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Royal Engineers

(formerly 3455 [201180] Private, 1st London Regiment,
85161 T/Corporal, The Cheshire Regiment and
602676 then 1856384 Warrant Officer Class I, R.E.)


Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis
© 2016.
  All Rights Reserved.


 Figure 1.  Captain Thomas Edward Schafer, Royal Engineers. [1]


       This research was initiated as a result of the acquisition of the medals of Captain Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. along with numerous photographs, items of ephemera and personal possessions.  The items acquired consist of the following:

  1. His medal group, which includes the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Defence Medal, 1939-1945 War Medal, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (GVR) and Meritorious Service Medal (GVIR).
  2. Nine studio photographs of Captain Schafer, his wife and his daughter.
  3. Twenty-three photographs and postcards of Schafer and men with whom he served over the span of his military career.
  4. Three newspaper cuttings describing the collapse of a bridge at Aldershot.
  5. Original documents including:

a.       His Soldier’s Service and Pay Book (Army Book 64).

b.      His Regular Army Certificate of Service (Army Form B.106).

c.       A certified copy of his Statement of Services (Army Form B. 200).

d.      A School of Education Certificate from Shorncliffe (Army Form C.363).

e.       His Army Certificates of Education, Second Class and First Class.

f.       His World War 2 Military Identity Card.

g.       A letter from the War Officer forwarding his Meritorious Service Medal to him.

  1. His Army-issue bible.
  2. A sterling silver cigarette case.
  3. A Parker fountain pen belonging to his daughter.

All of the items listed above provided the basis for much of the work presented in the following sections of this of this research report.


      Thomas Edward Schafer’s grandfather and grandmother both were born in Germany.  Table 1 below shows the members of the family of Henry and Katherine Schafer in 1891.  Their son, Frederick, was the father of Thomas Edward.  As far as it can be determined, Henry Schafer immigrated to England from Germany prior to 1871 and settled in Lancashire where he worked as a tailor. [2]   In 1881 he was still located in Lancashire and was working as a Master Tailor of men’s clothing. [3]   Based on the age of his daughter Elizabeth, it would appear that Henry and Katherine married in about 1871 and moved to London prior to 1891.

Table 1.  The 1891 Census of England and Wales (Grandparents)



Relation to Head of Family





Profession or Occupation

Where Born

Henry Schafer






Hanover, Germany

Katherine Schafer






Darmstadt, Germany

Elizabeth Schafer





Bethnal Green, London

Frederick Schafer





Tailor’s Assistant

Shoreditch, London

Anna Schafer




Tailor’s Assistant

Haggerston, London





Tailor’s Assistant

Mile End Old Town

Their address at the time of the census was 29 Turner Street, Mile End Old Town, Stepney, London in the East End not far from the Royal London Hospital and the Whitechapel train station.

            By about 1897 Frederick Schafer had his own family, having married and moved to St. Luke’s Parish in Finsbury, London as shown in Table 2 below.  Finsbury is a district of central London located immediately north of the City of London, east and north of Clerkenwell, west of Shoreditch, and south of Islington and City Road. It is in the south of the London Borough of Islington.  Lizard Street is the eastern boundary of Bartholomew Square and is only one block in length.

            Thomas Edward Schafer was born in St. Luke’s Parish on the 30th of November 1897.  As can be seen by an examination of Tables 1 and 2, Thomas’ father and grandfather, as well as other members of his family were in the tailoring business.

Table 2.  The 1901 Census of England and Wales (Parents)



Relation to

Head of Family






Profession or Occupation


Where Born

Frederick Schafer






Stepney, London

Lizzie Schafer






Bethnal Green, London

Thomas Schafer





St. Luke’s, London

Charles Schafer





St. Luke’s, London

1. The address of the household at the time of the census was 6 Lizard Street, St. Luke’s, Finsbury, London.

2.  Lizzie Schafer’s full and actual name was Eliza Mary Schafer.


            No record can be found of the family of Frederick Schafer in the 1911 Census of England and Wales; however, Thomas Edward Schafer does appear in the 1911 census as an inmate at the Poplar Training School, Hutton, Brentwood, Essex.  This institution was opened in 1905 and was given the name Training School or Residential Home to house destitute children from the district of Poplar in the east end of London.  The school was capable of housing anywhere from 400 to 700 children at any one time. Like much of London during the Victorian era the Borough of Poplar faced high poverty levels. As the 19th century drew to a close the workhouses and orphanages in the borough were trying to cope with significant overcrowding. The chairman of the Board of Guardians for the region, George Lansbury, saw an opportunity to expand their operations into the Essex countryside and convinced the Board to acquire 100 acres of land situated between Hutton and Shenfield on the Rayleigh Road. In 1906 the Board completed work on a self-contained community with its own stores, school, indoor swimming pool and an array of ancillary buildings alongside the accommodation for the staff and a significant number of orphans living in small groups.  During the course of this research nothing could be found to explain why the family of Frederick Schafer became destitute.  Apparently it did and Thomas Edward was consigned to the Poplar Training School sometime between 1906 and 1911.


Figure 2.  Poplar Workhouse, circa 1910.

            Thomas’ brother Charles, who apparently was unable to support himself as a teenager, was admitted to a number of workhouses between 1917 and 1918.  Records of London Workhouses show that Charles was admitted to the High Street Poplar Workhouse on the 5th of March 1917 and was discharged on the 16th of March 1917.  He was then admitted to the Bow Road Workhouse in London (date unknown) and was discharged from there on the 1st of December 1918.  He was immediately readmitted to the High Street Poplar Workhouse on that same date and remained there until he was discharged on the 6th of December 1919. [4]

            Searches for the location of the father of Thomas and Charles, Frederick Schafer, after 1901, did not produce any evidence of his whereabouts or if he was still alive.  It is possible that Frederick died sometime between 1901 and 1911.  The Death Registry for the third quarter of 1906 indicates that Eliza Mary (“Lizzie”) Schafer [5] died in that year, perhaps leaving both boys without any parents.  Since the boys were left unable to support themselves they became destitute and had to be admitted to workhouses.  Charles spent at least two years during the Great War in workhouses.  Thomas was able to leave that life early in 1915 when he turned 18 years of age and joined the Army.

3.  THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918

Enlistment in the Army

            Thomas Edward Schafer enlisted in the Army at Bloomsbury, London as a Private in the 1st City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) on the 25th of January 1915 for a period of four years with the Colours.  His Regimental Number was 3455.  On the 30th of January he was posted to the 2/1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) [6] in the 2/1st London Division.  His battalion embarked with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (M.E.F.) to Malta on the 1st of February and relieved the 1/1st (City of London) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers upon its arrival.


 Figure 3.  The Cap Badge of the Royal Fusiliers.



            Private Schafer’s battalion landed at X Beach, Sulva Bay, Gallipoli on the 25th of April 1915 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel H.E.B. Newenham. [7]   The battalion joined the 86th Brigade commanded by Brigadier-General Steuart W. Hare, a brigade that formed part of the 29th Division.  Schafer’s Medal Index Card (MIC) indicates that he entered the theatre of war (Gallipoli) on the 25th of August1915; therefore, he was not involved in the initial landing or in the actions that took place during the four months prior to his arrival.  Apparently he was one of the replacement drafts sent to the battalion in Gallipoli after the initial landing.


 Figure 4.  Brigadier-General H.E.B. Newenham Who Commanded
the 2/1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) at Gallipoli as a Lieutenant Colonel.


 Figure 5.  The Medal Index Card of Thomas Edward Schafer.

 NOTE: The notation (2B) on the card indicating the Theatre of War was used to designate
Gallipoli and Aegean Islands. [8]

                           Private Schafer served with the 2/1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) in the actions at Gallipoli until the battalion was evacuated and moved to Egypt in January of 1916 where it joined the 53rd (Welsh) Division. 


 Figure 6.  Map of the Gallipoli Peninsula.


France and Flanders

            On the 17th of April 1916 his battalion moved to France independently, landing at Marseille, and joined the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) for service on the Western Front.  On the 24th of May 1916 Schafer was transferred to the 1/1st Battalion (City of London) Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) after the 2/1st Battalion was disbanded at Rouen.  The 1/1st Battalion was serving with the 167th Brigade in the 56th (London) Division.  His new battalion took part in major engagements including the Battle of the Somme in autumn 1916 and the Battle of Arras in spring 1917.  Because of a wound received in action, on the 15th of May 1917 Private Schafer returned to England and was posted to the regimental depot to recuperate. [9]   He was posted to the Reserve Battalion of the City of London Regiment on the 26th of June 1917, he was appointed a paid Acting Lance Corporal on the

30th of January 1918 and a paid Acting Corporal on the 3rd of April 1918.  He remained at the regimental depot for the remainder of the war after having served in both the M.E.F. and the B.E.F.

Lieutenant Albert Arthur Auerbach

            There is a postcard photograph in the collection of ephemera of Thomas Edward Schafer of a 2nd Lieutenant Albert Auerbach, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).  The inscription on the reverse of the postcard reads as follows:


1/1st London Regiment

In remembrance of days in Egypt and thinned out valises.


Albert Auerbach

2nd Lt.




            The date on the postcard, the 27th of August 1916, indicates that 2nd Lieutenant Auerbach wrote the inscription after the battalion moved to France.  Unfortunately the postcard is not addressed to anyone, so it is not possible to know if Auerbach gave it directly to Schafer or if Schafer obtained from someone else.  Auerbach may have been Schafer’s platoon commander when the 1/1st London Regiment was in France.  The fact that the postcard was among Schafer’s possession appears to indicate that he knew Lieutenant Auerbach personally and that they may have served together.  Auerbach also had served at Gallipoli and he and Schafer might have served together there as well as in France.   

            Albert Arthur Auerbach was the son of Arthur and Ellen Isabel Auerbach of 1, Carlton Road, Ealing, London. [10]   He had been educated at Durston House, Ealing and at Marlborough College.  He had a brother, Lieutenant H.W. Auerbach, who also served during the Great War.  Lieutenant A.A. Auerbach was awarded the Military Cross in 1917 for his service and was killed in action on the 1st of September 1918 while serving with 1st Battalion of the London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), attached to the 3rd Battalion.  He is buried at Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery, Section VIII, Row B, Plot 7.


 Figure 7.  Lieutenant Albert Arthur Auerbach, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).1

            In addition to the Military Cross, Lieutenant Auerbach was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service in the Great War.

Schafer8.jpg Schafer8a.jpg

 Figure 8.  The Medals of the Type Awarded to Lieutenant A. A. Auerbach
for Service in the Great War of 1914-1918.


            Lieutenant Auerbach’s Medal Index Card verifies his award of the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  It also indicated his rank, unit and given names and shows his theatre of war as Gallipoli with the qualifying year for the Star as 1915.  Lieutenant Auerbach’s father had to apply for his son’s 1914-15 Star on the 27th of December 1918, as Albert had been killed in action and the medal never was issued to him.  Another letter requesting the medal was sent by Alert’s brother, Lieutenant H.W. Auerbach, on the 7th of August 1919.  The medal finally was issued to his father on the 20th of November 1920 at his home at 1 Carlton Road in Ealing, London W.5.


 Figure 9.  The Medal Index Card of Lieutenant A.A. Auerbach (front side).


 Figure 10.  The Medal Index Card of Lieutenant A.A. Auerbach (reverse side).


 Figure 11.  Graves Registration Report (Lieutenant A.A. Auerbach).

 4.  THE INTER-WAR YEARS, 1919-1939

Transfer to the Cheshire Regiment

            On the 14th of March 1919 while still serving in the London Regiment as a Private, now with Regimental Number 201183, Schafer volunteered for one additional year of service.  He was awarded the British War Medal about this time for his service in the war.  On the 22nd of March he was transferred to the Cheshire Regiment as a Temporary Corporal, Regimental Number 85161, and was awarded the Victory Medal for his war service.


 Figure 12.  Medal Roll Showing the Award of the 1914-15 Star Medal
to Private Thomas Schafer of the Cheshire Regiment.


Figure 13.  Medal Roll Showing the Award of the British War Medal and Victory Medal
to Private Thomas Schafer of the Cheshire Regiment.


            Three days after his transfer to the Cheshire Regiment he was posted to the 53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion of the regiment and alerted for posting to the B.E.F. in France. [11]          However, before he could report in to his new battalion his orders were changed and on the 4th of April 1919 he was assigned to the 9th (Service) Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment in France and was appointed a paid Acting Corporal.


 Figure 14.  Cap Badge of the Cheshire Regiment.


            Schafer’s stay in France was a short one.  He returned to England on the 26th of August 1919 and on the 28th of that month he was appointed to the rank of Temporary Corporal, presumably at the regimental depot of the Cheshire Regiment.  He remained there until the 6th of November 1919 when he was posted to a Dispersal Unit for demobilization.

            On the 16th of May 1920 Thomas Edward Schafer was discharged from the Army after having served for 5 years and 112 days.  He had been awarded three overseas service chevrons and one wound stripe.  His address on discharge was given as 47 Suttiby Road, Highbury, London, N.5.


 Figure 15.  Temporary Corporal Thomas Schafer’s Discharge Certificate. [12]


1.      The certificate shows previous service in the Lancashire Regiment. 
This is not verified anywhere else in his service papers.

  2.      The certificate shows that he was issued “one” wound stripe, but
there is no further information regarding his wound in his service papers.


Enlistment in the Royal Engineers

            Schafer apparently found Army life to his liking, or perhaps he found civilian life unappealing.  On the 25th of May 1920 he enlisted as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers at Whitehall in London.  His Regimental Number upon enlistment was 602676, but this was almost immediately changed to an Army Number, 1856384, due to the Army’s renumbering system and the elimination of regimental numbers.  His trade on enlistment was noted to be “Electrician” and he was able to pass the Trade Test Pioneer (Electrician) EIII.  On the day after his enlistment he was posted to “E” Depot Company at Chatham, Kent.

Service in the Royal Engineers Depot Battalion

            Sapper Schafer was awarded a Third Class Certificate of Education on the 6th of June 1920 while at Chatham.  On the 18th of January 1921 he was appointed an Acting Lance Corporal after having been posted to “B” Depot Company at Chatham.  He was promoted to the substantive rank Lance Corporal on the 25th of March 1921.  His duties with “B” Depot Company most likely involved administration and training of new soldiers who had recently joined the Royal Engineers.

            While with “B” Depot Company Lance Corporal Schafer took the examination for the Second Class Certificate of Education on the 31st of March 1922.  He was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on the 25th of May 1922 and on the 1st of June he was awarded the Second Class Certificate of Education for English, Mathematics, Imperial History, Citizenship and Electrician.


Figure 16.  Lance Corporal Schafer’s Second Class Certificate of Education.11

             On the 27th of February 1923 Schafer was promoted to the rank of Corporal and on the 13th of September of that year he passed the Trade Test for Clerk C III B.

Service in the 5th Field Company, R.E.

            Schafer extended to complete six years with the Colours on the 15th of April 1924 while still in “B” Depot Company.  Sometime in mid-1924 he was posted to the 5th Field Company at Aldershot where he married Amy Elizabeth (née McGowan) on the 20th of December 1924.  Schafer was put on the married roll and the couple initially resided at 15 East Station Road in the town of Aldershot. 

            After a short period of time at Aldershot Schafer was temporarily posted back to Chatham, perhaps to attend a course of instruction, and he and his wife took up residence at 139 Rock Avenue in Gillingham, a town just outside of the Royal Engineer barracks at Chatham.  Amy Elizabeth Schafer gave birth to their daughter, Amy Florence, at the Military Family Hospital in Chatham on the 20th of February 1926.  Corporal Schafer was serving with Headquarters Wing of the Royal Engineers Training Battalion at the time of his daughter’s birth.

            On the 16th of April 1926 Schafer received word that his former service in the London Regiment and the Cheshire Regiment would be allowed to reckon as qualifying service for his pension.  Under Article 136, Pay Warrant 1922 he was allowed 4 years and 170 days towards his pension.  Under Article 1135(b), Pay Warrant 1922 he was allowed an additional 5 years and 115 days.

            The Shafers returned to Aldershot on the 12th of June 1926 where Corporal Schafer resumed his duties with the 5th Field Company.  On the 16th of August he was promoted to the rank of Lance Sergeant in the company and he received congratulations on his promotion in the October 1926 issue of The Sapper magazine (page 78).  This issue of the magazine also indicated that the company was engaged in pontooning at Mudeford in Dorset and that the men were taking courses in military engineering in the summer and early autumn.  In the December 1926 issue of The Sapper (p. 147) there was a notation indicating that the company had taken part in field maneuvers of the 2nd Division and that water supply and forced marches were part of their training.


 Figure 17.  A Group Postcard Photograph of Corporal Schafer,
Possibly with Men of the 5th Field Company, R.E. [13]  


            Schafer continued his military education by attending the School of Education at Shorncliffe while serving with the 5th Field Company.  The Army School of Education at Shorncliffe in 1926 was a rather rustic facility consisting of corrugated iron huts erected during the Great War.  It appears that the accommodations there continued to be rustic until at least 1937 when there was discussion in Parliament and the Secretary of State for War was asked whether it was proposed to give the Army School of Education at Shorncliffe more suitable facilities. [14]   The accommodations notwithstanding, on the 17th of September 1928 Schafer completed the course with a satisfactory report.  Unfortunately Schafer’s records do not describe the subject taught at this course.


 Figure 18.  Lance Sergeant T.E. Schafer’s Certificate
from the School of Education, Shorncliffe, Army Form C.363.

Service in the 7th Field Company, R.E.      

            On the 5th of April 1928 Lance Sergeant Schafer was posted abroad to the British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.) in Germany where he was assigned to the 7th Field Company, at Wiesbaden. [15]   When Schafer arrived at the 7th Field Company the unit was commanded by Major J.E.H. Evelegh, R.E. 

            In the summer of that year he passed a Chemical Warfare Course that he attended from the 18th of June to the 14th of July.  In passing the course he became qualified as a Company Instructor (Q.I.) in chemical warfare.  His time also was spent on maneuvers and trade training and each year Schafer and the 7th Field Company, Schafer spent a good deal of time during the summer, usually in July, at a bridging camp located in Schierstein near Wiesbaden on the Rhine River. [16]   The company’s time at bridging camp usually ended with company sports, including aquatic sports.  On the 28th of July 1929 the company took part in the Annual Review with an inspection by the General Officer Commanding the British Army of the Rhine. [17]   During this period the 7th Field Company was commanded by Major T.W.R. Haycraft, R.E., who had replaced Major Evelegh in May of 1929.   In the summer of 1929 the company also participated in the annual course of fieldworks on the exerzier platz (military training area) at Wiesbaden and then moved to the bridging camp at Schierstein.


Figure 19.  Bridge Training at Schierstein.1


 Figure 20.  Float Bridge Construction at Schierstein. 1



 Figure 21.  Rolling a Ponton into the Water. 1


 Figure 22.  The Sergeant’s Mess at the Schierstein Bridging Camp. 1


Service in the 254th Field Company (Territorial Army)

            Lance Sergeant Schafer returned home from Germany on the 30th of November 1929 and on the 30th of January 1930 he was appointed a Temporary Sergeant and was posted to the 55th (West Lancashire) Divisional Engineers of the Territorial Army as a Permanent Staff Instructor (P.S.I.). [18]   The division was disbanded after the Great War when the Territorial Force was disbanded but it was later reformed as a Territorial Army unit and saw a significant change in units throughout the inter-war years, with many battalions in the division being converted into anti-aircraft or searchlight units of the Royal Engineers or the Royal Artillery. [19]   In his capacity as a Permanent Staff Instructor he was assigned to the 254th Field Company with headquarters at 59 Everton Road in Liverpool. [20]   During the Great War the 254th had been one of the tunneling companies of the Royal Engineers.  After the war it was converted to a field company and during World War 2 it was again re-designated as a field park company.  

            Schafer was posted to Altcar Training Center [21] in Hightown, Merseyside in May of 1930, probably serving as an instructor for the engineer units of the 55th Division during one the division’s training exercises.  On the 4th of November 1930 while serving with the 254th Field Company, Schafer was promoted to the substantive rank of Sergeant.


Figure 23.  Sergeant Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E.
Wearing his Great War Medals.

             On the 14th of November of 1930 he passed a 14-day course and was awarded Certificates of Proficiency in keeping (maintaining) rifles and Lewis guns. 

Schafer24.jpg     Schafer25.jpg

 Figures 24 and 25.  Sergeant Schafer in the Field on a Training Exercise, c. 1930. 1

             Along with his promotion to the substantive rank of Sergeant he was placed on the married quarters roll on the 14th of March 1931.  This now permitted him and his wife to live in quarters of their choosing.  On the 14th of August 1931 Sergeant Schafer re-engaged to complete 21 years of service in the Army while he was serving in the 254th Field Company as a Sergeant Instructor for the engineer units of the 55th Division.  He would serve an additional two and a half years with the 254th Field Company before being reassigned back to a Regular Army unit of the Corps of Royal Engineers.  On leaving the 254th Field Company, the officers of the unit expressed their appreciation to Sergeant Schafer by presenting him with a sterling silver cigarette case.

            Unfortunately, other than a mention regarding the company’s participation in the annual training camps of the Territorial Army’s 55th Division there is not a single mention of the 254th Field Company in any issue of The Sapper magazine between November 1929 and January 1933.


Figure 26.  Sterling Silver Cigarette Case Presented to Sergeant Schafer. [22]


Service in the 23rd Field Company, R.E.

            On the 31st of January 1933 Sergeant Schafer was assigned to the 23rd Field Company, R.E. at Aldershot, Hampshire, thereby relinquishing his post as an instructor with the Territorial Army and returning for duty with the Regular Army.  Shortly thereafter he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in accordance with Army Order 175 of 1933, having completed 18 years of service.

            While serving at Aldershot with the 23rd Field Company, unit was involved with the construction of a temporary timber suspension bridge over the Basingstoke Canal.  The finished bridge was a very impressive structure.  In fact the bridge was inspected by King Feisal of Iraq upon its completion.


Figure 27.  The Bridge at Aldershot after its Completion.1


 Figure 28.  King Feisal Inspecting the Bridge. [23]


            After the King of Iraq completed his tour of the bridge, the military bridge builder’s nightmare occurred.  The bridge collapsed under the weight of a light lorry crossing it.  The lorry somersaulted into the stream landing upside down.  Fortunately the driver fell clear and was uninjured.  Heads certainly must have rolled after this fiasco.  Schafer’s participation in the construction of the bridge is uncertain, but as he had these photographs and clippings in his possession, he must have been involved to some extent.  The cause of the bridge failure perhaps is explained by the publication of the following excerpt from an article regarding the bridge’s construction that was published on page 331 in “Station News” of the 23rd Field Company in the July 1933 issue of The Sapper:

“This job [referring to the construction of the bridge] is being pushed rapidly forward to enable its completion before we proceed to bridging camp.”

It appears that the bridge was not part of a training exercise, but rather it was a bridge that was to be constructed to serve a purpose as a crossing of the canal on the roadway where it was constructed, perhaps to provide access to a training area.  The company seemed to be in a hurry to get it done so that it could move forward with its annual training at bridging camp.  In their haste to complete the bridge an error obviously was made in its design; hence, the collapse. 

Schafer29.jpg    Schafer30.jpg

Figures 29 and 30.  Two Views of the Collapsed Timber Suspension Bridge at Aldershot after the Tour by King Feisal of
Iraq.  Note the lorry in the left photograph laying overturned at the bottom of the stream.

            On the 13th of July 1935 a review of troops was held at Aldershot in honor of the Silver Jubilee of King George V.  The 23rd Field Company was selected to participate in this review.  It may be assumed that somewhere in Figure 31 below we might find Sergeant Schafer marching past the reviewing stand.

            As was typical for a Royal Engineers field company during Schafer’s time in the 23rd, he participated in trades training, field exercises, fieldworks training (which one year included road cratering), bridge training and the annual musketry course.


 Figure 31.  The 23rd Field Company Passing in Review. 1

            Sergeant Schafer was an excellent rifle marksman and competitive shooter.  During 1935, while serving in the 23rd Field Company, he was the Captain of the company’s rifle team which shot in the Small Arms Meeting at Aldershot Command.  His team was the winner of the Hemming Challenge Cup.  In Figure 32 below, Sergeant Schafer is being presented the trophy cup by a general officer.

            As an individual competitor, Sergeant Schafer shot in the Royal Engineers Association Qualifying Round, Class “A” (Home), Chattenden Snap, also while serving in the 23rd Field Company.  He scored 25 points, winning 1£-8s-4p for his performance in the match.  During the individual and team competitions the men fired the Lee-Enfield, caliber .303 British service rifle as shown in Figures 33 and 34 below.


 Figure 32.  Sergeant T.E. Schafer Receiving the Hemming Cup in 1935
Won by His Rifle Team of the 23rd Field Company, R.E.

Figure 32 provides a very good idea of the physical stature of Sergeant Schafer. 
He was slight of build, standing only about 5½ feet tall with a chest measurement of
36 inches and a 26-inch waste.  Although small in size he was an excellent rifle shot and
a superior non-commissioned officer.


 Figure 33.  Sergeant T.E. Schafer (seated center) and the Men of the 23rd Field Company, R.E.
after Winning the Hemming Challenge Cup. 1 


            The Lee–Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957.  Originally known as the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle (SMLE), in 1926 the British Army changed the nomenclature and the SMLE became known as the Rifle No. 1 Mk III.  This is the rifle that Sergeant Schafer and his team would have used in their competition matches.


Figure 34.  The Lee-Enfield Rifle, No. 1 Mk III.


Service in the 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion, R.E.

            On the 31st of January 1936 Sergeant Schafer was posted to the 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion, R.E. Blackdown. [24]   The 1st Anti-Aircraft Battalion was the only Regular Army anti-aircraft searchlight unit on the Royal Engineer establishment at that time. The reader can get a good idea of the work of this unit by reading Searchlights in the Corps of Royal Engineers by Brigadier B. Chichester-Cooke, CBE, TD, DL.

At the time of Schafer’s assignment to the battalion the unit formed part of the Aldershot Command. The key officers of the battalion were [6]:

Lieutenant Colonel M.F. Grove-White, DSO, OBE, p.s.c. (Commanding)

Lieutenant Colonel G. le Q. Martel, DSO, MC, p.s.c. (Additional)

Captain T. Kimber (Adjutant)

Captain R.P.A.D. Lithgow (Headquarters Wing)

Major K.D. Yearsley, MC ("A" Company)

Major K.I. Gourlay, DSO, MC ("B" Company)

Captain A.J. de Pury ("C" Company)

Captain G.A. Balfour (“D” Company)

            Sergeant Schafer was posted to “D” Company of the battalion on the 12th of September 1936 as the Company Quartermaster Sergeant and on the 2nd of December he was appointed to the temporary position of Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant.

            Schafer continued his education while in the battalion and was awarded a First Class Certificate of Education after passing an examination administered in March 1937 at Blackdown.  At this time he had returned to “D” Company from his posting as the temporary Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant.


Figure 35.  Sergeant T.E. Schafer’s First Class Certificate of Education.11

            On the 2nd of September 1937 Sergeant Schafer was promoted to the rank of Company Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 2) in “D” Company of the 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion.  On the 1st of December 1937 he was temporarily transferred to “E” Company of the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion, but was transferred back to the 1st Battalion within a very short time.

A Short Posting to Egypt

            Since returning from Germany in November of 1929, Schafer had not had another posting abroad; however, in 1938 his time had come again.  On the 28th of January he embarked at Southampton on S.S. California bound for Egypt.



Figure 36.  S.S. California.


            Schafer disembarked at Alexandria on the 6th of February 1938 and proceeded to his unit, which unfortunately is not specified in his service papers.  In the opinion of the author this assignment was designed to be a temporary one and that Schafer was still a member of the 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion when he went to Egypt.  This opinion is based on the short duration of his posting abroad and on the fact that upon returning home he was still assigned to the battalion.  His short posting to Egypt may have been an inspection or advisory assignment for a unit already located there.

            He remained in Egypt for just a little over a year and embarked at Port Said on the 29th of May 1939 aboard H.M.T. Dorsetshire for the return passage home.  He disembarked at Southampton on the 12th of June.

            After his arrival home Schafer reported his unit, Company “E” of the 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion, but his stay in his old unit also would be a very short one.  On the 1st of July 1939 he was posted to “B” Company A.T.S. (Boys) from the 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion.  The A.T.S. (Boys) appears to have been a part of the Army Technical Training Establishment (A.T.T.E.) with headquarters at Darland near Gillingham, Kent.  Schafer’s records show that very soon after joining “B” Company he was posted to Headquarters Company, A.T.T.E.  He was still serving in this unit when World War 2 broke out in September of 1939. 



Figure 37.  H.M.T. Dorsetshire.

5.  WORLD WAR 2, 1939-1946

Service in No.3 Training Battalion, R.E.

            Schafer remained with the A.T.T.E. until the 6th of March 1942 when he was posted to No. 3 Training Battalion, Royal Engineers at Newark in Nottinghamshire.  During the period from July 1939 to March 1942 he took three periods of leave from 8 to 15 May 1941, 19 to 25 September 1941 and 16 February to 3 March 1942.  On the 25th of May 1941, between two periods of leave, he extended his service to continue beyond 21 years for a period of one year.

Service with the Commander Royal Engineers, Newark

            On the 30th of April 1942 he began another period of leave and while on leave (on the 1st of May) he was promoted to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major.  He returned from leave on the 9th of May and reported in to his new posting in the office of the Commander Royal Engineers Newark.  At this point he was nearing the end of him military career and his duties must have been such that the CRE Newark generously gave him additional leave.  Although there was a war on, Schafer would not see active service during the conflict.  He took two additional periods of leave from 29 July to 7 August 1942 and from 28 October to 6 November 1942.  On the 19th of January 1943 he was discharged from the Royal Engineers with the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 1), having been appointed to a commission in the Royal Engineers.  His description upon discharge from the ranks is shown in Table 3 below.

Table 3.  Description on Discharge of Warrant Officer Class I T.E. Schafer, R.E.


5 feet 6½ inches. (His Military Identity Card below shows 5 feet 7 inches).




Brown (there is a discrepancy with this notation and that shown on his Military Identity Card shown below.



Marks or scars:


Chest measurement:

36 inches

Waist measurement:

26 inches

Breach measurement (over trousers):

29 inches

Cap size:


Boot size:


Length of rifle butt:


Total service in the ranks:

22 years and 240 days

Military conduct:




            Regarding his conduct, his commander wrote that “This Warrant Officer has been employed as Assistant Officer i/c Stores.  He has proved thoroughly capable in this capacity and is now leaving to take up a commission.  He is sober, honest and absolutely reliable.”

            It is curious to note that his description on discharge includes information regarding his trouser, cap, and boot sizes as well as the length of rifle butt that he would be issued if he were on active service.  This information may have been necessary if in the event of a call up he were to be issued a uniform and rifle. 



Figure 38. The Military Identity Card of

Temporary Captain Thomas Edward Schafer issued on 2 May 1944. [25]


            The narrative presented in sections 1 through 5 above provides a chronological account of the military service of Thomas Edward Schafer.  The following sections, 6 through 12, summarize the major events in his career in tabular form so that the reader can have more ready reference to the various occurrences in his career.  


a.  Promotions:  Thomas Edward Schafer received the promotions and changes in rank during his time in service shown in the table below.

Table 4.  The Promotions of Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. from 1915 to 1943.

Date of Promotion or Appointment

Rank or Position

Great War, 1914-1919

25 January 1915

Enlisted as 3455 Private, 1st City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)

30 January 1918

Appointed paid Acting Lance Corporal.

3 April 1918

Appointed paid Acting Corporal.

14 March 1919

201183 Private, London Regiment,.

22 March 1919

85161 Temporary Corporal, Cheshire Regiment,.

4 April 1919

Paid Acting Corporal.

28 August 1919

Appointed Temporary Corporal.

Between the Wars, 1920-1939

25 May 1920

Enlisted as 1856384 Sapper in the Royal Engineers,.

18 January 1921

Appointed Acting Lance Corporal.

25 March 1921

Promoted Lance Corporal.

21 February 1923

Appointed Acting Corporal.

27 February 1923

Promoted Corporal.

16 August 1926

Promoted Lance Sergeant.

30 January 1930

Appointed Temporary Sergeant.

4 November 1930

Promoted Sergeant.

12 September 1936

Appointed Temporary Company Quartermaster Sergeant.

2 December 1936

Promoted Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant.

2 September 1937

Promoted Company Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class II).

World War 2 (1939-1945)

31 January 1941

Promoted Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant.

1 May 1942

Promoted Regimental Sergeant Major.

20 January 1943

Commissioned Lieutenant (Quartermaster), R.E., Army Number 263066.

  b.      Appointments:  Thomas Edward Schafer received the appointments shown in the table below during his time in military service.  This table includes his appointments and positions that he held during both the Great War of 1914-1918 and during World War 2.

Table 5.  The Appointments and Positions of Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. from 1915 to 1943.  

Date of Appointment

Position and Unit

The Great War 1914-1918

25 January 1915

Private, 1st City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)..

30 January 1915

Private, 2/1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers).

24 May 1916

Private, 1/1st Battalion (City of London) Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).

26 June 1917

Private, Reserve Battalion City of London Regiment.

30 January 1918

Paid Acting Lance Corporal, City of London Regiment.

3 April 1918

Acting Corporal, City of London Regiment.

14 March 1919

Private, London Regiment.

22 March 1919

Temporary Corporal, Cheshire Regiment.

25 March 1919

Temporary Corporal, 53rd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

4 April 1919

Paid acting Corporal, 9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

28 August 1919

Temporary Corporal, 9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

Between the Wars, 1920-1939

25 May 1920

Sapper, Royal Engineers.

18 January 1921

Acting Lance Corporal, “B” Depot Company, R.E.

25 March 1921

Lance Corporal, “B” Depot Company, R.E.

21 February 1923

Acting Corporal, “B” Depot Company, R.E.

27 February 1923

Corporal, “B” Depot Company, R.E.

17 March 1926

Corporal (Clerk), Headquarters Wing, Training Battalion, R.E.

16 August 1926

Lance Sergeant, 5th Field Company, R.E.

29 Mar 1929

Lance Sergeant, 7th Field Company, R.E.

30 January 1930

Temporary Sergeant, Permanent Staff Instructor (P.S.I.), 55th Divisional Engineers, T.A.

4 November 1930

Sergeant, Permanent Staff Instructor (P.S.I.), 55th Divisional Engineers, T.A. 

31 January 1933

Sergeant, 23rd Field Company, R.E.

31 January 1936

Sergeant, 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion, R.E.

12 September 1936

Temporary Company Quartermaster Sergeant, “D” Company, 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion, R.E.

2 December 1936

Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant, 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battalion, R.E.

2 September 1937

Company Sergeant Major, “D” Company, 1st Anti-Aircraft Battalion, R.E.

1 December 1937

Company Sergeant Major, “E” Company, 2nd Anti-Aircraft Battalion, R.E.

28 January 1938

To Egypt (unit and position unknown)

12 June 1939

Company Sergeant Major, “E” Company, 1st Anti-Aircraft Battalion, R.E.

1 July 1939

Company Sergeant Major, “B” Company A.T.S. (Boys), Army Technical Training Establishment (A.T.T.E) and Headquarters Company, A.T.T.E.

World War 2

31 January 1941

Promoted Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, Headquarters Company, A.T.T.E.

6 March 1942

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, No. 3 Training Battalion, R.E.

1 May 1942

Regimental Sergeant Major, No. 3 Training Battalion, R.E.

16 Jun 1942

Regimental Sergeant Major, Office of the Commander Royal Engineers, Newcastle.

20 Jan 1943

Lieutenant (Quartermaster), R.E.


c.       Qualifications:  Thomas Edward Schafer received the qualifications shown in the table below during his time in military service.

Table 6.  The Qualifications of Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. from 1915 to 1934.

Date Qualified


30 January 1915

Rifleman, upon completion of recruit training.

21 September 1918

Granted 1st Class Proficiency Pay in the infantry.

25    May 1920

Pioneer (Electrician), Grade EIII.

13 September 1923

Clerk, Class C III B.


Annual Rifle Qualification: Second Class.

1927 and 1928

Annual Rifle Qualification: First Class.

10 May 1928

60-yard Swimming qualification.

14 July 1928

Company Instructor (Q.I.) in Chemical Warfare.


Annual Rifle Qualification: Marksman.

30 January 1930

Permanent Staff Instructor (P.S.I.)

14 November 1930

Company Instructor (Q.I.) in Rifle and Lewis Gun maintenance.

1930, 1931 and 1932

Annual Rifle Qualification: First Class.

31 March 1933

Swimming requalification.

1933 and 1934

Annual Rifle Qualification: Marksman

Schafer was excused from firing for annual qualification in 1935 due to the fact that
he was shooting on the Royal Engineers Association Rifle Team during that year.



Schafer received the following military training and educational levels during his time in service.

Table 7.  The Military Training and Education of T.E. Schafer, R.E. from 1915 to 1937.  


Course of Training

25-30 January 1915

Recruit training in the City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)

6 June 1920

Awarded a Third Class Certificate of Education.

1 June 1922

Awarded a Second Class Certificate of Education English, Mathematics, Imperial History and Citizenship and Electrician.

18 June – 14 July 1928

29th Regiment Instructor Course in Chemical Warfare.

1-14 November 1930

Course in keeping Rifles and Lewis Guns in order.

17 March 1937

Awarded First Class Certificate of Education.


 Schafer’s conduct during his service is indicated in the table below.

 Table 8.  The Conduct of WO Class I Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. while Serving in the Ranks from 1922 to 1943.  



25 May 1922

Awarded Good Conduct Badge at 1.d.


Awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

19 January 1943

Military Conduct rated as “Exemplary.”



 Table 9.  The Medical History of Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. from 1915 to 1943.  



25 January 1915

Medical examination upon enlistment.

4 June 1920

Smallpox vaccination.

2 February 1934

Revaccinated for smallpox.

11 January 1938

T.A.B. inoculation. [26]

22 January 1938

T.A.B. inoculation (second in series).

12 June 1940

Medical examination.  Classified A(X)1. [27]

18 January 1941

Revaccinated for smallpox.

3 March 1941

T.A.B., T.E.T. and T.D.X. inoculations. [28]

13 March 1941

T.A.B. inoculation (second in series).

19 January 1943

Medical examination upon discharge from the ranks to take a commission in the Royal Engineers.


 Captain Schafer received the following medals, awards and decorations during his time in service, named as shown in the table: [29]

Table 10.  The Medals, Awards and Decorations of Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E.

Medal or Award

1914-15 Star:  3455 PTE.T.E.SCHAFER

               1ST LONDON REGT.

British War Medal:  201180 PTE.T.E.SCHAFER 1ST LONDON REGT.

Victory Medal:  201180 PTE. T.E.SCHAFER 1ST LONDON REGT.

Defence Medal: Unnamed as issued.

1939-45 War Medal: Unnamed as issued.

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (GVR)with bar [REGULAR ARMY:

1856384 SJT.T.E.SCHAFER. R.E.

Meritorious Service Medal GVIR):   1856384 W.O.CL.1. T.E. SCHAFER. R.E.


            The medals shown below are in the author’s collection.  The medals are, from left to right:  The 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, , Defence Medal, 1939-45 War Medal Long Service and Good Conduct Meal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

            The qualification requirement for the award of the War Medal 1939–1945 to full-time military personnel was 28 days of service, wherever rendered.  As his record shows did he did serve for more than 28 days, although none of it overseas in a theatre of the war, nevertheless he was entitled to this medal.  Similarly, The Defence Medal was awarded for non-operational service in the Armed Forces, the Home Guard, the Civil Defence Service and other approved civilian services during the period from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945 inclusive.  His record of service shows that he was eligible to receive this medal as well although he had been in non-operational assignments.


Figure 39.  The Medals of Captain Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E.


 Figure 40.  Medal Index Card for Service in the Great War of 1914-1918.
(NOTE: The Theatre of War designation 2(B) indicates Gallipoli (Dardanelles)


             Captain Thomas Edward Fraser was released from service on the 19th of January 1943.  His total service in was reckoned as shown in the tables below.

Table 11.  The Summary of Service of Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. from 1915 to 1943.  


Period of Service


25 January – 31 January 1915

Expeditionary Force Malta

1 February – 24 August 1915

Mediterranean Expeditionary Force

25 August 1915 – 16 April 1916

British Expeditionary Force (France)

17 April 1916 - 14 May 1917


15 May 1917 – 24 March 1919

British Expeditionary Force (France)

25 March – 27 August 1919


28 August 1919 – 4 April 1929

Germany (B.A.O.R.)

5 April – 29 November 1929


30 November 1929 – 27 January 1938


28 January 1938 – 12 June 1939


13 June 1939 – 20 January 1943

 Table 12.  The Periods of Service of Thomas Edward Schafer, R.E. at Home and Abroad.  


Period of Service

Home Service

23 years and 92 days

Service Abroad

4 years and 334 days

Total Service

28 years and 61 days


NOTE: There are discrepancies regarding the periods of service at certain location as recorded in his Soldier’s Service and
Pay Book (Army Book 64) and his Regular Army Certificate of Service (Army Form B.108).  The author has attempted to
reconcile these differences as much as possible, but there may be some minor errors in his periods of service as shown in the
table above.  His total service is reckoned as 28 years and 61 days from one source and 27 years and 209 days from the other. 
Regardless of which is correct, there is no doubt that he was a long-serving soldier!



            Thomas Edward Schafer was commissioned Lieutenant (Quartermaster) in the Royal Engineers, Army Number 263066, on the 20th of January 1943.  He retired from the Army on the day of his commissioning as an Honorary Captain.

            As indicated in the narrative, Thomas Edward Schafer had married Amy Elizabeth McGowan at Aldershot on the 20th of December 1924.


 Figure 41.  Amy Elizabeth Schafer.1

             The Schafers had one child, Amy Florence, born on the 20th of February 1926 at the Military Family Hospital in Chatham, Kent.

Schafer42.jpg         Schafer43.jpg

 Figures 42 and 43.  Amy Florence Schafer, Probably in her Early Twenties. 1


            Not much is known about the Schafer family after his retirement from the Army.  He appears to have done some traveling in Europe with some old comrades.  A photograph of some men in Ghent, Belgium taken in 1945 after the war is in the author’s collection and is shown in Figure (  ) below.


Figure 44.  With Old Comrades in Ghent, Belgium, 1945. 1


            Captain Schafer was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal on the 8th of January 1955.  The residence of the Schafer family at that time was 125 Blenheim Avenue in Rochester, Kent.

            The box which contained Captain Schafer’s Meritorious Service Medal and the letter shown in Figure 45 above were contained in their original box of issue and are in the author’s collection.  The box shows that the medal was issued to him when he was a Warrant Officer Class 1.  The letter indicates that although he was eligible for an annuity to accompany the award of the medal, he would not receive that money until a “vacancy” on the list of recipients occurred.  Presumably this meant that an annuitant had to die before a vacancy would exist and the next man on the list would then receive the money.




Figure 45.  The Box in which Captain Schafer’s MSM was issued.  


 Figure 46.  Letter Accompanying the Issue of the Meritorious Service Medal.20


            His wife Amy died at Chatham in 1965 and Thomas Edward Schafer lived on for eight years after her death, when he died in Greenwich in 1973.  It is not know whether Schafer ever received the annuity from his Meritorious Service Medal.

            In addition to all the original photographs and documents included in this research work, the author was fortunate to obtain some possessions of the Schafers along with Captain Schafer’s militar medals.  These items include his military-issue family bible and his daughter’s engraved fountain pen.

            This bible was issued to him when he enlisted in the Royal Engineers.  The spine of the bible is stamped with his regimental number.



 Figure 47.  Schafer’s Military-Issue Bible with His Regimental Number Stamped on the Edges of the Pages. [30]


            His daughter’s engraved fountain pen and the box it came in where included in the collection.



 Figure 48.  Amy Florence Schafer’s Engraved Parker Fountain Pen. [31]


 Figure 49.  Name Engraved on the Pen. 


Army Lists

 The Royal Engineers Quarterly List, January 1933.

The Royal Engineers List, 1943.


  1.      BURSAR, MARLBOROUGH COLLEGE.  The Marlborough College Register, 1843-1933, Wiltshire, 1936, p. 537.

2.      GILLON, S.  The Story of the 29th Division, Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., London, 1925, pp. 20, 16-29 and 37.

3.      JAMES, R.R.  Gallipoli.  Pan Books, Ltd., London, 1965, pp. 117, 120 and 146.

4.      O’NEILL, C.  The Royal Fusiliers in the Great War.  William Heinemann, London, 1922.  

Census Data

  1.      1871 Census of England and Wales (U.K. Census Online)

2.      1881 Census of England and Wales (U.K. Census Online)

3.      1891 Census of England and Wales (RG 12/300).

4.      1901 Census of England and Wales (RG 13/259).

5.      1911 Census of England and Wales (Poplar Training School, Hutton, Brentwood, Essex.


 Handwritten letter dated Liverpool, 13/2/33, addressed to Tom (Thomas Edward Schafer) and signed “Billy.”

 Electoral Rolls

 Electoral Roll, Blackdown Barracks, 1937, 1938, 1939.

 Internet Sources

  1.      The Long, Long Trail: http://www.1914-1918.net/london.htm

2.      The Long, Long Trail: http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/cheshire-regiment/

3.      Great War Forum.  http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/ index.php? /topic/ 104603-royal-fusiliers-at-gallipoli/

4.      London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1659-1930

5.      http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/theatrecodes.html

6.      http://www.1914-1918.net/cheshire.htm

7.      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/55th_(West_Lancashire)_Infantry_Division#Between_the_wars  

London Gazette

 Second Supplement to The London Gazette, 23rd February 1943, p. 969.

 Miscellaneous Notes  

1.      Inscription on the silver presentation cigarette case.

2.      Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial for Lieutenant Albert Arthur Auerbach.

Official Documents  

1.      Military Identity Card, 2 May 1944.

2.      Regular Army Certificate of Service (Army Form B.108).

3.      Discharge Certificate (Army Form B. 2079), dated 16 May 1920.

4.      Army Certificate of Education – Second Class (Army Form C 309.

5.      Army Certificate of Education – First Class.

6.      Medal Index Card of Thomas Edward Schafer.

7.      Certificate, School of Education, Shorncliffe (Army Form C.363).

8.      Soldier’s Service and Pay Book (Army Book 64).

9.      Statement of Services (Army Form B 200).  Certified True Extract signed by Captain J. Mellon for Colonel i/c R.E. Records, 16 April 1926.

10.  British War Medal and Victory Medal Roll, The Cheshire Regiment.

11.  1914-15 Star Medal Roll, The Cheshire Regiment.

12.  Letter, The Under-Secretary of State, The War Office, Droitwich, dated 8 January 1955 to Captain T.E. Schafer, re: Meritorious Service Medal.

13.  Medal Index Card of Lieutenant Albert Arthur Auerbach.

14.  Graves Registration Report Form, Army Form W3372, Listing Lieutenant A.A. Auerbach.  


1.      The Sapper magazine, May 1924, p. 287.

2.      The Sapper magazine, October 1926, p. 78.

3.      The Sapper magazine, December 1926, p. 147.

4.      The Sapper magazine, December 1928, p. 145.

5.      The Sapper magazine, June 1929, pp.  308 and 315.

6.      The Sapper magazine, August 1929, p. 22.

7.      The Sapper magazine, December 1930, p. 142.

8.      The Sapper magazine, December 1930, p. 142.

9.      The Sapper magazine, March 1931, p. 226.

10.  The Sapper magazine, July 1933, p. 331.

11.  The Sapper magazine, May 1934, p. 283.

12.  The Sapper magazine, March 1936, p. 195.  


1.      Original Photograph, 23rd Field Company, R.E., Jubilee Review, Aldershot, 1935.  Photograph by Mays, Aldershot.

2.      Original Photograph of Sergeant Schafer inscribed “Altcar” May 10th 1930 on the reverse.

3.      Photograph, No. 23 Field Company, Royal Engineers, Winners of the Hemming Challenge Cup, Aldershot Command Small Arms Meeting, 1935.

4.      Four Original Studio Photographs, of Sergeant Thomas Edward Schafer from Mills Studios, Liverpool, circa 1930 (three in original studio folders with protective paper).

5.      Original Photograph of Mrs. Amy Elizabeth Schafer.

6.      Original Photograph of Miss Amy Florence Schafer, Full-Length, Seated.

7.      Original Photograph of Miss Amy Florence Schafer, Portrait.

8.      Original Portrait Photograph of Captain Thomas Edward Schafer, circa 1942.

9.      Eight Original Photographs, Bridging Camp, Schierstein, Germany, 1929.

10.  Three Original Photographs of the Collapsed Bridge, Basingstoke Canal.

11.  Three Original Newspaper Photographs of the Collapsed Bridge at Basingstoke Canal.

12.  Eleven Original Photographs of Thomas Edward Schafer and the Units in which he Served.

13.  Postcard Photograph of 2nd Lieutenant Albert Arthur Auerbach.  


1.      Births Registered in January, February, and March 1898.

2.      Deaths Registered in July, August, and September 1906.

3.      Marriages Registered in October, November and December 1934.

4.      Voting Register, Blackdown Barracks, 1937.

5.      Deaths Registered in January, February and March 1965.

6.      Deaths Registered in January, February and March 1973.  

The Royal Engineers Journal  

CHICHESTER-COOKE, B. Searchlights in the Corps of Royal Engineers. The Royal Engineers Journal. The Institution of Royal Engineers, Chatham, Kent, March 1985.  


[1] Original photograph in the author’s collection.

[2]   1871 Census of England and Wales.

[3]   1881 Census of England and Wales.

[5]    Her address at the time of  her death was listed as St. George in the East, London.

[6]   A Territorial Force battalion.

[7]   Later, Brigadier-General H.E.B. Newenham, C.B.

[8]   http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/theatrecodes.html

[9]   There is no indication in his service record of him having spent any time in hospital.

[10]   Albert Arthur Auerbach was born on the 17th of October 1893.  He entered Marlborough College in May of 1908 and left after the Christmas term of 1911.  He was commissioned in the 1st London Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1915 and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1917.

[11]   53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment.  Up to 27 October 1917, this was known as 62nd Battalion of the Training Reserve had had formerly been the 12th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. A basic recruit training unit based at Kinmel (Rhyl), it was part of 14th Reserve Brigade.

[12]   The original certificate is in the author’s collection.

[13]   The original postcard photograph is in the author’s collection.

[14]   http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1937/dec/21/school-of-education-shorncliffe

[15]   The Sapper magazine, December 1928, p. 145.

[16]   The Sapper magazine, August 1929, p. 22.

[17]   Under “Station News” in The Sapper magazine units were encourage to submit short articles describing the activities of the unit.  The number of articles published in the magazine was dependent upon the industriousness of the individual who was designated to write the articles.  In the case of the 7th Field Company there was scant mention of the work of the company and the activities of the unit were not published in each editions of the magazine.

[18]   A permanent staff instructor (PSI) is a warrant officer class 2 (WO2), or senior non-commissioned officer (sergeant, staff sergeant or colour sergeant), of the Regular British Army who has been selected to instruct Army Reserve soldiers. Each AR unit has several PSIs attached to it. A normal rifle company in a Regular Army battalion has a single WO2, serving in the role of company sergeant major (CSM). An Army Reserve rifle company normally has two WO2s. One is the CSM, normally a part-time member of the Army Reserve, and the other is the seconded PSI, the only full-time member of the company. The PSI is meant to provide the reserve company with the benefit of his professional experience, as well as to ensure that the training and operation of the company adheres to the Army's methods and standards. The PSI is typically responsible for much of the company's administration work, and usually takes a particular role in the training of junior NCOs (corporals and lance-corporals, and equivalent).

[20]   The Royal Engineers Quarterly List, January 1933, p. xxvii.

[21]   Altcar Training Camp is located in Hightown, Merseyside, England. The 620-acre estate is composed of beaches, marshland, fields and small woods. Now the range is run by the North West Reserve Forces & Cadets Association.

[22]   The cigarette case is in the author’s collection.

[23]   The original newspaper photograph is in the author’s collection.

[24] Blackdown refers to Blackdown Barracks located near Pirbright in Surrey, southwest of London and northeast of Aldershot.

[25]   The original document is in the author’s collection.

[26]   TAB vaccine. a combined vaccine used to produce immunity against the diseases typhoid, paratyphoid A, and paratyphoid B.

[27]   Classification A(X)1: Fit for dispatching overseas, as regards physical and mental health and training.

[28]   T.E.T. and T.D.X.: Tetanus and diphtheria.

[29] All of the items listed in the table are in the author's collection.

[30]   This bible is in the author’s collection.

[31]   This fountain pen is in the author’s collection.