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Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:22 am

I am researching the history of 122nd Heavy Battery RGA in WW1 and interested in hearing from anyone who is connected to possible members of this Battery - I have a list of some 400 soldiers who did serve and I am able to provide information about many of these. I might also to be help with some details about other heavy batteries - in particular those numbered 111th, 121st, 123rd, 126th and 128th.


Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:50 pm

Hello Gunner,
I have been trying to trace my grandfathers service record for WW1, he was in the R.G.A as a gunner, but do not have service number or photo of him in uniform. He was born and lived in the Portsmouth area, and was one of the unlucky one's who got mustard gassed, but survived the war. Have you got any ideas of where I could look, apart from Ancestry and T.N.A as have already, and have come up with several Ernest James West!

Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:17 pm

Hello Birdllady

I will have a look myself and also share this question with other 'experts' who are good at casualty lists, but before I do have you got any dates to narrow the search by please?


Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:03 am

Hi to both of you ....
Firstly, and I expect that "Gunner" already knows this, but I strongly recommend that you have a close look at 'The Long Long Trail' website http://www.1914-1918.net/ - this also includes a search function and links to a specialist forum.

Secondly, for "Birdylady" there are only two Medal Index Cards for someone named Ernest James West who was in the R.G.A. Unfortunately neither of them include any notes on the reverse side to help identify the soldier's home address, and neither could I find a pension or service record for either of these men. I am no expert, but wonder if these are actually two separate cards for the same man, as one has an early 4 digit number, and is recorded as being in France from 26 Nov 1915
Ernest J West, Gunr, RGA # 1358
Received the 1915 Star
but there is no indication that he received the British War Medal and Victory Medal which everyone got

The other is Ernest J West, Gunr, RGA 352566, who received the BW & V medals.

I know that men in Territorial Army regiments started off with 4 digit numbers which were changed to 6 digit in 1917, but these were infantry regiments. I don't know if there was any renumbering of men in the R.G.A., though it seems there were some T.A. units in the Artillery - see http://www.1914-1918.net/hac.htm.

Of course I may be way off track with the above, and there are, as I think you discovered, other men just "Ernest West" in the RGA.

Have you tried local archives in the Portsmouth area, and possibly newspaper reports - as a local boy your grandfather may well have been mentioned in the local newspapers. Maybe you could also provide us with some more information about his - date and place of birth, marriage - was he married during war time, were there children born to him and his wife during war time? Any of these records may carry his regimental number.
Good hunting! Sylvia

Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:11 am

Just adding a bit more - the 47th Siege Battery of the R.G.A. was first in France on 26 November 1915 - so this may be the unit that Ernest James West, # 1358 belonged to. I hope this turns out to be helpful.

Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:34 pm

Thanks Sylvia,

Yes, I found some (but not all!) of the information you refer to - hence knowing dates when he may have served will possibly help further. The four digit numbers were allocated to soldiers who had enlisted much earlier (my grandfather was a regular who joined in mid 1890s). It could be the same man except I believe they would have been added to the same Medal Index Card.
Many RGA units went to France in 1915.
The medal rolls themselves may help and I will ask about this.
Do you have a special interest in the 47th Siege?
best wishes

Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:27 am

Thanks for the feedback Alan.
No, I'm afraid that I don't have any specific interest in the 47th Siege or WWI at all - I come from a notably non-military family, though do have an errant grandfather who served in the Indian Army S & T Corps during 1917-1919. (errant for at least 2 divorces and completely lost after 1940!)

However, from my interest in India, and the fact that I am a volunteer librarian at a couple of places I needed to learn about HM Army records and have given talks to groups at Society of Australian Genealogists on finding and using military records. The real experts are people like Chris Baker who set up "The Long Long Trail". Sylvia

Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:19 am

Thank you Sylvia for your reply on 9th April 2011.
I previously had downloaded from the medal index the numbers that you suggested and found the same lack of information on the cards. It looks like you are right about looking in the Portsmouth archives, maybe getting in touch with the local family history group down there, perhaps they will point me in the right direction.
Ernest James west was born on 10th march 1891, and was married 15th September 1915 as a serving soldier. and died in 1970. His eldest son, my father was born in November 1918 and I think he was still in the army then.
I have a sneaking suspicion that his was one of the burnt records, so I may never find out any more.
Thanks for your in put

Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:21 am

Thank you also Gunner!
from birdylady

Re: Royal Garrison Artillery World War One

Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:08 am

Thank you Sylvia and you are welcome Christina, sorry I can't be more helpful at this stage.

There may be information on the medal rolls - I will remind myself on where these may be (there was talk I think of them being moved but they were available at NA in Kew).

I suspect, given his age, that he was the West with the long service number - it may be that one of the experts who knows a bit about casualty lists might be able to help also.

more anon
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