Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Brigade numbers for 2nd Line South Midlands Royal Field Artillery

E Wilcock

Recommended Posts

I am mortified and apologise that in spite of a day spent using the Search function yesterday, I am unable to find the post in which a knowledgeable member of the forum gave me vital information about RFA Brigades to which 2nd line men with 243 Brigade RFA service numbers (4th South Midland TA, RFA) were likely to have been posted once their training was complete.

I should be grateful if someone could please repeat the information.

I am sure that I was given a couple of likely Brigade numbers for men who trained after the Brigade went out in March 1915 and were not sent to the front until after the artillery reorganisation of May 1916.

At the time I was trying and failing to discover a pattern by looking at the Batteries in which some of the men were later Killed in action.

I want to add this information to my website, but cannot find the information, either here nor on the Long Long Trail.

I have not yet uploaded the names of men with service numbers above 840700, and I dont want to do so without giving this helpful indication of where the 2nd line men might have been sent.

Please can I ask for a repetition of the information?

With apologies


Link to comment
Share on other sites

My late cousin's wife's dad enlisted in the 2nd S M Bde RFA and attested on 7th September 1915

He was Frank Mitchell, a driver, and his number was 3962.

Hope this may help in a small way.

Have downloaded his service records to my computer if you need any further information on him.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, sorry IPT is isnt. That thread concerns the re-organisation and renaming of RFA Brigades in May 1916.

However, the 4th South Midland brigade did continue as a TA unit back home and trained a new batch of men - who were then sent out - some of them Summer 1916 but others later in the war and they went to other Brigades. At first I thought at random but some one here thenb kindly gave me info about the Brigades to which many of them were likely to have been sent. That is the post I cant find.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 2nd Line of 4th South Midland Brigade formed the majority of 308th Brigade that went overseas in May 1916.

If you responded to the thread you are searching for it will apear in the "My Content" section under your name (top of the page).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David - Thank you so much. That is the information I needed.

I have now added this to The People section of my web site - where I should have put it long ago.

Thank you


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not yet uploaded the names of men with service numbers above 840700, and I dont want to do so without giving this helpful indication of where the 2nd line men might have been sent.

It is worth pointing out that numbers above 840700 were not reserved for all 2nd Line men. Once the 1st Line (renamed 243rd Brigade) had gone overseas and the 2nd Line (renamed 308th Brigade) had taken their place at Chelmsford a 3rd Line was formed. From late 1915 the 3rd Line of all South Midland Brigades RFA was based at No. 3 (T.F.) Artillery Training School (Rollestone) apart from the 3/4th (Howitzer) Brigade which was based at No. 7 (T.F.) Artillery Training School at Avington Park Camp, Winchester.

In addition, these Artillery Training Schools were (certainly from the introduction of the Military Service Act,) taking new recruits from areas not in the South Midlands and on a regular attestation. Take for example William Beales of Plumstead, a Derby Scheme recruit, called up/posted to No. 7 (T.F.) Artillery Training School on March 1, 1916. He was given the number 132120, then on joining D/308th Brigade he got 1378 until the end of 1916 when he was renumbered 840957. You will find more like this if you look through surviving records of regulars initially given a 132xxx number. If you start looking at numbers above 841000 you will also find a group forming 532nd (Howitzer) Bty as this was administered by the Warwick T.F. Association.

See http://1914-1918.inv...howtopic=194784

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David Thank you again. I have now managed to set up my subscription so that any replies to my questions come copied to me as e-mails - I have saved your information in my Brigade folder.

It is important to make it clear that the 840700 break point in my data has no signficance in military terms. I went to the PRO at Kew and copied out the names, but my technical difficulties pasting in so much data from an Access spread sheet to a Google site (sorry) meant that I made the list more manageable by cutting it off at 840700.

The names for the higher numbers are still on my computer.

Derek Driscoll's site for 240 Brigade provides the names of everyone listed on the medal roll with numbers 825001-826999

Since my own site showing information about 243 Brigade from my grand father's papers was started at the suggestion of Derek and of Dennis Corbett who has a site for 241 Brigade, I felt I should try to provide the same information.

The need for this was demonstrated by a number of e-mails I received from people who told me that their grandfathers had been in 4th South Midland and who had 840*** numbers, but were not with the original unit. I always tried to help them, but it was outside my original remit which came to an end when 243 was wound up in late 1916.

I am not sure how far I should persevere in adding numbers to my site, but some later entrants came to the Brigade Reunion in 1937 and were local people whose descendants rightly (it turns out) tell me they were part of the 4th S. Midland.

I am grateful for the information about the artillery schools you provide - and it is highly likely that new entrants and conscripts were trained there. However, I got the impression that a home unit of 4th S Midlands Brigade RFA TF may have remained in existence locally. Indeed men who returned from the Overseas Brigade especially to work at home in the engineering works and munitions factories of Coventry and Rugby, were still attached to that home unit?

It has been said recently on this forum that time expired men from the TA units who returned to UK were obliged to re-enrol and went back to the front after military service became compulsory in 1916. However that may not have been the case for men who returned to reserved occupations - People were certainly sent back to the front but the date might be later, say 1918.

I have from the very start been feeling my way through the subject - following up enquiries about individual men and not able to make any general conclusions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I do see your reasoning and I certainly admire the fact all your information is finding its way to a dedicated website. The workers you refer to were in Class W (T) Reserve and because they could be recalled at any time they were still administered (but not paid) by the T.F. Association, so consequently got renumbered in the allocated sequence. Your 840xxx & 841xxx sequence not only covers the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd lines but these Class W (T) Reserves, 532nd How. Battery, some TF depot staff and possibly men in 7th Provisional Battery which was renamed 1209th South Midland Battery. I can see that from around 840949 there are a few alphabetical batches totalling about 80 men who transferred into 308th Bde at No. 7 Artillery Training School. You then get those going to 532nd How. Battery for at least the next 150 that transferred at No. 3 Artillery Training School (again, most are not local men to Coventry or Rugby). You may find that the munitions workers etc form a batch near the end. I've also seen numbers added to the sequence when local TF men who enlisted had returned home, but having served in regular units (under a regular number) were transfered to Class Z Reserve with administration returning to the T.F. Association.

What is frustrating to me is that what appears to be a unique and local numbering sequence actually turns out to be not that unit dependent but has a wider scope. However, I'm sure if you expand your list beyond 840700 a good many will still have local roots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

David, I am grateful for your help and observation about the sequence from about 840494 going to 308 Brigade.

Could I ask for some further guidance please.

Are the lists to which you refer here and on your other very full thread available to the public, or your own lists? And if official lists what are they called and are they are the Public record Office or on line?

Was 308 Brigade a training unit through which people passed on the way to posting to other units at the front?

To add to your information: I seem to have found several (where records survive) who were posted to or who died or were wounded with 306 brigade RFA. e.g. from the CWGC site 840399 Died of wounds 7.5.18 306th Bde. Another, 840436 went to 306 Brigade too.

But the postings make no numerical sense to me yet.

I received an email concerning a man with a number between those previous two who went to 306 Brigade, 840427, who went out on 1 Aug 1915 to the original 4th South Midland at the front.

Unless a service record survives, I can't find any way of identifying the unit in which a man fought from the medal card alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


These postings do make partial numerical sense when you look at the wider picture. In May 1916, 2/4th South Midland (308th) Howitzer Brigade RFA was broken up with 2/4th Warwick Battery becoming D (H)/306 and 2/5th Warwick Battery becoming D (H)/307. A new 308th Brigade RFA was formed to replace it. It looks like all of these came under the same TF Record Office as far as renumbering was concerned. Herein lies the problem regarding unit identification - the number batch should include 308th Brigade but there were effectively two different brigades by that name during 1916. Therefore you need also to look at D (H)/306 and D (H)/307.

I've looked for available War Diaries at Kew for 61st Divisional Artillery and they are as follows:

Reference:WO 95/3042/2
Description: 305 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Date: 1915 May - 1916 Sept.
Reference:WO 95/3042/3
Description: 306 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Date: 1915 Sept. - 1919 May
Reference:WO 95/3043/1
Description: Divisional Troops: 307 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
Date: 1915 Sept 1 - 1916 Dec 31
Reference:WO 95/3043/2
Description: Divisional Troops: 307 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
Date: 1917 Jan 1 - 1917 May 31
Reference:WO 95/3043/3
Description: Divisional Troops: 307 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
Date: 1917 June 1 - 1917 Oct 31
Reference:WO 95/3043/4
Description: Divisional Troops: 307 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
Date: 1917 Nov 1 - 1917 Dec 31
Reference:WO 95/3043/5
Description: Divisional Troops: 307 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
Date: 1918 Jan 1 - 1918 Mar 31
Reference:WO 95/3044/1
Description: 307 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Date: 1918 Apr. - 1919 June
Reference:WO 95/3044/2
Description: 308 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Date: 1915 Sept. - 1917 Jan.
Reference:WO 95/3045/1
Description: Divisional Ammunition Column
Date: 1916 May - 1919 May
Reference:WO 95/3045/2
Description: Divisional Trench Mortar Batteries
Date: 1916 Aug. - 1919 Jan.

As they did not go overseas until May 1916, I would target the ones for 1915 into 1916 to get an overview of how the Divisional Artillery evolved, in particular WO 95/3044/2. The War Diaries for 307th Brigade RFA seem to have much more information than the others. 305th Brigade was broken up and also the new 308th Brigade was split to form parts of various Army Field Brigades.

I do have my own lists that I've compiled from numerous sources to help with this kind of thing. They are still just guides to making sense of this complex period where the artillery brigade structure was radically altered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David - Thank you for a very full and clear explanation.

I have added this clarification to my site - explaining too that it is easier to understand, if one remembers that the 4th South Midland TF was a Howitzer brigade - whereas from May 1916 onwards, Howitzer batteries in active service at the front were distributed among normal artillery brigades - hence the splitting up to become batteries in brigades with other numbers.

I hope I have got this right. I am very grateful to you. (I never expected to be answering e-mails of enquiry on the period after November 1916!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...