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Gnr 145692 Walter James Roberts Lamb RA/RHA KIA Palestine 27.03.1918


adrian 1008

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Found at a small antique fair last week BWM &VM Memorial Plaque & Scroll in original posting Tube death Cert and letter confirming KIA. will post images once I have rebooted scanner!

Gnr W Lamb was born 26.01.1894 in Norton Subcourse, a small hamlet near Lodden Norfolk, parents were Albert Porter Lamb and Margaret Emma Lamb.

He was KIA 27.03.1918 serving with 391 Battery of 172 Brigade. RA or RHA

I know very little about this aspect of the war so any advice or pointers for further research would be appreciated He is buried in the Ramleh War cemetery

Thank you

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His regimental number would indicate call up around May 5, 1916 to No 4 Depot RFA, Woolwich. 391 Bty was formed mostly out of C/342 (68th Divisional Artillery) on January 27, 1917 at Loddon. As part of a new 172nd Brigade RFA they moved to Ewshott in May 1917. Having arrived in Egypt in August 1917, they were sent to 75th Division in Palestine.

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Walter James Roberts Lamb. 

 

 

97A82B4E-0810-4CD2-87AB-82E2E6457F54.jpeg

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2 hours ago, adrian 1008 said:

Found at a small antique fair last week BWM &VM Memorial Plaque & Scroll in original posting Tube death Cert and letter confirming KIA

Great find, hope it wasn't too heavy on your wallet!

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Thank you @David Porter @Gareth Davies  @Allan1892 He was a market Gardner by trade working for his father in 1911, the 1901 census shows him as one of 12 children only 5 alive! and not too expensive after some negotiation. Gareth the picture, is missing in my group

Gnr Lamb Letter.jpg

Gnr Lamb Death Cert.jpg

Gnr Lamb grave.jpg

Edited by adrian 1008
added images
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@adrian 1008 -- He left his employment on the railways in week ending 12 November 1914, notation on his entry in the register 'Enlisted without permission' (image courtesy of Ancestry)

Lamb_Walter.jpg

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Thank you Allan1892 thats useful to know

I know very little about this theatre, could colleagues point me towards some background study and ideally a war diary for the Battery / Unit

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This man is described as KiA on 27 March 1918, however the OH, Farndale's 'The Forgotten Fronts' and 'The Advance of the EEF' all skip over that date, with a gap between 12 March and April 1918 
Nevertheless, there is this action near to this chap's date of death and involving elements of the 75th Division. The passage below is taken from page 128 of  “WITH THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE HOLY LAND”  by MAJOR H. O. LOCK, of the Dorsetshire Regiment (233rd Infantry Brigade) see https://www.gutenberg.org/files/19822/19822-h/19822-h.htm#CHAPTER_XV

"On the 27th March the whole line moved forward. The advance was only intended to be for a depth of about a mile, in order to secure a better tactical line for defence. None of the objectives were believed to be held by the enemy. Accordingly, the advance was carried out by night. A full moon, giving light throughout the night, facilitated the operation. As soon as daylight was gone, the whole line crept noiselessly forward, with bayonets fixed ready to meet any possible opposition with cold steel. Away to our right, the enemy detected movement, and put down a barrage. But their firing was somewhat wild; the barrage came down behind the advancing troops and caused no casualties. On our front the enemy had not awakened to what was taking place, and our objectives were attained without molestation. It was realized that our new positions would be overlooked from the enemy's observation posts on Three Bushes Hill and on Arara, and that, when they saw us by daylight occupying the nearer ridges, they would shell us unmercifully. Accordingly, the remainder of the night was not devoted to sleep, but to the intensive building of sangars on the new defensive line, and the preparations of bivouac areas in such few spots as might be under cover from view and from fire. When morning came, the enemy commenced to shell, but the night had not been wasted, and our fellows had made themselves secure. "

Quote: Away to our right, the enemy detected movement, and put down a barrage. But their firing was somewhat wild; the barrage came down behind the advancing troops 
Perhaps this caught the artillerymen and the chap in question here?

image.jpeg.921d7a162010237152ee122a29005cac.jpeg

image.jpeg.7067c32276e2d399e5c3b77eedfb3fcc.jpeg

"overlooked from the enemy's observation posts on Three Bushes Hill" - this hill is not marked as such on the second map, however you should be able to judge its whereabouts in relation to what is shown, ie Mejdel Yaba and Berukin

This is by no means exact, however, short of accessing the Battery War Diary then it may help

 

 

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Thank you @michaeldr thats some evening reading!

I m now confusing myself with RA,RGA & &RHA. Could @FROGSMILE take a look at the picture of Gnr Lamb posted earlier and give an opinion on which Unit, if possible, Thanks A

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28 minutes ago, adrian 1008 said:

Thank you @michaeldr thats some evening reading!

I m now confusing myself with RA,RGA & &RHA. Could @FROGSMILE take a look at the picture of Gnr Lamb posted earlier and give an opinion on which Unit, if possible, Thanks A

His appearance suggests the mounted arm of the Royal Artillery, which was divided into two parts, the Royal Field Artillery (largely supporting infantry divisions) and the Royal Horse Artillery (largely supporting cavalry divisions).  His spurs, whip and riding breeches confirm this as the most likely.

The dismounted arm of the Royal Artillery was the Royal Garrison Artillery (heavy and siege guns and mountain artillery) who were less likely to wear spurs and riding breeches and whose larger guns were often drawn by steam tractors.  However, even the RGA had specialists dressed for mounted duty so it’s impossible to be black and white about appearance.  The clearest delineator in service dress was shoulder titles providing that they can be seen.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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19 hours ago, michaeldr said:

This is by no means exact, however, short of accessing the Battery War Diary then it may help

Adrian,

I was right to give the above caveat, as on looking again at Farndale's sketch map for 12th March 1918 suggests to me that the 75th Division had placed their 172nd Brigade RFA on their right (east) wing, most probably placing them further east than the action involving the Dorsets on the day when your chap died (27th March 1918).

I think that the 172nd Brigade RFA's War Diary is probably the only way that you are going to be able to sort this out. The maps below will offer some rough guide, but please note their respective dates.

image.jpeg.8dd61ad4fbb414d228badda7ed2f471a.jpeg

image.jpeg.2d38b664e3e72f794f7fd5264bda2562.jpeg

image.jpeg.6e4df81d2506151d2b92cebcace846d5.jpeg

Edited by michaeldr
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Thank you @michaeldr that's a great help in my understanding of the positions.

Is it possible to say what type of weapon he was operating? 

 

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6 minutes ago, adrian 1008 said:

Is it possible to say what type of weapon he was operating?

Almost certainly the 18-pounder field gun, but once again I'm hard pushed to find a specific ref  edit to confirm per Farndale's p.97

 

 

Edited by michaeldr
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I ve just searched CWGC for date of death and cemetery thinking if he was KIA as a result of a direct hit on his position then one might expect the other crew to be killed as well, however the only other fatality that day in Ramleh Cemetery is a soldier from Royal Scots Fusiliers

I need to expand a search to include DOW for say a week after the 27th

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image.jpeg.ae35fb32a5a54df071ea315519b8f2bc.jpeg

This conundrum is not helped by the original details (DoD & RFA Brigade number) being wrongly recorded; I hope that they got it right in the end

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On 09/04/2023 at 10:25, adrian 1008 said:

I ve just searched CWGC for date of death and cemetery thinking if he was KIA as a result of a direct hit on his position then one might expect the other crew to be killed as well, however the only other fatality that day in Ramleh Cemetery is a soldier from Royal Scots Fusiliers

I need to expand a search to include DOW for say a week after the 27th

A long shot (pun unintended) but I suppose it’s possible that he was killed by fire upon an observation party.  Although it was officers who did the observation they were usually assisted by some other ranks with all the paraphernalia that was necessary.  The flat expanse of much (but not all) of the campaigning area led to some sore thumbs sticking out and being engaged by enemy fire.  As said several times now the [edit] unit war diary is going to be critical in getting some idea of what was going on.  For observation see: 

 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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22 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

A long shot (pun unintended) but I suppose it’s possible that he was killed by fire upon an observation party.  Although it was officers who did the observation they were usually assisted by some other ranks with all the paraphernalia that was necessary.  The flat expanse of much (but not all) of the campaigning area led to some sore thumbs sticking out and being engaged by enemy fire.  As said several times now the battery war diary is going to be critical in getting some idea of what was going on.  For observation see: 

 

Thank you @FROGSMILE I have run a search in CWGC from 27/03/1918 to 20/04/1918 (to encompass DOW) and Walter appears to be the only casualty from his unit, so I think your assumption is spot on. I assume the ground would be dry and hard to dig in positions leaving individuals exposed 

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image.jpeg.8dd61ad4fbb414d228badda7ed2f471a.jpeg

Farndale's sketch map shows the 172nd Brigade RFA just to the south-west of Abud on 12th March 1918
The crop below is from Sheet 9 [Ramleh] in the Palestine, 1/100,000 series (1946) however, it will give you some idea of the terrain in which they were fighting back in 1918. In short, it was rocky, hill country. The contours are at 25m intervals and the squares are 1km X 1km

Survey_of_Palestine_1942-1958_1-100000_09Ramle.jpg.c8086eac711f1a8b72d16be996f3bd2e.jpg

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36 minutes ago, michaeldr said:

image.jpeg.8dd61ad4fbb414d228badda7ed2f471a.jpeg

Farndale's sketch map shows the 172nd Brigade RFA just to the south-west of Abud on 12th March 1918
The crop below is from Sheet 9 [Ramleh] in the Palestine, 1/100,000 series (1946) however, it will give you some idea of the terrain in which they were fighting back in 1918. In short, it was rocky, hill country. The contours are at 25m intervals and the squares are 1km X 1km

Survey_of_Palestine_1942-1958_1-100000_09Ramle.jpg.c8086eac711f1a8b72d16be996f3bd2e.jpg

Thank you Michael, given those geographic circumstances I can only imagine that he might have been killed by a stray shell, or perhaps a sniper at quite long range.  It does seem odd.  Does anyone know if the war diary survives?

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thank you Michael, 

Would the battery have had its own war diary? 

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2 minutes ago, adrian 1008 said:

Thank you Michael, 

Would the battery have had its own war diary? 

I would suggest seeking the confirmation of @ianjonesncl for that, as I’m not 100% sure.  

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12 minutes ago, adrian 1008 said:

Thank you Michael, 

Would the battery have had its own war diary? 

The Bde WD is here:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C4557837

Edited by Gareth Davies
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14 minutes ago, adrian 1008 said:

Thank you Michael, 

Would the battery have had its own war diary? 

The Royal Field Artillery Brigades maintained the war diary not the individual batteries.

As per Gareth's post.

5 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

 

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4 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

Thank you Gareth,thats useful background, Is there a link for post 1917 ?

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