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RGA - Singapore Mutiny 1915

Whilst researching Royal Garrison Artillery units I came across a commemoration to Gunners who had been killed during a Mutiny in Singapore in February 1915. 


The Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) operated the coastal guns that protected Singapore. They were manned by the 78th and 80th Companies RGA and Indian Army Gunners from the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Garrison Artillery (HKS-RGA).  A British  infantry battalion, and the Singapore  Volunteers Battalion formed the garrison troops.







When war broke out the British battalion was sent to France, being replaced by the 5th Light Infantry of the Indian Army, an all Muslim unit. In February 1915 a mutiny occurred when the 5th Light Infantry of the Indian Army revolted. Amongst the mutineers were gunners from the Malay States Guides (MSG) Mule Battery.


The roots of the mutiny lay with unrest caused through propaganda being circulated advocating Indian independence, poor conditions for the soldiers and weak leadership from the battalion officers. Among the tasks the battalion undertook was the guarding of German crew from the Light Cruiser Emden who took the opportunity to fuel the Indian soldiers unrest. The trigger was an announcement that the battalion would transfer to Hong Kong. However rumours spread that the battalion was actually destined for Europe to fight the Turks, fellow Muslims.


The mutiny lasted nearly ten days, and resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people including six British officers fourteen British soldiers and fourteen civilians. The mutineers casualties were estimated at 200.




Marines from HMS Cadmus landed to support local soldiers not involved in the mutiny and the Singapore Police. Further assistance arrived when a French, a Russian and two Japanese warships arrived in Singapore, with sailors and marines reinforcing. The fighting lasted 7 days, on the 20th February , companies of the 1st/4th Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry (Territorials) arrived from Rangoon to relieve the sailors and the marines.


During the mutiny 432 mutineers were captured, 205 would face trial, of which 47 were publicly executed by firing squad, the remainder receiving varying lengths of jail sentences.  The commanding officer of the 5th Light Infantry was cashiered.







Amongst those killed were three officers and two other ranks from the Royal Garrison Artillery.  They are commemorated on a memorial located in St Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore.




"To the glory of God and in memory of

Major R.H. Galwey

Captain F.V. Izard

Captain M.F.A. Maclean

Corporal R.V. Beagley

Gunner J. Barry

All of the Royal Garrison Artillery

who were killed in the mutiny at Singapore in February 1915

This tablet is erected by their comrades of the

Royal Garrison Artillery at Singpore."


Another memorial in the Victoria Memorial Hall remembers those from the Singapore Volunteer Corps, including a member of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery.


"To the glory of God and in sacred memory of the undermentioned officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Singapore Volunteer Corps, who lost their lives during the mutiny of the 5th Native Light Infantry in February 1915.


Gunner P. Walton, Artillery


The Gunners are buried, together with others killed during the mutiny are buried in Kranji War Cemetery.





D of D





Reginald Hugh


Aged 42

80th Company RGA



Francis Vallance


Aged 34




Moira Frances Allan


Aged 30




Reginald Victor


Aged 30

80th Company RGA





Aged 29

78th Company RGA





Aged 33

Singapore Volunteer Artillery





Lesson on accuracy of artillery

An interesting extract from a letter sent by 2nd Lieut. Humphrey Arden (RGA) to his old school which was published in the school magazine.


Humphrey Arden attended the Dragon school, then   Radley and went on to Queens College Cambridge. He was about prepare for holy orders when war broke out. He was commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1915. He died of wounds near Messines 6th June 1917 whilst serving with 156th Heavy Battery RGA. He is buried Bailleu Communal Cemetery Extension.

large.Arden-Humphrey.jpg CWGC Information: 2/Lt. Humphrey Warwick Arden      Dragon Portrait Gallery: 2nd Lt Humphrey Arden R.G.A.


2/Lt Arden obviously had a keen interest in Gunnery - So few think it worth while to understand guns, whereas really they are the most interesting things in the War.


2nd Lieutenant Arden outlines the lessons of Zone.

Source: The Skippers War 


“Those who are not gunners mostly have two delusions and if the same men rise to command without having learnt better, silly things will happen – but of that more presently.


A lesson that many Gunner has experienced over the subsequent years.


The two delusions are (i) that, when a gun is laid in such a way that the shell hits a particular spot, it will hit the same spot if it is laid in a similar way. With regards to the first, it is only necessary to remember that gunnery is a mechanical science and not a game of skill. Experts find out the laws of the science and the Royal Regiment follows the law. The personal element practically does not, or should not come into it.


With regard to (ii), it would take too long to explain the ‘error of the gun.’ But it is a fact that if a gun is laid in exactly the same way for a hundred rounds, the shells will cover an oblong some hundreds of yards long and several yards wide. This ‘zone’ varies according to the gun and the range – any gun being much more accurate for line than it is for range.


Royal Artillery Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations - Philip Jobson

Zone of the Gun - A series of shells from a gun firing at a given elevation will not fall in exactly the same spot but will be spread around the theoretical impact point....... It is impossible to guarantee to hit a precise spot and gunners need to be mindful of the zone of the gun when ranging onto a target.







2/Lt Arden outlines a situation where the gunners were mindful of the zone, however Those who are not gunners mostly have two delusions and if the same men rise to command without having learnt better


Take an example. 


Some months ago a cunning man thought unto himself a scheme. ‘We will bombard a piece of trench,’ said he, ‘and start at the outside ends together, gradually working in to the centre. The Boche will be forced to crowd in and finally will have to jump out of the trench and run for his life. Whereupon the Field and the Heavies (60 pdrs) shall slay him.’

Well, a Siege Battery was allotted some 200 rounds for the job and the trench selected was at right-angles to the line of fire, i.e the shells would have to drop at precisely the same range to a yard every time to hit the trench.


The Battery Commander calculated that 5 of the 200 might fall in the trench. That is to say. with the most perfect laying, ammunition and weather conditions, the gun itself could not put more than 2½ % of rounds in exactly the same spot at that range, and of course the ammunition, wind, temperature, barometer etc. never are perfect. So the Battery Commander did pretty well to get 3 of the 200 in the trench.


So if the desired effect requires 200 rounds on target. BC does well to get 3 in the trench, so taking account of zone, to get 200 in the trench , he would needed to have fired 13,333 rounds. As it was a Siege Battery it would be probably 4 guns, so 3,333 per gun. Imagine the logistical effort to achieve the effect !.


large.BritishAmmunitionDump.jpgTaking zone into to account If this lot of shells were fired around 15 would roughly hit the same spot.


It looks like the Field and Heavies may have realised that this was not aplan that was going to be successful.....and put a brew on:

The Field and the Heavies waited in vain, or realising the fatuousness  of the whole proceedings, did not wait at all.




Rather than being asking for excuse for being didactic, it is a valuable lesson still for Gunners and Those who are not gunners and delusional. = ARTILLERY IS AN AREA WEAPON


You must excuse this didactic letter. So few think it worth while to understand guns, whereas really they are the most interesting things in the War.”





Territorial Force Renumbering 1917

Picked this up from a post by David Porter on the renumbering of the Territorrial Force in 1917. David says " I've looked at this aspect for several years and I'm still getting to grips with it" , so even complex for an expert !!

Source: Birmingham and the Royal Field Artillery? .

Some key points:

  • All Territorial Force RH & RFA were renumbered as per ACI 2198 (Appendix 183) of November 1916 implemented on January 1, 1917.
  • The renumbering didn't happen during the reorganisation of May 1916 but curiously (sometimes) refers to the unit they were in at that time.
  • It appears the renumbering was more related to the previous number which didn't change if they transferred to another TF RH or RFA unit.

One assumes that there would have been a cut off point in the records office whereby the new numbers were allocated from the nominal role at that point in time to reduce the problems of continually changing lists due to casualties and replacements. Given the time to collate all the information, publish and print the ACI the nominal role at May 1916 may have been used.

Chris on the Long Long Trail outlines the overall mechanism Renumbering of the Territorial Force in 1917, and concludes "The ACIs are sometimes contradictory, are susceptible to different interpretations and there were doubtless many errors made by the clerks responsible for actually executing the changes." .

Those who served post war may also have another number issued on the re-establishment in 1920. I have a soldier who was a pre and post war Territorial and has three numbers.

Always grateful for a post by Kondoa which details the TF numbers for thr Royal Artillery.

Royal Artillery Units



1 - 99999


1 - 49999


11 Hull HB 290003 290324

158 Hull HB " "

38 Howitzer Brigade " "

38 Welsh HB 290325 290590

122 Oxford HB

124 Hull HB 290601 290850

126 Camberwell HB 290851 291008

199 Camberwell HB 291001 291145

127 Bristol HB 291146 291300

128 Oxford HB 291350 291500

129 Bristol HB 291580 291780

132 Oxford HB 291780 292000

125 County PalatineHB 292001 292250

133 County PalatineHB 292251 292450

134 Cornwall HB TF ------- -------- see TF lists

135 Oxford HB 292451 292700

137 Deptford HB 292726 292975

138 HampsteadHB 292951 293200

140 HammersmithHB 293201 293415

136 County PalatineHB 293401 293700

141 East Ham HB 293701 293950

142 Durham HB -------- -------- see TF lists

143 Ashton Under Lyne 293951 294150

144 York HB 294151 294350

145 Stockport HB 294351 294600

146 Hull HB 294601 294800

147 Leicester HB 294801 295000

148 Smethwick HB 295051 295300

149 Wakefield HB 295301 295550

150 Rotherham HB 295551 295750

151 Darlington HB 295751 296000

152 Hackney HB 296001 296250

153 Tottenham HB 296251 296500

139 HampsteadHB 296501 296700

154 Halifax 296701 296850

155 E. CheshireHB 296851 297100

156 Oxford 297101 297400

157 Leicester HB 297401 297600


300001-306000 4 HIGHLAND MTN BDE, RGA









313001-314000 2/1 N MIDLAND HVY BY, RGA /N MIDLAND DIV






317001-318000 KENT HVY BY, RGA/ HOME CO DIV

318001-321000 1 LONDON HVY BY, RGA/ LONDON DIV

318001-321000 2 LONDON HVY BY, RGA/ LONDON DIV


326001-329000 CLYDE FORTRESS RGA

329001-334000 DEVON FORTRESS RGA







358001-362000 KENT FORTRESS RGA









602001-604000 1/AYRSHIRE BTY, RHA/ AYR, RHA



608001-610000 C/264 W RIDING RHA





618001-620000 A/264 HANTS RHA


622001-624000 B/264 ESSEX RHA


630001-635000 255 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 HIGHLAND BDE

630001-635000 320 BDE, RFA TF/BDE, 2/HIGHLAND

635001-640000 256 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/ 2 HIGHLAND BDE

635001-640000 321 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/HIGHLAND

640001-645000 258 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 HIGHLAND BDE

640001-645000 322 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/HIGHLAND

645001-650000 51 DAC/ HIGHLAND

645001-650000 64 DAC/ 2/HIGHLAND

650001-655000 257 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 LOWLAND BETWEEN 11 MAY 16-3 JUN 16

650001-655000 325 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/LOWLAND

655001-660000 261 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 LOWLAND (260, 28 MAY 16-SEP 16)

655001-660000 326 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/LOWLAND

660001-665000 262 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 LOWLAND (261, 28 MAY 16-SEP 16)

660001-665000 327 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/LOWLAND

665001-669000 263 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 LOWLAND BDE (BROKEN UP DEC 16)

665001-670000 328 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/LOWLAND

669001-671000 264 BDE, RFA TF/ LOWLAND

670001-675000 65 DAC/ 2/LOWLAND

671001-675000 52 DAC/ LOWLAND

675001-680000 275 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 W LANCS

675001-680000 285 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 W LANCS

680001-685000 276 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 W LANCS

680001-685000 286 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 W LANCS

685001-690000 277 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 W LANCS

685001-690000 287 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 W LANCS (BROKEN UP FEB 17)

690001-695000 278 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 W LANCS (BROKEN UP OCT 16)

690001-695000 288 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 W LANCS

695001-700000 55 DAC/ W LANCASHIRE

695001-700000 57 DAC/ 2/W LANCASHIRE

700001-705000 210 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 E LANCS

700001-705000 330 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 E LANCASHIRE

705001-710000 211 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 E LANCS (BROKEN UP FEB 17)

705001-710000 331 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 E LANCASHIRE

710001-715000 212 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 E LANCS (RENUMBERED AS 211 BDE ON DEC 16)

710001-715000 332 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 LANCASHIRE (BROKEN UP, APR 17)

715001-720000 213 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 E LANCS BDE (BROKEN UP DEC 16, BTYS TO 120 & 211)

715001-720000 333 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 LANCASHIRE

720001-725000 42 DAC/ E LANC

720001-725000 66 DAC/ 2/E LANCASHIRE

725001-730000 265 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 WELCH BDE (BROKEN UP DEC 16)(RENUMBERED FROM 267, DEC 16)

725001-730000 340 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 WELCH (BROKEN UP MAY 16, BTRYS TO 342 & 343 BDES)

730001-735000 266 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 WELCH BDE

730001-735000 341 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 WELCH

735001-740000 267 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 CHESHIRE BDE (RENUMBERED 265, DEC 16)

735001-740000 342 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 CHESHIRE BDE

740001-745000 268 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 WELCH BDE (RENUMBERED 266, DEC 16)

740001-745000 343 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 WELCH

745001-750000 54 DAC/ WELCH

745001-750000 68 DAC/ 2/WELCH

750001-755000 250 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 NORTHUMBRIAN BDE

750001-755000 315 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 NORTHUMBRIAN

755001-760000 BDE, RFA TF/ 251 1/2 NORTHUMBRIAN BDE

755001-760000 BDE, RFA TF/ 316 2/2 NORTHUMBRIAN

760001-765000 BDE, RFA TF/ 252 1/3 NORTHUMBRIAN BDE

760001-765000 BDE, RFA TF/ 317 2/3 NORTHUMBRIAN

765001-770000 BDE, RFA TF/ 253 1/4 NORTHUMBRIAN BDE

765001-770000 BDE, RFA TF/ 318 2/4 NORTHUMBRIAN (RENUMBERED 223, JUL 16)

770001-775000 50 DAC/ NORTHUMBRIAN

770001-775000 63 DAC/ 2/NORTHUMBRIAN

775001-780000 245 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 W RIDING BDE

775001-780000 310 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 W RIDING

780001-785000 246 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 W RIDING BDE

780001-785000 311 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 W RIDING

785001-790000 247 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 W RIDING BDE

785001-790000 312 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 W RIDING

790001-795000 248 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 W RIDING BDE

790001-795000 313 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 W RIDING

795001-800000 49 DAC/ W RIDING

795001-800000 62 DAC/ 2/W RIDING

800001-805000 230 BDE, RFA TF/ 1 N MIDLAND BDE

800001-805000 295 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 N MIDLAND

805001-810000 231 BDE, RFA TF/ 2 N MIDLAND BDE

805001-810000 296 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 MIDLAND

810001-815000 232 AFA BDE BDE, RFA TF/ 3 N MIDLAND BDE

810001-815000 297 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 MIDLAND

815001-820000 233 BDE, RFA TF/ N MIDLAND

815001-820000 298 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 MIDLAND

820001-825000 46 DAC/ N MIDLAND

820001-825000 59 DAC/ 2/N MIDLAND

825001-830000 240 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 S MIDLAND BDE

825001-830000 305 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 S MIDLAND (BROKEN UP, SEP 16)

830001-835000 241 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 S MIDLAND BDE

830001-835000 306 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 S MIDLAND

835001-840000 242 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 S MIDLAND BDE

835001-840000 307 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 S MIDLAND

840001-845000 243 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 S MIDLAND BDE

840001-845000 308 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 S MIDLAND

845001-850000 48 DAC/ S MIDLAND

845001-850000 61 DAC/ 2/S MIDLAND

850001-855000 215 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 WESSEX BDE

850001-855000 225 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 WESSEX BDE

855001-860000 'E' RES BDE

855001-860000 216 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 WESSEX BDE

860001-865000 217 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 WESSEX BDE

860001-865000 227 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 WESSEX BDE

865001-870000 218 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 WESSEX BDE

865001-870000 228 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 WESSEX BDE

870001-875000 43 DAC/ WESSEX

870001-875000 45 DAC/ WESSEX

875001-880000 270 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 E ANGLICAN BDE (RENUMBERED 272, DEC 16)

875001-880000 345 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 E ANGLICAN (BROKEN UP DEC 16))

880001-885000 271 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 E ANGLICAN BDE

880001-885000 346 BDE, RFA TF/ BDE, 2/2 E ANGLICAN

885001-890000 272 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 BDE ANGLICAN BDE (BROKEN UP DEC 16)

885001-890000 347 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 E ANGLICAN

890001-895000 273 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 E ANGLICAN BDE (RENUMBERED 270, DEC 16)

890001-895000 348 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 E ANGLICAN

895001-900000 55 DAC/ E ANGLICAN

895001-900000 69 DAC/ 2/E ANGLICAN

900001-905000 220 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 HOME CO BDE

900001-905000 335 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 HOME CO (BROKEN UP MAR 16)

905001-910000 221 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 HOME CO BDE

905001-910000 336 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 HOME CO

910001-915000 222 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 HOME CO BDE

910001-915000 337 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 HOME CO

915001-920000 27 DAC/ HOME CO

915001-920000 338 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 HOME CO (BROKEN UP, MAR 16)

920001-925000 43 DAC/ HOME CO

920001-925000 67 DAC/ 2/HOME COUNTIES

925001-930000 280 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/1 LONDON BDE

925001-930000 290 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/1 LONDON BDE

930001-935000 281 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/2 LONDON BDE

930001-935000 291 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/2 LONDON BDE

935001-940000 282 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 LONDON BDE

935001-940000 292 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 LONDON BDE (BROKEN UP, SEP 16)

940001-945000 283 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/4 LONDON BDE

940001-945000 293 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/4 LONDON BDE

945001-950000 56 DAC/ 1 LONDON

945001-950000 58 DAC/ 2/1ST LONDON

950001-955000 235 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/5 LONDON BDE

950001-955000 300 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/5 LONDON (BROKEN UP AUG 16)

955001-960000 236 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/6 LONDON BDE

955001-960000 301 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/6 LONDON

960001-965000 237 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/7 LONDON BDE

960001-965000 302 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/7 LONDON

965001-970000 238 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/8 LONDON BDE

965001-970000 303 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/8 LONDON

970001-975000 47 DAC/ 2ND LONDON

970001-975000 60 DAC/ 2/2ND LONDO


A query from a friend about anti-aircraft artillery in WW1 lead to a realisation that the first Zeppelin successfully shot down was actually the result of anti-aircraft fire from the Gunners. Zeppelin L15 was brought down on the night of 31st March / 1st April 1916, ahead of the action of William Leefe Robinson on the 2nd September 1916, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.


At the start of the First World War there was no Anti-Aircraft organisation beyond a few guns and an awareness of the threat from German airships. On the declaration of war the Royal Navy was given responsibility for the defence of London. Fledgling Royal Garrison Artillery units, supported by searchlights manned by  Royal Engineers, were deployed to protect key sites, mainly naval facilities and armaments.


On the night of 19 / 20 January 1915, the first Zeppelin air raid on the United Kingdom occurred when two airships bombed King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. London was bombed for the first time on 31st May 1915, and attacks continued across the UK. Each raid brought about further enhancements to air defences, including the deployment of more anti-aircraft guns of varying types and searchlights.


By February 1916 an Anti-Aircraft section had been established on the Home Defence Staff and responsibility for engaging all enemy aircraft over land had been allocated to the Army. London had 65 anti-aircraft  guns mounted for defence of the capital.


The first Zeppelin to be brought down by anti-aircraft fire from the Gunners is attributed to the Purfleet  Detachment, 3rd Company Essex and Sussex RGA (TF). The guns at Purfleet consisted of a 3 inch 20 cwt  and two 1 pounder Pom Pom ex naval guns. The 3 inch 20 cwt AA gun had an effective firing range of 16,000 feet (4,900 metres).




The guns were in place to defend 5 magazines, with Purfleet Camp and a munitions factory in close proximity.




On the evening of 31st March 1916, five Zeppelins crossed the North Sea to conduct a bombing raids,  L22 would attack Humberside, L13 / L14 / L15 / L16 targets in the South East. The Zeppelins were sighted as they crossed the coast,  the first bombs were dropped on a munitions factory at Stowmarket. This signalled  the start of the raid resulting in air defenses coming to full alert. 




On hearing the approach of a Zeppelin, Anti-Aircraft guns at Purfleet / Abbey Wood / Erith Marsh / Southern Outfall Plumstead Common and Plumstead Marsh opened fire and Searchlights lit up the sky.




As the L15 proceeded up the Thames, it was caught in the light beams.large.robert-hunt-first-zeppelin-air-raid-on-london-during-world-war-i-1915_i-G-46-4617-E5LFG00Z.jpg.bb8e52c48461cf465d236285cad33543.jpg


The Purfleet Gunners  were credited with hitting L15. This caused damage to four of the sixteen hydrogen shells, mainly in the centre of the airship, critically damaging the airship which began to lose height.


A contemporary report records;


"We received the alarm about nine o'clock. In less than three minutes we were at our posts and ready to fire. We picked the 'Zepp' up about 9:45 p.m., flying at about 15,000 feet, and coming over from the North East. Naturally we started to fire right away before searchlights had even picked her up, but we didn't hit her, although we got perilously near.

        "Very soon after we started, the gun at………… got busy and the searchlight too. It was a grand sight. She was lit up like a silver cigar, and we could see the shells bursting around her. Presently a shot from the gun caught the Zeppelin in the stern and a little flame shot out from the envelope, whether from our bursting shell or the balloonette I couldn't tell from our position. Anyhow, the explosion seemed to throw it round, and at the same time it dropped by the stern with nose in the air, of course we were busy with our gun, but the boys couldn't help making a slight pause to shout 'She's hit"


At 22:00 Zeppelin L15 signaled "Have been hit. Request Ostend keep watch on airship wave length L15"  Heading for home, the L15 dropped  jettison  its bombs over Raynham and Averly and the crew began to throw non- essential equipment into the Thames.


As it began to descend the stricken Zeppelin was attacked by a  BE 2C aircraft from 19 squadron RFC piloted by 2Lt Alfred de Bathe Brandon. Brandon attempted to destroy L15 by dropping  incendiary bombs, and Ranken explosive darts, however he was not successful.



L15's final signal was at 23:15 " Require immediate assistance between Thames and Ostend L15", after which the radio and other secret material was dropped overboard.


Just after midnight, L15 diched in the sea off Margate near the  Kentish Knock lightship. One member of the crew drowned, the remaining 16  were rescued by HMT Olivine, transferring the prisoners to HMS Vulture.




 Attempts were made to tow L15 to Margate, but the airship sank, resulting in parts of it subsequently being washed ashore where many claimed parts as souvenirs.






The prisoners form L15 were landed ashore and taken by train to Chatham where they were marched under a military guard to the detention barracks and subsequently interrogated by War Office officials.




The action was recognised by Field Marshall Viscount French in a signal congratulating the Gunners on their success.




The officer commanding the Purfleet Detachment, Captain John Harris wrote to  Sir Charles Wakefield, Lord Mayor of London to claim a reward of £500 which had been promised to the first gunners to shoot down a Zeppelin. In the end the War Office would not allow such an award, feeling that those involved were performing their duties. It was also concluded that " The success achieved was due to the concerted action of a team and not the individual skill of any member of it"


It was agreed that the Lord Mayor would instead commission a gold medal which would be presented to those serving in the units involved with the overall action.  The medal shows a 3inc 20 cwt gun, the date of the action, and the message WELL HIT. The individual recipients name is engraved on the medal. A total of 325 medals were presented.





Gunner units credited with being involved in the engagement:






3 Coy Essex & Sussex RGA (TF)

1 x 3 inch 20 cw

2 x 1 pdr Pom Pom



1 x 3 inch 20 cwt


5 Coy Cornwall RGA (TF)

2 x 6 pounder

Abbey Wood

Regular RGA

2 x 3 inch 20 cwt

Southern Outfall


1 x 13 pounder

Plumstead Common


1 x 3 inch 20 cwt

1 x 13 pounder

North Woolwich

Regular RGA

Glamorgan RGA (TF)

1 x 3 inch 5 cwt

Royal Arsenal Defences


1 x 3 inch 5 cwt

2 x 6 pounder

2 x 1 pdr Pom Pom


The searchlight units were drawn from the London Electrical Engineers RE (TF) and a detachment from the  Tyne Electrical Engineers RE (TF) who manned a searchlight at Erith.


Related Forum Posts


RA Memorial Hyde Park

Finally this year, 39 years a Gunner, I visited the Royal Artillery Memorial on Hyde Park Corner.


Commemorating those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars, the memorial was unveiled in October 1925 by H. R. H the Duke of Connaught. It was dedicated to the 49,076  Gunners who lost their lives during the First World War.


The memorial was designed by  Charles Sargeant Jagger MC. It features bronze figures and sculptured reliefs depicting the Gunners activities in WW1, surmounted by a sculptured 9.2 inch Howitzer.


















Remembered Today: Gunner 48865 John BOYD, D Battery 312 Bgde Royal Field Artillery, HAC Cemetery Ecoust-St Main

:poppy:CWGC Information


Rank: Gunner

Service No: 48865

Date of Death: 26/05/1917

Age: 29

Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery

"D" Bty. 312th Bde.

Grave Reference III. B. 26.


Additional Information:

Son of Patrick and Ellen Boyd, of Knockmore, Moss-side, Co. Antrim.

John Boyd's MIC records him under 32nd Brigade RFA, shows he qualified for the 1914 Star entering theater 23-Aug-1914. It would therefore appear John was a regular soldier (enlisting in Glasgow) , and at some stage was posted to the Territorial 312th Brigade. The 32nd Brigade RFA were part of the 6th Division's artillery, who were engaged on the Marne, Aisne, Messines 1914, 2nd Ypres and the Somme.

The 312th Brigade were a Territorial Force unit and part of the 62nd (West Riding) Division, a second line TF formation. On the 23rd December 1916 the 62nd Divisional Artillery was given orders to deploy to France, and arrived in Le Harvre 17th January 1916. After initially supporting various divisions on the Somme, the Brigade moved north in April 1917 to support the 62nd Division in the Battle of Arras. They subsequently moved to the area of Bullecourt.

The incident that killed Gunner John Boyd is recorded in the War services of the 62nd West Riding Divisional Artillery (page 16)

On the 26th May a sad disaster occurred in D/312 Howitzer Battery. The camouflage over one of the howitzers caught fire and blazed up. It was merely a question of a few moments when the flames should reach the ammunition and cause a terrible

explosion, but there was a slight chance of the fire being put out in time, and Capt. H. B. Gallimore, who was temporarily commanding the battery, with Lieut. G.Hardy and a party of N.C.O.'s and men, made a gallant attempt to extinguish the flames. Unfortunately their efforts were vain, and there was a tremendous explosion.

Poor Gallimore was killed, and also ten others (including all the six "Numbers One" of the battery), while Hardy was dangerously wounded, and also five gunners more or less severely. The loss of two such officers and six of the most valuable N.C.O.'s was a very serious blow to D/312, but the splendid act of devotion, in which they sacrificed their brave young lives, conferred a lustre not only on their own battery, but on the whole of the Divisional Artillery, and will not soon be forgotten. Hardy, unhappily, died of his wounds on the 28th.

John Boyd is buried with his comrades in the H.A.C. CEMETERY, ECOUST-ST. MEIN


Sad Disaster D/312 Battery 26-May-1917

Came accross an account from the War services of the 62nd West Riding Divisional Artillery whilst researching one of those remembered on Remembered Today.

In one incident D/312 battery lost two officers, all thier number ones and experienced soldiers. A tragic loss of life that removed many of the key elements for the running of an efficient battery.

Thanks to ororkep aka Paul the war diary entry has been recorded on another post:


26/5/17, at St. Mein. Time 1.30pm.

Explosion at D Battery causing death of Capt.H. B. Gallimore and 10 other ranks. Lt. G Hardy and 3 others seriously wounded. (over written at later date- later died of his wounds) Fire caused by a spark from firing gun that ignited the overhead fishing net camouflage. It spread to the gun pit. Officers and NCO hurried to extinguish it with earth and spades. 3 minutes later the shells exploded. One gun destroyed and another damaged. Incident caused CRA order to be issued that if future fire occurs men are to evacuate and not try to extinguish it.

Mjr. F. H. Lister CO 312 Bde.

From War services of the 62nd West Riding Divisional Artillery

On the 26th May a sad disaster occurred in D/312 Howitzer Battery. The camouflage over one of the howitzers caught fire and blazed up. It was merely a question of a few moments when the flames should reach the ammunition and cause a terrible

explosion, but there was a slight chance of the fire being put out in time, and Capt. H. B. Gallimore, who was temporarily commanding the battery, with Lieut. G.Hardy and a party of N.C.O.'s and men, made a gallant attempt to extinguish the flames. Unfortunately their efforts were vain, and there was a tremendous explosion.

Poor Gallimore was killed, and also ten others (including all the six "Numbers One" of the battery), while Hardy was dangerously wounded, and also five gunners more or less severely. The loss of two such officers and six of the most valuable N.C.O.'s was a very serious blow to D/312, but the splendid act of devotion, in which they sacrificed their brave young lives, conferred a lustre not only on their own battery, but on the whole of the Divisional Artillery, and will not soon be forgotten. Hardy, unhappily, died of his wounds on the 28th.

:poppy: The gallant men of D Battery 312 Brigade RFA are burried in the H.A.C. CEMETERY, ECOUST-ST. MEIN

Gunner J BOYD grave ref III.B.26

Acting Bombardier GE BUCKNALL grave ref III.B25

Captain HB GALLIMORE grave ref III.B.24

Acting Bombardier F HARDAKER grave ref III.B.19

Serjeant JH JENKINS grave ref III.D.23

Driver J KEMPLAY grave ref III.B.30

Serjeant EJH KNIGHT grave ref III.D.21

Corporal BJ PEPPER grave ref III.B.27

Gunner H STOTT grave ref III.B.27

Gunner N VAUGHAN grave ref III.B.28

:poppy: Second Lieutenant G.Hardy was burried at ACHIET-LE-GRAND COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

Second Lieutenant G HARDY grave ref I.A.14


Hartley Railway Gun

An account from The North Eastern Railway In the First World War (Rob Langham / ISBN-978-1-78155-081-6)  outlines the presence of a rail gun at Hartley on the Northumberland Coast , 10 km (8 miles) north of Tynemouth.




The gun was deployed on the Collywell Bay Branch line which was in the process of completion as war broke out in August 1914, and the project was halted.





Source: http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/b/brierdene/index.shtml / http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/c/collywell_bay/


An order was placed on 30th August with the North Eastern Railway's  Gateshead Works to mount an 9.2 inch Naval Gun on  a 54 ton trolley wagon. The job was completed on 12th September and the gun was moved to Hartley.




The 9.2 inch naval gun  fired a  172 kg ( 380 lbs) shell out to a range in excess of 18,300 metres  (20,000 yards ), so the Harltley gun could cover the approaches to both the River Blyth and River Tyne. The Tyne was well defended with the Tynemouth Castle and Spanish Batteries to the north, and Frenchman's Point battery to the south. The Blyth was undefended.


In 1913, anti-invasion exercises had been conducted on the NE Coast where landings near the River Blyth and River Wear were unopposed, highlighting weaknesses in costal defences. It was concluded permanent defences were required to cover the River Blyth, but due to the expense they were never constructed. With the outbreak of war in 1914, the urgency to defend Blyth may have resulted in the deployment of the railway gun to Hartley.




Permanent defences were constructed in Blyth in 1915.  https://blythbattery.org.uk/


The Colywell Bay Branch never opened to traffic, it's rails were lifted during the war to provide urgent war materials, the unfinished stations and infrastructure abandoned.



Bridge at Hartley




Brierdene Station


An interesting question raised by mags "was it safer being an artillery man than a simple soldier ".

From Tom's analysis of Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire during the Great War 1914 – 1920 it would appear that surviving unscathed was more likely as a gunner than an infantry man. If one considers that the main threat to the artillery man was counter battery fire, the infantry were subject to the same risk as bombardment of trenches and lines of communication were also prevalent. For the PBI it would be the contact battle in no mans land, subject to concentrated artillery and machine gun fire, which the majority of artillery would not be exposed to.

However, this needs to be put in context. As Ken points out the Royal Artillery Memorial in Hyde Park records;

In Proud Memory Of The Forty-Nine-Thousand-Seventy-Six

Of All Ranks Of The

Royal Regiment of Artillery

Who Gave Their Lives for King

And Country in the Great War'



Looking at the statistics 85% of casualties came from the infantry and machine gun corps, testimony to the dangers those men faced. The Artillery sustained more casualties than the other arms added together. This is not surprising as Kevin points out;

It's worth bearing in mind that on many occasions Artillery units remained in the line whilst the Divisions' Infantry went back to billets. They also were switched to other Divisions on a temporary basis whilst the Infantry had a period of rest.

However looking beyond the statistics Roger makes a poignant statement;

I'm not sure that I am bothered which was "safer". They all did their duty :poppy:

Hi all,

From the figures provided from the upper part of the table on page 249 of Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire during the Great War 1914 – 1920, the following breakdown of casualty percentages are produced:


Tom McC


Source: was it safer being an artillery man than a simple soldier


Artillery Survey in World War One

The adoption of indirect fire as the main methodology necessitated the need for accurate mapping and survey in order to establish the exact location of our own guns, and to provide a mechanism to know the enemy target. At the battle of Mons, british artillery was ofter located near the infantry positions, shrapnel direct fire augmenting their rifle and machine gun fire. By November 1917, Cambrai became the first bnattle which relied on wholly predicted fire.

In addition to the survey role, the location of enemy artillery for counter bombardment became another essential role of the surveyors.

As ever the Long Long Trail provides essential information: http://www.1914-1918.net/re_survey.htm

I have Peter Chasseaud's Artillery's Astrologers - A History of British Survey and Mapping on the Western Front 1914-1918 on my reading list;


I came accross a paper to presented at the RA Historical Society which provides an good overview

Source: ROYAL ARTILLERY HISTORICAL SOCIETY A Presentation by Brigadier Fraser Scott MA

A Royal Engineer Ranging Section was sent to France in November 1914. It fixed enemy batteries using air or ground observers. Aeroplanes had no wireless so enemy batteries were fixed by the pilot dropping a smoke bomb over one. This was intersected by ground observers which meant that the observers had to be surveyed in. So too had the guns which were to engage them. This was the nucleus for surveying in the artillery. The aircraft were soon issued with wireless so that they could report enemy battery positions on the map. And, as artillery ammunition was in short supply, they needed to reduce the amount used in adjusting fire onto targets and in registering them. This meant surveying in our own battery positions. At the start of 1915 the Ranging Section had a strength of only 19, then in April 1915 it became the 1st Ranging and Survey Section RE under GHQ and a circular went out to Army and artillery commanders:

“The primary objects of this Section were:

1. To determine a means of obtaining, in conjunction with aeroplane signals, the ranges of targets invisible from the ground.

2. To carry out survey work and revision of maps in the area occupied by the British Army.

In addition to the above, the Section has, on several occasions, done useful work in determining the coordinate positions of heavy guns or batteries and supplying bearings and ranges to various conspicuous objects round them” (this was the original of the “bearing picket” ).


The Ranging Section started flash spotting in the winter of 1914-15 using a bearing and range from the angle of depression (the observer was in a commanding position higher than the enemy battery). The results were poor due to the state of the maps (for range accuracy you had to know the difference in height between the observer and the gun). They also used the time from flash to bang to determine range but this wasn’t accurate. Allenby, who was commanding the Third Army, authorised a flash spotting course to be held for 12 officers to select five to be in charge of OPs which were being constructed. Men were provided by artillery units, and flash spotting started. On the Somme front in October 1915 (the front line ran east of Albert) flash spotting, posts named after London music halls were chosen to give as good a coverage as possible..

At this time enemy gun location was mostly done by air reconnaissance which did not satisfy the commander of Second Army who ordered, in October 1915, that

“Counter-battery work must be a matter chiefly for the heavy artillery, and it has therefore been decided that the work of locating the enemy’s batteries shall in future be done at the HQ of the Groups of Heavy Artillery Reserve. For this purpose a special officer, with the necessary assistants, will be attached to the staff of each Group Commander. This officer will be called the Artillery Intelligence Officer”.

This was the start of a proper counter-bombardment system.


Sound ranging began, for the British, when Lawrence Bragg, a Territorial RHA officer and Nobel Prizewinner, was sent to France in October 1915. The French and Germans had already started. Lucien Bull in Paris had developed a recorder based on his work on recording heartbeats. He proposed using an Einthoven string galvanometer with the movement of the strings, and that of a timing device, recorded photographically. Bragg got a Bull recorder and started to sound range just south of Ypres in the Second Army area. He had a mathematician, and electrician, an instrument maker and five others. He got going and persuaded the authorities to add more recorders. He had worked at Manchester under Rutherford and got eight other scientists from there. But the real problem was the microphone type – carbon granule – this was excellent for high frequencies but useless for the low frequency of guns firing (40 hertz or 40 cycles per second).

In 1916 things started to get more settled. In February the surveyors were organised into Field Survey Companies RE, one per Army. Each Army had an Observation Section (for flash spotting) and a Sound Ranging Section. So the field survey companies were responsible for:

Fixing British batteries - topographic section

Map drawing, printing and distribution - map section

Flash spotting - observation section

Sound ranging - sound ranging section

all under a Company HQ which also had a compilation section responsible for artillery intelligence.

1916 saw the system develop - more men were made available so that flash spotting could operate with their posts manned effectively all the time. There was also a Group HQ connected to the posts by telephone exchange so that the posts could communicate to each other too. But it was still difficult to know which flashes were which. The bearings had been measured using theodolites but these presented an upside-down image. They were replaced with Apparatus, Observation of Fire, Instrument used by Coast Artillery; it had a spider’s web graticule, black by day and lit, at night, by a bulb controlled by a resistance. If the flash was dim you decreased the brightness: if it was bright, or you were only seeking a sky reflection, you made the graticule brighter so you only saw the core of the flash and could take the bearing to it.

The telephone lines were provided by the Royal Engineers Signal Service: they could be on the ground, on ‘cosmic’ poles or buried (above ground ones were more vulnerable but easier to repair, buried ones lasted longer but harder to mend). In May 1916 Hemming had a bright idea on how to ensure that the posts were observing the same flash – it was to have a telegraphic key in each post so that when an observer saw a flash he pressed his key and lit a lamp in the HQ – but there wasn’t enough current to light the lamp. He wrote to Bragg who suggested a sensitive relay so when Hemming went on leave he went to Lisle Street in London and bought six relays, keys and buzzers. Coming back after only four days of a fortnights leave (his fellow officers thought he was mad), he mocked up a system that worked. The GPO built Flash & Buzzer Boards for all the flash spotting bases and flash spotting became effective. And in 1916 a School for Observers was inaugurated.

Sound ranging too improved. Bragg had noticed how, when sitting on the privy of his billet, he was lifted when the noise of a gun firing arrived. This indicated that the gun sound moved the air. Corporal Tucker had arrived in this section: he had experimented at Imperial College on the cooling of hot platinum wires by air currents and they thought that such wires would respond to the gun sound but not to higher frequencies. They got some thin wire, put it across a hole in an ammunition box, connected it to their recorder and, when a German gun fired, there was a large ‘break’ in the film record as shown in this diagram of a film showing the breaks and the timing marks:


As Bragg had written “ it converted sound ranging from a very doubtful proposition to a powerful practical method. They also realised that, if the microphones were set out regularly, it was much easier to pick out the signal from one gun, or from a battery. A map of the bases in 1916 shows the section bases are lettered ound rangers are physicists and serious) and the flash spotting posts named after the villages they are near – Lavender for Lavendie – Bullrush for Bully etc.

As the battle fromt moved, the locators had to move forward which the flash spotters did post by post. The sound rangers now had the Tucker microphone, which meant that out own shell bursts could be located so far out that CB fire could be adjusted accurately onto an enemy battery thus avoiding any errors due to wind etc. Tucker himself was commissioned and sent to the Artillery School on Salisbury Plain to form an Experimental Section to work on sound ranging. And early in 1917 they had a series of sound ranging conferences to disseminate new ideas. Ludendorff, directly under Hindenberg, issued an order summarised:

“The English have a well-developed system of sound ranging. Precautions are accordingly to be taken to camouflage the sound eg registration when the wind is contrary, many batteries firing at the same time, simultaneous firing from false positions”.

He also wanted to have a British sound ranging apparatus captured.


For the Battle of the Somme each Corps had a Counter Battery Staff Officer to make sense of the gun location now being obtained. He reported up the Gunner chain of command. Besides the CBSOs there were also Royal Artillery Reconnaissance Officers (RAROs), which caused some confusion. Hemming became the RARO for VI Corps: he couldn’t order any counter battery fire but had to deal through the CBSO, Colonel Fawcett the explorer, who would consult his ouija board to see if Hemming’s location should be “confirmed”. However, British CB had an effect on the German artillery tactics. For them protection gave way to concealment and positions changed with a rapidity that made our hostile battery lists out of date. The CBSO dealt with immediate problems and the RARO with longer-term assessments. Proper CB plans were now being made. For this First Army’s attack CB destroyed or neutralised 90% of the German batteries.

The Germans withdrew to the Hindenberg Line in March 1917. R Sound Ranging Section noted that the Germans were shelling inside their old front line but didn’t report it until the Corps Commander rang up to enquire. T Section made no locations west of the Hindenberg Line but didn’t report this for 24 hours. So they all had to move eastwards. Studies were made of locating accuracy: 4th Field Survey Company found that of 230 German battery positions 86.5% had been correctly located. More sound ranging sections were authorised.

It took about two weeks to install sound ranging sections due to the time taken to lay the lines (the ground was in a bad state). Studies were made to improve mobility which were to be useful later.

In June 1917 First and Second Armies instituted report centres to warn all locating units of activity. These centres were connected to the Flying Corps, balloons, flash spotters, sound rangers, anti-aircraft and wireless stations as well as to corps report centres, corps heavy artillery and divisional HQs.

Before the Messines battle in June 1917 the British put in a false attack to draw German fire so as to get locations. After the battle it was found that the sound rangers had accurately located over 93% of the German battery positions so the Germans had to adopt various ruses - alternative positions, dummy flashes, wandering guns etc. As a result the British CB wasn’t as effective as it had been especially in the flat country around Ypres.

After the Passchendaele battle, the Canadians criticised the locators for being too far back, the reason being the Signal difficulties. They recommended transferring them from intelligence to artillery command. GHQ immediately put them under the Royal Artillery for tactical purposes and this must have influenced the post-war decisions. The Corps HQRAs now directed them.

Schools of instruction were established: each Army had an artillery school and there were also an Observation School for flash spotting and a Sound Ranging School.

In November 1917 the battle of Cambrai became the first battle when all the artillery fire was to be predicted, with no preliminary registration,in order to achieve maximum surprise. All the heavy and siege batteries were surveyed in and provided with bearing pickets as well as some of the field ones. 90% of the hostile batteries had been correctly located, mostly by the locators. Besides this, specially trained mobile flash spotting and sound ranging detachments followed up the advancing troops: one base was in action 56 hours after zero. however, the Germans counterattacked and some apparatus had to be thrown into a pond to avoid capture.

When the Russians collapsed, Germany could now reinforce their Western Front. The focus on the western front was to prepare for defence and reserve bases were prepared. An an experiment was done which showed that a long base further from the enemy was better than a short one near him.

Hemming had a great moment as RARO when, in March 1918, Field Marshal Haig visited VI Corps HQ and came to the artillery office.

He asked Hemming “Could the Germans attack tomorrow?”

Hemming said “I don’t think they could”.

“Why not?”.

“Because we had one gun per three yards of front at Ypres and he will want more. I’ve only found one third so far though more have just moved in”

“All right, as soon as you have found half of the missing batteries send me a telegram”. Hemming sent the telegram on 18th March and the offensive started on 21st March. He used air photographs for this as the Germans had copied us by using predicted fire.

When the Germans attacked the locating lines were cut and no locating could be done. As it was essential to avoid the sound ranging apparatus and the flash and buzzer boards being captured, the locators moved out and through the new British front. As each post only had a two-wheeled cart much had to be left behind or destroyed. Some were taken prisoner: others found themselves formed into ad hoc defence forces digging trenches as infantry. The situation stabilised, gun survey done and locating bases established: In May Bragg and Hemming were brought back to actual locating to work on the GHQ Defence Line, our most rearward position.

In July 1918 the Field Survey Companies became Field Survey Battalions, commanded by Lt Cols, representing the increased strengths. And in July the Allies (the Americans had now joined in) started their offensive using the now established predicted fire. For the battle of Amiens in August the locators were ready to move with the attack and the flash spotters had wireless (attempts to do a radiolink for sound ranging had not been successful).

During the Hundred Days leading up to the Armistice the locators followed up the Allied advance as best they could. Among their problems were deaths from Spanish flu. It is worth noting the batteries located by 4th Field Survey Company/Battalion:

Flash Spotting Sound Ranging`

1917 Dec 800 1500

1918 Jan 342 1047 bad weather for flash spotting

Feb 441 991 bad weather for flash spotting

Mar 1017 2125 German attack

Apr 417 747

May 680 1094

Jun 808 1005

Jul 803 1112

Aug 1002 1260

Sep 1230 434

By the end of the war there were field survey battalions in France, Salonika, Egypt and Italy. What sort of people had been involved? All sorts: they volunteered from the rest of the Army and were recruited from universities. They welded themselves into small groups with a remarkable esprit de corps (even though there was no formal corps). The posts operated on their own with little supervision by officers (the officers were too few and too busy). The nature of the war was such that many groups integrated themselves into the local populace aided, for the flash spotters, by the fact that the positions of their observation posts were dictated by the command they had to have over the countryside so a post was used for months, if not for years. For example Lavender, in Laventie Church, was first used in 1915; 2 Field Survey Company took it over in March 1916 handing it over to 1 Field Survey Company in July and stayed until the German attack in April 1918 (which destroyed the church). But by August 1918, the flash spotters were back in Laventie. Chasseaud wrote in his book Artillery Alchemists: “The men of the group … were practically villagers in their own right”. Here is a drawing of one of them in his billet:


Their self-reliance was well demonstrated in the German 1918 attack: many posts were cut off from their HQ so they had to make their own decisions as to when and where to go.


From: 1915/16: Reserve Batteries, RH & RFA

As ever brilliant information from David Porter

For the benefit of others this is my current crib sheet - i.e. not 100% accurate with some based on guesswork.

No. 1 Depot RFA (1 Reserve Brigade) at Newcastle-on-Tyne

1A Reserve Brigade consisting of 1, 2 and 3 Batteries. Newcastle upon Tyne (55 Battery added)

1B Reserve Brigade consisting of 4, 5 and 6 Batteries. Forest Row (initially Leeds then Ipswich in March 1916)

No. 2 Depot RFA (2 Reserve Brigade) at Preston

2A Reserve Brigade consisting of 7, 8 and 9 Batteries. Preston

2B Reserve Brigade consisting of 10, 11 and 12 Batteries. Brighton (also No. 4 RFA Officer Cadets School)

No. 3 Depot RFA (3 Reserve Brigade) at Hilsea, Cosham Railway Station

3A Reserve Brigade consisting of 13, 14 and 15 Batteries. Larkhill (57 Battery added)

3B Reserve Brigade consisting of 16, 17 and 18 Batteries. Topsham Barracks, Exeter (also No. 2 RFA Officer Cadet School)

No. 4 Depot RFA (4 Reserve Brigade) at Woolwich

4A Reserve Brigade consisting of 19, 20 and 21 Batteries. Woolwich (56 Battery replaced 20)

4B Reserve Brigade consisting of 22, 23 and 24 Batteries. Boyton, Wilts

No. 5 Depot RFA (5 Reserve Brigade) at Athlone

5A Reserve Brigade consisting of 25, 26 and 27 Batteries. Athlone

5B Reserve Brigade (28, 29 and 30 Batteries ??) broken up ??

No. 6 Depot RFA (6 Reserve Brigade) at Glasgow, Maryhill Barracks (possibly Edinburgh in 1918)

6A Reserve Brigade (31, 32, and 33 Batteries ??) broken up ?? - 31st Reserve Battery remount training unit. Glasgow

6B Reserve Brigade consisting of 34, 35 and 36 Batteries. Piershill Barracks, Edinburgh

No. 7 Depot RFA (7 Reserve Brigade) at Romsey

Added later

1C Reserve Brigade consisted of 37, 38 and 39 Batteries. Hemel Hempstead - 37th Reserve Battery remount training unit. Northampton

2C Reserve Brigade consisting of 40, 41 and 42 Batteries. Catterick - 40th Reserve Battery remount training unit. No.8 Camp, Bulford

3C Reserve Brigade consisting of 43, 44 and 45 Batteries. Deepcut - 43rd Reserve Battery at Swanage in 1917 & 1918

4C Reserve Brigade consisting of 46, 47 and 48 Batteries. Weedon

5C Reserve Brigade consisting of 49, 50 and 51 Batteries. Charlton Park - 49th Reserve (Ballincollig) Battery

6C Reserve Brigade consisting of 52, 53.and 54 Batteries. Maryhill Barracks, Glasgow, or Redford Barracks, Edinburgh - 146 and 147 Batteries replaced 53 and 54

new 6C Reserve Brigade consisting of 53, 54.and 55 Batteries, Waterloo Barracks, Aldershot (relocated from Glasgow, Edinburgh & Newcastle ??)

new 5B Reserve Brigade consisting of 59, 60 and 61 Batteries. Edinburgh (58 Battery missing !!) (50, 59 and 60 Batteries moved to Lessness Park Camp in 1918)

62nd Reserve Battery remount training unit. Ripon

63rd Reserve Battery remount training unit. Bulford

Source: 1915/16: Reserve Batteries, RH & RFA


Northumbrian Gunner Promotion

Wow !!! - interesting day on the Great War Forum.

  • Promoted to Lieut. Colonel with my 500th post
  • 1,000th view to the Blog
  • this will be my 45th Blog post.

Only joined the forum to get a bit more information about my Regiment - now developing a deep interest in the Royal Artillery in WW1.



Remembered Today:

Corporal Herbert LEE DCM, 246th Brigade Royal Field Artillery who died on 3rd September 1916, Etaples Military Cemetery

:poppy: CWGC Information


Rank: Corporal

Service No: 1039

Date of Death: 03/09/1916

Age: 21

Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery "A" Bty. 246th Bde.

Awards: D C M

Grave Reference X. B. 6.


Additional Information:

Son of Fanny Lee, of 13, College Mount, Otley Rd., Bradford.

Herbert Lee enlisted into the Territorial Force 2nd (West Riding) Battery of the 1st West Riding Brigade on the 3rd June 1912 aged 17 years and 6 months. His trade is listed as a Clerk at J. Pickles & Son of Thornbury. The 2nd (West Riding) Battery was based at Bramley, and his medical examination details his service was to be with the 4th (West Riding) Battery, which was based at Valley Parade, Bradford.

His first annual camp was at Salisbury in August 1912 and he was promoted to Bombardier (1 tape) just before he attended camp in 1913. He served as a Territorial for 2 years and 63 days before being mobilised 5th August 1914.

The 1st West Riding Battery were part of the Divisional Artillery of West Riding Division - (would become 49th Division). The Division moved to France in April 1915, Herbert's record details he embarked at Southampton 14th April 1915, disembarking at Le Havre 15th April 1915.

The Long Long Trail for Division outlines;


The units of the Division had just departed for annual summer camp when emergency orders recalled them to the home base. All units were mobilised for full time war service on 5 August 1914 and moved to concentrate in the South Yorkshire / Lincolnshire area by mid August 1914.


On 31 March the Division was warned that it would go on overseas service and entrainment began on 12 April. Divisional infantry went via Folkestone-Boulogne while all other units went from Southampton to Le Havre. By 19 April the Division had concentrated in the area of Estaires - Merville - Neuf Berquin. The Division then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:

The Battle of Aubers Ridge (9 May)

The defence against the first Phosgene attack (19 December)

Herbert was promoted in the field to Corporal 17th August 1915. During 1915 he earned the Distinguished Conduct Medal, it's award being announced in the London Gazette 11th January 1916.

Gazette Issue 29438 published on the 11 January 1916




1039 Corporal H. Lee, 4th (West Riding) Battery, Royal Field Artillery, T.F.

2691 Gazette Issue 29503 published on the 10 March 1916


1039 Corporal H. Lee, 4th (West Riding) Battery, Royal Field Artillery, T.F.

For conspicuous gallantry and good work in charge of Signallers. On two occasions

the Infantry in the front trench have been able to use the battery telephone lines when

their own had all been cut.

The Long Long Trail for Division outlines for 1916:


The Battle of Albert

The Battle of Bazentin Ridge

The Battle of Pozieres Ridge

The 49th Division were part of X Corps and in Reserve for the battle of Albert, the Corps being Gough's Reserve Army for the subsequent two Battles.

A telegram on the 3rd September from the OC 11 General Hospital Camiers (just North of Etaples) reports Herbert as a C2 casualty with gun shot wounds to his left leg and dangerously ill with a fractured femur. He died of wounds the same day and buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery.

On the 25th March his mother received a letter from OIC RFA / RHA records at Woolwich together with Herbert's DCM, Mrs Lee acknowledging by letter she received it at 2 pm. The following day another letter from records asks if Herbert's mother would like to be presented with the medal publically, Mrs Lee declining saying she is not in good health and "could do without the commotion". In January 1917 she was given a gratuity of £20 in recognition of her sons award of the DCM.

Herbert was not Mrs Lee's only loss. Another son, George, was killed a year later, 9th September 1917, serving with 1st Royal Marine Battalion Royal Marine Light Infantry part of the Royal Naval Division.

Corporal Lee qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. His medals survived:



From: Viscount Alanbrooke

Alanbrooke has a outstanding reputation as a planner, his contribution during WW2 as Chief of the General Staff, and Churchill's reliance on his advice are testimony to his ability. His biography is sitting on the bookshelf - must get around to reading it.


Vicount Alanbrooke.

Many thanks to Andrew for detailing his WW1 appointments:

In 1916 Major Alan Brooke was BM RA with 18 Division. Can anyone outline his other appointments during WW1 please?

Old Tom

From Who's Who:

* 1914: N Battery RHA, Seconded Cavalry Brigade.

* Sept 1914 - commanded ammunition column (per notes in Vol. 2 of the Official History, p 484, this is presumably H Section of 2nd Indian RHA Brigade)

* Feb 1915: Adjutant, 2nd Indian RHA Brigade in 2nd Indian Cavalry Division

* Nov 1915: Brigade-Major RA 18th Division (presumably transferred when Indian divisions withdrawn?)

* Feb 1917: GSO2 RA, Canadian Corps

* Jul 1918: GSO1 RA, First Army, until end March 1919, when he went to Camberley.

Hope that helps...


Interesting that Alanbrooke was a Brigade Major and was responsible for the 18th Divisions fireplan. This was a notable sauces on the first day of the Somme, the 18th Division attacking Montauban on the left flank of XIII Corps. The Artillery contribution in which Alanbrooke played a major part. :Artillery

Counter Battery fire had destroyed many of the German gunsso there was little enemy artillery response to the British advance.

The preliminary bombardment had been effective. The Frenchheavy artillery had destroyed many German dugouts. The intensity of thepreliminary bombardment was such that the relief of the regiment manning thatsector was not possible. Many of the German soldiers were suffering fromexhaustion and shell shock. Consequently only small pockets of resistance existed;many were killed in the area of the Glatz Redoubt and Montauban. In Montaubanit’s self the only thing found alive was a fox.

He was a GSO2 RA handling Corps Artillery - I have something in common !!! However, he was never a Battery Commander, though Lt Col with 2 DSO's by the end of the war serving as a staff officer is good going.

Source: Viscount Alanbrooke


Interesting research from corisande and usual meticulous detail from Dick Flory

WW1 --> Military Medal - Commissioned - Military Cross - Croix de Guerre

Ireland 1920's --> Served as an intelligence officer and was on an IRA hit list - OBE

Post War --> Spell as an adjutant in Portsmouth - seconded to the TA - court martial ed and dismissed from the service in 1928

WW2 --> George Medal in the ARP

and....... a spot of bigamy !!!! Wife and Bar

Web Site: Web Site: Campbell Joseph O'Connor Kelly OBE GM MC MM

Clearly a Gunner whose professionalism and conduct in an operational sitaution was in the highest traditions of the Royal Regiment. He appears to have had problems when not in action.

Still a problem Combat Stress

Campbell Joseph O'Connor Kelly (the Army List shows him as 'Campbell Kelly' through January 1928)

Born on 21 Sept 1892

MM London Gazette, 12 Dec 1917, as a Sergeant, RGA

In the ranks for seven years and 47 days

Served in France and Flanders from October 1916 to June 1918

Commissioned 2nd Lieut, RGA on 7 Jan 18

Served with 185th Siege Battery, RGA

MC, London Gazette 24 Sep 1918 as a 2nd Lieut., RGA: 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. While out with a patrol he encountered a strong hostile party, who bombed him, but by using his revolver he succeeded in getting away and bringing back information. Again he did excellent work with a party of gunners, with rifles, in holding up the enemy while the guns were being withdrawn. He frequently returned to the battery under heavy fire to obtain further supplies of ammunition, though at the time he was suffering from the effects of gas.'

Croix de Guerre, London Gazette 7 Jan 1919 as 2nd Lieut, RGA

Also received the BWM and VM and was once wounded.

Lieut, RGA, 7 July 1919

From 1 May 1919 to 20 May 1922 he held a special appointment with the Intelligence Division, Irish Command, and was responsible for interrogating members of the Irish Republican Army. Became a major target for the IRA (see On Another Man's Wound.

OBE,London Gazette, 1 Jan 1923 as Lieut, RGA for services in Ireland

Adjutant, Portsmouth Docks, RA from 3 Feb 1923 to 10 Jan 1926

Temp. Captain, 11 Jan 1926

Adjutant, Glamorgan, Heavy Brigade, RA, TA from 11 Jan 1926 until he was dismissed the Army, 24 July 1928

GM,London Gazette, 28 Jan 1941 as Control Officer, Works Air Defence Department, Coventry.

His medal group was sold by Sotheby's in 1973, Lusted in 1980 and Christie's in 1989.

Source: Lt Campbell Joseph O'Connor Kelly, OBE, GM, MC, MM


GWF Bloging

Following Mikes lead – will Blogging be of use on the GWF ? The new format of the forum looks like blogging may be easier.

Many of the current blogs have one entry - really a request for information which would be better placed on the main forum.

So will my meanderings work ? Or go the way of the rest - time will tell.


Tynemouth RGA - Siege Batteries

The Royal Naval dominance of the North Sea reduced the German threat on the coast and the requirement for coastal artillery. This coincided with increased demand for heavy artillery for the Western Front, and skilled RGA gunners to man those guns. Consequently RGA gunners from the coastal batteries were formed into siege batteries for deployment overseas.

The coastal units would also provide the basis for training and the raising of future RGA Batteries.

The following Siege Batteries were formed from the Tynemouth RGA (TF) personnel and or / at Tynemouth

Sources: Fredericks Lineage vol 2 page 702 to 708 / Siege Battery 94 1914-1918 / The History of the 135th Siege Battery RGA

  • 21 Siege Battery - formed 15th January 1915 at Tynemouth. Equipped with 9.2 in howitzers

  • 25 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 15th Feb 1915. Armed with four 8" Howitzers went out to the Western Front on 3 Aug 15

  • 35 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 15th Feb 1915

  • 44 Siege Battery - formed at Sheerness 12th July 1915. Formed from Tynemouth RGA (TF) and regulars from units in Gibraltar.

  • 46 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 30th July 1915 Nucleus from Cornwall RGA

  • 53 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 25th August 1915

  • 80 Siege Battery - formed Tynemouth 15 Nov 1915

  • 94 Siege Battery - formed 16th December 1915 at Tynemouth. Personnel 40 % New Army / Regulars from Tynemouth RGA & 60% Durham RGA. Deployed to France April 1916 with 4 x 9.2in Howitzer

  • 100 Siege Battery - formed 13th January 1916 Tynemouth Defences

  • 115 Siege Battery -- formed at Tynemouth 3rd March 1916

  • 128 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 8th April 1916

  • 135 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 3rd May 1916 - Nucleus from 12 & 47 Company's RGA (Tynemouth) and recruits from Derby

  • 169 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 13th June 1916

  • 186 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 13th July 1916

  • 217 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 13th July 1916 - Equipped with 4 x 6in howitzers (26cwt) Went to Western Front 2oth Jan 1917 Increased to 4 guns 10-Mar-1918

  • 223 siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 12th August 1916

  • 247 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 13th September 1916

  • 260 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 28th September 1916

  • 288 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 1st November 1916 - Went out to the Western Front 4th April 1917. Equipped with of 4 x 8in Howitzers

  • 302 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 17th January 1916

  • 339 Siege Battery - formed at Tynemouth 15th January 1917

A review of Soldiers who died in the Great War for the Tynemouth RGA details 18 soldiers who lost their lives. They served in the following Siege Batteries; 13, 44, 76, 100, 113, 132, 135, 199, 228, 286, 290, and 384. In addition one Tynemouth RGA gunner was lost with the 1st/1st (Essex) Heavy Battery. This shows the variety of batteries with which Tynemouth RGA gunners served, and includes service in Salonika and Mesopotamia.

Surname Initials Rank Unit

Baker IO BSM 228th Siege Bty.

Bennett W Gunner 286th Siege Bty.

Brown JE Bombardier 113th Siege Bty.

Chapman E Gunner Tynemouth

Daniel F Gunner Royal Garrison Artillery

Flett R Gunner 44th Siege Bty.

Gallon J Gunner Royal Garrison Artillery

Hills J Gunner 76th Siege Bty.

Howe HD Gunner 290th Siege Bty.

Kelly J Bombardier 132nd Siege Bty.

Levitt W Gunner 13th Siege Bty.

Lynch W Gunner 135th Siege Bty.

McDonald N

Moffatt AE Gunner 199th Siege Bty.

Mordue T Gunner 384th Siege Bty.

Neil A Gunner 1st/1st (Essex) Heavy Bty.

Richardson SG Bombadier 100th Siege Bty.

Todd G Gunner 384th Siege Bty.


Remembered Today:Gunner John INSCOE, 62nd Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery, who died on 15th September 1917, Arras Memorial

:poppy: CWGC Information


Rank: Gunner

Service No: 31730

Date of Death: 15/09/1917

Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery "Y" 62nd T.M. Bty.

Panel Reference Bay 1.


Born in 1895, John Inscoe enlisted in Wolverhampton Sfaffordshire. His 1911 Cenus entry records his occupation as a metal worker (general), and living with his parents, Albert and Susan, together with brother Howard at 6 Manlove Street, Wolverhampton. The cenus records that by 1911 Susan Incscoe had given birth to 5 children, three of whom are recorded as died. She would loose a fourth child on 15th September 1917.

He serving with Y 62nd Trench Mortary battery and the begining of August 1917 the trench moratrs had gone into the line in the area of BULLECOURT, near ARRAS.

on the 15th September the battery was lenat to the 50th division to conduct a trench raid. The record from the War Services of the 62nd Divisional Artillery records "Previously Y Battery had only had two men killed, and so were able to man their four guns.The German barrage was again very heavy, and we suffered severely. Round one gun were grouped about a hundred bombs ready for firing, and exactly what happened we shall never know, but the lot were detonated. The detachment was of course blown to atoms, and at the next gun two men were killed by the explosion as well as Lieut. Harris"

Those recorded on the Arras memorial from the 62nd Trench Mortars are Gunners William Ingram (21) , John Inscoe (22) and Edward Kerrigan (18)

Information from Beckminster Methodist Church War memorial Penn Fields


John Inscoe

The son of Albert and Susan Inscoe of Lorne Terrace, Church Road Bradmore, when he died John Inscoe was Gunner 31730 of the 62nd Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Although normally attached to the 62nd West Riding Division, which had only arrived in France in March 1917, two Companies, 'Y/62' and 'Z/62' Trench Mortar Batteries were seconded to the 50th Division for a raid carried out on September 15th that year.

Their position was in a little-used trench about 150 yards behind their own front line opposite Cherisy in the Arras area of France. This trench had previously suffered very little from the German barrage, and it was expected that casualties there would be slight. In the event, this trench received about 75 percent of the total German Barrage that day. Earlier John’s Battery had had few casualties, but now they suffered severely. Around one gun were grouped about a hundred bombs ready for firing, and exactly what happened we shall never know, but at 7.40 pm. the whole lot were detonated. There would have been nothing left for his comrades to bury. He was 21 years old. John’s elder brother Howard is also on the church memorial as having served. John is officially commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Extracts from War Services of the 62nd Divisional Artillery

August 1917

On about this date one of my trench mortar batteries

went into action in Bullecourt.

They are in a ruin in the middle of the village. You get to

them by first entering an old cellar in another ruin, and then

scrambling down a sloping tunnel to an underground chamber

about 30 feet below the surface of the ground. Here the detach-

ment live. Then you crawl up another tunnel, and emerge into

the ruin which holds the mortar emplacements.

I think that the trench mortar batteries had, on the

whole, while they were in action, the most uncomfortable

and dangerous job of any troops in the line. The

infantry, while recognising their great value, objected

not unnaturally to have such favourite objects of the

enemy's attentions in any position near their dug-outs

or much frequented trenches ; and, as it was necessary

that the mortars should be sited as close as possible to

the enemy's front line, and yet, for the above reason,

not too near the infantry, it followed that the only

available positions were usually in unpopular spots

shunned by all who had any choice in the matter, and

generally bearing such significant titles as Hell Fire

Point, V.C. Corner, Deadman's Gulley, etc. The

unfortunate detachments lived underground for practi-

cally the whole of their tour of duty, as it was often

impossible to get to and from their emplacements during

the daylight ; and, owing to shortage of men, their tours

of duty were generally two or three times as long as those

of the infantry. When I went to visit them, I could

nearly always promise myself an exciting walk with

plenty of thrills in it. I retain lively recollections of

crawling with Lindsell or Anderson, guided by Powell,

the D.T.M.O., along shallow trenches, or places where

trenches had been before they were demolished, and

finally diving down into the ground to find ourselves,

when the eyes got used to the subterranean darkness,

in the midst of a party of smiling jolly looking gunners.

They were a cheerful lot, and, after all, they had their

compensations. There were times when there was no

scope for the use of trench mortars, and then they would

sometimes get a rest for several weeks at a time, in some

pleasant billet well back from the firing line ; and when

they did get a rest, it was well deserved.

" Y/62 and Z/62 trench mortar batteries were lent

to the 50th Division for a raid they carried out on

September 15th, 1917. The field guns and trench

mortars provided a box barrage, the latter putting their

contributions at each side, while the field guns shelled

the enemy's support trenches.

" Our positions were in a little-used trench about

150 yards behind our own front line, opposite Cherisy.

This trench had previously suffered very little from

the German barrage, and it was expected that casualties

there would be slight. The wire was not cut from any

of these positions, and guns not even registered from


" The first portion of the raid was carried out from

4 p.m. to 4.40 p.m., and was completely successful.

The Battalion which went over the top was commanded

by the late Brig.-General Bradford, V.C., then Colonel,

who afterwards came to the 62nd Division as a Brigade


" As ill luck would have it (I cannot think it anything

else), the trench the mortars were in received about

75 per cent, of the total German barrage, and casualties

were so heavy among Z battery that they were unable

to man their guns for the full length of time. Lieut.

G. A. Craven was so severely wounded that he died the

same evening, while Lieut. W. Wooliscroft was wounded,

and most of the men either killed or wounded.

" At 7.40 p.m. half a battalion went over the top again,

and in this case also the results were all that could have

been desired. Previously Y Battery had only had two

men killed, and so were able to man their four guns.

The German barrage was again very heavy, and we

suffered severely. Round one gun were grouped about

a hundred bombs ready for firing, and exactly what

happened we shall never know, but the lot were

detonated. The detachment was of course blown to

atoms, and at the next gun two men were killed by the

explosion as well as Lieut. Harris. One man alone was

left unharmed, and after carrying some wounded under

cover, he returned and manned his gun single-handed

until the raid was over.

"We went to the raid 4 officers and about 40 other

ranks, and returned to our Division 1 officer and 6 other


I received the following letter from the G.O.C.R.A.,

50th Division :

' Will you please thank your fellows very much for

the good work they did for us yesterday. I am most

awfully sorry your trench mortars had such a bad time.

It was just bad luck ; the Boche put down a barrage

where he had never put one down before, and caught

them. It was most unfortunate. I can't tell you how

sorry I am about it."


Psyops - RFC/RAF Leaflet Drops

Fundamentally there two ways to defeat an enemy. Destroy them, or cause them to loose the will to fight, indeed it usually a combination of both. The attritional war of WW1 ended when the Germans could see no point in going on.

So why talk about leaflet drops in relation to the Royal Artillery ? In the modern targeting process Psyops is often part of the mechanism in reducing the enemies will to fight, the use of firepower being integrated with non kinetic methods.

So this information posted by Phil B is very interesting;

This is an interesting piece about early psyops. Was leaflet dropping eventually agreed to be lawful and did Scholtz & Wookey slip back into obscurity?

The Allied leaflets enraged the Germans, who actually placed captured British pilots who dropped them on trial for their lives. In one very famous case, the Germans condemned two British pilots, Captain E. Scholtz and Lieutenant H.C. Wookey to prison. The two pilots were shot down and captured near Cambrai on 17 October 1917. They were charged with "the distribution in September 1917 of pamphlets detrimental to German troops." They were tried, found guilty of treason, and sentenced to 10 years at hard labor. The British government threatened severe reprisals against German officers, so in April 1918 the pilots were pardoned by the Kaiser and sent to a regular POW camp at Karlsruhe. According to Blankenhorn, the Americans, "fully aware of the enemy threats, made it a point to fly defiantly low as possible and drop their leaflets directly on German positions." This so embarrassed the British that they returned to the airplane for leaflet drops in the last weeks of the war. He also states that some British pilots burned the leaflets in their hangars to avoid carrying them over enemy lines.

Dr. Philip M. Taylor, author of "Munitions of the Mind - A History of Propaganda from Ancient World to the Present Day," Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 1995, discusses the legal issue in more depth:

For most of 1918 , the principal method of distributing enemy propaganda was leaflets not airplane. This was because at the end of the 1917, four captured British airmen were tried by a German court martial for 'having distributed pamphlets containing insults against the German army and Government among German troops in the Western Theatre of War.' Although two of the accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence, and although the court itself questioned the ruling about whether this act was a violation of international law, two officers were sentenced to ten years imprisonment. When news of this punishment reached the war office in January 1918, all leaflet dropping by airplane was suspended. Reprisals were threatened, resulting in the pardoning of the two British officers, who were returned to their camps and treated as normal prisoners of war. But the Air Ministry remained reluctant to commit its men and machines to leaflet raids and the suspension order remained in force until October 1918, barely a month before the end of war.


Source: RFC/RAF Leaflet Drops



In July 1899 the Royal Artillery divided it's self in to two separate Corps. The mounted branch of the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery, and the dismounted branch, Royal Garrison Artillery.

As I understand it, the Horse and Field Artillery batteries were seen as the units to be in if you wanted promotion to the higher echelons of the Royal Artillery. Consequently many officers tried to avoid coastal, mountain, and heavy artillery batteries. The latter also required officers of a more technical nature, so quite a bit to learn, which I suppose would interfere with the hunting, shooting and fishing.

So, form two corps, RHA / RFA, fast mobile warfare, direct fire over open sights, good exciting stuff. Coastal Artillery, positional warfare (apart from the odd mountain campaign), technical gunnery, but nice big guns to fire.

So what about our Gunners at the beginning of 1914 ?

A look at the station of units:

RHA / RFA - Bulford, Newcastle, Sheffield, Glasgow, Aldershot, Woolwich - ok India could be interesting

RGA - Malta. Barbados, Ceylon, Hong Kong Sierra Leone - ok you may end up in Tynemouth as the wind whips in off the north sea temperatures plummeting (in summer).

So Bulford and exercises on Salisbury Plain, with the RFA or Barbados with the RGA ?

Difficult choice !!


From: Royal Artillery Badge


Here is what MUST be the definitive reply, just received from Paul Evans at the Royal Artillery Library, Woolwich:


The gun badge for all members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery was introduced in 1902 to be worn in the Service Dress Cap by all ranks of the Regiment (Regular Army).

The design of the badge derives from the Coat of Arms of the Royal Regiment of Artillery which was granted to the Regiment in July 1832 by His Majesty King William IV. The Royal arms and supporters with a cannon and the motto "Ubique quo fas et gloria ducunt". This was amended in 1833 to "Ubique" and "Quo fas et gloria ducunt", which translates to "Everywhere" and "Whither right and glory lead".

The gun used is said to be a Smooth Bored Muzzle Loading 9 pounder with a wooden trail, the trail was changed to steel in 1872.

The gun badge has both mottoes of the Regiment UBIQUE (EVERYWHERE) on the upper scroll and QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT (WITHER RIGHT AND GLORY LEAD) on the lower scroll. A modified design was worn by members of the Territorial Force (laurel spray replaced UBIQUE) and the Volunteers (the word VOLUNTEERS replaced UBIQUE).

It was made in brass for Soldiers, also bronze and gilt with a raised wheel for Officers.

The Bronze version is worn on the Service Dress Cap and on the flap of a brown leather pouch attached to a brown leather shoulder belt worn by Officers in Service Dress.

The Gilt version is worn on the Number 1 Dress Cap and on the flap of a black leather pouch attached to a shoulder belt worn by Officers in some forms of dress.

A plastic version was produced during World War 2 for wear by Other Ranks on the Cap General Service (a large khaki gabardine beret).

A brass version with a revolving raised wheel was produced privately for sale through the canteens, the Royal Artillery Association sells a similar version in anodised aluminium.

In 1954 the crown was changed to the St. Edward's Crown.

Marc J Sherriff © April 1997"


Source: Royal Artillery Badge


Artillery Brigades

The principle fire unit prior to 1898 was the Battery. At the end of the 19th century , the improved command and control of Artillery, particularly to allow greater concentration was seen as being vital to the effective tactical deployment of Artillery. General Marshall's Committee of 1898 declared that the tactical unit "now be called the brigade-division, and that all other matters should give way to the full development of the Lieutenant Colonels command". So the concept of a tactical unit of a number of Batteries was established.

Why call it a Brigade ? Would this not be confused with an infantry brigade ? Why not call it a battalion ? In 1771 battalions had been formed ?

The Long Long Trail details what Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery consisted of and the key changes during WW1:

What was an artillery brigade?

Artillery Brigades Order of Battle:

  • Aug 1914 - Gun Brigades consorted of three batteries. Howitzer Brigades consorted of two batteries
  • May 1916 - Additional Howitzer Brigades formed and Howitzer Brigades broken up to form mixed Gun/Howitzer Brigades. Brigade Ammunition Columns disestablished.
  • Jan 1917 - Some Brigades broken up tp provide additional guns to batteries

Brigades consisted of two or three sections, the section having two guns of sub sections.


Div. Artillery War Establishments

Hello Ian

If you can get to London (and I appreciate you may not be able to do this easily) go to the National Archives at Kew and look at the following items:

WO 24/898 War establishments 1907-1912

WO 24/899 War establishments 1913-1914

WO 24/900 1-26 Amendments 1914

WO 24/901 1-50 Amendments 1915

WO 24/902 51-100 Amendments 1915

War Establishments, Part II, Territorial Force, 1911 was the version in force in August 1914 but a revised edition was issued in October. Another edition was issued in June 1915 and you should find it in WO24/902.

You may find copies of the 1990s reprint of the Territorial Year Book 1909, produced by Ray Westlake, rather easier to find. These give the Peace Establishments current at the time.

I have the following "top-level" establishments (Oct 14) in my notes, but with no finer detail:

Field Art (gun) Brigade, 3 Batts of 4 guns plus BAC: 22 officers, 603 men

Field Art (How) Brigade, 2 Batts of 4 guns plus BAC: 17 officers, 384 men

Heavy Batt of 4 guns and AC: 6 officers, 192 men. (This in fact is the same as the Regular 60-pounder battery)

Field Secrice Pocket Book 1914 does not contain separate TF establishments.

Good hunting!


Source: Territorial Force - Div. Artillery War Establishments

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