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Lambton

85.th. Siege Battery R.G.A.

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Lambton

I have a war diary of this battery.

It begins on 27 March 1916 when an advanced party left Lydd for Barrow.

It concludes on 13 March 1917 when the battery and column arrive at ZUTKERQUE.

Does anyone have any idea of it's activities through to the armistice of 1918 and possibly beyond?

Lambton

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WW1RGAfinder
I have a war diary of this battery.

It begins on 27 March 1916 when an advanced party left Lydd for Barrow.

It concludes on 13 March 1917 when the battery and column arrive at ZUTKERQUE.

Does anyone have any idea of it's activities through to the armistice of 1918 and possibly beyond?

Lambton

Lambton,

Can you post the 1st entries that mention Lydd..

Thanks

RGA

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ororkep

The earliest gap I can help to fill in is from 21-9-1917, when they joined 2 HAG positioned at Ypres. Part of the Southern Counter Battery Group of V Corps heavy artillery. They are clearly recorded in that diary as having 2 x 12 in Hows (Road) as distinct from the rail mounted guns recorded in the 90 HAG that they left. This anomaly has been discussed previously on the forum. They came under 77 HAG on 15-12-17, then quickly onto 25 HAG on the 22nd December under the reorganising of the HAG’s to the Brigades system.

Again you are probably aware from previous forum posts that during Nov while still part of 2 HAG they are shown under the Canadian Corps HQ firing in support of the Canadians; so you may find more on the Canadian website.

25 HAG clearly records them with road mounted 12 in Hows Mk iv, under the command of Mjr A G Porter, as they had been since their arrival in France. Following the March/April German offensives 85 SB guns were withdrawn to Wormhoudt, along with many other of the super heavies, including railway guns.

Later parked at Zeneghen, then the second most important ammunition stores dump.

On 28-4-18 85 SB took up position between Poperinghe and Boeschepe in order to ‘Crump’ Bailleul, having come under ix Corps Heavy Artillery.

By July it was back with 25th Army Brigade operating on the Kemmel front., and able to use its Mk’s considerable range of some 13,000 yards in conjunction with cordite cartridges for the destruction of hostile batteries. Its rear gun was moved from Wippenhoek forward to the Poperinghe- Reninghelst road, registering with the help of aeroplane observation. Its second piece then advanced bejond Reninghelst.

By September the speed of the German retreat meant the super heavies were out of range, and 85 SB was equally frustrated in trying to advance on the destroyed road system. Therefore detachments of its gunners under Lt W Macintyre were sent forward with orders to turn around and fire on the enemy any suitable artillery they had left behind. They managed to find and turn a German 77mm Battery, and fired several hundred rounds in support of the allied advance.

Oct finds them parked near Vlamertinghe, again completely out of range, and the time was spent returning their now useless ammunition. A not inconsiderable logistical problem, given the size/ weight of their ordinance and the complete absence of suitable transport.

By beginning of Nov following new orders it had managed to advance to Moorseele with the view of crossing the Lys upon the completion of the railway bridge. Nov5/6 in came into action for the final time bejond Knokke, occupying pits vacated the day before by 129 SB. Answering by now very infrequent NF calls, its statutory echelon of 48 rounds having been returned from the dump. Here it was reputed to be the sole 12 in How unit in action on the British Front until the armistice overtook proceedings.

Rgds Paul

Sources: The 25th Army Brigade RGA in 1918; 2 HAG war diary; 90 HAG war diary.

Edit 12.30: Thanks to Essdee who tactfully pointed out I had mistyped iv instead of ix corps. Amended accordingly.

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