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ShirlD

Royal Marine Artillery (2 batteries 9 and 11)

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ShirlD

Christopher Martin Durrant with the Royal Marine Artillery joined the 2nd Cape Corps (1917-1919)

I understand that the 2 batteries of the RMA arrived in East Africa in February 1916 for the campaign, the offensive into German East Africa.

I would now like to discover more of the details, and whether there are any rolls that put Capt. Durrant with these 2 batteries, and some of their day to day action (As I am writing this, I realise it may well be more to add to the list for the NA). I wonder if they do B&B there, with all night researching :huh:

Cheers

Shirley

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SteveE

Shirley

Roop (aka KONDOA) is your man when it comes to Artillery, especially in East Africa. Hopefuly he'll catch sight of this thread and be able to add something.

In the meantime, a basic description of each battery was listed in the Offical History of the campaign and I quote here....

"No. 9 Battery (landed 10th February 1916) : Four 12-pdr. 18 cwt. (naval) guns at first with ox transport, afterwards with Napier lorries. Manned by Royal Marine personnel, under Major G. E. Russell, R.M.A."

"No. 11 Battery (landed February 1916) : Four naval 4-inch Mark VII guns, manned by Royal Marine Artillery personnel, under Captain H. R. Purser, R.M.A. Drawn by special M.T., which arrived later. Renumbered No. 15 Battery in April 1916. These guns each weighed, with carriage, 4 1/2 tons."

Hope this helps for a start.

Regards

Steve

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KONDOA

No 10 Battery RMA under Capt Orde Brown too!!

I do not have any specifics except for No 10 Battery, but will have to wait until next week.

Roop

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ShirlD

Thanks guys,

SteveE gave me some good starting points, and with these details and names, I will go back and read "Forgotten Front" am finding it fascinating following the Loyal North Lancashires in East Africa and seeing the exact terrain of those actions described in the book.

Cheers

Shirley

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bushfighter1

post-16018-1175846640.jpg

Chris

Here's an image of a RM gunner's grave in Nairobi South Cemetery.

You might find a new book: "Tip & Run" by Edward Paice a little more readable.

Harry

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ShirlD

Thanks Harry,

Is this "from the field" - feel very privileged!

So enjoying your photos.

In the "Forgotten Front" have found a references "... while Colonel Hawthorn with three battalions of 1 KAR and the Cape Corps were operating out of Nyasaland into Portuguese territory" then later "General Hawthorne, now having taken over Norforce, brought the bulk of his troops to Ille".

Do you think this is a long bow to draw that my uncle Christopher could have been with these troop movements in 1918, given he was killed at Mcubi in 1918?

Safe travel

Cheers

Shirley

ps Ah, more books!

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domwalsh

Shirley,

Durrant is not mentioned in the chapter on RMA in East Africa in Britain's Sea Soldiers by Blumberg, which is the best history of the Corps in WW1. However, I did find him mentioned in the chapter on Orkneys and Scapa Flow as being in command of Southern Defences in 1915. Not much but as some supermarket chain once said, every little helps! I fear a verification of record of service in ADM196 at National Archives is what you need.

As you will doubtless know, he died with Cape Corps. According to The Times, his widow announced her engagement to someone else in December 1919! No hanging about! He appears to have joined the RMA around 1901.

Name: DURRANT

Initials: C M

Nationality: South African

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment/Service: Cape Corps, S.A. Forces

Unit Text: 2nd

Date of Death: 25/07/1918

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. C. 4.

Cemetery: LUMBO BRITISH CEMETERY

Dom

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horatio2

General Blumberg's "Britain's Sea Soldiers" Chapter 27 cover the East Africa Artillery Batteries. He lists three batteries: No.9, 4 x 12 pdr, commanded by Capt GY Russell RMA. No.10 (also known as HMS PEGGY), 2 x 4-inch, commanded by Capt Orde-Browne (late RA), manned by seamen and marines from the Fleet. A third battery, which was un-numbered at first but became No.15 in May 1916, of 4 x 4-inch, commanded by Captain HR Purser RMA.

Blumberg makes no mention of a No.11 Battery. Nor does he record a Captain Durrant in these units. Pearce's "Tip and Run" has little to say about the RM Batteries.

Strictly, these batteries were Royal Marine Batteries (not RMA Batteries). Although the artillery expertise was provided by officers, NCOs and Gunners of the RMA, they appear to have been out-numbered by about 2:1) by men of the RMLI and seamen landed from the Fleet.

Blumberg records that:

" The personnel of the batteries had suffered very much from fever and privations and, though none were killed or wounded, one officer and 22 NCOs and men died of disease, whilst considerable numbers were invalided.

Total originally landed 199, reinforcements 22 = 221

Invalided or rejoined the ships = 177

Embarked [4 Jan 1918] for [Durban and] home = 44"

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ShirlD

Thanks Dom,

We had actually joined Ancestry last night and were trying to find the grieving widow's death notice!

All these bits of information are helping us build a picture of his life. He was born in Petworth, and remembered on the Wetherby memorial, he was definitely not South African nationality.

Another one to be added to my list for the NA, I am hoping for a day there in early June and will apply for a sleepover.

So he would have been a professional soldier then. In the London Gazette it has the 2nd Cape Corps (1917-1919, so it will be interesting to find out what he did.

Do you know what command of Southern Defences would have involved in 1915?

Thank you again,

Cheers,

Shirley

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ShirlD

Thank you Horatio2,

Christopher Durrant was killed by a premature explosion of shell, which is a bit grim. I had been thinking that fighting away from Gallipoli, and the Western front might have been slightly less harrowing, but have very quickly realised they suffered much. The amount of marching staggers me.

Cheers

Shirley

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bushfighter1
Thanks Harry,

Is this "from the field" - feel very privileged!

So enjoying your photos.

In the "Forgotten Front" have found a references "... while Colonel Hawthorn with three battalions of 1 KAR and the Cape Corps were operating out of Nyasaland into Portuguese territory" then later "General Hawthorne, now having taken over Norforce, brought the bulk of his troops to Ille".

Do you think this is a long bow to draw that my uncle Christopher could have been with these troop movements in 1918, given he was killed at Mcubi in 1918?

Safe travel

Cheers

Shirley

ps Ah, more books!

Shirley

If I may combine your Cape Corps query with this site it may be tidier.

A (yet another) new book "No Insignificant Part" by Timothy Stapleton describes the Rhodesia Native Regiment's (RNR) service which included time in Portuguese East Africa.

The 2nd Cape Corps is mentioned as a company of that Corps fought alongside the RNR during May 1918. This Company was reduced to one effective platoon after the fighting.

One interesting comment about the Cape Corps in "No Insignificant Part" is:

"The Cape Corps, hard hit by tropical disease & difficult to maintain with their "European" rations, were pulled out of front line duty & used to escort supply columns."

This refers to June 1918

On 23 July 1918 the RNR was concentrated at "Mocubi".

A quick scan of this book doesn't give me any more direct information for you, but if you read it you will see why Uncle Christopher was at Mcubi in the first place, & understand the movements of the various units.

(Incidentally in August 1918 the RNR came under command of Lt Col Shorthose, CO 1/4 KAR in what was known as "SHORTCOL".

Shorthose had been the machine gunner that I mentioned on the left flank at Kisii.

I've looked through Shorthose's book "Sport & Adventure in Africa" but it doesn't help your query, as he confines comments to what 1/4 KAR did in PEA.)

This isn't much but it is information - keep searching & more will emerge.

Regards

Harry

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ShirlD

I thought you were supposed to be having a little R & R :huh: Thank you very much Harry, this is great.

Cheers

Shirley

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horatio2
Do you know what command of Southern Defences would have involved in 1915?

Command of RMA Batteries which defended Scapa Flow. The Southern Defences covered Hoxa Sound, Switha Sound (the southern entrances to Scapa Flow) and Holm Sound (the eastern entrance). The Western Defences were the batteries covering Hoy Sound (the western entrance to the Grand Fleet anchorage).

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ShirlD

With a couple of image maps from google I now know what I am looking at - thanks for that.

Cheers

Shirley

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domwalsh

Shirley,

You should contact the archives at Royal Marines Museum in Eastney. They have card index which may well throw up some sources of info on Durrant. Also, they have loads of RMA officers' photo albums. Not sure how far they go but distinct possibility they'd have portrait photo.

Cheers,

Dom

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ShirlD

Thanks for that Dom, not having much success accessing anything online in the way of archives, guess this one also needs a visit.

Cheers

Shirley

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ShirlD
Command of RMA Batteries which defended Scapa Flow. The Southern Defences covered Hoxa Sound, Switha Sound (the southern entrances to Scapa Flow) and Holm Sound (the eastern entrance). The Western Defences were the batteries covering Hoy Sound (the western entrance to the Grand Fleet anchorage).

Would you by any chance have any map circa 1915 of the Scapa Flow, there are a couple of indistinct ones (from a u boat perspective I think) on google images?

Also, what would be the composition of a Battery (how many men etc?) - Is it around the 200 mark, similar to the mention in Blumberg when they ended up in East Africa?

Please forgive the simple questions, it is the way I am slowly able to build all my bits of information.

Cheers

Shirley

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horatio2
Would you by any chance have any map circa 1915 of the Scapa Flow, there are a couple of indistinct ones (from a u boat perspective I think) on google images?

Also, what would be the composition of a Battery (how many men etc?) - Is it around the 200 mark, similar to the mention in Blumberg when they ended up in East Africa?

Please forgive the simple questions, it is the way I am slowly able to build all my bits of information.

Cheers

Shirley

I'm afraid I cannot help with either of these questions, Shirley. RMM may have the answers.

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ShirlD

Thanks for all your help Horatio2

Cheers

Shirley

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bushfighter1

post-16018-1177148583.jpg

Royal Marine Artillery grave in Taveta Cemetery, Kenya.

Posted for those researching RM units.

Harry

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ShirlD

Thanks Harry,

This is a nice surprise. I have just been looking through all the posts on GWF on RMA, and beginning to have an idea of the variations of the Royal Marines! It does all get a bit blurred in the field though, with RMLI and others.

I am still trying to work out how to get to exactly the right place at the NA to search with a grandfather in the RNVR, the young midshipman, the rear admiral (at the end of his career) and the enigmatic uncle in the RMA who left and ended with the Cape Corps.

I have finished "Forgotten Front" and have got my daughter to request the other books through the library system in London, as there was nothing in any of the libraries here. Will also look in second hand bookshops too.

I have never been to Tanga and have enjoyed the photos.

Take care, and have a Tusker for Chris

Cheers

Shirley

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cahoehler

Guys

Captain H R Purser - Picture (not dated but end 1915 / beg 1916) while serving with the South African Heavy Artillery and obituary.

492728594_81de9d94ab.jpg

PURSER (Hubert Robarts)

Captain, Royal Marine Artillery. Died on Sunday 18th March 1917. Age 40. Son of the Rev. T. S. Purser, of Holme Side House, Biggleswade; husband of Ellen Purser. Served in the Matabele and South African Campaigns. Also served in France and Flanders, and in German South-West and East Africa. Buried in MOROGORO CEMETERY, Tanzania. Grave VII. A. 13.

Carl Hoehler

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ShirlD

Hi Carl,

That is a very interesting photo. Would you have any idea why Captain Purser was serving with the South African Artillery? Would he have been transferred from the Royal Marine Artillery, or perhaps have migrated to South Africa?

Thanks

Shirley

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ShirlD

Hi Carl,

That is a very interesting photo. Would you have any idea why Captain Purser was serving with the South African Artillery? Would he have been transferred from the Royal Marine Artillery, or perhaps have migrated to South Africa?

Thanks

Shirley

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cahoehler

Shirley

On 6th August 1914, the British Government requested Prime Minister Louis Botha of South Africa ". . . to seize such part of German South West Africa as will give [south Africa] command of Swakopmund, Luderitzbucht and the wireless stations there or in the interior"

General Botha had then asked for, and received Heavy Artillery to assist the South African forces in the campaign in GSWA as there was sufficient Field Artillery.

Col J M Rose, Major W H L Tripp, Lieutenants A E Rann and H R Purser and 50 NCOs and men (mainly reservists but including the very capable Sergeant Flaye) left for South Africa on 21st October 1914 to train the South Africans to form the nucleus of 3 Brigades of Heavy Artillery. By the end of December 1914 2 Brigades had been mobilized. The 3rd Brigade was formed after the arrival of Lt-Col P Peacock, Lieutenant H C Harrison and 20 more gunners.

The campaign ended with the unconditional surrender of the Germans on 9th July 1915.

The Heavy Artillery [Corps] contained 15 Batteries of very mixed armament (initially drawn by mules and later by oxen) with nearly 1000 white gunners and nearly as many native drivers and grooms.

The batteries of the [old South African] Heavy Artillery [Corps] returned to Cape Town where all troops were paid off and discharged.

The [new] South African Heavy Artillery [Corps] was then raised by Colonel Rose as an Imperial Service unit for service in France and Flanders.

1. Blumberg, Gen Sir H E , Britain's Sea Soldiers - a record of the Royal Marines during the war 1914-1919 (Devonport: Swiss. 1927)

2. L'Ange, G , Urgent Imperial Service (Rivonia 1991)

3. Royal Marines Museum, A Short History of the Royal Marine Artillery 1804 – 1923 http://www.royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk/

Peacock-Rose-Tripp

493707149_d76ecb3797.jpg

Rann

493707159_b4ea26c1d1.jpg

RSM Flaye and RSM Burden

493707169_e55d4ee125.jpg

I have a pic of Harrison but my scanner is FUBAR.

Carl Hoehler

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