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Gunner Edwin Henry WOODWARD

Remembered Today: Gunner Edwin Henry WOODWARD

1st South Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery who died on 25th December 1916, Gloucester Old Cemetery   


The Territorial 1st South Midland Brigade RFA formed part of the 48th Divisional Artillery. The Brigade consisted of the  1st Gloucestershire Battery  and  2nd Gloucestershire Battery (both based in Bristol) and the  3rd Gloucestershire Battery based Gloucester.


In 1914 the Brigade had departed for annual summer camp when they were recalled and mobilised, concentrating in Chelmsford.  The Division embarked  for France in March 1915, the Artillery travelling from Southampton to Le Harve, and concentrated near Cassel, 20km west of Ypres.


On Easter Sunday, 4th April,  1915, the Brigade saw it’s first action at Neuve Eglise, 6 miles NW Armentieres. During 1915 the Brigade was engaged in Messines, Festubert, and the Somme., remaining there for much of 1916. The 1st South Midland Brigade was renumbered 240th Brigade RFA in May 1916. As Gunner Woodward is listed under 1st South Midland Brigade by the CWGC, he may have sustained injuries that would ultimately lead to his death prior to May 1916.


1st South Midland Brigade Royal Field Artillery


Gunner Edwin Woodward died on Christmas Day 1916 and was buried in Gloucester Old Cemetery.



Rank:                         Gunner
Service No:                3221
Date of Death:           25/12/1916
Age                           :20
Regiment/Service:     Royal Field Artillery
                        1st South Midland Bde.
Grave Reference:      NG. 6488.
Cemetery:                  GLOUCESTER OLD CEMETERY
Additional Information:
Son of Frank and Emma Woodward, of 18, St. Paul's Rd., Gloucester

Edwin Woodward is remembered on the screen wall behind the Gloucester  Cenotaph.


Image result for gloucester war memorial
Image result for gloucester war memorial

2/Lt ER Hayward RFA

Remembered Today: Second Lieutenant Edward Ronald HAYWARD, 99th Battery Royal Field Artillery who died on 20th December 1916, Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria  


Edward Ronald Hayward was born at Salt Lake City, USA around 1897.

Source: http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Sussex/CopthorneSchool.html


Second son of Robert Francis Hayward of Vancouver, British Columbia and Alfreda Hayward, daughter of the Reverend Frederick Toulmin. He had three brothers, two of whom also came to Kingsgate House – Gerald Baldwin Hayward (K 1918-1923) and Henry O’Brien Frederick Hayward (K 1926-1931) who died of polio whilst serving with the Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry in 1943. Edward Hayward came to Winchester from Copthorne School: he played for Lords in 1915 and was Captain of his House cricket team.


On leaving Winchester he passed into RMA Woolwich and then into the Royal Field Artillery, joining the British forces at Salonika where he was killed on December 20th 1916.


Source: http://www.winchestercollegeatwar.com/archive/edward-ronald-hayward/












US Navy 14 Inch Rail Guns firing in France 1918

When America entered the Great War in 1917, the UD Navy deployed five 14inch / 50 calibre rail guns into France, each gun being a separate battery.


The video of the rail guns in action shows the guns firing, use of aircraft for controlling fire, command post operations, and the administration of the battery





2nd Northumbrians Re-internment - Ypres

On the 24th May 1915 the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA were at Potijze, two miles NE of Ypres. The Brigade deployed one month earlier as part of the Northumbrian Division and was immediately engaged in the 2nd Battle of Ypres.


The Germans had released gas and tried to breakthrough the British lines, but were held by gallant actions.


The 50th Northumbrian Division were used to reinforce formations fighting in the Salient.

The 2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA deployed in support of 28th Division.



2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA Location 24th May 1915


It was on the 24th May the Germans renewed their attack on this date in an attempt to
capture the Bellewaarde Ridge. The Brigade War Diary of records intensive artillery fire from the early morning.

At 7pm a German shell exploded on No. 1 gun killing 5 of the detachment and severely wounding the No 1. The war dairy records the loss of;

Corporal JA Carr and Gunners JW Clarke, G Robinson, JW Rowbottom, AW Venus.




At 08:30 Driver Wilson was killed.




The six men were buried at 11:20




 The Gunners remains were discovered  in 2013. They were identified from their shoulder titles which identified them as members of the North Riding Battery from the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA.  Two of the six men could be identified; Gunners JW Rowbottom, AW Venus.


They were all reinterred on April 20th 2016 at a ceremony held in Ypres Town Cemetery Extension Cemetery. In the presence of the British Ambassador to Belgium and families, a burial party from 4th Regiment RA finally laid the men to rest.









Burial Party 4th Regiment RA





Burial Service Ypres












Ypres Town Cemetery Extension Cemetery


The opportunity was taken whilst in Ypres to visit the graves.




North Riding Battery Graves

Ypres Town Extension Cemetery

The six men are buried in Plot F II - Graves 33 to 38




F II Grave 33



Royal Field Artillery



F II Grave 34



Royal Field Artillery


 F II Grave 35


1308 Gunner


Royal Field Artillery



F II Grave 36



Royal Field Artillery



F II Grave 37



Royal Field Artillery



 F II Grave 38


1817 Gunner


Royal Field Artillery





Ovillers Military Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice

Ovillers Military Cemetery is situated 1 km north of La Boisselle. It originated as a battle cemetery behind a dressing station. After Armistice, it was expanded as the fallen from the battlefields of Pozieres, Ovillers, La Boisselle and Contalmaison were buried in the cemetery.




Ovillers Military Cemetery

The Cemetery contains 3,440 graves of which 2,480 are unidentified. Of the 960 identified casualties, 290 are recorded as bring killed on 1st July. The proximity to La Boisselle and lying on the top of  what was called Mash Valley the effect on the Tyneside Brigades who advanced can be seen, with 76 Tyneside Scottish and 27 Tyneside Irish graves. There are many unidentified Tyneside Scots, many of who would have probably lost their lives on 1st July 1916.


Whilst the infantry bore the brunt of the casualties on the first day of the Somme, the Gunners were firing in support and suffered counter battery fire. The Ovillers Cemetery contains one Gunner who was killed on the 1st July - Second Lieutenant William Christie Hickman, RFA.

2nd. Lieut. Hickman was serving with 'B' Battery175 (South Staffordshire) Brigade Royal Field Artillery, part of the 34th Divisional Artillery. Born in 1889/90, he was educated at Marlborough College, then proceeded to Caius College Cambridge, where hr gained a MA. After Cambridge he went to Canada, returning home on the outbreak of war.


After joining the Army he was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery 17th May 1916.


2nd Lieut. William Christie Hickman

Royal Field Artillery 

He joined the 175 (South Staffordshire) Brigade on the Somme in France.



The Brigade, as part of the 34th Divisional Artillery were deployed just outside Albert, north of the road to Bapaume.



On 2th June 1916 the start of what would be 6 days of bombardment commenced. The 175th Brigade's prime task was wire cutting in the area of the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigade.


On the 1st July the Brigade were firing a creeping barrage in support of the 4 Tyneside Scottish Battalions, the War Diary recording hearing their Pipers leading the men into Battle. The German artillery retaliated and shelled the gun lines. In the ensuring chaos, 2nd. Lieut. Hickman  was posted missing, but a statement from a wounded soldier in hospital confirmed he had been killed on the 1st July was killed by the first German shell to hit the gun position. William Christie's wife was informed of his death in a telegram she received on 15th July 1916.


Second Lieutenant William Christie Hickman is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery.


2nd. Lieut. William Christie Hickman

KIA 1st July 1916











Bi-Centary Royal Artillery 1916

On the 26th May 2016 the Tri Centenary of the Royal Artillery was commemorated by a Queen's Review at Larkhill.


RA300 - Royal Artillery Tercentenary - Royal Review


To commemorate the  Bi-Centenary on 26th May 1916 a parade was held at Woolwich adjacent to St George's Garrison Church.




What of the Royal Regiment of May 1916……


The strength was over 408,000 officers and OR's, representing nearly 14% of the Army. Of the strength, 321,000 were manning the guns of the divisional artillery (RHA / RFA), and 87, 000 serving the Royal Garrison Artillery.


The Ubiquitous Royal Regiment was serving on all Fronts with the main concentration if France and Flanders.


In Sinai and Egypt the defence of the Suez Canal from Turkish disruption or capture was vital for shipping routes to India, and the British Empire . In Mesopotamia British Forces were trying to exert their force in that region having lost Kut in a long Siege at month earlier. Whilst in East Africa reinforcements were arriving to  counteract German forces. A garrison was still being maintained in India, whilst coastal stations and ports throughout the Empire were being protected by the Coastal Artillery of the RGA.


It should also be remembered that  in the UK many Gunners were undergoing training, particularly to man newly formed Siege Batteries. The Military Conscription Act became law in  January 1916, so the RA expansion included newly conscripted men.  There had been a number of zeppelin raids in northern and southern England in April 1916, so Anti-Aircraft defence was gaining in importance. In Ireland, tensions were still high following the Easter Rising in April when artillery was deployed onto the streets of Dublin.


In May 1916 there was a re-organisation of the RA taking place. Brigades were being re-organised to consist of three gun and one howitzer batteries, leading to the breakup of howitzer brigades. Units were to be numbered, the old Territorial Force tiles disappeared.


The British Army manned 90 miles of the Western Front, continuously from Boesinghe to Maricourt . The Second Army was in the Ypres Salient, with the First Army to its south in the Armentieres sector. Third Army covered the Arras sector, Fourth Army the Somme. The Fifth, Reserve Army, had been formed only a few days before the RA Bi-Centenary. 


The war on the Western Front had stagnated in an artillery war of attrition requiring vast amounts of ammunition and guns.  The failure of the attack on Aubers Ridge in March 1915 due to lack of ammunition had brought about a change of government and the establishment of the Ministry of Munitions. In the week of 26th May nearly 2. 5 million artillery rounds were produced, some in Woolwich Arsenal nearby to the Bi-Centenary parade.


In the month of May 1916, the number of guns of all calibres on the Western from rose from 3,700 to over 4,000. The number of rounds expended during the week of the Bi-Centenary the Western Front was 120,922 Rounds of all calibres.


The Fourth Army was preparing for the 'Big Push'.  On the 26th May Generals Foffre and de Castelnau held a conference with Sir Douglas Haig and Sir William Robertson at Montreuil to discuss the situation at Verdun and the necessity for the British to launch an attack in June to relieve the pressure on the French Army.  Over 1,000 guns and 1.6 million rounds were being readied for the Somme Offensive


Whilst commemorations took place in Woolwich, 7 Gunners would lose their lives that day.



4th Highland (Mountain) Brigade RGA - Pack Horses

Going back to the original posting (which I can't believe I missed!) the only British Army mountain gunners were the TF group, 4th Highland (Mountain) Brigade, RGA. Other mountain gunners were Indian Army gunners who used mules for transport. Before and after the brigade was mobilized they used Highland Ponies. When they were posted to the 29th Division for Gallipoli, they suffered losses and these lost ponies were replaced by mules. By the time they had fought in Egypt and moved to Salonika in August 1916, all of the animals were mules.

4th Highland Mountain Brigade, RGA


Source: A Mountain Battery's animals - each carried what?


From: Railway mounted 6 inch naval guns

Interesting post by RobL regarding rail mounted Anti-Aircraft guns in the NE. First time I have come across the use of rail for AA Guns

I've been trying to research these interesting anti-aircraft pieces, piecing together information from various sources, so far, i've found the following;


Firstly, here's a write-up i've done based on information from 'Baby Killers - German air raids on Britain in the First World War' by Thomas Fegan and 'Air Defence of Britain 1914-18' by Christopher Cole and EF Cheesman. The bit about them being mounted on wagons by the NER comes from 'Guns of the North East' and also a NER Magazine issue from 1919, I presume they're the same guns that Fegan describes as otherwise they are identical;

"At thirty minutes past midnight on 16th June 1915, Kapitanleutnant Hirsch arrived over Tyneside in Zeppelin L10. The industrial buildings along the Tyne were lit up and an inviting target, there was no searchlights and only ineffective fire from HMS Brilliant, an old cruiser that was guarding the Tyne. The first bombs were dropped over Wallsend on the Eastern Marine Engineering Works causing heavy damage. Palmers Shipyard at Jarrow was then bombed, killing seventeen workers and injuring seventy-two. Pochins Chemical Works was then hit, and housing at Willington, killing a policeman. After thirty destructive minutes, L10 left, dropping bombs over coal mines at South Shields. The glare from fires caused by the raid could be seen from the Zeppelin when it was thirty nautical miles away on the journey home. Five British home defence aircraft took off to intercept the raider including two BE2c aeroplanes from RNAS Whitley Bay, but none sighted the Zeppelin (although one aircraft was spotted by the Zeppelin crew). The lack of effective defence resulted in two 12 pounder anti-aircraft guns on mobile mountings being issued to Newcastle, and provoked the mounting of twelve 6 inch naval guns fitted for anti-aircraft use and mounted on railway wagons by the North Eastern Railway at Darlington"

According to 'The Guns of the North East', one was based at Port Clarence, and another at Saltburn (later sent to the Western Front). 'Railways of Teesside' by Ken Hoole describes a railway mounted anti-aircraft gun being mounted at Skinningrove, and although I don't have it, from a flick through 'Hartlepool Railways' by George Smith does I believe mention one being based at Hartlepool (I know it has a photo of one in it) - so that makes four so far, and presumably at least others were based further north in the Tyneside area. As for the guns and wagons themselves, I presume the guns are from the same stock that were used to make the 6 inch guns and 8 inch howitzers for the Royal Garrison Artillery - the wagons appear to be Great Western Railway 'Crocodile' wagons

I'd be very interested in learning the locations of the other guns, whether any were sent to the Western Front or elsewhere, and which units used them in the hope of sourcing war diaries with details of them firing on the further Zeppelin raids on the North East

Thanks, Rob

Source: Railway mounted 6 inch naval guns


Mountain Battery - How were the Guns carried ?

blog-0432007001455145109.jpgAlways fascinated by different types of Artillery and the Mountain Artillery and the use of mules is of particular interest.

A previous post looked at the Indian Mountain Artillery 1914 - 1918 after reading the book Indian Mountain Artillery by Brigadier CAL Graham.

RobL also pointed out that the 10 pounder also carried by highland pony by the three batteries of the 4th Highland Mountain Brigade, RGA both in the UK and in Gallipoli.

michaeldr asks an good question - A Mountain Battery's animals - each carried what?

Source: A Mountain Battery's animals - each carried what?

Many thanks to RobL who provided information from the manuals for the 10 pounder, 2.75 inch gun and 3.7 inch howitzer.

Rob also pointed out that the 10 pounder also carried by highland pony by the three batteries of the 4th Highland Mountain Brigade both in the UK and in Gallipoli.


10 pounder

Gun chase mule

Gun breech mule

Axle Mule

Wheel Mule

Carriage Mule

Then you have others, such as the ammunition mule, wheel and axle mule (spare wheel and spare axle tree etc)

10 Pdr Mule Team

10 Pounder Mule Team


10 Pounder Gun


2.75 inch gun

Wheel and axle mule

Trail, front part, mule

Trail, rear part, mule (would also carry the shield)

Recoil cradle mule

Breech mule

Chase mule

Plus ammunition mule, pioneer mule etc


2.75 in Mountain Gun


3.7 inch howitzer

Breech mule

Chase mule

Wheel and axle mule (carrying both wheels)

Trail, front part, mule

Trail, rear part, mule

Pivot mule

Cradle mule

Slipper mule (including two shields)

Then others, including ammunition mule, pioneer mule, ammunition shield mule (which also carried shields)



Also bear in mind that for all of these mules carrying gun/howitzer parts, there would be a duplicate 'relief' mule. Plus additional baggage and ammunition mules


Some interesting photographs provided by Pals

Indian Mountain Artillery mule with gun barrel



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.


Durham 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 Durham RGA (TF) personnel and or / at Hartelpool:

Sources: Fredericks Lineage vol 2 page 702 to 708 / Siege Battery 94 1914-1918 / The Hartlepool Gunners 190 Siege Battery / GWF Forum: kevroww /

  • 41 Siege Battery - formed 2nd July 1915. Half of the Battery were regulars from the Hong Kong and Singapore RGA, half Territorials from Durham RGA. The Battery was equipped with 6 in Howitzers and deployed to France 9th December 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 0.2in Howitzers

  • 149 Siege Battery - formed 22nd May 1915 with a nucleus of details form Durham RGA. and equipped with 6inch Howitzer (26 cwt)

  • 190 Siege Battery - formed 13th July 1916 at Hartlepool. The Battery history records that the gunners were mainly from the Durham RGA, the signallers joined the Battery at Bexhill. They were equipped with 6 inch Howitzers (26 cwt) and sailed to France 13th November 1916.

  • 230 Siege Battery - formed 12th August 1916 and equipped with 4 x 6 inch Howitzers (26 cwt)

  • 253 Siege Battery - formed 13th September 1916 and equipped with 4 x 6 inch Howitzers (26 cwt)

  • 265 Siege Battery - 28 Sept 1916 and equipped with 4 x 9.2 Howitzers

  • 295 Siege Battery - formed 1st November 1916 and equipped with 4 x 6 inch Howitzers (26 cwt)

  • 313 Siege Battery - formed 12th December 1916 and equipped with 4 x 8 inch Howitzers

  • 357 Siege Battery - formed 21st January 1917 and equipped with 4 x 8 inch Hows (armed on arrival in France)

  • 400 Siege Battery - formed 19th April 1917 Personnel only to France, one section to 270 SB, one section to 290 SB

An extract of the Durham RGA from Soldiers Who Died in the Great War shoes the variety of units to which the Durham Gunners were posted (excludes the 142nd Heavy Battery RGA which was formed from the Heavy battery of the Durham RGA).

Surname Inititials Rank Unit

Morgan J Gnr 116th Heavy Bty.

Dodd R Gnr 11th Siege Bty.

Davidson ADB Gnr 123rd Siege Bty.

Wallace JW Gnr 131st Heavy Bty.

Allsopp AE Gnr 133rd Heavy Bty.

Langley LJ Gnr 140th Siege Bty.

Harrison A Gnr 160th Siege Bty.

Taylor W Gnr 183rd Siege Bty.

Ross TW L/Bdr 202nd Siege Bty.

Liddell J Gnr 215th Siege Bty

Beedle FW L/Bdr 21st (Forth) Fire Command

Stephens R Cpl 229th Seige Bty.

Anderson HH Bdr 22nd Anti-Aircraft Coy.

Drage A Gnr 234th Siege Bty

Swan F Gnr 234th Siege Bty.

Welford J Gnr 239th Siege Bty.

Bray E Gnr 245th Siege Bty.

Cooper T Gnr 265th Siege Bty.

Wilson R L/Bdr 26th Heavy Bty.

Lynch H Gnr 270th Siege Bty.

Banks RC Gnr 284th Siege Bty.

Hollings P Sgt 286th Siege Bty.

Palmer JE Gnr 286th Siege Bty.

Street HJ Gnr 286th Siege Bty.

Claridge HJ Gnr 289th Siege Bty.

Smith HF Gnr 290th Siege Bty.

Proctor FJ 2nd/1st North Midland (Staffs.) Heavy Bty.

Holdsworth R Gnr 321st Siege Bty.

Hutchinson W Cpl 326th Siege Bty.

Gayler H Gnr 327th Siege Bty.

Hartley CE Bdr 332nd Siege Bty.

Ward A Gnr 351st Siege Bty.

Forsyth J L/Bdr 355th Siege Bty.

Hampton F Gnr 38th (Welsh) Heavy Bty.

Stephens GEW Gnr 38th (Welsh) Heavy Bty.

Aiston J Gnr 3rd Siege Bty.

Frankland JP Gnr 41st (Durham) Siege Bty.

Henderson JH Gnr 41st (Durham) Siege Bty.

Lee TW Gnr 41st (Durham) Siege Bty.

Sweeting J Gnr 41st (Durham) Siege Bty.

Broughton B Cpl 41st Siege Bty.

Clementson RS Gnr 41st Siege Bty.

O'Boyle J Gnr 41st Siege Bty.

Purchas AO A/Bdr 47th Heavy Artillery Group

Busfield S Gnr 48th Bty.

Bristow H Gnr 51st Siege Bty.

Jensen HW Cpl 94th (Durham) Siege Bty.

Barr JW Gnr 94th Siege Bty.

Eltringham T Gnr 94th Siege Bty.

Flewker H Gnr 94th Siege Bty.

Mayes E Gnr Whl 94th Siege Bty.

Hill N Gnr attd. "V" Heavy T.M. Bty.

Agar JR Gnr Durham Bde.

Horsley JW Gnr Durham Bde.

Houston WS Gnr Durham Bde.

Middlemass JG Gnr RGA

Spence R Gunner RGA

Diver F Gnr RGA


Trench Mortar Battery Orbat

Hello kildaremark

From research I did some years ago at Kew, the numbering of TMBs went up to 114, although there were some gaps, notably in the 50s and 70s. I'm inclined to agree with Kevin that numbers in the 300s and 400s were not sequential.

When the allocation of TMBs was formalised in mid-1916, brigade TMBs were ligt, equipped with the Stokes, and were manned predominantly by infantrymen. Medium and heavy TMBs, at divisional level, were regarded as units of the RFA and RGA respectively, though this did not mean that there was no mixture of RFA and RGA men among them - in fact, that seems to have been quite common. The heavy TMBs were generally cosolidated as Corps-level units in 1918.


Here are the original War Establishments for various types of TMB. There were only minor changes thereafter:

September 1915 Trench Mortar Battery (4 mortars of the same type)

2 Officers, 1 Serjeant, 4 Corporals or Lance-Corporals, 16 Privates, 2 Batmen.

August 1916 Light Trench Mortar Battery (2 sections, each 4 x 3" Stokes mortars)

Captain, 3 Subalterns, 2 Serjeants, 8 Corporals or Lance-Corporals, 32 Privates, 4 Batmen.

August 1916 Medium Trench Mortar Battery (4 x 2" mortars)

2 Officers, 1 Serjeant, 4 Corporals or Bombardiers, 16 Privates, 2 Batmen.

August 1916 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery (4 x 9.45" mortars)

Captain, 2 Subalterns, 3 Serjeants, 1 Fitter, 4 Corporals, 4 Bombardiers, 47 Gunners (incl 3 telephonists), 2 Orderlies, 1 Clerk, 1 Cook, 3 Batmen.


thank you very much Ron, appreciate it

Source: Trench mortar batteries


IWM - Nery Gun

Visited the Imperial War Museum London contains the Nery Gun which was engaged in the Action at Nery 1st September 1914 resulting in the awarding of 3 Victoria Crosses.

NeryGun.jpg Nery Gun Imperial War Museum

During the Retreat from Mons the 1st Cavalry Brigade were on the western flank of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). In support of the Brigade were III Brigade RHA (D & E Bty) and VII RHA (I & L Bty). On the night of the night of the 31st August 1914 the 1st Cavalry Brigade were billeted in the village of Nery, 65 km (40 miles) NE of Paris. In the early hours of 1st September, with mist as cover, the German 4th Cavalry Division attacked the British in Nery.

Nery1Sep1914.jpg Action at Nery

1st September 1914

L Battery RHA brought 3 guns into action to engage German Artillery. In the ensuing artillery duel, one of L Battery's guns was immediately destroyed, the second shortly after.

Captain Bradbury and Sergeant Nelson continued to fire from the third gun, when they were joined by BSM Dorrell as detachment members became casualties. Under heavy German artillery fire, Captain Bradbury was mortally wounded as he collected ammunition, whilst BSM Dorrell and Sgt Nelson continued firing until ammunition was expended. The action helped to hold the German advance, and causing them to withdraw.


L Battery RHA Nery 1st September 1914

For their gallantry, Captain Bradbury, BSM Dorrell and Sgt Nelson were awarded the Victoria Cross.


Nery VC's


IWM - Le Cateau VC's

On a recent visit to Imperial War Museum London took the opportunity to visit the Lord Ashcroft Gallery to view two of the three VC's awarded at Le Cateau.

Visited the battlefield in 2014 and saw the area from where the guns were saved: Le Cateau - Saving the Guns

During the battle, the 37th Howitzer Battery RFA had withdrawn 4 guns. Captain Douglas Reynolds found two horse teams when he retired to Remount, and decided to rescue the remaining two howitzers. He called for volunteers to assist him and amongst them were Driver Job Drain and Driver Fred Luke.

Under heavy fire Captain Reynolds, Driver Drain and Driver Luke were able to rescue one of the guns. For their bravery Captain Reynolds, Driver Drain and Driver Luke were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Le Cateau Saving the Guns

IWM - Le Cateau VCs

London Gazette, 25th November 1914

At Le Cateau on August 26th, 1914, as volunteers, these two drivers saved their guns from falling into the hands of the enemy, although it was at the time under heavy fire from hostile infantry, who were only 100 yards away.

Driver Drain VC

Driver Drain VC medals

Driver Luke VC

Driver Luke VC medals


From: RFA Battery Positions


Then, as now, the deployment of a battery was subject to numerous factors, perhaps the three most important of which were the ground, the threat and the requirements of artillery survey (which are almost infinitely technical and won't be gone into in detail here). A battery was deployed by the Battery Commander himself, who received orders from his (artillery) brigade as to the area in which he was to deploy the battery and the likely targets he should be able to achieve from that area. The BC then decided where each gun should go, the command post, the wagon lines, etc.

The type of position the battery established - i.e. in the open, in pits, with overhead protection, etc. - depended on the threat, which in turn depended largely on the 'stage of the campaign'. For example, from the war diary of the 35th (Howitzer) Battery RFA, we know that when they came down to the Somme a few days before the preliminary bombardment began, they occupied a position north of Bray, with targets in the vicinity of Mametz/Fricourt. As this position could not be directly observed by the Germans and so was judged to be relatively safe from a counter-battery threat, the guns were in the open 30-50 yards apart with narrow trenches dug to shelter the detachments in case of counter-battery fire. After Happy Valley (less than a mile away) was heavily shelled, it was decided to dig the guns in and improve the trenches. Interestingly, this was done with the assistance of some infantry, who also helped dig-in the telephone lines forward for the FOOs.

On 11 July, the batteries of 22 Bde RFA (which included 35th Bty) moved forward to positions in the vicinity of Bottom Wood, Queen's Nullah and Willow Avenue, a German communication trench which ran up the valley between Mametz and Fricourt Wood. 35th Battery was allocated the Willow Avenue position (as you'd expect, it being a howitzer battery - the 18-pdr batteries got the forward positions). Ammunition had been pre-dumped on the position and the guns came into action on 12 July, cutting the wire in front of the Second Position. As limited time had been available, the guns were once again in the open approximately 50 yards apart, but urgent work went on throughout the next few days to dig shelter trenches next to each gun to shelter the detachment and to dig the guns in. Full use was made of Willow Avenue to shelter the command post and accommodate the detachments. Willow Avenue ran NE/SW, with the guns deployed to the north of the trench on a line N/S.

So as you can see, the deployment of the battery was affected by the ground and the threat. In a low-threat area with no pre-existing trenches, the guns were in the open with the minimum protection for the detachments. This saved labour for the detachments and so prevented fatiguing them unnecessarily. As the threat went up, so extra measures were taken. When the battery went forward, work began on gun pits and trenches as soon as the guns came into action, use was made of pre-existing trenches and the guns were more widely dispersed due to the increased counter-battery threat.

The survey factor (i.e. where exactly is each gun and what direction is it pointing in) also affected deployment during the Somme offensive. The temptation for BCs was to keep the guns as tight together as possible and orientate them on a line a near as possible parallel to any linear features (i.e. trenches) that they were likely to engage. This was due to the difficulty of exactly plotting the location of each gun and producing firing data for each gun to hit the target. The same firing data could be given to each gun for speed and simplicity, which produced a fall of shot which mirrored the deployment of the guns. The fall of shot was therefore easier to adjust. However, the tighter the deployment, the greater the threat from counter-battery fire, so the BC had to find a balance between a deployment which allowed for accurate survey and one which preserved his guns and detachments from enemy indirect fire.

Source: RFA Battery Positions



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The Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company (RAAHC) has undertaken a project to create an original WW1 18 Pounder gun team. The project will involve the restoration of an 18 Pounder, its ammunition limber, the acquisition/restoration of harness and saddles, the recruitment of gun detachments, the acquisition of horses and the replication of period uniforms.

The RAAHC state that their vision is "to provide a living memorial to Australian Artillery by deploying the gun and team for commemorative events starting in 1915 for the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli."

RAAHC Project Website


Gunner George Grey Lawson AFA

A request from sandybee49 for the grave of an Australian soldier buried in Bedlington St Cuthbert Northumberland reveals he was a Gunner in the Australian Field Artillery.

Sandybee's website WW1 Australian Soldiers & Nurses Who rest in the united kingdom http://ww1austburialsuk.weebly.com.

Gunner George Grey Lawson

:poppy: CWGC Information


Rank: Gunner

Service No: 1871

Date of Death: 22/01/1917

Regiment/Service: Australian Field Artillery

Australian Artillery Training Depot

Grave Reference: In South West part.


Additional Information:

Son of the late Daniel and Barbara Ann Lawson, of Yalilla, South Australia.

His grave registration details reveals he died of sickness at Weymouth Military Hospital, and records he is buried in a family grave. His next of kin is recorded as Miss M.G. Lawson of YONGALA NEW SOUTH WALES (250 km North of ADELAIDE) https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Yongala+SA+5493,+Australia/@-33.028065,138.7488272,2276m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x6abe9cf888df9585:0x4033654628ef820?hl=en

A little research:

Adelaide Chronicle

February 9th 1917


1871. Gnr. G. G. LAWSON, Yatina (Jan. 26).

Gunner Lawson was admitted to the hospital with influenza, and on his recovery he transferred from the. Light Horse to the Artillery, and left for England early in June, where he look ill and never recovered. Besides his brother, Dvr. J. G. Lawson, in France, he leaves two sisters and another brother.

February 17th 1917

Gunner George Gray Lawson, who died at the Military Hospital, Wrimouth, England, after a long illness was the second son of the late Mr. D. Lawson, of Yatina, and was 21 years and 2 months of age. He enlisted on September 28, 1915, and sailed for Egypt on January 11, 1916. On his arrival there be met his brother Gill, who is now in France.

Gunner Lawson was admitted to the hospital with influenza, and on his recovery he transferred from the Light Horse to the Artillery, and left for England early in June, where he took ill and never recovered. Besides his brother, Dvr. J. G. Lawson in France, he leaves two sisters and another brother.

Gnr GG Lawson

Gunner Lawson is buried at Bedlington St Cuthbert in Northumberland.

Gnr Lawson AFA

The North East War Memorial Project gives an indication why Gunner Lawson ended up being buried in Bedlington, nearly 400 miles from where he died.


He is buried next to his grandmother Mary Lawson who is interned in a family grave.


From: Trench mortar batteries


Hi Mark,

Here are a few I have made a note of. Not sure whether they will be of help.

22 TMB formed 303-1915, later renumbered 91 TMB

5 TMB became 1 Y TMB

2 TMB became 1 X TMB

64 TMB became 1 Z TMB 20-3-1916

308 TMB becomes 3 Z TMB

40 TMB became 3 Y TMB

Possible 43 TMB became 3*, mentioned in 50 Div diary March 1916

87 TMB? formed 11-8-1916 in diary became 5 X TMB 5 Division

90 TMB became 5 Z TMB from Aug 1916


52 TMB, became 300 TMB became 6 Z TMB

300 TMB became 6 Z TMB

410 TMB became 7 X TMB

113 TMB became 7 Y TMB

22 TMB became 91 TMB Aug 1915 became 7?

36 TMB becomes 8 X TMB

65 TMB became 8 Y TMB

6 TMB became 12 Y TMB

10 TMB becomes 12 Z TMB

39 TMB, 14 Z TMB??

3 TMB became 15 X TMB 20-3-1916

63 TMB became 15 Z TMB 20-3-1916

27 TMB became Y 17 TMB

50 TMB becomes 17 Z TMB

97 TMB became 18 Z TMB

99 TMB became 18 Y TMB

11 TMB became 19 Y TMB

4 TMB became 19 X TMB

14 TMB formed 7-7-1915

20 TMB became 24 X TMB

98 TMB became 32 X

88 TMB becomes 32 Y TMB 2-9-1915

9 TMB became 33 X TMB 20-3-1916

61 TMB becomes 34Y TMB

68 TMB becomes 35 X TMB

71 TMB becomes 35 Y TMB

67 TMB becomes 38 Y TMB 20-3-1916

8 TMB became 47 Y TMB

29 TMB became 50 Y TMB

31 TMB became 50 X TMB

50 Z formed 2-4-1916?

32 TMB 5 Division

I think the early batteries were predominately made up by volunteer gunners, with a few infantry as well, so I would imagine no two batteries had the same number of gunners from one corps. Of the two or three diaries I have seen only one gave a gunners number and corps when being transferred or was injured, but as it obviously did not have a nominal roll it would be impossible to say what percentage were RGA and RFA in the whole battery.

Regards Kevin

More great information from Kevin

Source: Trench mortar batteries


Occasionally there are requests for enlistment dates for RGA gunners so I have decided to put on forum what I have learnt from viewing many thousands of mens records, occupying many hours over a number of years. For this reason I consider the following to be my copyright and only post it as an aid to fellow forum members for personal use only.

In the main I have used the date that a man reported to depot rather than attestation or approval date. The main reason being, in my opinion, it is the nearest date to when a man was given his number. The regular series of numbers covers approx. 40000 to 205000, from Jan. 1914 to March 1918. It may be noticed that the number run may miss some numbers between one depot and another, this is because I haven't found a record between them, although some may exist, it should give anyone an idea when and to where a man was sent.

It may take a few posts so if there are any comments will you please wait until the last date I am going to use put on at the moment (205540).

If there are no adverse comments I may go on and post the new heavy battery numbers, Special Reserve etc. I appreciate there has been a very informative previous post, which I have often used, but consider it may be the time to bring it up to date.

Regular series numbering RGA.pdf

I have had to add it as a PDF file which hopefully members can open.


Stirling work by kevrow

Source: Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) numbering, enlistment dates, new Heavy


From: E Battery Commemorative Firing

On Friday 22nd August I was lucky enough to be at the 100th Anniversary firing of an RHA 13-pounder near Peronnes by E Battery, RHA. (That's the village of Peronnes with the 's', east of Mons, not to be confused with the large French town!).

I thought I'd share a few pictures with members.

The gun was positioned as close as was practicable to the site from which E Battery fired the first British artillery shot of the war on the Western Front. The event was well attended by locals, as well as a group of British and Belgian scouts. The Padre did his bit (very enthusiastically, I might add!) after which the firing itself took place. The gun team then laid a wreath on the trail. After the firing, battlefield guide Chris Nation told the story of the firing of the first shot, after which everyone retired to the village for a few speeches and lots of local beer!

The village took the event very seriously - sixty-eight properties were destroyed during the war and seven local civilians killed, including the Mayor, who was shot on the steps of the mairie. There is a large memorial to that event in the village. They had taken a lot of time to put together an exhibition in the local school.

E Battery RHA, in true British Army fashion, were impeccable with their drill and turnout. The gun was borrowed from King's Troop, RHA.

The first shot in 1914 was a bit of a damp squib - the first round failed to fire, so another gun had a go, but the target (German artillery and infantry advancing over slag heaps and a mineral railway) was out of range. General Gough exhorted the battery to hit the target, but the gun commander told him he couldn't get another inch out of the guns. There were no casualties apart from one horse (later given to a local butcher!).

Source: E Battery Commemorative Firing

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