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Richard Wildwood

RFA in Salonika

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Richard Wildwood

I've been researching my Grandfather who was a lead rider in the RFA who served in Salonika, there are many family stories about his time in Alexandria, how he would ride his team to the top of a ridge at the same time every day to fire rounds at the Bulgarian trenches and of Gallipoli in 1918. His medal index card and award rolls show him as 8675 Rider R.F.A who disembarked for Egypt on  6.7.1915. I found some medical records showing he had malaria and was in a field hospital on 3rd July 1916 and was tansfered from no 25 clearing station to no 20 stationary station. He is shown as being in 103rd brigade, 31st Battery, 28th Division. The record also shows he had served 1 year and 10 months at this date meaning he joined the army around October 1914 at the age of 17.  I've tried to put some accuracy to the family stories using the Long Long Trail and the book Under The Devils Eye. I would be interested to find out about where he would have trained, how long it took and what the training would be. As an east end of London boy i doubt he would have ridden a horse before. Also what was the role of the lead driver. Is there any information on his batteries role in Salonika, the general information has been great for general movements but i'd like to see how true the family stories are.

Any help would be appreciates, thanks.

30850_A001340-02570.jpg

41629_611411_5365-00231.jpg

41804_611411_5888-00291.jpg

Edited by Richard Wildwood
uploaded records

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Gardenerbill

Hi Richard,

I have checked the Official History Macedonia and in volume 2 D/CXXX is mentioned p44 with reference to a raid on the village of Butkovo Jum'a 20th December 1917 and again p174 2nd battle of Doiran 18th September 1918, but I think D is the Howitzer section. To find out more you need to get the war diaries and I am afraid for Salonika this means a trip to Kew.

 

Apologies CXXX is of course 130 not 103.

Edited by Gardenerbill

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Gardenerbill

Are you sure it is 103rd (CIII) according to the LLT 103rd (CIII) were a Howitzer brigade attached to 23rd Division with A, B, C and D batteries? 

 

According to LLT Order of Battle Divisions, XXXI (31st) Brigade RFA were attached to 28th Division, although the LLT contradicts itself in Regiments and Corps, Units of the Royal artillery where it has XXXI (31st) attached to 27th Division. 

Edited by Gardenerbill

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Richard Wildwood
4 hours ago, Gardenerbill said:

Are you sure it is 103rd (CIII) according to the LLT 103rd (CIII) were a Howitzer brigade attached to 23rd Division with A, B, C and D batteries? 

 

According to LLT Order of Battle Divisions, XXXI (31st) Brigade RFA were attached to 28th Division, although the LLT contradicts itself in Regiments and Corps, Units of the Royal artillery where it has XXXI (31st) attached to 27th Division. 

thanks for responding, i found the information on a medical record from Kew, have attached a copy

 

4 hours ago, Gardenerbill said:

Are you sure it is 103rd (CIII) according to the LLT 103rd (CIII) were a Howitzer brigade attached to 23rd Division with A, B, C and D batteries? 

 

According to LLT Order of Battle Divisions, XXXI (31st) Brigade RFA were attached to 28th Division, although the LLT contradicts itself in Regiments and Corps, Units of the Royal artillery where it has XXXI (31st) attached to 27th Division. 

Thanks for responding, the information came from a transcript from the medical records at Kew, I've attached a copy. 1247121554_Armymedicalrecord.jpg.bdc5473e956454d410e1e525b0749bbe.jpg

Army medical record 2.jpg

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David Porter

Richard,

 

8675 puts his enlistment around September 3, 1914 and an arrival at No. 4 Depot RFA, Woolwich (New Army).

His Egypt date of July 6, 1915 could correspond with 2 units: 55th Brigade RFA embarking at Devonport or 69th (Howitzer) Brigade RFA arriving at Alexandria.

Both of these brigades served in the Gallipoli Campaign then later in Mesopotamia. 

103rd Brigade RFA did not serve in Salonika. His unit there is more likely to be 103rd Battery, 31st Brigade RFA as Gardenerbill hinted at.

I think some of the Brigade Ammunition Column (BAC) for 31st Brigade RFA was assembled at Alexandria in the latter stages of the Gallipoli Campaign.

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Gardenerbill

There are 2 possible reasons for an error here; his details may have been mis-recorded in the original document or the document may have been mis-transcribed. It would be worth having a look at the original document if possible.

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Richard Wildwood

Thank you, i'll try to view the original document, thanks for your help

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Richard Wildwood
18 minutes ago, David Porter said:

Richard,

 

8675 puts his enlistment around September 3, 1914 and an arrival at No. 4 Depot RFA, Woolwich (New Army).

His Egypt date of July 6, 1915 could correspond with 2 units: 55th Brigade RFA embarking at Devonport or 69th (Howitzer) Brigade RFA arriving at Alexandria.

Both of these brigades served in the Gallipoli Campaign then later in Mesopotamia. 

103rd Brigade RFA did not serve in Salonika. His unit there is more likely to be 103rd Battery, 31st Brigade RFA as Gardenerbill hinted at.

I think some of the Brigade Ammunition Column (BAC) for 31st Brigade RFA was assembled at Alexandria in the latter stages of the Gallipoli Campaign.

Thanks for this, he was in Palestine which i guess would tie in with Mesopotamia, i remember he brought back a seed head as a souvenir which he thought was a feather. I've got some regimental Christmas cards he sent home, i'll check to see if there's any information on them. Thanks for the help

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charlie962
3 hours ago, Richard Wildwood said:

view the original document,

2136671588_GWFRomangARFAmedicalrecord.JPG.f5a94866c6fa74ab0328bf366530131b.JPG

courtesy FindmyPast

3 hours ago, Richard Wildwood said:

more likely to be 103rd Battery, 31st Brigade RFA as Gardenerbill hinted

 

Edited by charlie962

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Gardenerbill

Yes looks like 31/103 i.e. 31st Bde 103 Btty

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Richard Wildwood
3 hours ago, charlie962 said:

2136671588_GWFRomangARFAmedicalrecord.JPG.f5a94866c6fa74ab0328bf366530131b.JPG

courtesy FindmyPast

 

Thanks for this, yes its clearly a mistake in transcription. 

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Richard Wildwood

Thanks for the help, hopefully i can trace his movements from this and put some flesh on the family stories

 

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Richard Wildwood

interestingly my wife's grandfather Percy Roberts Lloyd served as a Sergeant in the RFA in Salonika, he was a full time soldier who signed up in 1909. No 57289 i believe he was in 101st Brigade, B Battery, C1 (Howitzer) i've tried to work out if their paths ever crossed in Salonika. Again the divisional info is from medical records. Must be unusual for 2 members of the family to have been in Salonika?

P R Lloyd MEDALl.jpg

P R Lloyd roll.jpg

PRLLOYD Medical 2.jpg

PRLLOYD Medical.jpg

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Gardenerbill

With reference to Driver Auguste Romang and 31st Brigade the Official History also has them taking part in the action at Bairakli Jum'A a village in the Struma Valley but it doesn't say which battery were involved. The 31st also took part in the Autumn offensive September 1918 as part of the XVI Corps attack on the Bulgarian lines in the Blaga PLanina north of Lake Doiran, this was a much bigger operation and Auguste's battery almost certainly took part. All the field artillery batteries had to cross a wide valley to get into position for the attack and came under fire. You can find the details of the XVI Corps attack in Under the Devil's Eye starting at page 208 and there is a good map for reference.  

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Richard Wildwood
1 hour ago, Gardenerbill said:

With reference to Driver Auguste Romang and 31st Brigade the Official History also has them taking part in the action at Bairakli Jum'A a village in the Struma Valley but it doesn't say which battery were involved. The 31st also took part in the Autumn offensive September 1918 as part of the XVI Corps attack on the Bulgarian lines in the Blaga PLanina north of Lake Doiran, this was a much bigger operation and Auguste's battery almost certainly took part. All the field artillery batteries had to cross a wide valley to get into position for the attack and came under fire. You can find the details of the XVI Corps attack in Under the Devil's Eye starting at page 208 and there is a good map for reference.  

Thank you, i have a copy of the book so will have a look. I'm still unsure of the Alexandria timing, his medal card shows he embarked for Egypt on 6 Jul 1915 would this be as part of the 55th Brigade or to join up with the 31st? i know he was in Palestine at some point but this could have been at the end of the war or later, he was i believe discharged in 1920.

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Richard Wildwood
23 hours ago, Richard Wildwood said:

Thanks for the help, hopefully i can trace his movements from this and put some flesh on the family stories

 

 

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Ron Clifton

One point which may help you is the fact that in 1916 (May in France, later in the year in other theatres) the organisation of most divisional artillery was altered. Instead of three brigades with four batteries of 18-pounders and one brigade of four batteries of 4.5-inch howitzers, there were thereafter four mixed brigades, each of three 18-pounder batteries and one 4.5-inch howitzer battery. This was effected by having single-battery swaps between the brigades.

 

Ron

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Gardenerbill

In reply to your post #13 it is unlikely that Percy and Auguste would have met, Auguste's Division (28th) were part of XVI Corps primarily based along the Struma Valley. Percy's Division (22nd) were part of XII Corps based to the west of XVI Corps in the Doiran sector. 

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Richard Wildwood

well it was always unlikely but thanks anyway.

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