME DBRE)

    Thank you again, I really appreciate it!
    sjw8 likes this.
  7. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    No problem.

    The "Drafting" battalion was more of an administration unit, staffed by clerks etc., and was a notional posting whilst moving between units i.e. once a soldier left one unit and assigned to his new unit. So you are correct that he would not report directly to 4 (Drafting) D.B.R.E.

    I can only surmise that in your grandad's case, he leaves India and arrives in UK and is "posted" to 4 (D) D.B.R.E. on 13/12/45, who assigns him, on the 14/12/45, to 5 (Holding) D.B.R.E. He is then "held" on the strength at 5 (H) D.B.R.E. until he is found a slot at 1 (SME) D.B.R.E. on 31/01/46.

    As he came back from India on the PYTHON scheme, he would be entitled to a period of leave depending on length of time abroad and I would suggest that he could have been on an extended period of leave in the approx. 7 week period between 14/12/45 and 31/01/46 - this should be shown / confirmed in his records.

    Last edited: May 25, 2021

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