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Remembered Today:

Albert Communal Cemetery - 41st (Durham) Siege Battery RGA



Recent research into camel artillery and the mountain battery of the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Garrison Artillery recalled a connection to Northumbrian Gunners.
In the Albert Communal Cemetery extension there is a communal grave of 12 soldiers, 11 Gunners from the 41st Siege Battery RGA, and 1 attached from the Army Service Corps.

The 41st Siege Battery was formed under Major H.C. Hall at Lydd 6th July 1915. It was composed of regular gunners from the Hong Kong and Singapore RGA and Territorials from the Durham RGA. The battery was equipped with 4 x 6 inch howitzers going out to the Western Front on 9th December 1915. It deployed to Pont de Nieppe, NW of Armentieres where it registered it's first targets. It remained in position conducting fire missions till 31st May 1915, when the battery moved to Bouvigny, 5 miles west of Lens. There was little firing from that position, and two weeks later the battery moved into billets in Bouval, in the Somme Sector.


On May 15th 1916, 41 Siege Battery joined 25th Heavy Artillery Group and deployed into a position in Albert. On 26th June the war diary records "Preliminiary Bombardment proper begins", signalling the forthcoming Battle of the Somme. The battery fired 800 rounds each day, on support and communication trenches, in the Thiepval Salient up to "Attack day", 1st July 1916. The battery contined to engage targets for the next two weeks.


The 14th July saw the battery firing on trenches, enemy artillery, Pozieres and Courcelette, expending 327 rounds. It would seem whilst replenishing ammunition a German round hit one of the ammunition wagons.


The war diary records "a party got caught by a shell while unloading ammunition the following casualties occurred, in the Right Section position"





Soldiers Who Died in The Great War (SWDGW) lists four of the Gunners buried in the communal grave under Durham RGA, all of who were born and enlisted in Hartlepool.


Durham Royal Garrison Artillery
Gnr JP Frankland 

Gnr JH Henderson
Gnr TW Lee
Gnr J Sweeting


Royal Garrison Artillery
Gnr JW Burr
Gnr S Caldicot
A/Bdr FE Goldsworth
Gnr E Hickman
Gnr CJ Hutchings
Cpl JJ Mulhill
Gnr CE Scott

Army Service Corps
Pte G Atkins


The two gunners listed as died and not in the communal grave, Gunners O'Boyle and Watson, are buried along side each other in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt -Labbe. Situated near Amiens, this was the location of Casualty Clearing Stations where it is presumed they died of wounds, as recorded in the 41 SB war diary.


Gunner  O'Boyle is listed in Soldiers Who Died in The Great War (SWDGW) under Durham RGA, born and enlisted in Hartlepool.


Durham Royal Garrison Artillery

Gunner J O'Boyle


 Royal Garrison Artillery

Gunner J Watson







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