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David Garside 2

John Edward Garside 150227

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David Garside 2

I have recently began researching about my paternal grandfather's war history and considering that I had so very little to go on, not even his military number. Now, I am pleased with what I have discovered so far, considering so little to go on, and now keen to make more progress.

 

In the beginning all I knew for definite was roughly where to find John Edward Garside’s grave site and the cause of his death, so sadly cutting his life short. Finding the grave in a much-overgrown Graveyard, Prestwich, Manchester, now it is found it is crying out for my much needed tending. It provided me with some very useful and desperately needed start-up information.

 

Granddad died aged only 42, in 1934. I should say that I have my father's 'unreliable' written memoirs, which he wrote down in his retirement years. Although Dad was always convinced that he remembered everything perfectly well, that isn't really the case. Anyway, Dad states in his memoirs that his Father had died of Bright's disease; giving a wrong age and a wrong year, of course. The cause of death, Dad was told, was attributed to John Edward's war experiences; being wounded, being gassed, infected with trench fever and so on. Thus, the man’s kidneys were left in a quite a horrible damaged state from which they never properly recovered. My deceased father may have known much more about his father's war experiences but his memoirs concerning them are very sparse indeed. Of course, I am by now regretting that I was never inquisitive enough to ask for more, whilst I had the opportunity. However, Dad was only just turned 14 when John Edward died so he probably did not know that much more than has already been divulged.

 

So, armed with the headstone information, I then made a brief visit to the Family History Section at Manchester Central Reference Library. There I was very kindly assisted by a volunteer and given a brief introduction into using the computers and how to conduct a search. By this means I managed to discover quite quickly that John Edward's military number is 150227 and that he was a gunner serving in the RGA. My Dad's memoirs were actually very helpful in this exercise, as they helped to corroborate the recorded information; but the result of this initial search is limited. I think quite a lot of Granddad's military record may have been destroyed by fire, possibly in the WW2 Blitzes. However, I did discover that he was issued with British War and Victory Medals. Maybe I have an outside chance of tracing these? Perhaps they have been passed down a different family line? Another important piece of information is that he was called up in March 1917. Why not a volunteer or be called up earlier? Well he was already a family man with two sons, my Dad’s older brothers. Is that the reason for the late call up? Lastly, he went to Fort Brockhurst, Gosport for his military training.  

 

When I discovered the military number, I thought I might simply Google John Edward Garside 150227’, not really expecting a result but eureka this link came up with something; this link: https://sites.google.com/site/unsworthpolewarmemorial/unsworth-war-memorial.  As the link title suggests the information found on its site is mostly concerning fallen soldiers that are commemorated on Unsworth War Memorial but there is additional information there too, some of it on other Unsworth men that served in WW1. So pleasantly surprised, I found this transcript of a partial record about Granddad; here is my copy (with my notes added in brackets):

 

John Edward GARSIDE 150227 Royal Garrison Artillery of 66 Common Lane, Unsworth. Aged 24 years and 10 months, a married Electrical Meades Man (sic: I think this should be Electrical Tradesman). Called up 18th March 1917, attested 19th March 1917 at Bury.

Rank: Gunner.

Description: 5 feet 9 inches tall, chest 39 inches. Wife, Elizabeth Alice Garside of same address. Children: Jack 1913 Unsworth and Colin 1916 Unsworth. Married Elizabeth Alice Holt 23rd March 1913 at Unsworth St. George.

Other children from birth index: Kenneth 1920 (my Dad) and Dorothy 1927.

Medal Roll Index: RGA Gunner 150227 British War and Victory Medals.

 

Service History:

18th March 1917 Called up for service.

19th March 1917 Posted Pte.

3rd September 1917 Operation for right inguinal hernia - Bassineis (sic) radical sure - 1 deep suture collodion (i.e. Type of surgical hernia repair known as the Basini surgical technique comprising a reconstruction of the posterior wall of the inguinal canal. Needless to say, I am not surprised this poor man had a hernia, considering the extreme level physical excursion demanded of him and his colleagues, and that amongst everything else that he had to contend with).

9th November 1917 wound quite strong, to convalesce.

9th November 1917 - 24th January 1918 Convalescence.

14th May 1918 Passed as 1st class signaller.

24th May 1918 - 11th November 1919 BEF 1 year 178 days.

20th June 1919 Gunner signaller with 303 Siege Bty (See mention of book about 303 below) - surrenders claim to discharge to serve until 1st

13th November 1919 Reverts to Gunner.

December 1919, appointed L/Bdr.

9th January 1920 Demobilized.

 

Electrical Fitter on discharge, made no claim to disability. (Ironic considering his state of health not being that great and which got progressively worse in the following years).

Approved Society Liverpool Victoria.

Age on discharge 27 years and 6 months (his actual age was 27 years 7 months 20 days).

 

So, this is where I am up to. I still do not know anything about where he served or who he served with. I was hopeful that I might find something in a publication entitled ‘With A Siege Battery In France – 303 Siege Battery, RGA 1916-1919’ This booklet contains a list of personnel, presumably all those that served with 303 Siege Battery within the stated time-frame, but John Edward’s name is not included. Apart from that disappointment, I have read this 90 page beautifully written account of the war experience of this particular seige battery with the most avid interest and empathy.  I defy anyone, engrossed in reading it, not to shed a tear once reaching this description of the end of military engagement and hostilities, ‘… “C“ gun fired the last round in this last barrage, our last shot and the last barrage of the war.

The Major, who was at an O.P. on a fosse in front of the Battery, describes this, the last scene in the great drama of war, as most picturesque. Behind, sunset and a sea of mist pierced by the tops of fosses and stippled with incessant flicker of a thousand guns. In front, Mons, at once the start and finish of our war, lit by the glare of burning houses and encircled by the smoke of British Shells. We and the Belgians who accompanied us could not but feel some triumph at this fitting climax.

The last Germans were driven out of Mons at 2 a.m. on the morning of the 11th.’

 

Thanks for reading: Please can anyone help me with my wishful ambition to learn more about my Granddad?

Edited by David Garside 2
Proof-reading.

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clk

Hi David,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

21 minutes ago, David Garside 2 said:

I think quite a lot of Granddad's military record may have been was destroyed by fire, possibly in the WW2 Blitzes.

 

He appears to have some service papers on FMP (see here). They should also be available on Ancestry.

 

Regards

Chris

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David Garside 2

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the welcome and advice.

Regards,

David

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David Garside 2

Hi Chris,

That's brilliant. Thanks very much for this. I am going to do some research about 282 now. Maybe there's a war diary?

 

Regards,

David

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David Garside 2

Ah! I see this is the link to the Seige Batteries War Diary. That's great. Thanks again.

David

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David Garside 2
23 hours ago, David Garside 2 said:

I have recently began researching about my paternal grandfather's war history

This is the only photograph that I have of Grandad. I have no background information about when or where it was taken.

~1547218761~John Edward Garside.jpg

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David Garside 2
22 hours ago, clk said:

The Ancestry link is here. His overseas wartime service appears to be with 282 Siege Battery.

Hi Chris,

I have had problems in signing up for the free trial with Ancestry, which I am trying to resolve. Meanwhile, clicking on this link to J E Garside shows a different military number. So probably not my Grandad. Does this mean 282 information is incorrect?

 

Regards,

 

David

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MaxD

I was about to post to say that the transcription on Ancestry has simply transposed some of the numbers in his service number.  The man with the Unsworth connection and all the other detail  you have had the number 150227 they have put 750221.   Chris's guidance is absolutely correct.

 

I was also going to give the info that at the time he was with them , they were equipped with 4 x 6 inch Howitzers.  You will have noted already that he had the specialist qualification as signaller from which can be inferred that he probably was not on the guns but was employed in a communication role sending the observation post officer's orders to the battery or at the battery communicating with the next higher authority.  When you get the diary, look out for mention of the signallers and the observation offers, also OPs. Note also when he joined them wasn't until May 1918.

 

Max

PS  Chris - hope you don't mind me interposing, I was in full flood with the info when I saw the number query.

Edited by MaxD

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MaxD

Just noticed that the diary only goes to Jan 1918.  Looking for subsequent diaries.

 

Max

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MaxD

According to WO 95/5494, the list of (among others) the affiliations of Siege Batteries, from July 1917 282 SB was in 99 Heavy Artillery Group.  However, no diary for that HAG appears in the National Archives catalogue.

 

Stuck, need a Siege Battery expert on the case (although note that these batteries and HAGs did not all keep diaries or they have gone walkabout).

 

Max

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David Garside 2
24 minutes ago, MaxD said:

I was about to post to say that the transcription on Ancestry has simply transposed some of the numbers in his service number. 

Thanks for your reassuring comment and added information Max. Most kind. I have downloaded a copy of the War Diary and what you say will be very helpful. 

 

Regards,

 

David

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David Garside 2
10 minutes ago, MaxD said:

According to WO 95/5494, the list of (among others) the affiliations of Siege Batteries, from July 1917 282 SB was in 99 Heavy Artillery Group.  However, no diary for that HAG appears in the National Archives catalogue.

Thanks once again for your assistance.  I had noticed the time frame of the war diary, so very useful to know that Granddad in fact joined 282 later etc. It's a pity I can't chat with my Dad. I don't think he knew anything about his role in the RAG. He would have been pleased I'm sure to learn that he had a communications role as my Dad was in the Royal Corp of Signals during WW2. He volunteered virtually straight away. I think their roles would have had a lot of similarities. My Dad was involved with laying telephone cables, whilst shells whistled past (thankfully).

 

Regards,

 

David

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MaxD

In progress.  In the period May 1918 to the end of the war, CWGC has details of the death of just 3 men of 282 Siege.  Give me a mo and I'll see what can be made of the info there.

 

Max

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MaxD

Actually 4 men.

 

One of the men died on 29 October 1918 in one of the Casualty Clearing Stations around Lijssenthoek around 12 km west of Ypres from which one can deduce that he had been wounded earlier, evacuated down the medical chain and succumbed to his wounds in the CCS.

 

The other three are all buried in Dadizeele New British Cemetery and all died on 19 October 1918. However, two of the men were initially buried where they fell, or near to it, and recovered after the war to the cemetery where they now lie. This at least enables us to pinpoint fairly accurately where the battery was at that time.  On the map/image at the link below, Dadizeele is on the top left. The two men were buried in square 22 to the centre right near where on the present day image the "O" of Oudetramweg appears on the outskirts of Moorsele.  It would be fair to infer that the battery was located somewhere very near to that location and came under counter battery fire, the fourth man may well have been injured in the same attack.  Ypres is some 15 miles to the west.

 

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=14&lat=50.8409&lon=3.1243&layers=101464918&right=BingHyb

 

Max

 

.

 

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David Garside 2

Max,

Thanks for your assistance. Tea beckons for now but I shall take a look a.s.a.p.

 

Regards,

 

David

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David Garside 2
1 hour ago, kevinrowlinson said:

For Jan. 1918 onwards you require 99th Brigade's diary - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/9bc09a5e5c3a4c9cabf4f1fdd06c0967

Kevin,

 

Thanks for this. I have just downloaded the diary using your link. Browsing it in many parts is both compulsive and fascinating. There is some very stirring stuff I must say: One account is quite a dramatic narrative dated around 28th March, 1918; it describes the 'Bosch' having the upper hand; episodes of brave stands to fight off the enemy, who are approaching and only about 900 yards away, whilst enabling a withdrawal of the guns; and of course a very tragic tally by end of the day that numbers those killed, those wounded seriously, those missing; plus some poor souls no longer fit for duty as they are suffering from shell shock. Obviously, by 11th November it will be a different story for our boys but who amongst them could have predicted that later turnaround at this precise snapshot moment?

 

Thanks for your assistance.

 

Regards,

 

David

Edited by David Garside 2
Proof-reading.

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clk

Hi David,

 

I haven't actually seen them, but I would guess that the diaries may well contain some map references. If needed there is some help on how to read them here.

 

The 21st March 1918 saw the launch of the massive German Spring Offensive. Many units were completely overwhelmed, with others fighting desperate rear guard and defensive actions over the following days.

 

Regards

Chris

 

Edit:

When you can access his service record, it seems that your relative that posted on the Unsworth memorial website had found that, but missed that prior the Armistice his overseas service was with 282 SB (and reincarnations). Once you've been through it all, might it be worth contacting the website and asking them, for historical accuracy/posterity to amend their records?

Edited by clk

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The Inspector
8 hours ago, David Garside 2 said:

This is the only photograph that I have of Grandad. I have no background information about when or where it was taken.

~1547218761~John Edward Garside.jpg

Hi David,

There is a public tree on Ancestry with a number of photographs of other relatives of yours. They do not have this one of your grandfather. As your grandmother died in Australia in 1969 and your aunt Dorothy in 1959 then  you may not have this information...apologies if you have. They have researched your grandfather.

Have sent you a PM with the tree owner's details.

Have also sent a message to the tree owner directing her to this site...last logged on to Ancestry 2 days ago.

Regards Barry

Edited by The Inspector

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MaxD

Kevin - thanks for pointing to the 99 Bde RGA diary.  I had totally overlooked the fact that the Groups had (again) reverted to their earlier titles of Brigades

 

David - I'd be most interested to know whether there is any location information for 282 Battery in mid October 1918 that adds up with my fumblings in post #15.

 

Max

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David Garside 2
1 hour ago, MaxD said:

David - I'd be most interested to know whether there is any location information for 282 Battery in mid October 1918 that adds up with my fumblings in post #15.

Max - There is indeed. I will get back to you soon when I have a bit more time to interpret properly. I will put together a bit of a transcript for you to read.

 

Regards,

 

David

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David Garside 2
4 hours ago, MaxD said:

David - I'd be most interested to know.........

Max - Here is what I have discovered and transcribed for your information. It matches your detective work very well I think.

 

Regards,

David 

282 (S) Bty - War Diary 1918-10-16 to 10th.pdf

Edited by David Garside 2

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MaxD

Thanks for that David, quite made my day!

 

Max

 

 

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David Garside 2

Spot on isn’t it? Well done.

 

Regards,

 

David

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