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Thomas Albert Hardwick, RGA - Help tracing his steps

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Thomas Albert Hardwick, RGA - Help tracing his steps

Postby Ixy » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:56 pm

Hi there,

I'm trying to find details of my Great Great Grandfather and to see what happened to him during WW1.

I've got a Medal Index Card that has the following details:

Name: T A Hardwick
Division: RGA
Rank: CPL
Number: 4484 & 279484
Theatre of War and date : (1) France 15/07/1915
Medals: Victory, Brtitsh and 15 Star
Remarks: Cl Z: 14/03/19

Unfortunately I don't know what battalion he was in, and I'm a bit confused as to why he has 2 Soldier ID's.

I've also managed to locate him the on Birmingham Employers Roll of Honour 1914-1918. It states that he was a Sergeant at the time and that he worked at Cadburys in Bournville.

Any help would be really appreciated.

Thanks!
Ixy
 
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Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:45 pm

Re: Thomas Albert Hardwick, RGA - Help tracing his steps

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:43 pm

OK, the first thing you need to understand is that you'll lose all street-cred by referring to battalions in the artillery. ;) Well, unless you go back into the Victorian era...

Slightly more seriously, the Royal Garrison Artillery generally grouped its soldiers and guns together in Batteries, whereas the Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery were a bit schizophrenic - they had batteries, but grouped the batteries into brigades and depending on which bit of the RFA you were talking about, either the battery or brigade was the prime unit.

To understand the basics of researching a WW1 soldier, you need to consult the Long, Long Trail web-site on http://www.1914-1918.net/index.html.

I will, however, give you these hints: you have seen the Medal Index Card. The MICs point to entries in the Medal Rolls, which are now on Ancestry. The Roll RGA/3B2 Page 875 stuff identifies the Medal Roll and Page but is no longer necessary if Ancestry have done their indexing correctly. Thomas' Medal Roll for his Victory & British War Medal has
279484 A/Sgt (i.e. Acting Sergeant) HARDWICK Thomas Albert 19 Hy Bty RGA
SR/4484 Cpl

His battery was therefore 19th Heavy Battery - at least, it was at the end of the war. Move to Long Long Trail http://www.1914-1918.net/heavy-battery-index.htm and you find a list of Heavy Batteries, and you get a 1-liner about 19th Heavy. Note that the battery first went overseas on 15 July 1915, when it went to France. That matches Thomas' "Theatre of War first served in" on his Medal Index Card. As 19th Heavy was the only Heavy to reach France on that day according to the page above, then it's quite likely that Thomas was in 19th Heavy from July 1915 to the end. Whether you can use the Divisional Histories on the LLT site to trace where else 19th Heavy went, I don't know.

A/Sgt was Acting Sergeant but I think medals would only be made out to the substantive rank (i.e. Corporal).

I might add that people with relatives in the RFA and RHA are green with envy at this point because RFA and RHA medal rolls do not usually say what the battery or brigade was.

The SR/4484 Cpl is interesting as it explains the first number of 4484. Now, I am going to make what may be an unwarranted leap but the SR prefix (omitted on the Medal Index Card) usually means Special Reserve. (I didn't even know the RGA had a Special Reserve). The SR is a bit obscure but is a sort of equivalent to the Territorial Force but was always intended to provide soldiers to supplement the Regulars overseas, whereas the Territorials were originally intended to operate in the Home Defence role only. Don't ask me any more than that!

So - it looks like Thomas was a Corporal in the Special Reserve of the RGA, numbered SR/4484. After the outbreak of war, he was allocated to 19th Heavy RGA. Got to France with 19th Heavy. At some point after, he got renumbered to 279484. (That has to be after he reached France as Medal Rolls only refer to what happened outside the UK). My best guess....

Now what you need to do is find out where the 19th Heavy went to, what battles it fought in....
Adrian
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Re: Thomas Albert Hardwick, RGA - Help tracing his steps

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:02 pm

As I'd never heard of the Special Reserve for the RGA, I've just been Googling a bit more...

Try http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=202968 for one thing but note the reference in post 6 by "Kevrow" saying that "The Special Reserve for the RGA that was started at the beginning of the war was completely different to that given in the tables above and was started expressly for ex soldiers". The same post also points out that the renumbering from 4484 to 279484 was done for everyone in the RGA SR by simply adding 275000! (And I didn't spot the relationship! :oops: )

The link given by "Kevrow" in post 6 points to http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=201843&p=1991758 - post 20 if you don't land in the right spot.

So it may be that Thomas had already served a term in the Army pre-WW1. I'm saying "may" because I could be misunderstanding....
Adrian
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Re: Thomas Albert Hardwick, RGA - Help tracing his steps

Postby Ixy » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:08 pm

Haha I'll remember not to mention Battalions and Artillery in the same sentence next time then :lol:

Thank you so much for your help! I now have a great starting point :)
Ixy
 
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Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:45 pm

Re: Thomas Albert Hardwick, RGA - Help tracing his steps

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:21 pm

Sometimes it really comes together....

Google "19th heavy battery rga". One of the references is on the Long Long Trail website and shows 19th Heavy RGA to have at least started life with 19th Division. See http://www.1914-1918.net/19div.htm

That was the same Division as my Grandpa in 86th Brigade, RFA!
Adrian
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