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philipthespur

Arthur Frederick Evans - 83217 - Royal Field Artillery - Woolwich

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Like many others I suspect I have hit a brick wall in attempting to find my Grand fathers battalion. I have his Medal cards that only give his number and regiment, 83217, RFA. He was a driver and went to France on 27/12/15 and thankfully somehow survived the war. He was based like many other RFA units at Woolwich in South East London. His original signing on documentation was destroyed by herr hitler in 1940. If anyone can suggest any other avenues that I can take then it would be warmly welcomed!

Many thanks in advance,

Philip

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there is a good chance that the date of entry to France can be linked to a specific Division or Brigade as it was relatively rare [but possible] for such men to go to France in drafts to a unit already there at that date.. in 1915 most were arriving with anew division and its artillery brigades..

16th Division was one unit which went to France in Dec 1915.. but I am unclear on which artillery went with them, if any at that date.. or 31st or 32nd Divs?? I cant spot a match as yet but one of these may be right

http://www.1914-1918.net/britdivs.htm

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Many thanks for your post, much appreciated - I am following this route and have purchased Gen Ferndale's history of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, Western Front. Also I see the possibility that he was drafted to a unit already in France, so frustrating! I will post if I get any further and thanks again for taking an interest!

Regards,

Philip

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Looks like I am inching forward... The 16th Division was Irish - 31st and 32nd were English I think - Is it possible to trace whether they were based at Woolwich in 1915? I will try to find out.....

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Tracked following RFA brigades to 16th, 31st and 32nd divisions as as the Irish 16th Division RFA brigades 177 and 180 and 31st RFA brigades 165 and 170 and 32nd (161/168). Medal card states "France Dec 27th 1915" but I suppose he could have joined his unit separately?

A kind contributor gave me the following info so another lead as grandad lived in this area but he was definitely at Woolwich, at least for a time - but possibly narrowing down to half a dozen brigades?...

My grandfather was a RFA Driver, Edward Phillips L/22346. He went to France in December 1915 with A/battery 166th Brigade. This was one of the Camberwell Artillery Brigades formed in the spring of 1915. Also formed at this time was the 156th,162nd and 167th Brigades RFA amd the 126th Brigade RGA and the 33rd Divisional Ammunition Column. These were all part 33rd Divisional Artillery. It is possible that your grandfather was in one of these units. My grandfather's war record survived the blitz and shows he joined up on April 19th 1915 at East Dulwich. After initial training his brigade moved to Bulford Camp in Wiltshire for further training in August'15 before departing from Southampton on Dec.12, arriving in Le Havre the next day.

My guess is that if your grandfather was based at Woolwich in 1915 and went to France in Dec.1915 it is quite possible he was in one of the above mentioned units.

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I think the artillery units with 16th Div were not recruited in Ireland so that is not an issue - the original 16th Div artillery units actually landed up with the Guards Division I seem to remember. The probabilities [in terms of numbers arriving in France by these 2 routes] are that at the date he went with one of the new units rather than as a replacement - it is quite possible, but statistically less likely.. for what its worth.. But the locally recruited London Brigades, I think all had numbers with L/ prefix.. most in range L/ low 1000s

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Many thanks Battiscombe! "L" prefix would be part of regiment number? Sorry??

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Hi All,

I assume my grandads service number as per the medal card was his service number recorded at the end of the war? Is there a chance he was originally issued with another number earlier when he volunteered? Also can I research his service number 83217 as to when this batch was registered? I have tried to search on-line but to no avail.

Many thanks,

Philip

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Philip,

If you know your granddad's home address in 1918 would it be worth your trying to locate him on the Absent Voters List for that constituency? They were compiled about June 1918 and often give the exact unit he was serving with then. Not all of these useful lists survive, alas, but they can be found in County Records Offices, Reference Libraries and so on. Further such lists were compiled for 1919 and 1920. He would have had to be age 19 or over on 1 April 1918 to qualify.

Clive

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Thanks for this Clive - I do have his address for 1919 when he married my Nan and an address via 1911 census so fingers crossed. I will post up date when I have accessed the AVL book.

Philip

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Popped down to the Borough Library and perused the absent voters list. No real luck as could not match known addresses but most RFA entries just listed regiment and "Driver". Amazing how many men in each street went to war - felt very humble and grateful.

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