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Remembered Today:

RGA.expansion


tony paley

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During the expansion of the RGA Heavies I have noticed that many gunners were drawn from coastal defence units. In some cases it seems that drafts of men from some of these led to certain batteries having a regional flavour eg. 76 siege formed from men who had served in the Essex and Suffolk RGA (Harwich) My interest is with the men who were drawn from Irish coastal defence units. I know that Cork (Fort Westmoreland) and Carrickfergus, were the HQ of the 2 Special Reserve units of the RGA.

Also the war diary of 43 coy RGA. in 1915, mentions over 500 men making up drafts for service in France or Flanders. This unit was based on Spike Island ( Cork Harbour) Were these men posted to various batteries or were there any units of the RGA that had a nucleous of Irish gunners.

Tony P

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The following Siege Batteries were formed in Ireland:-

20 Siege Battery Queenstown 15/1/1915

31 Siege Battery Queenstown 1/2/1915

I would think that these were no more Irish than any other RGA unit as RGA recruitment was centralised. I believe that certain RGA depots would supply new recruits for the coastal batteries in Ireland. Nationality was irrelevant. Likewise, if you joined in one of the Coastal forts in Ireland, I don't believe you were neccessarily trainedin Ireland but might be sent directly to a depot in England (probably Dover) before being sent to a Heavy or siege battery.

And after saying all that, this from "178 Siege Battery" history:-

"A smaller group of about 20 men were derived from another source. In the latter part of 1915 drafts of recruits from the depots at Fort Brockhurst, Yarmouth and Dover were sent to join the 49th Company RGA which formed part of the garrison on Bere Island, Bantry Bay................... (after training) a draft for Bexhill bade farewell" These eventually joined 178 Siege Battery at Kimg's Park, Edinburgh.

Mark

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Mark,

Many thanks for the information. I have the history of 178 Siege and did notice that particular point. The reason for my query was that I attended a recent talk given by an eminent WW1 historian. He made the point that there was no TF. in Ireland, which I was very well aware of, but then added a brief comment suggesting that there were no Artillery units raised in Ireland relating this to 'unrest', for want of a better word. I was aware of the two special reserve units that had originated in the militia, and the numerous coastal units of the RGA that clearly contained some local men. In addition Irishmen were perfectly free to enlist in the regular branches of the RA. My own immediate family contributed at least four Irishmen into the Royal Artillery, as your family did Mark. I just wanted to make sure of my facts for future reference.

Tony P

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Tony,

I'm sure,it is probable that some early batteries in the war must have had batches from the Cork RGA or Antrim RGA that served together. The only way might be to see if any particular batteries have a higher proportion of Cork or Antrim casualties than one would expect to be the norm.

An unscientific search of the 'A's and 'B's from A Great Sacrifice Cork Servicemen who died in the Great War gives:-

Ahern 42382 - 66 S.B.

Bolster, Capt - 31 S.B.

Buckley 3047 - 121 H.B.

Burke 170205 - 51 S.B.

A search on ancestry for service records with regiment as Cork RGA brings up 187 records, Antrim RGA brings up 390; Waterford RGA 25; Londonderry RGA 0 (?) Perhaps a check on those might give a single unit that many served with earlyin the war

Mark

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Mark,

thanks for you info. does help.

tony P

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