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Kathryn Steeman

John Smith RHA Gnr 39257

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stiletto_33853

Unfortunately no number but this comes from a nominal roll of "C" Company, gives us a bit more to work with.

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Kathryn Steeman

Trying to digest all the wonderful info and photos! thanks ever so much Andy! The last thing posted about J Smith rifleman being wound in March 1915 sounds familiar with what I read in War diary , will have to go back and check.

 

Kathryn in NZ

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stiletto_33853

Neuve Chapelle then, a very bloody battle for the battalion, 2 V.C.'s awarded to them. This from the personal Diary of one of the Captains in the battalion, will dig out another letter I have describing the battle from another officer.

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DSC09962.JPG

Edited by stiletto_33853

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Kathryn Steeman

Yes from 5th Brigade 8th Division RHA war diary it was quite a battle especially when you see how many guns were fired. I am positive there was mention of the Rifle Brigade. When I come across things I will record and post. Neuve Chapelle,Augers and all the names in bold are all in the War Diary I have. They have a couple of maps as well , do you want a copy posted??

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charlie962

There is a Hospital Admission on Forces War Records which doesn't add much but I think is 2798 John Smith

 

J Smith

aged  24       (fits with birth 1890)

Pte   9798     (I think transcript error for 2798)

6 years service      (fits with enlist 1908)

Unit: 2nd Rifle Bde ( unfortunately doesn't give Company)

Ailment:  Oedema Feet

Trf'd to Sick Convoy  26/1/15

discharged back to Duty  10/2/15

From the records of No4 Stationary Hospital St Omer

 

But it tells you where he was on a given day.

 

Charlie

 

 

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Kathryn Steeman

Thanks for this Charlie, as this goes with what my Mother said about him having a bad scar on the heel of one foot. As a child she remembers seeing it when her father took his boots and socks off if they got very wet and being told it was where he had been shot,Possibly deep flesh wound as he could still walk ok..

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charlie962
31 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

Pte   9798     (I think transcript error for 2798)

I see FindmyPast also have this record under 9798. But with FMP you get to see the original page as well, so worth confirming ?

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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stiletto_33853

Lots of transcription errors in MH106 files, lotsDSCN0277.jpg

Edited by stiletto_33853

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charlie962

Thanks, Stiletto, it is written as 9798 but I still think probably s.b. 2798

Charlie

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stiletto_33853
10 hours ago, MaxD said:

Picture attached, Andy will correct me if I have chosen a wrong example!

 

The distinctive black buttons still worn by descendant regiments of the RB led in much later years to the slightly tongue in cheek term "black button mafia" when it appeared that their officers seemed to have all the best positions in the army.  Not true of course.

 

Max

 

Welcome Charlie, the case files in 106 are far more interesting than the registers but still valuable information can be gained from them.

 

With regard to Max and the mafia aspect, the less polite term they were known as were The Black Buttoned *astards.

 

Re. the letter I mentioned earlier, this was from Lt. Charles Pennefather to Lt. Chan Hoskyns who had recently left the battalion for a staff appointment.

 

 

 

My Dear Chan,

 

So sorry I have not answered your letter before, but since the 10th of March we have been passing through such stirring times that I have only just collected my thoughts.

 

Now, if you behave yourself, I will give you a long and vivid description of the battle of Neuve Chapelle, since we were the first to boost through the village.

 

We left our trenches at Laventie on the 3rd March and went back into billets in the neighbourhood for a week, during this week we had to practice the attack every day. During this time we collected every gun we could find in the neighbourhood, we got 360 ranging from 3lb to the 15 inch.

 

On the night of the 9th the whole brigade moved up to the trenches and hid behind some parapets which had taken us a fortnight to dig. The attack was to start at 7.30 in the morning. So at 6.30 we all had a good swig of rum and at 7.30 our guns started off a most unholy bombardment the Lord oversaw, this lasted for half an hour, it killed about a 100 of the Berkshires and about 10 of ours. At 8.5 the guns lifted and off boosted the Berks and the Lincolns who captured the German trenches. Then away went the R.B. and R.I.R. to capture the village. We simply boosted through the village capturing about 200 Deutchers. Byatt, Verney, Bulkley-Johnson were shot in this part.

 

We then arrived the other side of the village and joined up with the Indians on our right, and our job was finished since we had broken a gap in the line and we could have gone to Berlin at least if there had been anyone behind, but as you know our brilliant staff had two men and a boy behind and also about 20,000 cavalry which they refused to let go because they said it was too foggy, all balls because there was no fog. Meanwhile the unfortunate 24th Brigade got held up on our left and were unable to march on, so we remained in our position for the night.

 

The next morning 11th, the Deutchers had the audacity to attack us, we polished off about 600, so they did not come anymore. However, we got the order to take the German position at any cost from some bloody **** sitting at Boulogne, so went away A & B Coys, a most bloody fire from all corners of the earth broke out, it killed 130 of A and 90 of B, we then decided not to go on.

 

Never the less I am damned if another message did not come at 4.30 to take the German position regardless of cost, this time C & D. Meanwhile Brockholes, Pilcher, Gilby, Mason and Harrison had been killed. C were to lead followed closely by D, off went C, they lost 110 , D were headed by Mansel and myself when the Colonel stopped us, Mansel got one in the head here, leaving me in command of D Coy. 

 

The higher authorities then decided that the attack was nothing else but murder, not a bad thought after seeing most of the RB stretched on the floor. That finished the days fighting. 

 

During the night we wired and dug like the devil. The next day the Deutchers started to bombard us at 6am and continued until 4.30pm the most bloody experience the Lord ever invented, it polished off about 50 of us and hundreds of people at the back. I took a bullet through the hat, which took the hair off my head, I shot the blighter in the stomach.

 

That night was a bloody night as there was no stretcher bearers and all the wounded got left. Bridgman got wounded by a shell in the evening, also Barton was wounded in the head and Carle the finger. The next day was quieter and gradually we quite down. We stopped for 14 days. Now we have been taken away for a week's rest somewhere near Sailly and we are going back into the trenches which the 7th Division had.

 

The Canadians are at Estaires, awful drunkards. There are two Territorial Divisions close by too.

 

Rawlinson bugled the whole show. Davis was alright. Lowry Cole was very brave and nearly got blown up by a shell.

 

Stephens is quite well, Constable is acting Adjutant. Stopford went away as A.D.C. to Robertson before the show, Grey is MG Officer. Harding has gone to St. Omer to go through a course (MG)

 

We have 12 new officers and over 400 new men. Hoste & Stanhope and Cable, Rodney, Trench, Raikes and six others have come here.

 

The battalion lost 6 killed, 6 wounded and over 400 men. The Berks had only 7 officers left, the R.I.R. had only 4 left, The Northamptons 1 officer and 100 men left. The Scottish Rifles had all their officers killed.

 

The new trench we dug we came across rows and rows of dead, those killed in October.

 

I met Baby out here (he is on the 7th Division staff). That is all the news. Write me and let me know what you are doing.

 

 

Cheer Oh, yours ever

 

Charles P.

 

Edited by stiletto_33853

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MaxD

5 Brigade RHA’s diary has a very detailed account of the operations of all the 8th Division’s artillery on 10 March 1915.  As is normal, their fire and that of the many other field and siege batteries allotted to the division was in support of the whole operation.  The letter from the RB officer notes that were 400 guns in totai.

In among the many pages of what others call “artillery mumbo-jumbo” we see that forward observation officers from 5 Bde RHA were attached to 25th Infantry Brigade, in which 2 RB fought so it would be fair to say that the connection between the one and the other was close and that many of the artillery rounds fired that day over Rifleman John Smith’s head supporting his efforts in the attack, came from the guns of 5 Bde RHA.

Indeed (and this may be where you saw it Kathryn), a few days later on 18th March, the 5 Bde RHA diary records “Test SOS sent up by Rifle Brigade, was well executed”.  An SOS in this context was a pre-arranged number of artillery rounds which would be fired at an agreed target in this case in the Rifle Brigade’s area of interest, at a pre-arranged signal, usually a coloured flare or flares.  The batteries of the brigade fired in response to the test.  Tellingly, the diary also records that having fired the requisite number of rounds, they expended their “ration” of two rounds per gun per day and did not fire again that day.  This was at a time when there were strikes in UK and ammunition shortages were blamed on the strikers, a point made by the writer of the diary.

Max

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Kathryn Steeman

Quick peek at site during lunch and what a lot of great info! Yes I saw the complaint about rationing ammo and thought they were calling some "Bean counter" in England a stinker! for not letting fire more rounds when needed. Writing some times hard to read, have to go over sentence a few times and then it comes to you Thanks for explaining what the SOS is as was wondering what that was all about. Did you see the typed sheet Max where it stated the amounts fired during the 3 different phases! Cripes! when it mentions Shrapnel does this mean the ammo was full of shrapnel as well as explosive?

Did you read the bit I think it was late Feb 1915 that they got a direct hit on one of the Ammo wagons that flew bits every where killing some and they mentioned 2 infantrymen cycling by that got injured. Poor guys! minding your own business and that happens to you. There was detail of what was damaged, killed and injured with the last bit " Nothing left of wagon!!"( no kidding!)

 

Andy the photo you have as your member picture is this of some of the riflemen in uniform?? Do you have any other photos?? One or two to go with all the details I am going to compile for Mum and the rest of the family would be great if possible??

 

Chhers

Kathryn in NZ

Edited by Kathryn Steeman
sorry didn't know you couldn't say *uggers so changed to guys

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stiletto_33853

Kathryn,

 

My member avatar is a picture of three 8th Rifle Brigade officers in the trenches at Arras from one of the photograph albums I have at home. The two in the rear were killed in action, the short one in front went on to command the battalion for a short while and was then promoted and sent to command a battalion of the K.R.R.C. in the 20th Division. His two surviving nieces state that he was a real practical joker and a laugh every moment of the day. However his personal story is a somewhat sad tale during the war, injured several times, disobeyed orders to go back over the Flers/Courcelette battlefield to search for a close friends body when he was 2nd in command of the 8th.

The picture at Hursley Park came from a 2nd RB officers scrapbook, he was moved to various other positions immediately after the battalion went to France and never served with them again. The pictures in India come from a rifleman's personal collection, he won the D.C.M. and was invalided out after Fromelles 1915. The printed officers diary is held in the Regimental museum, or rather the Hampshires Archives now where most of the Regimental material is now held. I have a good few pictures of the 2nd, some I cannot release for various reasons, promises kept etc i.e. an officers letters, personal effects, pictures etc of a 2nd RB officer KIA very early in the war, letters go back to 1904, but some that I have can be and will pm some across to you.

The Rifle Brigade were very much a family in many respects with some of the men killed during the war being 3rd generation Riflemen, as I am sure many Regiments were. The officers list I am attaching shows the devastation the war heaped on the battalion in the early war. A lot of these officers were killed early in the war, one became the president of a court martial sentencing a member of the KRRC to be executed which lived with him for many many years afterwards. One became a general and so it goes on, certainly 1914 & 1915 were a bad time for the 2nd RB. I have, over the years amassed a lot of material on the various battalions of the RB.

Durham for example went missing in Nov 14, the Germans during the Christmas truce stated that he had been taken Prisoner of War. Despite enquiries he could not be found and his father communicated for several years with the German and British authorities trying to track his son down with no result, it nearly destroyed him. The 8th Division Standing Orders and directory along with many other RB papers came up at auction late last year which I won. The Alldridge papers (QM for the whole war) are held at the IWM and so the list goes on. God knows what going to happen with all this material when I pop my clogs:wacko:

DSC09943.JPG

Edited by stiletto_33853

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stiletto_33853

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MaxD

Andy

 

There is an awfully long time between March 1915 and July 1916 when our man was discharged.  Is it not more likely that he returned to duty some time after Neuve Chapelle and was wounded again nearer the time of discharge?

 

BTW - which of the present day RIFLES battalions is it that perpetuates the 2RB, I've tried to follow them down through 3rd Green Jackets to Royal Green Jackets and the loss of 1 RGJ to 2 RIFLES  or 4 RIFLES but lose the thread on the way!  

 

Max

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MBrockway

Max,

1966 - the RB became 3/RGJ (The Rifle Brigade) when the Royal Green Jackets was formed by merger of the OBLI, the KRRC and the RB

1992 - 3/RGJ became 2/RGJ (The Rifle Brigade) when 1/RGJ (the old OBLI) were disbanded.

2007 - 2/RGJ became 4/RIFLES when RGJ, LI etc. were merged to form The Rifles.

 

I've simplified slightly by omitting the Green Jackets Brigade period 1958-1965 when the OBLI, KRRC and RB were still separate regiments, but had each been reduced down to a single Regular bn.  At this stage the OBLI was designated Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 43rd and 52nd.

 

The equivalent for the KRRC is ...

1966 - the KRRC became 2/RGJ (The King's Royal Rifle Corps)

1992 - 2/RGJ became 1/RGJ

2007 - 1/RGJ became 2/RIFLES

 

Ditto re the Green Jackets Brigade period.

 

Basically 2/RIFLES = the KRRC, 4/RIFLES = the RB.

 

The Rifles policy though is to have all regimental 'golden threads' carried across all battalions of The Rifles.   Hmmmm.

 

Mark

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MaxD

That's helpful thanks Mark, it is the Green Jackets Brigade period which muddied the waters for me although I did get as far as either 2 or 4 RIFLES!  Reason for asking - see below.

 

Kathryn

 

If you look for YouTube 4 Rifles Salisbury you'll see what the modern day John Smith would look like.  They are stationed about 2 miles from where I live.  Going to a RIFLES band concert in July.  We are practically related :D

 

Max

 

 

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stiletto_33853

Hi Max,

 

Along time yes but not the longest I have come across by a long way. I was looking at a Rifleman a few days ago where it was nearly 2 years to discharge. He was wounded 1915, spent a long time in hospital then convalescent homes, sent to the 6th Reserve battalion and finally discharged in April 17. it really depended on the wound and any complications. Serious wounds, amputations etc. were dealt with fairly quickly but some of the lesser wounds took sometime depending on what the medical boards opinions were. He might have been held at the 5th or 6th for a while as an instructor of some sorts until finally discharged, classified as unfit for overseas service, I am afraid that without a service record we will never know. Hence the question as to if the Times casualty lists had been examined. As we are assuming (dangerous I know) that he was 2798 his BWM roll only states 2nd.

 

I see Mark has updated you with the present day lineage of the RB/KRRC, ironic really as 2 of the Regiments in The Green Jackets were old redcoat regiments, sorry Mark I could no resist:D

 

Andy

Edited by stiletto_33853

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MaxD

Andy

 

I resisted myself the temptation to say "without a service record....." -  I felt Kathryn might send the boys round if I said it yet again on this thread - you are of course absolutely right.

 

Max

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charlie962
1 hour ago, stiletto_33853 said:

we are assuming (dangerous I know) that he was 2798

Surely David's post 20 was definitive ?

 

Charlie

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stiletto_33853

I agree Charlie or else I would not have placed all this information on the thread. I do not think there is any doubt whatsoever.

 

Andy

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charlie962
9 hours ago, stiletto_33853 said:

when I pop my clogs

No imminent plans, I trust. Keep on posting.

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Kathryn Steeman

Thanks awfully, everyone the info about everything is wonderful.

Andy you were so lucky to manage to outbid others for all the wonderful information you have, I'm sure there must be someone whom will carry on the good work you have done so far re RB. Thank you for posting the newspaper photo, this is great and also for the ones you are going to PM. The list of officers from India , their names appear in the War diary I have and yes many did not do well

I see some places are stating they can do replica medals? What is everyone's opinion on this and are they good quality? any advice on what to watch out for?? Is it considered disrespectful to have replicas??

Hope you have a great time at the concert Max! will be thinking of you in your warm climate while we are shivering over here, Rain going sideways today and a high of 7 but wind chill meant it felt a lot colder! Brrrr ! Thank you for advice on You tube will take a look and don't worry , as frustrating as it is not being able to get service record, I quite understand.

Thank you Martin for your in put on the modern day RB. In the war diary I have of RHA it says in late 1915 or early 1916 about gassing and two infantrymen ( I think) gas poisoned . One may have been John Smith as Mum said this was reason he left the Army and it was always his lungs that gave him problems for the rest of his life. He died 1945, saw VE day but not VJ day. Died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis it said on the death cert, he was 55.

 

Another burning the midnight oil, so off for Zzzzz

 

Cheers

 

Kathryn in NZ

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MaxD

Charlie - I too agree that it was David's eagle eye wot dun it.  My mention of the service record was regarding the "when was he wounded" question rather than his regiment etc.

 

Max

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stiletto_33853
2 hours ago, Kathryn Steeman said:

Thanks awfully, everyone the info about everything is wonderful.

Andy you were so lucky to manage to outbid others for all the wonderful information you have, I'm sure there must be someone whom will carry on the good work you have done so far re RB. Thank you for posting the newspaper photo, this is great and also for the ones you are going to PM. 

 

Thank you Martin for your in put on the modern day RB. In the war diary I have of RHA it says in late 1915 or early 1916 about gassing and two infantrymen ( I think) gas poisoned . One may have been John Smith as Mum said this was reason he left the Army and it was always his lungs that gave him problems for the rest of his life. He died 1945, saw VE day but not VJ day. Died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis it said on the death cert, he was 55.

 

 

 

 

Kathryn,

How sure are you about all of this, the RHA diary, excuse my french is a nonsense apart from them supporting the 25th Brigade, 8th Division which is useful in itself. I have sent you the 2nd RB diary up to the end of June 1916, 2 infantrymen gassed!! why should they have been 2nd RB men??? We have tied down your man as being wounded at Neuve Chapelle in March 1915. Now how bad that wound was in itself is a mystery without a surviving service record, did he return to the front??? all unknown or dealt with in a hospital in France and then returned to the 2nd RB, once again unknown.

Can I respectfully suggest you study the 2nd RB diary as well as you seemed to have studied the RHA diary.

 

Not so much lucky with the papers, I live in a seaside town with a lot, an awful lot of old peoples homes. These papers in the auction was local with someone tipping me off knowing my interests so I did not have to pay as much as I thought they might reach, I would have paid more should it have been necessary. But there is a lot of good material in there, lectures, re-union dinner menu's with signatures in them, standing orders etc a regular goldmine of information for someone with a Regimental interest. The photograph albums are another matter but worth what I paid for them.

 

Martin?? oh well we might still convert Mark! to an RB man despite his passion for a redcoat Regiment that was filled with mercenaries at one time:ph34r:, but he has access to my cloud where a lot of this information is kept.

 

Not intending any rapid departures Charlie, but a couple of us are thinking about a rifles website/forum time permitting.

Edited by stiletto_33853

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