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Gas attack in 1915 or very early 1916 involving RHA


tony paley
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Hoping for some information regarding a gas attack in 1915 that could have involved an RHA Battery. Currently I am researching a gunner on behalf of his granddaughter. she has his memorial plaque and medals. so far the information I have is the chap was Gunner 88576 John Samuel Harrison 42 years when he died on 9/3/1916 aged 42 years from the effects of gas. His is buried in Liverpool, his home town, from information on 'Soldiers' section he entered France in March 1915. Unfortunately the CWGC gives his unit as Depot RHA. I am researching Farndale's history of the RA and an Osprey publication on the use of Gas in an effort to establish which RHA batteries may have been in action when gas was used. I am thinking late 1915 as he was returned to UK from theatre but died in March 1916. Any information would be very gratefully received or ideas too.

Tony P

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It is likely that when he was returned to the UK he was transferred for administrative purposes to the RHA Depot, which does not help to identify the battery with which he was serving when he was gassed. I agree that late 1915 is the most plausible - there were some British casualties from their own gas at the Battle of Loos, so that aspect might be worth examining.

 

Remember, too, that there were RHA batteries serving as divisional artillery, notably with 7th, 8th and 29th Divisions. That might help narrow down the field of search.

 

Ron

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9 hours ago, Ron Clifton said:

It is likely that when he was returned to the UK he was transferred for administrative purposes to the RHA Depot, which does not help to identify the battery with which he was serving when he was gassed. I agree that late 1915 is the most plausible - there were some British casualties from their own gas at the Battle of Loos, so that aspect might be worth examining.

 

Remember, too, that there were RHA batteries serving as divisional artillery, notably with 7th, 8th and 29th Divisions. That might help narrow down the field of search.

 

Ron

Thanks for that Ron, as well as Loos there was a Gas attack at Hooge in December 1915. I have the Loos order of battle and did notice RHA batteries attached to Divisions

will keep looking

Tony P

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I have checked some details regarding gas attacks during 1915 involving British troops. With the time line of Gunner John Harrisons entry to theatre, 4th April,1915 and his death in March 1916 the most likely events occurred during 2nd Ypres around the 6th May and the 25th/26th May 1915. Most of the reference books that I have do not seem to cover this period in great detail, however it does seem that the Cavalry Corps' three Divisions were involve. I have also found an account from a Trooper in the 9th Lancers being involved in a Gas attack during this time. The likelihood I think is that Gunner Harrison RHA may well have been effected by gas during these actions. At this early stage of the war I would imagine that precautionary measures would have been quite basic but so far have not seen any figures for gas casualties from this period. If anyone could throw a little light, or point me in the right direction I would be very grateful.

Tony P

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