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Remembered Today:

179th Army Field Artillery Brigade Missing diary for December 1917


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Hi, I'm trying to find the circumstances surrounding the 'Killed in Action' death of 2/Lt EVG Chamberlin. His service papers state he was attached to 464 Battery, 179th Army Brigade on 26/12/17 only to be KIA 5 days later. TNA ref WO 95/538/7 is up to Nov 1917 & WO 95/528/8 starts April 1918. Obviously the diary for December 1917 was either destroyed or lost.

Does anybody know how or where I can find out what they were doing in December 1917?

Many thanks

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Depending on what source you read 179 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (or CLXXIX Brigade), was broken up in January 1917 or remained serving with the 39th Division throughout the War. If its the same unit then a copy of the War Diary for the relevant period should also appear in the Divisional War Diary.


In connection with Eric Chamberlain, I don't know if the attached is of any use to you - its from the Norwich Mercury, edition dated Saturday January 12th 1918. Apologies for the very low quality - it was only intended for transcription purposes as I was going to update my entries for him on the All Saints and St Peter Mancroft War Memorial.


Hope that helps,




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Thanks for the info Peter, being a local lad myself I have the info on Eric etc but it's the war diary I am really after.

I've looked at the diary for 39th Division but they don't seem to have the 179th Brigade with them, hence

when I look at TNA they have the diaries for the 179th as a Brigade post the split in Jan 1917 but no diary for December 1917 to

March 1918.


Just hoping somebody might know what was happening in December. Eric is buried in Neuville Bourjonval British Cemetery, south east of Bapaume,

maybe that will help.

Thanks again Peter,



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All the sources seem to agree that he was Killed in Action, so likely he was buried close to where he died. For now the assumption has to be that he was with his unit and not in transit \ on his way to a HQ conference \ accompanying a rations party \ in the front line as a liason officer.


As the Commonwealth War Graves Commission say in their information about the Neuville-Bourjonval British Cemetery:-


Location Information

Neuville-Bourjonval is a village 14 kilometres east of Bapaume and 4 kilometres south-east of Belincourt. The Cemetery is near the east side of the village and 173 metres from the east side of the by-road to Hermies.


History Information

Neuville-Bourjonval village was taken on the 28th-29th March 1917, by the 12th King's Liverpool Regiment, lost on the 22nd March 1918, and retaken on the following 4th and 5th September by the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division. The British Cemetery was begun by the 11th Rifle Brigade in April, 1917 and used by the 42nd and other Divisions until March 1918; further burials were made in Rows B and C in September 1918.

Source: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/27701/neuville-bourjonval-british-cemetery/



So using Geoff Search Engine I took a look for other men buried there during this period.



Eric was the only man who died on the 31st December 1917 and was buried there.


I then looked at the period 26th December 1917 – 4th January 1918, which produced 4 others.


28th December 1917.


Gunner 202215 Edward Mounsey. 464th Battery, 179th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. SDGW has him Killed in Action.



30th December 1917.


Corporal L/18980 Haiden Dorling. “B” Battery 155th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. SDGW has him Killed in Action.



3rd January 1918.


Pioneer 497925 Henry James Sandom. 316th Railway Construction Company, Royal Engineers. SDGW has him Killed in Action as part of 316thRoad Construction Company.



Gunner 661123 David Wilson. 383rd Battery, 179th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. SDGW has him Killed in Action.



Of the non-179th Brigade units:-


The 155th Brigade Royal Field Artillery were also known as the "Coal Owners Own" 155th West Riding, Royal Field Brigade of Artillery. The brigade was formed in Leeds in early 1915 by the West Yorkshire Coal Owner's Association. Initially attached to the 31st Division as it's Divisional Artillery, the brigade were posted to the 32nd Division in the New Year of 1916. The 155th became an Army Brigade on the 16th/17th January 1917 and consisted of "A," "B" and "C" Batteries with 18-pdrs. and "D" Battery with 4.5" Howitzers.




The Brigade War Diary is digitized and may give some idea of which Division \ Corps \ Army they were attached to at the time of Eric’s death, which in turn may indicate which formations war diary might help you find the 179th. (Reference WO 95/204/1)



Unfortunately even the Long, Long Trail is silent on the 316th Railway Construction Company but odds are that it was another Army level unit.


The 300 series would however be more in keeping with a Road Construction Company.


Hope that helps,



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Thanks again Peter, Eric was only attached to the 464 Battery in the field on 26/12/17 & was then KIA on the 31st so I'm assuming he was 'with them'.

Sent you a PM with regards to the Norwich War memorials...



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179th Army Brigade RFA came under 63rd Divisional Artillery from December 27, 1917 to January 11, 1918. I looked through the 63rd Divisional War Diaries until I found a solid reference to them, which turned up in the Adjutant and Quarter-Master General's diary. They were positioned at P.28.b.8.0 at noon on December 30, 1917, which puts them SE of Ytres and not far from Neuville-Bourjonval. 



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