I have been through the links that you sent as I am a unit historian for the band field. I did however find referances to CROTB and CTROB S&DE units in my WWI resurch. They used the designators for the state side units as oposed to the overseas units at that time. For example there was a 14th Engineers (Light Railway) and a 14th Engineers (CTROB S&DE). I have not gone into depth on the standard gauge side of things, but I can tell you that this is what I have found on the 14th (Light Railway).
The 14th Engineers began training at an old race track near Salem, NH called Rockingham Park on June 25th, 1917. Although the training was going very well, uniforms and gear were in very short supply for the 14th. Some of the men didn’t get overcoats, and others didn’t receive ANY uniforms until they were en route to France. This carried over to the weapons as well, with pistols being issued without holsters, and rifles being the Model 1889 "Trapdoor" Rifle or the Model 1896 Krag-Jorgensen Rifle from the Spanish American War. The 14th was in basic training for only a month, and left for war with 37 officers and 1168 men. They arrived in England on August 13th, 1917 and met up with the 12th Engineers (light railway) parading through London on their way to France. By the 18th of August, they were in Boulogne France assigned to the British 3rd Army at Boisleux and Poziers.
The disappointments of uniform issues and the British equipment continued for the boys during this time though. They finally got overcoats, but the overcoats were Canadian ones with the British crown on the buttons. The British locomotives and equipment were in such a poor state that the 14th was forced to run their repair shop 24 hours a day, and the track sections as well worked to try and fix the “utterly disgusting” track conditions that lead to the 14ths first casualty on September 13th when one man was killed in a collision.
The 14th was always very close to the front lines, and always in range of the Axis guns often taking heavy artillery and bombs in their areas. They stayed with this for 9 months with surprisingly few casualties. One man died of pneumonia, a few were gassed when a German gas shell hit the gas mechanical locomotive they were running, and 2 were wounded by shrapnel walking the track. During the March push by the Germans, the 14th worked through and in the worst of the shelling to evacuate British wounded to first aid and hospitals farther back from the front. With a little bit of luck, no one from the 14th was killed during this and they were able to withdraw with the British from Boisleux to Wailly.
After what they had endured for 9 months, the 14th was sent to camps farther from the front in Hauteville and Berneville where they were refit, and even received “new” and modern British Enfield rifles that they used to train in infantry tactics because there was real possibility that they would be sent in as infantry, and needed to be ready. Thankfully though, this didn’t happen and on May 18th, 1918 the regiment found itself in Calais for some well deserved R&R from front line duties. They still were working while there though, and while working on the standard gauge in late June and early July, 70% of the unit caught the Spanish Flu. Somehow, only one mad died from meningitis following the flu.
Everything all better, and the regiment rested, they detached from the British and went to work for the American 1st Army in the Aisne-Marne sector. They stayed there until Oct 3rd, when the 1st battalion 14th was ordered to Abainville and Sorcey Railhead. They stayed there until March 6th 1919.
The 2nd Battalion meanwhile on Oct 2nd 1918 took over operation of the German light railways that had been captured in the Argonne offensive. After stabilization work on the connecting track between the two (Allied and German) rail systems, the 2nd Battalion was ordered to Rattentout to take over from the 12th Engineers. There the 14th was in charge of supplying the right flank of the 1st American Army and the left flank of the 2nd American Army with everything from beans to bullets. They stated there getting ready for the major american offensive that never came due to the armistis.
The above came from the book Narrow Gauge to No Mans Land.
Thank you for all the awsome information, I have not kept up my notes on the railroad units past WWII...and I think it would be awsome to combine our notes sometime. I have almost everything up to about 1950.
I've got stuff on the
12th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 712th, 713th, 714th, 716th, 717th, 718th, 719th , 721st-728th, 732nd, 733rd, 740th, 743rd-746th, 748th, 749th, 752nd, 753rd, 755th, 758th, 759th, 760th, 762nd, 763rd, and 770th. I have a few things from the 3rd TMRS durring their time in Japan after WWII, but that's about as late as I go. I haven't gotten into the Korean stuff yet.
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