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Cam_s

242nd Army Brigade RFA - War Diaries

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Cam_s

I have been having some difficulty in finding the WW1 War Diaries for the 242nd Army Brigade RFA on the National Archives Discovery Portal. I have tried a bunch of different naming combinations and only come up with medal cards.

Does anyone know what the call numbers are for these war diaries? Do they even exist? I am specifically trying to find information for their operations with the II ANZAC Corps in July 1917.

Thanks,

Cam

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David Porter

This is what WO 95/205 was like before Discovery and the downloads came on the scene.

WO 95/205 242 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 Jan. - 1919 Feb.
WO 95/205 277 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 Jan. - 1919 July
WO 95/205 282 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 Jan. - 1919 May
WO 95/205 293 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 Jan. - 1919 June
WO 95/205 311 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 Jan. - 1919 May
Now it is a mess - just look at the covering dates for the 6 files that purport to be 277 Army Field Artillery Brigade

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Cam_s

Thanks,

So if I were to go to the NA and request WO 95/205 the war diary should be in that box? Looking on the NA search, 242 doesn't even come up under that listing.

Cam

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David Porter

At the NA you should be able to download any War Diary for free. So I would start with the first file, second file and third file (and possibly fourth file) in WO95/205 and hope you get 242 Army Brigade for the whole period they existed. Otherwise I would not pay for badly indexed files as downloads. 242 Brigade was there before they started to meddle so it should still be there now, but it has been lost in translation. Good Luck.

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rflory

The war diary for 242nd Brigade, RFA from Apr 1915 to Dec 1916 is available at TNA under WO 95/2750 (345 images)(listed as 242 South Midland Brigade Royal Field Artillery). The war diary for the Brigade from Jan 1917 to Feb 1919 is available under WO 95/205 (341 images)(interestingly I can't find this in the TNA catalog, even by entering the file number, but I have a copy of the diary so it does exist at TNA).

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David_Underdown

Apologies, I think I've got to the bottom of this now, and will send the list of amendments on to the relevant person shortly to get it fixed, for the time being here is what the descriptions should say:

  • WO 95/205/1, WO 95/205/2, WO 95/205/3 are listed as 277 Army Field Artillery Brigade but should be 242 Army Field Artillery Brigade (covering dates are correct, but note that the original first page of /1 states the whole range of dates from Jan 1917 to Feb 1919 which might be confusing)
  • WO 95/205/4 is again listed as 277 Army Field Artillery Brigade, but should be 242 Army Field Artillery Brigade Park Section ASC. Again covering dates are correct
  • WO 95/205/5 is all fine as it is (description and covering dates)
  • WO 95/205/6 is again listed as 277 Army Field Artillery Brigade, but should be 277 Army Field Artillery Brigade Park Section ASC, covering dates OK
  • WO 95/205/7 is indeed 282 Army Field Artillery Brigade as listed, but so far as I can see it only runs to June 1919, so covering dates should be changed to reflect that.
  • WO 95/207/8 is 293 Army Field Artillery Brigade as listed, the covering dates shown 1915 Oct – 1919 June are broadly correct, but it appears no diaries were kept 1916 Apr – 1916 Dec (the brigade was still in the UK at that time, so there was no requirement to keep diaries)
  • WO 95/207/9 is 311 Army Field Artillery Brigade as listed, and covering dates are correct.

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Cam_s

Thanks Guys,

Much Appreciated.

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David Porter

David Underdown,

Thank you for sorting this one out quickly. It does, however, show up a lack of attention that was not double checked at the time.

Surprised to see the Park Section ASC Diaries there that were not even listed under the old system.

I did try and order this piece myself last year at the NA and was told it was unavailable.

It is good to know what the nine new sub-divisions contain.

BTW - the last two you have mistakenly listed as 207 instead of 205

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Cam_s

The war diary for 242nd Brigade, RFA from Apr 1915 to Dec 1916 is available at TNA under WO 95/2750 (345 images)(listed as 242 South Midland Brigade Royal Field Artillery). The war diary for the Brigade from Jan 1917 to Feb 1919 is available under WO 95/205 (341 images)(interestingly I can't find this in the TNA catalog, even by entering the file number, but I have a copy of the diary so it does exist at TNA).

If you have a copy, would you be able to send me a copy of the daily reports or any observations for 22 July 17? Just trying to figure out everything that was happening that day on the front.

Thanks,

Cam

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David_Underdown

David Underdown,

Thank you for sorting this one out quickly. It does, however, show up a lack of attention that was not double checked at the time.

Surprised to see the Park Section ASC Diaries there that were not even listed under the old system.

I did try and order this piece myself last year at the NA and was told it was unavailable.

It is good to know what the nine new sub-divisions contain.

BTW - the last two you have mistakenly listed as 207 instead of 205

Just shows how easy it is to make a mistake! I'll make sure I point that that out here too. It should have been picked up, though these diaries would have been quite early in the scanning, so not all the processes had bedded down then. I think that at that stage the QA team were concentrating more on checking simply that the images were correct (ie in focus, none missed out, etc) than checking the dates and units in the description also matched. I'm pretty sure this changed later in the year. With any digitisation process on this scale there are always going to be some things that slip through, tough we're always looking for ways to reduce that, particularly ways that a process can be automated (humans aren't actually that good at repetitive checking, we tend to get bored!).

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rflory

Cam: 242 Brigade, RFA war diary for 22 July 1917:

Fort Pinkie, Wulverghem: Our batteries firing to allotment of 75 rounds per 18 pdrs and 50 rnds. per 4.5 Hows. Enemy front trench system only within range. 4.5 Hows. shell Warneton.

If you wish a copy of the page PM me your email address.

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Cam_s

Thanks for the help. PM sent.

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kevin donaldson

I have been trying for months to obtain the 242 brigade war diary for 1917-19 as my great grandfather served with this brigade, im pleased i have seen this thread

Kevin Donaldson

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Cam_s

Just shows how easy it is to make a mistake! I'll make sure I point that that out here too. It should have been picked up, though these diaries would have been quite early in the scanning, so not all the processes had bedded down then. I think that at that stage the QA team were concentrating more on checking simply that the images were correct (ie in focus, none missed out, etc) than checking the dates and units in the description also matched. I'm pretty sure this changed later in the year. With any digitisation process on this scale there are always going to be some things that slip through, tough we're always looking for ways to reduce that, particularly ways that a process can be automated (humans aren't actually that good at repetitive checking, we tend to get bored!).

David, so is there a project right now to digitize all the WW1 Archives at the NA?

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rflory

Tonight I ran into another problem with RFA brigade war diaries in the TNA catalogue. I downloaded the war diary for 13th Brigade, RFA (WO 95/3937/1) which was listed in the TNA catalogue as covering the period August 1914 to December 1915 only to find that the war diary only covers the period August 1914 to May 1915 - very disappointing as I was interested in an officer who did not join the brigade until July 1915. I have notified TNA.

Regards, Dick Flory

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David_Underdown

David, so is there a project right now to digitize all the WW1 Archives at the NA?

Not all, but the war diaries should be done by the end of the centenary period, though there's unfortunately a break in imaging this financial year (April 2016 - March 2017), but we're ahead of where we'd initially anticipated at this point. We're still pushing out previously digitised material onto Discovery now (we'll shortly be moving on to some non-Western Front material).

Sorry about that Dick - that's from the first batch of material that was done where there were more QA issues. It looks like the problem is with the original cover page which originally indicated Jan 1915 - May 1915, but was later crossed out and the longer range put on.

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Cam_s

Will you still be able to access the original documents if you visit the Archives?

I have noticed some files aren't the easiest to read and seeing items like maps in various files can be easier to make out in person.

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David_Underdown

General ordering is usually stopped once material has been digitised - part of the rationale for digitisation is that it reduces handling damage to the originals. However, you can make a case for why the surrogate (ie the digitised image) is insufficient in a particular instance, and access may be granted. Often though the originals are just as hard to read (after all they were largely written in pencil on not particularly high quality paper, perhaps in a dugout, under fire, by candlelight), and in fact you can do more with the images (change contrast etc) to bring out the text or whatever than you would be able to do with the originals. Maps can be problematic, particularly if they are ones that were so big that they had to be imaged in sections to get the resolution required, and to make the images workable for download, the copies made available in Discovery are reduced in resolution from the master copies we hold - the uncompressed original for a foolscap page is around 27MB at 300 PPI, we store the masters using the JPEG2000 file format, which applies around 6-fold compression, so you're still talking over 4MB per page, which just isn't practical for download still.

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Wina

 I am trying to locate the war diary for the 242 RFA from 20.1.1917. The Imperial War Museum appear to have a copy but not the National Archives at Kew and it is not listed on Ancestry after 1916.I am researching Lt Norrys Aubrey Best KIA 19.7.1917 near Ypres. Any help here would be very appreciated please.

Edwina Rees

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MaxD

Welcome.  It does seem as if you have searched correctly, apart from the IWM, no sign. 

 

If no one appears wio has their own copy, the RA Museum at Larkhill now have almost all of their archives to hand and are able to field queries. Contact through:

mailto:enquiries@royalartillerymuseum.com

 

Let us know how you get on.

 

Max

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David Porter
1 hour ago, Wina said:

I am trying to locate the war diary for the 242 RFA from 20.1.1917. The Imperial War Museum appear to have a copy but not the National Archives at Kew

 

Welcome to the Forum Edwina,

 

If you read the entire thread you will find that the indexing of these diaries on the NA Discovery system is sadly lacking.

I would suggest following post #7, in that the first three files in WO95 205 point to 242nd Army Brigade RFA from January 1917.

However, I would also point out that the Graves Registration Report gives his unit as 33rd Battery in 33rd Brigade RFA.

Sadly, the NA diary for that brigade has the pages for July and August 1917 missing! As already said try RA Museum at Larkhill. 

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MaxD

David

 

The present National Archives listing of WO 95/205/1 to /3  is 242 Army Field Artillery Brigade Section ASC various dates which is not quite what post 7 was wanting to achieve - or is it?

 

Max

 

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MaxD

Loose end - David has kindly clarified the position  - as posted in #22.  

 

Max

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rflory

From Service Record of King Edward's School, Birmingham 1914-1919:

 

BEST ,NORRYS AUBREY (1908-1915)

Dec. 1915, 2nd Lieut, RFA TF (3/3 S Midland Bde RFA)

Went to France Sept, 1916 with 2n Section, 8th Divisional Ammunition Column, RFA

Later served with 33rd Battery, 8th Division

Killed near Ypres, 19 July 1917

Buried at Vlammertinghe

 

 

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