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4th London Field Company AKA 518th Field Company.


Steve25

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Hi all,

I'm new here so please forgive my ignorance.

 

I've been trying to find out more about my Grandfather's WW1 service (details below) and from the documents I've found, it seems that he served with the 6oth 2/2nd London Division in Salonika where he was a Driver with 518th Field Company in the 303rd Battalion Small Arms Ammunition Column. Presumably, he went on to serve in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and I would love to find out a little more about his service.

I have a copy of  Colonel P.H. Dalbiac's History of the 60th Division, which I've found most interesting but he only mentions the 303rd in passing, so I would like to dig deeper and find out a little more and would be grateful for any advice please?

 

Does anyone know if there's a history of the 518th I could purchase? If not, could someone kindly point me in the right direction please because I seem to have hit a wall with this. 

 

Details:

Harry J Underhill

Driver RFA

Service No. 8301491 

 

In the medical record I've found he appears as S J Underhill rather than H J but with the same service No. 

518 is noted above his Regiment which is listed as Royal Field Artillery and his Battalion as 303rd Small Arms Ammunition Column.

 

Thanking you

             Steve25  

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Hi Steve25,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

The (1/)4th Field Company (renamed as 518th Field Company) Royal Engineers were part of 47 Division (see here). Their war diary can be downloaded from the National Archives for a modest fee - see here.

 

I'm not quite sure how that squares away with 303rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery in 60 Division. Could you post an image of (or a link to) the medical record you've found?

 

Regards

Chris

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I agree with Chris, there appears to be a problem with interpretation.  The seven figure RFA number appears to be post-ww1.

 

TR

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Thanks for your prompt reply,

Sorry Chris and Terry, what a stupid mistake but I gave you the wrong number.

Your going to laugh at this but I gave you my works No. rather than Granddads Service No. which should be 139083. How embarrassing.  :blush:

The Medical record I have is only a printed version of the original (below) but the Service No. matches his Medal Rolls Index Card. 

Thanks for the link Chris and please accept my apologies for the stupid mistake both. 

 

First Name:

S J

Surname:

Underhill

Age:

24

Index Number of Admission:

18293

Rank:

Driver

Service Number:

139083

Years Service:

1 year 3 months

Months With Field Force:

2 months

Ailment:

Paratyphoid A

Date Discharged Back to Duty:

29/06/1917

Date of Transfer From Other Hospitals:

09/04/1917

Number/Designation of Ward:

A6

Notes written in the Observations Column:

No. 3 Convalescent Depot.

Religion:

Church of England

Notes written by FWR when Transcribing:

518 noted above Regiment on source.

Regiment:

Royal Field Artillery

Battalion:

303rd Small Arms Ammunition Column

Archive Reference:

MH106/1334 MH106/1334 can be found at The National Archives in Kew, and contains First World War Representative Medical Records of No. 28 General Hospital: British Other Ranks SALONIKA.

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Hi Steve25,

 

I'm not sure what the 518 reference relates to - possibly a cross reference to a separate ledger??? Interesting to note though that all the RFA men have the same number, whereas for example the ASC men have 602.

 

image.png.257835545e5003940ab02d49bab52ceb.png

Image Source: Findmypast - British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records

 

Unfortunately, I didn't see any surviving service papers for Harry, so I think that it would be difficult to map his service. You can probably date when he joined the RFA by looking for papers of men with numbers near to his 139083 number. For example 139082 Woodwiss was "called up for service" 27.04.1916, and 139084 White was mobilised 27.04.1916/posted RFA 28.04.1916. Those dates would seem to reasonably tie back to the 1 year 3 months service recorded in his hospital record - further number sampling may help. What you can't do though for RFA men is to presume that near number men followed the same service path. Once they joined up, and were allocated numbers they were sent to various units according to need.

 

The medical record says that he had 2 months overseas service when he was taken ill - so circa February 1917. The LLT suggests that the  SAA Section Ammunition Columns joined the Division in December 1916, and left in June 1917. Hopefully an artillery expert would be able to tell you if they were sent elsewhere, or perhaps reconstituted under the Division DAC.

 

As Harry was hospitalised for a couple of months, and then spent further time at the convalescent depot, I would have thought that he would have been struck off his unit strength to allow for a reinforcement to take his place. What happened to him after he recovered is unclear. He doesn't appear to have been discharged as a consequence of his illness, as he doesn't appear to have been awarded a Silver War Badge. His Medal Roll/Medal Index Card indicate that his overseas service was only with the RFA under the number 139083. That would seem to leave open the options that he returned to overseas service with the RFA in an uncertain unit, or that might have been returned to the UK to serve with the RFA or another regiment/corps (under a different number) in a reduced capacity.

 

There is help on how to research a soldier on the LLT here.

 

It might be worth editing your topic header, or create a new thread to attract the eye of the artillery experts (cross reference to this one to avoid duplication of research).

 

Good luck with your research.

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

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Thanks so much for this Chris and for all your research, I really appreciate your help.

 

In his History of the 60th Division, Colonel P.H. Dalbiac writes that the “518th Wheel Transport Company under Captain Collison of the Train, arrived at Katerini on January 10th, (1917) to relieve the auxiliary company A.S.C., which had been responsible for the transport up to date.” (Page 73)

 

Could it be then that 518 In the Admission and Discharge Book refers to this Company and if so, would this mean that Harry was transferred to the A.S.C. after being discharged from hospital?

I also noticed that the link you kindly gave to The Long, Long Trail, regarding the 60th Division, under the heading Other Divisional Troops, mentions the 60th Divisional Train and says:  517, 518, 519 and 520 Companies ASC (while in Salonika the Train was reorganised. These Companies became the Wheeled Echelon. A Pack Echelon, consisting of 861, 862, 863 and 864 Companies, was also formed. The organisation reverted once in Egypt) 

 

I thought you might like to see a picture of my Granddad, possibly taken at his training camp. Harry is sitting and holding a riding crop, bottom left as you look at it.  

 

As I'm fairly new to this I find it a little confusing buy really appreciate all your help and the time you've taken to research this for me.

Thank you so much. 

Postcards front.01.jpg

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