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Chelseagirl3

where was the 128th Heavy Battery in October 1916 - January 1917

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Chelseagirl3

I am trying to find out where 128th Heavy Battery RGA were for 10th October 1916 until 7th January 1017. My grandfather was with them during this time period, he was injured in early January and I know he has at No.8 Stationary Hospital Wimereux on 7Th January 1917.

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ororkep
Posted (edited)

Chelseagirl3,

the 128 Oxfordshire Hvy Bty was originally in the vicinity of Vlamertinghe, a component Bty within 60 HAG (Heavy Artillery Group) from 04.10.1916 till May17. You can track the Bty movements by downloading the 60 HAG diary from the National archives website for a few pounds. Reference: WO95/394/1.

What was the name of your ancestor?

Rgds Paul

Edited by ororkep
Added information

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Chelseagirl3
Posted (edited)

Hi Paul

Thank you so much I will certainly have a look. My grandfather was William Edward Baxter, the family story is that he was taking a message on horseback somewhere when he was hit, the horse was injured/killed and grandad's left leg was trapped under it, he was lucky that he was found. 

Rgds Amanda

Edited by Chelseagirl3
mistype

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MaxD

90387 Gnr WE Baxter, returned to UK on 19/20 Jan 1917 after hospital, later discharged unfit.  He didn't join 128 Battery until 8 Dec 1916 so you should start there

 

Max.

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Chelseagirl3

Thanks Max, I'll certainly check it out i had misread his service record he was posted to BEF(F) on 10/10/16 and yes I can see it wasn't until 8/12/16 he went to 128 Battery. I wonder where he was before that.

 

Thanks

Rgds. Amanda

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MaxD

He would have been kicking his heels in a base depot, there was one at Le Havre and another at Rouen, waiting to be assigned to a specific unit.

 

Do shout if the diary hieroglyphics need "translating"

 

Max

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Chelseagirl3

Thanks I am learning a lot. I certainly need help in understanding toe codes. I take it some refer to map reference for example J.34.a.3.3-P2.11/2. 81/2 am I correct?

There is also reference to Stirling Castle which i take os a code name for ??

I can see that they were engaged in shelling and the are was "heavily shelled" at the beginning of January. Do you have any idea how long it would take an injured man to be transported back to Wimereux.

 

Rgds. Amanda

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ororkep

Amanda,

in December of the 60 HAG diary it mentions all map coordinates refer to Sheet 28 which is Ypres. They are all target references. for example if you refer to this site:

https://library.mcmaster.ca/maps/ww1/ndx5to40.htm

and type in Stirling Castle which your battery of interest registered on it will give you the sheet you need to look up i.e. 28NE3 J13. The site will tell you precisely how to go about it. 8 1/2 in the above case means 8.5 in relation to the square.

Rgds Paul

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MaxD
Posted (edited)

The targets 128 Battery were firing on in the J squares and Stirling Castle can be seen  on the map and present day image at:

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=15&lat=50.8425&lon=2.9695&layers=101464918&right=BingHyb  Look at the centre left.  The N8 road which runs diagonally across the map leads north west up to Ypres, you can zoom out to see Ypres.

 

Wimereux is about 75 miles from Ypres but he may well have been treated initially at a nearby Field Ambulance so when he was wounded we don't know, you'll notice the diary doesn't mention it which is quite normal.

 

The brigade had taken over 128 and other batteries from 12 Heavy Artillery Group in October and very unhelpfully, the diary does not record where the guns were and as they didn't move in the period of interest we need a bit more work on that.  The guns with which the battery was equipped had a range of between 10 and 12 thousand yards so the positions may well have been around 5 miles or so to the west of Ypres, as Paul says, in the area of Vlamertinghe.

 

More later

 

Max

Edited by MaxD

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Chelseagirl3

Paul and Max,

 

Thank you so much, it is fascinating looking at these maps, it just brings another dimension to the whole story.

 

Amanda

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MaxD

128 Battery first went to France in March 1916 equipped with four 60 Pounder guns, later increased to six in August 1916.  Google will return a number of hits, this one has some reasonable pictures:http://www.hackneygunners.co.uk/the-gun-battery/the-gun/

 

This youtube footage is of Canadian gunners but the gun is the same https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+60+pounder&&view=detail&mid=96271D58258AB772EA4896271D58258AB772EA48&&FORM=VDRVRV

 

We don't know what his specific job was, as well as the gun detachments, other men were signallers or computed firing data but at least it shows the general environment.

 

Max

 

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MaxD
Posted (edited)

Loose end.  Attempting to establish exactly where the guns of 128 Hy Bty were located in the Vlamertinghe area is bedevilled by the fact that in the period between their arrival in France in March 1916 first coming under the tactical control of 9 Heavy Artillery Group (HAG) they changed masters no less than 5 times before coming under 60 HAG in October.

.

While their shooting programmes are detailed, the brigade diaries are almost totally devoid of location details for all their batteries (quite normal).

 

That said, in April 1916 under 10 HAG they were at H 17c 3 4.and in Sep 1916 again under 10 HAG one of their two sections moved to H 16 b 5.8.  These are to the south west of Ypres and south east of Vlamertinghe,  centre left of the map at:

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=14&lat=50.8483&lon=2.8997&layers=101464897&b=1  If you click on "Show Search panel" (top left) you can use the blue circle slider to change the transparency and show todays image.

 

As the target areas the battery was engaging during all the period Mar to Dec were all in the same area it would be legitimate to assume that the battery was there or thereabouts during the time grandfather was with them.

 

Max

Edited by MaxD

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Chelseagirl3

Thanks this is all putting flesh on the bones of our family history. Its great to understand what my grand father went through.

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