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Remembered Today:

RHA at Lizerne 1915


pipvh

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Does anyone happen to know what batteries of the RHA were in action at Lizerne during 2nd Ypres? I'm trying to piece together my grandfather's history and that place-name is one on his swagger-stick. I'm trying to find his unit in 1914. He went out in September 1914 and was at Aisne, Vieux-Berqin, and Messines before Lizerne. If Lizerne was quite a specific action date-wise, it might be a good place to start. His name was Lt Gerald Birdwood Vaughan-Hughes. He went on to 2nd RHA in WW2, so I Battery is a likely candidate, but just a guess.

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One Medal card for him has him listed with a 1915 star but no date of entry to france - and i cant see him in the Aug army list - at a quick sweep, ..theArtillery of 1st and 2nd cavalry Divisions (i.e. RHA) may have been at 2nd ypres by May 1915 ..

david

the RHA were in action at Lizerne during 2nd Ypres? I'm trying to piece together my grandfather's history and that place-name is one on his swagger-stick. I'm trying to find his unit in 1914. He went out in September 1914 and was at Aisne, Vieux-Berqin, and Messines before Lizerne. If Lizerne was quite a specific action date-wise, it might be a good place to start. His name was Lt Gerald Birdwood Vaughan-Hughes. He went on to 2nd RHA in WW2, so I Battery is a likely candidate, but just a guess.

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I am a little confused. I live in Boezinge (village 5 km north of Ypres). Lizerne (also spelled as Luzerne) is a hamlet of it, 2.5 km north of it, and a little west of Steenstrate which is on the canal Ypres - IJzer. The hamlet indeed was captured right after the German gas attack (22 April 1915), and quite some pages have been written about that (in Dutch).

However as far as I know only Belgian and French troops were involved in the Lizerne action.

I must say I am not familiar enough with what happened at Lizerne in the weeks after 22/04/1915.

Aurel

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One Medal card for him has him listed with a 1915 star but no date of entry to france - and i cant see him in the Aug army list - at a quick sweep, ..theArtillery of 1st and 2nd cavalry Divisions (i.e. RHA) may have been at 2nd ypres by May 1915 ..

david

As far as I remember, he'd just graduated from Sandhurst in the summer of 1914 so missed being in the August BEF.

But it suddenly struck me that the swagger stick I've assumed belonged to my grandfather might actually be my great-grandfather's, who was 2nd Cavalry RHA. Damn - now I have absolutely nothing to go on...

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I am a little confused. I live in Boezinge (village 5 km north of Ypres). Lizerne (also spelled as Luzerne) is a hamlet of it, 2.5 km north of it, and a little west of Steenstrate which is on the canal Ypres - IJzer. The hamlet indeed was captured right after the German gas attack (22 April 1915), and quite some pages have been written about that (in Dutch).

However as far as I know only Belgian and French troops were involved in the Lizerne action.

I must say I am not familiar enough with what happened at Lizerne in the weeks after 22/04/1915.

Aurel

Thanks, Aurel. I found that interesting as well - located Lizerne on Google Earth - tiny nameless crossroads - and discovered it was in the Belgian/French sector. If the swagger stick I'm getting this info from did in fact belong to my great-grandfather and not my grandfather, it could be that he was some sort of liaison officer with the French artillery during the action - other than that I haven't a clue...

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pipvh,

'H' and 'I' Batteries, 7th Brigade RHA, were indeed in action at Lizerne, in co-operation with the French artillery.

I have a copy (unfortunately, not digitised) of a report by Lt Col Budworth, C.R.A., 1st Cavalry Division, which details the two batteries' involvement in this action. I will endeavour to post some extracts from it this evening.

Hope this helps.

Bryan

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pipvh,

'H' and 'I' Batteries, 7th Brigade RHA, were indeed in action at Lizerne, in co-operation with the French artillery.

I have a copy (unfortunately, not digitised) of a report by Lt Col Budworth, C.R.A., 1st Cavalry Division, which details the two batteries' involvement in this action. I will endeavour to post some extracts from it this evening.

Hope this helps.

Bryan

Ryan, that's amazing. Looking forward to the extracts!

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Pipvh,

Sorry, it seems that your man indeed was at or near Lizerne (see Bryan's posting)

Anyway, I was sure that there were no British infantry troops nearby on and after 22 April 1915.

Bryan,

I'd be interested of course to see or read where (more or less, or exactly) the two batteries were. And what day(s).

Aurel

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pipvh,

'H' and 'I' Batteries, 7th Brigade RHA, were indeed in action at Lizerne, in co-operation with the French artillery.

I have a copy (unfortunately, not digitised) of a report by Lt Col Budworth, C.R.A., 1st Cavalry Division, which details the two batteries' involvement in this action. I will endeavour to post some extracts from it this evening.

Hope this helps.

Bryan

And if you could keep an eye out for a Col(?) W H Kay, that would be my great-gf.

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As promised, here's Colonel Budworth's report on operations near Lizerne, which I found in the war diary of the 7th Brigade RHA Ammunition Column:

At 1.20 p.m. on April 24th (1915) orders were issued by the G.O.C. 1st Cavalry Division for the concentration of the Batteries (“H” and “I”) of the VII Brigade R.H.A. with a view to co-operation with the French artillery.

After consultation with Generals OUIQUANDON and COUDET, an artillery reconnaissance was carried out towards HETSAS and LIZERNE, and the batteries established in action north of “EN” in WOESTEN.

At 5.30 p.m. the VII Brigade opened fire on German infantry concentrating east of the canal in the neighbourhood of STEENSTRAATE.

The VII Brigade subsequently remained in action in observation until the morning of the 26th, when orders were received from Colonel LEBRETON, C.R.A. French Artillery, to co-operate in the bombardment and assault of LIZERNE.

At 2.30 p.m. on the 26th the VII Brigade opened fire on LIZERNE. The intensity of fire was gradually augmented, reaching its culminating point at 3 p.m., the actual time of the assault. Fire was then directed with a view to cutting off hostile re-inforcements from the point of assault.

Later the VII Brigade co-operated in the attack and capture of HETSAS.

The VII Brigade remained in observation throughout the night of the 26th/27th, and on the 27th co-operated in the actions undertaken against STEENSTRAATE, its special mission being to deal with hostile re-inforcements moving east of the canal.

The VII Brigade was withdrawn from action at dawn on the 28th.

(There is a note here of casualties being 3 horses killed and 5 wounded; 3 men wounded; expenditure of ammunition, 2,287 rounds)

A considerable amount of skilful reconnaissance and liaison work necessary for the effective direction of the fire was carried out to my satisfaction by my Staff, and the officers of “H” and “I” Batteries.

In connection with this work I desire to mention certain names, which I will forward later.

Unfortunately there is no note of the names forwarded. Lt Col Budworth was at the time the artillery commander of 1st Cavalry Division. It's possible, I suppose, that other RHA or British artillery units took part in the action, but you would think in this event that the colonel would have mentioned this in his report.

It appears at least a positive example during this period of co-operation between the French and British armies.

Bryan

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Many thanks for posting this, Bryan, and for transcribing it. As you say, an example of successful French-British co-operation!

I'm fairly sure now that the swagger stick that lists Lizerne belonged to Col William H. Kay. So that narrows his battery down to H or I, and that's a good result. Perhaps he was good at foreign relations - the Italians gave him a medal after the Piave campaign.

Back to the drawing board for G. B. Vaughan-Hughes...

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I see that Major W Kay had commanded P Bty in the Aug 1914 Army List so had presumably moved in mobilisation reorganisations or replaced a casualty- he was not with I Bty at Mons I think as Major Thompson was commanding then .. more likely H Bty which replaced L Bty in september?

david

Many thanks for posting this, Bryan, and for transcribing it. As you say, an example of successful French-British co-operation!

I'm fairly sure now that the swagger stick that lists Lizerne belonged to Col William H. Kay. So that narrows his battery down to H or I, and that's a good result. Perhaps he was good at foreign relations - the Italians gave him a medal after the Piave campaign.

Back to the drawing board for G. B. Vaughan-Hughes...

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David, thanks for finding that out. H Battery replaced L Battery while it came back up to strength after Nery, so it looks like H is the likely candidate. I've come to a dead-end online with H Battery - as with I, most of the info is as a subtext to L Battery at Nery. It'll have to be a visit to Woolwich next time I'm in Blighty...

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My research into 7th Brigade RHA was with the original documents at Kew some years ago.

The war diary of 'H' Battery starts when it arrived on the Aisne in September, 1914. Its commander at that time was Major Budworth, soon to become CRA, 1st Cavalry Division.

I deduced that the names on the 1914 Star medal roll for 7th Brigade RHA are those of the men of 'H' and 'I' Batteries, and also the Ammunition Column. 'L' Battery has a separate roll. All have a disembarkation date of 15 August 1914, which begs the question, what was 'H' Battery up to in France before it replaced 'L' Battery?

General Farndale's history throws no further light on this. If anyone has the answer, I'd also like to know!

Bryan

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  • 1 year later...

Apologies for reviving a long-defunct thread.. but with 7th Bde RHA, do you (or anyone else?) know anything of a Farrier Sgt William Chinery .. I believe with RHA 7th Bde AC in 1914.. I think he won a DCM with N?Bty later in war. Alternatively do you happen to know any of the senior NCOs of H Bty in 1918 (or indeed 1919.). - as i have a fine photo of them in 1919 and am trying to work out who some may be .. I am expecting some at least had survived from the original 1914 junior NCOs as most have 5 years overseas service by that date.

thanks

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  • 4 years later...
Guest Old Wellies

Apologies for reviving this but I've just joined the forum and was searching for information relating to my great grandfather, Thomas Percy Welham (Gunner - Service Number 35073)

His service records didn't survived but, fortunately for me, on his daughter's birth certificate (31 Jan 1915) he was recorded being in the H Battery of VII Brigade RHA.

However, the H Battery RHA arrived in France late Sep 1914 and records for Thomas (Medal Index Card and Rolls) show him entering the theatre of war 23 Aug 1914. To me, this means he was in a different RHA battery before transferring to H Battery. I've read the quote from Chalkhill Blue below and it seems to suggest that he was in either I or L Batteries instead of any of the 5 RHA Batteries (D, E, J being the others).

My query is can I rule out D, E and J RHA batteries being Thomas's original battery?

Regards

My research into 7th Brigade RHA was with the original documents at Kew some years ago.

The war diary of 'H' Battery starts when it arrived on the Aisne in September, 1914. Its commander at that time was Major Budworth, soon to become CRA, 1st Cavalry Division.

I deduced that the names on the 1914 Star medal roll for 7th Brigade RHA are those of the men of 'H' and 'I' Batteries, and also the Ammunition Column. 'L' Battery has a separate roll. All have a disembarkation date of 15 August 1914, which begs the question, what was 'H' Battery up to in France before it replaced 'L' Battery?

General Farndale's history throws no further light on this. If anyone has the answer, I'd also like to know!

Bryan

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  • 8 months later...

Does anyone happen to know what batteries of the RHA were in action at Lizerne during 2nd Ypres? I'm trying to piece together my grandfather's history and that place-name is one on his swagger-stick. I'm trying to find his unit in 1914. He went out in September 1914 and was at Aisne, Vieux-Berqin, and Messines before Lizerne. If Lizerne was quite a specific action date-wise, it might be a good place to start. His name was Lt Gerald Birdwood Vaughan-Hughes. He went on to 2nd RHA in WW2, so I Battery is a likely candidate, but just a guess.

I've just checked the current battery records and it shows him joining I Battery in 1917 as Lieutenant. There is a handwritten note next to they typed list stating 'retired 3 May 48". He is in the London Gazette in July 1918 here: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30813/supplement/8852/data.pdfand there is the following record in the army lists held by the National Library of Scotland:

VAUGHAN-HUGHES, Gerald Birdwood, M.C, p.s.cV

Born 13/4/96. R.A. 2-Lt. 17/11/14. Lt. 28/8/15

(actg. Capt. 22/5/18 to 24/9/18 ; actg. Maj. 25/9/18 to

27/7/19). Capt. 1/1/25. (RetlU. Seniority 3/11/17.)

Maj. 15/10/34. (actg. Lt.-Col. 24/10/39.)

A.D.C. to H.B. the C.-in-C. India 9/10/25 to

31/12/28. Staff Off. R.A. (G.S.0.3) S. Comd.

15/2/35 to 17/3/37. Staff Capt. Aldershot Comd.

18/3/37 to 14/2/39. G.S.0.2 (temp.) 16/6/39 to

23/10/39.

1914-21. France & Belgium 15/5/15 to 3/6/15 and

25/9/15 to 11/11/18. Wounded three times.

Despatches L.G. 7/7/19. 1914-15 S. B.W.M.

V.M. M.C.

I hope that is of some help!

Regards,

Penny

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Apologies for reviving this but I've just joined the forum and was searching for information relating to my great grandfather, Thomas Percy Welham (Gunner - Service Number 35073)

His service records didn't survived but, fortunately for me, on his daughter's birth certificate (31 Jan 1915) he was recorded being in the H Battery of VII Brigade RHA.

However, the H Battery RHA arrived in France late Sep 1914 and records for Thomas (Medal Index Card and Rolls) show him entering the theatre of war 23 Aug 1914. To me, this means he was in a different RHA battery before transferring to H Battery. I've read the quote from Chalkhill Blue below and it seems to suggest that he was in either I or L Batteries instead of any of the 5 RHA Batteries (D, E, J being the others).

My query is can I rule out D, E and J RHA batteries being Thomas's original battery?

Regards

With regards to your question - Many of the men of H Troop did go out to France in August specifically to bolster the numbers of I and L Troops. After Nery, H was sent out as the permanent replacement to L Troop due to their losses, and they had a large number of reservists as many of the regulars were already serving in France with the sister batteries.

I and L Troops arrived in France 17 Aug 1914, so he may have joined them in a second wave shortly afterwards, so I would think I or L would be the most likely candidates for his original battery.

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