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Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:57 am
I have been searching for many years to find where 198 Heavy Battery R G A were during WW 1.
I have been told that 198 was disbanded and the men sent to other Battalions.
I have a photograph taken outside what looks like the front door of a large house.
There are 18 men in this photo - four seated and 14 standing and in front of them is a hand written notice stating ' All that was left of 198 Heavy Battery R G A '.
My Grandfather is in this photo and I would so like to know exactly where he served during the War.
He would not speak about his Service and all I know is that he was on the Somme.
I would like to obtain as much information as possible about his Service and 198 Heavy Battery.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:32 am
Your best bet is to post on the Great War Forum - if they can't help you no one can!https://www.greatwarforum.org/
Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:43 pm
Your problem is that while infantry battalions were pretty constant in their identity during WW1, artillery batteries weren't. RFA batteries are bad enough but RGA batteries are worse. Both lots could be split and have guns sent to other batteries to bring them up to strength. But RGA batteries also swapped massively between their superior units which weren't even constant in their name. At one time, for instance, they might be allocated to Heavy Artillery Groups then it was Heavy Artillery Brigades. And I'm not even sure that they were all allocated to the same type of thing at the same time.
So far as I know, the only way to answer your question, if the guys in the Great War Forum can't, is to get to the National Archives at Kew and do a lot of digging. The first thing to look for would be the war diary of 198 Heavy Battery. Warning - 198 Siege Battery is a totally different unit. Do not confuse them. However, my suspicion is that not all battery level diaries survive. In that case, you need to look for the diary of the next level above - the whatever HAG, perhaps? Of course, the problem is that you don't know which HAG to look for, or even if it is a HAG. Whether there are alternative sources of those allocations, I've no idea. Worst case scenario is that you need to look through every single war diary to find movements out and in. Which is presumably why you haven't been able to progress this - no-one has done that yet.
And, of course, knowing what happened to the guns of that battery, doesn't mean that you know what happened to your GF. I am assuming, by the way, that you have looked for his papers but they don't survive.
Sorry but I think it's important that you understand the issues.
Sent from my Moto G6 Play using Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine Forum mobile app
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:42 am
Have you tried contacting the Royal Artillery Museum?
The Royal Artillery Museum
Tel: (020) 8855 7755
Fax: (020) 8855 7100
General Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Enquiries: email@example.com
Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:30 pm
... sorry but Firepower at Woolwich closed in 2016.
A quick Google found this link... https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/a?_ref=400
Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:19 am
In respect of the collection at Larkhill (details in the link provided by Adrian)
I have seen the statement ""We're happy to answer brief enquiries, and we've started a paid service for more detailed historical research".
Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:46 am
Hi Judy, AdrianB38 (who has sent you an earlier response) and myself, Lyndale (i.e. Adrian in UK and me, Graham in Australia) are now working on your enquiry about 198 Heavy Battery RGA. It would be additionally helpful if you would kindly post the name, number and rank of your grandfather, because I can sometimes access secondary sources to trace WW1 soldiers if their service record hadn't survived (but no promises!). Adrian has sent me some recently found data on which were the higher artillery units that controlled 198 (H) Bty, which I'm now following up to see where these higher HQ's were based in France.
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:25 am
Hi Judy, as promised I'm adding to my previous post. With the help of Adrian I have found out the following about 198 (H) Bty RGA during WW1. All heavy batteries of artillery were made up of three sections, each operating two large 60 pounder heavy guns. The 198 (H) Bty RGA first arrived in France on 19.11.16 and was allocated for control directly under the British Fourth Army HQ on 24.11.16 at Querrieu, 6 miles N.E. of Amiens. You would need to access the war diary of 198 (H) Bty (if there is one) to see exactly where they were based, but it would certainly be fairly nearby Fourth Army HQ. I believe the photograph you have, which says “All that is left of 198 Heavy Battery RGA” is dated about 24.11.16, because as soon as they were put under Fourth Army HQ, the battery was broken up. One section went to 12th (H) Bty RGA and one to 26th (H) Bty RGA, whilst the third (2 guns) is not documented. Because of the wording of the sign in the photograph that includes your grandfather, it seems that he didn’t go with the other 4 guns elsewhere. Your post on the Great War Forum under ‘Tuppy’ dated 3 Aug 2010 returned some very good clues, the best I think was the theory that the 19 men in the photo were support crew of 198, i.e. cooks, service staff etc and not Gunners. The GWF respondents asked you to post the photo plus the name, number of your grandfather to elicit further clues (as I did on this forum this week) but you seem to have not followed through. If you can please post the photo and the name, number of your grandfather for me on this forum, I’ll see what else I can uncover for you. Since Ancestry uploaded the surviving WW1 soldiers records in 2012, there have been many developments since. For example they are now on FMP, which carried out their own indexing (Ancestry relied on TNA old index) which uncovered an extra 600,000+ records misfiled! Plus the Western Front Association have recently saved 6 million WW1 soldier's and sailor's WW1 pension cards (Ancestry WW1 pension records are only 750,000) and your grandfather might be in those (index on Ancestry, but images on Fold.3). I have access to all these records, so do please respond and I'll go look for him. Regards Lyndale.
Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:07 pm
My grandfather Gunner Albert Litherland 70281 is also in Judy's photograph. He was a gun layer, definitely not support crew and subsequently I know he was in 198 Siege battery, same number but different title. They had six inch naval guns. One of the officers of 198 Siege battery, H A Sloan is buried in the guards cemetery at Combles, he was Irish and a known sportsman before the war. Maybe this could be a clue to find out a bit more. Another confusing point is that my grandfather always said he had his 21st birthday at Combles but this would have been 6th November 1916 which apparently is before 198 battery went to France, could he have been in another battery earlier?I do not believe there is a battery diary for either of these batteries nor do his army records appear to exist.
As with Judy, any information you can give would be much appreciated.
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