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85 Seige Battery RGA


MelPack
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Hello

I would appreciate any information that can be provided on this unit.

The war diary has not survived and the only details that I have are from the main site:

"85 Second Army A 12-inch howitzer battery of 2 guns"

Any details of when the unit first entered F&F and where it was deployed would be great.

Regards

Mel

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Mel.

85 SB went out to the Western front in May 1916 joining XIII corps HA 3/June 1916 at the Somme, joining 31 HAG on 8/June 1916.

Their followed some 12 other attachments with assorted HAG’s and Corps until they ended up attached to 18 HAG in April 1918 and became army troops in May 1918. This 5 months period to the Oct 1918 is the longest diary available for them at WO95/540. During this period a detachment from 85SB manned captured 7.7cm field guns as it was so difficult to move their own heavy guns forward quickly enough following the German retreat.

In July 1917 as part of 90 HAG they were in action at third Ypres positioned at VLAMERTINGHE and in Aug Ypres itself

An effective compliment in Aug 1916 of 140 men inclusive of 5 Officers and 6 Serjeants manning their 2 x12 in Hows on railway mountings (as specified in the 90 HAG diary) but shown as on road mountings as per the Allocations from DOE, so a slight anomaly there which needs clarifying from other sources.

Rgds Paul

PS There is actually a diary at the IWM 'Diary 85th Battery RGA' with the sub title of 'register of rounds fired' covering 1916-1917

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Paul

That is superb information. It didn't occur to me to check the IWM as opposed to the NA.

Many thanks.

Regards

Mel

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I was confused on this as well with some sources stating 85th SB RGA were equipped with 12" howitzers in some references and 12" guns in others. Thanks for the info on the war diary.

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Actually Squirrel Ive just realised I have a photo of them, its a well known photo that confirms which armament for definate but very difficult to spot which battery its of.

Another forum member pointed it out to me some time ago so only fair to wait and see if he chips in.

Rgds

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Paul

Could you double check the NA reference -all I can identify from the WO 95/540 reference are the following:

WO 95/540 18 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery 1915 May - 1918 Oct.

WO 95/540 117 Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery 1917 Nov. - Dec.

WO 95/540 180 Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery 1916 Oct. - 1918 Feb.

WO 95/540 218 Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery 1917 May - 1918 Jan.

WO 95/540 236 Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery 1917 Apr. - 1918 Feb.

Thanks.

regards

Mel

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There is a photo in the Osprey series book on British heavy artillery which is captioned as being 85th Siege but it is not dated and the equipment could have changed as they moved.

IIRC, the battery gun detachments moved but the guns stayed where they were later in the war. Much easier than toing and froing with heavy guns when brigades and batteries moved between brigades, groups, divisions, corps and armies. Perhaps that's another reason for the apparent confusion.

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Actually Squirrel Ive just realised I have a photo of them, its a well known photo that confirms which armament for definate but very difficult to spot which battery its of.

Another forum member pointed it out to me some time ago so only fair to wait and see if he chips in.

Rgds

Good morning from Canada,

I was browsing the web and found your quote and threads of others regarding the 85th seige battery.

As I have just learned that my grandfather was indeed a member of the gun crews my interest was piqued.

Is it possible to see your picture(s) of the gun(s)?

I would appreciate anything else you woud share about this unit.

Lambton

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  • 5 months later...

Hi all

My Grandfather was a driver att.85th Siege Battery RASC (Army form Z21) and qualified for 1914 Star and his entry to France was 13-11-14 (medal card)

Appart from that no other information of his deployment

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