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Remembered Today:

Driver Edward Lewis, RFA, Hampshire, India and Egypt


gmslewis
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Hello,

I didn't know my grandad and I didn't know he served in the Great War until coming across some newspaper articles on the Welsh Newspaper Online website this week. He was born in Cwmbach, near Aberdare in 1895 and two of his brothers also joined up.

He joined the Royal Field Artillery at the beginning of 1915 as a Driver. He then went to Porthmadog.

By December 1915 he was in Winchester then from summer 1916 he was in Fareham/Portsmouth for about a year based on reports of leave back home.

In July of 1918 he was reported as being in Egypt having been in India for a long period and was presented with an award from a local fund in March 1919.

As you can imagine there are a few Edward Lewis's who served in the Royal Field Artillery so finding an MIC will be difficult and as far as I can see his service records don't survive.

I would really like to know more about what he may have done and where he may have gone, does anyone know which unit he may have gone with? Was Portsmouth a depot for a particular unit?

Many thanks in advance,

Gareth

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There were several Royal Garrison Artillery units in the Fareham & Portsmouth area at the time.

If you look in the Long Long Trail at RFA Brigades you will see that there were several which formed two Wessex Brigades. It is possible that your subject may have been in one of these as there is mention of service in India.

You might be able to get a line on it from the 1918 Absent Voters List for his home area.If a List has survived they sometimes indicate a unit.

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Driver w/1690 RFA.

David William Lewis Pte 28363 Welsh Regt

Freddy Lewis. Seaforth Highlanders (missing) No number with this one but I assume you have his CWGC details etc.

Source. Absent Voters List.

Hywyn

edit: Cross posting Sotonmate, sorry

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Thanks sotonmate, I didn't think about absent voters lists, will give it a try. I did wonder about the Wessex Brigades, they're my best match at the moment but he appears to still be in Portsmouth when they've shipped out to India.

Thanks again!

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Gareth

I don't know much about artillery. Edward certainly joined the 'Welsh Army' artillery but whether he served overseas with them is another matter. The India/Egypt bit doesn't look right for the 38th Division, which was in France.

See post 19 in this thread by Clive Hughes (LST_164)

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=106537

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Ok, just read the post and it explains a lot. Fantastic! I'm always amazed by how knowledgeable the forum is thanks for all your help

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gmslewis,

Edward looks like he remained in the UK, initially as a reserve for 38th (Welsh) Divisional Artillery.

I have found the service record of W/1677 Samuel George Phillpott (indexed as 1699) who followed the similar path until deserting in late 1915.

Joined RFA at Porth 15-02-15
Posted/Joined 8th Bty 03-03-15
Pwllheli 23-03-15 to at least 27-05-15 (posted to D/121 Bde 08-04-15)
Portmadoc 18-07-15
Hilsea 23-08-15 to at least 08-10-15 (attached to 13th Reserve Battery)
Deserted 02-11-15 (Res. Details of 121 Bde)
The 38th (Welsh) Divisional Artillery moved to Winchester by August 1915 but it appears that reserves, as above, were posted to Hilsea (near Portsmouth).
Hilsea was the home of 3A Reserve Brigade consisting of 13, 14 and 15 Reserve Batteries. A new battery called 57 Reserve Battery was formed in early 1916 specifically for details of 38th (Welsh) Divisional Artillery. It seems clear that, during the final preparations for embarkation to France, Edward Lewis was moved from Winchester to Hilsea as a reserve detail for one of the divisional brigades. I imagine with the progress of the war and the introduction of the Military Service Act that 57 Reserve Battery became regarded as a general reserve and postings were made to all theatres. Consequently it is very difficult to establish which units he served with in India and Egypt and you will need to find more information.
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Thanks David,

That shed's a lot more light on his movements and why he ended up in Hampshire. I really appreciate all of your help on this one. It's totally fascinating and fills in some more gaps in my knowledge of the man.

Gareth

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  • 3 months later...

Hello all,

Thanks for your help and guidance on the search for my grandads war service so far. I have since visited Kew and looked at the RFA medal rolls but they seem to be in numerical order rather than unit order so I'm no further along unfortunately. Dies any one have any other ideas on where I may be able to look for clues as to his unit?

Thanks,

Gareth

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  • 1 year later...

Just a very brief update on this thread of mine.

It seems that Edward also served in Mesopotamia prior to going to Egypt. 2nd February 1918 edition of the Aberdare Leader has his sisters obituary where it says two brothers are in France (Fred and David) and one in Mesopotamia (Edward). So between this date and the last mention of him being home on leave June 1917 he left for the Middle East.

I have tried looking into this with limited success, and it appears that both the 7th (Meerut) Division and 3rd (Lahore) Division of the Indian Army served in Mesopotamia prior to heading to the fighting in Palestine in April 1918 (Would Egypt/Palestine have meant the same place in this context?).

I wonder if the mention of him serving in India is actually a confusion with him serving in an Indian Division and he never went to the country itself. Am I right in the assumption that the artillery element of these two divisions were supplied by the RFA of the British Army rather than being provided by the Indian Army? I can't find any reference to which artillery units were with these Divisions in Spring/Summer 1918.

It's proved very difficult to piece together information on him but I feel like I am making (slow!) progress!

Edited by gmslewis
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Am I right in the assumption that the artillery element of these two divisions were supplied by the RFA of the British Army rather than being provided by the Indian Army? I can't find any reference to which artillery units were with these Divisions in Spring/Summer 1918.

The Indian Army had very limited Artillery, which were Mountain Batteries, (together with a few (European) Volunteer Artillery Batteries). All other Artillery was provided by the Royal Artillery, so you would be correct in your assumption.

Cheers

Maureen

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Thanks a lot Maureen,

I didn't want to investigate this too much if my assumptions were wrong! Unfortunately there are very few documents in relation to Edward's military service so I am trying to find the likeliest scenario for him and investigating further from there, looking for men who may have followed a similar path although this is proving very difficult, I've found. Any ideas which RFA units were with the 7th and 3rd Indian Divisions in 1918? The only units I've seen associated with them left before this date. Maybe I'm just not searching in the right place :wacko:

I have found a few "W" number men in the CWGC website but this hasn't helped my search much so far and it does seem that the "W" was omitted in some cases when numbers were quoted. I have found a man with a similar number (W number on the medal roll, no W on his service record) who remained in the UK when the rest of the 38th Division Artillery went to France but he ended up with the 9th Division in France at a later date and not Mesopotamia or Palestine.

Some other men from Aberdare who were in the RFA and Mesopotamia/Palestine seem to have gone over before Edward would have left.

I will persevere! Thanks again for replying,

Gareth

Edited by gmslewis
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