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Remembered Today:

55th West Lancashire Division RFA


wmfinch
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My Grandfather No. 199319 Bdr Reginald Charles Evans M.M. fought alongside Sgt Cyril E Gourley V.C. in the action at Little Priel Farm on 30 November 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai, where both men won their medals.

I have already passed on details of my Grandfather to Firepower at Woolwich, but I'm wondering if there are any Museums, Clubs or Institutions in Lancashire who would be interested in receiving information about him? Even though he was born and lived all his life in Cheltenham, he proudly wore the Lancashire Rose during WW1. I approached a Museum in Lancaster, but they are interested only in soldiers from the Kings Own, not the RFA. The curator actually asked, isn't informing Woolwich enough? Excuse my ignorance of the facts, but I would have thought someone in the actual county of Lancashire would be interested?

I apologise if this sounds simplistic and naive, but if anyone can point me in the right direction, I will be very grateful.

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Hello wmfinch

Most museums have far more material than they can display, and a regimental museum such as the one at Lancater would be unwilling to accept material which they would have to store and which, in their opinion, no-one else would ever want to look at. Not all museum curators are like that, I'm happy to say, but there are a good few who are, and unless they are interested in the Great War themselves, they are often dismissive of approaches such as yours. It's unfortunate and discouraging, but I'm afraid it happens a lot.

You might have more luck with the Merseyside County Record Office or a large museum (not necessarily military) in Liverpool. It's some time since I had to refer to the Lancashire Fusiliers Museum in Bury, but at one time the chap who ran it did have an interest in the Great War and was helpfulness itself. It would be a long shot for you, but you might get a more polite response!

I suspect that some museums may be bracing themselves against the onslaught of approaches such as yours, with the imminent round of centenaries, and simply adopt the "batten down the hatches" approach. Fortunately there are a lot who don't take that view.

Don't give up - it is good to know that family members are still taking care of documents etc in this way.

Ron

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Ah thanks Ron, really appreciate the reply.

I'll give those ideas a try.

I know my Grandfather was one of millions of men, but I'm determined to keep his memory alive.

With best wishes,

Wayne

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I suspect that some museums may be bracing themselves against the onslaught of approaches such as yours, with the imminent round of centenaries, and simply adopt the "batten down the hatches" approach. Fortunately there are a lot who don't take that view.

I would have to agree with Ron.

Unless you have his diary for the period of the war or a big box of letters he wrote home I doubt that they would be interested.

You could of course start your own website. These are not expensive and you can do them yourself and edit/add as you like.

If you have his service record and his unit War Diary you could tell his story, A couple of pics if you have them.

That would help keep his memory alive.

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IWN may be interested in what you have.

There do not appear to be any RA museums in the North West, the one at Woolwich must cover all the UK.

However the local TA RA units may have "private" collections of memorabilia. 103 (TA) Regt, RA wouid. I believe be the descendant regiment of 276 Bgd RFA TF and all of 55Div TF Artillery (as well as 42nd, 57th and 66th Divs). They dont currently have a battery in Liverpool, the nearest being St Helens. You can get their address and that of the HQ103Regt from the British Arny website.

bill

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  • 8 months later...

Hello All,

Thank you so much for the advice.

Something amazing has happened! Thanks to this Forum, I was contacted by the Grandson of one of the other men and now 6 of the 12 men's descendants are in close contact. On 20th Jan 2015, an event took place at Aigburth Barracks in Liverpool, when 5 sets of our descendants came together, including Sgt Cyril Gourley's V.C., courtesy of Paul Evans of the Firepower Museum.

Fantastic!!

V/R

Wayne

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What a satisfying result! Congratulations to you and all the other descendants for your efforts.

Ron

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello All,

Thought I would give an update.

Since the event at Aigburth Barracks in January 2015, much more research has been done by Sergeant Thornley's Grandson Steve and myself. The results so far have revealed the known whereabouts of 8 of the 12 men's medal sets and 8 descendants. Fortunately, Firepower holds Sergeant Gourley's V.C., but the Biggart family do not know the whereabouts of their ancestor's Military Cross.

V/R

Wayne

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