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The BWIR in WW1 - Edward E. PACKER

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:41 pm
by Krosfyah
My uncle, Edward Ernest Packer enlisted in Barbados shortly after the call to arms came in 1915. His registration number was 944 of more than 15,000 recruits from the British West Indian Islands. His battalion (the 1st) left for Seaford, England in the Fall of 1915 for training. Many recruits died both en route and in Seaford that winter. The 1st and 2nd battalions of the BWIR were eventually shipped to Egypt, where they would spend the rest of the war. Edward E. Packer never returned.

I have tried to find war records through England, only to learn that these were destroyed in WW2 bombing. I have not found anything in Barbados, but I may not be looking in the right places. Does anyone have a lead on where records of the BWIR battalions may be archived? Also any photos?

Re: The BWIR in WW1 - Edward E. PACKER

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:22 pm
by bimjim
The West India Regiment was part of the British Army, so many of the relevant documents are held in London at the (British) National Archives. If you have most of his military details, you can . digital records direct from the (British) National Archives.

Here are some links that look useful...
On this page, there are some details you can use to help you... for instance in this snippet...

"Battalions formed by the regiment
1st Battalion
Formed at Seaford, Sussex, England from West Indies volunteers: A Company from British Guiana, B from Trinidad, C from Trinidad & St. Vincent, D from Grenada & Barbados.
Served in Egypt and Palestine.
War diary September 1915 - April 1919 (WO95/4427, 4433, 4410, 4732)" have a direct reference to the War Diaries (War diary September 1915 - April 1919 (WO95/4427, 4433, 4410, 4732)) - and you will discover that all Archives just love to have all the numbers (it makes their job easier).

Here is Ainsley Harriot's WDYTYA page... ... it_2.shtml

This lists the Barbados Museum and Historical Society as a possible source of BWIR information, and I know the Library there does do research for a fee.

You will also notice that in various web pages the Regiment is loosely referred to as the British West Indies Regiment, the British West India Regiment, the West India Regiment and the West Indies Regiment,

In any case, it seems clear that the volunteers from Barbados were in the 1st Battalion, D Company - which served most of its time in Egypt.

Good luck!!


Re: The BWIR in WW1 - Edward E. PACKER

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:03 pm
by Krosfyah
Jim....thanks very much for your guidance. I will pursue all of these.....Jim

The BWIR in WW1

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:31 pm
by BMullin
I am looking for any information that I can get my hands on, on the fate of the men of the BWIR who were charged and sentenced in the aftermath of the mutiny in Taranto Italy. I am particularly interesting in finding out what happened to Private Sanches who served a 20 year prison sentence, I believe, for his leadership role in the mutiny, and also Privates: Myers, Munroe and Oxley . If anyone has any information regarding what happened to any of the 55 men involved - anecdotal or otherwise, I would be grateful. I am aware that some of the men went to live in Cuba when they returned, but my leads at the moment are woefully thin!

Re: The BWIR in WW1 - Edward E. PACKER

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:49 pm
by Krosfyah
There are two leads that may yield data for you: Dr. Glenford Howe has done extensive research on this subject and wrote "Race, War and Nationalism: A social history of West Indians in the First World War". I do not see the men that you seek mentioned in his book, but he should know about the sentencing. He is at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
Second, I have ordered copies of the War Diaries of the BWIR from the British National Archives. The pages I ordered unfortunately do not cover the dates of the Taranto mutiny (Dec 1918), and there is no guarantee that the war diary will give any details, but it is possible. The British Archives are hard to deal with as you must find the exact numbers via their website, then pay for paper copies. Good luck and please let me know what you find.

Re: The BWIR in WW1 - Edward E. PACKER

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:29 pm
by BMullin
Thanks for your quick reply. I have Glenford's Book and it is indeed useful as is Robert Hill's and Richard Smith's…I didn't know that I could get hold of the BWIR War Diaries! Ive had a look at parts of the war diaries at the National Library of Jamaica, but I will now try to see what I can rustle up from the National Archives! Thanks so much. I will keep you posted should I find more.

Re: The BWIR in WW1 - Edward E. PACKER

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:01 pm
by bimjim
As Administrator I constantly hope that users Post their progress and research here for the benefit of others. Also, because you may find one relative does not mean there are not others who will be out there at some point in the future looking for you again.

Of course, the more traffic (information) you put here the more there is in Google's database to send others here to connect with you. By all means go to the PM (Private Messaging) and then use emails to have private conversations, but please remember that this is a sharing resource and there may be something - like the record leads above - that helps someone else, even if they do not join in this conversation.

Best wishes,

Jim Lynch