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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Royal Naval Seige Guns at Coxyde


mike withers

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My Grandfather, Sgt. John Henry Withers served aboard H.M.S. Warrior at the Battle of Jutland. After this event he was told of a vacancy in France with the Naval Seige Guns. From his diary I have established that he served at Lewin Camp and was part of the guncrew at the Eastney Battery. The diary is very detailed and covers the period from 3 August 1916 to 3 July 1917 and I'd willingly share the wealth of information contained within. Sadly, he was killed on 28 Dec 1917 and I'd be grateful if anyone has information relating to this time.

Mike Withers.

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Mike,

My avatar is the stamp of the commanding officer of the RN Siege Guns, Captain Henry Halahan RN, and I have been researching the unit off and on for the last 12 years. When you have accumulated 5 posts and acquired full messaging rights, please send me a PM with your e-mail address and we can start to compare notes and exchange information.

Mick

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Thanks Mick. I look forward to that very much. There are a number of references to Commander Halahan's camp in the diary. One of the earliest relates to Christmas eve 1916 when after lunch, best part of the four gun crews went to Com. H's camp for a game of football, the result being one goal each.

Mike.

Mike,

My avatar is the stamp of the commanding officer of the RN Siege Guns, Captain Henry Halahan RN, and I have been researching the unit off and on for the last 12 years. When you have accumulated 5 posts and acquired full messaging rights, please send me a PM with your e-mail address and we can start to compare notes and exchange information.

Mick

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Mike,

Eastney was commanded by Lt Baseby RMA, so I presume your grandfather was likewise RMA. Lewin Camp was inhabited by the crews of Eastney and Barrington batteries (the two batteries closest to the front line), and I have a copy of a photo of a football team fielded by the naval gun crew of M25 (a so-called 'baby monitor' whose 9.2" gun was dismounted and transferred to the RNSG, complete with its gun team), with a board inscribed "M25, Lewin Camp 1915-16". I was given the photo by another forum member several years ago. I am ashamed to say that I've forgotten his name, but his grandfather, who appeared in the photo, was called Luck.

Mick

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Lt.Baseby is described as 'our new Lieutenant Baseby' in March 1917 so I presume he arrived at the camp around that time. He would seem to have been a bit of a stickler in that he caused some discontent in the crew in the way he treated them, working them hard with very little thought for meals or time to themsleves, and my grandfather John Henry (RMA. 10829) thought there would be trouble. He had what he described as 'a confidential chat' with Lt.Baseby on the morning of the 16 March and told him the real grievance of the crew. The C.O. was in England at the time and the routine of of working half-crews had been altered to working from 8am till 7pm and after this chat they were back into the routine again. But it seems the situation wasn't entriely resolved as in May 1917, the Sergeant-Major and Corporal John Henry (as he was at the time) saw the C.O. and made their complaints in regards to the way they were being treated by Lt.Baseby and the C.O. approved of their complaints. There are however later references to ongoing discontent concerning Lt.Baseby.

I think the 1915-16 football team photo might be bit early as far as John Henry's concerned, but I'd like to see it at some point if I may. The name Luck doesn't ring any bells I'm afraid. There is a reference to a photo having been taken by one of the officers of the gun crew including John Henry at the muzzle of the gun. What I would give to see that one!

I'm lucky enough to have one photo of John Henry and his brother Thomas (R.N.V.R) taken whilst on leave which I treasure.

Interesting to hear that Eastney and Barrington were the closest batteries to the front line. Might there be a plan layout of the area at the time available somewhere?

Mike.

Mike,

Eastney was commanded by Lt Baseby RMA, so I presume your grandfather was likewise RMA. Lewin Camp was inhabited by the crews of Eastney and Barrington batteries (the two batteries closest to the front line), and I have a copy of a photo of a football team fielded by the naval gun crew of M25 (a so-called 'baby monitor' whose 9.2" gun was dismounted and transferred to the RNSG, complete with its gun team), with a board inscribed "M25, Lewin Camp 1915-16". I was given the photo by another forum member several years ago. I am ashamed to say that I've forgotten his name, but his grandfather, who appeared in the photo, was called Luck.

Mick

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Mick.

I was wrong regarding your forum member's grandfather called Luck. If he was A.B.Luck and he came from the Channel Islands, then I do know of him and what happened to him in 1917. With respect to your other member, I should pass you the information when I can privately.

Mike.

Mike,

Eastney was commanded by Lt Baseby RMA, so I presume your grandfather was likewise RMA. Lewin Camp was inhabited by the crews of Eastney and Barrington batteries (the two batteries closest to the front line), and I have a copy of a photo of a football team fielded by the naval gun crew of M25 (a so-called 'baby monitor' whose 9.2" gun was dismounted and transferred to the RNSG, complete with its gun team), with a board inscribed "M25, Lewin Camp 1915-16". I was given the photo by another forum member several years ago. I am ashamed to say that I've forgotten his name, but his grandfather, who appeared in the photo, was called Luck.

Mick

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Mick.

I was wrong regarding your forum member's grandfather called Luck. If he was A.B.Luck and he came from the Channel Islands, then I do know of him and what happened to him in 1917. With respect to your other member, I should pass you the information when I can privately.

Mike.

Mike,

Now that you've made 5 posts, you can use the Personal Message system. Send me a PM with your e-mail address and we'll go from there. Regarding our other Pal's grandfather, I've now found a copy of the citation for the Croix de Guerre awarded to him by the French in February 1918, which says he was Able Seaman Cornelius Luck, that his 'specialisation' was making smokescreens, which involved him in being out in the open when his battery was under fire, and that he was gravely wounded

in April 1917.

Mick

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