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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Medals if in India? And was he commissioned


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Hello All

My Great Grandfather William Robert Brown served in the Royal Field Artillery.

On the 1911 Census he was a Sgt in Aldershot with 117 Battery RFA,born Derry, Londonderry 1879/1880, i also have a 1911 baptism record of my G,Great Uncle which says occupation of Father... Sgt 117 Bty RFA.

I have tried to find a service record and medal card for him, but to no avail.

I have recently discovered a letter dated April 1919 from a Captain Botting O C no 12 Ammunition Column RFA in Amritsar India, in the letter it says ' i have known Sgt Major William Brown since being in command of this unit, it then goes on to say how good his service was and he would recommend him to any further employer, but hope he would return to this unit etc.

I also have a marriage certificate for my Grand parents which says Occupation of Father, which says he has died but it says Officer, Army.

The question i have please is, would my Great Grandfather be entitled to any of the War medals being in India, or was he in France before he went to India and i just cannot find his MIC?.

Also, was he commissioned?

Your help and time, as always, is greatly appreciated

Thank you


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Having said that, i've just found a medal card on Ancestry for a William R Brown Gnr then Sgt number 46097 for the 1915 star, could this be his?

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No its not his, its a William 'Reid' Brown. never mind.

Can anyone help?

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117 Battery was part of 26 Brigade RFA which may or may not have been in India prior to the war,a fair few of our Army units were there. What 26 Bde RFA certainly was was a part of 1 Division's artillery complement on the landing in France of the BEF in August 1914. Your man had obviously been posted to India,but not necessarily with this Brigade as it seems that he was part of 12 Ammunition Column RFA in Amritsar later in the war. Yet there is a Medal Index Card for a Gunner and then a Sgt 46097 RFA with the similar name (where did you get Reid from ?) who was awarded a 1914-15 Star plus the Brit War and Victory Medals. So it is possible that your man could have gone to France with 26 Bde RFA at some point early on (but not in 1914 during the qualifying period up to late November as he would have got a 1914 Star !). Some units were recalled home from India to fight in France and it would not be beyond the bounds of possibility that he arrived home and went off to France to do that. I need to poke around a bit to try and clarify.

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Thank you for your reply's. I got the 'Reid' from a service record on Ancestry, 46097 William Reid Brown, who was promoted to SGT, so its not my Great Grandfather's MIC :(

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He would have qualified for a BWM by virtue of his service in India.

The MIC's can be unreliable - check both databases (National Archives & Ancestry) because some MIC's that are present on one have been found to be absent on the other. Secondly, it would be possible for him to be listed on the MIC as William Robert, William R., William, W.R., or just plain W. If he was a sergeant in 1911 and a BSM in 1919 then it's possible for his rank to be shown on the MIC as Sergeant, Serjeant or Warrant Officer class 1 or 2. All very confusing, but just make sure that you try all sorts of combinations before concluding that there is no MIC.

Might also be worth checking the next-of-kin details of William Reid Brown, just in case.

Also, if he was described as an officer (deceased) on your grandparents marriage cert then it's got to be possible that he re-joined the army sometime after April 1919 and that his service papers might still be with the MOD.

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Thank you all again, i'll check all those resources.

Your time is appreciated

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  • 3 weeks later...


I've found my Great Grandfathers Medal card.

I trawled through the W Browns and found it! Its on Ancestry, on advanced search put in Brown and Army number 1040246.

He was in France with the BEF from 16 Aug 1914 til 1917, he has the 1914 Star with clasp and War and Victory respectfully.

Also the Indian General service medal NWF Afghanistan clasp.

While in France he served with 117 Battery 26 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.

I've also found on Find my past his Royal Artillery attestation. He was not commissioned, he left as a Bty Sgt Maj.

I'm so pleased that a bit of patients paid off.

I am also very proud to know that my Great Grandfather fought in the Great War, and i could get a bit of a lump in my throat knowing that 100 years ago he would have been over there in the bitter winter of 1914.

I hope you chaps don't mind me sharing this with you, i just want to let people know.

Does anyone know any sites or anywhere i could get photo's of 26 bde RFA or 117 Battery?

Thank you all

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Great find Dragoon,

You have been rewarded for your searching skills.

And rightly Proud you should be.

I am sure it was difficult to find Bill Brown amongst all the soldiers. Well done.

I found it hard too, searching for my folk, and I have some easy names to find.

I know that when you found your GGF a light came on in your world.

If you could just add RFA into your topic title you will attract other like minded members who will help with your adventure..

I know I did when I was researching number (1) on my tree below.


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