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Movements Of 87 Bty RFA


Burtonian
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Dear All,

I am attempting to trace the WW1 service of my grandfather Gunner William George Miller, 68008 RFA. He enlisted Portsmouth 1911 and landed St Nazaire 16 Sept 1914 with 87 Bty, 12 Bde (H), attached to 6 Div. I traced the movements of the battery at National Archives in 12 Bde war diary to 10 Oct 1914, at which time the battery transferred to 38 Bde. I then traced the battery in 38 Bde diary to 18 April 1915, at which point the diary states: 'The 87th Battery now forming Corps Artillery left the brigade at midnight 17-18 April and became attached to 4th Division…'. So now I'm stuck. Anyone know what happened next?

Second question. In Sept 1917 his unit is known to be 'D' Bty, 64 Bde. Does anyone know a route by which 87 Bty, or part of it, could have metamorphosed into 'D' Bty, 64 Bde? I know that 87 Bty was broken up 12 May 1916, anyone got the precise details?

Finally, I believe I saw that Dick Flory is collecting entries for a database of RFA MM recipients. Well, my grandfather's elder brother Br Sgt Charles Edward Miller, 68280 RFA got one, London Gazette 14 Sep 1916, I don't yet know what for. His unit was 50 Bty, 34 Bde RFA.

All the best,

Nick Miller.

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Nick: As you state in your message 87th Bty, 12th Bde, RFA went to France with 6 Division. On 12 May 1916 12th Brigade was broken up: 87th Battery (H) less one section was sent to 2 Brigade, RFA in 6 Division and served with it for the rest of the war; the one section of 87th Battery and one section of 43rd Battery were joined to form D (H) Bty, 38th Brigade, RFA in 6 Division. On 4 Feb 17 38th Brigade, RFA, including D (H) Battery, RFA, became an Army Field Artillery Brigade, RFA.

The war diary for 38th AFA Brigade, RFA for the period Feb 1917 to Dece 1918, can be found in the National Archives (PRO) at W095/294.

For a list of all the divisions and corps that 38th AFA Bde, RFA served with and the dates you will need to consult the listing for that brigade in WO95/5494.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanx for the information on the MM to Sgt Miller.

Regards. Dick Flory

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Crikey, that was quick. Thanks for that information Dick. Incidentally, whilst trawling the web, I came across the following MM holders of 64 Bde RFA, may or may not be of interest :

- Sgt AL Elson, 13436, 'A' Bty, died 18 Jul 1917

- Cpl CE Reeder, L/163, 'C' Bty, died 18 Jul 1917

- Bdr S Gibbs, 87553, 'D' Bty, died 5 Aug 1917

- Dvr DW Lewis, 2827, 'D' Bty, died 28 Oct 1917

All the best,

Nick MIller.

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  • 5 months later...

There is a good little book by Col Weber (Lt Col Weber CO 2 brigade RFA) 'A field artillery group in battle' published by The Naval and Military Press ltd (www.naval-military-press.com. This covers 3 areas of 2brigade RFA activity 1917-1918. 87 battery was past of this brigade.

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Better Late than Never. Courtesy of 4 Regiment Royal Artillery web site.

http://www.army.mod.uk/4regtra/regimental_...bty_history.htm

Roop

"The 87 Field Battery once again distinguished itself during the Great War, taking part from beginning to end, although this time was not alone in this fact. the battery spent all of the war within the relatively small battlefields of France and Belgium, fighting in extremely poor conditions in the appalling trenches of Aisne, Somme, Ypres, Cambrai and the Hindenburg Line.

19th September the Battle of Aisne started, the battery fired though-out the day night for 48hrs carrying actions on the Aisne heights. A month later, on the 13th October the Battle of Amuentierres began and lasted till the 2nd of November.

In August of 1915 the Company fired at the Battle of Hooge. Then the battery moved to fight in the desperate battles for the Somme, firstly however, in May of 1916, 87th Battery,s Brigade changed from the XII to the II Brigade Royal Field Artillery. Unfortunately the Battery split again as it had done in Gibraltar prior to the Peninsular Campaign, one section was peeled off to form D Howitzer Battery after joining with another section from 43 Howitzer Battery.

The Battery then fought in the Battle of the Somme on the 15th September 1916 to the end on the 22nd April 1917. The names of the engagements should not be forgotten: Battle of Flers Courcelette, Battle of Morral, Capture of Lestoeufs, Battle of the Troustoy Ridges and the Fighting on Hill 70.

The Battle of Cambrai started on the 20th November and lasted to the 3rd December 1917, first tank attack that lasted for a full 24 hrs. Then on the 23rd till 28th we engaged in support of the Capture of Bourbu Wood, and continued to engage throughout the German Counter Attack from the 30th till the 3rd December.

In 1918, on the 21st and 22nd March we revisited the Somme as the tide of the war was turning. We helped win a crushing defeat on the Kaiser's army at St Queatin. From here we moved onto the Battle of the Lys, which started on the 13th April.

With the IX Corps we helped hit the enemy hard at Bailleul and at Kemmel Ridge, however, IX Corps suffered greatly and had to withdraw to allow XXII Corps to take the lead and the ridge finally fell on the 26th April. Battle of Scherpeutery which lasted the full day of the 29th April.

On the 18th September we moved to engage the enemy at Epehy, and then to the St Quentin canal on the 24th - 30th September. Finishing again at Cambrai, with a huge battle on the 8th - 9th October, ending what was to become known as the Battle of the Hindenburg Line, fighting for and with the Fourth Army, although now with the IX Corps.

87 Field Battery took part in the Final Advance in Picardy, notably at the Battle of the Selle, which lasted a week and a day, from the 17th - 25th October 1918, and saw the Great War coming to an appropriate end. The peace treaty being signed soon after on the 11th November at 11 a.m. much to the relief of a ragged and torn Europe.

The most notable events of the whole desperate war happened during the roughest of times, when the courage and bravery of the Battery Officers and men showed through. Sometimes in appalling conditions of mud, rain, shellfire and mustard gas attacks selfless acts of sacrifice occurred.

2nd Lieutenant Hayter died bravely in March 1918, along with a number of his comrades, here follows a brief account as published in the London Gazette, 18th November 1918:

"87th Battery The O.C. 2nd RFA Bde considers that perhaps to this Battery is the honour of having put up the finest achievement of all under his command. Every one of the nine officers on the strength of the battery became casualties, thus the battery command devolved on a Corporal Martin until the arrival of a former subaltern of the 87th - a Captain Gee - now with the 42nd Battery, some few hours later. (details) it became obvious that to hold on to the gun position was serving no useful military purpose, in the face of the Hun infantry attack. Every round of gun ammunition had been expended. Only during that morning had the gun ammunition been replenished, all the rifles ammunition had been expended by about midday and no weapon of offence left except the bayonet and the officers revolvers. 2nd Lieutenant Hayter met his death standing up, part of his right hand blown away by a shell splinter, wounded on the face, his revolver in his left hand firing at the advancing German infantry then in pistol range."

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Nick wrote:

rikey, that was quick. Thanks for that information Dick. Incidentally, whilst trawling the web, I came across the following MM holders of 64 Bde RFA, may or may not be of interest :

- Sgt AL Elson, 13436, 'A' Bty, died 18 Jul 1917

- Cpl CE Reeder, L/163, 'C' Bty, died 18 Jul 1917

- Bdr S Gibbs, 87553, 'D' Bty, died 5 Aug 1917

- Dvr DW Lewis, 2827, 'D' Bty, died 28 Oct 1917

Nick: Thank you very much. Regards. Dick

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Dick and all

Just found this thread while googling

I am trying to find the whereabouts of Gt Uncle Cpl Richard Ridge RFA when he won his MM

His MM index card says 87th Battery RFA and he was gazetted 23/2/1918

If anyone can give me a steer to the War Diary reference I can go and look it up but I am struggling to find the diary ref

All the best

Jane

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In case anyone is looking this up for me - I have just returned from a succesful trip to the PRO & found Richard actually mentioned in 2 Bde RFA War Diary

More later

Jane

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It wouls seem Gt Uncle Richard Ridge won his MM at the battle of Cambrai on 22nd November 1917 near Nine Wood

I have found a list of MM awarded Between 20th November & 6th December 1917

73391 Bdr J. Hickey 87th Battery - Telephone work 23rd

7892 Sadd QMS Parsons, H 87th Battery - Wagon Lines 22nd

85416 Cpl R Ridge 87th Battery - Wagon Lines 22nd

58165 Dvr K. Cash 87th Battery - Wagon Lines 22nd

71363 Gnr (a/Bdr) S Hollis 87th Battery - Telephone Work 30th

67996 Sgt G H Turner 87th Battery - Detached Section 30th

48765 Sgt R Arnold 53rd Battery - Detached Section 3rd

40307 Dvr W Evans 53rd Battery - Whole period - good work

24 Dvr F Wackett 53rd Battery - Whole period - good work

% 3420 Sgt J Orr 42nd Battery 30th-5th

11765 Bdr H Alexander 21st Battery 30th fetching gun

% bar awarded

The reproduction on my copy is a little fuzzy so it is possible I have misread the odd digit

Feeling chuffed

Jane

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  • 7 years later...

Hello,

I have just discovered this and other 87 Bty RFA topics on the forum. My name is Capt Chris Bulmer from 97 Bty (Lawson's Company) RA who during the Great War were known as 87 Bty RFA. In other words your Grandfather was a member of our Battery. We have our Battery History book which we have maintained since the 1800's and is currently being restored and digitised and which may well contain information pertaining to your Grandfather. We are also looking into setting up an association website in order to centralise our records, old boys and family groups, although this may take some time. In the short term however we would be happy to give you a copy of what we have and would be very interested in any photos, diarys, records or other information on him that you may hold. Equally if you live in the North Yorkshire are we would be happy to meet you to discuss him.

Regards

Chris Bulmer

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  • 1 year later...

It wouls seem Gt Uncle Richard Ridge won his MM at the battle of Cambrai on 22nd November 1917 near Nine Wood

I have found a list of MM awarded Between 20th November & 6th December 1917

73391 Bdr J. Hickey 87th Battery - Telephone work 23rd

<edit>

The reproduction on my copy is a little fuzzy so it is possible I have misread the odd digit

Feeling chuffed

Jane

<end quote>

Hi Jane

Thanks for this information

J Hickey (John James Patrick Hickey) was my Grandfather.

On the 17th April 1917 near "Maroc" (now a CWGC Cemetery) he was a Signaller with the 87th Bty. I'm not sure if this is the same as an Observer? The field Telephone lines had been cut by enemy fire and (against orders) he went out and repaired them. To test the line he made a call and as he raised the handset a sniper shot him. The bullet hit him in the wrist. If he had not been on the Telephone he would have been shot in the head. His CO didn't know what to do with him, so instead of Court-Martialling him, he was mentioned in Dispatches and received the MM as a result. I have a very fuzzy photocopy of the MID.

Thanks for sharing

Kindest regards.

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  • 4 years later...
On 25/05/2004 at 18:10, Burtonian said:

Dear All,

I am attempting to trace the WW1 service of my grandfather Gunner William George Miller, 68008 RFA. He enlisted Portsmouth 1911 and landed St Nazaire 16 Sept 1914 with 87 Bty, 12 Bde (H), attached to 6 Div. I traced the movements of the battery at National Archives in 12 Bde war diary to 10 Oct 1914, at which time the battery transferred to 38 Bde. I then traced the battery in 38 Bde diary to 18 April 1915, at which point the diary states: 'The 87th Battery now forming Corps Artillery left the brigade at midnight 17-18 April and became attached to 4th Division…'. So now I'm stuck. Anyone know what happened next?

Second question. In Sept 1917 his unit is known to be 'D' Bty, 64 Bde. Does anyone know a route by which 87 Bty, or part of it, could have metamorphosed into 'D' Bty, 64 Bde? I know that 87 Bty was broken up 12 May 1916, anyone got the precise details?

Finally, I believe I saw that Dick Flory is collecting entries for a database of RFA MM recipients. Well, my grandfather's elder brother Br Sgt Charles Edward Miller, 68280 RFA got one, London Gazette 14 Sep 1916, I don't yet know what for. His unit was 50 Bty, 34 Bde RFA.

All the best,

Nick Miller.

 

Edited by steeler22
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Hi Nick,

Wonder if you could contact me Private not sure how it works on here I have some info you might like to here

kind regards.

Wayne.

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