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Remembered Today:

343 Siege Battery RGA


Sgt Stripes
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My Grandfather 114796 GNR LLEWELLYN DARLINGTON, served in 343 Siege Battery RGA during WW1. He died one year before I was born and apart from his war and victory medals, one ID disc and a photograph in his uniform we have no other details on him concerning his service. There are no service papers and he has no entries in Forces war records. I believe the battery consisted of two 12in Mark 111 Howitzers on railway mountings and I know the battery landed in France in late May 1917. If anyone could give me details of the battery's service after this date, IE where it served, actions, casualties and how many men it took to operate one of the guns, the family would be really crateful. Many thanks    

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Starter, this thread may be of interest.

Acknown

 

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This may also help: it relates to the Mk I but the Mk III and Mk V would have had the same personnel.

 

December 1917: Battery of 12" howitzers Mark I (Elswick) (2 guns on bogie trucks)
Major, Captain, 4 Subalterns;
BSM, BQMS, 4 Serjeants, 1 Wheeler, 2 Smiths, 1 Trumpeter, 4 Corporals, 6 Bombardiers, 74 Gunners, 6 Batmen.
Attached: 2 Armament Artificers AOC.

 

Source: War Establishments tables, in class WO24 at Kew.
 

Ron

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I remember when looking for information many years ago that I saw I photograph of a 12in Battery being inspected by the Maharajah of Patiala. Why was this particular Battery visited by such a distinguish person     

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Sgt Stripes,

 

343 Sge formed Jan17 Pembroke Dock.

To WF 27.5.17

On L of C till 14.6.17

Joined XIV Corps 15.6.17

85 HAG 22.6.17

66 HAG 2.9.17

22 HAG 16.10.17

10 HAG 22.11.17

73 HAG 12.12.17

11 HAG 20.2.18

Became Army Troops Mar18

 

CWGC Casualties (Fatalities only) x 11 inclusive of 2 Officers.

 

Rgds Paul

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The then Maharaja of Patiala, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, was a fascinating character as a search of the web will indicate. Amongst many other achievements, it seems that he served on the General Staff in France, Belgium, Italy and Palestine in the First World War as an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, being promoted to Honorary Major General in 1918 and Honorary Lieutenant General in 1931.
This website shows him inspecting a railway gun: http://digital.nls.uk/first-world-war-official-photographs/archive/74546962. 
I suspect that he was somewhat of a celebrity and undertook many representative and morale-raising visits, particularly as some 100,000 Sikhs served on all fronts during the war ('Sikhs in Britain: The Making of a Community' by By Gurharpal Singh and Darsham Singh Tatla, Zed Books, 2006).
Acknown

 

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Your right Acknown. What a character. I wonder what medals were awarded to him. Does anyone know the maximum range these guns could fire and how long did it take to load and fire them also was there a wagon where the gun crew were quartered.   

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I propose that it is a Mark 111 British Ordnance BL 12-inch howitzer, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BL_12-inch_railway_howitzer, though I suspect that the artillery experts among us will soon tell you if this is right, which battery operated it and what the crew had for breakfast!

Try tagging your post 'railway guns' to attract their attention.

Acknown

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On 7/16/2017 at 12:57, Sgt Stripes said:

Does anyone know the maximum range these guns could fire ... also was there a wagon where the gun crew were quartered. 

According to "Rail Gun" by Ian Hogg and John Batchelor, the maximum range of the Mk I was 11,130 yards and of the Mk  III and Mk V, 15,000 yards. The book has two illustrations of such guns in action, and both show a truck behind the gun which may have been a personnel truck but was more likely an equipment or ammunition truck. Other illustrations in the book show a personnel coach as part of the "train" which moved the gun.

 

Ron

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Many thanks Ron. I will have to get that book.

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