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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Trench Mortar Battery & 2nd Duke of Wellington (West Riding) Regt

Nipper Alan

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Hello Forum

My grandfather, Private Thomas Howe (service no. 15292) of Mirfield, West Yorkshire enlisted in the Duke of Wellington (West Riding) Regiment in Halifax in early February 1915. After training with the 3rd (Reserve) Bn Duke of Wellingtons he embarked for France in February 1916 and on the 16th joined the 2nd Duke of Wellingtons. In April 1916 he was training at a Trench Mortar School in France and on the 29th April 1916 he was posted to the 12/2 Trench Mortar Battery (TMB).

The 2nd Duke of Wellingtons were part of the 12th Brigade in the 4th Division and fought on the Somme on 1st July 1916. I have the War Diaries for the 12th TMB which include this fateful day.

My first question is this. 12/2 TMB obviously refers to the 12th Brigade Trench Mortar Battery BUT I have always wondered what the "2" refers to. Could it be 2 section of the 12th TMB I wonder? This is quite important since two sections are mentioned in the War Diary for 1st July 1916 and they were in different trench locations at Beaumont Hamel on that day.

After the Armistice Private Tommy Howe remained with his "cap badge" regiment, the 2nd Duke of Wellingtons, until mid March 1919 when he returned to Blighty. The War Diary ends in January 1919 when he was in Binchy, Belgium. I wondered if anyone knew what the 2nd Dukes were up to in February/March 1919 - did they ever get to Germany?

By November 1918 he would have been in the Army for 3 years and 9 months having enlisted in February 1915. Would he have been "entitled" to de-mobilistation earlier than March 1919 when he was demobbed? Would he have volunteered to remain in France?

I suppose that he was involved in de-commissioning work between November 1918 and March 1919 but I also wondered if any Forum members knew what this may have involved?

Sorry - there are lots of questions here but it would be wonderful to be able to tie up some of the loose ends. My father is still alive at 88 but his father, Tommy Howe, never spoke to him at all about his war exploits. If members can assist they will make two old men very happy!

Thanks for taking the trouble to read this.

Regards Alan

PS His service record has survived

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I would recommend getting the War Diary of the 12th Brigade and the Divisional War Diary as these always give a much better overall impression of what was going on as the TMB War Diaries are often quite limited. Many of the Brigade had two Stokes light mortar batteries at this time so the Brigade War Diary may refer to a 12/1 and 12/2 Stokes Trench Mortar Battery.


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Thanks for this. The TMB War Diary carries the legend "4th Division 12th Infantry Brigade L.T.M.B" which suggests there was only one TM Battery but I will double check.

I also obtained several of the 12th's Infantry Battalion Diaries to fill out the detail because, as you say, the diary was fairly limited. I didn't look for the 12th Brigade or the Divisional Diaries so that's a good shout.

Thank you for the advice. Much appreciated


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  • 1 year later...

My grand father Gordon McMillan joined 2nd battalion Duke of Wellington regt 1908-1912 on reserve list and recalled 1914 

wounded and lost small finger of right hand on 1st day of battle of Somme love to get a photo of him 

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