Thursday, March 19, 2015

312568 Private Albert Malthouse, Labour Corps

Chailey Parish Magazine first notes A Malthouse in December 1915, noting:  Malthouse, Pte A, NR, England.  In March 1916, the parish magazine notes that he is in India, and in December 1916, notes that he is now serving with the 24th Rifle Brigade.  This entry is then repeated up to and including the final published entry for this man in March 1917. 

Albert was an old solider who had first joined the Royal Sussex Regiment at Petworth on 30th November 1885.  He was nineteen years and two months old and already serving part time with the 4th (militia) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment when he enlisted for a period of seven years with the Colours and five on the Reserve.  His attestation papers note that he was born at St John’s near Burgess Hill in Sussex, and that he was a labourer by trade.  He was five feet seven inches tall and weighed 133.5 lbs.  He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.  He gave his next of kin as his mother, Mrs Maria Donovan of Manor Cottage, World’s End, Burgess Hill, Sussex. 

Albert was posted to the Royal Sussex Regiment Depot and given the number 2128.  He was in England for less than a year when he was sent abroad to India with the 2nd Battalion. His Indian service reckons from 8th October 1886 to 29th December 1893, a total of seven years and eighty three days.  During that time, he was his first Good Conduct pay (in 1888) and second Good Conduct pay (in 1891).  He returned home to England on 30th December 1893 and then re-engaged with the Royal Sussex Regiment in July 1897.  The terms of this engagement are not clear from his surviving papers but on February 3rd 1900, with his country at war with South Africa, he was recalled to the colours and posted to the 1st Royal Sussex Regiment 16 days later.  He certainly saw service in South Africa and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal (with four clasps) and the King’s South Africa Medal (with two clasps). He was discharged from the army on 25th August 1902. 

And that is where it might have ended.  However, like many old soldiers, Albert could not completely give up military life.  When Britain declared war with Germany, Albert re-enlisted with The National Reserve (The NR as noted by Chailey Parish Magazine).  He joined up on 4th November 1914 at the age of 48 years.  The following information about the National Reserve is taken from Chris Baker’s site, The Long, Long Trail:

The National Reserve was created prior to 1914 and was, in essence, a register maintained by Territorial Force County Associations of all those who had military experience, but who had no other reserve obligation. It was divided in three classes – I those under 42 in age, II officers and senior ranks under 55 and junior ranks under 50 for home service only, III those who were not medically fit for Classes I and II. Its strength as at 1 Oct 1913 was 215,000 all ranks.  

In October 1914, the National Reserve was formed into Protection Companies, which were attached to existing TF battalions, for the guarding of railways and other vulnerable points in Britain. That November, all Class I and II men were ordered to present themselves for enlistment. In March 1915 the Protection Companies became Supernumerary Companies TF. In July 1915 there was a wide scale trawl of these companies to identify men capable of marching 10 miles with a rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition. Those who were medical Category A went to Service battalions, while Category C's were posted to Provisional battalions. Cat B men were formed into the 18th-24th Battalions of the Rifle Brigade TF. These battalions were sent to Egypt and India at the end of 1915 to replace TF units committed to the Dardanelles and Mesopotamia. The rump left in Britain eventually formed the 25th Battalion Rifle Brigade TF and served as a Garrison battalion at Falmouth. As for the Supernumerary Companies, they were eventually formed into the Royal Defence Corps.

Albert’s service record indicates that he was posted first to No 3 [Protection] Company of the 5th Royal Sussex Regiment where he remained until the autumn of the following year.  On 30th October 1915, as mentioned above, he was transferred to the 24th Rifle Brigade and shortly afterwards, in January 1916, was back in India for a further one year and 150 days.  Another man commemorated on this website, Thomas William Deadman, was also serving with the 24th Rifle Brigade in India at this time. 

Albert returned to England in June 1917 and was then transferred to the Labour Corps (number 312568).  He was then posted to a succession of Agricultural Companies (476 in July 1917, 434 in April 1918 and 681 in September 1918) before being posted to the Labour Centre in November 1918.  He was discharged from the army on February 11th 1919 being “no longer physically fit for War Service”.  Rheumatism, aggravated by military service, is noted as the cause of his discharge. 

Albert’s total army service, excluding time on the Army Reserve, was reckoned at 16 years and 269 days.  To add to his South African campaign medals he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and also a silver war badge.

Albert appears on Reverend Jellicoe’s roll of serving men because he was living within parish boundaries when he enlisted.  His WW1 service papers give his next of kin as his wife, Mrs Sophia Malthouse of Plough Cottages, Plumpton.

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