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What was a 'Hammer-driver'? My great uncle was one in Hood battalion.

Hello all, we (as a family) are about to embark on a road trip to see our great uncles war grave near Buissy, France. I have done some research on Hood Battalion but have left something out for some time, his job!
Apparently he was a hammer driver, but I don't know what that means. My grandfather seems to think his family were connected to rearing horses and thinks that is where the 'driver' part comes from, but he's guessing.

Any ideas?
Naval-Gazer, thank you for the reply, very comprehensive, yet I can't quite imagine how he achieved this on the front line in the trenches. Does this sound like a normal thing? How many would there have been in a battalion?

thanks again in advance!


War Hero
Just a thought:

The Naval Division, so far as I'm aware, didn't have a mounted section but probably used horses for munitions, stores, guns and casualties. It follows that they would need farriers/blacksmiths to shoe horses and possibly this is where your great uncle was employed if he already had these skills prior to joining-up. Whenever there was a major offensive on the front, all available personnel in the logistics train, would be moved-up to the front and into the trenches.

There were certainly Naval blacksmiths serving during the Great War in France: Military Blacksmiths

Looking at the recruiting poster below, there were also engineering and transport sections attached to the Naval Division:


Der Alte

I would concur with your suspicions Ninja. But they might have been mules, not horses. Let me swing this here lantern and I will tell you why.

About 30 years ago, a former skipper of mine was working for the Naval Management Team which used to be based in the Vernon new block. He had noticed that there appeared to be a naval stores PSTO(N) outfit in deepest Somerset which was costing a fortune in heating bills.

Upon his arrival he found out that the place was half buried into the Mendips and run by these six old chaps who were (get this) maintaining mule harnesses and brasses, in case they were ever needed again. There were literally thousands, all perfectly maintained.

This place was chosen because the temperature and humidity levels prevented the leather from rotting; and had been there since the end of WWI.

So possibly mules, but it amounts to much the same and may explain your late Great Uncle's rate.
Last edited:


War Hero
Could he have been a pile driver operator? These machines were used in constructing bridges, and the like, where pilings were driven into the ground for bridge building.:glasses8:
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