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D 83rd Brigade RFA RHA (Passchendaele?) Oct 17th 1917


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After recently finding my sisters real father, I am now trying to piece together the info relating to her grandfather.


Sgt Rowland (though his real name was Eugene Roland) Grogan 55416

D Battery 83rd Brigade RFA and/or RHA

He died October 17th 1917 and am looking for any info about him during his war years and about his death..

His grave is located at Bard Cottage Cemetery

His son was born 1913 but his daughter was born Feb 1915 and had the middle name Mons (presumably because he was in the battle)

Would he have returned home to see her or his son?

When I read all the stories about these men and just how young they were, its so shocking.  He was only 23 when he died, as so many others were also :(

My sister is now 79 and I would love to give her some further closure on her ancestors.  Thanks SOOOOO much for what you do.  You helped me with my own grandfather and am able to pass down to my family and their children.

(I am also trying to locate a friends dad that was in the Canadian Army (Quebec) visiting Surrey in 1943.  Could you direct me to where I may find out more info about him?)

Thanks so much 

grogan effects.jpg

Edited by tinlizzy
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He seems to have been awarded the Military Medal, LG 22/1/17, A Bty 85th Bde RFA, France


His Medal Index Card shows he went to France 19/8/14 with 30th Brigade RFA, which was part of 3rd Division.

Edited by charlie962
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Thank you so much charlie962

Would there be any indication what he received the Military Medal for or was it common for men to receive it during the war?, (as well as the Victoria Medal?)

I don't have access to the places that may give me that information.

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His Medal Index Card, available free on Ancestry, shows that he earned the 1914 Star with Clasp, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal. These are campaign medals.  The award of the Military Medal was for bravery in the field and although large numbers were awarded there were as many brave deeds that went unrecognised. Unfortunately the citations for the awards have not survived but sometimes there is an article in a local paper.

It might be that the War Diary of the Brigade has a mention of when or even why the medal was awarded. These War Diaries are available on Ancestry (you have a sub I guess because you have Soldiers Effects) and some kind soul will no doubt provide the link ? Ditto for his death.

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Although I was able to view the effects page, I dont think I have access to Military Records currently.

Hoping to maybe get a month when this current subscription runs out or are the details you are suggesting available under my present subscription?

ancestry access.jpg

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83 and 85 Bdes RFA were two of the four artillery brigades in 18th (Eastern) Division.  That division was formed in the autumn of 1914 as one of the new armies raised after war had been declared.  Your suggestion that Rowland died in the Ypres salient looks right - that division was heavily involved in operations near Poelcappelle in the weeks before and after he died. 

The war diaries of these two brigades may be found here (each file costs a small amount to download):


83 Bde RFA: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C7352961

85 Bde RFA: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C7352963


Good luck,



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His name on the 1914 Star Medal Roll is here.   You will see that the page is headed 30th Brigade Royal Filed Artillery and note that on that page alone out of 12 names that went overseas at the same time, 4 were killed. He went overseas 19/8/14 as a Corporal.


His Medal Index Card is proving impossible to find through Ancestry, although I have seen it on another site. It is a summary of what appears on the Rolls.


To try to make a little sense of the different units, I would make the following comments:


He first went overseas August 1914 with the 30th Brigade RFA which was part of the 3rd Division. This was Regular Army.


At some point he was transferred to the 85 Brigade RFA which was in the 18th Division. It could have been following a wounding (but I find no evidence) or perhaps a promotion to provide an experienced NCO for the newly formed 'Kitchener' Division.


Ancestry's note of his MM award says he was D/83 but at the time he was A/85 as I stated in my previous post. The London Gazette date of Jan 1915 suggests an award earned in late 1916.


The 18th Division had 82nd 83rd 84th and 85th Brigades Royal Field Artillery when it first went to France in 1915. In December 1916 the 85th Brigade was broken up to make the other brigades up into 6 gun from 4 gun Batteries. I imagine it was at this time that Grogan was transferred to D/83.


I shall now have a look at the War Diaries because I've just taken a subscription with a discount!



Edited by charlie962
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I am sure you all know how much your input is appreciated, but do you have any idea how the information can have an impact on those you are helping?

Maybe you do lol but I just wanted to say it.

Grogan is not related to me and even I am overwhelmed with your help, so I am passing it on to, not only my sister but also his great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, one of whom is in the Canadian army

I still have trouble getting my head around them being so young... to think he was only 23, blows me away :(

Thank you again



rowland grogan  plaque.jpg

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Glad to be able to help.

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War Diaries


For 17th October 1917 the 83rd Bde RFA War Diary (as available on Ancestry) has no information about casualties, in fact says 'nothing to report'! The Bde personnel were resting in the waggon lines.


But the summary for the month of October shows the 83rd brigade suffered 11 NCOs and men killed and 53 wounded in this period.



The War Diary for 85th Bde seems equally uninformative about his MM award.


Whilst this lack of information is very much normal, it is disappointing for you.





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Until I upgrade my subscription in a month or two I can't access the diaries... but appreciate the priorknowledge it doesnt exlpain his death.

Might there be a chance that an ambulance division would have the info?  I know with my grandfather, someone here was able to show me the 55 ambulance report.

Where would I search for similar for Grogan? Is there somewhere to search?


wallis ambulance report died.jpg

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I notice on the Grave Registration Report (CWGC) that 11630 Sgt AH Keene MM  who was also D/83, was killed same day and buried next to Grogan. He too had previously served in A/85. Two decorated Sgts of the same battery killed the same day ought to be remarked on somewhere ?


Also from D/83 killed same day are 3844 Bombardier J Sullivan and 77082 Fitter H Hateley. They are also buried alongside.


Could be worth seeing if one of them has a local newspaper obituary ?




I don't have access to the detail but here is an example:

From FindmyPast Newspaper Archive


Edited by charlie962
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To find information on your Canadian soldier try this link. There are attestation papers, records and war diaries all available for downloading free?


Edited by StonehengeMaid
Left off the link.
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