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32nd Division 161st Yorkshire Brigade, A Battery


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I'd be really keen to know if any knowledgeable gurus of you out there have information ie War Diaries/ movements of 32nd Divisional Artillery, 161st Yorkshire Brigade, Battery A/161, (War Raised Unit) (CLXI Brigade) part of Kitchener's K4 Fourth New Army, for the period September 1917 – November 1918

My grandfather William Ernest Wilson, was originally a Quarter Master Sergeant in the NZ Engineers at Gallipoli, then after a year on the Western Front was selected for RFA officer training and became a Second Lieutenant (Spec Res) 193655, serving in Flanders then down to France, being awarded the MC in the closing stages of the war. I do have his War Diary movements from 1 Dec 1918 - 31 Dec 1918, but that obviously is after the war had ended.

I see from this website that during this period the 32nd Division participated in:

* Operations on the Flanders coast, till 11 November 1917.

* The Battle of Amiens (Allied losses 22,000, German losses 74,000) 8 – 11 August 1918 "The artillery prepared with minimum registration, and laid down a fearsome creeping barrage".

* The Battle of Albert (the first phase of the Second Battles of the Somme) 21 – 23 August 1918, including the capture of Chuignes.

* The Battle of Bapaume (the second phase of the Second Battles of the Somme), 31 August – 3 September 1918.

* The Battle of San Quentin Canal (the fourth phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line), 29 September - 2 October 1918, including the passage at Bellenglise and the capture of the Bellicourt tunnel defences.

* The Battle of Beaurevoir (the fifth phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line) 3 – 5 October, 1918.

* The Battle of Sambre 4 November, 1918 (the passage of the Sambre-Oise canal and the capture of Le Quesnoy).

I'd really love to peel the next layer of the onion. Thanks in advance

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dick Flory kindly put me on to this book:

Artillery and Trench Mortar Memories: 32nd Division which has been reprinted by Naval and Military Press, which I now have on order, and await with interest.

http://www.naval-military-press.com/artill...d-division.html

"Personal diaries and memories of officers and men who fought with the 32nd Divisional Artillery, the main feature being the diary of the 32nd Divisional Artillery chaplain from June 1916 to October 1919, which covers some 500 pages and is an outstanding piece of work."

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Scott

I will detail the War Diary but doubtless it has been used to provide info for the book. Out of interest it is WO95/2380 and runs from Jan 1916 to Oct 1919.

Sotonmate

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Scott

I will detail the War Diary but doubtless it has been used to provide info for the book. Out of interest it is WO95/2380 and runs from Jan 1916 to Oct 1919.

Sotonmate

Dear Sotonmate,

That would be absolutely fabulous. I'd love to understand better my grandfather's movements via the War Diary. I think the book I've ordered relates more to individual's diaries. It was published in1932 by some of the former soldiers.

Another book Dick Flory recommended relating to the 32nd, is High Mountains and Cold Seas by H. W. Tilman, however so far I'm not yet sure what the connection is. This bloke was a mountaineer and sailor and had links to WWII. I'm hoping Dick might enlighten me.

There is also a book by in the UK written about C Battery Scarborough pals' battery : 'C' battery 161st Yorkshire brigade royal field artillery 1915-1919 by Sydney Foorde and Thomas Northern, however it doesn't seem to be one you can purchase readily.

In 2000 we drove through the Belgian villages my grandfather was were billeted in. Froidchapelle, Fraire, Fairoul, Fourbechies, Erpion, Walcourt, St Gerard, Bossiere, Graux, Sampson then to Namur.

The tail end of the war diary says, by Christmas day 'lectures in French, Agriculture, typewriting, shorthand and book keeping are now in full swing. Attention to Sports and recreational training'.

But it was all from information after the war ended.

I had spent 10 years looking for my grandfather's MC citation, using a researcher in Kew etc, however I finally found it on the internet in the London Gazette.

I was pretty chipper when I found it "Near Le Cateau on 1st November, 1918, he was in command of wagons taking forward ammunition to a position to be occupied by his battery for a forthcoming operation. The wagons on the road came under heavy artillery fire. He showed great skill and coolness, and successfully delivered his ammunition. On 5th November, 1918, near Favril, he superintended the moving of the horses under heavy shell fire."

I still have his MC, and the flaming grenade from his collar.

I used to live with him for a little while as a teenager but he never spoke of the war and wouldn't go to ANZAC parades.

His brother wrote a great Gallipoli diary which I have. So I've got a feel for that earlier experience. Also something before that, when they went to take German Samoa.

I got to travel to Gallipoli the year before last.

Let me know how best to contact you regarding any extra info on the War Diary.

Once again many thanks

Scott

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Scott

I will contact you in mid Oct,by which time you should have the 10 post qualification for using the Personal Messaging (PM) system here,and I should have made my next visit to Kew.

Subject to the WD being available on that day.

Sotonmate

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Scott

I will contact you in mid Oct,by which time you should have the 10 post qualification for using the Personal Messaging (PM) system here,and I should have made my next visit to Kew.

Subject to the WD being available on that day.

Sotonmate

Dear Sotonmate,

That is most kind of you. I am just learning the ropes on the postings and benefits. I'll make sure I've worked my way up the ranks to access the PM system.

I've been writing our family history and have a good segment on my grandfather which I'd like to flesh out further. His youngest brother who my dad is named after, was a scout with the Otagos and died at Gallipoli within a couple of weeks of the landing. Three brothers were there.

http://scottcoreen.googlepages.com/gallipoli

Below is a picture of my grandfather (2nd on the right) between Gallipoli and the Western Front - I think you can guess where.

Thanks again, I'll look forward to your reply and hope the diary is available

Scott

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Somehow missed this thread up to this point. As far as I know 2Lt WE Wilson is not mentioned in Artillery and Trench Mortar Memories: 32nd Division. High Mountains and Cold Seas by H. W. Tilman is about mountain climbing and sailing but Chapters II and III discuss his services as an officer in 161st Brigade, during which time he won the MC and Bar. The two chapters include some quotes from both the brigade's war diary and History of the Scarborough Pal's Battery.

Wilson was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant, RFA SR on 26 Aug 17. It would appear from WO 338 that his service papers are available from The National Archives.

Regards, Dick Flory

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Somehow missed this thread up to this point. As far as I know 2Lt WE Wilson is not mentioned in Artillery and Trench Mortar Memories: 32nd Division. High Mountains and Cold Seas by H. W. Tilman is about mountain climbing and sailing but Chapters II and III discuss his services as an officer in 161st Brigade, during which time he won the MC and Bar. The two chapters include some quotes from both the brigade's war diary and History of the Scarborough Pal's Battery.

Wilson was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant, RFA SR on 26 Aug 17. It would appear from WO 338 that his service papers are available from The National Archives.

Regards, Dick Flory

Hi Dick

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

I did look further into Tilman too, and he was a busy man, packing in both wars plus his mountaineering and sailing adventures:

1915 Attended the Royal Miltary Academy, Woolwich. Commissioned July 28 into the Royal Field Artillery

1916 Began active service on Western front. Was at the Battle of the Sommes. Wounded, then went back to front.

1917 Wounded January. Awarded the Military Cross and evacuated to hospital in England. Returned to front in May. Awarded bar to MC and promoted to Lieutenant. Transferred to Royal Horse Artillery.

1918 Took part in German spring offensive and Allied advance into Germany

1919 Resigned commission after the War, and went to live in Kenya

So it sounds like he was in the 161st RFA the two years before my grandfather joined them, then Tilman moved to the RHA. However it would be interesting to read what he says about the experience.

I have your other recommended book on order, more with a view to getting a feel for the locations and what they experienced.

Thanks too for looking up a bit of his records. In 2000 I had someone search for me, but they couldn't locate WO 338, then in 2007 I checked with him again and he looked again, and found it misfiled behind a William Euston Wilson, whereas he was William Ernest Wilson, so he got me some pictures of the file.

It didn't give a lot of info, but I did find things like:

On 23 March 1917 he was accepted to go to Officer Cadet School in Brighton with the # 4 Royal Field Artillery. Lt Colonel G. Pridham, a British Loan officer to the NZE, supported his application.

He graduated as a Second Lieutenant (Serial No 193655) on 26 August 1917 together with another kiwi friend, Fred Kent-Johnston, they were listed as in Spec Res (Special Reserve).

Apart from him being wounded in the arm at Gallipoli, a few weeks after the end of the war he was injured at a regimental football match in Namur! and sent back to England.

He'd been away 5 years and married my grandmother (fiance) within three weeks of getting back mid 1919. They hardly would have known each other.

Below is a picture of him just before heading off to German Samoa as a 21 year old QMS

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I'd be really keen to know if any knowledgeable gurus of you out there have information ie War Diaries/ movements of 32nd Divisional Artillery, 161st Yorkshire Brigade, Battery A/161, (War Raised Unit) (CLXI Brigade) part of Kitchener's K4 Fourth New Army, for the period September 1917 – November 1918

[/size]

My grandfather William Ernest Wilson, was originally a Quarter Master Sergeant in the NZ Engineers at Gallipoli, then after a year on the Western Front was selected for RFA officer training and became a Second Lieutenant (Spec Res) 193655, serving in Flanders then down to France, being awarded the MC in the closing stages of the war. I do have his War Diary movements from 1 Dec 1918 - 31 Dec 1918, but that obviously is after the war had ended.

I see from this website that during this period the 32nd Division participated in:

* Operations on the Flanders coast, till 11 November 1917.

* The Battle of Amiens (Allied losses 22,000, German losses 74,000) 8 – 11 August 1918 "The artillery prepared with minimum registration, and laid down a fearsome creeping barrage".

* The Battle of Albert (the first phase of the Second Battles of the Somme) 21 – 23 August 1918, including the capture of Chuignes.

* The Battle of Bapaume (the second phase of the Second Battles of the Somme), 31 August – 3 September 1918.

* The Battle of San Quentin Canal (the fourth phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line), 29 September - 2 October 1918, including the passage at Bellenglise and the capture of the Bellicourt tunnel defences.

* The Battle of Beaurevoir (the fifth phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line) 3 – 5 October, 1918.

* The Battle of Sambre 4 November, 1918 (the passage of the Sambre-Oise canal and the capture of Le Quesnoy).

I'd really love to peel the next layer of the onion. Thanks in advance

Dick,

My copy of Artillery and Trench Mortar Memories: 32nd Division arrived in 4 days from the UK with only 4.80 pounds freight. I've been reading it ever since. It gives an excellent feel for the conditions. My grandfather's A161 battery had 30% of it's officers killed by the middle of 1918. His battery had about half a dozen battery commanders.

I got to page 479 and 'Eureka' found a reference to my grandfather ... 'and several subalterns the MC.. Wilson (the New Zealander in A battery)..' so that was unexpected.

I haven't yet found the Tilman book, it's not in the library, although he is mentioned twice in the diaries.

I also would like to find a place that sells the 'Scarborough Pals: 161 C Battery' by Sydney and Northern. There doesn't seem to be anywhere on the internet.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Scott

I have some movements for 161 Brigade from Sept 1917 to Nov 1918. I will make a Word doc and send it on to you. Need your e-mail address by PM.

Sotonmate

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Sotonmate,

I'm delighted to hear perhaps the War Diaries were in when you visited Kew. Thank you so much. I've sent through my email, and look forward to your findings. I hope it got through OK. Perhaps I can share with Chris and a couple of others who were asking.

I have been scouring the book 'Artillery and Trench Mortar Memories 32nd Division' and jotting down any time a place name was mentioned, so I'm keen to try to match it with what you have found. The following have been my findings so far. They are more the general area than, the official location. Also it seems the Artillery were often in different places than their infantry.

1917

10 RFA Operations on the Flanders coast – Poperinge, Bailleul, La Panne

20 Camp Peselhoek, Coxde, Ypres, Poelcappelle

Oct 28 in front of Ypres near Vlammertinghe

Dec 2 Attacks Passchendale Ridge

1918

Jan 1 Poperinghe

Mar 31 moves south to South Arras via Proven, Tinques, Hauterville

Apr 3 La Bazeque Farm, Gaudiempre

9 Adinfer*

12 Doullens Gezancourt

25 Adinfer

May 4 Bailleulmont

13 Blairville, Doullens

22 Avesnes le Comte

27 Blairville

Jun 30 Houthulst Forest Raids

Jul 6 Humbercourt

9 Doullens, Lucheux, Couturelles

14 Laherliere

18 Moves north to Flanders: Proven, Bavincourt, Coullemont

22 Troios Tours, Hospital Farm, Vlammeringhe, Elverdinghe

24 Bergues, Oost Cappel, Wormhoult, Houtkerque

31 Proven

Aug 7 Moves south to Amines steenworde, Hazelbrouck, Aire, S.Pol, Flexicourt,

S Leger, S. Oven, Oissy, Amines, Salauel

8 Battle of Amiens – Somme (Turning point of the war) Longeu, Cagney

9 Demuin

12 Damery Wood

14 Bouchoir

16 Folies

19 Villers Bretonneux

20 Attack on Herleville

21 Ernie at Battle of Albert –Somme

23 Herleville

31 Battle of Bapaume - Somme

Sep 8 Monchy Lagrache

11 Caulaincourt Villeveque

27 Le Verguier San Quinin Canal

29 Battle of San Quentin Canal – passage of Bellenglise

& Belincourt tunnels (Hindenburg line)

Oct 1 Vadencourt

3 Ernie at Battle of Beaurevoir (Hindenburg line)

8 Magny la Fosse Cambrai

9 Sequehart

10 Montbrehain

12 Vadencourt Chateau

17 Busigny, Vaux Andigny

20 Wassigny*

25 Busigny, Molain

27 Molain, Valee Molatre, Vaux

28 S. Martin Riviere

29 Peronne, Busigny

30 Fresnoy de Grand

31 Molain, S. Souplet

Nov 1 Le Cateau*, Busigny

4 Bazuel* Ernie at Battle of Sambre Oise Canal (Landrecies)

Ernie earns Military Cross in closing stages of the war, at Le Cateau & Favril near Landrecies

5 S. Marin Riviere, Bazuel, Mozinghien

6 Ors, Favril, Bazuel

7 Grand Fayt, Favril

11 Armistice, Avesnes, Cartignies –

20 Rance – into Belgium

Dec 1 southern Belgium billeted at Froidchapelle

12 marched to Fairoul

13 further marched to be billeted at Graux near St Gerard

14 Marched via Wepion, along the River Meuse to Samson near the city of Namur, crossed Meuse opposite Doves, Chateau de Try

15 Gorge stream – Meuse near Lovies

1919

Jan 2 Ernie gets hospitalised after a Regimental football accident

9 Moved from #14 General Hospital to Pruiein Christian Hospital

24 Examined at London General Hospital, & recommended 3 wks leave

Ernie repatriation centre – Mornhill Camp, Winchester

May 31 Ernie departs at Plymouth on the Steamship 'Kigoma'

Jul 12 Ernie demobbed

15 Ernie arrives in Wellington NZ then to Christchurch

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I'd be really keen to know if any knowledgeable gurus of you out there have information ie War Diaries/ movements of 32nd Divisional Artillery, 161st Yorkshire Brigade, Battery A/161, (War Raised Unit) (CLXI Brigade) part of Kitchener's K4 Fourth New Army, for the period September 1917 – November 1918

[/size]

My grandfather William Ernest Wilson, was originally a Quarter Master Sergeant in the NZ Engineers at Gallipoli, then after a year on the Western Front was selected for RFA officer training and became a Second Lieutenant (Spec Res) 193655, serving in Flanders then down to France, being awarded the MC in the closing stages of the war. I do have his War Diary movements from 1 Dec 1918 - 31 Dec 1918, but that obviously is after the war had ended.

I see from this website that during this period the 32nd Division participated in:

* Operations on the Flanders coast, till 11 November 1917.

* The Battle of Amiens (Allied losses 22,000, German losses 74,000) 8 – 11 August 1918 "The artillery prepared with minimum registration, and laid down a fearsome creeping barrage".

* The Battle of Albert (the first phase of the Second Battles of the Somme) 21 – 23 August 1918, including the capture of Chuignes.

* The Battle of Bapaume (the second phase of the Second Battles of the Somme), 31 August – 3 September 1918.

* The Battle of San Quentin Canal (the fourth phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line), 29 September - 2 October 1918, including the passage at Bellenglise and the capture of the Bellicourt tunnel defences.

* The Battle of Beaurevoir (the fifth phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line) 3 – 5 October, 1918.

* The Battle of Sambre 4 November, 1918 (the passage of the Sambre-Oise canal and the capture of Le Quesnoy).

I'd really love to peel the next layer of the onion. Thanks in advance

Sontonmate has kindly provided a very good indication of where the 32nd Division Artillery were between September 1917 and the Armistice.

1917

Belgium

Sep: BOIS TRIANGULAIRE/ LOMBARTZYDE.

Oct: POEL

Nov: PASSCHENDAELE

Dec: STROMBEKE/ PADERBEEKE/ SINT JULIEN

1918

Jan; LANGEMARK/ HOUTHULST FOREST

Feb: BOESINGHE/ ZOMMCORBLOOM

Mar: ditto but end of month moved to France SAVY BERLETTE(HABARCQ)

Apr: ADINFER WOOD

May: BAILLEULMONT/ BAILLEULVAL/ BLAIRVILLE

Jun: BOISLEUX-au-MONT/ COJEAUL VALLEY

Jul: BRETENCOURT/ HUMBERCOURT/ then returned to Belgium RENINGHELST

Aug: East of POPERINGHE then move on 8th to France AMIENS/LE QUESNAL/ VAUVILLERS/ VERMANDOVILLARS/ ABLAINCOURT 29th crossed the SOMME at HORGNY (near PERONNE).

Sept: PERONNE/GIZANCOURT/west of ATILLY/St QUENTIN WOOD/MONCHY-LA-GACHE.

Oct: JONCOURT/BRANCOURT/FRESNOY/ANDIGNY/MAZINGHIEN/CATILLON.

Nov: ST BENUS/SAMBRE-OISE CANAL/MASOILLES/MARBAIX/AVEONES/AVESENGUES (at the 11th November 1918).

Then on into Belgium Ardenne through to Namur and eventually to Germany Cologne

Sontonmate said the War Diary regularly had 'in the field' in the left margin where usually one would expect a place name or a trench map reference.

Apparently the Diary itself had within it, two A5 sized notebooks made by the Diary Officer, who would have carried these in his rucksack, pocket or pouch throughout the duration.

I'm much obliged, and hope this too, can assist the other two searchers for the 161st Yorkshire Brigade Artillery movements.

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