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Royal Horse Artillery ID?


heatherannej
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Hello All ....

I am helping a 2nd cousin discover more about her maternal grandfather (William Cape) .... she knows nothing about him. I have discovered a William Alfred Cape in census/birth/baptism/marriage entries. To confirm his identity, this William is serving in the Royal Horse Artillery when he marries in 1917. My relative has just sent through a WW1 pic of her William .... I think his cap badge is the Royal Horse Artillery - am I correct please?

Many thanks in anticipation ..... Heather

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The badge is certainly that as used the various branches of the artillery (RGA, RFA, RHA, etc). Another distinction in dress of the RHA was they tended to use what are known as "ball buttons" - like normal artillery buttons, but spherical in shape, and these do appear to be the type being worn in the picture.

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Tank you Andrew ..... thanks for picking up on other things in the photograph ... it's much appreciated. Thank you. Heather

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He's also sporting 2 Good Conduct badges denoting a six year unblemished record, the shoulder titles would be RHA so a regular battery not a territorial one

Jon

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that would likely to fit with Driver William A Cape, 'N' Battery RHA - his number 65319 suggests enlisted April/May 1911 .. so this is 1917 at least .. and as he would have qualified for a 1914 star [and could have had the medal ribbon by spring 1918, as well as overseas chevrons as he went to France in 1914.., worn from 1918] quite possibly before 1918. As noted above 'ball' buttons are definitely Horse Artillery

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Hello there. This is all very interesting and ties in with me finding a William Alfred Cape ("serving in the Royal Horse Artillery") when he marries in 28 January 1917, in Paddington - perhaps he had the photo taken whilst home to marry, to leave with his new wife?

It also fits in with the William A. Cape found who had been working for the railway - but, in a Railway Employment Record, it is noted that he resigned in April 2011!!!! Well done and thank you both.

This is where it gets confusing though ..... I found the Medal Index Card for Driver William A Cape, 'N' Battery RHA, 65319 - there is no reference to him being killed nor can I find him as CWGC War Dead. But my second cousin says that her Grandmother (William's sister) went trying to find his grave in Belguim after the war!!!!!

What say you?

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I'll try and come back tomorrow with more info (if possible) ... my cousin is going to telephone her mother tomorrow. I know family-lore can get confused down the years ... it will be interesting to see if we can get to the bottom of this particular tale ..... Many thanks again Heather

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Hi there ..... so, unfortunately, I can offer no further information re the believed death of William. Is there any advice about where to go now? The family have always believed he was killed and a "sister tried to find his grave in Belguim" but they hold nothing to prove this death ......

Has it ever been known ... that a man has been killed but there is no record of it ..... and, thus, he isn't recorded? It seems unlikely to me but I don't know ..... Heather

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I've been thinking that perhaps it had been someone else whose grave was searched for .... the family mentioned he lived in Willesden at some point and I've found a William Alfred Cape's death in Willesden in 1954. So I think there's been a mix-up of recollections.

Thanks Andrew, John and battiscombe ..... you have really helped with the uniform and the family now knows the regiment etc ..... it's all much appreciated .... Heather

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any ideas where he might have come from? I think Cape tends to be most common in the north ..

There are a few Wm Capes in the 1911 census if it was NOT him in the army at that date. http://www.1911census.co.uk/search/results4.aspx?x=343667683

[ he does not appear in a military listing in the English census but could very possibly have been in a depot in ireland by census date [2/3 April 1911 ?? I think in ireland .. which could well be about the day that Wm Cape enlisted!]..... as most military men are not listed by name.. but only initials]. any census record should show his age and where he came from.. but if you search the Irish census under his initials you might just come across a man whose pre-army profession was as a 'railwayman' of some kind ?? I cant see anyone with those initials in the lists I have from the 2nd Depot at Athlone though ..

.. but having a photo of a prewar RHA man seem reasonably convincing that that was him .. there were not large numbers of RHA gunners.. and only one with the right name...

posts have crossed .. but 1911 census may provide a lead of some kind..

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Hi battiscombe ..... everything you good experts posted makes sense for William. I have the right man in the 1911 census - he is down as W. Alfred at 24 Ranston Street, Marylebone with his parents and two sisters. He is a "Carman, G W Railway". The census date was 2 April and then I found him recorded in a Railway Employment Record ... he had joined in 1906 as a "pcl cart guard" and in 1909 he became a carman - working at Paddington for both.

You wrote "Driver William A Cape, 'N' Battery RHA - his number 65319 suggests enlisted April/May 1911 .. so this is 1917 at least .. " and his Railway record shows for 19/20 April 1911 "late on duty after previous cautions". Next column: "Suspended one week". Next column: "April 1911. Resigned" ...... so I think that ties in nicely. So I think he makes his mind up to join the army .... after having a bit of bother on the railway. His heart was obviously not in the work anymore, if he keeps being late.

William married on 20 January 1917 and, last evening, I heard from my 2nd cousin that "February 1917" is written on the back of the photo so all observations fit - lots of confirmations. To date, I've only done enough research to try and ID this lad - his father and grandfather were born Marylebone and Clerkenwell respectfully .... I'll let my second cousin enjoy the delights of going back further ....

It must be gratifying for you all when you hit the nail on the head with your knowledgeable observations :-) thanks SO much .... Heather

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Hi all ....

as a parting shot, my second cousin has said that this is all so strange "Grandma definitely told me, William was killed in the First World War along with his close friend called Charlie ...". Her mother lived in the area of Willesden and met all the William's sisters but never him!!

All very strange .... yes .... Heather

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