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Remembered Today:

Is this man RGA?


fjwiltshire
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Fred Towner is mentioned on his village's ROH as having served in the RGA. He is pictured here aged at least 48 and his second time in uniform. He served in the RA in Malta and Singapore 1886-1894. On his son's 1918 marriage cert, he is described as Gunner, RA. He has no traceable MIC so I guess his experience was most valuable in a training role at home. So, from the photos, can anyone confirm this a ww1 RGA uniform and explain the gaiters which appear to be leather. Would he be a trainer, tester, recruiter??

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Edited by Frank W
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So he's not Bombardier Fred B G Towner 2927 & 961592 of the RFA? Also with SWB issued.

Although I posted a photo of a RA man with white lanyard and was told that makes him RGA

TEW

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TEW, no not him. So a white lanyard means RGA?? Adds to my knowledge. Not conclusive on a B&W photo, but interesting.

It's those gaiters which look like leather and the kind of thing a dress uniform would include. The sort of thing a recruitment man would wear, plus waxed tash. I'm guessing.

Forum members please offer more suggestions.

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Although I posted a photo of a RA man with white lanyard and was told that makes him RGA

So a white lanyard means RGA??

No it doesn't.

Frank, have you looked for an AVL (Absent Voters List) for the locality? This may have more detail assuming that the AVL has survived

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The only time I've seen leather gaiters, which means little I have to stress, is on a motorcycle despatch rider in Salonika. That makes some kind of sense because, with the belt drive and exposed chains of the period, the loose end of a puttee could cause serious injury. I'm not suggesting that he is a despatch rider as I think they would have been A.S.C. or R.E. men but he might have been working with machinery.

I believe that moustaches had to be trimmed so that gas masks fitted better against the face so few soldiers would have had such wonderful adornments after the beginning of the war. Perhaps this is another indication that he did not serve overseas? Mind you, the stiff top to his cap may mean the photo was taken soon after he was recalled from Reserve. The stiffeners were removed in later uniforms, possibly putting the date towards the start of the war.

Keith - musing aloud.

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Thankyou for your suggestion JW. Thanks also for helping me in my search for my uncle KIA at Bullecourt a few years back.(you won't remember)

I'll look up this AVL and give it a try.

What I'm hoping is someone will say "yes, this man is RGA" then tell me why he isn't wearing puttees. He served in the RA 1886-1894. 20 years later he offered his service again and then lived another 37 years. So what use would the army have for a willing ex soldier aged 48.

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Keith, and anyone else, please muse on aloud.

leather gaiters and exposed machinery is a possibility. The splendid tash was a military icon and a danger in a gas filled environment. Wise comments. No doubt he didn't serve abroad.

The second pic is a clip from a photo too large to upload. His cap seems less stiff I think.

The reason I suggest a recruitment man is the (swagger?)stick under his arm. Would a gunner normally have one as a part of his kit?

Edited by Frank W
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I have no idea whether each man would have had a stick, though I can't imagine why they would, but you do often see them in formal portraits. It's been said that studios that were likely to see soldiers kept a few such military items in stock to make the man look his very best.

Keith

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Wouldn't surprise me is he wasn't Royal Garrison Artillery Volunteers in 1918 - you occasionally have to think outside of the box, when viewing the older soldier.

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Those leather gaiters look like a hold-over from Victorian service and not the current pattern one issued to Motorcyclists.

White lanyard means he was issued a clasp knife.

There is nothing in the photo that says RGA versus RFA.

No MIC could mean he manned on of the RGA Batteries used in home defence--there were quite a few in the coastal ports. Some actually saw action against German ships IIRC.

Joe Sweeney

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post-7376-0-96567400-1400702580_thumb.jp

What a typical group of RGA Volunteers would look like in late 1918.

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Thankyou for your suggestion JW. Thanks also for helping me in my search for my uncle KIA at Bullecourt a few years back.(you won't remember)

I hadn't noticed before that your Uncle Huse was one of 5 brothers that served - I did have to go and look in the Bullecourt file to be reminded but he's not forgotten :poppy:

Jon

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Those leather gaiters look like a hold-over from Victorian service and not the current pattern one issued to Motorcyclists.

My original set I use with my Victorian Police kit - there is a later, shorter, version, and I can't work out from his bloused trousers which they are:

http://postimg.org/image/6ndrwfsah/

Gaiters.jpg

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Andrew, could you have nailed it?

Please expand...were these obviously black gaiters police issue? Not military at all.

Was Fred taking liberties with HM's uniform in the privacy of a photo studio?

They do look much smarter than puttees.

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Hi

Cap badge is certainly RA, see my avatar. Gun on limber with crown above it.

regards

Robert

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Now Admin have locked a previous thread re this man, and not his uniform does it mean no further info on the man is needed?

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Graham, a good photo of RGA volunteers in late 1918. As these men all look 25-45 years old, physically fit, I guess they were in reserved occupations, miners and railwaymen most likely. Were they paid a regular income or receive an annual gratuity like the TF? I ask because I wonder how Fred made an income, ie did he keep his day job.

I notice puttees are the dress code and also they wear belts.

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John, as I suggested a transfer to 'Uniforms', control guided all future posts to this thread.

I am as mystified as ever but some interesting suggestions are emerging. No definitive answer yet but every reply so far has been educational. So thanks to all.

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1871 Census.

47 Finch Green Chiddingstone Reg District Sevenoaks

Living with grandfather and mother. Also listed as son in law Robert Leigh. Who was he married to? Seems he is listed as an Idiot?

1881 Census

Blackham Withyham East Grinstead Sussex.

Frederick aged 14yrs Living with Sophia and Frederick Divall.

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Is he Fred Herbert Towner on 1911 census as being born circa 1864 Yalding, Kent???

If so, there is a pre-war service record for a Fred Towner of Yalding on findmypast, RFA from memory.

TEW

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Andrew, could you have nailed it?

Please expand...were these obviously black gaiters police issue? Not military at all.

Was Fred taking liberties with HM's uniform in the privacy of a photo studio?

They do look much smarter than puttees.

As far as I can tell, it is the other way round - they were originally a late Victorian military item, but some Police photo's and illustrations of the same period clearly show the military style and other similar patterns in use for bad weather. Presumably a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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I have a pair of the same type of gaiters in brown dated 1899, so pre motor-cycle. Also a lot of late Victorian kit was dragged out from the back of stores to make up for kit deficiencies so that our chaps could at least look the part, and not like a sack of spuds tied up ugly, hence the buff belt on young Albert Hall. I have a photo of I.W. Rifle Guard section turned out in white buff leather 3rd pattern Valise Equipment pouches, because they have had to part with their 03 Bandolier equipment. White buff on Riflemen, oh the horror of it all.

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Graham, a good photo of RGA volunteers in late 1918. As these men all look 25-45 years old, physically fit, I guess they were in reserved occupations, miners and railwaymen most likely. Were they paid a regular income or receive an annual gratuity like the TF? I ask because I wonder how Fred made an income, ie did he keep his day job.

I notice puttees are the dress code and also they wear belts.

Correct as Volunteers they would all be in Reserved Occupations and receiving a paid salary from their place of work. Younger members were also obliged to enlist into them 'voluntarily', prior to being called-up under the Military Services Act.

As to whether or not they were 'paid' when on 'duty', is another matter, as I've never found a wartime copy of 'Regulations for the Volunteer Force', which would tell me if they were or weren't. Again they were actually following old 1860's Regulations adapted to suite the wartime situation and although Administered by the Territorial County Associations they didn't come under T.F. Regulations.

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