Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RFA - more info on great grandfather


dcmbarton
 Share

Recommended Posts

My great grandfather, Owen Thomas Barton was born in Cardiff in 1898. He served as a Gunner in the RFA in WWI, number 32509. He qualified for the Victory, British and 14-15 Star medals. The theatre of war was France and the qualifying date 4/9/15. No service record servives, and there is no pension record. I looked up the Medal Rolls at the NA, but no extra information was there except on the roll for the Victory/British War Medal he was a signaller (previously a gunner, but same number). Interestingly there are two other people on both pages of the medal roll with the same number. Maybe this is normal?

What I really want to know is whether this is it, and there is no chance of finding anything else out, or whether there might be more to look for?

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not sure where you might look next - his (young) age suggests he enlisted 1915 perhaps? - the number will not help there (32509 would also have been issued in 1904 ? sometime .. ) -

someone may be able to confirm if a Brigade arrived in France that day .. or not.. i think the 21st Division, 22nd Div and 24th divisions all arrived early September 1915 so that is a possibility that you could narrow down to one of their artillery Brigades

an absent voters register of 1918/19? might indicate his unit (some occasionally do) if he was still in the army ..

david

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David,

Asked a similar question myself a while back.

22nd Division RFA Brigades all disembarked 5th September; 21st Division RFA Brigades disembarked 10th & 11th September; and I believe 24th Division had disembarked by 4th September - so unless your g granddad was part of a replacement draft, he may have gone over with 24th Division.

cheers

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

If we were to make an assumption that he was with the 24th Division, do we know how long he may have stayed? As far as I know, he wasn't seriously wounded in the war, if at all. I would like to write something into the family history about his time in the war, but it is mostly going to have to be general information - if I were to continue on the assumption he was with the 24th Division I can obviously research a bit about which battles the division was involved in and possibly what part the RFA played in that, but how far should I realistically take this? I can't really see any other way of finding anything out specifically about him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would tread with a little caution here dcm, and never assume. In many RFA MICs that I have seen the date of entry is not necessarily the date he landed since a lot of crossings took place at night and the brigades landing the following day. If the dates that Steve has supplied are correct and I don't doubt that, then I'd be more inclined to say that your Great Grandfather served with one of the RFA brigades of the 22nd Division (98th, 99th, 100th and 101st Bdes). Diaries for these brigades can be found in WO 95/2166, WO 95/4845 and WO 95/4846. A search of these diries may provide you with better information as to which brigade you seek. The date for the 24th Division is I believe the date when the whole division was eventually concentrated and not when the artillery landed. The service of these 2 divisions are not alike since the 22nd Division left the Western Front during November 1915 and spent the remainder of the war in Macedonia where the Armistice was signed on 30 September 1918.

cheers, Jon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously, I don't want to make assumptions, but I can't really see myself being able to find out anything more concrete. Even if I went up to TNA to look at the diaries, the chances of finding anything relating specifically to him are extremely remote I would have thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's often worth taking the broad approach first.

Look at the Medal Rolls on ancestry for men with similar numbers to see if any went out on the relevant date. Look at 50-100 men either side of his number. If you find any with the same overseas date, try and find if they have a record on ancestry - hours of entertainment promised with this approach.

Check service and pension records on ancestry, so for example:-

32550 Henry Avenell enlisted 17/11/1914 at Chatham. Sent to Newhaven. Joined 17 Heavy Battery and posted overseas on 7/10/1915.

By checking a good selection of these, you might find a pattern. Of course, you might not find anything, but could be worthwhile.

Medal Rolls

32501 William Hall went overseas on 29/7/1915 to France. and 32501 Frederick Jewell went overseas on 28/3/1915 to Balkans.

Check on Geoff's search engine for RFA casualties killed close to your man's number and check against the Medal Cards to see if they are of help to you.

At the very least, you will get a good idea of the enlistment date of your man.

Have fun!

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is an interesting approach. I've gone about 50 either side of 32509, but only those in the RFA. I cam across several with a qualifying date of the 5/9/15 - one of these died in Antwerp in 1918, and another was invalided out with malaria. I only came across one other RFA with the same qualifying date as the 4/9/15; this was one Arthur Perrins of Leeds. He served with the 22nd Division in France 3/9/15-18/11/15 and the Middle East Force 19/11/15-18/1/18.

I'll keep trawling though!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now you have a gunner who joined the RFA on probably the same day or week at the same depot as your greatgrandfather and went overseas on the same boat as him. There is a high probability that they would have served in the same unit (with the usual healthwarnings of course. Nothing is ever certain).

By finding some service records for the men 50 or so either side of him, you might find a pattern of say 10-20 men being assigned to different batteries. It's never conclusive, but could lead to a breakthrough. Now if you could find one of those with a service record, you're in business. As Jon mentioned, the one's with the next date could also be from the same unit (or they might not!).

Watch out for men who became signallers, were promoted or were some knid of specialist etc as their careers wil always be slightly different.

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi kildaremark...Mark

That info was very well presented. :).... I've got a g'father RFA # 41116 no service record and a g'uncle RFA # 398** (106 Brigade) who has a service record but I seem not to be able to find it right now!! I'm gonna have to wait a bit for Ancestry for Family name Vaux but when they do it, I'm gonna join and follow you suggestions. Thank you very much.

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'm still trawling. Interestingly, I came across my great grandfather's cousin, Gabriel Owen Edwards (32377) who was also in the RFA - his qualifying date was the 3/9/15 and his service record is on Ancestry - I can't read much of it, but it looks like he was invalided out for malaria which I would have thought made the 22nd Division quite likely in his case?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...