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Remembered Today:

UNITS AND INFORMATION


Johncowie
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Hi there, this is my second effort to establish contact must have done something wrong with the first one!

Have recently been browsing this informative site and wondered if any one can help me?

I have recently found my Grandfather who served in the 99thSiege Bty. He was killed on the 28th June 1918 and is buried in the Aire communal cemetery. His surname was KEMP (George) his rank was the Battery sergeant Major, service No 14719 and he was 41 years of age.

Prior to the war he was serving in India at Roorkee in thr North West part of that country. Three of his children were born in india between 1908 and 1912.

Having been career Royal Navy my army knowledge is somewhat limited. Does a soldier join the RGA initially and always stay with that unit i.e. 99th Siege Battery and would that have been the unit he was with in India? I have found a site that mentions the 99th Siege Btyand it appears to have been the 157 Battery and a unit in the second army engaged during WW1.

How can I find out more? I expect that George KEMP was killed during the second part of the German offensive in 1918. His death certificate states he was killed by shrapnel from a gas shell.

Any help or advice and information would be appreciated.. Thank you.. John

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John,

Welcome to the Forum, which I'm sure will help get you the answers you require. I'm ex-Fleet Air Arm & T.A. myself, but know less about the RN than the Army. So here goes.

As a regular soldier and in peacetime your grandfather could have been moved around the R.G.A., usually on promotion. This brings us to 99th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. which are actually a war raised unit being formed on the Forth Defences on the 13th January 1916. So it's possible that with his previous Regular experience that he may have been drafted in to assist in the Battery's formation, his regimental number also suggests that he may have been on the Regular Reserve, as it falls into the known series of regular R.G.A. numbers.

On 28th August 1916 418th(Siege)Battery was broken up and it's sections divided between 49th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. and 99th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A.

By November 1918 99th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. was serving with 49th(Howitzer)Brigade,R.G.A.,Fifth Army and the Bde consisted of the following units;-

99th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. - 6x 6inch Howitzers.

166th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. - 4x 6inch Howitzers.

346th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. - 4x 6inch Howitzers.

In 1919 99th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. was to be renumbered 159th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. in the "Interim Order of Battle", but this was cancelled on the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919 and the Battery wa subsequently disbanded.

I'm afraid I have nothing regarding the Battery's ovements on the Western Front, but some of the lads here do, so they may be able to fill the gaps in for you.

Now going back to his service as a regular, but it may tell you the R.G.A. unit he was serving with in India on copies of his childrens birth certificates, which would be a good place to start.

All the best,

Graham.

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Graham,

Thankyou for your informative reply.

I've had a look through my bit and pieces, I believe grandfather born 1876 was a regular who more than likely joined as a boy, I have not yet found him on the 1901 census, maybe he was abroad at that time!

He however married Grandma in 1907 and his address on the wedding certificate is given as 'The Castle Dover' he was then a sergeant RGA. I believe shortly afterwards they moved to Roorkee in India as the first child was born there in 1908.

As you suggested I've had a look not at the birth certificate, but the baptism certificate, he is by then then Sergeant Major in what looks like 81st either Ga, ba or Co RGA. I have found that there was an 81st Co RGA in the 7th Meerut Div. stationed in Dehradun the most northernly district of the Meerut district which is right for my Roorkee base. The 81st Co RGA was retitled the 81st siege battery in 1915. The 81st Co moved to France Sept 1914, landing Marsailles 12 Oct 1914.

I have also found that the 81st battery was a unit in the 48th brigade and the 99th a unit in the 49th Brigade. Also the 27th Division order of battle 1914-1918 has the 20th Brigade RFA consisting of 67 Battery, 99th Battery, 364 Battery and 20th Brigade Ammunition column, so I'm a bit confused! One question re there more than one 99th battery i.ecan there be a 99th RGA and 99th RFA etc etc.

Nice to meet another ex Navy man, But what does a Waafoo do in the TA?

Thanks again...regards....John

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John,

Thanks for the reply and I can confirm that the R.G.A. unit in question is the 81st Coy,R.G.A. which was stationed at Rurki in July 1913 and under the trooping movements of that year was destined for Fort Attock, wherever that may be.

Here is a bit of 81st Coy's lineage;-

1/1/1902 formed by redesignation of 20th Coy,R.G.A., Eastern Division

January 1911 converted to 81st(Siege)Coy,R.G.A.

By 1915 became 81st(Siege)Bty,R.G.A.

As you have said they were in France by October 1914 and so at some time he was transferred to 99th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A.. So I wonder if he was transferred to oversee the raising of this New Army Battery, considering the vast experience that he had, and New Army units were always short of experienced men.

Don't get confused between batteries of the R.F.A. and R.G.A., as they were two seperate branches of the same Corps, but with different calibre guns and organisation.

Dover Castle seems to have been the Records Centre for the R.G.A. and I'm wondering if you've checked to see if any of his Service Records still exist?

That's about all I can tell you really. As for being a "Wafu" in the TA, well was a DLI Army Cadet long before the FAA and decided to give the TA a try in 1986 and at 32yrs of age ended up the oldest Pte in 'D' Coy,7th(Durham)Bn,Light Infantry. Had a year of tabbing around the North of England with them and moved onto 124 Recovery Coy,R.E.M.E., and ended up doing fourteen enjoyable years altogether.

Regards,

Graham.

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John

If we are talking about 99th Siege Battery RGA I can tell you that on the night of 24th June their position was heavily shelled with gas and all but 15 men were casualties. A Lt Parke was left in charge of these 15.

The reason for so many casualties appears to be that they returned to the gun pits the next morning without wearing their S. B. (small box ) respirators as instructed. About 10 men were killed at the time of the attack, the other casualties were from the returning party, many of whom died over the following days from inhaling mustard gas.

99th Siege RGA were at this time north of St Venant and were part of 49th Bde HA - X1 Corps - 1st Army.

Stuart

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Stuart

Thanks for the information about the casualties and the position they were in. I've only just wondered if the action Grandfather was in had happened on a day or two prior to his death. I wonder if you could be pronounced dead on the route back to the Stationary Hospital? Quite an amazing statitic out of 1 Lt and 15 men not hurt that could be a 95% casualty if the full battery where in attendance? I wonder what the Command would do in these circumstance with 6 guns silent? Would they dilute another battery and may be use some general infantry for back up.

Happy new Year....Regards...John

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Stuart,

Forgot to ask, the information you have, is it from a war diary or battery diary etc etc.

Regards again ...John

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Graham, Happy new year and thanks again for your valuable information.

The information I now have is that the 81st sailed from bombay on the 17th November 1914 on the SS Kenilworth, arriving at Plymouth on the 23rd December 1914. The Battery then ended up in Fort Fareham and this make sense since the family home is less than 200 yards walk to the Fort and re3mained the family home until1935 when Grandmother died. Incidenty I only live 10 miles away fron the Fort.

Can you please clarify something, you say Dover seem to be the record centre for the RGA, is been the operative word, are the service records now part the 20% that survive the WW2 incendary air raid?

Back to your TA Days I had to smile Yomping or tabbing around the North of England I should think everyone would need To join a "Recovery" Company after that Lot. I've served on a couple of aircraft carriers during my Navy career Ark Royal in the early 60's and Illustrious during the Falklands period. many other ships as well. But I do think I enjoyed my time in the Ark best of all. I used to maintain a couple of gunnery director on top of the island, and being a born 'Goofer' was never bored Watching take offs and landing ons of Scimitars, Sea Vixens, Buccaneers and Gannets. I was also onboard when the P1127 (the prototype of the Sea Harrier) did its first deck landing, not along the flight deck but across it!!

Did you also let your TA members that as well as being an Wafu you were also an Airy F----! It used to confuse the Yanks when we said we are fish heads and the other lot are Airy F------.

Regards and thanks...John

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John

The previous info comes from the 49th HA Bde(HAG) diary and X1 Corps RA Commanders diaries.

The casualty numbers are quite high IE 16 personnel of 99th Siege left, but you also have to add to that the Nothern section of 521 Siege Battery who lost about 10 killed (Gas) and an unknown number injured during the same attack which took place between about 11.00 PM an 12.30 AM by 4.2 & 77mm guns.

Stuart

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