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Connections between 161st and 168th Brigades RFA


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Guest desperandum

Hello, and many thanks for operating such a fascinating and informative site.

On balance I think this is more a 'unit' question than a 'soldier question, so I hope this is in the right place. I am researching my grandfaher, a Huddersfield man, Herbert Jessop Starkey ( L32509 RFA), with a view to tracing the times and places where he fought. The absent voters list has him, in Spring 1919, as a Shoeing Smith in D168th Brig. RFA, but in 1918 as a member of the 161st Brig RFA. His medal cert. has a 'France' qualifying date of 28/12/15 which from other info. on here suggests that he might have been a driver with the 168th at that stage, given the date of their deployment? I assume, however, there would have been considerable fluidty between units, especially where specific skills were needed.

My questions are, firstly, in the apparent absence of service records, is there any way of finding more precise information, and secondly, did the 161st and the 168th follow similar paths throughout the war as part of the 32nd Div.

(P.S. I have the 'Artillery and Trench Mortar Memories: 32nd Division' on order!)

Any help would be gratefully received.

Malcolm McMillan

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Hello Malcolm, and welcome to the Forum!

As Chris said, both brigades were in the same division and in these circumstances it was not unusual for men to be posted across units, especially in the case of senior NCOs, or specialists like shoeing-smiths.

Ron

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I do not have any information on the 32nd Division, but I have some general information on the 168th Brigade. It started with eight hundred men being recruited for the 168th Brigade (Huddersfield), Royal Field Artillery, most of them during May 1915. The Brigade's four batteries were sent to four areas: A Battery, (Huddersfield Battery) based at Huddersfield; B. Battery, (Calder Valley Battery) based at Brighouse; C. Battery, (Holme Valley Battery) based at Holmfirth; D. Battery, (Colne Valley Battery) based at Slaithwaite.

I have a copy of a booklet dealing with the 168th Brigade’s wartime movements here: 168th Brigade.

And a summery of the raising and training of C. Battery of the Brigade in 1915 here:

C. Battery.

I would imagine the early local training will have been similar for all four Batteries.

Tony.

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  • 3 years later...

I am trying to find out more about my Grandad Serargent William Turgoose L12004 who enlisted on 6 April 1915. He was awarded the military medal -- I have an award certificate dated 20 Sept 1917 - so I expect it was on a date before then. When he joined he was in the 161st brigade but I have seen some references on papers that he was in the 168th when he got his MM. This will be a long shot but does anyone know if there is anything recorded in a citation or diary that would shed some light on what he did for his MM - also did the 161st become the 168th at some time in 1916.

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Hi Peter,

Welcome to the Forum. Your grandfather's record is on Ancestry and shows the detail you have given above. In addition it shows that he was in D Battery, 161 Bde which became B Battery, 164 Bde on May 26, 1916 then, on September 19, 1917, it became C Battery, 168 Bde. So your conclusion is correct as the same battery had 3 different designations. He was appointed Battery Quarter Master Sergeant with C/168 on March 17, 1918 but this is anti-dated as he appears to move on to D/157 the following day via C/159. He was discharged as BQMS from D/157 in January 1919.

There is a small chance of finding an MM Citation in the War Diary of one of these units - I've found a few with others. His papers say it was mentioned in the Supplement of the London Gazette on November 19, 1917, but there is no citation with these. The actual medal was not sent to him until September 1919.

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