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Trooper B

XV Bde HQ RHA, Cambrai Nov 1917

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Trooper B

Hi all,  I am trying to research a Gunner who was killed whilst serving with XV Bde HQ RHA on 30th Nov 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai.  I know the Bde was with 29th Division and two of its battery’s B&L performed heroically......I’m just not sure where and where in relation to the guns would th brigade HQ have been positioned?  Any pointers or info greatly appreciated! 

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battiscombe

The History of 29th Div Artillery records [which also lists all casualties] indicate batteries were on the right of 29 Div line in the Vacquerie Valley, probably supporting 86th Inf Brigade .. behind Boavis Ridge [from where infantry were retiring]. 17th Bde RFA and 232nd Bde  on left,  both in Couillet wood valley. I dont have the war diary which may provide more detailed records, and maps. [as may 29 Div diaries, 29 Div Artillery diaries]

 

I see a few 15 Bde HQ casualties.. .. Cpl J McIntyre REsignaller? w.; Gnr Pullen [missing]; Gnr Winter  [missing]; l/Bdr Bird [missing/POW]; a/RSM F D Brown [w.]; Drvr W Hayward [missing/POW]; Drvr J W Lemmon [missing/POW], and plenty of B, L and Warwicks RHA casualties

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Trooper B

Thanks for the info batti!  I’m quite new to the research side of things, is there a published history of 29th Division or is it all gleaned from War diaries? To that end, do you know if a war diary for xv Bde for the Cambrai period exists?  The person I am trying to identify is 175114 Gnr James Bird, listed on the Cambrai memorial.  Odd that you have identified a L/Bdr Bird missing/POW?

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David Porter
Posted (edited)

Trooper B,

 

There is a War Diary for 15th Brigade RHA for November 30, 1917. The important paragraph transcribed here:

 

" Unfortunately events had been moving rapidly in our rear. At about 9:30 am the enemy occupied GOUZEAUCORT QUARRY (Bde HQ Wagon Lines). R.S.M. Brown, Cpl. Sykes, RE, Gnr. Holyoak, Dr. Heyword, Gr. Pullen, Gr. Newman, Dr. Lemon, Gr. Bird, Dr. Ward, ASC were captured. Of them, the following escaped - R.S.M. Brown (wounded), Gr. Bird (killed)."

 

So it looks very much like Gunner James Bird was captured but then killed whilst an escapee. Also, this information could only have come from R.S.M. Brown.

Edited by David Porter

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clk

Hi Trooper B,

 

The CRA 29 Division diary (Ancestry link) has:

 

image.png.12b7bfeccb2b8e4e1f70db1d91d02506.png

Image sourced from Ancestry.co.uk

 

If needed there is help on reading map references here. On Ancestry. the Brigade diary for November 1917 starts here.

 

Regards

Chris

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charlie962
Posted (edited)

re Bird

 

The ICRC PoW Record has two sheets for him. Index card is here

 

Edited- not the same man ? But died taken same day and same HQ ?? No 69645

 

Here is 69645 a/Bdr Edward Claudius Bird, who survived . He was captured 30/11/17 Cambrai with HQ 15 Bde RHA.

686755651_GWFBirdECRHAICRC1.JPG.1a0d399353e0597ae9d9ab0afde1aed2.JPG

 

So you need to be careful which Bird is mentioned in which record !!

 

This is SDGW for your man. CWGC says 15th Bde HQ, RHA

 

First name(s) James
Last name Bird
Service number 175114
Rank Gunner
Regiment Royal Horse Artillery And Royal Field Artillery
Battalion -
Battalion details -
Residence -
Birth place Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex
Enlistment place Stratford-On-Avon
Death year 1917
Death day 30
Death month 11
Cause of death Killed in action
Edited by charlie962

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charlie962

The Chelmsford Chronicle 11/1/18 (thanks to FindmyPast here), reports thus:

483541025_GWFBirdJRHANewspaper.JPG.3db8b0d8307c32f84233bdcaf9420c38.JPG

 

This is clearly 175114.  No mentionof him being captured then escaping so confusion ??

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Trooper B

Thanks very much all of you, I can’t believe the info produced so quickly! The gun positions will help and the diary entry on his escaping before being killed is intriguing!  The news paper report is definitely my man, I’m just wondering whether his CO’s letter explaining the circumstances of his death is just typical of time, trying to make the difficult task of breaking the news as comforting as possible!

 

once again thanks all!

 

Trooper 

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MaxD

David

 

Forgive me - I think a typo has crept in to your post #4 above.  You wrote RFA when I think you must have meant RHA - for the avoidance of doubt and possible further confusion!!

 

Max

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David Porter

Thanks Max, corrected now. Not a typo, genuine laziness, I use RFA far more often and it just slipped in.

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battiscombe

apologies that i had not noted both Birds - who are indeed both named in the 29th Div Artillery record. L/Bdr E C Bird 69645 - missing POW and Gnr J Bird 175114, killed. The 29th Div is unusual in having a volume devoted to its Artillery: "29th Divisional Artillery War Record and Honours Book 1915-1918". by LtCol R M Johnson. published Woolwich 1921.

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Trooper B

Thanks once again Battiscombe, guess that’s sorted my weekend trying to find a copy!

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charlie962
4 minutes ago, Trooper B said:

trying to find a copy!

Naval Military Press reprint

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clk

Hi,

 

If you have an account with Forces War Records (I don't think that you have to have a current subscription, I haven't), it looks like you can download a pdf version for 3 quid.

 

image.png.53de4c9fffd657f2757945e20cf49da4.png

Image sourced from FWR

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

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Trooper B

Thanks Charlie & clk,  that’s made things easier for me,  I dread to think how long it would have taken me on my own to find that out!!!!

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