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Film Zulu Dawn quote: “Excuse me, my Lord, there's something I must convey to you. I rode along the track down to Rorke's Drift. The sky above is red with fire. Your orders my Lord? Do we move to the drift?”
 
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 5th Corporal in British Companies

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Herbie



Posts : 59
Join date : 2017-11-16
Age : 55
Location : Epsom, Surrey

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PostSubject: 5th Corporal in British Companies   5th Corporal in British Companies EmptyThu Oct 04, 2018 9:58 pm

I wonder if anyone on the forum can help with this please. Whilst a British infantry company had 4 sections and therefore 4 Sergeants and 4 Corporals as Section commander and 2ic, I believe it was fairly common to have a 5th Cpl per Company where possible (many companies falling short in the number of NCOs).

Does anyone have any information on the duties of this NCO? I’m guessing it was some type of Company clerk or storeman role?

B Coy 2/24th at Rorkes drift for example had 5 Cpls as well as 4 Sgt’s or L/Sgt’s. Is it known which one of the Cpls filled this role?

Thanks Phil
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barry

barry

Posts : 922
Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Algoa Bay

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PostSubject: 5th Corporal in a company   5th Corporal in British Companies EmptyFri Oct 05, 2018 4:54 am

Hi Herbie,
Latterly, some companies were structured with an HQ section, officered/structured to suit the task at hand. This arrangement, or something similar, may have applied in the AZW.


Regards

barry
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Kenny



Posts : 407
Join date : 2013-05-07
Location : Brecon

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PostSubject: Re: 5th Corporal in British Companies   5th Corporal in British Companies EmptyFri Oct 05, 2018 7:23 am

As we know from 2452 John Bassage’s diary that he was Cpl/storeman/clerk of C Company 2/24th.
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Herbie



Posts : 59
Join date : 2017-11-16
Age : 55
Location : Epsom, Surrey

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PostSubject: Re: 5th Corporal in British Companies   5th Corporal in British Companies EmptyFri Oct 05, 2018 11:02 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I found the Bassage thread on the forum which is interesting. I’m guessing C/Sgt Bourne would have been grateful for some help in B Coy HQ given he was juggling the jobs of CSM, CQMS and covering a officer vacancy or 2 as well!
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Kenny



Posts : 407
Join date : 2013-05-07
Location : Brecon

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PostSubject: Re: 5th Corporal in British Companies   5th Corporal in British Companies EmptySun Oct 07, 2018 1:25 pm

One possibility for the clerk/storeman for B Coy 2/24th, although there appears to be no evidence, is Cpl William Wilson Allen - he had all the literary skills having been an assistant schoolmaster at Brecon Barracks before being posted to the 2nd Battalion.
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Herbie



Posts : 59
Join date : 2017-11-16
Age : 55
Location : Epsom, Surrey

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PostSubject: Re: 5th Corporal in British Companies   5th Corporal in British Companies EmptySun Oct 07, 2018 3:39 pm

You could be right about Cpl Allen Kenny, a storeman/clerk would surely need to be literate. I did wonder about him as well as from various accounts (eg in Neil Thornton’s RD a new perspective) he seems to have been cutting around the defences a lot so maybe wasn’t tied to a section of blokes. On the other hand I believe he led one of the 2 sections of skirmishers under CSgt Bourne before the battle (the other led by Cpl Lyons) although perhaps these were ad hoc sections from men available? Presumably as both Cpl Lyons and Allen were stationed next to each other initially on the back wall with Sgt Gallagher’s section one of them was Gallagher’s 2ic and the other was freewheeling? Allen was also one of the old soldiers which could fit the mould for the job although Cpl French also fits that bill too. Of course it’s quite possible that the rigidity of the Company / section structure was ignored at RD and it demanded a more fluid, all hands to the pump type approach?
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