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what happened to 18th Brigade RFA after jly/aug 1917?


morleygr

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Can anyone help me with what happened to the 18th Brigade RFA after July/Aug 1917? It is said that they became an army brigade - what exactly does this mean and does anyone know of their war diary for this period?? I am researching 93rd Battery.

I have the War Diaries for the previous periods but not August 1917 onwards. My soldier was awarded the M.M. which was gazetted in the August of 1917 and a Clasp to same in the October of 1917.

Any help greatly appreciated as always.

Thanks and regards

Graham Morley

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Graham

RFA brigades are normally attached to infantry divisions and would generally follow that division around. Throughout the war artillery became centralized for large attacks and to also numbers of RFA brigades per division were reduced (most are raised with four and end up with two). The spare brigades were no longer attached to divisions and could be moved between armies more flexibly to enable guns to be massed with a specific army to support specific attacks.

As for the war diary this should remain after August 1917 but I cannot find it in the catalogue. If the MM was gazetted in August and he was awarded a bar in October his actions may be mentioned in the diary around April/May or June/July. Have you got a copy of this? It may be available to download from the Canadian Archives.

The Order of Battle for the BEF has 18th Brigade attached to 2nd Army in September 1917. By December they were with 3rd Army.

I hope this helps in some way.

Kind regards

Colin

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18th Brigade, RFA served with 4th Canadian Division until becoming 18th Army Brigade, RFA in February 1917 (army brigades, RFA were part of the Corps Artillery within an Army and were shifted from division to division. The war diary for 18th Army Brigade, RFA from August 1917 to April 1919 is available at The National Archives under WO 95/203. As far as I am aware that war diary is not available online. The divisions with which the Brigade served from July 1917 to October 1917 are:

With 4th Canadian Div. with the Canadian Corps until 7 July 1917

At rest from 8 July 1917 to 5 August 1917

Attached to 18th Division, II Corps from 8 Aug 17 to 18 Aug 17

Attached to 14th Division, II Corps from 18 Aug 17 to 4 Sep 17

Attached to 25th Division, II Corps from 4 Sept 17 to 10 Sep 17

Attached to 19th Division, IX Corps from 11 Sep 17 to 21 Sep 17

At rest from 22 Sep 17 to 26 Sep 17

Attached to 39th Division, IX Corps from 27 Sep 17 to 1 Oct 17

Attached to 37th Division, IX Corps from 1 Oct 17 to 21 Oct 17

Attached to 39th Division, X Corps from 21 Oct 17 to 24 Oct 17

Attached to 7th Divison, X Corps from 24 Oct 17 to 1 Nov 17

Regards, Dick Flory

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Artillery command and control seems to be poorly understood.

Divisional artillery was under divisional command, via the Commander RA who reported to the Divisional Commander. Of course higher commanders could change the subordination of artillery units.

when 'Army Field Brigades' were created they were under command of an Army HQ, what an amazing notion. From there they were placed under command of subordinate HQs as necessary.

In WW1 arty C&C was still somewhat primitive and basically the focus was 'command', but the concept of control being different started to emerge. Notably the CBSO being given 'executive control' in late 1917, but more generally the notion that artillery units and their firepower should be handled separately did not really emerge, no doubt in part due to the limited range of field artillery. Of course today NATO recognises three different types of command, and artillery has four types of control relationship called 'tactical missions' (Direct Support, General Support, Reinforcing and General Support Reinforcing), after WW2 it had been Direct Support, Support and At Priority Call (for UK and the like). Direct Support was and is significant because it involves the provision of tactical parties (BC and observers) to the supported unit, but in WW1 tactical thinking didn't really reach this formalisation, it was all rather primitive the focus being on 'command'. Of course many parts of the army still haven't got beyond this.

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Thanks to all who have helped me with my enquiry. The info. was very useful and I hope I might now find a record of the action for the M.M. and Clasp in the relevant War Diary.

Thanks and regards.

Graham Morley

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  • 11 months later...

I am researching Gunner Percy Stacey of the RFA but do not have close knowledge of the artillery and am finding the nomenclature confusing. Gunner Stacey died on 18/08/17 which I take to be in the battle of Langemark. His service number was 173825 and he appears in the documentation I have as in the 94th Battery. I can find no reference to this unit, only to a 94th Brigade. Would 94th Battery have any meaning which would allow me to find out a bit more about where his guns were placed and what happened to him? Does 94th Brigade similarly have a helpful meaning?

Many thanks for any help.

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I am researching Gunner Percy Stacey of the RFA but do not have close knowledge of the artillery and am finding the nomenclature confusing. Gunner Stacey died on 18/08/17 which I take to be in the battle of Langemark. His service number was 173825 and he appears in the documentation I have as in the 94th Battery. I can find no reference to this unit, only to a 94th Brigade. Would 94th Battery have any meaning which would allow me to find out a bit more about where his guns were placed and what happened to him? Does 94th Brigade similarly have a helpful meaning?

Many thanks for any help.

Best to start a new topic rather than tack on to this one.

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Yes, I did a week or so ago but came across this one by chance and people seemed knowledgeable about an area in which I am not.

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The War Diary for 18th Army Brigade RFA, reference WO 95/203 (1917 Aug. - 1919 Apr.) should be available to download soon via this link - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7349259

It was unavailable until February 2015 for digitising.

In the meantime, Dick Flory's post #3 tells you that it was attached to 18th Division, therefore I would look at the diary of the Commander Royal Artillery for that Division. The reference is WO 95/2021/1 (1917 June 1 - 1917 Sept 30) available to download here - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14053859

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