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#1 rickalan

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 07:12 PM

hello seniors of the great war forum my great grandfather as i understand fought in salonika i have majority of his records and have tried to put together a diary of my own but proving difficult. its all quite confusing to me working out his whereabouts in salonika (before and after also) please can you help me make some good use of this documentation i have.

kind regards rickalan some details about him:-

william thomas avis
born 1888
prior to enlistment served with shropshire light infantry with less than 12 years service
joined army 9th november 1914 posted to royal field artillery as gunner
embarked for marseille on 23rd november
disembarked for salonika 11 december 1915 nominal roll

i would like to know which regiment battery battalion corps he served as these millitry terms escape my intelegence


thanks again

Attached Files



#2 David Porter

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 08:14 PM

rickalan,

I assume you have seen his Service Record on Ancestry.
If you look at his Statement of the Services page it gives the following units:
14 Bty from 11.11.14 (14th Battery - training)
308 from 23.11.14 (presumably 308 Battery?)
B/99 Bde from 24.01.15 ("B" battery of 99th Brigade RFA)
22/D.A.C. from 02.03.15 (22nd Divisional Ammunition Column)
S.A.A.C. 100 Bde from 17.07.16 ([87th] Small Arms Ammunition Column attached to 100 Brigade RFA)
Embarked Itea 18.11.18 (Itea is in Greece)
4 Depot 01.12.18 (after arriving home he was posted to Woolwich Depot)

Essentially he was with 22nd Division in Salonika - see http://www.1914-1918.net/22div.htm
The Royal Field Artillery Brigades in that Division were 98, 99, 100 and 101, sometimes depicted by Roman Numerals.
There was also the Divisional Ammunition Column which, as the name suggests, supplied the ammunition to these brigades.

#3 River97

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 01:49 AM

Rickalan,

His unit has been identified, now you wanto know where he was and what he and the unit, or units did.

There are a couple of ways to do this, as I've done it before. There is no divisional history for the 22nd Division that I can see. (may be mistaken) You can have a look for the unit war diary, this may be on the list of unit war diaries contained within this forum, or it may be held at the National Archives at Kew.

To enhance this, you could have a look at the unit war diaries for the other units assigned to the division. There are also numerous unit histories at the Naval and Military Press. Some of these will be for, say, Infantry Battalions of the Division. There is also the option of expanding and going for unit histories outside of the 22nd division.

What I mean by this is the 60th London Division also served in Salonika, and for a period fought alongside the 22nd Division. There is a Divisional and a few Battalion histories that would find copious amounts of information. Another British Division you could look at is the 26th Division, as they were there as well.

Hope this helps, Cheers Andy.

#4 Rockdoc

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:14 AM

To get a broader idea of what the Salonika Campaign is all about and what the various Division did there you need to get hold of Under the Devil's Eye by Alan Wakefield and Simon Moody, which has just been republished in a revised edition. 22nd Division was part of XII Corps and was stationed on the Doiran Front. The Salonika Campaign Society has published a disk of trench maps that has good coverage of that part of the British area so, once you get some impression you can get an idea of the terrain. Basically, it's like the Peak District on steroids!

Keith

#5 rickalan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 09:46 AM


yes i have been trying for a few days to make head and tail of the abbreviations on his casualty form active service sheet which led to researching the wrong battalions/brigade. so if i want to know his whereabouts during the salonika campaign i would need to research the 22nd division? will there be a war diary linked to this division as it looks like he moved around often as did everyone else during this period im still finding it difficult to understand exactly what he did following all these changes as i think i would enter into the wrong train of thought and end up thinking he was somewhere when he was not this is new exciting and very complicated for me to follow. i guess i would just like to get the nail on the head with all info and im not confident enough to make accurate sense of all this thanks again


kind regards


here are the documents

https://picasaweb.go...gCNvy087YwN-kaw

https://picasaweb.go...feat=directlink

Edited by rickalan, 21 August 2011 - 10:36 AM.


#6 David Porter

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:50 AM

Rick,

For most artillery War Diaries you need to go to the National Archives at Kew, or employ someone to do it for you.
References you need for ordering the documents (which come in folders within big boxes) are:

WO 95/2166 - covers the whole 22nd Division move to France for Sept - Oct 1915, i.e. lots of small folders
WO 95/4843 to 4858 - covers move to Salonika etc., though the first 4 boxes will cover the entire artillery and ammunition as follows.

WO 95/4843 Commander Royal Artillery 1915 Nov. - 1919 Mar.
WO 95/4844 Assistant Director Ordnance Services 1916 Sept. - 1919 Feb. (should mention the S.A.A.C units)
WO 95/4845 98 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1915 Nov. - 1919 Apr.
WO 95/4845 99 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1915 Nov. - 1919 Apr.
WO 95/4845 100 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1915 Nov. - 1919 Apr.
WO 95/4846 101 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1915 Nov. - 1919 Apr.
WO 95/4846 Divisional Ammunition Column 1915 Nov. - 1916 Dec.

There will be a lot to wade through there so it is best to take a camera and only read it when you get home!

#7 rickalan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:59 AM

David thank you for helping with this matter i feel quit overwhelmed with this subject as when i started it i did not realise it would be quite as difficult to research as i am such a novice however i will not be able to go to kew as i live in west yorkshire hopefully one day i can fulfil my desire to access these files but for now i will have to sit on it.

kind regards Rickalan

#8 rickalan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:32 AM

David,

thank you for your help, i take it the 22nd division contained these brigades 98,99,100,101 and my grandfather was in them at some point i cant work out what he was doing in these brigades what role he had and jobs he may have done im sorry but its still quite difficult for me to get a clear view of what he did


kind regards Rickalan

rickalan,

I assume you have seen his Service Record on Ancestry.
If you look at his Statement of the Services page it gives the following units:
14 Bty from 11.11.14 (14th Battery - training)
308 from 23.11.14 (presumably 308 Battery?)
B/99 Bde from 24.01.15 ("B" battery of 99th Brigade RFA)
22/D.A.C. from 02.03.15 (22nd Divisional Ammunition Column)
S.A.A.C. 100 Bde from 17.07.16 ([87th] Small Arms Ammunition Column attached to 100 Brigade RFA)
Embarked Itea 18.11.18 (Itea is in Greece)
4 Depot 01.12.18 (after arriving home he was posted to Woolwich Depot)

Essentially he was with 22nd Division in Salonika - see http://www.1914-1918.net/22div.htm
The Royal Field Artillery Brigades in that Division were 98, 99, 100 and 101, sometimes depicted by Roman Numerals.
There was also the Divisional Ammunition Column which, as the name suggests, supplied the ammunition to these brigades.



#9 rickalan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 01:47 PM

the were many battles at salonika would my great grandfather have fought in these battles if so which ones? and can i find out i have all his paperwork but cant put together what he took part in ...?

To get a broader idea of what the Salonika Campaign is all about and what the various Division did there you need to get hold of Under the Devil's Eye by Alan Wakefield and Simon Moody, which has just been republished in a revised edition. 22nd Division was part of XII Corps and was stationed on the Doiran Front. The Salonika Campaign Society has published a disk of trench maps that has good coverage of that part of the British area so, once you get some impression you can get an idea of the terrain. Basically, it's like the Peak District on steroids!

Keith



#10 rickalan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 03:50 PM

hi david would this have meant he was in all or some of these battles

1915
8-13 December: the Retreat from Serbia (Advanced Divisional HQ, 6th Brigade, 9th border and 68th Field Ambulance only)

1916
10-18 August 1916: the Battle of Horseshoe Hill
13-14 September 1916: the Battle of Machukovo

1917
24-25 April and 8-9 May 1917: the Battles of Doiran


thanks again for your time




regards Rickalan



#11 Kate Wills

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:28 PM

Your great grandfather arrived in Salonika on 11th December, so he didn't take part in the actions in the Serbian mountains, which is a long way from Salonika, in what became Yugoslavia.

Horseshoe Hill is in the Doiran sector, near Lake Doiran. The battlefield was dominated by the Bulgarian strongpoint, the Grand Couronne. Much of this sector lies in the modern-day FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Machukovo is a little further south, in modern Greece.

If you ever fancy exploring the area, GWF member Alan Wakefield leads parties of fellow members of the Salonika Campaign Society.

#12 Rockdoc

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 09:25 PM

Rick, artillery was always in short supply in Salonika so it's very likely that he took part in any battle that involved the 22nd Division. However, as I found with the AA units, you can't get a feel for what's going on by looking only at the documents belonging to a single artillery Brigade. You need to throw your net a bit wider in Salonika than on the Western Front simply because nothing like so much has been written about it. In France or Flanders you can take a unit's diary and read a book on Ypres, Loos, etc and it won't be hard to work out what they were doing. That's not possible for Salonika. There's the British Official History, in two volumes. plus Under the Devil's Eye and The Gardeners of Salonika and that's pretty much it. Coming cold to this, as you seem to be, I would strongly recommend that you read the last two books - the OH is quite tough going - and get yourself broadly familiar with events. Once you've done that you can start to focus in a bit more.

I'd also support Kate's recommendation of a trip over there at some point. The terrain is quite spectacular and until you've seen it first hand it's very hard to get the picture in your mind's eye, even with the help of the trench maps. Being a gunner on the Doiran Front was no sinecure, that's for certain.

Keith

#13 rickalan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:06 PM

thank you so much for all your help i can now move forward and make my future plans including maybe a trip away

thanks again much appreciated

Your great grandfather arrived in Salonika on 11th December, so he didn't take part in the actions in the Serbian mountains, which is a long way from Salonika, in what became Yugoslavia.

Horseshoe Hill is in the Doiran sector, near Lake Doiran. The battlefield was dominated by the Bulgarian strongpoint, the Grand Couronne. Much of this sector lies in the modern-day FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Machukovo is a little further south, in modern Greece.

If you ever fancy exploring the area, GWF member Alan Wakefield leads parties of fellow members of the Salonika Campaign Society.



#14 rickalan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:11 PM

thank you rockdoc everyone has been so helpful and cant imagine how else i could have done it without all the help i may be taking a trip in the future with my family and in the mean time get some reading done

thanks again

regards rickalan

Rick, artillery was always in short supply in Salonika so it's very likely that he took part in any battle that involved the 22nd Division. However, as I found with the AA units, you can't get a feel for what's going on by looking only at the documents belonging to a single artillery Brigade. You need to throw your net a bit wider in Salonika than on the Western Front simply because nothing like so much has been written about it. In France or Flanders you can take a unit's diary and read a book on Ypres, Loos, etc and it won't be hard to work out what they were doing. That's not possible for Salonika. There's the British Official History, in two volumes. plus Under the Devil's Eye and The Gardeners of Salonika and that's pretty much it. Coming cold to this, as you seem to be, I would strongly recommend that you read the last two books - the OH is quite tough going - and get yourself broadly familiar with events. Once you've done that you can start to focus in a bit more.

I'd also support Kate's recommendation of a trip over there at some point. The terrain is quite spectacular and until you've seen it first hand it's very hard to get the picture in your mind's eye, even with the help of the trench maps. Being a gunner on the Doiran Front was no sinecure, that's for certain.

Keith



#15 Kate Wills

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 12:14 AM

You could look out for a copy of Charles Packer's Return to Salonika published by Cassell, 1964. Packer served with 26th Div Ammunition Column, in the same places, though perhaps at slightly different times to 22nd Division.

You could ask your local library to arrange an inter library loan, which should be around £5.

#16 rickalan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 05:54 AM

hi kate thank you for the book recommendation i will check out at my local library i also overlooked on his MIC it states the theatre of was being France have i missed what he could have been doing there also during that time would i be able to find out even though he was in marseilles for a short time

thanks regards Rickalan

#17 Rockdoc

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 07:20 AM

Rick,

22nd Division was originally sent to France but was almost immediately diverted to Salonika. The soldiers travelled across France to Marseilles by train - usually in cattle trucks - for about 60 hours. The mounted units also had to look after their horses, of course, which was anything but pleasant as the men detailed for the work had to travel in the same truck as 8 horses. The men went to Rest Camps around Marseilles until they could be shipped to Salonika, yet again in extremely cramped conditions for both man and horse. Although named rest camps, undoubtedly there would have been plenty of work found for the men as the Army firmly believed that idle hands do the Devil's work but passes into the city would have been available to those who earned them.

When they arrived at Salonika they would have been used as construction workers for months as the fortified defensive-line around Salonika and across to Skala Stavros was built. They would not have moved north, into the fighting zone, until April or May 1916, having worked very hard throughout the bitter winter.

Keith

#18 Kate Wills

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 02:58 PM

Rick,

David has provided a link to the potted history of 22nd Division's war record on The Long, Long Trail. It history begins thus:

The history of 22nd Division

This Division was established in September 1914 as part of Army Order 388 authorising Kitchener's Third New Army, K3. The units began to assemble in the area of Eastbourne and Seaford, with the artillery at Lewes, from September 1914. The Division remained in these areas, other than when the infantry moved for two weeks entrenchment training to Maidstone in April 1915, as it was trained and equipped.

The Division crossed to France in early September 1915, all units being concentrated near Flesselles by 9th of the month. But the stay in France was to be very short.

On 27 October 1915, the Division, having been moved by train to Marseilles, began to embark for Salonika. It completed concentration there in November, although the final artillery units were still coming in as late as 13 December 1915



You would need to consult your gt grandfather's unit war diary for details; but gooing from my grandfather's experience, the journey to Greece began on the platforms of Longeau station, near Amiens. A very slow train journey down to Marseilles, where they encamped for a time, and then a long zigzag journey through the Mediterranean to avoid enemy submarines. Those submarines made life in Salonika doubly miserable, as so much post from home ended up on the seabed.

#19 rickalan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 06:46 PM

thanks for all the help so far, i have told my mother the information everyone has helped with and it got her juices going about william avis's brother and said she recalls him being in the army and also in salonika i have no details other than name and birth if anyone could help his name was Arthur Avis born 1886 lambeth,london sister called Rhoda Avis born 1889 i know its a long shot but im hoping


thanks again


kind regards Rickalan


#20 Linda Rockett

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 11:57 AM

David thank you for helping with this matter i feel quit overwhelmed with this subject as when i started it i did not realise it would be quite as difficult to research as i am such a novice however i will not be able to go to kew as i live in west yorkshire hopefully one day i can fulfil my desire to access these files but for now i will have to sit on it.

kind regards Rickalan



#21 Linda Rockett

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 12:02 PM

Hi, I live in South Yorks and mangaed a day in the National Archives photographing my Grandpa's and husband's Grandfather's regiments' War Diaries.
It was a long day, but possible. I went on Mega Bus 12 each way to London. Sometimes tickets even cheaper. Book ahead and good deals also on the train.
Look which tables have camera stands and book one of those when you order the documents.
Linda

#22 bushfighter

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 01:30 PM

Rick

You can freely download a couple of books on Salonika at:

http://www.archive.o...infra00davigoog

http://www.archive.o...front00mannrich

They may not be specific to your interests but a browse through them might be useful.

Harry



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