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252/523/288 Siege Battery RGA


Conor Dodd
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I took out a relatives service papers today to have a look at them, I photocopied them and never really went through them properly to be honest, anyway they are very badly damaged (from WO363) and I was hoping to pinpoint some of his movements, unfortunately the important bits are the hardest to read and I am getting more and more confused by the minute. From what I can gather he enlisted in the RGA in 1914 for some reason he stays at home until 1918 (he was 17 when he enlisted and the youngest of three brothers, both of whom were serving in France and Gallipoli) when he is sent to France,

Enlists 30/09/1914

Home 30/09/1914 - 02/05/1918

France 03/05/1918 - 28/08/1918 (?)

He is wounded at some point date is illegible, this wound appears to have ended his time at the front, however he wasn't discharged until 1919. he suffered severely with shell shock and fits for the rest of his life.

So my question is the three units above are all mentioned at one point or another in his file, I am not sure when/where he served with each one or in what order does anyone have any details on them to work it out ?

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Hi! You're lucky you have been able to find service records - I have the same problem.

My great uncle - who I never knew I had - was in the RGA. He was in 264 Siege Battery which became C Coy in the 84th Brigade of the 18th Eastern Division after 1916.

He died of wounds in Etaples in May 1918 and is buried in the cemetery there.

I have been trying to find out where he was in May 1918 so that when I go to visit his grave to pay my respects I could also visit the scene of his wounding.

Anybody out there who could shed any light on this I would be grateful.

His name was Ronald W Lawson. Born in Ormskirk, Lancs in 1895. Gunner RGA No 155370. Buried Etaples Military Cemetery.

Thanks very much

RIP Harry Patch. A gentleman in all senses of the word.

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My great uncle - who I never knew I had - was in the RGA. He was in 264 Siege Battery which became C Coy in the 84th Brigade of the 18th Eastern Division after 1916.

Hello Gillyflower

I think there has been some confusion here as the RGA did not serve as part of divisions after Feb 1915, although batteries may have supported divisions in particular actions. C Battery 84 Brigade Royal Field Artillery did serve as part of 18th Division but was a different unit. Did he serve with it before joining 264 SB?

In 1918, 264 Siege Battery, which was equipped with 6-inch howitzers, was part of 52 Brigade RGA. In mid-March theis brigade was part of Fourth Army, defending the Ypres Salient, and by the beginning of May it had been transferred to Third Army, around Arras.

As your great-uncle died of wounds on 15 May and is buried at Etaples - a very large cemetery linked to a number of hospitas on the coast - it is likely that he was wounded during the Battles of the Lys, April 9-30 1918. The War Diary of 52 Brigade RGA is in file WO95/544 in the National Archives at Kew, and there is a partial diary for 264 Siege Battery, covering Jan-Mar 1917, in the same file. This should tell you where the battery was in April and will give numbers of casualties each day but not names, except for officers.

Ron

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Conor,

I would say it is more likely he went from 523 SB to 252 SB then 288 SB, but if you gave his name and number we can have a look and see whether you have missed something in his records.

Kevin

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Hello Gillyflower

I think there has been some confusion here as the RGA did not serve as part of divisions after Feb 1915, although batteries may have supported divisions in particular actions. C Battery 84 Brigade Royal Field Artillery did serve as part of 18th Division but was a different unit. Did he serve with it before joining 264 SB?

In 1918, 264 Siege Battery, which was equipped with 6-inch howitzers, was part of 52 Brigade RGA. In mid-March theis brigade was part of Fourth Army, defending the Ypres Salient, and by the beginning of May it had been transferred to Third Army, around Arras.

As your great-uncle died of wounds on 15 May and is buried at Etaples - a very large cemetery linked to a number of hospitas on the coast - it is likely that he was wounded during the Battles of the Lys, April 9-30 1918. The War Diary of 52 Brigade RGA is in file WO95/544 in the National Archives at Kew, and there is a partial diary for 264 Siege Battery, covering Jan-Mar 1917, in the same file. This should tell you where the battery was in April and will give numbers of casualties each day but not names, except for officers.

Ron

Ron!

Thank you so much!! In one fell swoop I think you have given me the answer I've been searching for. I'll get onto the National Archives for the Diary you mention.

:rolleyes:

Gillyflower

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Had a marvellous stroke of luck tonight - found a book in the Naval and Military Bookstore relating to the 84th brigade 262 battery / a battery history. 264 siege battery became c battery of this brigade and was amalgamated after Dec 1916 into a & b batteries of the above.

With any luck I should be able to find out where they were in april/may 1918 from this. :rolleyes:

Can anyone explain how the national archives system works - i've been going round in circles on the website trying to trace the diary Ron kindly pointed me in the direction of.

Thanks in advance

Gillyflower

Remembering Ronald W Lawson Gnr 264 Siege Battery DoW 15.05.1918 Buried Etaples Military Cemetry.

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Hi Gillyflower,

TNA war diary search, start with Search the archives, in drop down box click on The Catalogue,next click on Search the Catalogue, next window, in the word or phrase section write- 52 brigade royal garrison artillery (dont bother with 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc), dept or series, put WO, that should get you the diary WO95/544 that Ron posted earlier, good luck,

Regards Keith.

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Gillyflower.

The book you mention above refers to an RFA Brigade (Royal Field Artillery) and has nothing to do with the branch of the Artillery Gnr Lawson served in, which is the RGA (Royal Garrison Artillery). Although its component batteries are similar in numbering, there is no connection.

264 Sge Bty mobilized at Ashton gate Barracks, Bristol 27-1-17 and sailed to France 10-2-1917, with armament of 4 x 9.2 Hows but was broken up completely in 24th Dec 1917.

It was reconstituted the same day as a 6 in Howitzer Battery, with one section joining from 106 Sge Bty and one section from 115 Sge Bty. As Gnr Lawson mobilised in April 1917 it is highly likely he came from one of these prior to his time with 264 Sge Bty.

To complicate matters further, 115 Sge Bty had in turn been made upto 6 gun establishment in July 1917 with a section joining from 368 Sge Bty, and subsequently reduced to 4 guns with one complete section being transferred to 264 Sge Bty as mentioned..

Similarly 106 Sge Bty had been made upto 6 guns with a section joining from another battery and reduced to 4 guns in Dec, a section transferred to 264 Sge Bty.

The Brigade diary WO95/544 is really your best hope at this stage of finding out what happened and where. The partial diary for 264 is only a paltry page and a half!

I said it was complicated……

Rgds Paul

(forgot to mention that during this Dec changeover period, 264 sge Bty were part of 1 Anzac, and their war diary in PDF format is freely downloadable from the Australian website. page 20 in Dec outlines the above, and latter pages give their position.)

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Gillyflower.

The book you mention above refers to an RFA Brigade (Royal Field Artillery) and has nothing to do with the branch of the Artillery Gnr Lawson served in, which is the RGA (Royal Garrison Artillery). Although its component batteries are similar in numbering, there is no connection.

264 Sge Bty mobilized at Ashton gate Barracks, Bristol 27-1-17 and sailed to France 10-2-1917, with armament of 4 x 9.2 Hows but was broken up completely in 24th Dec 1917.

It was reconstituted the same day as a 6 in Howitzer Battery, with one section joining from 106 Sge Bty and one section from 115 Sge Bty. As Gnr Lawson mobilised in April 1917 it is highly likely he came from one of these prior to his time with 264 Sge Bty.

To complicate matters further, 115 Sge Bty had in turn been made upto 6 gun establishment in July 1917 with a section joining from 368 Sge Bty, and subsequently reduced to 4 guns with one complete section being transferred to 264 Sge Bty as mentioned..

Similarly 106 Sge Bty had been made upto 6 guns with a section joining from another battery and reduced to 4 guns in Dec, a section transferred to 264 Sge Bty.

The Brigade diary WO95/544 is really your best hope at this stage of finding out what happened and where. The partial diary for 264 is only a paltry page and a half!

I said it was complicated……

Rgds Paul

(forgot to mention that during this Dec changeover period, 264 sge Bty were part of 1 Anzac, and their war diary in PDF format is freely downloadable from the Australian website. page 20 in Dec outlines the above, and latter pages give their position.)

Thanks Paul.

Sorry to have been an age in replying. Book arrived and as suggested above was of no assistance, but made very interesting reading. Would recommend it.

Sorry to be thick - which Australian website :o ?

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  • 5 years later...

One of the diaries that deals with the break up of 264 SB is this one:

http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/AWM4/1/31/21PART2/

It's the diary of the Admin Staff, I ANZAC

For the period of the break up and re-constitution it says:

Admin Staff I ANZAC Dec 1917 Pt 2. AWM4 1/31/21

24/12/1917 One section, 264th Siege battery moved from Ist ANZAC Corps to IInd ANZAC Corps on 24th December, joining 148th Siege Battery.

24/12/1917 One section, 264th Siege battery moved from Ist ANZAC Corps to IX Corps on 24th December, joining 117th Siege Battery.

24/12/1917 HQ 264th Siege Battery 9.2" How., becomes 6" How.,on 24th December, receiving one section 106th and one section 115th Siege Battery from II Corps.

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