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Searching Boer/RA record

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Searching Boer/RA record

Postby janiej » Fri May 22, 2015 9:44 pm

My great uncle, Arthur Parmenter, born 1884, attested for six years to 3rd Essex on 29 August 1899, and was given regimental number 6097. He stated on his papers that he belonged to the 2nd ?Coln Battalion Essex, although I have not been able to find any more on that. The only other papers in the service records are the Description sheet and the Statement of Services which reads "40 days drill on enlistment." After that, it says something like "RA 16 10/99" I assume that meant he transferred to the Royal Artillery on 16th October - would that be right?

On the 1901 Census, he is a driver in the 92nd Battery of the Royal Field Artillery in Aldershot but I can't find any further information about his service with the RFA. Is there any other place that might hold records of soldiers who transferred?

I am now trying to put the jigsaw together. Driver Parmenter (and Driver Bodill) were mentioned in dispatches for conspicuous gallantry in attempting to rescue the guns of their battery at Colenso on 15 December 1899. The Second Boer War had broken out on 11 October 1899, so it is logical that Arthur was sent there but I can't prove that it was him who was mentioned. The Medal Roll for A Parmenter 76136 shows he was a Driver and was invalided back to England on 17 January 1900, but it states he was in the 14th Battalion RFA. I am not at all clued up on Battalions and Batteries so have no idea if they were at all linked. Can someone help with that?

When Arthur died in 1946, his obituary stated that he had served in the RFA and was amongst those on duty at Queen Victoria’s funeral on 2nd February 1901 so he clearly had not returned to South Africa. By 1911, he was back in his native town working in the local foundry but I can find nothing to suggest he was recalled during WW1. If he had been invalided out of the Boer War, he may have not been fit enough. There is a medal card for A Parmenter 29311, Essex regiment but he was killed. There are no others in Essex or RA.
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Re: Searching Boer/RA record

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat May 23, 2015 9:58 am

He's joining the Militia as 6097 of the 3rd Battalion - the militia is not part of the Regular Army. At that point he is already in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Essex Regiment. I'm guessing he needs a new attestation form since Volunteers and Militia are different things. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essex_Regiment.


The statement of services does seem to suggest that he joined the RA on 16 October 1899. But without the documentation for the next stage of his career, it's not 100% certain. Probably 98% certain... ;) His RA career would have been on yet another set of papers.

My gut feeling is that the odds are that he was called up / recalled during WW1. He's certainly within the age range - only 30 at the outbreak - though whether his work as a moulder would have kept him in civilian employment, I don't know. I guess it depends on what his factory produced. But if he were called up / recalled then that might explain why there are no papers from his RA career. In rough terms, anyone permanently leaving the Army in that era, before WW1, should have papers surviving in FindMyPast's "British Army Service Records 1760-1915" collection. But if he went back in, then there's a 2/3 chance that his papers were destroyed in the WW2 fire, explaining why you can't find any. Bear in mind that if he didn't go overseas, he won't have a Medal Index Card. On the other hand, he might have gone into another regiment / corps and you don't recognise him - though I would have thought that his RA papers would be bundled with the new regiment / corps??? Does that make sense? Not sure....

As for Battalions and Batteries, my belief is that in this era, a few guns are grouped up into a Battery and a few Batteries are grouped into a Battalion. In the WW1 era a few Batteries are grouped into a Brigade. Unfortunately for my understanding it rather looks like the RA went from Battalions to Brigades to Battalions to Brigades.... And they're now in Regiments. Confused?
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Re: Searching Boer/RA record

Postby janiej » Mon May 25, 2015 2:54 pm

Yes, Adrian, I am confused!! But thank you for your help. I worked my way through all the A Parmenters on Ancestry or FMP in any military record from 1898 onwards. That led nowhere, so out of frustration I clicked on a poorly indexed page on FMP, with just the surname, a DOB of 1871 and Place, Halstead. It solved the puzzle (or at least some of it)! As soon as you view the record, you can see the first name of the soldier and his regimental number in the RA (so no idea why it is not indexed). It has all the details of the service, the DCM, gunshot wound to his side and pension of 18d per day. Sadly, it wasn't Arthur. It was Albert, and I can't even claim a distant relationship to this hero.

Interestingly, Albert (who had not been in the Essex militia) had previously served in the Submarine Miners Militia at Harwich which I had not heard of before.

It doesn't explain Arthur, though. There was one man in the 1st Essex who received a South Africa medal, with clasps for Cape, Orange and Transvaal, and I can't find anything about him (service no 5440). Would Arthur have transferred back to the Essex from the RA for the remainder of the Boer war, after attending the Queen's funeral? If so, why the 1st? If that is not him, and Albert clearly is not Arthur, I can only assume Arthur did not go abroad in the Boer War. The 1901 census says he was in the 92nd battery. It would be interesting to know where 92nd Battery were in 1900-1903.

Like you, I am beginning to think Arthur remained on the reserve and was recalled in 1914, but did not go abroad. Some of the Essex were on Home Defence or maybe his job was protected - the foundry made those big cast iron Tortoise stoves and they were in demand for public buildings, including (I would think) hospitals and military establishments all through the war.

Well, that's a weekend I won't get back but I learnt a few things about the Boer War and now have a history of Albert Parmenter if anyone is interested!
janiej
 
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Re: Searching Boer/RA record

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon May 25, 2015 6:31 pm

Had an idea - look at the Army Lists to see if they list where the batteries are.... They do.

In the 1899 Army List, 92 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, are at Birmingham. See https://archive.org/stream/newannualarmylis1899lond#page/n157/mode/2up

In 1900, 92 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, are at Colchester. See https://archive.org/stream/newannualarmy1900lond#page/149/mode/2up

In 1901, 92 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, are at Aldershot as part of XVII Brigade or Battalion - dunno which and it doesn't say!!!
See https://archive.org/stream/newannualarmy1901lond#page/169/mode/2up

In 1902, 92 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, are still at Aldershot as part of XVII Brigade or Battalion.
See https://archive.org/stream/hartsannualarmy1902lond#page/176/mode/2up

In 1903, 92 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, are still at Aldershot as part of XVII Brigade or Battalion.
See https://archive.org/stream/hartsannualarmyl1903lond#page/n241/mode/2up

So certainly 92 Battery doesn't seem to have strayed far. Bear in mind the YYYY List describes the situation at the end of the previous year.
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Re: Searching Boer/RA record

Postby janiej » Mon May 25, 2015 8:17 pm

Adrian, that is amazing - thank you so much! I looked at the lists all the way through to the 1907, bearing in mind that Arthur signed for six years and the furthest they went from Aldershot was Ewshot, near Farnborough and they were in Colchester when he transferred in 1899. I would love to know if he served in WW1 but I think probably not, or at least not out of the country. His brother was killed and was the family hero. Arthur's service was never mentioned.
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