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Peter Taylor

I am researching an artilleryman who served with the 211 Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Territorial) and would be interested to contact persons with a similar interest.

Peter Taylor

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kevmc

I am researching an artilleryman who served with the 211 Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Territorial) and would be interested to contact persons with a similar interest.
Peter Taylor



Hello Peter

My Grandfather Henry was with 211th Brigade "D" Battery part of 42nd East Lancs Division. He was a Gunner and would have spent time in Egypt and Western Front until killed in May 1918.

I have gathered some information but as there appear to be no divisional diaries most of my knowledge comes from a book by Gibbons.

I am happy to provide any details I have collected.

Kevin

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Peter Taylor

Hello Kevin,

Thanks for the response.

My interest is in my father Arthur Taylor who ended up as a sergeant and survived the war.There are war diaries of the 211th Brigade covering the period March 1917 to March 1919 of which I have a copy,unfortunatly other ranks are seldom mentioned by name.

Have you read Jack Horsfall's book,The Long March? It covers the sister brigade,the 210th and in it the 211th is mentioned as they served alongside each other for the most part.

From my Dad's war stories I've managed to tie them in with the war diaries and Jack Horsfall's book.

I'd be delighted to share information with you.

Arthur Taylor was born 1880 in Manchester,he was much older than my mother. Being in the 211th Brigade I presume your grandfather was also from Manchester.I live in Glossop,do you live anywhere near to me?

Peter

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kevmc

Peter

Although I am from Manchester I now live in Dorset.

I will look out for "The Long March". (Have ordered a copy from Amazon).

I must admit that when looking for war diaries I concentrated my efforts on 42nd Division.

My grandfather lived in Ardwick and joined Territorials in August 1914 (presumably at Hyde Road RFA Centre). My father was only 2 years old and there was his brother Wilfred who had been born in the same month as Henry joined up. He was 34 years old when he died at Le Treport hospital in May 1918. I cannot confirm where he was when he received his fatal injuries but I know that the 211th arrived in the Bucquoy area (and Essarts) to help repel the German Spring Offensive on the 23rd March. The Artillery seems to have been initally placed too near the front and casualties were sustained more or less immediately. On 5th April gas and shell also took its toll during the early morning and I surmise that this was when he became a casualty and died from injuries on 10th May in hospital at Le Treport.

I have taken most of the detail of action from Gibbons book of "42nd East Lancs" but as he points out the Artillery was often loaned out so that they were fighting when the rest of the Division was in reserve.

Gibbons identifies the 42nd being involved at (the following is pasted from an Excel spreadsheet I made of action):

signed up Aug 1914

Service No. 2451 at time of sign-up joined RFA at Hyde Road, Belle Vue. I originally thought he joined Manchester 1/8th at Ardwick

706318 at time of death The original Territorial Force were renumbered in 1917

East Lancs Gunner 211th Brigade Originally named 2nd East Lancs Brigade RFA (Manchester Artillery) renamed 211th on 29th May 1916 RFA "D" Battery

The 42nd (East Lancashire) Division1914-1918

1914/1915 Sept to May Egypt incl Suez Canal defences The Manchester Artillery (2nd East Lancs Brigade) remained in England. Arrived in Alexandria on 14th June 1915. Arrived in Gallipoli July 1915 (some uncertainty).

1915/1916 May to Jan Cape Helles, Gallipoli *Not all Artillery Brigades involved. Some stayed in Egypt.(Gibbons record has no detail)

1916/1917 Jan to Feb Suez Canal defences and Sinai Peninsula Advance through Romani to El Arish

1917 Feb to Mch Arrive at Marseille then on to Abbeville area

8 Apl - 23 May in line at Epehy and Lempire

23 May - 8 July held line at Havrincourt and Trescault

8 July artillery remained in line at Havrincourt although 42nd East Lancs relieved by 58th Division

9 July - 22 Aug In Ytres sector

23 Aug - 1 Sep joined 5th Army. Infantry at Poperinghe for training but artillery entered the line in support of 15th Divn. near Potijze Chateau

1 Sep - 18 Sep In line at Ypres. The artillery remained in line until 29 SepIn the line at Coast Sector, Nieuport Bains

26 Sep - Nov artillery rejoined Divn at Nieuport and St Georges

1918 29 Nov - 15 Feb held line at Givenchy on La Bassee sector

15 Feb - 22 Mch training and in reserve at Busnes-Burbure-Fouquieres area and GHQ reserve from 1 Mch

23 Mch covered the German Offensive at Ervillers, Bucquoy, Gommecourt, Hebuterne**

on 10th May Henry died of wounds received and was buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport (grave VI H 8A)

*14.600 East Lancs troops arrived at Gallipoli. Went to front line on 12th May (major battles at Krithia).In the first 4 weeks 4184 killed/wounded/missing.On 6th August the battle of the Vineyard started and during 2 days 1564 men killed/wounded/missing.The 42nd Division was in the firing line for 3 months without relief.By departure 42nd Division had 395 Officers and 8152 other ranks killed/wounded/missing.

**Total strength of 42nd Division on 1st March 1918 - 773 Officers 15514 Other Ranks.Royal Artillery 211th Brigade RFA had 38 Officers 773 Other Ranks.On March 21st the German Offensive began.(see opp page 136 for photos of 211th Artillery HQ at Essarts Crucifix and Essarts Valley - occupied by Divisional Artillery -Henry would have been at these locations). There is mention of "D" Coy guns being knocked out when positioned 800yds behind the Front Line on 25th March. The Line was in retreat so would be near Gommiecourt and Ervillers-Behagnies Road.Reports show that at 5am on 5th April the neighbourhood of Essarts was heavily shelled, gas being freely used. Divisional Artillery suffered 50 casualties before 8am. Between March 24th and April 8th casualties totalled 126 Officers and 2839 Other Ranks for the 42nd Division.After a week in Pas-Henu-Couin-Vauchelles area the Division returned to the front line, on 15th April at Gommecourt and Hebuterne until they were relieved by 57th Division on May 7th.I surmise that Henry received injuries or was gassed (mustard gas was used at this time by the Germans) andhe would have been taken to hospital near the Coast and died. Le Treport is near the Coast and wasa base for a number of hospitals, notably 3rd and 16th General Hospitals.

My understanding is the you need a few more posts to the Forum before you can make use of the PM system. This would then allow more detailed exchange of information if you didn't want to put it in the open Forum.

Kevin

Unfortunately I see that all the formatting from Excel has been lost so this all looks very cluttered.

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Peter Taylor

Hello Kevin,

Thanks for that.

At the time of his call up my Arthur Taylor had been with the Territorial Force since 1911.He was a postman living in West Gorton and as such I imagine he would have been in the same Battery as your grandfather and they no doubt knew one another.

I have also read Gibbon's book.

On Friday I was at the Tameside Local Studies,Ashton-under-Lyne wadeing through the 8th Bat.Manchester Regiment War Diaries and will be going back tomorrow to finish it off.So far I've gleaned very little from this diary,and most references to artillery refer to incoming fire! Maybe I need to learn German and look up their diaries to learn about what we were throwing at them!

I want to try and look at war diaries of other units within the 42nd Division to see if I can find out any more.

I don't know if you've looked at The Regimental Warpath on the web? This gives details of the reorganisation of the Artillery Brigades within the 42nd Division when they were broken up and batteries moved around and renumbered.Which of course complicates the issue somewhat.

As yet I've been unable to locate Arthur's record of service.As he was wounded late 1918 and discharged medicaly unfit I'm hoping his records are with the Vetrans Agency.I've drawn a blank with Historical Records in Glasgow but as yet haven't heard from Vetrans Agency.

Regards

Peter

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kevmc

Peter

I note Arthur was in the Territorial Force prior to 1914 - I think Henry (my grandfather) may also have been in the Territorials. I say this because he does not appear on the 1911 Census, yet was living with his brother and his family near Stockport Road when he was married in 1912. The Marriage Certificate says he was a journeyman Calico Engraver so it crosses my mind that he was abroad (possibly in India) in 1911 and returned to England with no home of his own at the time of the marriage. The journeyman aspect of his job suggests no regular employment which would fit with my thinking. With a Territorial Force background he would become a candidate for RFA in August 1914, my understanding is that he would be called up from the Reserve. I was at a loss to know how he became a Gunner if he had just volunteered, but if he already had military training and was on Reserve then it becomes more likely that this was the reason that he joined the Artillery Unit.

I do not have any family details about Henry, sadly he was never mentioned by my Grandmother, who married again in 1922, nor my father. It was only when Ancestry and Find My Past were researched by me about 3 years ago that I was able to get some information about him.

How did you go about getting the War Diaries for 211th Brigade and is there a good worthwhile record kept? Having seen some Diaries with minimal information and no descriptions they were cold basic documents of little interest. Do you rate the 211th's Diaries?

Did your father tell you much about his time in the war? I wonder what his story was of the March and April 1918 defence against the German Offensive?

Kevin

Edit made in 2014 - I traced my grandfather on the 1911 Census. He was not in India but resident in rented accommodation near Stockport Road. The census form showed a mis-spelling of his surname. Presumably the landlady was asked for details rather than the tenants.

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Peter Taylor

Kevin,

Thanks for your latest.

Henry McGee would definitely been in the Territorial Force, the whole of the 42nd Division including the 211th Battery of the Royal Field Artillery was Territorial Force. I tried to find him in the 1911 census, and like you, failed. I see from the 1901 census that his father, Thomas, was an engraver for a calico printer as was his eldest son, John. Henry was obviously following in their footsteps designing the actual printing blocks, which would then be engraved for printing calico. It was quite a skilled job. I also note they were from Scotland. With the name McGee I thought they would be Irish. What was your fathers name?

Getting back to the 211th Brigade: How did you know Henry was with the D Battery? I'm hoping that it was an Ardwick Battery, if so that's the Battery Arthur would have been in. You say Henry lived on the Stockport Road. Arthur lived at 89 Brunswick Street which wasn't too far from Ardwick Green.

In Jack Horsfall's book, on page 151 it states that at Essarts on 26th March 1918 D Battery 211th Brigade 42nd Division lost all its guns to enemy fire just 1 mile N of 210's position. A couple of Arthur's war stories tie in with this. He told me that in one German attack they were hit quite badly and that the commanding officer was mortally wounded. I'm not sure if this was the Battery Commander or maybe the Brigade Commander, but I think it must have been the Battery Commander. My Dad described his wound as looking like a sheep split open in a butcher's shop. They pushed his guts back in and tied a blanket around him but he died shortly after. Dad always said he was sorry he never looked up his sons after the war to tell them about their father's death so presumably he was also a Manchester man. The other story, which I'm sure occured during the German Spring Offensive, was that they removed the sights and breechblocks from the guns, put an explosive charge down the barrels and got the hell out of the place. Arthur retreated on horse back and rode the horse until it dropped dead under him. He always had difficulty telling this tale and got very emotional about it.

Other war stories: He had all his teeth removed in Alexandria. He saw the Pyramids and theSphinx. He went to the place were Moses struck the rock to make water flow,presumbly Siniai. He served with Gurkhas but they gave problems in that they were sent out to snatch Turkish prisoners but always ended up killing them! He still had the utmost respect and admiration for them however. At one stage they had problems with Turkish prisoners of war in that there were so many of them it was difficult to control them.They resolved the situation by removing their belts,braces,and boot laces and used the boot laces to tie their thumbs together behind their backs! He had a Govt issue watch which he used to time the guns at Gallipoli. At one time they found a dead Turk floating in the sea and he was being eaten by shrimps -he never ate shrimps again. He befriended a New Zealander and planned to go to New Zealand after the war to work with his newfound friend on his farm. Unfortunately he was wounded towards the end of the war and was no longer able to ride a horse so had to abandon the idea. At one stage they had the Germans on the run, probably in 1917, and the UK press said we were reteating in panic. Not so said my Dad. Their retreat was so leisure ly that they had time to take up the railway lines as they went. He had no time for the Americans, ill-disciplined and poor soldiers as far as he was concerned. When he was wounded he was picked up by Canadians and it was some time before he found his way back to British lines. His first aid treatment consisted of hving iodine poured into his hip wound, sealing it with vasaline and bandaging it, it stung like hell he said.

I got 211th Brigade War Diaries from a trip I made to London and visited the National Archivies and got them copied.There are 90 odd pages of them. If you let me have your postal address I'll copy them and post them to you. In the same box at the archivies were the War Diaries for the 210th Brigade , the Howitzer Brigade and the Divisional Ammunition Column RFA. I realise now I should have looked at the Ammunition Column as it must give details of the position and deployment of the individual Batteries within the 42nd Division. I'm going to have to go back, I could kick myself.

I've finished looking through the 8th Bat Manchester Regt War Diaries at Tameside Local Studies today and made note of any reference to Artillery action but details are very brief but I may be able to tie something in..

Newspaper reports are my next project and now I can look out for Henry McGee as well as Arthur Taylor I feel they just had to have known one another.

Have you got Henry's medal cards at all,and his service number?

I'm going to sign off for now

Regards

Peter

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bill24chev

I have an interest in the Tf artillery brigades of the 42nd Division, my GF served in 3rd East Lancs brgd. RFA.

It may be of interest to you that according to the Long Long Trail 2nd East Lancs (CCXII or 211) brigade swapped numbers with the 3rd East Lancs (CCXIII) in 1916 and the original 2nd Brigade was broken up in 1917.

There is a reasonably good history of The Bolton Artillery (CCXIII/CCXII) Brigade available in Bolton L Library. This may be of use to you if the men you are researching moved to the Bolton Brigade (CCXII from 1916) when the Manchester Brigade was broken up in 1917.

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Peter Taylor

Bill,

Thank you for that. I was aware that Brigades were broken up with Batteries being moved around and redesignated,which has complicated my research. The Regimental Warpath has some details on these movements, with dates, which is a help.

I'm very interested in the book at Bolton Library.I do visit the Bolton Local Studies from time to time in persuit of by ancesters who hail from there.What is the title of this Book?

Regards,

Peter

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kevmc

I also note they were from Scotland. With the name McGee I thought they would be Irish. What was your fathers name?
Getting back to the 211th Brigade: How did you know Henry was with the D Battery? I'm hoping that it was an Ardwick Battery, if so that's the Battery Arthur would have been in. You say Henry lived on the Stockport Road. Arthur lived at 89 Brunswick Street which wasn't too far from Ardwick Green.

I got 211th Brigade War Diaries from a trip I made to London and visited the National Archivies and got them copied.There are 90 odd pages of them. If you let me have your postal address I'll copy them and post them to you.


Have you got Henry's medal cards at all,and his service number?




Peter

You are correct about the family name. My investigations show that Thomas' father was living with many similarly aged young Irishmen in the docklands area of Glasgow. Victims of the Irish famine. Henry was born in Glasgow but would have moved to Manchester when he was 2 years old. The family moved backwards and forwards between the two cities. The eldest son being born in Manchester where Thomas met his wife.

Part of the family on my mothers side were also looking for work in England following the famine in Ireland and were resident in Rock Row when there were riots in 1852. Rock Row was at one end of Mersey Square, Stockport and has long since been demolished.

My father's name was Edmund. He lived in Weymouth Street until getting married in 1936. Other addresses in that area were Cottenham Street (just parallel, on the City side, to Brunswick Street) occupied by McGee family 1901 Census. One grandmother lived in Weymouth Street (Chorlton-on-Medlock) and I recall walking along Brunswick Street in the late 40's early 50's to visit my other grandmother who lived in John Street (near the railway viaduct in Ardwick Green).

"D" battery appears in the entry for CWGC - attached is a copy also a copy of his medal card.

Thanks for the stories from your father they certainly give the human side to the story of Henry's war which has so far been dependant upon the Gibbons Book.

I have sent my address in a PM to you earlier today.

Kevin

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kevmc

Attachments that went wrong for my last post

post-46134-052793300 1282044340.jpg

post-46134-047283800 1282044498.jpg

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bill24chev

Dear Peter

the book on the Bolton Artillery is:-

Author Wingfield, A.J.

Title The Bolton Artillery : a history 1860-1975

Central Library Reference 358.1094272/WIN

its not held in he Military History section but in a small section on Local History. It can be found near the ref section at the back right ,from enteranc, of the central library.

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poortryon

Dear all,

I was delighted to find this thread, thank you all for your posts.

I too am following up the history of 211 Brigade RFA, due to my Grandfather's service. His name was David Henry Hirst, although the medal card etc, shows his name incorrectly as 'Hurst', who was from Bolton. I knew him, but he died before I had had much chance to speak with him much about his service. Through my mother, however, I have some interesting artifacts from his service, including, most usefully, one of his spurs. This is what started my detailed research.

On the leather part of the spur is imprinted: GNR D H HIRST; 1332; 18 BATTERY; 3 EAST LANCS RFA; 42 DIV. This was the 'Bolton Artillery'.

As already mentioned in this thread, 3rd East Lancs Bde became, 212 Bde and then 211 Bde for all its service in France/Belgium. 18 Battery became 'A' Battery 212, and remained so with the change to 211. His service number became 710520 (I have his 'dog tags' and medals) with the 1917 re-numbering which, if I've read it right, puts him squarely in the right place to remain with 211 Brigade.

I have the books mentioned here (Gibbon, Horsfall and Wingfield). I also have the book: 'History of the Bolton Artillery' by Palin Dobson. I also have full photos of the complete 3rd East Lancs, 212 and 211 Brigade diaries for the entire war. I am happy to share any of this info.

In my research I have learned some techniques which I offer here as 'tips'; forgive me if you know this already, but I have learned a lot this way and I hope they might be useful to you too. First: look at 210 Bde diary. In the 210 Bde diary, which I have looked at but not photographed, the Artillery Orders for the 42nd Div are included and so these are obviously relevant. I have copied those orders describing the action at Ypres, which my Grandad told me was the worst bit of the whole war (I think he was wounded there; I have the shrapnel balls they probably took out of him!). Interestingly, the 42nd Div doesn't have a battle honour for Ypres, and this became the second 'tip': look at other Divisions which 211 Bde supported. Artillery often stayed in the line supporting other divisions, and it is well worth researching these. At Ypres, for example, 211 Brigade supported 125 Brigade (42 Div) for an unsuccessful attack on Beck and Borry, after which the 42 Div infantry were withdrawn from the salient. The artillery then fought with 15th, 9th and 3rd Divisions during the Battles of the Menin Road and Polygon Wood. The diary for 210 Bde includes a lovely original trench map snippet with a diagram of 211 Brigade's (and others) barrage plan for the Menin Road (attached). This led to the third 'tip' (covered in other posts): look at the infantry brigade diaries. The artillery diaries are often poorly detailed 'bombarded x', postings, training etc. The infantry were trying to achieve goals with artillery support so, if you can match infantry activity with the time and date of 'bombarded x', then you have a detailed picture which is very interesting indeed. Check out TNA online archives; I've downloaded (for a fee, of course) quite a few diaries of units supported by 211 Brigade and found some useful info there. This led to the fourth 'tip': check out the 'Australian War Memorial'. This fantastic web site offers, for free, all the war diaries of all the Australian units, and their parent organisations. When, therefore, they were serving alongside 211 Brigade (Menin Road, Polygon Wood and others) more info can be found. This naturally led me back to the National Archive and final 'tip' five: check the diaries of superior organisations such as Division, Corps and Army. It often contains details of Brigade or even Battery actions that are absent from Brigade diaries.

Another unexpected resource was the 'Open Library', where I have downloaded unit histories of partner divisions, complete and for free. At the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, I also downloaded, for free, a number of histories of Units supported by 210 and 211 Bdes during the 1918 campaign since 42nd Div was with the NZ Div in the Fourth Corps. 211 Bde stayed in line often with them and so there is lots of useful info. One book in particular, 'New Zealand Artillery in the Field', names 211 Bde in numerous places.

Finally, the 'Mapping the Front' series of trench map DVDs from the Western Front Association are inexpensive and a mine of useful information that, for me at least, brings the stories of all the textual material described above to life.

I would be delighted to share any info I have with others who are researching this Unit. I hope that you may have found this helpful.

Kind regards

Robin

post-49897-027097200 1289669541.jpg

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Peter Taylor

Robin,

I'm very pleased to see your posting,I thought the topic had gone dead!

I'm in contact with Kevin now by other means and as you can see from his posts he also has an interest.

The New Zealand tips are of interest to me as I'd love to flesh out my artilleryman's story of the friendship he stuck up with a Kiwi somewhere along the line.

As you've perhaps seen I do have the War Diaries for 211 Bde 1917-1919. Prior to that it was 2nd East Lancashire Brigade and as yet I haven't to see if diaries exist for this period.

I did notice diaries for the ammunition column with the 211 diary but like a fool didn't even read it.

As my soldier was wounded in theory his record of service wouldn't have been with those distroyed in WW II,as yet I've been unable to locate them. They're not at TNA Kew or Vetrans Agency and I've drawn a blank with Glasgow-very frustrating!

I note your man was from Bolton. Are you from Bolton at all? I go there from time to time researching family members from there

Regards,

Peter

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poortryon

Hi Peter,

I've only just discovered the thread, so I'm pleased you're still watching it. I'm sorry to say that I am not a Bolton man, but my Grandfather and 'mother were both born and bred there. My mother was, in fact, born in India where my Grandparents moved after the war.

At Kew, I found easily the 3rd East Lancs Brigade, so I imagine the 2nd are there too, but I haven't looked (I'm in Herefordshire!). I have photos of the ammo column diaries up to Feb '17, if you'd like them?

I'm interested that since your soldier was wounded you think his record wouldn't be available. My Grandfather's service record is not on Ancestry.co.uk and I asumed that it was destroyed in the fire. I know that he was wounded, probably at Ypres, so is there a chance that his record still exists elsewhere? I was planning to do a trawl through the wounded lists and newspaper records from the British Library, but hadn't quite built up the courage! Any advice?

The New Zealand connection is almost certainly from 1918. IV Corps from the Third Army comprised 42nd Div and NZ Div, and others (5th, 37th), and the 42nd div artillery stayed often in the line supporting the NZ Div. The NZ divisional history (available from N&M Press and the NZETC I mentioned earlier) tells good details of the interaction between the NZ and 42nd Divisions. The records show that Lancashire and NZ gunners exchanged guns from time to time, so they may well have made friendships along the way.

I have been researching my family ties in Bolton, though I've never been there. Happy to talk further!

Kind regards

Robin

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Peter Taylor

Morning Robin,

Many thanks for your prompt reply. I was getting somewhat dispondent about ever getting any further with my research and you've given me new hope.

The book "History of Bolton Artillery" by Palin Dobson interests me presumably it covers the history in a different angle from Wingfield's book? I'm currently reading "A Subaltern's Odyssey" by R.B.Talbot Kelly who was an FOO with the RFA, not "our" Brigade but a very good first hand account on what it was all about.

As you've perhaps seen from my reply to Kevin I live in Glossop, Derbyshire which is within easy distance of Manchester,but was born in Droylsden which is close to Manchester. I belong to the Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society who stage an annual trip to London. On the last trip I looked at,and copied,the 211th Bde War Diaries and also went to Firepower Museum and Archives at Woolwich. The next trip is in July next year but I'm toying with the idea of going before hand as I feel time is running out (if I live to my fathers age I've got 8 years left!).

Does the Ammunition Column diary give details of the positions of individual batteries? I'd be intersted to read them.

I've only found the internet fairly recently and I'm still something of an idiot in finding my way around it but I'm astounded by what is out there.

I'm very keen to continue with our contact and I'm sure Kevin will want to join in.

Regards,

Peter

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poortryon

Hi Peter,

The Palin Dobson Book is very interesting and describes, albeit a bit briefly, the full service record of first and second line Bolton Artillery. It's expensive and quite hard to find, however, so good luck!

I'm in Herefordshire so, like you, my trips to the archive are few. I have got all diaries of 211 Brigade (and 212 and 1/3rd East Lancs) as well as the Div Ammo Column and bits of 210. The Ammo Column doesn't help a great deal, unfortunately, since it gives detailed position info only for the Ammo Column itself.

I'm only just starting down this road, but there is a great potential in looking at related formations' diaries. On the Western Front, Divisional Artillery often joined with other Divisions' artillery in ad-hoc formations such as a 'Left Group' etc. This Group could be managed by the CRA of a different Division, but contain orders that include 42 Div batteries. It's a long haul, but the info is there. A good place to start is the Australian War memorial site. For example, AWM4-13-41-15 is a diary of the 14th Australian Field Artillery Battery for Sep 17, but it contains copies of 42nd Division Artillery orders for a bombardment prior to an attack by 125 Inf Bde (42 Div). This site contains lots of snippets like that, but it takes a long time to run through! I'm still doing it! As for battery positions, they are mentioned disappointingly rarely, but there are clues. If the diary says 'took over positions from X Div', then looking at X Div's diary can provide the result. If the previous occupant was Australian, then you're lucky because the diaries are freely available, very detailed, and contain the relevant maps which have been removed from British War Diaries. If not Australian - TNA, I'm afraid.

Gallipoli is interesting. On the 'Mapping the Front' DVD was included a multi-image map of Helles drawn immediately after the evacuation by the Turks. It is extremely detailed, and shows battery dug-outs. By reading the diaries and other documents, I think I can make a pretty good deduction of which 'hole in the ground' applied to 18th Battery - my Grandad.

Regards

Robin

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Peter Taylor

Robin,

In your second reply to me you ask about service records of wounded soldiers. As I understand it if a soldier recieved a pension his records were not kept with the others but would be with the pension people- the Veterans Agency. My Arthur Taylor was in reciept of a pension, all of nine shillings and fourpence per week. However Veterans Agency say they don't have his records. He did carry on with the Territorials right up until 1930 and it has been suggested to me that they may have followed him to whatever TF unit he went to. I paid my £30 to Historical Records in Glasgow and drew a blank.

I'm now trying to trace his movements based mainly on the war stories I recall him telling me,and tying this in with war diaries and the like.

Kevin's man Henry McGee was killed and from his war grave details know that he was with 211th Bde D Battery. As my Arthur Taylor and Henry McGee both joined the TF at around the same time,were of a similar age and lived only a couple of streets away from one another in Manchester. It is posible that they belonged to the same battery and would have undoubtably know one another. Ardwick would be where they both joined up,perhaps D Bty was known as the Ardwick Battery? 8th Bat Manchester Regt was known as the Ardwick Battalion.

I have found your tips most informative and it has given me lots to work on,for which I thank you.

Regards,

Peter

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poortryon

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your info on wounded soldiers. I know my Grandad was demobilised in 1919 (I have the certificate) but, beyond that, I know nothing of pensions etc. I shall look further.

As for the 'Ardwick battery', I have to say that I have never heard of it. This is the info I know of battery designations in 1914:

1/1 E.Lancs Bde RFA: 4 (Blackburn), 5 (Church) and 6 (Burnley) Batteries

1/3 E.Lancs Bde RFA: 18 (my Grandad), 19 and 20 Batteries, all comprising the 'Bolton Artillery'.

It does not seem that the 1/2 E.Lancs Bde RFA sailed to Egypt at the start. Palin Dobson says: 'the 3rd East Lancashire Service Brigade was brought up to full war establishment by the transfer to them of the necessary number of men from the 2nd East Lancs. Brigade R.F.A. (the Manchester Artillery).'. The Manchester artillery comprised 15, 16 and 17 Batteries; I know of no official 'Ardwick' designation, but it's not impossible.

Later, in December 1916, the Manchester Artillery was broken up and distributed between the Bolton and Blackburn Artillery Brigades, finally designated 211 and 210 respectively. In 211 Brigade, the Manchester artillery became C Battery; in 210 Brigade, the Manchesters also became C Battery. In both (new) brigades, D Battery was the howitzers and were 'Cumberland' batteries (Carlisle and Workington). There is no certainty here, but the Manchester artillery batteries were subsumed into 210 and 211 and, if your father was from Manchester and in 211, the likely progression is that he joined 1/2 E.Lancs Brigade (Manchester Artillery), and then joined C Battery in 211, although he could easily have been transferred almost anywhere! Of course, he could also have joined 1/3 E.Lancs when they were augmented by members of 1/2 E.Lancs in 1914. A clue may be his 1917 service number, if you know it. It's not conclusive but, if you can identify people in a particular battery either side if his, it's a posible indicator.

FYI, please see the attached photo; your Dad almost certainly had one. This was my Grandfather's.

Regards

Robin

post-49897-000760200 1289775811.jpg

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Peter Taylor

Robin,

Thanks for that.

I don't think you are correct about 1/2 E.Lancs. Bde RFA not sailing to Egypt from the start. Gibson and Horsfall both seem to indicate that they did. Arthur's war stories tie in with this and,more convicingly,his medal index card has him entering the theatre of war in Egypt 20. 9 . 14.

One further point on trying to locate your grand father's records. A booklet I got from the Royal Artillery Museum at Woolwich gives the PIN 75 series at the TNA as a possible source for soldiers wounded in WWI. I've drawn a blank with this but it may be worth a try. Whilst I was at Woolwich the archivist told me,on looking at the documents I had, that the "Cause of Discharge",as shown on the Silver War Badge document was a dead give away that he was in reciept of a pension . In this case it was P.392 XVI, which refers to King's Regulations paragraph 392.XVI which reads:- "No longer fit for war sevice"

I'm not 100% sure that PIN75 is correct as PIN25 could perhaps also fit the bill. The index is on line. For such a fast number of men involved in the war PIN75 has remarkably few names.

If I can manage to work out how to send images by this means I'll let you have copies of the documents I do have,all four of them! Failing which if you want to let me have your address I could send them direct.

Both Kevin and I are keen to trace our respective artillerymen as far as possible. Although it would be more correct to say that Kevin is doing the work as I'm battling with the web at the moment. It could be that you already have a lot of the information that we're looking for.

Regards,

Peter

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poortryon

Hi Peter,

I don't think there's a mistake about 1/2 Bde. Wingfield lists the full Division complement on leaving UK (attached) and then only refers to 1st and 3rd in subsequent descriptions of action. When he gets to 1916, after Gallipoli, he writes: 'In January 1916 42 Division had returned ... to a camp at MENA near the Pyramids of Gizeh. 1/2 E. Lancs. Brigade RFA, the Manchester Artillery, had arrived from England and the Divisional Artillery was now reunited'. Palin Dobson confirms this with the sentence: 'The 1/2 Brigade (Manchester) had also rejoined the division, so for the first time the East Lancashire Divisional Artillery was complete'. Also, on P3, Gibbon says: '...on leaving England ... the following units - ... R.F.A. : The 1st (Blackburn) and the 3rd (Bolton) East Lancashire Brigades'. No mention of the Manchesters.

If Arthur's medal card shows him in theatre at that time, it would suggest that he was one of the augmentees mentioned by Palin Dobson who joined 1/3 from 1/2 to make up their strength. He could easily have moved back to 1/2 when they arrived in Egypt, or he could have stayed with 1/3, since they evolved into 211 Brigade.

Thanks for the info on the PINs. I kmow nothing of these, so any help would be gratefully received! My Grandfather obviously went back into action after his wound, since he was discharged under KR Para 392 xxviii, and the word used is 'Demobilisation' in 1919, discharged in March 1920. I have his 'wound stripe', but no associated document; is the Silver War Badge something different?

I'd be delighted to receive copies of what you have, thank you. I'll PM you my email address; you can then let me know what you'd like me to send you. I'm perfectly happy to send you a CD, if the volume of data is too large for email.

Regards

Robin

post-49897-067854400 1289943564.jpg

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lauravizard

I am also interested in 211th Bde RFA. I have Gunner Roland Warburton (L/Bombardier or Gunner from the CWGC), Gunner from his medal card. Roland was in "C" Battery and died 21st October 1918 - buried in St Aubert British Cemetery. His medal card says died of wounds and the SDGW says killed in action so I am unsure. There is no service record for him online, so I too would like to pad out his story. I have just ordered a copy of 42nd Division 1914-1918 by Gibbons.

I am quite confused by all the swapping about in 211th! Roland's medal card shows his orignal number of 1431 and the second number as 706592. I am wondering whether anybody with more experience than me might be able to please give me some pointers as to how he got to "C" Battery, perhaps via his numbers?

The medal card also says he entered Egypt 4th June 1915. A postcard to his sister was dated 5th October 1915 from Egypt and a card to his mother said simply "Arrived Boulogne 11 AM Saturday /8/18".

The attached photo shows Roland with his pals training at Portmaddoc. I am unsure of the date it was taken or who he was with?

Regards,

Laura

post-24123-069234100 1290512254.jpg

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kevmc

I am also interested in 211th Bde RFA. I have Gunner Roland Warburton (L/Bombardier or Gunner from the CWGC), Gunner from his medal card. Roland was in "C" Battery and died 21st October 1918 - buried in St Aubert British Cemetery. His medal card says died of wounds and the SDGW says killed in action so I am unsure. There is no service record for him online, so I too would like to pad out his story. I have just ordered a copy of 42nd Division 1914-1918 by Gibbons.

I am quite confused by all the swapping about in 211th! Roland's medal card shows his orignal number of 1431 and the second number as 706592. I am wondering whether anybody with more experience than me might be able to please give me some pointers as to how he got to "C" Battery, perhaps via his numbers?

The medal card also says he entered Egypt 4th June 1915. A postcard to his sister was dated 5th October 1915 from Egypt and a card to his mother said simply "Arrived Boulogne 11 AM Saturday /8/18".

The attached photo shows Roland with his pals training at Portmaddoc. I am unsure of the date it was taken or who he was with?

Regards,

Laura

Hello Laura

As you can see from the other posts on this topic the 211th was named on 17th April 1916, mainly by combining 2nd East Lancs (Manchester Artillery)/3rd East Lancs(Bolton Artillery)/4th East Lancs. It was mainly from the Bolton Artillery and parts of the other two. The Division arrived in Egypt on 25th Sep 1914 and at that time was named East Lancashire Territorial Division (renamed 42nd East Lancs Division on 25th May 1915). Gunner Warburton was added to the complement with his arrival in June 1915, arrivals of troups for the Division continued until end of August 1915.

He would have transferred to the Western Front in March 1917. The 211th Brigade was in action in the Somme from 8th April to 25th Aug 1917- saw action in Ypres and Nieuport and La Bassee from 26th Aug 1917 to 23rd March 1918. Arrived at Adinfer (Somme) on 24th March 1918 to help repel German Offensive Michael, fought through to end of war. Were in position at Hautmont (east of Cambrai) on 11th Nov 1918. St Aubert is between Cambrai and Hautmont. On 21st October the Battery was in action at Solesmes which is a village just east of St Aubert.

I would think his reference to being at Boulogne in Aug 1918 would suggest he had been on leave or was returning from injury absence.

Service Numbers were changed in 1917. You will find a lot of confusion about allocation of numbers and it is not as clearcut as you would expect to use a number to trace a soldiers history. There was a lot of duplication and allocation seemed rather haphazard on occasions.

The Gibbons book is quite good but remember it covers the whole 42nd East Lancs Division. The Artillery Brigades were often in action separately from the Division and were "loaned out" to other Divisions, so a copy of the War Diary would eventually be worth looking at although initially the Gibbons book should be OK.

Was Roland a family member? As you can see there was a strong link with Bolton for the Artillery at the beginning of the War and the changes in 1916 meant that a lot of Mancunians were in the Brigade. My grandfather was from Ardwick in Manchester as was Peter's father. (See earlier postings in this topic). Later recruits tended not to be from the same locality, I think the impact of deaths amongst Pals meant a definite move from having a lot of soldiers from the same community in the same Brigade.

In Gibbons book he is shown as Bombardier.

Kevin McGee

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lauravizard

Hello Laura

As you can see from the other posts on this topic the 211th was named on 17th April 1916, mainly by combining 2nd East Lancs (Manchester Artillery)/3rd East Lancs(Bolton Artillery)/4th East Lancs. It was mainly from the Bolton Artillery and parts of the other two. The Division arrived in Egypt on 25th Sep 1914 and at that time was named East Lancashire Territorial Division (renamed 42nd East Lancs Division on 25th May 1915). Gunner Warburton was added to the complement with his arrival in June 1915, arrivals of troups for the Division continued until end of August 1915.

He would have transferred to the Western Front in March 1917. The 211th Brigade was in action in the Somme from 8th April to 25th Aug 1917- saw action in Ypres and Nieuport and La Bassee from 26th Aug 1917 to 23rd March 1918. Arrived at Adinfer (Somme) on 24th March 1918 to help repel German Offensive Michael, fought through to end of war. Were in position at Hautmont (east of Cambrai) on 11th Nov 1918. St Aubert is between Cambrai and Hautmont. On 21st October the Battery was in action at Solesmes which is a village just east of St Aubert.

I would think his reference to being at Boulogne in Aug 1918 would suggest he had been on leave or was returning from injury absence.

Service Numbers were changed in 1917. You will find a lot of confusion about allocation of numbers and it is not as clearcut as you would expect to use a number to trace a soldiers history. There was a lot of duplication and allocation seemed rather haphazard on occasions.

The Gibbons book is quite good but remember it covers the whole 42nd East Lancs Division. The Artillery Brigades were often in action separately from the Division and were "loaned out" to other Divisions, so a copy of the War Diary would eventually be worth looking at although initially the Gibbons book should be OK.

Was Roland a family member? As you can see there was a strong link with Bolton for the Artillery at the beginning of the War and the changes in 1916 meant that a lot of Mancunians were in the Brigade. My grandfather was from Ardwick in Manchester as was Peter's father. (See earlier postings in this topic). Later recruits tended not to be from the same locality, I think the impact of deaths amongst Pals meant a definite move from having a lot of soldiers from the same community in the same Brigade.

In Gibbons book he is shown as Bombardier.

Kevin McGee

Hello Kevin,

Many thanks for your speedy reply and all the additional information. Very interesting to see that his name is listed at all in the book, I was not expecting that!

And yes, Roland was my Great Great Uncle and was from Unsworth, Bury and the SDGW says that he enlisted in Manchester. Having seen the earlier posts above I see your point about the artillery being loaned out - a number of 210 and 211 Bde are buried at Bienvillers Military Cemetery along with a lot of 125 Bde.

Thanks again for all the hints,

Regards,

Laura

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poortryon

Hi Laura,

Welcome to our little group!

I'd like to add a small detail to Kevin's post in that, when the 1/2nd East Lancs Brigade (Manchester Artillery) was re-numbered it became 211th Brigade while the 1/3rd East Lancs Brigade (Bolton Artillery) became 212th Brigade. Later, 211 Brigade (the Manchesters) was broken up, since the batteries were changed from 4 to 6-gun batteries. At this time, 212th Brigade became, confusingly, 211th Brigade and 212th ceased to exist. The Manchesters were divided between the two remaining brigades, 210 and 211, becoming 'C' Battery in each. So it remained till the end of the war.

The Gibbon book is excellent for an overview of what the 42nd Division was doing and this is an important step in understanding what the artillery was doing. The Field Artillery existed to support the infantry and, since 'artillery conquers and infantry occupies', they frequently didn't rest when the infantry were withdrawn to reserve/rest/train/recuperate, being instead loaned to other Divisions. However, your Great Great Uncle lies with his comrades; 125 Bde was one of 42nd Div infantry brigades, along with 126 and 127. To avoid confusion, it's often better to state 211 Bde RFA, and 125 Inf Bde. In October 1918, 211 were fighting with 42nd Div infantry.

More specialised books exist that describe 211 Brigade's history:

'History of the Bolton Artillery' by B Palin Dobson (1929) and 'The Bolton Artillery' by A J Wingfield (1976), but neither has been reprinted, and they are hard to find and expensive. The third book of interest is 'the Long, Long March' by Jack Horsfall. It is a very personal memoir from 210 Bde RFA but, since 210 and 211 constituted the 42nd Divisional artillery, they were usually together so it's a great book to give you a feel of what the experience was like.

Finally, Kevin is right: there is no real alternative to the War Diaries for real detail, but once you start you'll never finish, such is the level of detail available if you look at those for related Units as well as that for 211! I attach an extract from 211 diary showing the 21st - 23rd October 1918. Interestingly, C Battery 211 led the crossing of the Selle. The infantry attack re-commenced on 23rd, conducted by 125 Inf Bde, and it's nice to see that the attack was successful. The brigade suffered 8 killed in October.

My Grandfather was from Bolton, and joined 18th Battery, 1/3rd East Lancs and moved into 'A' Battery 211th Brigade.

Kind regards

Robin

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