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Remembered Today:

RGA - then RAF - then RGA again?


Willywombat
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All,

Please see the below MIC.

I may be interpreting this wrongly but it appears that this chap first joined the RGA as Gunner 124 (and his 1915 Star seems to be marked up to the RGA).

We then have his British War Medal and Victory Medals also marked up as RGA with the later service number 291666. This is entirely consistent with a run of RGA men who have service numbers starting from 101 and going through to the low 200s, all of whom are then given consecutive six-figure numbers that run in the same sequence (in other words 125 becomes 291667, 126 becomes 291668 etc).

The question is, of course, what the RAF number is doing in there!

My assumption is that he joined the RAF/RFC and then returned to the RGA.

Now, if that was the case, and he was re-issued his old 124 number on rejoining the RGA, why does the MIC refer to the RAF and not the RFC (apart from the medal roll reference under the box for the 15 Star)?

If he had rejoined the RGA before the six-figure numbers were issued, then that was before the RAF was formed!

Would anyone with knowledge of RAF/RFC numbers be able to help?

Many thanks,

Bob.

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Bob,

This is from the lists I have:

RAF: 340001 to 360000 Sep 1919 Civilians (completed 16.6.25)

The 6 digit RGA number is 1917 re-numbering for: 129 Bristol HB 291580 - 291780

Therefore, I would say RGA and possibly re-enlistment into the RAF.

Phil

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Interesting....

Yes, he was indeed 129 HB. He was a police officer and joined up with lots of his colleagues in 1915, many of whom joined 129 HB, which was composed mainly of police officers.

Perhaps he decided that the police wasn't for him anymore and saw his future in aviation?

I'll need to get hold of his service record to find out!

Thanks, Phil.

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We then have his British War Medal and Victory Medals also marked up as RGA with the later service number 291666. This is entirely consistent with a run of RGA men who have service numbers starting from 101 and going through to the low 200s, all of whom are then given consecutive six-figure numbers that run in the same sequence (in other words 125 becomes 291667, 126 becomes 291668 etc).

Phil,

I think Phil is correct. The first concern when making up the MIC was for his 14/15 Star. This would have been engraved 124 and Gnr. with the RGA. His V & BW medals would have been engraved with again Gnr, but with 291666. It would appear that the RFA sent a duplicate but was later deleted. You would need to see their medal roll to verify that.

The unusual thing is that it implies he went out on the 8th Oct 1915 which was obviously not with 129th Heavy Battery, in fact it would have been just 5 months after enlisting so one one have thought that he was posted to probably the Heavy Depot fairly quickly, and then to a battery that went out at that time.

129th Bristol Heavy Batteries number sequence started at 1 and they enlisted up to 241. See http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=207439 . I have seen 49 mens records who enlisted with this battery (plus other members who may be mentioned in any of those), of which 17 were policemen. If the proportion of policemen to other occupations were the same for the rest of the battery it would certainly be a very high concentration from the force, but by no means could one say they made up the majority without knowing the full nominal roll.

Kevin

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Thanks, Kevin.

You've obviously done some work on this and I can see I might need the benefit of your expertise!

When did 129 HB go out? Their war diary is incomplete and I've not yet managed to sort out the nightmare of which artillery brigades etc. they belonged to, and at what times, nor yet looked at the war diaries.

The battery was known in the press as the "Bristol Heavy Battery" (as you know) or sometimes the "Police Heavy Battery".

I have various newspaper clippings that indicate that a very large number were police officers, mainly from Gloucestershire or Bristol. There are then reports of police officers from Hereford, Birmingham and Devon hearing about it and applying.

I have 61 (I think) who joined this battery (out of 80-odd who were accepted for the forces from Gloucestershire Constabulary in May 1915), all of them in the number sequence you mention.

I've come across all this as a result of researching the Gloucestershire Constabulary memorial, which helpfully lists names, units and those who served as well as those who died.

Bob.

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  • 11 months later...

Recently bought the posttcard below so I was interested to read this thread.

So far confident on

Thomas John Henry Jullien (1869 1956) Lt 18 6 15 (formidable RGA service)

and

Lionel Edward Doré (1891 - 1959)

Seems a fascinating unit.

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=

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post-50-0-78048400-1445189225_thumb.jpg

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Out of interest, what's the date on the postmark, Simon?

I have found a 2/Lt Peart in the RGA medal rolls (previously BQMS). I suspect, though, that this photo is early war. Do I see cuff ranks on the officers?

If so, what are the chances of a BQMS getting commissioned at such an early stage?

Bob.

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I read 20 SP 15: 20/09/1915?

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