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canningplace

'D' Battery 149th Brigade and 198th Brigade

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canningplace

Hello everyone

I have never been on a forum before so I hope I am posting this in the right place!

I have been researching my Great Grandfathers military service and as his service record didn't survive I am left with a few pieces of information that (with my limited knowledge of formations and battles of the Great War), seem to conflict.

He name was Bertram Henry Reynolds and was from Liverpool. He was a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery and served from November 1915 to his death on the 20th May 1918.

His number was L/3458 and he was buried at Le Peuplier Cemetary, Caeste, Nord france. The details from the cemetary are below:

REYNOLDS B
United Kingdom
Gunner Royal Field Artillery
'D' Bty. (Battery) 198th Bde. (Brigade)
Death: May 20, 1918
Inscription:
Royal Field Artillery
Number: L/3458

I have his medical card and medal entitlements and yesterday found his Record of Effects sheet on Ancestry. This is where the confusion started because on the Effect Sheet it states he was in 'D' Battery 149th Brigade instead of 198th that is stated on most of his other records.

From what I have found out so far the being in the 198th would suggest the East Lancashire Regiment, with 'D' relating to a Howitzer Battery.

It would be great if anyone could help me clarify why two Brigades are mentioned (or whether it is likely to be a mistake).

I understand that without his service record it would be almost impossible to find out much more about him but I would like to know in which battle he likely died.

Lastly, if he was in the East Lancashire Regiment, was it common for recruits to come from Liverpool?

If it helps I could attach the scans of the information mentioned above.

I hope someone can help.

Thank you in advance.

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johnboy

If he was in RFA that is a stand alone regiment.

If you go to Long Long Trail. top left of this page, click on regiments and Royal Artillery, From there you will find RFA units and some info onthem.

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battiscombe

I am not sure that there was a 198th Brigade RFA [190 is the highest in the 100-200 range I think.. do not confuse this with 198 Infantry Brigade which may well be 'East Lancs' but nothing to do with the artillery .. infantry has 'regiments.'. the artillery did not.. ] so I wonder if there is some error here. I can see no such Brigade listed in Nov 1918. But then he is the only gunner buried in that cemetery at that date.. with lots of Australians.. so all a little strange

149th Brigade RFA was one of the locally raised 'County Palatine' Brigades which was still serving in 30th Division in 1918 - this is consistent with a number in the L/xxxx range.. and he enlisted in Liverpool [according to 'Soldiers Died..']. These units were reorganised at various times and batteries moved to different Brigades so he is quite likely to have swapped batteries at some time [depending on his original battery when enlisting ..]

further to that i see that 148 Bde was somewhere in the Caestre area May 1918 - around 1st Australian Div.. there is no record of any deaths 20th may 1918.. . although some stray bombing episodes in wagon lines with casualties that week 15th-16th may; and C Bty had a man wounded..on 22nd May

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Ron Clifton

Hello canningplace, and welcome to the Forum!

Battiscombe is right: there was no 198 Brigade in the Royal Field Artillery. There was a 198th Infantry Brigade in 66 (2/East Lancs) Division. Transcription errors in the CWGC database are not that rare.

Ron

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johnboy

There was 149 and 198 Battery of RGA. Both served in France.

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David Porter

Looking at other men with numbers in the L/34xx range he appears to have joined 151st Howitzer Brigade RFA around March 17, 1915. The November date you have would be when he went overseas to a war zone. He probably joined "A" battery, as on May 21, 1916 this became "D" battery, 148th Brigade RFA. The 198 is definitely a mis-transcription and I suspect the 149 may just be bad handwriting.

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canningplace

Many thanks for the prompt and very helpful replies. There is plenty for me to go on there and read up further. Cheers.

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Ron Clifton

There was 149 and 198 Battery of RGA. Both served in France.

There were 149 and 198 SIEGE Batteries, and there may have been a 149 Heavy Battery (though not a 198) but these were batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery, entirely separate from the Royal Field Artillery.

Ron

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johnboy

There were 149 and 198 SIEGE Batteries, and there may have been a 149 Heavy Battery (though not a 198) but these were batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery, entirely separate from the Royal Field Artillery.

Ron

I was pointing out that the numbers given existed but not RFA just in case the OP had misread something.

Incidentally, LLT list 149 HB and 198HB RGA as going to France November 1916.

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canningplace

Just to update, further to David Porter's and Battiscombe's information, I downloaded 148th Brigade RFA War Diaries from the National Archives, covering 1915 to 1918.

As informed it mentioned Caestre where he is buried and also supporting Australian troops which explains why there are so many in the same cemetery. The army records state he died on the 20th May but reading the diary I agree it was possibly on the 15th when he was injured and died on the 20th. The period of the 17th to 21st May being "Quiet - Beautiful weather"
I can also understand how a handwritten 148 could have been misread as 198.
Thanks again to everyone who helped me find this information and congratulations on an excellent website.

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canningplace

Thanks Chris, I'll have a look now

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canningplace

I am not sure that there was a 198th Brigade RFA [190 is the highest in the 100-200 range I think.. do not confuse this with 198 Infantry Brigade which may well be 'East Lancs' but nothing to do with the artillery .. infantry has 'regiments.'. the artillery did not.. ] so I wonder if there is some error here. I can see no such Brigade listed in Nov 1918. But then he is the only gunner buried in that cemetery at that date.. with lots of Australians.. so all a little strange

149th Brigade RFA was one of the locally raised 'County Palatine' Brigades which was still serving in 30th Division in 1918 - this is consistent with a number in the L/xxxx range.. and he enlisted in Liverpool [according to 'Soldiers Died..']. These units were reorganised at various times and batteries moved to different Brigades so he is quite likely to have swapped batteries at some time [depending on his original battery when enlisting ..]

further to that i see that 148 Bde was somewhere in the Caestre area May 1918 - around 1st Australian Div.. there is no record of any deaths 20th may 1918.. . although some stray bombing episodes in wagon lines with casualties that week 15th-16th may; and C Bty had a man wounded..on 22nd May

Thanks to the recommendation of Chris I was able to get Bertram's Army Will.

Prior to this and after seeing the War Diaries for the 148th Brigade, I was sure he must have served with them as it mentions both Australian troops and Caestre.

His will however (written in August 1917) says he was in 149th Brigade. I downloaded their Diary but so far haven't seen a mention of Caestre or Australian troops. My knowledge of the Great War battles and units is very small (but increasing every day) so any help would be really appreciated. From what I can gather both Brigades were in the Meteren area in May 1918.

From where the 149th were positioned would it be possible for someone to have been buried in Caestre?

Or is it more likely that between 1917 and 1918 he was transferred? I don't know how common that was for a Gunner in a Howitzer Battery.

Thanks in advance.

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Ron Clifton

148 and 149 Brigades RFA were both part of 30 Division so a transfer between them is not an impossible scenario, especially if he had some special skill such as a signaller or range-taker. There were a number of battery swaps between brigades in May 1916 but none, as far as I know between those two brigades - they each swapped a battery with 151 Brigade, originally an all-howitzer brigade.

Ron

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clk

Hi canningplace,

If there is an "official" cover sheet with his will which states his date/place of death and Brigade, that's the one that I would go with. From what I understand both the 148th and 149th Brigade were part of 30th Division, so to augment the diaries you've already got it might be worth considering getting a copy of the diary of the Commander Royal Artillery, 30th Division. Inevitably it won't answer questions down to an individual man level, but may give more detail than contained in the Brigade diaries. The "headline" contents can be seen at http://www.nmarchive.com/war-diary-result/2317-2601/page/8/ but rather than take out a subscription to that website, it would be cheaper to download from the National Archive http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r/?_q=wo95%2F2317

Good luck with your research.

Regards

Chris

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canningplace

Again excellent information thanks for helping me out, I will look those references up. I'm learning so much from this research which is great. Thank you.

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Andrew Core

Hi

This is first post on this forum. I'm researching my two great uncles in this war one who survived and the other who died.

Peter Molloy bn 1895 joined 149 brigade of RFA in 1915. He survived the war. I've obtained some burnt records of his service history, he was awarded 194/15 star and war medal. His brother Edward Molloy bn 1899 was attached to 8th battallion East lancs regiment. His service number was 39564. I believe this was 'ardwick pals'. They were from longsight in manchester. The battallion was disbanded in jan 18 I believe and then he's transferred to 1st battallion of Northumberland fusiliers. I've downloaded both war diaries from national archives but I'm wondering how he went to 1st btn NF. He died of wounds on 14/04/1918 during the spring offensive. I've read up on the long long trail I'm of the opinion he died in battle of houzebrouk. He is commemorated on Ploogstreet wood memorial. What im wondering is there any connection between 1st btn NF and 149th bge RFA. I'm due to go to France in September this year to visit the memorial.

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