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Remembered Today:

rfa medal roll sequences

theresa musgrove

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Someone on the forum kindly suggest that, in order to try and identify my grandfather Thomas Brown Nicholson's RFA brigade, I should investigate other soldiers listed on his page of the medal roll. There are two deceased men on the page who are listed on the CWGC site as being respectively: William Herbert Elliot, in D Battery, 173rd and Robert James, D Battery 73rd Brigade. I suspect the latter is possibly a mistake as the undetailed listing is taken from a local UK cemetery, and perhaps is 173rd as well. My grandfather's number was 26282: William Elliot's 26286 and Robert James' 26287. From googling 173rd Brigade I have noticed other soldiers seem to also have numbers listed similarly. Am I clutching at straws, or could there be any significance in all this? Help much appreciated.

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William Elliot's number has an L prefix, whilst Robert James s/n does not have the L prefix. Is the number for your Grandfather 26282 or L/26282?

You could have a look at Geoff Sullivan's very useful site which makes it possible to do quick searches on service numbers - this is an excellent on-line resource.


If the number is prefixed with an L there are the following results : -

Page 1 of 1

001 BRICKWOOD L/26298 10/10/1917

002 DUCKWORTH L/262 07/08/1916 - ignored

003 ELLIOT L/26286 02/03/1917

004 GILMORE L/26261 05/09/1918

005 MCNESS L/26204 06/03/1917

006 POTTER L/26224 17/08/1917

007 WALKER L/26269 21/03/1918

Three of the six are from 173rd Brigade, the other three are not, so possibly some support there. There are a lot more matches if you search without an L, but you could trawl through them.

However, RFA numbers can be difficult to interpret - there may be some other views on this from others who have made a special study of these.


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The L number prefix and number group is consistent with West Ham raised units. A clue may be where your man originated as these were mainly locally raised units. There was much mobility in the RFA so even with a L 26*** number he could have served with any battery really.


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Thank you: very useful - I will check out the site you recommend. My grandfather's number is without an L. I may be barking up the wrong tree, but it's worth a go!

Hello: and thanks, my grandfather's number is without an L: what do you think likely in that case?

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Thank you: my grandfather was from Easington Lane, Durham. He had no L in front of his number. Any further advice gratefully received!

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If you want to look at numbers near 26298 you could do the following: -

Go to Geoff's search engine I linked to above, and enter the number 262 in the service number box, then select Royal Field Artillery in the dropdown menu in the Regiment/Corps box, then click search.

Don't enter any wildcard characters (i.e. 262*), but you will then have to trawl through the results as this will throw up not only all the L/262xx combinations but also things like 2624, 326285 etc. There were over a hundred when I looked, which is why I didn't go through them! The results link to the CWGC pages for each man. You then need to jot down which Brigade each relevant numbered man served with, and see if anything emerges. At best, you may well find that there is a majority from onwe Brigade, it may be that even this is not the case.

However, you need to bear in mind that this kind of technique is only of limited value and only when there is absolutely no other information - such as a service record or date of entry into a theatre of War: it really is a last resort and will only give you a probability that your Grandfather served with whatever brigade has the most matches (if there is one). You won't know for sure and as Roop has said he may have moved to different units anyway.


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