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Staffsyeoman

521 (Household) Siege Battery RGA

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Staffsyeoman

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I am trying to assist a friend with no military history background decode some photographs of his grandfather (I will deal with him in a separate thread in Soldiers). His medal index card lists among his units Royal Garrison Artillery. In the album is a Christmas card from the above battery. It has the usual gunner badge at top; at bottom left it carries an impression of the cap badge of the Royal Horse Guards, at bottom right the cap badge of the (1st & 2nd) Life Guards.

What I do know:

1. Formed Nov 1917; based at Borden. Did not go overseas until May 1918 - minus guns.

2. Once in France it was equipped with the BL 6 inch gun Mk XIX

3. On 24 June 1918 it suffered several casualties due to gas

4. On 11 November 1918 it is listed under 'First Army Troops'

And that's it. I cannot track a war diary in WO95; I cannot see any references anywhere about members of the RHG or 1&2 LG being transferred to the RGA. (I know that some of both went to form the Guards Machine Gun Regiment in 1918, but that's it).

If anyone knows better I would much appreciate direction or assistance.

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kevinrowlinson

As a transfer from either the Royal Horse Guards or the Life Guards his number should fall between 197700 to just over 197910. It is possible he may have been posted first to one of the other Household Batteries, either 520th Sge Bty or 544th Sge Bty. before his final posting to the 521st. The 521st SB, with the 544th SB, left Southampton on the 1st April 1918 and arrived Le Havre the following day. The 520th left a day earlier.

I am sure someone with be along to indicate the best place to look for a diary, even if it is at a higher level.

Kevin

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essdee

As kevin mentioned 521 Siege went out in April and were posted to 1st Army, armed in May and allocated to 49th Brigade RGA, XI Corps Heavy Artillery on the 22nd May'18.

The gas casualties were caused on the evening of the 24th/25th by gunners returning to the gun pits without their SB respirators following a heavy bombardment of gas and HE ( 99 Siege battery, adjacent to 521Siege battery were decimated, 16 men and 1 Lt left to man the guns )

521 Siege Battery were actually part of the 5th Army as of 11th Nov 1918 having transferred from the 1st in July/August ( the LLT is wrong if that's where you obtained the details from)

521 Siege was one of my grandfather's batterys so I have a reasonable amount of info on them given that 521 Siege was a 6" gun battery and therefore unbrigaded. I am happy to email the diary pages and other info i have over to you.

Stuart

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Staffsyeoman

Kevin, Stuart

Many thanks indeed.

Then we have a mystery in one place as his number on his discharge certificate is 341151, Gnr RGA (The MIC has the final 1 as a 7, but that may be a transcription error). He had previously served with the RHG and the Essex Yeomanry.

Stuart, those pages would be very welcome - thank you. Actually the reference to 1st Army comes from orbat.com. Is the diary therefore hidden/contained under the Corps reference in WO 95 and why it didn't show up in a search?

By a sheer fluke of coincidence, over ten years ago I researched a casualty to 99 Siege Battery for a colleague. It wasn't in this attack (that would just be too coincidentally spooky) as he was the only casualty that day. Small world.

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Ron Clifton

Hello Staffsyeoman

After Jan 1918 very few individual SBs kept their own diaries, their activities being covered in the Brigade diaries. Batteries of 6-inch guns did not normally form part of an "ordinary" RGA Brigade, but were grouped on an ad-hoc basis under Army Brigades RGA. The relevant War Diaries are as follows:

FIFTH ARMY

WO 95/539 11 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery 1915 Feb. - 1918 Nov.

WO 95/545 55 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery 1916 July - 1919 July

FIRST ARMY

WO 95/218 26 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery 1915 July - 1919 June

WO 95/221 31 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery 1915 Sept. - 1919 Aug.

It's a bit of a long shot, though!

Ron

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kevinrowlinson

Although I normally stay away from the RGA TF numbering it is interesting that there were transfers to the Essex & Suffolk RGA TF from the Royal Horse Guards. I can only find 9 though; http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/s/res?_col=online&_q=%223411%3F%3F%22+AND+%22horse+guards%22&x=0&y=0 . You will see they were previously either Essex or Hertfordshire Yeomanry. The numbers I gave in my first post were first transfers to the RGA. If you want a time scale for the transfers then you could look at the "Pension" records for 341159 S. G. Butcher. The other thing of note is the amount of gunners who were affected by gas around 3/4th November 1918, and which Stuart may be able to enlighten you about.

Kevin

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ororkep

Staffsyeoman,

If your man is Wm Piggott the correct TF number is 341157. As it is sequential the discharge cert has to be the transcription error; and as Stuart said 521 can be found in 49 Brigade from May until armistice, at which point under command of Major K C Laurie the bty transferred to 28 HAG at Sailly.

Rgds

Paul

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Staffsyeoman

Kevin, Paul, Ron, Stuart

Thank you all - these put the bits together a little more.

Strange that his original paperwork (I wish I could show you a scan, but it's pasted in a photo album not in my possession) is wrong and the NA MICs right!

Ron, thank you - that gives me something to aim at (pun not intended altogether, I've been a Gunner myself) and I will check for 49 Brigade as well - thanks Kevin..

Now, this should probably be properly in Soldiers, but for context, his progression on the medal index card [which I have not downloaded, the questioner said he would do that] his units are shown thus:

Top: Royal Garrison Artillery 341157 Gunner

Middle: Essex Yeomanry 80365 Gunner

Bottom: Royal Horse Guards 3022 Gunner

In the album there are several picture of him in Essex Yeomanry uniform, wearing T/Y/ESSEX titles; having a Trumpeter's badge on his sleeve. In one picture he is mounted, with a cavalry trumpet in his hand, and a bugle on the saddle. In another, it is cropped and he is lying in front of a Sergeant in a group photo who has what looks like a Proficiency Star. In the last, three of them are taking cover behind a horse - where the T/Y/Essex are clearly visible, and the cap badge. There is a photo of a 'barber's parade' - a light-hearted one - where one soldier is being trimmed and another is being lathered. Our subject is not in the picture, but they are wearing RHG badges. Now, if I can only fathom his progression. He looks very young in the EY pictures!

So there appear to have been a draft of Royal Horse Guards transferred to the Essex [and Hertfordshire] Yeomanry and thence to the RGA. Strange that these men are trailed back to origin by the naming of the Battery.

The owner said he would try to scan or photograph the pictures and pass them on - happy to show them if they arrive.

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kevinrowlinson

He went from Essex Yeomanry to the Horse Guards (as indeed the others did) probably under auth. dated 18th May 1917. His transfer from the RHGs to the RGA would have been under auth. dated 30th November 1917.

Kevin

Edit. and that is probably why he was given a RGA TF number rather than a regular one.

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kevinrowlinson

Quote, "By a sheer fluke of coincidence, over ten years ago I researched a casualty to 99 Siege Battery for a colleague. It wasn't in this attack (that would just be too coincidentally spooky) as he was the only casualty that day. Small world. "

Even more if he is included in this cas. report.

post-14294-0-67200100-1353962616_thumb.j

Kevin

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petwes

Kevin

Excuse me for jumping in like this but could I asked where you found the RGA casualty records?

Thanks

Peter

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essdee

Staffsyeoman,

If you Pm me your email address i'll post over what I have. Working long hours at the moment so it may take a couple of days to put something together as the information is in the form of notes, diary extracts etc.

Stuart

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Guest KPGCanberra

As kevin mentioned 521 Siege went out in April and were posted to 1st Army, armed in May and allocated to 49th Brigade RGA, XI Corps Heavy Artillery on the 22nd May'18.

The gas casualties were caused on the evening of the 24th/25th by gunners returning to the gun pits without their SB respirators following a heavy bombardment of gas and HE ( 99 Siege battery, adjacent to 521Siege battery were decimated, 16 men and 1 Lt left to man the guns )

521 Siege Battery were actually part of the 5th Army as of 11th Nov 1918 having transferred from the 1st in July/August ( the LLT is wrong if that's where you obtained the details from)

521 Siege was one of my grandfather's batterys so I have a reasonable amount of info on them given that 521 Siege was a 6" gun battery and therefore unbrigaded. I am happy to email the diary pages and other info i have over to you.

Stuart

Hello. I am new to the forum and trying to undertake research for my daughter on her Great Great Grandfather Alfred Horace Andrews who was a Gunner with the 521 SB and was killed on 27 June 1918. His no was 197878. I note your comments above in relation to your Grandfather and I was wondering if you had any further details about the 521 SB you would be willing to share with me. I have no family members left to ask as alas, everyone who might have known anything has passed away. He is buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery in Wimilee. Rgds, Kerry

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