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Remembered Today:

RGA 86th Heavy Battery Mesopotamia


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An cousin of mine died at Kut 30/12/1915, who served as a Captain in the 86th Royal Garrison Artillery.

I have one account 34 pages on the Kut, I have another (to read) Kut 1916 Courage and Failure in Iraq, Patrick Crowley, from a quick look at the index there is little / no ref to the above unit or even the RGA.

A look at the web shows that the unit came from India to Mesopotamia, so far I was not aware that he was ever in India either. Yes I need to check his service records archives.

Captain Claude Lionel Garnett RGA, died of wounds.

To help me start this web hunt, any information would be useful, thanks in advance, JG

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I am not sure you will find much on the web. As you have said you need his records, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1059829 , and the war diary, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7362232 .

Although a Captain I believe he was OC of 86th Heavy Battery and some of the 5 inch BL guns were used on barges. Coming from India their establishment included a higher proportion of Indian gunners and the use of bullocks. The war diary is, of course, what you should get.


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Thanks, I have discovered a little more ref CLG, he had a regular commission and did transfer from India with the unit, the empire units may have had older guns, the barge comment makes sense (I am not sure if the navy or Army managed the river boats of which there seem to be may types) though from his death advise he may have been acting as infantry!

The web is light on the Indian Expeditionary Force, the 86th RGA in general, there is more on the Egyptian EF which is too late, hence my struggle, the service record we have tried had not been digitized so we have to be quoted for it, I will now follow up your suggestions.

He chose the army as his profession and entered the Royal Military Academy Woolwich. Joined the Royal Artillery as 2nd Lieutenant in December 1903 and gained Captaincy in October 1914. He was in India at the outbreak of war and he has served at the front with an Indian Expeditionary Force.

He was leading his men in battle in Kut el Amara in modern day Iraq, when he was shot. He succumbed to the wounds he received on Christmas Eve.


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86th Heavy Battery RGA

4 x 5" guns, Co Lt-Col M.H.Courtenay (County Wicklow), died of wounds 4th Jan 1916

Claude Lionel Garnett Captain (Lancashire) died of wounds 30 or 31st Dec 1915

Divisional Artillery, 12th Indian Division.

The 12th Indian Division was formed in March 1915 from units of the British Indian Army. It formed part of the Tigris Corps, for service during the Mesopotamia Campaign of World War I. The Division arrived in Mesopotamia in April 1915 and remained there until it was broken up in March 1916. The Division's brigades remained in Mesopotamia as independent formations until forming part of the 15th Indian Division in May 1916.[1] During its short existence it fought in a number of actions including the Battle of Shaiba between April 12–14, 1915, the Battle of Khafajiya between May 14–16, 1915, the Battle of Nasiriya between July 5, 13-14, 24 1915, where 400 British and Indian soldiers were killed in the battle and up to 2,000 Turkish Soldiers.[citation needed] The Occupation of Nasiriya and the affair at Butanuja, January 14, 1916.[1]

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Captain Claude Lionel Garnett, RGA

Born on 2 December 1883

Educated at Bradfield College from May 1898 to July 1901 (Prefect, 1901)

Gentleman Cadet, RMA Woolwich, 1901-1903 (Entered 54th in Order of Merit and left 52nd)

2nd Lieut., RGA, 23 December 1903

Served in at Aden (and later Agra) with No. 51 Company, RGA from June 1904 to August 1910

Lieut, RGA, 23 December 1906

From August 1910 to December 1912 he served with No. 23 Siege Company, RGA at Fort Grange, Gosport

Served at Peshawar and Multan, India with No. 86 Heavy Battery, RGA from December 1912 to February 1915

Captain, RGA, 30 Oct 1914

Embarked on the SS Varsova at Karachi on 2 March 1915 in command of 86 Heavy Battery, RGA

Disembarked with his battery at Basra on 10 March 1915

Garnett and his battery served at the following locations during 1915:

Khora Post from 15 Mar 15 to 3 Apr 15

Kurna from 5-12 Apr 15

At Khora Fort from 13-14 Apr 15

At Zobier Gate Post from 15-26 Apr 15

At Kurna from 27 Apr 15 to 1 Jun 15

With No. 1 Section of the Battery at Amara from 1 June to 10 Sep 1915

On the Tigris River on 11 Sep 1915

From 12-13 Sep 1915 it was at Ali-el-Gharli

At Gunfad and Sheikhsaad ffrom 14-15 Sep 15

At Sannaiyatt from 16-26 Sep 15

At Nakhailat from 27-28 Sep 15

The battery was before Kut from 28-29 Sep 15

From 30 Sep 15 to his death Garnett was in command of 86th Heavy Battery, RGA at Kut

Died of wounds at Kut al Amari, Mesopotamia on 31 December 1915 while serving with 1st/86th Heavy Battery, RGA

Mentioned in Despatches in London Gazette of 5 April 1916 for the Euphrates operations from 26 June 1915 to 25 July 1915


The Bradfield College Register, 1924

The London Gazette

List of Officers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery from June 1862 to June 1914

Various Army Lists

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Thanks, much appreciated now I really do have more searching to do to add to what you have discovered, should I assume that I try the units and the web, I have also been accessing various books on Kut, and the campaign in general. From your list maybe I should have started with the RA and Bradfield, regards John

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One reference I forgot to add to my list of sources is the war diary of 86th Heavy Battery, RGA from February 1915 to October 1915. It can be found at The National Archives under WO 95/5119. Captain Garnett is mentioned numerous times.

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In one of the books - In Kut and captivity with the Indian 6th Division, I have even found the section describing that a 40 pounder shell burst on the divisional staff office seriously wounding his Co. Lt Col Courtney, himself and killing Capt Begg. available to download on archive.org

Given his Indian service can one give me any key words that I should use for internet searches apart from the units names?

thanks John

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Searching generally may not pick up information from online books. Occasionally/sometimes it will. However, It all depends how accurate the underlying OCR in these books, is.

The FIBIS Fibiwiki page Mesopotamia Campaign has links to many online books. Many of these have an index at the back of the book, which you can look at, in addition to searching within each book.




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  • 5 months later...
Guest Bill DionWatson

Old Sweats

I have Claude Lionel Garnett's sword and pictured obituary and would be happy to send you a photo of it. I learned a good bit from a small, limited book that was published in 1935 and was written by Col. R. Evans, MC, titled "A Brief Outline of the Campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918". It gets in very good detail some of the details of the various battles that took place in the area during this time and has some maps with it. Another great on is "The Siege" by Russell Braddon. My understanding on your cousin is that there was an attack on Kut on December 24th, 1915 and that is when he was wounded and died on December 31st from the wounds. He is buried in Kut Cemetery which has been vandalized over the years and was, around 2006, cleaned up and put back into some order by U.S. Marines out of respect for the British that had perished there. Once they left, the locals came back in and tore it up some more. hope this helps. Cheers!


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I learned a good bit from a small, limited book that was published in 1935 and was written by Col. R. Evans, MC, titled "A Brief Outline of the Campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918". It gets in very good detail some of the details of the various battles that took place in the area during this time and has some maps with it.

This book is available online, 1926 edition. See the link in post 10 above.



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