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Remembered Today:

3 inch Stokes Mortar crew


RobL
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Seeming as i'm acquiring one, i'm trying to find out more information about the 3 inch Stokes Mortar and its crews - was there any difference in the webbing worn by Stokes Trench Mortar crew as opposed to the standard infantry 08/14 pattern webbing? Also, what insignia would they have worn, especially in regards to shoulder titles? It is my understanding that the Trench Mortar batteries were numbered after the Brigade they were in - so 110th Brigade would have had 110 Trench Mortar Battery - would they have worn the shoulder titles of the Regiment they were attached to? 110th Brigade for most of the war solely consisted of Leicestershire Regiment Battalions, so would have thought the mortar crews would wear Leicester shoulder titles, however of course not all brigades were made up of one Regiment's battalions.

Can anyone reccomend any books related to the 3 inch Stokes Mortar - especially any personal accounts by those that crewed them?

Cheers, Rob

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  • 1 month later...

Rob,

Whilst you await a more expert analysis I have read a short appendix re mortars in the 'History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery '.Western Front. Briefly there were no Mortars in 1914. As they developed they were considered a 'Trench Weapon' and it states 'ad hoc' arrangements existed until around 1915. Suggestions were made that they should be manned by Infantry or/and Sappers. In August 1915 batteries were alloted on a Divisional basis and a Trench Mortar School was established in France. Detachments were made up as 50% Infantry and 50% Artillerymen. Apparently the General Staff could not decide at this stage whether it was an Infantry or Artillery weapon. 2nd Army said Infantry 1st Army,Artillery. In December 1915 Trench Mortars were classified as light,medium and heavy. Infantry to man light and medium Artillery the heavy. Early 1916 saw the introduction of the Stokes Mortar,which became the main Infantry weapon. There was some consideration given to the formation of a Trench Mortar Corps, on the lines of the MGC. but this was rejected. So it appears to me that the Stokes was manned by men drawn from Infantry Units within the Division. My guess would be that as they were alloted as 2 x 4 batteries per Brigade and would be drawn from the Battalions in the Brigade, in the case of a mixed Brigade the personnel would wear the badges of their parent Regiment. Incidentally 240mm mortars and in 1917 6" Newton Mortars were manned by Gunners of the RA. Hope this helps. Happy New Year Tony P

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I understand gunners i.e members of the RFA, wore a bomb/grenade badge on their arms. I may be able to post a picture.

Old Tom

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Rob,

The LTM crews were Infantry drawn from the Brigade Battalions and would have retained theire Infantry Titles and worn the LTM badge.

I would recommend that you get a copy of ss189 Light Trench Mortar Training-June 1918 and SS183 Handbook for the Stokes Mortar 3-in Mark I, 1916. Copies of these can be ordered through the IWM.

Per SS189 The 5 man Crew were equipped per Infantry Fighting order minus ammo pouches and Entrenching tools. All numbers carry SMLE except the No.2. Ammo is carried in a SAA bandoleer. No. 2 carries two Mills Bombs and all carry shovels. This also descibes how the mortar was carried.

There are also usually 10 Ammo carriers that carried ~ 4 rounds in two sandbags over the shoulders (two each sandbag).

I'm sure in actual practice these instructions were implimented (or not) in a multitude of ways.

Joe Sweeney

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Rob.. attached.. the 3.inch Stokes Mortar Crew Sleeve Badge....

Seph

post-18081-1262370226.jpg

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