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23rd Division location 8/15-4/16


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Would anyone with knowldege of the 23rd Division please tell me its whereabouts between August 1915 and April 1916? I'm particularly interested in CV Brigade RFA but even knowing the general areas where they were would be very helpful.

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Chris

From Ray Westlake's Kitchener's Army,

Moved to France 20 August 1915 and concentrated around Tilques, on 4 Nov Pte Thomas Kenny won the VC on patrol at La Houssoie.

The book then concentrates on the Somme actions.

Hope this helps

John Milner

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Hi Chris. As my avatar is the 23 Div symbol, then I'd better respond!! :unsure:

The Divisional history reports the artillery in a practice camp on Salibury Plain prior to leave July/Aug 1915.

16 Aug Div drawn up Hankey Common inspection by king.

20 Aug Div entrained for embarkation.

23 Aug Troops began to embark.

Artillery embarked at Southampton for Le Havre.

31 Aug Div concentration at Tilques complete.

6 Sep Div moved to Hazebrouck-Arques

7 Sep Div moved to Borre-Vieux Berquin

9 Sep R.A. staff att 27 Div.

14 Sep took over 27 Div front S of Armentiere - Erquinghem. Gun positions mostly in hedges and orchards, and, on L of line, in houses and brick stacks, were very exposed and concealment of flashes difficult.

c 20 Sep 103 and 105 Bdes RFA att 8 Div

21 Sep Bombardment for Battle of Loos began.

25 Sep 2 batts return to 23 Div control 10 am

First occasion when 23 Div Arty had supported an infantry attack. A/105 (Major Shaw) (with 8 Div) had been heavily shelled and suffered severe casualties. Direct hit destroyed No 1 gun & killed greater number of detachment. Arty got first decorations but 105 not mentioned.

CO 105 fined 250 francs - commandeered the "Victoria" of the Mayor of Armentiere, painted it grey and loaded it up with ammo! Few days later zealous gendarme in Armentiere - and you can guess the rest!

27 Sep ordered to husband ammo. Det arty returned to Div, divded into two groups to cover left and right sectors. 105 (howitzer) remained under CRA control, on call to either group.

Jan 16 Reciprocal ceaseless arty fire, Div firing 4 shells to German 1.

10 Feb 23 Div withdrew from first trench tour.

11 Feb Div arty withdrew from positions. C/105 lent to 8 Div with 102 Bde to cover Gds Bde. HQ Div arty Lynde.

26 Feb att IV Corps, HQ at Blaringhem.

29 Feb Div concentrated at Bruay. Div Arty mached to Pernes.

1 Mar Arty lent to 8 div returned to Pernes.

5 Mar Div took over from French Boyau de L'Ersatz on the right to the Souchez River (c 2000 yds) (Carency sector). Also garrisoned Notre Dame de Lorette.

Div arty divided into 3 groups, each with 3 x 18 pdr batts & one Howitzer batt, mixed Bde in reserve.

Gun positions, some greatly exposed, in valleys about Carency and Ablain St azaire, in the Bois du Bouvigny. Howitzer positions in ravines cutting southern slope of Lorette Spur, which flanked exposed road to Ablain and to Souchez.

13 Mar Div withdrew to Bruay.

17 Mar Div took over Noulette sector (next sector north).

22 Mar CRA HQ at Boyeffles.

During trench tour, gun positions at Aix Noulette suffered in particular from enemy arty fire.

12-19 Apr Div withdrew to Bruay. Non-infantry billeted about Hersi, Divion and Riutz.

7 May back to Noulette sector.

Taken from the divisional history, all mentions of place names re 105 Bde, or Div arty, most re Div. Does give tables of shells for Loos battle if you want them. :)

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