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Remembered Today:

Bombardier in RFA


Ferguson73uk
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I have my grandfather's service record which states that he was appointed as bombardier with 41st Brigade in 1916, yet photographs I have of him from 1918, in uniform, show only one stripe on his arm, (plus 4 overseas service chevrons). Does that make him a lance-bombardier and is the record therefore incorrect? Also, what role would a bombardier have played in being part of a gun team serving an 18-pounder field gun?

Many thanks,

Jonathan

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One stripe (or more correctly chevron) for a Lance Bombardier, two chevrons for a Bombardier. I would tend to believe the service record rather than the photograph as the former is a definitive document, the latter in official terms is not. What rank does it state on his war service medals (if you have them)?

As regards to his role on an 18pdr I am afraid I ma not an authority and there are better qualified folk than I on this site to give you those details. Indeed there was a thread back in the autumn, in this section I believe, which listed the various jobs/ranks of an 18pdr detachment. J

Just for the sake of clarity a gun-team are the horses who pull a gun, a detachment is the group of men who "serve" a gun in the Royal Artillery. We do not have gun crews in the RA, that term is the preserve of the Royal Navy!

Today a Bombardier would most likely be the No2 or "Coverer" on a Gun Detachment, although in many batteries these days Bombardiers are indeed No1s or Detachment Commanders(DC) in charge of a gun.

Hope this helps

Regards

David

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Thanks for the replies. His trade on entry was a 'blacksmith's striker' so I wonder whether he would indeed have been a farrier. Was there an indentification badge on his uniform which would indicate as such? His service record gives no clue as to his role.

Jonathan

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Jonathan,

In the Great War a RFA Bombardier only had one stripe. There were no Lance Bombardiers. Only Acting Bombardier or Bombardier both having one stripe.

In 1920 Bombardier took his second stripe.

Joe Sweeney

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I quite sure that Joe Sweeney is correct that a Bombadier had only one stripe. The RA had Corporals in the Great War and they wore two chevrons. Regards. Dick Flory

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Thanks for the replies, lads. At the moment I'm working on the War Diary of the 41st Brigade RFA and on the 18th April 1918 a Military Medal was awarded to a different Lance-Bombardier in my grandfather's battery. The entry reads: 'L/Bdr. Storer, J.' I suppose this means that there were Lance-Bombardiers in the RFA?

(My grandfather's medals are indeed inscribed 'Bombardier' by the way.)

Jonathan

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The entry reads: 'L/Bdr. Storer, J.' I suppose this means that there were Lance-Bombardiers in the RFA?

Interesting entry.

As of AO 1 1918 there were still no Lance Bombardiers in the RFA, only Acting and Bombardier. Do not have record of conversion in 1918. Hope LB14-18 chimes in here as I may have missed an AO or something.

The Acting Bombardier was the equivelent of the Infantry Lance Corporal. So my impression is that officially Lance Bombardiers did not exit, but possibly were called that in common vernacular.

The Bombardier fell between Actiong Bombardier and Corporal (still an RFA rank until 1920).

Both wore a single chevron.

Joe Sweeney

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I have consulted my copy of King's Regulations which is amended up to 31 Dec 1917 and it indicates that the appointment of Acting Bombardier is equivalent to the rank of Gunner and the rank of Bombardier is one step higher, between the ranks of Gunner and Corporal. Lance Bombardier is not listed. I have checked my database of MM awards to the RA during the Great War and 46 MM recipients are listed with the appointment of Lance Bombardier and all were gazetted with the MM between 25 Apr 18 and 23 Jul 19 (The MM for 43050 LBdr W. Storer, RFA was gazetted on 23 July 1918). This would seem to indicate that the appointment of Lance Bombardier in the RA began sometime between 1 Jan 18 and 25 Apr 18.

Regards. Dick

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As of AO 1 1918 there were still no Lance Bombardiers in the RFA, only Acting and Bombardier. Do not have record of conversion in 1918. Hope LB14-18 chimes in here as I may have missed an AO or something.

LB reporting for duty! I have found nothing to add from my own AOs [not a complete set] but have cobbled this together from Dawnay and DA Campbell's works.

1914 RA ranks/ appointments below full sergeant [who wore three chevrons with gun above]. Appointments indicated by *

corporal, 2 bar

bombardier, 1 bar

acting bombardier*, 1 bar

LANCE BOMBARDIER*, 1 bar [this is Campbell only, Dawnay says nothing]

Gunner and Driver, Musician, Trumpeter, and Boy.

1920 [Dawnay quotes AO 142/20]

Cpls rank abolished and became Lance Sergeants*, three bar chevron, no gun

Bombardiers took 2 bar chevron

Acting Bombardier* abolished

Lance Bombardier* 1 bar.

I hope I have the nuances right. The evidence from Honours and Awards quoted above is very suggestive that Lance Bombardiers were indeed current in 1914.

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Thanks once again for the replies, lads. Thought I'd show you a picture of the man himself. Hope I've pressed the right buttons!

Jonathan

post-23-1107719173.jpg

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LB1418,

Interesting.

If a Lance Bombardier existed as early as 1914 I wonder why the King Regs don't call it out?

Out of curiousity I pulled my War establishments out, which I had not checked before.

1914; I could not find any Lance Bombardiers in any RA formation. A RHA Bde had 27 Acting Bombardiers; a RFA Bde 34 Act. Bom. RFA Bde How 32 Act Bom; HA Batt and AC had 12 Act Bom. etc.

1917 WE part VIIa; Primarly dated to June 1917 but with quite a few change pages dating later. All the ranks/appointments still being Acting Bombardiers and not a single Lance bombardier.

1918. WE part VIIa dating to Nov 1918. Now there were no Acting Bombardiers only Lance Bombardiers in about the same authorized strengths as before.

I don't have a complete set of AOs but I do have the indices through AO 1 1918 and not AO seems to call out a change in the RFA appointment structure.

I would say Dick is correct the change from Act. to Lance occurred after January 1918 and before April 1918.

I don't think that Lance Bombardier was as early as 1914. I base this one on the Clothing Regulations for 1914 which show no such rank or appointment.

The Royal Artillery has always baffled my analytical skills.

Joe Sweeney

By the way thanks!!

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