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Remembered Today:

35th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery


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HTSCF Fareham

I'm hoping that this will be an easy one for one of the RGA experts!

 

I cannot seem to be able to find any previous topic on the above, so I'm going to ask......

 

Can anyone please point me in the direction of the War Diary that would cover 1918?

 

Thanks!

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HTSCF Fareham

Thanks, Max.

 

I'm looking for July 1918.

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FROGSMILE

The diary of the battery’s commanding officer, Major A C Williamson gives a good flavour of the day-to-day lives of the men who moved, serviced and fired the guns and who cared for the horses that pulled them:  War Diary 35 Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, TNA Ref WO 95/481.

I don’t know for sure if it covers the period that you are interested in, but it’s worth a look.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Hi,

 

There might not be a diary that survives for the period which you are after. In WO 95 481/1 there is this:

 

image.png.6686bad625bfc5a60ea49ff3859d9791.png

Image sourced from the National Archives

 

As Max noted above...

image.png.f633173f8add4df6e4381bd11fae7a5a.png

Image sourced from the National Archives

 

Are you looking at a specific man?

 

Regards

Chris

Edited by clk
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HTSCF Fareham

Sergeant 29486 William John Bridges, DCM MM, who was KiA 20/07/1918 and is buried at Louvencourt Cemetery.

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HTSCF Fareham

Still looking for some help on this one please if possible.

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HTSCF Fareham

Hoping someone over the weekend might have a lightbulb moment! :D

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A small glimmer of light perhaps. As I and Chris both posted, WO95/5494 gives 35 Heavy Battery to 93 Brigade RGA (93 HAG) in Dec 1917.  What I didn't do was check the relevant diary. WO95/481/1 as the National Archives said it only went to May 1918.

 

To avoid having to cut the grass, I took a look at that diary.

 

As well as note of 3 November 1918 about the loss of correspondence posted by Chris, earlier in the diary is the attached.  Filed in October 1917 but clearly referring to the diaries of Jun, Jul, Aug 1918, as it was in response to a demand from 3rd Echelon also dated 1918.

 

This would suggest that the exact whereabouts of 35 Battery and the circumstances relating to your man  in Jun 1918 may be impossible to establish.  You may be able to find the area in which 93 HAG were deployed in the diary of the Commander Heavy Artillery of whichever Corps the brigade were in at the time.  In May the brigade headquarters were in 57D SE P 7c  (Acheux) with its batteries in two groups, their locations aren't given.

 

Max

 

 

Screenshot (54).png

Edited by MaxD
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Baby steps - 93 Bde RGA were 4th Army Troops. The targets areas 35  Battery was engaging in May 1918 were just north of Pozieres, to the east of Hamel, north west of Thiepval.  I'm sure someone will be able to divine the Corps that had that are of interest in May/Jun 1918?

 

Max

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HTSCF Fareham

Thanks for your perseverence and research Max. I'm glad that there are people that understand troops, battery, brigades etc. These things unfortunately make my head spin.

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Taking a magnifying glass to the 93 Bde war diary finds the position of 35 Heavy Battery on 31 May unchanged from when they occupied it on 21/22 April 1918.  The battery was deployed in two sections, one in square P 10 b and the other in P 4 c (link here:https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=50.08519&lon=2.58676&layers=101465236&b=1)..

 

The cemetery in which he is buried is less than 5 miles to the west so my inclination is to suggest the battery was in the same place in July given that there was no major movement in that part of France until the start of the "100 days" on  8 August.  There would have been constant counter battery fire on both sides which may well have been the cause of his death.  It is of note that 3 other members of 35 Hy were killed on 21 April 1918 and buried at Louvencourt - these are not recorded in the HAG diary so his may not have appeared in the missing diary.

 

Max

 

 

 

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HTSCF Fareham
3 hours ago, MaxD said:

Taking a magnifying glass to the 93 Bde war diary finds the position of 35 Heavy Battery on 31 May unchanged from when they occupied it on 21/22 April 1918.  The battery was deployed in two sections, one in square P 10 b and the other in P 4 c (link here:https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=50.08519&lon=2.58676&layers=101465236&b=1)..

 

The cemetery in which he is buried is less than 5 miles to the west so my inclination is to suggest the battery was in the same place in July given that there was no major movement in that part of France until the start of the "100 days" on  8 August.  There would have been constant counter battery fire on both sides which may well have been the cause of his death.  It is of note that 3 other members of 35 Hy were killed on 21 April 1918 and buried at Louvencourt - these are not recorded in the HAG diary so his may not have appeared in the missing diary.

 

Max

 

 

 

This is brilliant, Max. Thank you for taking the time to fathom this one out!

 

If I'm reading the plots and map correctly, you are suggesting that he was probably killed near to Beaussart? I was wondering if he might have been mentioned in the diary due to his MM and DCM, plus being a sergeant? Alas, something that we'll never know!

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10 hours ago, HTSCF Fareham said:

you are suggesting that he was probably killed near to Beaussart?

Yes, that is my best guess.  RGA brigade diaries vary in content.  In May 1918 93 Brigade has four siege batteries and two heavy batteries under command and is recording moves, locations and daily firing programmes.  No incoming shelling is recorded at all although it is inconceivable that there wasn't any!  Names of individuals, even of officers, are conspicuous by their absence - fairly typical for such a diary..

 

Max

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HTSCF Fareham

I thank you again, Max. Very much appreciated!

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  • HTSCF Fareham changed the title to [Solved] 35th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
  • 2 weeks later...
Andrew Cockburn

Hi gents ... thanks for your work on this.

 

William is my Great Uncle (x2!) and I have been endeavoring to find out all can about his life and war time service.

 

Am I correct in thinking he was probably killed in one of the two red squares?

 

Am I also correct in assuming the guns would have been deployed somewhere near the road?

 

What would their targets have likely have been?

 

I'll visit the area on my bike when covid permits

 

Many thanks

 

Andy

 

 

Beasussart.png

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Andrew Cockburn

BTW .... the OC wrote a manuscript for a book on his wartime experience. It was never published as far as I can tell and is sitting in the archives in Larkhill. Hopefully I'll get access to it one day.

 

WILKINSON, Colonel. Arthur Clement DSO CMG
-Photocopy typescript entitled ‘The Diary of an Old Contemptible’ relating his service
with 35 Heavy Battery RGA, 46 Heavy Artillery Group [46 HAG], 41 Heavy Artillery
Group [41 HAG] and 29 Heavy Artillery Group, (29 Brigade RGA) [29 HAG]
RAHT A/C 2012.06.09

Edited by Andrew Cockburn
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  • HTSCF Fareham changed the title to 35th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

The period covered by Wilkinson covers up to about Oct 1917.

 

If  he isn't away from the battery then the assumption  must be that he was there or thereabouts.

 

Difficult after 100 years looking at a piece of ground on Google Earth and trying to work out where the guns etc may have been located.  Certainly near to a road, hopefully with some cover from trees or buildings, with some rise in the ground between them and the general direction of the enemy.  The battery seems to have been in the same location for some time so they may have dug gun pits.

 

The battery targets in that month were around Battery Valley in square R 14 https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=14&lat=50.06887&lon=2.65754&layers=101465233&b=1 about 9000 yards east of Beaussart and other locations a little further east.

 

Max

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