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RH RFA Help needed to find info on Grandfather


CaptRussell
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Hi folks, I’m trying to track info on my Grandfather but have very little to go on and would appreciate any help.

My Father seams to think he had lied about his age, was in the RHA and fought at the Somme. Dad says Grandad said because he was so young they used him as a runner and signaller …… I have no idea of the truth in any of that.

The info I have found so far is his medal card and his sign up form. (Attestation document)

This sign up document is very tatty but says: William James Garbett born Hetherson.

He was 17 years and 10 months old and the date looks like 14th of September 1914

Regimental number taken from his medals is 940261 and I can just make out the last 4 numbers on these sign up docs so I’m pretty sure they’re ok.

He has chosen to serve in the Territorial Force, county of London, in the RH RFA.

In hand writing there is a large Ra 8734 plus some illegible writing underneath.

The medal card has even less info, it says:

Corps RFA, Rank Gunner and has his Regimental number.

Under Medals it has for the Victory medal: In the Roll section RFA/165 B (TF) and Page section it says13171.

Under British medal it has the ditto – ‘do do’ thingy.

There is no other information not even a date.

(Having signed up in 1914 I thought he may have been awarded the Star but apparently not.

From the above information it looks like Grandad actually served in the RFA and not the RHA as dad thinks. I can’t see what he served in nor confirm what theatre of war let alone what battles.

Is there any way I can find out more? Is there any kind soul who can research this a little further for me as it is very difficult trying to do so on line from New Zealand.

Grandad was typical of his generation and didn’t speak about his time in war although he had a great love for the British Army. (He wound up serving in the RAF in WW2 though.)

I wear his medals and march with pride during our ANZAC day commemorations but would dearly love to learn more about him so I can pass them on to my children.

Please help me and thank you all in advance for any assistance.

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CaptRussell,

William James Garbett has his Service Record on Ancestry.co.uk

He enlisted at Lewisham on September 14, 1914 in the 4th (Reserve) London (Howitzer) Brigade RFA

His other Regimental Number was 979, home address given as 33 Horseferry Rd., Greenwich, he was a gunner.

It looks like he embarked from Southampton for Le Havre on January 21, 1917 with "D" Battery 293rd Bde RFA

In France from January 22, 1917 to October 27, 1918 with 2 weeks leave in March 1918.

He spent 47 days at 3rd Northern General Hospital, Sheffield for Flatfoot (right) around November 1918

Just before he was demobilised (on March 17, 1919) he was in "B" Battery No. 4 Res. Bde. at High Wycombe.

He stayed on the reserve list until March 31, 1920 and had possibly retrained as a signaller.

Quite a few blank pages but you may like to look for yourself as you seem to have read only the first page.

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(Having signed up in 1914 I thought he may have been awarded the Star but apparently not.

It is the date of entry to theatre which is important, not the date of joining up. As he didn't land in France until 1917 he wasn't eligible for either star.

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If you have found his Attestation Form on Ancestry then you just need to click on the left and right green coloured arrows above the image to cycle through his papers. Most sets go right from the attestation papers, but there are sometimes extra pages to the left of the attestation form (especially in the "Pension" records section)

293rd (CCXCIII) Brigade was part of 58th Division:

Per : http://www.1914-1918.net/rfa_units.htm

CCXCIII Territorial Force 2nd Line 58th Division from Divisional concentration in September 1915 to February 1917, when one Battery was detached and the remainder moved to an Army Brigade. In March 1916, the 1st Glamorgan Battery, RHA and 1st Shropshire Battery, RHA (Batteries of 4 QF 18-lbr guns which left the Division to move to France on 11 February 1916) joined. Originally designated 2/III London Brigade.

See http://www.1914-1918.net/cra.htm for other Artillery pages of the Long, Long Trail.

The artillery was detached from 58th Division early in their time in France, so you would probably need the War Diary to trace their movements.

The 293rd Artillery Brigade itself has a war diary at the National Archives (a box of loose leaf A4 sheets written up in the trenches) describing the comings and goings of the Brigade whilst in France. These rarely mention the ordinary soldiers by name, but will give a focused view of what they got up to. These can be photocopied or photographed with a digital camera at the NA at Kew. Ordering copies of these war Diaries by the website can get SERIOUSLY expensive however.

National Archives reference : WO 95/205 -----> 293 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 Jan. - 1919 June

Steve.

P.S. In case you are wondering why they are a bit tatty, it's because the Luftwaffe dropped an incendiary bomb on it during the Blitz, and then the fire brigade dowsed it in water.....

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'D' Battery means he was shooting 4.5" Q.F. howitzers.

See my Avatar.

Bob

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William James Garbett was born in Willesden NW London, not Hetherson as Ancestry led you to believe.

He is the son of William & Ada Garbett of 363 Bethnal Green Rd., London (1901 Census).

William Garbett and Ada Mary Wingfield married in Lewisham district in the Oct - Dec qtr of 1894.

Hope this helps you take it further.

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Many thanks for your help.

I hadn't realised that I had the extra information on Ancestry already, just needed to drive it properly

Thank you also for not mentioning the piles with the flat foot:-)

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Those green buttons worked beaut thanks. Thank you also for the extra info in helping de-cyphering it.

You guys are real gents!

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William James Garbett was born in Willesden NW London, not Hetherson as Ancestry led you to believe.

He is the son of William & Ada Garbett of 363 Bethnal Green Rd., London (1901 Census).

William Garbett and Ada Mary Wingfield married in Lewisham district in the Oct - Dec qtr of 1894.

Hope this helps you take it further.

David, thank you for this extra information. Can you tell me how you found that out as I'm stumped as to find it myself!

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CaptRussell,

It was quite simple really. William J. Garbutt had to be a 3 or 4 year old in the 1901 Census.

One likely candidate was born in Willesden Green, so I double checked the attestation form.

If you look carefully you can make out it really is Willesden (though squashed up a bit).

Therefore this had to be your grandfather and his parents. His mother was from Greenwich

and that was his current address. There was no other close match.

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