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Quartermaster Farrier in 48th Brigade


JobyA
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I have recently been researching my Great Great Uncle who served in WW1 in France between 1915 to 1919 in the 48th Brigade of the RFA. I would like to find out more about his movements but don’t know how to discover his division/battery (apologies if I am not using the correct terminology I am new to this!). He received a MID which I have found in the London Gazette but don’t know if it is possible to find out what this was for. He also previously served in South Africa (1902 to 1905) and India (1905 to 1914). Most of the information I have discovered from his medal cards, his final discharge and the 1911 census which I have found online.  I would appreciate any advice as to how I can find out any more details. Many thanks Jo  

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Hi @JobyA and welcome to the forum.

 

RFA Brigades are frequently referenced by their equivalent in roman numerals, so the Brigade you are looking for is XLVIII.

 

Our parent site, the Long, Long Trail has this on that Brigade.

 

XLVIII

This brigade was originally comprised of numbers 154, 155 and 156 Batteries RFA and the Brigade Ammunition Column. It was placed under command of the 14th (Light) Division and went to France with it in May 1915.

  • On 14 January 1915 the three six-gun batteries were reorganised to become four four-gun batteries and were titled as A, B, C and D.
  • On 24 May 1916 D Battery left to join 49 Brigade of the same Division, being replaced by the former D (Howitzer) Battery of that brigade which now became D/48.
  • The brigade left the Division on 7 January 1917 and was converted into an Army Brigade RFA.
  • At the same time, C Battery was broken up, with sections going to 46 and 47 Brigades. A Battery of 158 Brigade joined and was renamed as C/48.
  • A section joined D Battery from D Battery of 293 Brigade on 16 February 1917.

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/batteries-and-brigades-of-the-royal-field-artillery/xlvi-xlvii-xlviii-and-xlix-howitzer-brigades-of-the-royal-field-artillery-14th-divisional-artillery/

 

Their War Diary for the period May 1915 to December 1916 can be found on the National Archive website here: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352704

And for their time as an Army RFA Brigade, (January 1917 to April 1919), it can be found here https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/a7c62ec2440f40079be2a6d72372026a

War diaries can currently be downloaded for free. You do have to sign in with an account, but if you don't already have one it can be set up as part of placing your first order. No financial details are required.

 

It's unlikely to mention him by name, but it will give you an idea of where they were and what they were up to.

 

The make up of the 14th (Light) Division and a brief summary of the actions it was involved in can be read here https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/14th-light-division/

 

Hope that gets you started - a name for your Great, Great Uncle might unlock additional sources.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Thank you so much for your swift and detailed reply Peter. If I’ve understood you correctly I now need to find which section he went into when the 48 brigade was reorganised into A,B,C and D? Do you know if there is a way to do this? His name was Joseph William Nobbs born in Trunch near North Walsham Norfolk in 1880. I have pieced together medal cards, discharge and census information from various ancestry sites. Thank you, Jo

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I would suggest that the war diaries are worth checking.. as a senior NCO it is just possible he is mentioned, if unlikely. But there are no obvious sources to link a man to his  battery if his records do not survive.. 

I would note that there is a memoir by an officer who served with A/48. ..when forming and in France.. he mentions a few of his NCOs. but no mention of Nobbs I think..[there is  Sgt Yule, Sgt Bliss and Sgt Sheward..] . 'Gunner Subaltern' by J Tyndale-Biscoe.

I see he is listed as a Farrier Staff Sgt in the register for his LongServiceGoodConduct medal in 1919.. as well as FQMS on Attestation Roll. 

Which source identifies him as being in 48th Brigade.. the MID?

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Thank you for the information you provided, that is really helpful.  I found his brigade on the Forces War Records site with a MID which I then found in the London Gazette. 

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His qualifying date of May 19, 1915 is likely to put him arriving in France with either 46th Brigade RFA or 49th (Howitzer) Brigade RFA. If he finished the war with 48th Brigade RFA he might have been in D (H)/49 Bty which became D (H)/48 Bty on May 24, 1916. Qualifying dates for 48th Brigade RFA are May 21, 1915 or later. 

 

EDIT: Slight correction - he is on a list of Artificers with 49th (How.) Brigade Ammunition Column dated December 1915. There is also a mark indicating that he was with Base Details (so away from the unit).

Edited by David Porter
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Thank you for this information David, it is really interesting. Can I ask how/where  you were able to see that he was an Artificer? I have to confess I had to look up what that meant this is all new to me! I will have another look at his records this afternoon as there is something on one of them which looks as if it could say D regiment.
 

Do you mind me asking what it is likely to mean away from the unit?  Does it mean he was temporarily with another unit? Or possibly injured? I think he was very much a career soldier having served for 21 years. So I would appreciate any advice on how I can find out about his pre-Great War service.

 

I really do appreciate all your help and interest that you sharing. And I am learning a lot every day! Thanks Jo

 

 

 

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PS I do have a photo I believe to be of him shoeing a horse. He is wearing his uniform cap. It is stamped carte postale on the back so I am presuming taken while he was in France. I am currently sorting through old photographs that my mother had kept. So I may well come across some more. 

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16 minutes ago, JobyA said:

Do you mind me asking what it is likely to mean away from the unit?

 

He was not with the Brigade Ammunition Column but at the RH and RFA Base Depot at Havre. There could be a few reasons why he was there - coming back from leave or after a spell in hospital are possible. I'm sending you a private message.

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I had just  remembered that there are full lists of 48thBde men in 1915 in the war diary WO 95/1887/2, and scanning them I could not see his name.. so that fits if originally with 49th Bde . 

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Thank you for this I will definitely take a look.  It maybe that he ended up in the 48th Brigade or this information might not be completely correct.  I picked up the 48th Brigade from a MID. 

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4 hours ago, JobyA said:

His name was Joseph William Nobbs born in Trunch near North Walsham Norfolk in 1880.

 

Then hopefully you are aware his father, John Nobbs, was the village police constable at the time. John was born Rockland, Norfolk and his wife Mary A was born Ashby, Norfolk, so both were some way from their home patch. Joseph "Wm" turns up on the 1881 Census of England & Wales aged 7 months.That census was taken on the 3rd April 1881, so placing his birth about August 1880.

 

By the time Joseph William, born 2nd September 1880, was baptised in the church of St Andrew, Claxton, Norfolk on the 29th August 1886, the family were living at Wymondham, Norfolk.

https://www.freereg.org.uk/search_records/5818ddbce93790ec8b51ac09/joseph-william-nobbs-baptism-norfolk-claxton-1886-08-29?locale=en

 

John Nobbs is turning up on the electoral register from 1890 onwards living at Brandon Road, Barnham Broom, Norfolk.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2HY1-46F

I suspect that is the address recorded for them on the 1891 Census of England & Wales, although the census takers handwriting makes that very difficult to make out. The source I use for basic Census lookups, (Genes Reunited), has transcribed it as Maudon Road.

 

By the time of the 1901 Census of England & Wales the 61 year old John Nobbs was recorded as a Farmer at Claxton, Norfolk. He and Mary Ann were still at Claxton on the 1911 Census of England & Wales, but the 71 year old John was now recorded as a Police Pensioner. Claxton is the next village to the east of Rockland St Mary, (where John was born) and north of Ashby,(where Mary Ann was born).

 

I was following them through in the hope of finding reference to Joseph in the local press from the Great War period, but unfortunately have drawn a blank.

 

Hope some of the above is of interest.

 

Peter

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Thank you for the information Peter that’s very kind. John and Mary are my Great Great Grandparents. I had known that he was a policeman but only recently discovered on this journey where he had been located. I wish I had done this when my mother was alive as I’m not sure if she knew that he had been in Barnham Broom because we lived just up the road from there and I think she would’ve found that quite interesting. Last weekend I went to see their  gravestones which are in Thurton. I think they were originally from the Claxton area and returned when he retired. Joseph I have discovered ended up living in Lewisham and died there quite young (53 years). I have tracked that he went on to be buried in the cemetery at Chelsea in what I assume is a military graveyard. I hope to go there when things allow! One of my next actions is to try and get his death certificate as I’m curious as to why he died early and possibly wondered if there was any reason linked to the war as I believe many soldiers and horses suffered from gas attacks. I also wonder about the affect the war must’ve had on people who survived and saw such horrors including their horses - it must have been heartbreaking. I do now think I have narrowed down where he served (Ammunition Column)from the mention in despatches and the help from this forum which I’m very grateful I have found and for all the help and advice  people have been kind enough to offer. 

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20 hours ago, PRC said:

 

Then hopefully you are aware his father, John Nobbs, was the village police constable at the time. John was born Rockland, Norfolk and his wife Mary A was born Ashby, Norfolk, so both were some way from their home patch. Joseph "Wm" turns up on the 1881 Census of England & Wales aged 7 months.That census was taken on the 3rd April 1881, so placing his birth about August 1880.

 

By the time Joseph William, born 2nd September 1880, was baptised in the church of St Andrew, Claxton, Norfolk on the 29th August 1886, the family were living at Wymondham, Norfolk.

https://www.freereg.org.uk/search_records/5818ddbce93790ec8b51ac09/joseph-william-nobbs-baptism-norfolk-claxton-1886-08-29?locale=en

 

John Nobbs is turning up on the electoral register from 1890 onwards living at Brandon Road, Barnham Broom, Norfolk.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2HY1-46F

I suspect that is the address recorded for them on the 1891 Census of England & Wales, although the census takers handwriting makes that very difficult to make out. The source I use for basic Census lookups, (Genes Reunited), has transcribed it as Maudon Road.

 

By the time of the 1901 Census of England & Wales the 61 year old John Nobbs was recorded as a Farmer at Claxton, Norfolk. He and Mary Ann were still at Claxton on the 1911 Census of England & Wales, but the 71 year old John was now recorded as a Police Pensioner. Claxton is the next village to the east of Rockland St Mary, (where John was born) and north of Ashby,(where Mary Ann was born).

 

I was following them through in the hope of finding reference to Joseph in the local press from the Great War period, but unfortunately have drawn a blank.

 

Hope some of the above is of interest.

 

Peter

PS I realise my previous reply was not linked to your message so I hope you saw it as a general reply. I may also post a new topic about my grandfather who was in the Norfolk Regiment in Salonica but it seems all his records have been lost. Do you have any links with the Norfolk regiment at all? 

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13 minutes ago, JobyA said:

Do you have any links with the Norfolk regiment at all? 

 

If you mean the Regimental Museum, then no, but if you mean a deep interest and family members who served in both wars and subsequently, then yes:)

 

15 minutes ago, JobyA said:

I may also post a new topic about my grandfather who was in the Norfolk Regiment in Salonica

 

Please do. The Norfolk Regiment did not formally serve in Salonica, so here's a little background to how he probably ended up there.

 

The 2nd Battalion were fighting in Mesopotamia from the end of 1914, but through some inept leadership, (in my opinion), by the end of November 1915, they and the force they were part of had become besieged in the city of Kut-el-Amara. While the Norfolks were reported to be the biggest of the infantry battalions that has marched into Kut that was only relative, like the other units it had taken significant casualties during the 1915 campaigning.

 

Even before the siege started, to rebuild the Battalion a large draft, (or possibly two), from the 3rd Battalion in the UK was transferred to the 2nd Battalion and shipped overseas. Some of those in the draft were men who had recovered from wounds, injuries and illness while serving in France & Flanders. It seems to have got as far as Alexandria before being redirected to the Salonika Front. At that point they were attached to the 6th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

 

Thus starts the confusion. You will find references to men who served at Salonica with the following:-

2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.

Norfolk Regiment

2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment attached 6th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Norfolk Regiment attached Royal Dublin Fusiliers - and probably a few more variations that I've not seen yet!

 

There are also a few who did actually transfer in to the 6th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The date for the transfer in the few records I have found so far is the 15th October 1915 and numbers allocated are five digit 286xx. I don't know why some transferred and others didn't, which makes me wonder if there was more than one draft. Unfortunately I've come across very few surviving service records, and of those I have found, because the men were attached, there are no dates given.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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Thank you Peter. Yes I was meaning whether you had any interest in members serving in Salonica. The information you’ve given is as always most interesting and I have obviously a lot more research to do! My grandfather signed up at the age of 15 1/2 before he should’ve done obviously. He trained in Colchester and then went to Salonica where a key task was carrying food and I think maybe some ammunition,  over mountains at night with a donkey to the troops. He eventually got dysentery  and fortunately survived because quinine had just been introduced to help overcome this condition. 

1 hour ago, PRC said:

 

If you mean the Regimental Museum, then no, but if you mean a deep interest and family members who served in both wars and subsequently, then yes:)

 

 

Please do. The Norfolk Regiment did not formally serve in Salonica, so here's a little background to how he probably ended up there.

 

The 2nd Battalion were fighting in Mesopotamia from the end of 1914, but through some inept leadership, (in my opinion), by the end of November 1915, they and the force they were part of had become besieged in the city of Kut-el-Amara. While the Norfolks were reported to be the biggest of the infantry battalions that has marched into Kut that was only relative, like the other units it had taken significant casualties during the 1915 campaigning.

 

Even before the siege started, to rebuild the Battalion a large draft, (or possibly two), from the 3rd Battalion in the UK was transferred to the 2nd Battalion and shipped overseas. Some of those in the draft were men who had recovered from wounds, injuries and illness while serving in France & Flanders. It seems to have got as far as Alexandria before being redirected to the Salonika Front. At that point they were attached to the 6th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

 

Thus starts the confusion. You will find references to men who served at Salonica with the following:-

2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.

Norfolk Regiment

2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment attached 6th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Norfolk Regiment attached Royal Dublin Fusiliers - and probably a few more variations that I've not seen yet!

 

There are also a few who did actually transfer in to the 6th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The date for the transfer in the few records I have found so far is the 15th October 1915 and numbers allocated are five digit 286xx. I don't know why some transferred and others didn't, which makes me wonder if there was more than one draft. Unfortunately I've come across very few surviving service records, and of those I have found, because the men were attached, there are no dates given.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

I think I’ve accidentally posted my reply generally so I hope you see it. I must get used to including the quoteI think I’ve accidentally posted my reply generally so I hope you see it. I must get used to including the quote

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4 hours ago, JobyA said:

I think I’ve accidentally posted my reply generally so I hope you see it. I must get used to including the quoteI think I’ve accidentally posted my reply generally so I hope you see it. I must get used to including the quote

 

It wasn't that much of a mistake - no need to do lines :)

 

War Diaries for units serving on the Salonika Front are not available online at the likes of the National Archive or Ancestry.

This website may therefore be of interest:- http://www.dublin-fusiliers.com/salonika/1916-birdcage.html

On this page http://www.dublin-fusiliers.com/salonika/salonica.html the entry for the 15th Ocober (1915) reads "the 6th Dublins received a reinforcing draft of eight officers and 389 other ranks from the 2nd Norfolk Regiment".

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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1 hour ago, PRC said:

 

It wasn't that much of a mistake - no need to do lines :)

 

War Diaries for units serving on the Salonika Front are not available online at the likes of the National Archive or Ancestry.

This website may therefore be of interest:- http://www.dublin-fusiliers.com/salonika/1916-birdcage.html

On this page http://www.dublin-fusiliers.com/salonika/salonica.html the entry for the 15th Ocober (1915) reads "the 6th Dublins received a reinforcing draft of eight officers and 389 other ranks from the 2nd Norfolk Regiment".

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

Thank you Peter this really is so helpful.  Everybody has been so kind on this site.  I know it’s going to take me a while before I’ve read everything. I’m sure I’ll have some more questions if you don’t mind me asking as they arise! With Thanks Joanna 

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1 hour ago, JobyA said:

Thank you Peter this really is so helpful.  Everybody has been so kind on this site.  I know it’s going to take me a while before I’ve read everything. I’m sure I’ll have some more questions if you don’t mind me asking as they arise! With Thanks Joanna 

I want to Just let you know that David Porter has pointed me in the direction of the Norfolk Yeomanry and I have been able to track my grandfather and also his brother in the fusiliers. They had assumed that the Basey part of their surname was a Christian name.  I have just been reading all about their service which is fascinating!


I will now start to read the diaries relating to Joseph Nobbs’ regiment and then for my grandfather’s that you kindly directed me to. I expect it will take me a little while. I will also create a new thread for any questions I might have about my Grandfather’s time in Salonika. Thank you again. All the best Joanna

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