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William Ambrose FORSYTHE, RE, 1893, Limerick

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Eileenlc
Posts: 23
Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 23:19

William Ambrose FORSYTHE, RE, 1893, Limerick

Post by Eileenlc »

William was born in Limerick in 1871, son of George FORSYTHE who was in the RIC. Enlistment papers on Ancestry and FMP show that William joined the Royal Engineers in Limerick, Ireland, in 1893 as a telegraphist, service no. 27347. He served at home until discharge at completion of his term in 1905. However, other records have him as living at with his brother in Dublin at the 1901 census and being employed by the Post Office as a telegraphist in 1890, 1901 (Dublin) and 1902 (Limerick). Details on both sets of records seem consistent with regard to birth, parents etc. There is a family history of service in the REs while a brother worked for the Post Office. Is it possible that he was employed by the Post Office while also serving in the Army? (Note that the family was very inconsistent about the final 'e' on FORSYTHE).
Thanks
Eileen
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AdrianBruce
Posts: 355
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 18:57
Location: South Cheshire

Re: William Ambrose FORSYTHE, RE, 1893, Limerick

Post by AdrianBruce »

Not sure how I can reconcile the 1901 (Dublin) and 1902 (Limerick) appearances with his Army papers.

The Military History Sheet says that all his 12y service was at "Home" - which means the UK (not just Ireland).

The Statement of Services shows that he joined on 6 Feb 1893. According to the front sheet (Short Service Attestation) he joined for 7y "with the Colors" (i.e. in uniform) then 5y "in the Reserve" (i.e. back in civilian life, but liable to call-up in the event of war). Seven years with the Colours would take him to Feb 1900 in uniform, allowing him to be back in Civvie St for the 1901 and 1902 appearances. However, that's not what happens...

On the Statement of Services, he's not transferred to the Army Reserve until 25 Nov 1902 ("on the expiration of his Army Service"). This leaves 2y 72d in the Reserve (I double checked with a date calculator!) which doesn't count towards his Army pension and therefore 9y 293d that do count. So, on the face of it, he's in the Army, in uniform, in the UK, from Feb 1893 to Nov 1902.

In the "Battalion or Depot" column, the 1899 and 1902 events have "2/TB". Looking at an 1899 Army List on Archive.Org, "TB" will be, I guess, "Telegraph Bn" (which makes sense at least!) which has a 1st Division at Aldersot and a 2nd Division (2/TB presumably) at London. Could it be that London is just the HQ of 2/TB, with soldiers in it (like William) possibly out-based? I don't know.

So, as I say, I can't reconcile the 1901 (Dublin) and 1902 (Limerick) appearances with his Army papers - unless by some chance he's on leave, of course.

I guess the other possibility is to wonder whether Maureen's references to RE telegraphists working in the PO have something to do with it - was the Army "reinforcing" communications in Ireland? But that's just speculation from me....
Adrian Bruce
VALLMO9
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Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 21:28

Re: William Ambrose FORSYTHE, RE, 1893, Limerick

Post by VALLMO9 »

This link briefly mentions the RE employed in maintaining and working a large part of the Post Office and railway telegraphs in Ireland: https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hans ... egraphists

Another link: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1 ... hEngineers
Eileenlc
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Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 23:19

Re: William Ambrose FORSYTHE, RE, 1893, Limerick

Post by Eileenlc »

Thank you both for your ideas. Like Adrian, I did wonder whether the PO in Ireland was using Army telegraphists as a security measure. William was still with the Post Office at the time of his death in 1923.
Eileen
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AdrianBruce
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Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 18:57
Location: South Cheshire

Re: William Ambrose FORSYTHE, RE, 1893, Limerick

Post by AdrianBruce »

VALLMO9 wrote: 16 Apr 2023, 21:52 This link briefly mentions the RE employed in maintaining and working a large part of the Post Office and railway telegraphs in Ireland: ...
So those are definitely pre-WW1 references, which fits better with William's story. Thanks for that!
Adrian Bruce
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