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Remembered Today:

Deciphering Words in War Diary.


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Kim Jones

Hi all.   I am in the process of writing some of the entries from the war diaries.  I hope that that you may be able to help me with a few words I have come across.  I have included them in the file attached, plus these two..

What is meant by A Zone call?

Is 6 AOWs  'Any other weapons'

The others are underlined in white and some I and wrote underneath. 

Kind Regards, and thank you in advance. 

Kim. 

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This looks like the war diary of an artillery unit! Artillery is not my specialist domain, but from what I recall from 

concerning your first batch. 

 

"A Zone call" refers to the asignation of code letters and numbers to particular sectors, on which the guns are then adjusted... each "zone" with it's own gun elevation, charge, etc ... you've got an example hereunder

"ground observation from GF 99" ... GF 99 is a zone 

FOO = Forward Observation officer... mostly a Lt in the Bde, positionned  in the front line, who'd call the shots for the Aie. In this case he spotted a train and called in the coordinates for the Aie to engage. 

U12 & U18 are "zones" (see above). standardisation allowed for quick communication. For example, an aerial observer will call down "Enemy seen in U12", that's faster than "enemy seen 2 clicks left of the farm with red bricks". 

"SOS rates" refers to SOS fire. if an infantry detail, or a raid is under attack or encountering problems, they can call in Aie support, usually by using flares. The abvoe mentionned FOO would then see that and call down Aie on pre-registered objectives

"OO nb 1" might more related to Operations Order nb 1 (for Kemmel) but below, the 3rd excerpt of your second sheet it's Observation Officer

 

Second document is more tricky, but if I might venture a guess, Ex 1, the words are "range", "Observation" and "Fire effect" ?? 

The last (Ex 4) also "observer" but not sure. 

 

Hope this is helpful and sorry if I still misinterpreted something. 

 

M. 

 

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Kim Jones

Hi Marilyn. 

Thank you for your reply, it is very helpful and much appreciated.

 

I worked out Ex 4 when I looked again....I think it reads 'otherwise'.

 

Thank you for explaining the 'zones' to me.  I will have to try and explain this to my family so they understand too, 

 

So I can explain what S.O.S means, is it classed as an 'emergency call for assistance' ? Do the letters mean anything,, there are a few explanations.  I found in another feed it was described as 'Support or Suppression'

 

I hope you don't mind, I have 3 more.

First - 6 AOWs   Is it 'Any Other Weapons'.

Second - 30th mist ?

Third - Is  C.Q.D  Close quarter call or Come quick danger?

I have put all 3 diary entrance below.

 

Thanks again

Kim.

 

 

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U12 & U18 are the letter and number designation of a 1000yd square of a british trench map. U12 & U18 are from the trench map 28SW4&SE3. Warneton is in U12 and U18 is directly below U12.

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Kim,

 

the SOS is probably just what it always comes to in an emergency situation. I Don't know any other expressions using the same acronym.

Sorry for the other questions, but I can't answer them. The Any Other Weapons sounds about right, as we're talking about artillery here, but I can't say for sure.

 

I'm sure somebody will step up and make right my failings…

 

M.

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22/17:   255 Siege Bty were ranged upon by aeroplane observation but fire for effect was not attempted.

 

26/17:   ...one of several actions by...

 

29/17:   ... was engaged by 60pdrs and 6in Hows... (60 pounder guns and 6-inch howitzers)

 

31/17    30-inst (30th instant as in the 30th of the same month - so the day before)

 

CQD did not actually have associated words, but was an unmistakeable morse transmission with a similar meaning to SOS (which ultimately replaced CQD). For a gun battery it means fire all guns rapid fire on a preregistered area that is being crossed by the enemy to obliterate them.

 

 

265

Edited by 14276265
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Kim Jones

Thank you so much Edward1, Marilyn and 14276265....your answers are very very much appreciated.  

I would like to explain what 'Neutralization' and 'Concentrations' mean, like in one of the above examples, date 15th for example.  I think it is self explanatory in the diary but never the less I think it doesn't hurt to put a foot note of explanations if I can.  This will hopefully be kept for the next few generations to keep. If you can explain it I would be very grateful. 

I do appreciate all you help.

Kim. 

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WhiteStarLine

Here is a great definition from Reddit:

 

Neutralize in military parlance basically means took away enemies ability to use something. In regards to personnel it means kill, captured or wounded to the point of being combat ineffective.

 

So, to put this in perspective with a WW1 example.  You have a 1,000 German soldiers, fully armed, with all their ammunition and equipment in their trenches, alert and ready to oppose your attack.  Their own artillery has field guns, fully manned and stockpiles of ammunition.  You request your field artillery batteries neutralise the trenches while your medium batteries neutralise the German artillery.  Salvo after salvo hits the German trenches but they are all safe, deep underground.  Thirty minutes later the barrage stops but it is too late and the first wave of your attack is in their trench.  We say that the defenders were neutralised - no casualties, no losses of ammunition but unable to oppose you in that time.  To neutralise the gunners, you probably fired gas rounds - stops the gunners operating their own guns and stops the horse teams moving them.  No real damage to the batteries but they were neutralised - unable to assist their own comrades.

 

Obviously the batteries were doing the same thing on the 15th around Warneton on German trench mortar and machine gun positions.  The box barrage did the same thing in trench raids - held the enemy firmly in their position and minimised them retaliating as the raid took place.

 

Concentration refers to the type of fire - concentrate multiple batteries on a specific target, such as a blockhouse or trench system, or harassing fire by firing up and down a trench systems.

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Kim Jones

WhiteStarLine

Thank you so much for your reply, really appreciate it.....it helps to paint a picture. 

Kim

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Kim Jones

I would like to check this is right,  In this entry does No5 Gun RMA mean Royal Marine Artillery?

Thank you in advance.

Kim.

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Martin Rob

A query please also about war diary interpretation.    In the sentence  "..the 3rd and 4th wave advanced with 70x between 3rd and 4th wave opening out to 25x interval between sections on the move", the "x" is shown top right of the number as though it was a "to the power of" symbol.  Is "x"  therefore length or time I wonder?

Thanks, Martin

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x in this context is the standard symbol for yards.

 

KIM

 

The diaries look like a Heavy Artillery Group diary/diaries so No 5 Gun RMA may well refer to No 5 Howitzer Royal Marine Artillery https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/the-batteries-of-the-royal-marine-artillery/ although I don't see it in the clips above and would prefer to see it in context.

 

Max

Edited by MaxD
RMA addityion
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Kim Jones

Sorry I thought I had attached the diary, my mistake.  The middle one here is the continuation of the 3rd. 

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This is January 1918

 

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Yes, No 5 Howitzer Royal Marine Artillery joining 41 HAG (Brigade RGA).

 

Max

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Kim

 

Please forgive the rudeness of this but your queries indicate that artillery speak is a bit of a foreign language to you (as it is for many!).  May I ask  - is it one of the Siege or Heavy Batteries of 41 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery you are interested in or perhaps 41 Brigade Royal Field Artillery?

 

Max

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Kim Jones

Hi Max.  Yes, very much a foreign language.  I am working on my grandads service records, and the dairies that go with it.  

It's 10.30pm in Australia and my laptop is off, but tomorrow I can let you know the RGA batteries he was in, on the top of my head grandad started in the 20th hb, then posted to the 120th hb, then to the 123 hb, then 1/1 north midlands hb which became the 41st brigade. It is this diary I am working on. 

Sorry for my ignorance, it must be very frustrating. 

Kim.

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Kim

 

You clearly have a good grasp of the vagaries of the heavies and apologies must only be mine for the Doubting Thomas query but it has been known for folk to confuse the RFA brigades and the RGA brigades.  Frustrating - never!  If his docs are on line, give his name and number for a cross check if you'd like.   Sleep well and stay safe!

 

Max

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Kim Jones

Hi Max,

It's all good.  I have been asking lots of questions and very thankful for the replies I have been getting. As they say, if you don't ask, you don't know....and I have many more questions, sorry to say :) 

The above is correct, Grandad finished his time with the 1/1 Wessex HB. 

My research is on Albert Edward Pittuck, his reg no is 47662 with the RGA. I have got his Short Service Attestation record, New Soldier's Record - Doc WO 363, and his Discharge documents from Ancestry.com.  If there is any other documents out there I would love to know, thank you.

I do have some more words to unravel from another diary, I will put that one up soon, I hope someone will be able to fill in my gaps.

Thanks for your help.

Kim.

 

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You may well have picked it up already but his move from123 Hy Bty to 1/1st N Midland Hy Bty was almost certainly moving with a section of 123 Hy Bty to 1/1st to make the latter up to 6 guns from 4.  The date of the move of the section 14 Feb 1917 is the same date as on his record.

 

Medal card: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D4655710

Award roll (Ancestry)

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/5119/images/41629_625537_9440-00090?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=f4b2f24102c64dcb4467cff462a03c4f&usePUB=true&_phsrc=obY257&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&_ga=2.77157715.753816551.1595788484-668581463.1595064114&pId=1863385

 

Max

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Kim Jones

Hi Max,

Thanks to this website I had been pointed in the right direction with the 1/1st North Midlands HB, thank you so much for confirming it. 

 

I have grandad's Medal card, but I do have a question about that area.  In my research it says that if someone signed up before 31st Dec 1914 that they are eligible to receive the 1914 - 15 Star Medal.  Is this correct? As it's not on grandad's form.

 

In the book with the medals, do you know what the 'O' and 'EB' mean?   I see Grandad's is the only one on that page that has it. 

 

Thanks,

Kim.

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The qualification for the 1914 1915 Star was overseas service in a war theatre before 31 Dec 1915.  He didn't go overseas until Feb 1916. 

 

His record is in a bit of a mess regarding where and with whom he was serving prior to going overseas in Feb 1916.  Need a bit of time to unravel it.

 

O and B mean nothing, they are check marks made for some administrative checking purpose by clerks long ago.

 

Max

 

 

 

 

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Kim Jones

Evening Max

 

Thank you for answering these queries for me. 

 

I agree, the records are in a bit of a mess, it has taken me awhile to put things in order, just like a jigsaw puzzle.

 

I have attached the nuts and bolts of what I got out of the Short Service, New Solider Record and Discharge Documents.  I put all three into date order, the three in bold at the end I am not sure about, they were hard to read.  Hope this helps and I appreciate you taking the time to look it over.

 

Kim. 

 

Max - Great War Forum..pdf

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Quick reply to say got it, back soon, I'd been doing much the same thing when you posted!

 

Max

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