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WW1 Royal Garrison Artillary 19th heavy battery

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WW1 Royal Garrison Artillary 19th heavy battery

Postby mark ellix » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:39 pm

Hi, I am trying find out where I can get info on the death of a relative that fought in the battle of Passchendaele, I’ve been to his grave , Canada Farm Cemetery, he was a gunner and is buried alongside six other men who’s date of death is recorded as the same date , I can assume from this that they are from a heavy gun crew, Canada Farm was a casualty clearing station, I would like to know how they died and whether they were kille at Canada Farm or elsewhere, many thanks in advance, Mark
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Re: WW1 Royal Garrison Artillary 19th heavy battery

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:05 pm

First very quick suggestion is that you look for the War Diary of the 19th Heavy Battery. On Ancestry, I'd guess. The problem with the RGA is that the batteries changed around quite a bit. You should see what the Long Long Trail website says about them - I'm just on my phone right now so it's not practical for me to look. Whether the 19th kept its own Diary, I'm not sure. It may be that you need to look at the level above but that's where the reorganisations happened. Oh and don't get mixed up with the various battery types in the RGA - the 19th Heavy and the 19th Siege Batteries are 2 totally different beasts, for instance.

This is, as I said, a very quick suggestion that obscures all sorts of tricky issues!

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Re: WW1 Royal Garrison Artillary 19th heavy battery

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:52 pm

Mark - I've got a bit more time now and my laptop so...

The Long Long Trail has a page on RGA Heavy Batteries http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/the-heavy-batteries-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/. It doesn't say much about the 19th HB. Down at the bottom it says
Once there were enough to require a higher organisation, the Heavy and Siege Batteries were organised into Heavy Artillery Brigades. This title was altered to Heavy Artillery groups on 2 April 1916, but was changed back to Brigades on 17 December 1917. Having said that, the two terms do seem to have been used quite interchangeably.

HAGs and HABs were where I got lost when trying to trace my GG-uncle. :-(

I can't see anything on the LLT to say what higher level group / brigade, 19th HB was in. I now realise that the best way of checking for the existence of a War Diary is via The National Archives site on http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/british-army-war-diaries-1914-1922/

I put "19 battery" into the search form on the link and got 10 results in their catalogue. If you remove the filter for "Available for Download Only", you get 19 results. Unfortunately, none are for the 19th Heavy (though one is for the 19th Siege which, as I say, is a different beast).

So my guess is that, either their War Diaries have been lost or were kept at a higher level than the battery. What that higher unit is I dunno. But I know a forum that does...

The Great War Forum is always worth searching and if you search for "19th Heavy" with the quotes (so you look for the phrase), you reach this thread https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/60885-19th-heavy-battery-rga/?tab=comments#comment-530687 where someone was trying to understand "the wartime movements of my Grandfather ... it seems he was in the 19th Heavy Battery - Royal Garrison Artillery" - excellent! There's even a pic of the gun that they used. It confirms there is no War Diary but there is an image that does list which HAGs it belonged to - a lot. (Not sure if you'll be able to see images if you're not a member and logged on but that's easy enough to do). The same response says:
It is correct that unfortunately no official war diary managed to survive but most of the higher formations ones from the allocation record do, and should at least give you a rough indication of what they got up to. for instance WO95/469 for the 21 HAG covers their mobilisation and entry into France and first rounds fired in anger, and WO95/298 will give you the Somme involvement.

I have no idea if any of those HAG diaries are on Ancestry or not but if you go and look at the allocation for 19th HB on or about the date that your chap died, you should find just one or two HAGs to find diaries for.

Good luck. It'll be a bit brain stretching at first but eventually...
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