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Remembered Today:

91st Siege Battery, RGA


Krump

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I am researching my grand uncle, Gunner Frederick Hockley (104692) who was KIA on October 23rd 1918 near Le Cateau. I have been trying to source Lt Col Christian's account of the Battery's wartime activities but this book seems to be rarer than hens' eggs! I have had a similar lack of success at accessing the Battery's war diary although I know that posts on this forum have quoted from it. Could anybody point me in the direction of either of these sources or any other source on the Battery's wartime movements.

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Krump

Welcome to the Forum !
You might mean "hen's teeth " !

I will take a peek for a Diary ref.

Later: I found a ref but the Diary seems to end in Feb 1918.Maybe the unit joined another formation (Heavy Artillery Group ?) to war's end. There are guys here who will know the ins-and-outs of that. Ref of Diary from May 1916 to Feb 1918 is WO95/477.

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Welcome Krump,

“When the lorries were all unloaded and parked to a flank, the men, who had had no food since breakfast, were broken off for a meal. The shelling did not decrease and during the meal interval one man, Gunner Hockley, was killed and four wounded near the cook-house.”

Rgds

Paul

From book, a copy of which is held at IWM and also one at Woolwich, but unfortunately there is no mention in the Brigade WD (76), so it is really your only source.

Edit: You are aware his records have survived, so you need to research other batteries as well?

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Major Christian's history also indicates that Gunner Hockley was killed at Boussies. The book also indicates that seven men were wounded at Boussies on 23 October 1918: Gunners W. Menote, Gregory, Buckland, E Solly, Foley, R. Jones and H. Dongray (who later died on pneumonia).

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I will pass on any omelette you might make !

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I am aware of the 94 Siege Battery book and NIne Days, but does anyone know of any other books/accounts published relating to individual Siege Batteries?

I,m researching 95SB and would find such accounts ideal background material about the day to activities of a RGA Battery.

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Specifically about the 95th SB, for 1918, there are the papers of the OC held at the IWM, http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030012748 .

Otherwise any of the histories written post war are interesting reading.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=siege+battery&sprefix=siege+batt%2Cstripbooks%2C240 .

Kevin

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Other siege battery books:

The Eleventh Siege Battery, RGA 1914-1918

20th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, BEF, France and Flanders, 20th June 1915-11th November 1918

27th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, BEF, France and Flanders, 5th September 1915 to 15 April 1919

47th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, BEF, France

History of the 135th Siege Battery

Memoirs of 42 Siege Battery, RGA 1914-1918

52 Siege Battery, RGA

History of the Seventy-First Siege Battery, South African Heavy Artillery

A Short History of the 72nd (South African) Siege Battery

The History of 76 Siege Battery RGA

History of the 91st (Siege) Battery, RGA, December 1915 to 11November 1918

96th Siege Battery, RGA

133: War Service of a Siege Battery 1916-1918

The History of 154 Siege Battery RGA 1916-19

Occasional Gunfire: Private War Diary of a Siege Gunner (118 Siege Battery)

151 Siege Battery, RGA: Diary of R. J. Blackadder While Serving with the Battery in France and Belgium from August 1916 till June 1919

"Two Eleven": Being the History of 211 Siege Battery, RGA on the Western Front

178 Siege Battery RGA BEF France 1916-1918

"228": The History of a Siege Battery during the Great War

Gambardier: Giving Some Account of the Heavy and Siege Artillery in France 1914-1918 (the author commanded 244 Siege Battery)

283 Siege Battery RGA 1916-1919

With a Siege Battery in France: 303 Siege Battery, RGA

332 Siege Battery RGA: An Account of Its Adventures in the Great War, 1917-18

R.A. 326 Siege Battery

354 Siege Battery RGA

The Record of 355 Siege Battery

A Brief Record of the Movements during the Great War of the 359th Siege Battery, RGA

Behind the Barrage: The Story of a Siege Battery

As From Kemmel Hill: An Adjutant in France and Flanders 1917-1918 (the author was Adjutant, 90 Heavy Artillery Group, RGA)

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Kevrow & rflory

Thanks very much for the responses.

I am nearing the end of transcribing War Diaries for the 13 HAGs which 95 SB served under - May 16 - Nov 18. There are the inevitable gaps due to lost documents and I am now attempting to source individual SB War Diaries (where they exist) to fill the gaps. If they don't exist it may be that a memoir will be the answer - hence my original question.

My particular frustration with a missing bit of War Diary concerns Aug 3 1917 when 95 SB lost 11 men that day with a further 5 dying of wounds (?) over the next week or so.

This was in 70 HAG.

Can your respective extensive knowledge cast any light on this incident?. Other SBs in the HAG were 198, 223 and 301.

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Derek: As you may already be aware the war diaries of 198 and 223 Siege Batteries have not been traced, but the war diary for 301 SB for the period November 1916 to February 1918 is available at WO 95/299.

Regards, Dick Flory

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Presumably you have gone through the records of those men who were KIA or DOW. One is given as DOW on the 3rd by the 2/1 Wessex Field Ambulance, and another on the 4th while at No. 3 Canada Casualty Clearing Station. I thought the two men from Orkney was particularly poignant.

Kevin

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Some advice please. I sought a copy of WO95/477 from National Archives and was quoted printing costs of £500 plus. Is the War Diary of 91st Siege Battery a sub-set of WO95/477 and, if so, how do I identify it?

Thanks in anticipation

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Alternative comparative cost to £550 + is the cost of a return rail trip to Kew and a couple of hours with your digital camera. They have a decent cafe and bookshop too!

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Derek: As you may already be aware the war diaries of 198 and 223 Siege Batteries have not been traced, but the war diary for 301 SB for the period November 1916 to February 1918 is available at WO 95/299.

Regards, Dick Flory

Thanks Dick - Yes 301 SB War Diary is on the list for my next visit to Kew. They were located close to 95 SB on the day of the mass casualties so there may be a mention of this. I have a note that it may have been due to a gun "premature" but cannot find a source for that! Major Pargeter's memoirs look to be potential source also. I'll get working on that.

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Some advice please. I sought a copy of WO95/477 from National Archives and was quoted printing costs of £500 plus. Is the War Diary of 91st Siege Battery a sub-set of WO95/477 and, if so, how do I identify it?

Thanks in anticipation

If you put WO95/477 in the catalogue you will see what it is included in that box; http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/s/res?_q=WO95%2F477&_sd=&_ed= . If you specifically asked for the 91st Sge. Bty. then it does seem a bit steep. If you didn't then you could ask again for just the 91st, and more specifically between 30th April 1918 and the time of his death which was when he was with that battery. Some time they will be online, but when the artillery diaries will be made available I don't know.

Kevin

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Derek,

there is no mention in 301 WD, but I would not expect there to be as they were not in 70 HAG at the time anyhow, neither was 198?

Rgds

Paul

OK thanks Paul

.As the 70 HAG War Diary stops at July 20th 1917 and resumes at Sept 2 1917 I do not know which batteries made up the group on August 3rd. Do you have a record of this by any chance?

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Derek,

I’m afraid there is no surviving record covering August 1917 for 70 HAG anywhere that I personally know of. Such gaps in diaries are normally indicative of intense enemy activity with regard to shelling. You could try getting the relevant higher formation XIX CHA Corps WD but I know that it has the same month (plus July) missing although not mentioned in discovery. Even the siege park has that portion missing. You can try and list them all from those mentioned in 70 HAG for July and September through a process of elimination, taking in those handed over to 5 Corps early September, but there were literally dozens of batteries in that area at the time. 301 left 4.7.17, and 198 1.8.17.

I would take the advice Kevin proffered and concentrate on the casualties; there is a descendant for one of the brothers from Orkney that has a tree on Ancestry or try and track down the island local paper obituaries.

Rgds

Paul

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Derek,

I’m afraid there is no surviving record covering August 1917 for 70 HAG anywhere that I personally know of. Such gaps in diaries are normally indicative of intense enemy activity with regard to shelling. You could try getting the relevant higher formation XIX CHA Corps WD but I know that it has the same month (plus July) missing although not mentioned in discovery. Even the siege park has that portion missing. You can try and list them all from those mentioned in 70 HAG for July and September through a process of elimination, taking in those handed over to 5 Corps early September, but there were literally dozens of batteries in that area at the time. 301 left 4.7.17, and 198 1.8.17.

I would take the advice Kevin proffered and concentrate on the casualties; there is a descendant for one of the brothers from Orkney that has a tree on Ancestry or try and track down the island local paper obituaries.

Rgds

Paul

Thanks Paul

I will follow the route suggested as probably offering the only real prospect of success. These days many towns & villages have websites which include some sort of Roll of Honour section with brief details of the men who fell in war. Its a Google thing !

Rgds

Derek

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  • 2 months later...
Guest kevin-forster

Krump

My Great Grandfather was No 65555 Gunner H.M. Graham and he also served with the 91st Siege Battery. He was killed 12/10/18. Like yourself I was pretty desperate for a copy of Major Christians account. The Firepower Museum at Woolwich sent me a photocopy of it for less than twenty quid.

Cheers

Kev

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