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Bear8953

Hi, 

 

i am am trying to locate the positions of the Royal Marine Artilllery batteries on the western front , can anyone help with maps etc or with grid references or long and lat coordinates so I can find them.

 

my wife’s great grandfather was killed on howitzer 6 and is buried in Arras, we are planning a visit to his grave this year and would like to take her to the battery position if we are able too or near to it. 

 

Thanks

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Keith_history_buff

This may be worth a read, too

From the first link to a forum post

On 13/04/2019 at 10:43, horatio2 said:

Guns Nos.1, 11 and 12 supported the Battle of Vimy. At the same time guns Nos.3, 4, 6 and 10 were supporting the 1st Battle of the Scarpe. No.1 gun alone supported the Canadians at Hill 70. In other words, the individual guns of the RMA Howitzer Brigade were allocated piecemeal as operations demanded. They did not "follow the Canadian Corps."

 

Of interest from the blog (link above)
 

Quote

Battles engaged in (italics) plus Extracts from Battery Diaries

Apr 1915 #4 howitzer transported to France...
9-14 April 1917 FIRST BATTLE, THE SCARPE
 

3-4 May 1917 THIRD BATTLE, THE SCARPE

May 1917 At Bois De Boeufs standing by.

Jun 1917 At Bois De Boeufs standing by.



 

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Keith_history_buff

It appears that the pertinent document is ADM 137/3073 for 1918, thanks to The Long Long Trail. Whilst there appears to be a gap for 1917, something must exist, else there would be none of the 1917 data in the blog, as quoted in the post above. Could it be as simple as a cataloguing error? Neither (ADM 137/3072 1915 Aug-1916 Dec & ADM 137/3073 1918 Jan-1919 June) has been digitised, so a "preview" of the pages cannot be performed.

The original source does appear to imply a source document with the Royal Marines Museum's archive, though.

On 31/07/2006 at 09:21, Guest said:

ROYAL MARINES ARTILLERY

The following are an extraction from chapters about RMA and the Howitzer Brigade from copies I have been privileged to obtain from the Museum at Eastney. I would also note that the collection and exhibits are worth the trip there, unfortunately very little on the Howitzer Brigade.
 

 

In Aug 1915 #1 gun and its platform was dismounted in 4½ hours. The platform was remounted in 2½ and the gun in 3½ hours. It is not stated if this time included the digging of the required 2 foot by 21 square feet platform pit.

As time went on the men become more proficient, in favorable conditions.

In Aug 1917 #6 gun was dismounted during a heavy rainstorm. The dress for this action was bathing draws for some of the men; the water was up to their waist at times

During firing the gun would move back and sometimes slew to the side. Run back could be as much as one foot for each round. This had the effect of bulldozing a mound of earth three to four foot high behind the gun at times. This caused extra work for the crews keeping it clear, usually by one section while another feed and fired the gun. In one extreme case the platform ploughed back 90 feet going completely through a small road.

Slewing caused aiming problems as there was only 36 degrees of train each side of the centre line of the gun. The crew’s innovations in the field went a long way to solve the problem using wire hawsers around suitably sized tree (if any could be found) or sinking anchor points. Another method was to select a new target in the opposite direction and trust the recoil would slew the gun back on line with the first target.

Slewing and run back only occurred in soft ground. A well mounted gun on good ground proved satisfactory and accurate.

Accuracy was the responsibility of the Observation Officers from their OP (observation post) usually in the forward trenches and at times up to 200 yards in front of the lines.

The detail would take rations for five days and stay at their posts night and day.

Ypres cathedral was also used as were high trees. All were vulnerable positions. In July 1917 #4 gun lost a bombardier killed on OP duty in the forward area. By May 1917 aerial observation in conjunction with the ground OP’s were used to good effect.

 

 

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horatio2
17 hours ago, Bear8953 said:

my wife’s great grandfather was killed on howitzer 6 and is buried in Arras

A name and date would assist investigation.

The No.6 Battery war diary can be downloaded from Kew here (N.B. up to February 1918 only) - https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/d7f24daf2ec840408963e97da7fd38f8

Edited by horatio2

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