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Royal Field Artillery confusion


pbman22

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Hi

I am trying to research a soldier in the royal field artillery and I was wondering if someone could clarify the importance of the regiment in the royal field artillery?

I have that he was in 950 regiment of the royal field artillery and that he was in A battery 265 brigade.

I was wondering if someone could explain the significance of this.

Would the regiment stay together and be attached to the same place or would it be split up into brigades and then each brigade in turn be attached to a different unit?

Should I be doing further research on the 950 regiment or on 265 brigade?

I know that this probably sounds stupid, but if anyone could help that would be great

thanks

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hello

It does'nt sound stupid. The Artillery is a minefield! I would go for the Brigade and if you go to The Long Long trail - top left you can find who the Brigade was attached to. I think from memory they used Roman numerals. I think the 265 Brigade would have war diaries which will help (at Kew but possibly online at NA site). Not sure if each battery had its own war diary but hopefully a Royal Artillery expert will be along soon.

Best of Luck

stevem :D

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Regiment has no real significance to the Royal Artillery during WWI - as I understand it, RA was a Corp. not a regiment.

950 may well be your chaps initial service number.

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PG

I agree with the other posters - 950 is likely to be your man's service number ( there are 38 RFA candidates with same number).

The 265 (CCLXV) Brigade was a TF unit that formed part of the 53rd (Welsh) Division.

Have you downloaded his MIC and does it confirm the date of entry into the theatre of war as November 1915?

By the way, although some Germans may read the information, the inclusion of a serviceman's name is no longer a sensitive matter. :o

Regards

Mel

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Hi

Thanks everyone for replying to me

I have got his MIC his name is Charles Gibbard it says under regiment number 950 and then under this the number 735349.

So I was wondering what the significance of the 950 was?

It does confirm that his entry into theatre of operations was November 1915

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PG, New numbers were assigned to soldiers in TF units around March 1917. It looks as if 950 might have been his first Regt. # and 735349 was his 'new' number from 1917 on, which, as Mel says, puts him in 265th Brigade.

Hope this helps.

Mike Morrison

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PG

As Mike stated, your man had two service numbers during his time in F&F - the second being the product of the TF renumbering in March 1917.

Have a look at the summary history of the 53rd Division here:

http://www.1914-1918.net/53div.htm

If your man's service record has not survived then you will be able to reconstruct a great deal of information from the 265 Brigade war diary and that for the Division itself from the materials at the NA.

Regards

Mel

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Regiment has no real significance to the Royal Artillery during WWI - as I understand it, RA was a Corp. not a regiment.

950 may well be your chaps initial service number.

The RGA and RFA became a single Corps of Royal Artillery in 1924. Prior to that it was the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

stevem

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Hi

Thanks again everyone for replying to me

That’s cleared up my confusion. I have a few other questions however, I believe that he was a volunteer and was wondering about the process of him being put in his unit?

I was wondering was it common for volunteers to be put in territorial units?

Also would there be any way that I could track what happened to the unit when they were in France?

Thanks everyone

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Also would there be any way that I could track what happened to the unit when they were in France?

:o

Please read my post above.

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Your chap wasn't 'put in the territorial army'.

He volunteered to join the territorial army!

There was an entirely separate corp. called 'The Volunteers' which ran along the lines of the WWII Home Guard and did not serve abroad. This lot have nothing to do with your chap.

Territorial Force Associations came into existence in 1908 and essentially allowed men to join the army in a part-time capacity. They were often known as 'Saturday Night Soldiers' and recruited from defined geographical areas.

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Due to the terrain problems at Gallipoli (and the difficulty in getting the guns from ship to land) much of the Artillery that would have been attached to Divisions that served there could not be taken to the peninsula. Instead the artillery went to France and was attached to Divisions already there for a couple of months. After the Gallipoli peninsular was evacuated in early 1916, the artillery joined the Infantry in Egypt. Thereafter the 53rd Division and its artillery brigades served first in Egypt during 1916 (mainly concerned with defending the Suz Canal against the Turks) and then from early 1917 in the invasion of Palestine which occupied the 53rd Division for the rest of 1917 and all of 1918.

They did not serve again on the Western Front after the winter of 1915-16.

Like Mel says, have a look at the 53rd Division link already posted.

I've found that these Wikipedia articles give a good overview of the Egypt and Palestine campaigns (click on the battle names in the box on the right hand side to move through the campaign - the next link is Romani)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Suez_Offensive

Steve.

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Hi

Thanks again to everyone for replying

Thanks for the info on the territorial’s Simon R and the info on the unit during the war stebie9173 and MelPack as I can start to build up a better picture now.

What I meant about the France bit before was, is there any way I can track the artillery and what they did in France when the rest of the division was sent to Gallipoli?

Thanks everyone

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Yes - each unit on active service was required to keep a War Diary, as detailed by MelPack above.

A brigade of field artillery would keep a war diary, even if they were moved around from division to division.

These diaries are available from the National Archives - you can search for them via their website or in some cases even read them online.

War diaries vary in quality - they can be very dry indeed or wonderfully evocative with lots of detail. Other ranks (gunners, privates etc) are not often named but Officers certainly are.

If your chap died on active service, in the line, the broad outline of the day he died will be contained in the war diary. It is unusual for individuals to be named.

We are a bit short of basic details here - what is his name? Did he survive?

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P G,

A 'unit' equivalent of the Royal Field Artillery was formed into what was called a Brigade.

The Brigade is the Artillery equivalent (roughly speaking) of a 'unit' such as a Battalion of infantry or a Regiment of Cavalry

The Battery is the Artillery equivalent (roughly speaking) of a 'sub-unit' such as a Company or Squadron.

I will use 78 Brigade RFA as an example, and as was mentioned earlier the unit title is in Roman numerals. Anyway, in 1914, within 17 (Northern) Division, there were three infantry brigades (50th, 51st, 52nd). The 50th Brigade consisterd of 4 Infantry Battalions and had in support of it LXXVIII (78) Brigade Royal Field Artillery.

In 1914 - LXXVIII BDE RFA consisted of 4 sub-units:

244 Battery

245 Battery

246 Battery

LXXVIII BAC (Brigade Ammunition Column)

September 1915 - LXXVIII BDE RFA consisted of 5 sub-units (Note: the change in Battery Titles):

A Battery

B Battery

C Battery

D Battery

LXVIII BAC

June 1916 - LXXVIII BDE RFA consisted of 5 sub-units (Note: D Battery becomes a Howitzer Battery):

A Battery - 6 x 18-pounder

B Battery - 6 x 18-pounder

C Battery - 6 x 18 pounder

D (H) Battery - 6 x 4.5" Howitzer

LXVIII BAC

Hope this helps you see what the RFA Bde consisted of and how it evolved as the war progressed, to just prior to the Somme.

Aye

Tom McC

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This may have been said before but the Royal Artillery is and was a Regiment, not a corps. Daggers

Was it?

Wikipedia says Corps!

But then LLT says Regiment!

Can someone clarify please?

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Hi

Thanks everyone again for replying to me.

Thanks to tom for explaining the brigade to me.

The guy I am looking for is Charles Gibbard, Driver. He did survive the war. I have been trying to get to the war diaries on the national achieves website but I don’t think that I can download them.

Thanks everyone

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Just to confuse matters, while it called the Royal Regiment of Artillery it was indeed a corps. Or rather, two. "Corps" were effectively the different parts of the army as defined in the "Corps Warrant". Pre-war a man enlisted in a particular corps and could not be compulsorily transferred to another. The RE and RAMC were single corps; the RA consisted of two corps, the RH&RFA and the RGA; 'corps of cavalry' and 'corps of infantry' were more complex. And none of these are the same as the Corps which was an organisational level between Army and Division! My head hurts.

For anyone who has not read it, here is a great article on the renumbering of the TF troops: http://www.1914-1918.net/renumbering.htm

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Drv C Gibbard 735349. The number puts him firmly in the Cheshire TF bracket. You initially enquired on another post about 265 Bde RFA, part of the 53 Div but if he enlisted in Cheshire you should be aware of the following: The 267 Bde RFA was also part of 53 Div but mainly composed of Cheshire men. Both Bde’s are interlinked in that they embarked on the same date (21/11/15), arriving in France on the same date (22/11/15). And both embarked in Egypt on the same date (10/2/16. Then it gets complicated as 265 Bde was broken up on the 25/12/16 but A/265 became C/265; AND 267 Bde was renumbered 265 Bde on the same date with B/267 became A/265, and C/267 became B/265.

So you eventually get a new 265 Bde made up of one third the original 265 Bde and two thirds 267 Bde, but composed of mainly Cheshire men rather than Flintshire. You have not confirmed an exact DOE, but the Am Col arrived in France on the 24/11/15, so you should at least be able to eliminate that if his DOE shows the 22nd or 21st.

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