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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

131st Battery RFA


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My husband is trying to research his Grandfathers service history, this is what we have so far and wondered if anyone could help.

George William Alexander Wood - 59678 stationed at Ewshott Barracks, Hampshire in 1911 - Dvr 131st Battery RFA

We have his medal card and he was awarded the MM (London Gazette 11.2.1919) - 3rd DAC (Divisonal Ammunitions Column?) (Kennington) - his company was then listed as 40th Bde RFA

Could anyone tell us how we could find out where his company served during the war?


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On landing in a War Zone (France)on 19 Aug 1914 he was with 40 Brigade RFA,which was one of the several RFA units within 3 Division.When Army mobilisation commenced on 4 August 1914 his unit was at Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain. They went by rail to Southampton on the 17th where they embarked on one of the four ships which carried the Divisional Artillery to Le Havre. They were SATURNIA/MINNEAPOLIS/HONORIUS/COLLEEN BAWN. By some oversight unit War Diaries occasionally miss out the ship details,but these have a fine excuse as the initial Diaries were lost in a direct shell hit on a GS Wagon at Le Cateau on the 23rd August ! They moved by rail from Le Havre to Busigny/Aulnoye,arriving on the 20th. They manouvred into the area on the Binche-Mons road where,on the 23rd they brought their guns into action for the first time. You will see from the Medal Index Card that George was awarded the 1914 Star with clasp and roses,which acknowledged that he was "in at the start of hostilities" near Mons.

You can read this page from the Long Long Trail,at top left of this page, for the actions involving 3 Division:


Scroll down the page to Divisional Artillery and George's unit is shown as XL Brigade (Roman numerals 40).If you then want to read more about the actions listed you can scroll down the side of the page to France and Flanders,where actions are listed in chronological order.

The 40 Brigade RFA War Diary is at the National Archives,Kew,under WO95/1400 and covers from Mobilisation on 4 August 1914 forward. It is unfortunately not a digital Diary so can't yet be downloaded,you need to be there at Kew to read it. Getting a copy of it might be prohibitively expensive. It will show on a daily basis the unit's movements and actions.

It is probable that George was initially with the Ammunition Column for the Brigade. The Long Long Trail shows that Brigade ACs became Div ACs in 1916.See this page:


He was still in the same group but the locations may vary due to each Brigade (and sometimes a split Brigade) having it's own position to operate,but generally in a close-ish area.

A cursory look for a service record has not found one,this may be due to their wholesale loss in 1940,or it may be that George's papers are tucked away somewhere within another soldier's,it happens rather too frequently.

The other thing I will mention,as you refer to 131 Battery,and his pre-war service,it seems that this Battery served with the Poona Brigade of the Indian Army,so he is likely to have served overseas before 1914.

Good luck with your quest !


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The other thing the War Diary might have is a citation for his Military Medal. They aren't always in the Diary but just might be,worth a look to find out how he earned it. The MM records were lost at the same time as service records in 1940. The date of the London Gazette is often up to three months after the event which earned the award,so it would probably take him close to the end of the war.


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