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Remembered Today:

"Q" Battery - Royal Artillery ?


PGL
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Probably a silly question this but, has anyone ever come across "Q" Battery, Royal Artillery?

Apparently, four members of this battery won the Victoria Cross. A local woman I met today told me that her Grandfather served in this unit (he wasn't one of the V.C. winners though). His name was Hugh Smillie (possibly also spelt Smylie or Smiley) and he was possibly wounded on three seperate occasions.

Can any of the big gun experts shed any light? Any information would, as always, be very gratefully received.

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"Q" Battery was Royal Horse Artillery The VC Action was during The Anglo Boer War

See This Link!!! Click Here

This Link To LLT Refers To RHA IN WW1 Click Here!!

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Hi

Hugh Smillie L/Cpl 12161 6th SCB RGA, Cpl SB9519 RGA,S/Sgt 284519 RGA. MIC on Ancestry, if this was him then he obviously wasn't in Q Battery

Regards Barry

PS EDIT should read "6SB "

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Barry,

With an interest primarily in the Royal Irish Rifles, I admit to knowing very, very little about the Artillery. I know RGA was Royal Garrison Artillery and not RHA or RFA. That's the right man you've got (12161, etc) so can you explain why he couldn't have been in "Q" Battery? If the VC action was during the Anglo-Boer war, couldn't he have been transferred from the RHA to the RGA before the Great War? Or was that not "the done thing". Please bear in mind that I'm essentially completely ignorant of the different "branches" of the Artillery, so you might have to bear with me on this one. :blush:

Thanks to bmac, HarryBettsMCDCM and, of course to you Barry (The Inspector) for the information so far.

Anyone know what SCB RGA was?

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Hi again

Apologies, Ancestry has his MIC as 6SB RCA on the transcription, looked at it closely and should be RGA. Typoed the answer.!! I don't know how I arrived at the obviously bit but obviously he could have. SB ?? Siege Battery? Anyway if it is the right man then I got something right!!!!

Regards Barry

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Certainly no need to apologise Barry! Your help is very much appreciated - every day's a school day as far as I'm concerned. :)

I don't know for sure if he was in "Q" Battery, it might only be a family legend. I'm only suggesting a transfer from "Horse" to "Garrison" as a possibility, I don't know for sure.

6th Siege battery would make sense but looking at the Long, Long Trail, it doesn't mention 6th Siege Battery as landing in France (it "skips" from the 5th to the 8th). Hugh Smillie's MIC records his entry in theatre as 25th September 1914 so is it possible that this was also the date the 6th SB landed in France? If indeed they did go to France.

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His 12161 number would indicate a pre war RGA regular probably enlisting around August/September 1902. From his MIC one can see he was an original member of the 6th Siege Battery. Whether he transferred from the RHA at this time would be difficult to prove without his records. He must have been discharged (time expired) and re-enlisted into the Special Reserve, probably mid 1916, to be given his 9519 number. He was obviouly renumbered again when they did all the TFs and S/Rs renumbering in early 1917.

There was another series of numbers runnning pre 1899 which may give an enlistment for approx. 1896. His date of birth may give some indication of the earliest he could have enlisted.

There was a "Q" AA Battery, and quite possibly a "Q" Battery at one of the Siege Artillery Reserve Brigades at the end of the war.

Kevin

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Q/HQ (Sanna's Post) Bty is their current title and the Army website does explain the title changes that they have gone through although not in great depth and not at all during WW1 whilst it appears to me they may not have served as Q Bty during that period. I do have somewhere what all current serving Batteries were during WW1 and I will try to locate it.

Perhaps the Battery holds some record of this period.

Regards

Paul

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Sorry to cut in on this rather interesting thread, but it might have solved a riddle for me. During my own research into my great uncle, Gunner J. W. Maltby 651943 who died of wounds on 1st May 1918, something puzzled me. He served through 1917 with the 383rd Battery, 179th Brigade, RFA. In early 1918 he was transferred to "B" Battery of the 180th Brigade which I assumed was RFA, as on his headstone it states RFA. In SDGW though, he is listed as Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery. I could`nt figure this out. Was "B" Battery the RHA connection here ?. Also, being rather ignorant on Artillery matters, what was the difference, as the RFA guns used horse teams too did`nt they ?. If any of the experts can advise that would be great. Thanks.

Ps: Sorry PGL, hope you don`t mind me cutting in.

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Thanks for all the replies, there's certainly a great depth to the knowledge of forum members which never ceases to amaze me. The information and "decoding" of his service numbers is particularly interesting.

Many thanks to everyone who's contributed. :)

Bikertom, cut away. If this thread helps any of your own research, I'm only too pleased for you. :)

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  • 1 month later...
Guest davestraw1

If you Gooogle

Q Battery Royal Horse Artillary or Korn Spruit,Sennas Point or The Times 27th June 1900

you will get more info about Q Battery and the VC`s.

My gran, when I was a boy in the 40`s/50`s, used to say that her brother, my great uncle Tom Collins, born 1879, "nearly had a VC". She told me that the army decided to give 4 VC`s and they drew the names from a hat. I always thought that this was a tall story until 4 years ago. I then found out that it was true. Although they considered all the members of Q Battery equally deserving they gave 1 to an officer, 1 to a NCO, 1 to a Driver and 1 to a Gunner. The "winners" except for the Officers , were decided by drawing names from a hat.

Thomas Collins, who became a Farrier Sargeant, was a Chelsea Pentioner during the late 1940`s and 50`s.

I hope this helps a bit.

David.

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He served through 1917 with the 383rd Battery, 179th Brigade, RFA. In early 1918 he was transferred to "B" Battery of the 180th Brigade which I assumed was RFA, as on his headstone it states RFA. In SDGW though, he is listed as Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery. I could`nt figure this out. Was "B" Battery the RHA connection here ?. Also, being rather ignorant on Artillery matters, what was the difference, as the RFA guns used horse teams too did`nt they ?. If any of the experts can advise that would be great. Thanks.

Hello bikertom

It's complicated!

Pre-1914, RHA batteries were lettered, and RFA batteries were numbered.

From early 1915, the New Army RFA brigades had batteries lettered A, B, C and D instead of continuing the pre-war numbered sequence. 180 Bde was such a brigade and it served in 16th Division from Jan 1916 until the end of the war.

179 was another, which originally served with 39th Division until it was broken up in Nov 1916. A new 179 Bde was then formed in the UK with 383, 462, 463 and 464 Batteries: it became an Army Field Artillery Brigade in France in May 1917. These brigades were not permanently part of any division but formed a general artillery pool to assist divisions when necessary.

Some RHA batteries, including both B and Q, were converted to 18-pounder guns and served alongside the RFA as part of infantry divisional artilleries.

Yes, both RHA and RFA used horse-drawn guns. The main difference was that in the RHA the gun detachments had their own horses, whereas in the RFA they rode on the limbers and wagons.

The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery were technically one "corps" for personnel purposes so many RHA men may be shown as RFA on their medal cards. Or, they may have been transferred from an RHA battery into an RFA one. Since your man served in 383 Bty he must have been in the RFA then, but he may have been in another RHA battery previously. B Bty 180 Bde was also an RFA battery and was not the same as "B" Battery RHA.

I told you it was complicated!

Ron

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hello bikertom

It's complicated!

Pre-1914, RHA batteries were lettered, and RFA batteries were numbered.

From early 1915, the New Army RFA brigades had batteries lettered A, B, C and D instead of continuing the pre-war numbered sequence. 180 Bde was such a brigade and it served in 16th Division from Jan 1916 until the end of the war.

179 was another, which originally served with 39th Division until it was broken up in Nov 1916. A new 179 Bde was then formed in the UK with 383, 462, 463 and 464 Batteries: it became an Army Field Artillery Brigade in France in May 1917. These brigades were not permanently part of any division but formed a general artillery pool to assist divisions when necessary.

Some RHA batteries, including both B and Q, were converted to 18-pounder guns and served alongside the RFA as part of infantry divisional artilleries.

Yes, both RHA and RFA used horse-drawn guns. The main difference was that in the RHA the gun detachments had their own horses, whereas in the RFA they rode on the limbers and wagons.

The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery were technically one "corps" for personnel purposes so many RHA men may be shown as RFA on their medal cards. Or, they may have been transferred from an RHA battery into an RFA one. Since your man served in 383 Bty he must have been in the RFA then, but he may have been in another RHA battery previously. B Bty 180 Bde was also an RFA battery and was not the same as "B" Battery RHA.

I told you it was complicated!

Ron

Hi Ron,

My G F WAS IN "Q" Battery RFA from 1917 and it was an anti aircrft battery.

So I am confused a bit

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Hi All,

I have read all the comments with interest.On my GF records it states that he was in "Q" battery as a gunlayer and it was a Anti aircraft battery. His Name was Thomas Walsh 30315. I never thought he was in The RHA,I was lead to believe he was in the RGA

Maybe Iam confused aswell

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Hello Don Don

Yes, there was a Q Battery RGA (not RFA) which was an AA battery.

As I told bikertom, it's complicated!

Ron

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  • 2 years later...
Guest MIKE CHURCH

Was this person my mother? My Great Grandfather Hugh Smilie served in the RHA in India,The Boer War and the Great War,and she has been doing a lot of research into his service.I believe he was either a Staff Sgt or Sgt Major farrier on completion of service and had 3 wound stripes on the photograph she has of him.He was from Ballymena district Co.Antrim.

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According to the official casualty lists no one by the name Smilie or Smylie was wounded while serving with the Royal Artillery during the Boer War. There also does not appear to be an 'H Smilie' or 'Smylie' on the Queen's South African War Medal roll for Q Battery, RHA. Dick Flory

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  • 6 months later...
  • 1 year later...

To be pedantic, all RHA batteries were and are lettered, some other batteries were and are also lettered, during WW1 many RFA brigades had batteries lettered A, B, C and D instead of being uniquely numbered. In the 1930s, for tactical and fire discipline purposes, field artillery (incl RHA) batteries had a default lettering system P, Q, R & S in each brigade/regiment in addition to the unique letter/number. This is still the practice today.

Q Bty RHA was awarded the honour title 'Sanna's Post', which recognises an action in the Boer War.

The battery became RA in the 1920s. Today it is a UAS (unmanned air system - AKA 'drone') battery and retains the 'Sanna's Post' honour title.

In WW1 AA was a new role. There were 20 lettered batteries on the W Front and a handful in other theatres, they were administrative not tactical sub-units, the guns operated in independent sections of two guns, these sections were uniquely numbered. In Nov 1918 Q Bty was one of 5 AA btys assigned to 4th Army, its sections were 15, 67, 71, 109 & 236.

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Sorry I did not pick up on this thread back in '09, but I finished my Gunner service with Q Bty and they have a great 'history room', with quite a bit of source material held. Anyone researching Q Bty in the future could contact the Bty (writing probably best in first instance), who are part of 5 Regt RA at Marne Barracks, as I know one Sergeant was always tasked with looking after the 'history room' and its collection.

Apologies again that I did not pick this up in '09 PGL

Jim

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  • 2 months later...
Guest GrahamLeBas

Hi

I picked up on this yesterday whilst researching my old unit "C Bty RHA" i served with them in the eighties.
Whilst dong my research i came across "Q Bty RHA" which my Granddad was a member of. I have tried to make some sense of the information contained in the paperwork, some of it does now i have read prior posts, I am trying to attached/copy/paste these documents into this notice so if any one knows how to do this i would grateful if you could let me know.

Regards.

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