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Remembered Today:

D Batt 50th Brigade R.F.A


The Bendigonian
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Hi is anyone Able to help identify the Soldiers in these 2 photo's ? My Grandfathers Older Brother is seated in the centre of this photo with his fellow officer friends , his name was John Charles Victor Harder (Lieutenant) and he was in D Battery 50th Brigade Royal Field Artillery and was killed on 26th April 1918

and buried at Grootebeek British Cemetary. We also have a letter from his commanding officer and friend J. V. Delahaye (M.C) Major some letters say Jim And others say tom one he signs as 9th R.A.

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Can you offer any likely dates for the photos. it should be possible to track down a few names of officers and senior NCOs... such as battery sergeant major, BQMS etc.. I have a few possible names to start with - depending on date.. it could be early 1918 as the Sgt on the right looks to be wearing a 1914 star ribbon which was not being worn in France before c.Feb 1918... [but its hard to tell] The first picture looks to be a Battery photo, although, as men moved batteries and batteries were shuffled around it may not be D/50 unless certainly known to be.. He was commissioned June 1916 it seems and still as 2Lt [one pip] in May 1917.. so presumably before he made full lieutenant... do you know when he was promoted?

BSM Charles Frederick Hunter 37124 50 Bde D Bty 27/05/1916 24/4/1917 k. BSM Robert Reeves 29739 50 Bde D Bty 25/8/1915 comm. BQMS Alfred James MacAlister 4081 50 Bde D Bty 20/01/1915 16/06/1915

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I also see a lot of casualties in 50th Bde when Lt Harder was killed.. 2Lt Shannon died of wounds; Capt Abraham, 2Lt Quinn, Lt Wallis, Lt McDougall; 2Lt Cooper; Lt Andrew; LtCol J de B Cowan all wounded/gassed.. some likely to be D Bty. the war diary mentions some Farrier Sgts of D/50.. I dont know if would be possible to identify a horsehoe badge on any of the Sgts arm, above chevron??

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Thanks for your Reply , Have had a look with an Eye Glass at Sjts Chevrons doesn't appear to be any horseshoe badges above there only what maybe looks like a crown ? .

At this stage i can only find out that he became a 2nd Lt in a supplement to the London Gazette on 24th June 1916 , The supplement is dated 28th June 1916..He was also Mentioned in Despatches late 1917 and appears in the supplement dated January 1917. Another letter received after his death was from his Colonel W.McLean.. I had another photo to upload but it was too large to post it was titled "Rest Camp 1917"

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One would expect artillery Sgts to have a gun above the chevrons .. The [downloadable] war diary for 50th Brigade http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352511is quite informative on its movements and also mentions quite a lot of officers as well as men receiving medals. Some periods of 'rest' when they were out of the line are identified..But it is also evident the Brigade, and Battery, suffered serious casualties in various episodes late 1917 and early 1918; so officer turnover would have been high. I haven't been able to spot when he joined the Battery, on a quick scan through.. I am also unsure where/when Delahaye fits in - the name is familiar .. a/Major Alfred James Usborne was i think an earlier D Bty commander when killed 30/4/1917, there are a couple of pictures here..

http://www.usbornefamilytree.com/alfred1889.htm

I am not sure if it is him in the centre of this Bty photo..the battery commander looks to have at least 2 medals, one perhaps an MC. I don't think Usborne had an MC

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Here is the Photo Called "Rest Camp 1917" obviously made up of Officers from different branches of the Army Lt Harder is in the back row 4th from the right hand corner of the photo

also pictured is the other Officer pictured in the Group of 3 in the 2nd back row 5th from the Right hand side of the photo you can pick him by his well worn Cap and possibly the Officer in the front row 8th from the right hand side is also the same Officer Pictured in the Group photo outside the Farm building front row 3rd from the Right ? ?

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