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Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Saturday 12th November 2016 at 10:59 AM
Good Morning Alan,
Today I am seeking assistance with the service records of Leonard Vincent Broughton , service number 2GH/255, and who appears to have enlisted in October 1915. His service number quoted refers I think to the Amry Service Corps, and I believe he spent most of the War serving in Malta, possibly at one of the hospitals on the Island, I say this because the records show him as having a RAMC service number of 51777126 in 1919 I think?.
Can you straighten out the facts for me please.
Reply from: Alan Greeson
Date: Saturday 12th November 2016 at 8:53 PM

Dear David,
Leonard Vincent Broughton served only in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He enlisted at the age of 17 at the Duke of York’s Barracks, Chelsea, on October 11th 1915 and was allotted the Territorial Army regimental number 255 prefixed with 2GH because he joined No. 2 London General Hospital, also known as the Second London General Hospital (R.A.M.C. Territorial Force) which was established in St Mark's College, 552 King's Road, Chelsea.
In 1915, Leonard stated his age was 19; he was 5ft 10ins tall and was a clerk living at 21, Netta Road, Hammersmith. His next-of-kin was his father, Frederick, who lived at The Old Inn, Widecombe-in-the-Moor. In the 1911 census, Leonard was recorded as a 12-year-old scholar with his parents Frederick and Mary at 37 Bearcroft Buildings, S.W., Fulham, London. Leonard’s birth was registered in Middlesex in 1898.
Leonard initially enlisted for Home Service only, but on 11th December 1915 he signed the Imperial Service Obligation agreeing to serve overseas. This was a statement by Territorial Army soldiers who agreed to go abroad despite the fact the original Territorial Force had been intended only for home defence: a situation that became untenable during the war.
Three days later, Leonard embarked for Malta, on 14th December 1915. There, he served with No. 3 Malta Company R.AM.C. (T.F.) at St George’s Hospital. Early in 1917 when all the Territorial Force was re-numbered, he was allotted a new R.A.M.C. regimental number, 517126. In September 1916, St George's Hospital held a maximum of 1,412 beds. It closed in October 1917. Vera Brittain had served at St George’s Hospital from October 1916 to May 1917.
On 4th April 1918 Leonard was posted from No. 3 Malta Company R.A.M.C. to France. He arrived at Rouen on 18th April 1918 and remained at a base depot in Rouen until 11th May 1918 when he was posted to 1st/4th London Field Ambulance which was part of the 47th (2nd London) Division. In Leonard’s time in France the Division fought at The Battle of Albert (21st – 23rd August 1918); and The Second Battle of Bapaume (21st August to 3rd September 1918) during the Second Battles of the Somme 1918; and The Operations in Artois and the official entry into Lille which had been occupied by the Germans.
Leonard remained in France with 1st/4th Field Ambulance until it was reduced in strength in May 1919 when he returned to England. He was demobilized on 14th June 1919, aged 22.
Leonard married Mabel Violet Niquet at Kingston, Surrey, in 1922. The couple emigrated to Australia with their son Peter in 1951. Mabel died in 1985 and Leonard died, aged 96, in 1994 and is buried at Springvale, Victoria, Melbourne.
Leonard Vincent Broughton qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The War Diary for 1/4 Field Ambulance can be downloaded for £3.45 from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C7354548
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Friday 11th November 2016 at 5:34 PM
Hi Alan
I meant to say that PG Amos appeared never to go abroad and therefore must have been injured in England
Judith
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Friday 11th November 2016 at 5:32 PM
Dear Alan
Three of us had a meting yesterday with the Autograph Book and your comments and there were several alterations made ti the information that I sent you. Here we go:
1. R Masewell Royal Irish Fusiliers. R M. C.S.M. 1916
2. P G Amos 2/4 Buffs . In Oakdene October 7th 1915
Maybe some of this information will help you in your reseach.
Thanks in advance
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 12th November 2016 at 2:00 PM

Dear Judith,
The Company Sergeant Major in Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers was Robert Maxwell, 8149, who went to France on 22nd August 1914 with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers as a sergeant, so he would have been a regular army soldier serving before the war started. In 1914, he would have fought at The Battle of Le Cateau; The Battle of the Marne; The Battle of the Aisne; and The Battle of Armentières. On November 11th 1914, it was announced he had been admitted to hospital in England and was at the 1st Western General Hospital at Liverpool.
He returned to active service with the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and became a Company Sergeant Major. The 5th Battalion merged with the 6th Battalion to form the 5th/6th Battalion on 2nd November 1916 at Salonika. Robert Maxwell was then promoted to Regimental Sergeant Major. The 5th/6th Battalion R.I.F. moved to Egypt and Palestine in September 1917. The Battalion moved from Egypt to France in May 1918 (when the Palestine forces were re-organised) and Robert Maxwell was commissioned as an officer and served with the 5th/6th Battalion R.I.F. as a Second Lieutenant from 5th April 1918. The Battalion remained in France and Belgium until it was disbanded.
Robert Maxwell qualified for the 1914 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The 1911 census of England recorded a Robert Maxwell, aged 25, single, born Co. Antrim, Belfast as a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers stationed at Bordon Camp, Headley, Hampshire. He appears to have been born in 1885. There were three possible entries in the Irish birth records for Robert Maxwell in Belfast, so he can’t be identified further.
*
The 2nd/4th Buffs were formed at Canterbury in September 1914. In November they moved to Ascot and in May 1915 they moved to Ashford in Kent. In April 1915 a “Kent Composite Battalion” was created by combining one company each from the 2nd/4th and 2nd/5th Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and 2/4th and 2nd/5th The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. This composite battalion joined the 53rd (Welsh) Division at Cambridge on 24th April 1915 and on 14th June 1915 it became the 2nd/4th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment at Bedford and served with 160th (Welsh Border) Infantry Brigade.
Technically, the composite 2nd/4th Royal West Kent was not the “Buffs” even though half the men were from the Buffs. An Army medal roll for Amos recorded the ‘Roy. West Kent Regt.’ with “Buffs” deleted.
There was a Percy George Amos recorded at Canterbury in the 1911 census as an 18-year-old plumber, of 61 Ivy Lane, Canterbury, who was born in 1893, the son of James and Hannah Amos. In the 1901 census he was recorded as having an elder sister named Lilian M. Amos.
A Percy George Amos, born at Canterbury, was killed in action on 15th August 1917, serving as Lance-corporal Percy George Amos, 40158, 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, formerly 13539 East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) (‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’; HMSO 1921).
The Register of Soldiers’ Effects recorded Percy’s sole legatee was his sister Lilian M. Amos.
The C.W.G.C. Debt of Honour recorded Percy George Amos as the 24-year-old son of the late Mrs and Mrs J.W. Amos of 61 Ivy Lane, Canterbury. He was buried at Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres.
The Army medal rolls for the British War Medal and Victory Medal recorded Percy George Amos as Private 3159, 2/4th Royal West Kent Regiment, who later served as 13539, 1st East Kent Regiment, and later still as Lance-corporal 40158, Royal Irish Rifles. The 1914-15 Star medal roll recorded he went overseas with the 2/4th Royal West Kent Regiment, 13539, on 20th July 1915 at Gallipoli.
Despite the confusing nature of his regimental numbers, he was Percy George Amos of the 2/4th Buffs who served at Gallipoli with 2/4th Royal West Kent Regiment and then returned to active service with the Royal Irish Rifles.
The 2nd/4th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment sailed with the 53rd Division from Southampton on 20th July 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay between the end of July 1915 and 10th August 1915 and fought in the Suvla Bay area, suffering many casualties from the local conditions (weather; dysentery etc.) in addition to the fighting.
It is not possible to state Percy’s subsequent record in detail, but on the date he was killed he was with 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. They were with 36th (Ulster) Division at The Battle of Langemarck (16th – 18th August 1917) which was the second Allied attack during the Third Battle of Ypres.
Percy George Amos qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Judith Lowe
Date: Saturday 12th November 2016 at 4:42 PM

Dear Alan
Well done on finding information on Maxwell and Amos. It was well worth us looking at them together last week.
Thank you very much
JUDITH Lowe.
Posted by: Kez {No contact email}
Location: Australia
Date: Thursday 10th November 2016 at 12:07 AM
Morning Alan,
I need some advice please. I am researching Internees at Trial Bay Gaol, South West Rocks NSW during 1915-1919 WW1. Most of them were German. Even if Naturalized they were still interned.
They were there from 1915-1919 after which most of them were 'shipped back to Germany' on either the 'Kursk' 29.05.1919 or the 'Rio Negro' 20.08.1919
I have found some aboard the 'Rio Negro' were 'escorted' by AIF to London, arriving 27.10.1919
Could you suggest who then 'took them over? Would the English Army then have 'escorted' them to Germany or the AIF?
Just not sure where to look,
many thanks Alan, cheers Kez
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 10th November 2016 at 6:48 PM

Dear Kez,
The steamer Rio Negro (Black River) sailed from Australia on Wednesday 20th August 1919 destined for the port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands where the German deportees disembarked. The ship’s Captain was Henry Daniel D.S.C. from Penzance, Cornwall. The agents were W. Leaman and Co. for the Orient Line (The Orient Steam Navigation Company). The Rio Negro carried some 593 “enemy subjects” and 80 officers and men of the A.I.F. who had escorted the men from Holdsworthy Camp earlier in the day. This was the largest internment camp in Australia at Holdsworthy (later spelt Holsworthy), near Liverpool on the outskirts of Sydney. The Rio Negro sailed from a wharf at Pyrmont, Sydney, New South Wales, and passed into the Darling Harbour at 4 p.m. 20th August (‘Sydney Morning Herald’ 21st August 1919).
Rotterdam was a neutral port on the North Sea with direct river and overland links to the Dutch-German border. The shorter sea routes across the English Channel were being used in 1919 by vessels carrying a quarter of a million German POWs who were being repatriated from Britain.
The Rio Negro called briefly at Plymouth, Devon, on Thursday 23rd October 1919, to allow some members of the armed guard who had fallen sick during the voyage to be taken off at Millbay Docks and taken to the Military Hospital at Plymouth. The Rio Negro then sailed onwards for Rotterdam the same afternoon.
While at Plymouth the arrival attracted the curiosity of a newspaper reporter who wrote in the ‘Western Morning News’ on 24th October 1919 that during the voyage one man had fled the ship at Durban but was captured after an energetic pursuit. On board were “600 German men, women and children who were being deported from Australia to Germany even though many of them were born in Australia and did not even speak German.”
“The disinclination of the fugitive to return to the Fatherland seemed to be shared by a number of his compatriots on board. Many of them are unable to speak a word of German and are Australian born.”
A 72-year-old deportee had lived in Australia for 35 years and most who had settled in the Antipodes seemed to wish to remain there. Some openly boasted that they would return to Australia within a matter of months (© Trinity Mirror via British Newspaper Archive).
A number of the passengers were stated to be well-known wool buyers in Australia.
The Rio Negro was originally a German vessel which in 1914 had operated in the South Atlantic out of Brazil and been handed over by Germany on March 29, 1919 to sail under a British flag with the Orient Line in accordance with the terms of surrender to the U.K.. In 1920 she was taken over by Ellerman Lines who used the Rio Negro as a refugee transport taking Russian refugees from the Black Sea ports into the Mediterranean. In January 1921, Ellerman Lines bought the ship and renamed her City of Palermo.
It October 1919 Rio Negro sailed under a British flag into the port of Rotterdam where her 600 German detainees disembarked.
The Australian armed guards were on special service with the A.I.F. and they returned to Australia early in 1920 on board the vessel SS Friedrichsruh. This was the former German liner initially named Fürst Bismarck built at Glasgow by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company for the Hamburg America Line in 1905 and surrendered in 1919. The Friedrichsruh sailed from Plymouth, England, on January 22nd 1920 and called at Freemantle on February 28th 1920 before arriving at Melbourne on March 8th 1920.
There is a photograph of most of the A.I.F. guards at:
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P01879.001
Some 74 of the guards’ names were signed on a souvenir photograph : H. Bruce; J. Abbey; W. A. Stevenson; W. Roberts; H. J. Laws; J. Ross; H. McPherson; V. Floyd; A. C. Bell; P. Hampson; A. C. Parry; K. L. Morris; B. De Riser; Sergeant G. Potter; J. Wood; Chas Richardson; Robt Jones; J. Adams; H. C. Harper; B. Fuller; R. S. Dall; H. Francis; R. E. Larolis; J. J. McKew; F. W. Mare; H. Pescut; W. R. Adams; W. L. Morris; Charles Curtis; O. W. Bulmer; Harold Edwards; G. Crago; W. B. Regan; Joseph Lee; Marc Gray; W. J. Piggott; E. A. Jones; James Dalton; L. M. S. Dean; T. Igoe; A. Perry; N. L. Bradley; E. Downick; J. G. Sherringham; T. W. Howard; C. C. Walker; G. T. Adair; E. Ivers; A. H. Donaldson; W. W. Clark; J. A. Dunn; T. J. Haydon; E. Dowling; J. A. Fahey; G. Thwaites; J. Hogg; C. G. Wilkinson; P. M. Solomon; Maurice Michenay; H. Steele; Eric A. Peisley; H. Swickfalls; A. Kieron; R. T. Humphreys; Lieutenant J. Young; Lieutenant D. H. Ross; Lieutenant Colonel G. H. Knox; Alex A. Flaherty; Lieutenant J. H. Dee; Lieutenant Jim Smith; Chaplain M. J. Smith; Captain E. S. Dann; Captain Arthur J. Day.
The card was probably signed at the end of the voyage of the Rio Negro and the missing half-dozen names would be those sick A.I.F. men taken off at Plymouth.
See the photograph held by the Australian War Memorial at:
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P01879.002
There is a list of names of some 92 German prisoners of war from the South Australian 4th Military District at Torrens Island who were repatriated on Rio Negro, shown at:
http://torrensislandinternmentcamp.com.au/deportation.html
So it was Australians who escorted the deportees to Rotterdam. By 1919 the German authorities were co-operating with the Inter-Allied agencies in repatriating both German detainees and prisoners of war.
Apparently, conditions on the Friedrichsruh on the voyage home were very bad. See the article in the ‘Perth Daily News’ dated March 1st 1920: “Transport Discomforts” at:
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/8011680
With kind regards,
Alan

Note: the shipping departures and arrivals have been taken from contemporary local newspapers and not from primary sources.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 10th November 2016 at 11:05 PM

Correction: The line reading: There is a photograph of most of the A.I.F. guards at:
should read:
There is a photograph of a group of the A.I.F. guards at:
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P01879.001
Reply from: Kez
Date: Thursday 10th November 2016 at 11:12 PM

My goodness me Alan! Thank, thank you for all that information, I REALLY appreciate it.
Cheers Kez
Posted by: Gordon Wilson {No contact email}
Location: Northern Ireland
Date: Wednesday 9th November 2016 at 3:16 PM
Dear Alan
I'm trying to seek as much information as I can about my Fathers War Service but finding things very difficult in doing so , a friend recommended yourself so I'm hoping you can shed some light on this for me . I would be grateful for any such information at all , all I have is the following info .

Robert Wilson served 7th battalion KOSB HQ company number was 3194180 don't know rank Or where he joined part of first airborne division at Arnhem. He never ever really talked about his service in the war.

Many Thanks Alan
Gordon
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 9th November 2016 at 4:40 PM

Dear Gordon,
I do not research the Second World War. Service records for soldiers who fought in the Second World War are not in the public domain and are held by the U.K. Ministry of Defence. The MoD will release certain amounts of information to the next-of-kin for a fee. See:
https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-someone-elses-records
The 7th (Galloway) Battalion The King's Own Scottish Borderers (K.O.S.B.) was raised in 1939 and was employed on coastal defences from Essex to the Shetlands until 1943. In November 1943 the battalion moved to Lincolnshire as part of 1st Airlanding Brigade of 1st Airborne Division, where it trained with Horsa gliders.
The war diary of 7th (Galloway) Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers is at:
http://www.pegasusarchive.org/arnhem/war_7thkosb.htm
With kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Andy Roberts {Email left}
Location: Lymington Hants
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2016 at 8:12 PM
George Medal: Can anyone help please, I have my grandfathers George Medal from the First World War and I believe there must be a citation somewhere detailing the circumstances which led to his award. My parents and grandparents have all passed away so I may have left it to late. I never knew my grandfather, he died before I was born. The inscription on the side of the medal reads " 21146 SJT A. Page 23/Coy MGC ". I'll happily make an extra donation to the British Legion for any help
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2016 at 11:15 PM

Dear Andy,
The George Medal didn’t exist in the First World War. It was a civilian award instigated in 1940.
In 1917, a Sjt. A. Page, 21146, M.G.C. was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field (London Gazette 6th July 1917). Citations for the Military Medal were not published nationally and were given to the soldier with the medal. The London Gazette promulgated the awards some months after the event. See:
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30172/supplement/6834
The National Archives has no record of a 23 Company M.G.C. so it might be worth checking the medal again. For a list of known M.G.C. companies see:
http://www.1914-1918.net/mg_units.htm
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Andy Roberts
Date: Wednesday 9th November 2016 at 12:08 AM

Dear Alan,
Thank you so much for your message, I'll act on your suggestions and get back to you, once again many thanks and best regards, what a great job you're doing!
Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill Merseyside
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2016 at 7:58 PM
Alan,Rainhill Civic Society have a postcard photo of a Sgt Tom Houghton(no service number I'm afraid) dressed in a Scottish Uniform (Beret,Kilt,Socks etc.,) The postcard id sent from E Wing, e.c.c.(could be c.c.c.) Brannshott,Hants

In it he says his Regiment "have all gone away" but he has to stay for a few weeks and has been transferred to the Pay Corps.

have you any from the address what his regiment might be ?

The post card was written on 18th,April 1919
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2016 at 11:14 PM

Dear Howard,
The address is a valuable clue.
Bramshott (with an ‘m’) in Hampshire was home to a large Canadian camp. ‘C.C.C.’ stood for Canadian Concentration Camp where Canadians who had served in France were mustered in England before sailing home to Canada in 1919. The lettered Wings of the camp each dealt with processing the paperwork for battalions and groups of soldiers waiting to be sent home in drafts at the war’s end. In April 1919, “‘E Wing’ C.C.C. Bramshott” certainly housed the 15th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force who had arrived at Bramshott on 16th March 1919 and sailed for Canada on board SS “Balric” of the White Star Line on 29th April 1919. ‘E’ Wing could have dealt with other units as well, and it is possible Thomas Houghton might have been employed at ‘E’ Wing, Bramshott with the Pay Corps.
Library and Archives Canada (L.A.C.) records only one Great War soldier specifically named “Tom” Houghton who had enlisted with the 36th Battalion C.E.F. on 31st May 1915. He was Tom Hadley Houghton born 31st December 1889, of Niagara on The Lake, Ontario. The 36th Battalion was disbanded on 15th September 1917 and the men posted to other battalions, so it is possible he could have ended the war with the 15th Battalion. However, there were a further six men named Thomas Houghton who served with the C.E.F., so it is not possible to positively identify an individual from the L.A.C. online records which are generally records of enlistment (the attestation paper) and not of continuous service. From photographs it can be shown men of the 15th Battalion did wear Highland uniform but so did many other Canadian regiments affiliated to the Scottish homeland.
More promising was a search of passenger lists outbound for Canada in 1919 which returned one Acting Sergeant Thomas Gleve Houghton, 63993, formerly 23rd Reserve C.E.F. who sailed for Canada on May 18th 1919 on board SS “Aquitania”. His name was included on Dispersal Draft K72 with 19 men of No 1 Det CAPC – No. 1 Detachment Canadian Army Pay Corps. His intended residence was Montreal.
In civilian life, Thomas Gleve Houghton was a bookkeeper of 265 Prince Arthur Street, Montreal. He stated he had been born on 2nd April 1885 at Liverpool, England. The English G.R.O. has an entry in his full name for the year 1884 at West Derby, Lancashire. His next-of-kin was his father, Samuel. As a child, Thomas had lived at Monk Street, Everton, West Derby, Lancashire. In 1891, his father was a widower when Thomas was aged seven.
Thomas had previously served part-time in the 5th Battalion The King’s Liverpool Regiment, for seven years with the Territorial Army. He also served 4 years as a sergeant with the 5th Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) which would probably have been in Canada with The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada which was designated on 1st October 1906 as the 5th Regiment "Royal Highlanders of Canada".
When he enlisted for war service in Canada on 28th October 1914 he was 29 years old; 5ft 8ins; fair complexion; blue eyes; brown hair. He was eventually posted to the 232nd Battalion C.E.F.. That Battalion arrived in England in April 1917, but was quickly absorbed into the 15th Reserve Battalion on June 9th 1917 and the men were dispersed to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field in France.
For the duration of the war, the 23rd Reserve Battalion, which was based in England, also had trained and provided reinforcements for Canadian infantry units fighting in France. So, it is not clear in which Battalion Thomas Houghton might have seen active service in France before being transferred to the Pay Corps in England. It appears he was with 23rd Reserve Battalion in England in 1919 prior to being posted to the Pay Corps and it is possible, having been a book-keeper before the war, that the Pay Corps employed him at ‘E’ Wing” at Bramshott as a clerk processing soldiers from other battalions, before he himself returned home.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Wednesday 9th November 2016 at 8:36 PM

Thanks Alan for your usual comprehensive reply. I will speak to Toms relative and impart your information
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Friday 11th November 2016 at 7:36 PM

Alan,further to your earlier information,I have just noticed that Tom Has signed the photo and underneath his signature I can make out the the word Canadian.There is a number in front of it and I think it could be 15th. If so it looks like Thomas Gleve Houghton is our man.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 11th November 2016 at 11:57 PM

Dear Brian,
Hopefully then we have got the right man.
Alan
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 7:38 PM

Alan, Tom Houghtons relative confirmed he is the right man. 'Gleve' is a family name. Thanks for your help.
Posted by: Denise Marsden {Email left}
Location: Manchester
Date: Friday 4th November 2016 at 3:53 PM
Dear Alan ....I just wondered if I can have a message displayed or his name read out somewhere . It is for my Great Uncle Private Thomas Lloyd . Manchester Regiment .2nd bn ....Reg no. 41488... He was killed on the 17th November the day before his 19 th birthday . I have the original scroll sent to me Great Grandmother and signed by Kind George the v ...As it is a 100 years it would be so nice to commemerate him in some way ....

Really appreciate any help you could give me ...Thank you very much ..Denise x
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 4th November 2016 at 4:26 PM

Dear Denise,
You can make a commemoration at:
http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/ww1-centenary/every-man-remembered/
and at
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Jonathan O Donovan {Email left}
Location: Ireland
Date: Thursday 3rd November 2016 at 12:28 AM
Hi Alan,

After many years of searching, I recently found a document which stated that my granduncle, Maurice Donovan (Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery - Service No. 120906) was a member of the 20th Heavy Battery during WWI. I was wondering if you could tell me anything about this battery such as where it was stationed, battles it would've been involved in, war diary etc. Any information, no matter how small would be of great assistance to me as I try to piece together Maurice's wartime service.

Thanking you,

Jonathan O'Donovan.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 3rd November 2016 at 4:58 PM

Dear Jonathan,
The Army medal rolls show Gunner Maurice Donovan, 120906 Royal Garrison Artillery, qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star he did not serve abroad until some date after January 1st 1916. He would therefore have been part of a draft of reinforcements.
20th Heavy Battery R.G.A. went to France and Flanders on 7th August 1915 and later moved to Salonika, Greece. The war diaries are not available online and area held at The National Archives at Kew. The National Archives do not accept orders for copies of war diaries. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=%2220+Heavy+Battery%22
20th Heavy Battery was with X Corps and attached to 51st Division in August 1915 before moving to VII Corps and joining 21st Heavy Artillery Group in October 1915 before sailing from Marseilles on 28th November for Salonika to join 22nd Division, arriving 5th December 1915. Then in February 1916 they joined 37th Heavy Brigade in XII Corps. In September 1916 they joined 61st Heavy Artillery Group until joining 75th Heavy Artillery Group in January 1917. In August 1917 they joined 37th Heavy Artillery Group. In October 1918 they came under 20th Heavy Artillery Group. Fighting on the Macedonian front ceased at noon on 30th September 1918 when the ceasefire between Bulgaria and the Allies came into effect. There is a section on the Salonika Campaign on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail at:
http://www.1914-1918.net/salonika.htm
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Jonathan O Donovan
Date: Friday 4th November 2016 at 12:00 AM

Hi Alan,

Many thanks for your detailed reply. It's certainly given me plenty to investigate. One last thing, I've seen on other sites that Heavy Batteries were sometimes called Siege Batteries. Is that true, were the titles interchangeable? Were they one and the same?

Regards,

Jonathan.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 4th November 2016 at 1:07 PM

Dear Jonathan,
Siege and Heavy batteries were different. A Heavy Battery was more mobile with heavy guns that could be moved by horse transport. Siege Batteries were usually more fixed, often requiring concrete or fixed platforms.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Jonathan O Donovan
Date: Friday 4th November 2016 at 2:07 PM

Thanks Alan. Much appreciated.

Best Wishes,

Jonathan.
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Prescot
Date: Wednesday 2nd November 2016 at 8:40 AM
Good Morning Alan
Thank you for your swift reply last night. I am meeting with my group and the Autograph Book next week and we will look at carefully and discuss those men whose writing we cannot clearly read. If there are any differences to the names, initials that gave you I will come back to you with new ideas. Hope that will be ok.
Meanwhile almost the last two names of soldiers that are worth looking at are:
1. G (possibly T) Holmes 17th Brigade R F ??,29th Division M.E. F.
2. Private J D Evans. 3/3 Welsh F'd Am...... January 1916

Kind regards
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 2nd November 2016 at 8:24 PM

Dear Judith,
The 29th Division arrived in Alexandria about 1st April 1915 so a gunner in the Royal Artillery would have qualified for the 1914-15 Star. Searching for Holmes G or T in the Royal Artillery medal rolls provided one result with a date of disembarkation as 1st April 1915. He was Gunner Thomas Holmes, 90624, Royal Field Artillery.
Thomas Henry Holmes was born in Sheffield on 15th December 1879, the son of Henry Holmes, a drayman, and his wife Sarah. Thomas had married Clara White at St Simon’s Church, Eyre Street, Sheffield, on July 31st 1898. The couple had three children: Clara Ellen; Harry and Florence. Thomas was a carter for the Sheffield Forge and Rolling Mills and he was also a part-time special reservist in the 1st Division Royal Field Artillery Regiment. He would have been expert at handling heavy horses. He was 5ft 6ins tall and had brown hair and brown eyes.
The family lived at 2 court, house No. 8, Newton Lane, Sheffield.
At the age of 35, on 30th August 1914 Thomas Holmes re-joined the 1st Division Royal Field Artillery Regiment for one year’s service (or duration of war) in Sheffield. He was immediately posted to 3 Reserve Battery R.F.A. which was in 1A Reserve Brigade R.F.A. at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Reserve units were training and holding units in the U.K..
On 21st January 1915, Thomas was posted to the 29th Divisional artillery stationed in Warwickshire where he joined 17th Brigade’s ammunition column which delivered ammunition to the guns. The 17th Brigade (more correctly XVII Brigade in Roman numerals) embarked at Avonmouth 17th March 1915 and sailed to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (M.E.F.) at Alexandria, Egypt, where it landed on April 1st 1915. The Brigade left Alexandria on 17th April 1915 and sailed via Mudros to land at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli peninsula on 30th April 1915. On May 23rd Thomas injured his left wrist but returned to duty on the same day as it was only badly bruised and not broken.
On 4th September 1915, Thomas fell victim to the local conditions and was admitted to hospital suffering from dysentery. He was removed to England where, on 23rd September 1915, he was admitted to “W. Lancs. VAD 40 Hospital, Oakdene”.
Thomas probably slipped home for a week in October 1915 as he was absent without leave from 17th to 24th October 1915.
On 1st November 1915, Thomas was moved to Woolwich in the 4A Reserve Battery R.F.A. before being posted to France on 6th November 1915 where he joined No 64 Battery in the 5th Brigade (V Brigade) Royal Field Artillery. In January 1916 Thomas was mustered as a [horse] driver. V Brigade came under command of the 3rd Canadian Division between March and July 1916 and was in action at The Battle of Mount Sorrel and on the Somme. The Brigade transferred to 4th Canadian Division in September 1916, fighting at Vimy Ridge and at The Battle of Arras. In July 1917, V Brigade R.F.A. became an Army Brigade and served with Second Army in October 1917; Third Army in December 1917; First Army in February 1918; Fifth Army in July 1918 and Fourth Army in October 1918.
Thomas was slightly wounded in action on 3rd June 1916, and he suffered influenza in December 1916 but was quickly back with his Battery. He was granted leave to the U.K. in January 1917 and January 1918. In December 1918 he was granted leave for Christmas in the U.K. and Thomas was demobilized at Purfleet on 5th January 1919. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star; British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He died at Sheffield aged 64 in March 1943.
*
There were two men named J. D. Evans serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps. One was an officer who served in France from November 1915 so that eliminated his name. The 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance was a Territorial Force unit and it was likely a Territorial soldier would have a four-digit regimental number rather than a five-digit general service number. A search of the medal rolls returned Private J.D. Evans, 2197, Royal Army Medical Corps. This was John David Evans and a War Badge nominal roll confirmed he served with 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance.
The 3rd/3rd Welsh Field Ambulance was a reserve unit of the 1st/3rd Welsh Field Ambulance. The 1st/3rd Welsh Field Ambulance was raised in 1908 at Swansea and was part of 53rd (Welsh) Division which served at Gallipoli in 1915. At the outbreak of war, the Territorial units raised second and third line units to provide reinforcements to the parent unit.
John David Evans enlisted in the R.A.M.C. on 3rd June 1916 and disembarked at Gallipoli on 9th October 1915 so would have been part of a draft of reinforcements to the 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance in the Suvla Bay area. The fighting; sanitary conditions and a blizzard reduced the Welsh Division to about 15 percent of its operational strength. On the night of 11th – 12th December 1915, the Division was evacuated to Mudros and then sailed to Alexandria, where it began to arrive from 20th December 1915.
Private Evans succumbed to disease; returned to the U.K. and was discharged from the Army on 23rd May 1916.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal and was granted a silver War Badge.
With kind regards,
Alan

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