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LauraGW97

Gunner Harry Bateman (1896?-1976), RFA 4th Reserve Brigade

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LauraGW97

Hi all! I'm currently working on my graduate studies which involve the research of various artists, including soldier artists. Among them is Harry Bateman, a gunner who was present at the Battle of the Somme. The main sources of information I have are a 1976 BBC documentary, The Story of the Battle of the Somme, which states that Bateman, who passed away in January of that year, was present for the whole of the battle, at the end of which he was invalided out due to exhaustion, and a very few documents from the RFA records office. The documentary states that he was an artillery signaller, but his RFA documents say that he was a gunner. Though I've searched using his regimental number (780879), I can't seem to find any papers other than Army Form W. 3494, which regards his discharge, and nothing about his brigade, battalion, or regiment beyond the name RFA 4th Reserve Brigade. Any information anyone has would be immensely helpful, as I've searched on Ancestry.com, the UK national archives, IWM's website, The Long Long Trail, and just plain old google. Cheers and best of luck to you all!

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Ron Clifton

Hello Laura, and welcome to the Forum!

 

Personnel in the RFA were ranked as either Gunners or Drivers - Signaller was an appointment and not a separate rank. He was almost certainly posted to 4th Reserve Brigade after being returned to the UK following his exhaustion, and probably also discharged from that brigade at the end of his service. That brigade remained in the UK throughout the war.

 

Unfortunately, about 60% of soldiers' records were destroyed in the Blitz in 1941, so unless you have something (such as a letter home) which has more information as to his unit, I'm afraid that you are unlikely to get any further.

 

For the record, RFA men served in batteries (about 200 men), which in turn were grouped into brigades of three or four batteries. They didn't have battalions, although artillery brigades were of comparable size, and they all belonged to The Royal Regiment of Artillery.

 

Ron

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RussT

His number tells us he was in the Territorial Force, RFA. He had an earlier 4 digit number, 3222, which is the number he would have been known with during his time on the Somme. He would have got his new 6-digit number in early 1917. And that number also tells us he was originally with the 2nd West Riding Brigade RFA TF, the first line of which became 246 Brigade RFA and the second line 311 Brigade.

 

Regards

 

 

Russ

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RussT

His Medal Index Card also tells us he received a Silver War Badge (SWB).

 

The SWB roll states he enlisted 28/09/1915 and was discharged 08/06/1918 aged 21 with shell shock from 4 Reserve Brigade.

 

Russ

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Mark1959
Posted (edited)

He got a small pension. 8 shillings a week, at least for a few years.

Edited by Mark1959

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Mark1959
Posted (edited)

There are some existing service papers that FMP have. 
Served overseas 14/4/16 to 5/11/16.

Russ T has his units correct. 1/2 West Riding  Brigade, C Battery. Then in Oct 1916 246th. A Battery. But just change of unit designation

Not very extensive papers. Clearly long time convalesing - still at a Convalescent Depot in April 1917 at least, Searching for docs on ancestry.

Edit

on ancestry Here

The War Diary of the 1/2 WR Brigade / 246th is mixed up with the 49th Divisional troop diaries and is available in ancestry or the National Archives

Edited by Mark1959

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David Porter
41 minutes ago, Mark1959 said:

Served overseas 14/4/16 to 5/11/16

 

The overseas date of April 14, 1916 indicates he was posted to France from the 3rd Line at South Camp, Ripon for the purpose of forming a D/246.

D/246 (formed on April 16, 1916) became C/246 on May 21, 1916. This C/246 was divided between A/246 and B/246 on October 18, 1916.

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LauraGW97

Thank you very much to all of you! This is far more than I had ever hoped to find. 

Just now, RussT said:

His number tells us he was in the Territorial Force, RFA. He had an earlier 4 digit number, 3222, which is the number he would have been known with during his time on the Somme.

This is wonderful information, thank you, Mr. Russ. As I'm relatively new to this (my undergraduate specialization was trauma studies in art history), how did you find that out? I'm sorry if that sounds rather silly, there are just some things I've never been sure how to ask! Would you suggest I search under this number for further records? 

 

Just now, Ron Clifton said:

For the record, RFA men served in batteries (about 200 men), which in turn were grouped into brigades of three or four batteries. They didn't have battalions, although artillery brigades were of comparable size, and they all belonged to The Royal Regiment of Artillery.

Thank you so much for the clarification, Mr. Clifton. Again, I feel like these things are so fundamental it's hard to ask the question! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.

 

Just now, Mark1959 said:

There are some existing service papers that FMP have.

I really appreciate the digging, Mr. Mark. Do you mind if I ask where to search for these papers? I've been looking on both Ancestry and the National Archives; did you search under his earlier number and that's where my problem is?

 

Just now, David Porter said:

D/246 (formed on April 16, 1916) became C/246 on May 21, 1916. This C/246 was divided between A/246 and B/246 on October 18, 1916.

Mr. Porter, I'm very grateful for this expanded information. Thank you. 

 

To all of you, I'd just like to say thank you one more time. I know I sound a bit like a broken record, but I deeply appreciate this, as Covid-19 shutdowns have forced me to move home from my program in the UK back to the US, and have shut down nearly all my archives. I'm working with less than half the material I originally had hoped to have. It means a great deal to me to know that there are people out there willing to help find information. Thank you. 

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HTSCF Fareham

Courtesy of Forces War Records.

 

image.png.c5fab59285d795e1dae4a338990c99de.png

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HTSCF Fareham
Posted (edited)

Born 17/04/1896 or 12/04/1896 depending on two different sources.

Baptised 24/05/1896 at Otley Road Wesleyan Methodist Church, Bradford

Son of John and Rosa Bateman.

Enlisted at Bradford.

Height 5' 7½"

 

Edited by HTSCF Fareham

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sotonmate
Posted (edited)

There is currently a free download service at the National Archives, on their Discovery database, for WW1 War Diaries.

246 Brigade RFA has such a file in WO95/2781/4 which covers the service period of your subject. There it will show daily detail from which you can extract unit positions and actions. I will put a link here to help. If it doesn't open you may have to access the database advanced search yourself and enter the unit details.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354633

Edited by sotonmate

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Mark1959

On Ancestry April 1916 War Diary for the Brigade starts here. And you can follow through his time with the unit. You can only download 1 page at a time so would recommend taking the free download suggested by sotonmate where you can download the whole thing in one go.

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