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Remembered Today:

Royal Garrison Artillery Battery (138th) Locations - August 1917


Great Uncle Ted
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The local heritage trust will be laying a poppy on its Great War display to commemorate the centenary of the death of the first of the town's five, and possibly six, 3rd Battle of Ypres fatalities this Friday (11th August).  The possible sixth fatality is 71464 Fitter Staff Sergeant Verney William Cox of 138th Heavy Battery RGA, who was killed by shellfire on the night of 23rd August 1917 and is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery near the Belgium coast.  I would imagine that he is a 3rd Ypres casualty but have been unable to tie down the battery's location at the time, or the formation it was supporting, to confirm this.  Is anyone familiar with RGA battery locations or subordination able to help please?  

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There is a privately prepared history of this battery: "The Hampstead Heavies" by Walter Wright, who served with the battery. The father of a friend of mine served in this battery, and I researched it for her some years ago.

 

In late June 1917 the battery relieved a French battery on the sand dunes near Nieuport Bains. Shortly afterwards, on 10 July, the Germans began heavily shelling the area: three infantry battalions nearby were virtually wiped out and the battery was lucky to have only six wounded and about twenty gassed around this time. The wagon lines were moved back to Bray Dunes about fourteen miles behind the lines, and there was also enemy bombing activity, but fortunately no casualties: "in the whole period from 18 May 1917 to the Armistice, only two men in the Battery were killed and six wounded as a direct result of air attack."

 

In August 1917 the first granting of leave took place, and the whole Battery withdrew for four days in a camp near Dunkirk, at the end of September.

 

During this period Fourth Army HQ was studying the possibility of an attack up the Belgian coast to liberate those ports which the Germans were using for submarine harbours, so these operations were not part of "Third Ypres" as such.

 

Ron

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Many thanks both, just what I needed.  I did just wonder whether the battery might have supported Operation Hush, had it taken place, given the northerly site of Verney Cox's burial place.  His newspaper obituary recorded that he had returned from nine days home leave just five days before he was killed: it all ties in! 

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Have you downloaded the war diary and found the location?

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No, the exact location is unnecessary as it is clear that the Battery was not directly supporting 3rd Ypres operations, however, I have made a note of the NA reference to look up the 23rd August entry if time and other priorities permit when I next visit Kew.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 08/08/2017 at 10:31, Ron Clifton said:

There is a privately prepared history of this battery: "The Hampstead Heavies" by Walter Wright, who served with the battery. The father of a friend of mine served in this battery, and I researched it for her some years ago.

 

In late June 1917 the battery relieved a French battery on the sand dunes near Nieuport Bains. Shortly afterwards, on 10 July, the Germans began heavily shelling the area: three infantry battalions nearby were virtually wiped out and the battery was lucky to have only six wounded and about twenty gassed around this time. The wagon lines were moved back to Bray Dunes about fourteen miles behind the lines, and there was also enemy bombing activity, but fortunately no casualties: "in the whole period from 18 May 1917 to the Armistice, only two men in the Battery were killed and six wounded as a direct result of air attack."

 

In August 1917 the first granting of leave took place, and the whole Battery withdrew for four days in a camp near Dunkirk, at the end of September.

 

During this period Fourth Army HQ was studying the possibility of an attack up the Belgian coast to liberate those ports which the Germans were using for submarine harbours, so these operations were not part of "Third Ypres" as such.

 

Ron

Ron can you pls help me on a matter.I'm looking up a frederick mollett that was in the royal garrison artillery,I've been told he served in France,I've his index card .his regemental number was 192139.He has victory medal and silver war medal.I have also his roll of individuals. .It says on roll he was base dtls ,gunner.I'm trying to find out what battery he belonged to Ron.I've dementia and find things like this hard.I would really appreciate any help you can give me

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Hello Tommy

 

I'm very sorry but I don't think I can help you. If his name is on the roll as "Base Details", which is the drafting pool, he would not have been with a particular battery at that time. His number does not fit in with membership of one of the locally-raised "Pals" batteries, nor the Territorial Force batteries.

 

However, there are others on the Forum who know much about the numbering question than I do. I recommend that you repeat your question in the "Soldiers" section, with a heading such as "Frederick Mollett, RGA 192139 - which battery?"

 

Good luck!

 

Ron

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