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RAMC FA War Diaries


MissingInAction

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Hi all

I'm currently planning a trip to the NA to do some research on a few RAMC Gallantry awards I have, the units in question are 12, 19, 30 & 139 Field Ambulances, plus the 1/3 FA which I believe was a Home Counties raised unit.

My question:

Has anyone here done any research on any of the Field Ambulance War Diaries before, if so which ones ?

Cheers

Michael

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Michael,

I've done research using the 2/1st West Lancashire FA War Diary at the NA.

I took my camera and photographed the whole thing so that I could look through it at my leisure.

I'm not sure if it is typical of FA War Diaries as I haven't looked at any others so far, but is very detailed and gives many references to Other Ranks as well as Officers.

Good luck,

Ken

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Hi Ken

Thanks for your reply.

That's very interesting to know, I shall certainly be in touch if I ever need any info on 2/1st West Lancs. FA.

How many pages was it, he says thinking memory cards although I realise each one will be different ?

On doing some searching I notice some FA's have diaries cover certain periods, like Aug 1914-Oct 1916 etc splitting them into two, but that's not a problem really as I have the LG dates to go on for the chaps I am interested in.

But likewise once I've done some I'll let folk know, as there's certainly a lot of them.

Thanks again

Michael

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I've been looking at a few FA war diaries recently and found them all to be much more detailed on the OR's than infantry regiments, probably due to a lower turn over of personnel.

The one's I've been looking at (56th Division and 18th Division's FAs) have recommendations for gallentry awards and details of casualties from within the unit, having said that the 18th Divisions FA diaries for the beginning of their time in France include details of patients who died at the unit.

The number of pages varied massively, sometimes a fortnight on one page or when in action a dozen pages might cover a two day period, I know this isn't answering your question but I found a 1Gb card was only half full after photo'ing June + July 1916, October 1916, April 1917 + March 1918.

Regards

Ali

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Hi Ali

So that'll be 54, 55 & 56 FA with the 18th Division if I'm not mistaken, but I'm not so sure on the 56th Division.

Very useful all the same and good to know the recommendations were there as well, thanks very much.

Regards

Michael

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Hi Michael

I have done some research on Field Ambulance War Diaries and have extracts of the 12th Field Ambulance transcribed. This one does provide names of personnel who were awarded gallantry awards

Most, if not all, Territorial Force Field Ambulances had 1/3rd Units, although most remained home service units. The 1/3rd Home Counties Field Ambulance was No 83 (1/3rd Home Counties) Field Ambulance, this one did go overseas. If this is the one you are referring to in your first post then I can advise that the unit did a small history which lists those that where awarded gallantry medals. I do not know about the war diary though as I have not seen it.

Hope this helps

Barbara

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Hi Barbara

Many thanks for your reply and I'm sorry for the delay replying, I've been away for a week.

This is very exciting news as I have two chaps I'm looking for information on you may be able to help me with.

First up:

41614 Pte. Willam Ernest Bond - 12 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps.

Military Medal London Gazette 1/9/1916

Bond died of his wounds on 21 May 1917 and is buried in Fosse No.10 Communal Cemetery Extension, Sains-en-Gohelle, Pas de Calais.

Being a casualty I have his next of kin details etc from the CWGC Website, and as he was a local man to me I also have pics of his name on the Village War Memorial.

Then we have:

305031 A/Sjt. Alexander Mitchell - 1/3 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps.

Military Medal LG 18/10/1917

Mitchell came from Dundee in Scotland and was a Territorial.

The number on his WWI trio is '1097'

On the MM and his TFEM it's ' 305031'

Would the 1/3 FA be the 85th London or the 83rd Home Counties unit ?

Also, is that short history available anywhere on the 1/3 you mention ?

Many, many thanks for any help you can give me on this, it'll be much appreciated.

Regards

Michael

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Hello Michael

Regarding 305031 A/Sjt. Alexander Mitchell - 1/3 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. Military Medal LG 18/10/1917

Mitchell came from Dundee in Scotland and was a Territorial.

The number on his WWI trio is '1097'

On the MM and his TFEM it's ' 305031'

The 1/3 FA, I think, refers to 1/3rd Highland Field Ambulance which was based in Dundee. His number, 305031, belongs to the batch allotted to the 1/3rd Highland Field Ambulance.

Interestingly, I am also seeking information on a Military Medal winner from this unit, 305284 Pte Andrew Mitchell Mackie (LG 23/7/1919). See posting in 'Soldiers'. Hope this helps. If you or Barbara can help with A A Mackie, It would be most appreciated.

Regards

Ron

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Hello Michael and Ron

I have had a look but cannot find any mention of William Ernest Bond. There is a mention of 50904 Pte Hubling J A; 5341 a/Sgt Conway W E; 20054 Pte Manning R; 6049 Pte Wooderson C; 20008 Pte Robbier. These are the names of men who were awarded the MM, there are some others for other awards. That is not to say that he is not mentioned as I only have extracts of the diary transcribed. The reference no at the National Archive for the war diary is WO95/1474. I have found him in Soldiers Died, just in case you are not aware he was born Leighton Buzzard, Beds and enlisted Chelsea (Leighton Buzzard).

The number 305031 does come into the batch of numbers allocated to the 3rd Highland Field Ambulance. The Territorial Force Association was at the City of Dundee. The 1/3rd Highland Field Ambulance was attached to the 153rd Brigade of the 51st Highland Division. I have not seen the War Diary for this Unit so am not aware if they listed gallentry awards, the reference number is WO95/2858. There was a book written called 'A Medico's Luck in the War' which is a 'reminiscence of RAMC work with the 51st Highland Division'. The battles they were engaged in in 1918 were

1918. First Battles of the Somme

21-23 March Battle of St.Quentin

24 & 25 March Battle of Bapaume

Battles of the Lys

9-11 April Battle of Estaires

12-15 April Battle of Hazebrouck

The Advance to Victory

Battles of the Marne

20-31 July Battle of Tardenois

Second Battles of Arras

26-30 August Battle of the Scarpe

------------------------

11 & 12 October Pursuit to the Selle

The Final Advance in Picardy

17-25 October Battle of the Selle

I not sure if this helps, if I get copies of the diaries before you, I'll let you both know.

Barbara

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Hello Barbara,

Thanks very much for the information regarding the 1/3rd Highland Field Ambulance.

I'll let you know what progress I make re: A M Mackie.

Regards

Ron

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Barbara/Ron

Thanks very much for that info, I thought it a bit odd him being in a London raised unit yet his LG entry says he's Dundee.

This makes all the difference and being the 51st Highland means his MM was probably awarded for Passchendale.

Ron: Your chap AM Mackie would have the same group of medals as my chap.

As to Bond, Barbara, I believe with a LG date of 1 Sept 1916 his MM would have been an early Somme award. The wounds leading to his death on 21 May 1917 I would also guess were received early in the Battle of Arras the following year when he was attached to 88th Battery RFA.

At least now I'll be looking in the right diary for Mitchell :blink:

Nice to know there are others out there into the Field Ambulance units, it's a fairly new area for me I've only recently moved into, so any books you can recommend would be nice..

Regards

Michael

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Michael

With regards to William Ernest Bond being wounded. The cemetery details state that it was mostly used by Field Ambulances and due to the fact that they only had a holding capacity of 1 week, I would estimate that he was wounded between the 13th and 21st May. If he was wounded much earlier he would likely have been passed down the chain to a CCS.

I haven't got any details from the 12th Fld Amb war diary for the time period but I do have details from a personal diary of a Pte who was serving with the 11th Fld Amb, they were also serving in the 4th Div. As you will see there was alot going on at that time.

11th May 1917 - Germans shell around the bridge. 9.30 the barrage started. 4th Division goes over the top and capture the chemical works. Myself and another bearer go with them. Many German prisoners. 3.50, very busy all night. Germans send tear and gas shells.

12th - 6.30am. Go over the top again and take Roeux. Large number of prisoners. Heavy firing all day. Tear gas and shells. One of my squad is wounded.

13th - Heavy shelling. My squad and one other are with the East Lanc`s Dressing Station. The other squad went through the barrage and never came back, reported missing. My squad went through the barrage in the open to the trenches to pick up the wounded from East Lanc`s Dressing Station [RAP] and got back to the village, but could not get through the village as Germans swept it with shell fire. Waited till the firing stopped at 4.30pm and then to the Dressing Station. Retired from there and passed through Authie and joined the East Lanc`s at Blue Line 7.30pm. Moved off along the canal bank to Arras, and stopped with my squad at the aid post.

14th - Left Arras, and went with 11th Brigade in buses. Passed through to St.Pol, left East Lanc`s, went back to Bruneville and rejoined 11th FA.

15th - Parade at 10.0am. Were inspected by General Lambton and he highly praised us for the work we did.

16th May - Paraded at 10.0am. Marched 7Kms to a parade ground for the `Stonewall` Brigade and were inspected by the Corps Commander.

17th - 20th Paraded. Weather fine. General duties and training.

Also, if William was att to the 88th Bty, Royal Field Artillery when he died of wounds, then he could have been assigned to assist a RMO at a Regimental Aid Post. This is only a possibility but if you are unable to find any reference in the Fld Amb war diary then it may be worth looking in the war diary for them.

Hope this helps

Barbara

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Hi Barbara

Many thanks again, you've been most helpful and it's much appreciated.

With all this going on above with the mention of 11 FA being busy around Arras, it seems my suspicions on Bond's death are likely correct.

I have already checked the Library in Leighton Buzzard for him, and after trawling through all 1916-17 I then realised that his village, Mentmore, was not mentioned at all in any of the papers. On enquiring it turns out Mentmore was in Buckinghamshire in WWI whereas it's now in Beds, so I'll have to go to Aylesbury for the papers which will possibly mention him. I shall also check the war diaries of course.

I'll keep you informed as it's not only these two from 12 and 1/3 HIghland, there are others I'm researching from 19, 30, and 139 FA.

The chap from 30 FA was Sydney Arthur Fitch, a DCM and MM recipient who was later commissioned, I managed to get a photo of him from War Illustrated after his DCM award but that's about all so far.

Kind regards

Michael

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Michael

I have Sydney Arthur Fitch listed. You may already have this information but just in case you haven't

Distinguished Conduct Medals:

33542 Cpl S A Fitch. [LG 11/3/1916]

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Suvla Bay on 23rd August 1915, when he went out under heavy fire to collect the wounded.

I expect there will be other references to him in the London Gazette, his MM and date of Commission for example. I will also see if there is any other information I can come up with.

Barbara

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Thanks again, Barbara.

The November 1918 and April 1919 Army Lists indicate that S. A. Fitch, DCM MM was given a Temporary Commission on 15 June 1918 and was employed with the Indian Army (Reserve of Officers) (on probation).

The 1920 War Services shows him as a 2nd Lieut., General List, with MID.

As you probably know the 30th, 31st and 32nd Field Ambulances were formed for the the 10th (Irish) Division in Ireland in August 1914, and on 27 June 1915 received orders to prepare for service on Gallipoli (Divisional HQ embarked at Liverpool on 9 July, and by the end of the month most units had assembled on Lemnos).

6-7 August 1915 : Landed on Gallipoli at Suvla Bay, less 29th Brigade, which went to ANZAC Cove.

29 September 1915: Moved to Mudros, and on 4-5 October to Salonika, landing there 5-10 October.

18 August 1917, the Division was ordered to concentrate at Salonika for embarkation.

Early in September 1917 the Div moved to Egypt, completing their assembly near Rafa by 16 October 1917. They were involved in the Palestine campaign thereafter between April and June 1918. After this a major reorganisation took place with many British units being replaced by Indian ones, and Fitch's 30 Field Ambulance was one of them.

When the Division was Indianised, the FA's handed over all stores and equipment to the 154th, 166th and 165th Camel Field Ambulances then left Egypt on 20 May 1918, returning to base. So it looks very much like Fitch joined the Indian units as a newly commissioned 2nd Lieut.

Kind regards

Michael

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Hi Michael

Returning the thanks now for the information above. Would you mind confirming if the dates of arrival to Gallipoli, Mudros and Salonika are for the Brigades or the Field Ambulances, or both?

I can advise that all the Fld Ambs arrived in Egypt 30 August 1917, I expect they then went on to complete their assembly near Rafa on the 16 October 1917. I'm a little confused about the three Camel Field Ambulances though, I have them recorded as 154, 165 and 166 Combined Field Ambulances??

All I can add is that details of the Div. battles and engagements places them at the battle of Hill 60 (Gallipoli) when Cpl Fitch's actions were awared with the DCM. I have also found a reference to Sgt S A Fitch's MM being gazetted on 19/3/1918. Haven't found a reference to the MiD as yet but will keep looking.

Barbara

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post-19829-1179180984.jpg

Hi Barbara

The dates I have I am guessing are for all units as the key dates.

These details on the Camel FA were passed to me and to be honest you may well be correct on the numbers.

I do have all Fitch's LG dates but thanks for looking:

Mentioned in Dispatches LG 28/01/1916. (Cpl RAMC)

Distinguished Conduct Medal LG 01/04/1916 for Gallipoli – Suvia Bay (Cpl RAMC)

Military Medal LG 19/03/1918 for Egypt (Sgt RAMC)

Kind regards

Michael

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Michael

Thanks for sharing the picture of Cpl Finch and for the LG dates for his MiD. I've tried searching the LG website over the last few days but its a bit tempermental at the moment.

I am more than happy to be looking as I am gathering information myself for my database. Its also helping me to learn as I go along.

Barbara

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Many thanks Steve. (How do you do that :) ) I tried over the last couple of days but it kept hanging, you must have magic fingers.

Barbara

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Pure luck!

Another with Stephen listed as his name:

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

and

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

There is reference to a S. A. Fitch in the 5th D.W.R. here:

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

Steve.

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Thanks here too, Steve.

Perhaps Sidney wasn't a very 'Officers' name so he changed it to Stephen :P

Seriously though this is unusual, do you know what 6th Bn DWR is ?

I notice he's a Lt by 1921 and I've clearly got to source his records, as he looks like he had a very interesting career.

His Victory Medal you see is all I have on him, and that I purchased in a Mixed bag Lot of 10 VM's in an auction, the rest I sold on for a small profit and Fitch's one was always my intention to keep, especially after finding out he was such a decorated man. My main collecting theme was Police Medals, British, Colonial (Indian) and Military, but after getting Fitch's medal I started getting more interested in the RAMC and have built myself up a nice little collection of Gallantry awards for the various Field Ambulancesin the GW.

I've searched high and low for any of Fitch's other medals, without so much as a whisper of them anywhere, but they must be out there somewherre and I'd love to reunite them one day, despite the cost.

Kind regards

Michael

PS, That LG site blows hot and cold I find, Barbara, when looking up someone the other day I found 1 Gazette entry and the person I was looking for was on it, staggered is not the word, it certainly was a record for me. Someone also told me recently that they were getting a new 'engine' for it, it certainly needs it as I've found it pointless putting initials in the search as it always pulls out everyone with the same surname.

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I would think DWR = Duke Wellingtons (West Riding) Regiment.

If he was Indian Army I think those records are at the British Library, St Pancras rather than the NA.

The change in search engine means you MUST put in Capitals for the Initials. Then it will narrow things down.

Steve.

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Hi Michael

I've come a bit late to the feast but i have been researching 1/5th London Field Ambulance (part of 141st Brigade, 47th London Division) as 2 of my great uncles served in it. I went to Kew and have photgraphed all of the diary entries from march 1915 to may 1917. i also found a fascinating wealth of loose information in the form of officer's daily reports on pages ripped from their note books, some of which I also photographed.

My top find was a series of appendices written after the Battle of Loos in 1915 that describe one great uncle (Staff sergeant) leading a section to clear wounded from a trench and getting shelled and gassed as a result of which other great uncle had to be carried back (both named in the report). Staff sergeant uncle was recommended for MM but didin't get it. He received one a few months later for continued good work and his divisional citation was in the war diary.

I am hoping to get back as Staff sergeant uncle died at Ypres (buried at Poperinge new cemetery) in May 1917 (not from enemy action apparently) and other uncle was gassed (again!) at Cambrai and survived the war.

Actual diary entries flunctuated from very detailed to bare outline depending on who kept it.

Hope this helps

Cheers

Dominic

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