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Remembered Today:

Royal Field Artillery with the BEF


Swally

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Hi Guys,

I wonder if someone can give me a dig out on this one please?

I have tried to obtain the Service Record of my Grandfather Robert Allan for some time now but must concede that it has been burnt.

I have been trying to think of other ways to determine where / what he did during the Great War.

My Grandfather's eldest son Robert was run over and killed on the 17th of September 1914 by a horse and cart at Bo'ness (near Edinburgh), there is no mention of my Grandfather on the death certificate other than his occupation as carter. There is also no mention of him in the Obituary or the Aknowledgement that appeared in the paper.........could this be as he was away serving King and country?

I have a clipping from the local paper mentioning a letter that he sent home to my Gran sometime around October 1914, he mentions that he had been fighting for the past 10 days and never knew when he may have been killed?

I have checked all the Robert Allan / Allen index cards and it would appear only one fits, it states that he entered the war 23/8/14........this would mean that he would have certainly been with the B.E.F.........and would also explain why he wasn't at home when young Robert was killed.

From the same medal card it states 32nd Batt RFA, Gunner Robert Allan 31660.........It would appear that the 32nd Battery. (Regular). 04 Aug 1914 at Exeter in the XXXIII Brigade, Southern Command.

I forgot to add a few points that may be important here-

He was born in Aberdeen and I have a picture of him as a young lad aged about 16 - 18 in uniform of which I am told by Firepower (Military Experts) that he was wearing the uniform of either Royal Field Artillery or Royal Horse Artillery but more likely to be Royal Field Artillery. See Avatar for picture of uniform.

He married my Gran in 1909 and gave his occupation as a carter.

I presume then that he would have been held on reserve after doing some time in the regular army.

This being the case then, would he have been recalled to his previous unit in Aberdeen?

If that was the case then he could have been with

1st City of Aberdeen Bty. (Territorial Force). 04 Aug 1914 at Aberdeen in the 1st Highland Brigade, Higland Division (51st Div).

2nd City of Aberdeen Bty. (Territorial Force). 04 Aug 1914 at Aberdeen in the 1st Highland Brigade, Higland Division (51st Div).

3rd City of Aberdeen Bty. (Territorial Force). 04 Aug 1914 at Aberdeen in the 1st Highland Brigade, Higland Division (51st Div).

So, to take it a step further..........were there "Muster Rolls"? where are they now? and are they accessible?

or does anyone have any kind of diary for the activities of this bunch of guys?

Can anyone please add anything to this or correct me if I am wrong please.

Wishing you all the best

Swally

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Swally

If he was a Regular Reservist he would not have joined a Territorial Force RFA brigade. Hence you can rule out the Aberdeen batteries. It sounds as though the man you have found in the MICs is very possibly your grandfather. It is worth checking on the Comonwealth War Graves Commission website that this chap was not killed during the war, that is assuming your grandfather survived. Looking at the actual medal rolls at the National Archives, Kew might also getyou a little further on since the entries often mention all units that a man served with in a theatre of war. The various RFA brigade war diaries (also at Kew) will fill you in on exactly what your father's battery was up to and might just possibly mention him by name. Incidently, when was your grandfather born?

Charles M

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Swally

If he was a Regular Reservist he would not have joined a Territorial Force RFA brigade. Hence you can rule out the Aberdeen batteries. It sounds as though the man you have found in the MICs is very possibly your grandfather. It is worth checking on the Comonwealth War Graves Commission website that this chap was not killed during the war, that is assuming your grandfather survived. Looking at the actual medal rolls at the National Archives, Kew might also getyou a little further on since the entries often mention all units that a man served with in a theatre of war. The various RFA brigade war diaries (also at Kew) will fill you in on exactly what your father's battery was up to and might just possibly mention him by name. Incidently, when was your grandfather born?

Charles,

Thanks for the quick reply,

I know that Boab survived the war for defo as my father wasn't born until 1923 lol. sadly he died a month before I was born in 65. I know that he was mustard gassed and injured by shrapnel.........damn! if he had lived to be over 100 I could have asked him so many questions.

Robert Allan was born in 1885 in Aberdeen.

What about the Muster Rolls............do you think there is a chance?

Swally

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The MIC listing online from Kew shows Rbt Allan in 32nd Brigade (not battery) does it not?? .. at least online (it would be unusual to list a Battery) which did indeed arrive in France 23rd August ............ although his name does not appear under 32nd Bde amongst the (incomplete) 1914 Star cards available on Ancestry.

His number suggests he enlisted March 1903 which would be right for born in 1885 .. on a 3 years enlistment + 9 in reserve , so out in spring 1906 . (number 31684 enlisted 20/3/1903,.. this is a reasonably reliable indicator of enlistment dates..) .. and this man not listed in the artillery 'soldiers died' ..

.... and mobilised 1914 to 32nd Bde -( 27th - 134th -135th Batteries) in 4th Division which arrived in time to fight at le Cateau .. the Brigade spent the whole war with 4th Division ..

as a mobilised reservist he would report to his depot (can check which depot served 32nd Bde..at Woolwich in Aug 1914 I think ..) and be alotted to a unit - no connection with where he had served in 1903-6.

- the Brigade 1914 star roll sometimes shows if men were transferred elsewhere, so 'could' help

If you can clarify whether this is 32nd Brigade or Battery it may be possible to track down more info on him -- there have also been other posts on the Forum by members with relatives who served in 32nd Bde " grandfather, 41028 driver Daniel Farnham served in this unit from 1914. .."

perhaps post the MICard , no SWB number on it, for instance?

david

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Further to Robert Allan RFA - if this is indeed your man - he is indeed likely to have been mobilised at Woolwich around 5th August .. which was also his depot and posted there to 32nd Bde - I have seen records of other 1903 reservists who joined the Brigade from there... His 12 year enlistment would also have expired in spring 1915-ish?, so he would/could have left the Bde then; although some re-enlisted in the field -- some could also have been called up again later in the war I believe under conscription laws, despite having completed their 12 years service. (but I have seen examples of 21 year served regulars signing on again in 1918 to see out the war .... )

hope this helps and he's your man

incidentally, he is not listed in artillery casualty lists (Times) in 1914 as wounded as far as I have seen ..

David

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Further to Robert Allan RFA - if this is indeed your man - he is indeed likely to have been mobilised at Woolwich around 5th August .. which was also his depot and posted there to 32nd Bde - I have seen records of other 1903 reservists who joined the Brigade from there... His 12 year enlistment would also have expired in spring 1915-ish?, so he would/could have left the Bde then; although some re-enlisted in the field -- some could also have been called up again later in the war I believe under conscription laws, despite having completed their 12 years service. (but I have seen examples of 21 year served regulars signing on again in 1918 to see out the war .... )

hope this helps and he's your man

incidentally, he is not listed in artillery casualty lists (Times) in 1914 as wounded as far as I have seen ..

David

First class, I thank you.

You are indeed correct it is Brigade.

I take it the numerical sequence gives you the information of when roughly he joined up?

I have attached his Medal Index Card for you to have a peek.

Where do I go from here David?

Would his record from 1903 - 1906 exist somewhere or would it have been lumped together with his record of service during the great war?

Obviously I am dead keen to get any information on Boab that I can due to his Service Record not being available.

There will be no record of his pension record either as the stubborn auld bugga declined to take iot as a matter of principle.

Wishing you all the best,

Swally

Bob__s_Medal_Index_Card.doc

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yes, the service number does give a reasonably good idea of enlistment dates - not infallible as some numbers are reused, but this seems pretty sure from what we know from the medal card ..

some other 1903 reservists

Thomas Frederick Ballinger (30524) enlisted 03/02/1903 Birmingham 3+9 -- Reservist mobilised Woolwich 6/8/1915; posted to AOC; home 21/3/1916? Discharged

Gunner Samuel Powell (30525) enlisted 03/02/1903 - Birmingham 3+9 -- Reservist mobilised Hilsea 6/8/1914; ,,, discharged 4/2/1916

Gunner William Gibson Thorpe (30526 ) enlisted 11/02/1903 - Scarborough 3+9 -- Reservist mobilised Preston 6/8/1914 posted to 44th Bde (Ammunition Column?); then 2 section 2nd DAC; discharged 22/2/1916; recalled 21/3/1917

all discharged 1916 in fact, you would have to ask someone else why that seems to make 13 years and not 12, or have I lost the ability to count?! .. and note how one man was recalled for more service in 1917.

On probabilities your man may well have been posted to the Brigade Ammunition Column (BAC) rather than a gun battery as the BACs were operative only in wartime and were largely composed of reservists - and he may well, like Gunner Thorpe, then have been posted to a section of the 4th Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC) in early 1916 when the BACs were disbanded and each reorganised as a section of the DAC .. just a guess, but that would be a reasonably typical service path, on the basis of records I have seen ... if nothing too eventful happened to him .... but being gassed and shrapnelled may well have taken him elsewhere ..

his original records 1903-6 would however all be part of the lost file...

his general active service details will have followed that of 4th Division, but he is 'likely' to have left the Brigade when his 12 (or 13?) years were up I would think .. if called up again later he could have served anywhere I suspect..

http://www.1914-1918.net/4div.htm

as others have pointed out the war diaries of the 32nd Bde can be accessed from National Archives Kew online but are unlikely, in a regular brigade, to have much detail on individuals, but some occasionally do - mainly naming casualties ... some brigades do also have battery diaries for at least the first months of the war which can hold more personal details .. if you are convinced he is your man, you can get copies in blocks of 10 pages emailed to you from Kew for 8.50 - not cheap if you want to read the lot! but easy ... and the first 10 pages for the Bde from its start might cover a month or so, depending on their detail.. you could post a new request on Forum relating to the 32nd brigade specifically in case someone has a copy already if you are really interested ..

if indeed wounded/gassed, he may be listed online in the Times casualty lists, or listed as arriving in a hospital in UK, although they are hard to search and can be inaccurate with names and numbers.. that could then provide further leads ...

david

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David,

Many thanks for the information and help that you have given.

I have it from family that he spent sometime in an English hospital after either being gassed or hit by the shrapnel but I have no idea which one.

I don't know if you have searched using Allen as a variant of the surname?

my surname is frequently mispelt.........aaaarrrrgggggghhhhhhhh

wishing you all the best,

Swally

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