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Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

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Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby Leofwine » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:27 pm

I am trying to narrow down the identification of a soldier I have a photograph of. I know he is Royal Artillery, the date and his first name, but no more. I was wondering if there was anything in the detail of the uniform that might point to a rank or branch of the RA? I know this is a long shot, but hopefully someone here might be able to help.

On the back of the photo is a hand written inscription: "Norman and Gussie January 1918" The photo comes from a family collection I acquired (not my own family, so I have no-one to ask for recollections). Hopefully if I can identify his branch and or rank it will help me narrow down the possibilities. The family name was Barr (in Kent - mainly Deal/Eastry area, tho some links to Medway area), but I could find no Norman Barr in the records, so I think the family link is from the lady in the picture (still unidentified, but I'm working on it).

Here is the picture:
Image

(Larger versions here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22124479@N ... 283300565/)

I know Gussie can be a short form of Augusta or Gertrude, but I have not found either of these names, or a Norman in the Barr family tree so far.
Leofwine
 
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Re: Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby Marion Browne » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:32 pm

Hi Leofwine,
Not sure I can be much help but my Grandfather was also Royal Artillery, the only picture I have of him is in India uniform so not much help but I do know that after returning from India he was stationed at their Folkestone Barracks so that may be your Kent connection.

The RA's main base was in Woolwich & all recruits came through there at one stage or another. Woolwich is now home to Firepower the RA museum which is well worth a visit & someone there should be able to help you with the uniform.

Good luck, Marion
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Re: Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby Marion Browne » Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:06 pm

Hi,

Just realised I called the barracks Folkestone, they were actually Shornecliffe Barracks at Folkstone.

Regards, Marion
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Re: Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby brickmaker » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:14 pm

Hi
I can't help specifically, but will tender the same advice I have given others re military matters. Try the ww2talk.com/forum - I have had a lot of help from very knowledgable people.

Stewart
brickmaker
 
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Re: Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby Leofwine » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:16 am

After much research and a lucky find tucked behind another document in a box of family photos I have managed to identify these two. They are not a couple of sweethearts as I had at first assumed, but brother and sister, the children of Alfred and Laura Busby. They are the cousins of Mabel Busby, the nurse who married Alexander Barr (both pictured elsewhere in the flickr set linked above).

Although the hand written inscription on the back says "Norman and Gussie January 1918", from Norman's service record it appears the only time he spent in England after his posting to France was 9th to 23rd December 1917, so this photo was presumably taken then.

Augusta was born in about Mar 1890 in Oxfordshire, and in June 1909 she married Alexander Thomas Foster. They had at least 1 child, Ruby, born in 1910.

Norman was one of the many who died in World War 1. At the time he joined up Norman and their mother Laura were living with Augusta and her husband and child at 90 Walton St., Oxford. Norman's war record shows that their father, Albert, went to South Africa 1902 and had not been heard from since. In the 1911 census Laura is shown as a widow.

Gunner Norman George BUSBY
156th Howitzer Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery
Born 1895 at Coombe, Oxford.
Age:23
Died: 8th October 1918
Service No: 297313
Son of Alfred and Laura Busby, of 90 Walton St., Oxford.
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. G. 25.
Cemetery: ZANTVOORDE BRITISH CEMETERY

British Army Service Records WWI
Attestation: Norman George Busby, Royal Garrison Artillery, service no 9056. (Changed to 297313 on 4/4/17)
Address: 90 Walton St., Oxford.
Age: 20 years 6 months.
Trade or calling: Farmer.
Married: No.
Ever served in forces previously: No.
Date 2 November 1915.

Medical history taken at Oxford 2 November 1915:
Height 5ft 11¾in; chest fully expanded 37 in; range of expansion 2½ in: 143 lb: Physical development good: No vaccination marks
Next of kin Laura Busby (Mother) of 90 Walton St., Oxford.

Particulars as to marriage: None
Children: None

Royal Garrison Artillery, attested Gunner 2 November 1915; 156th (Oxfordshire) Heavy Bty. R.G.A. 2 November 1915; posted overseas 19 June 1916 156th (Oxfordshire) Heavy Bty. R.G.A. Killed in Action 8 October 1918. Buried in isolated grave, Right of road between Wervicq and ten Brielen 2½ miles North West of Wervicg and 4¼ miles E.S.E. of Ypres.
Body exhumed and re-buried at Zantvoorde Military Cemetery 4½ miles South East of Ypres 1-9-25
Total service towards engagement to 8 October 1918 (date of discharge) - 2 years 341 days.
Medals British War and Victory Medals.
Leofwine
 
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Re: Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby Marion Browne » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:33 pm

Hi,

That's brilliant, I'm glad you worked out who they were & you found so much information.

Well done & hppy hunting.

Marion
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Re: Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby Leofwine » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:28 pm

I'm glad I found out who he was. Whenever I see a picture of a WW1 soldier, I always wonder who they were and am reminded of some lines from one of my favourite songs:

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you always 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?


When the numbers of people killed are so high as they were in WW1 it is all too easy to forget that every one of those numbers had a mother & father, maybe brothers & sisters, wife and children.

At least now he is one less "stranger without even a name". It's just sad that he, like so many thousands of others, never lived to see the end of the war.

As an Old Germanic poet once put it: Cattle die, kinsmen die, all men are mortal. Words of praise will never perish, nor a noble name.
Leofwine
 
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Re: Royal Artillery Shot in the Dark....

Postby Marion Browne » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:38 pm

Hi,

I love the poem, very moving.

I guess I was quite lucky, my Grandfather served in India from 1914 rather than Europe or I would probably not have been here today. It's just a shame he died when my Dad was only 14 & before I was born, so I never got to meet him & my Dad's memories are sketchy, but my research has made him come alive & the one picture of him in full India uniform that has hung on my parents wall for as long as I can remember, has so much more meaning.

It's truely tragic how many of them were lost, a whole generation gone, but thankfully not forgotten.

Regards, Marion
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