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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

a few questions about my great uncle 91st Seige battery


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Ive been kind of working backwards with regards to my great uncle Lt Archie Ainsley who was killed at reumont on october 12th 1918 see below...

"The 12th Oct. was a very bad day for us in Reumont. We had fired a few rounds at active batteries and a few 8" shells came back in return. Lieut. Ainsley, Sergt. Eales, Bombardier Newton, Gunner Graham and Gunner Mc W. McCullough took refuge in a cellar under a house, together with its inhabitants, nine French civilians. A shell hit the house and the cellar collapsed, the ruins of the house falling into it. Lieut. Nightingale was the first to discover the calamity and he, with Bombardier Bradshaw and Gunner Fletcher were conspicuous amongst many in the rescue work which started at great personal risk before the shelling had ceased. The moans and cries of suffocating children were heart rendering and desperate efforts were made to reach them, but in spite of all that could be done it was 7 hours before the last bodies were reached. All the civilians except a little girl of 15, Marie Louise Lariche, who had a miraculous escape. The heroism of this child will live in the memories of all who witnessed it so long as they live. The bodies of her mother, brothers, sisters, and grandparents were all removed before her eyes. She was pinned down in the debris only her head being free. She remained conscious all the time and gave most useful help to the rescue party in describing the details of the cellar and telling where the other bodies lay. It was a scene of many painful deaths which I do not care to recall. Lieut. Ainsley, Sergt. Eales, Bombardier Newton, and Gunner Graham were all killed; Gunner Mc W. McCullough was taken out alive and apparently only badly shaken, but he died from concussion next day. Thus only one survived out of the fourteen who were buried by the shell. The work of rescue was exceedingly difficult as there was always the danger of the collapse of the small portion of the cellar which remained, and where Marie Louise was. The services of Lieut. Nightingale, Bombardier Bradshaw and Gunner Fletcher were suitably rewarded. The greatest regret was felt at the loss of Lieut. Ainsley and that of the five N.C.O.s and men who were all members of the battery from its formation. "The deepest possible sympathy was felt for Gunner R. McCullough, on the loss of his brother. The whole incident depressed us horribly.

So here goes....I know from the battery diary that he joined the 91st as a 2nd Lt on the 9th July of that year...

he was accepted as a cadet for officer training at trowbridge in November 1916

previous to that from 19th May 1915 he was a corporal, Lnce Corporal and private (not in that order obv..lol) with the 3rd Hamphire regiment...

so on the basis that i working backwards now from the 9th July 1918...(i know everything after that)

how long did cadet training take for the RGA?...I have all his war records and have nothing between Nov 1916 and July 1918...would he have been training for that long??

If he joined up in May 1915 and was then a cadet from Nov 1916...how long would his original training (from may 1915) have taken and has anyone got any ideas on where the 3rd hants were from May 1915- November 1916

any clues would be appreciated...anything at all

the 11th november today...hmmm just another month and archie would have made it :(

Thanks in advance

Chris Ainsley


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Hi Chris,

sorry I can't help you with your query but it is a dapper photo. Hope your proud of your great uncle, may he rest in peace.


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  • 2 weeks later...


The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Royal Hampshire Regiment was formed in August 1914 : in Winchester. A depot/training unit, it remained in UK throughout the war. Moved on mobilisation to Parkhurst (Isle of Wight) and in January 1915 to Gosport for duty with Portsmouth Garrison where it remained till the end of the war. It was used to supply replacements to the 1st and 2nd Front line Battalions.

Hope this helps


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If Lieut. Ainsley went to the Cadet School at Trowbridge in November 1918 he spent very little time at the school because he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut. in the RGA TF on 27 November 1916. When he died on 12 October 1918 he was a Lieutenant. I would guess that he was promoted to Lieutenant on 27 May 1918. I have been unable to find out where he served from 27 November 1916 when he was commissioned to 9 July 1918 when he was posted to 91st Siege Battery, RGA. Regards, Dick Flory

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