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The 10 Provisional Brigades


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#1 David Porter

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:23 PM

For the last few days I have pulled together all the information I could find about the 10 Provisional Brigades. What follows is collated from The Long Long Trail, Forum posts, surviving War Diaries, Service & Pension Records, Silver War Badge Records and a bit of Googling.

Initially there were Coast Defence Battalions formed locally in May 1915 from Home Service personnel of the Territorial Force not available for overseas service or of low medical categories. These in turn became numbered Provisional Battalions in June 1915. They number up to at least 108 but they may not have all existed at the same time. They were also grouped into Provisional Brigades along with newly formed companies of Royal Engineers, ASC, and Cyclists, a RFA Battery with Ammunition Column, a Yeomanry Squadron and a Field Ambulance. As there was no distinct regional bias to the formations they were later called Mixed Brigades. The name changes happened on January 1, 1917 under Army Council Instruction 2364 of 1916.

* denotes the Battalion was disbanded or merged with another before 1917

1st Provisional Brigade (based at Sandwich) became 221 Mixed Brigade
1st Provisional Battalion (connected to Cameron Highlanders) at Torry Point, Aberdeen*
2nd Provisional Battalion (connected to Gordon Highlanders) at Aberfeldy in Sept 1915, Greenock in April 1916 and Sandwich in October 1916*
3rd Provisional Battalion became 16th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
4th Provisional Battalion (connected to Black Watch, Royal Highlanders) merged into 11 Provisional Battalion by Sept 1916 at Sandwich*
5th Provisional Battalion (connected to Black Watch, Royal Highlanders) at Dudhope Castle, Dundee in July 1915*
6th Provisional Battallion (connected to 4th, 5th & 6th Royal Scots) at Methil and Leven in April 1916*
7th Provisional Battalion (connected to 7th, 8th & 9th Royal Scots) at Kinghorn in August 1915 to April 1916, merged into 5th Provisional Battalion*
8th Provisional Battalion (connected to Highland Light Infantry) at Lanark in June 1915*
9th Provisional Battalion became 21st Highland Light Infantry in Deal, Kent then Sandwich and Ramsgate and then back to Deal.
10th Provisional Battalion became 15th Cameronians, Scottish Rifles, at Bruntsfield School, Edinburgh in February 1916 then Deal
11th Provisional Battalion became 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers at Deal (attached to 178th Brigade, 59th Division in France in May 1918)
12th Provisional Battalion (4th & 5th King's Own Scottish Borderers), South Queensferry, merged into 10th Provisional Battalion April 1916
13th (Home Service) Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers formed at Deal when 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers went overseas
1st Provisional Bty at Edinburgh in March 1916, became 1203rd Lowland Bty RFA
1st Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 640th Lowland Field Coy. Royal Engineers
1st Provisional Cyclist Company formed in June 1915 from home service sections of Highland Cyclist Battalion
221st Infantry Brigade Train, became 833 ASC HT Company in January 1917
1st Provisional Field Ambulance (formed from Lowland & Highland FA) became 329 Field Ambulance

2nd Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 May - 1916 Dec.) became 222 Mixed Brigade (at Margate from April 1917)
21st Provisional Battalion (formed by the home service sections of 4th & 7th Bn's) became 35th Northumberland Fusiliers
22nd Provisional Battalion (formed by the home service sections of 5th & 6th Bn's.) became 36th Northumberland Fusiliers
(initially these two were "1st & 2nd North Coast Defence Battalions")
(36th Northumberland Fusiliers were attached to 178th Brigade, 59th Division in France in May 1918) 37th & 38th NF also formed at Margate
24th Provisional Battalion (formed by 4th, 5th & 6th Bn's Yorkshire Regt.) became 18th Yorkshire Regiment (Clacton-on-Sea in April 1916)
25th Provisional Battalion (formed by 4th E. Yorks, 5th DLI) became 27th Durham Light Infantry (based at St Osyth, to Thanet in April 1917)
26th Provisional Battalion (formed by 5th, 6th & 7th Bn's West Yorkshire Regt) at North Somercoates, in Dec, 1915*
27th Provisional Battalion (formed by West Riding Regt. with Yorks & Lancs Regt.) at Withernsea in April 1915 and Theddlethorpe in January 1916*
1st Northern Coast Battery at Blyth then 2nd Provisional Bty at Little Clacton in May 1916, became 1204th Northumberland Bty RFA
2nd Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 641st Northumberland Field Coy. Royal Engineers at Clacton-on-Sea
222nd Infantry Brigade Train, became 834 ASC HT Company in January 1917
2nd Provisional Field Ambulance (formed from 4th London FA) became 330 London Field Ambulance

3rd Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 Oct. - 1916 Mar.) became 223 Mixed Brigade (at Sheringham attached to 64th Division)
43rd Provisional Battalion became 25th The King's (Liverpool Regiment) at Letheringsett, to 176th Brigade, 59th Division in June 1918
62nd Provisional Battalion (formed by 4th Bn Northants & Cambridge Regts.) became 9th Northamptonshire Regiment (based at Cley next the Sea)
64th Provisional Battalion became 14th Suffolk Regiment, was under command of 223rd Mixed Brigade (at Weybourne)
66th Provisional Battalion became 16th Essex Regiment (at Mundesley and Dunwich in 1916 then with 213 Bde in 71st Home Service Division)
67th Provisional Battalion became 17th Essex Regiment (at Sheringham and Weybourne)
3rd Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 642nd London Field Coy. Royal Engineers at Brightlingsea in August 1917
3rd Provisional Yeomanry Squadron (Fife & Forfar Yeomanry & Lovat Scouts) at Overstrand in April 1916
3rd Provisional Cyclist Company
3rd Provisional Battery and Ammunition Column at Cromer in April 1916, became 1205th West Lancs Bty RFA
3rd Provisional Brigade Train Army Service Corps, became 835 Company Army Service Corps
3rd Provisional Field Ambulance (2nd Welsh Field Ambulance) became 331 Field Ambulance at Sheringham in 1917

4th Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 Oct. - 1916 Mar.) became 224 Mixed Brigade (at North Walsham attached to 64th Division)
46th Provisional Battalion became 23rd Cheshire Regiment, at Norwich in 1916, attached to 178th Brigade, 59th Division in France in May 1918
47th Provisional Battalion became 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, at Norwich in 1916, to Bacton in June 1917 and to Hemsby, Norfolk in Sept. 1917
48th Provisional Battalion became 4th Monmouthshire Regiment, at Norwich & Cromer in 1916, to Mundesley in 1917 and finally to Happisburgh
49th Provisional Battalion became 14th South Lancashire Regiment, based at Martham, Hemsby & Ormesby, but moved to Palling in late 1917
50th Provisional Battalion (connected to S. Wales Borderers and Kings Shropshire L I) merged with 46th Prov. Bn., at Sketty, Swansea in 1916*
51st Provisional Battalion (connected to the Welsh Regiment) at Dale and Fort Popton, nr Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire in 1916*
52nd Provisional Battalion (connected to the Border Regiment)
4th Provisional Yeomanry Squadron
4th Provisional Battery Royal Field Artillery at Catfield, Norfolk in July 1916, became 1206th East Anglia Bty RFA
4th Provisional Brigade Ammunition Column (ex 296th Bde RFA) at Wrexham in July 1916
4th Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 643rd East Anglia Field Coy. (with 224th Mixed Brigade, Signal Section, RE)
4th Provisional Field Ambulance, 310th FA, 332nd FA at Smallborough in May 1917
4th Provisional Brigade Train Army Service Corps, (from 58th London Div. Train ASC) became 836 Company Army Service Corps
4th Provisional Cyclist Company, formed from home service sections of 9th Hampshire Cyclist Battalion, disbanded at Norwich in April 1916

5th Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 Oct. - 1916 Mar. ) became 225 Mixed Brigade (at St. Olaves attached to 68th Division)
Headquarters (appears to have been at Tunbridge Wells in 1916 before moving to the East Coast)
63rd Provisional Battalion (connected to 8th Bn. Middlesex) became 32nd Middlesex Regiment at Gorleston-on-Sea
65th Provisional Battalion became 15th Essex Regiment, attached to 177th Brigade, 59th Division in France in May 1918
68th Provisional Battalion became 18th Bedfordshire Regiment, based at Pakefield near Lowestoft from January 1917
69th Provisional Battalion became 19th The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) at Lowestoft
72nd Provisional Battalion (formed by 5th Bn Royal Sussex Regiment) poss. became 17th Royal Sussex Regiment, att. 176th Bde in 59th Division
5th Provisional Yeomanry Squadron (from Combined South Midland and Shropshire Yeomanries) at Oulton Broad in 1916
5th Provisional Cyclist Company, formed by 3/6th Bn Norfolk Regt at Norwich in May 1915 disbanded in March 1916
5th Provisional Battery Royal Field Artillery became 1207th Home Counties Bty RFA
5th Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 644th Home Counties Field Coy., at Lowestoft in July 1916
5th Provisional Field Ambulance (originally 2/3rd East Anglian & 3/2nd Wessex FA) became 333rd East Anglian FA at Gorleston-on-Sea
5th Provisional Brigade Ammunition Column at Gt. Yarmouth in April 1916
5th Provisional Brigade Train Army Service Corps, 837 Company Army Service Corps

6th Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1916 Jan. - Mar. ) became part of 212 Brigade in 71st Home Service Division
Headquarters (Moved in March 1917 to Colchester)
61st Provisional Battalion became 11th Norfolk Regiment at Bawdsey in April 1916, Benacre in Oct. 1916 and Thetford in 1917
100th Provisional Battalion became 29th London Regiment (to 226 Mixed Brigade at Walton-on-the-Naze 5 February 1918)
101st Provisional Battalion became 30th London Regiment (to 226 Mixed Brigade at Walton-on-the-Naze 5 February 1918)
102nd Provisional Battalion based at Wimbledon in January 1916 and merged with 100th Provisional Battalion at Guildford in Jan 1917*
103rd Provisional Battalion possibly merged with 101st Provisional Battalion* (assumed to have existed in this number sequence)
104th Provisional Battalion (connected to Honourable Artillery Company) at Tower of London in March 1916* (to 13th London Regiment for Ireland?)
105th Provisional Battalion (connected to London Regiment) at Wimbledon Common in March 1916*
6th Provisional Yeomanry Squadron
6th Provisional Cyclist Company
6th Provisional Battery at Leiston in March 1916, became 1208th Sussex Bty RFA
6th Provisional Brigade Ammunition Column became BAC to 71st DAC RFA disbanded Feb 1918
6th Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 645th West Lancs. Field Coy. transferred to 67th Division in Oct 1917
6th Provisional Signals Section became 71st Divisional Signals Company in 214th Special Brigade for operations at Murmansk in Oct. 1917
6th Provisional Field Ambulance, formed 301st - 303rd FA in December 1916, 302nd to operations at Murmansk, others disbanded February 1918
6th Provisional Brigade Train Army Service Corps, (previously Welsh Divisional Train ASC), 821 Company ASC at Saxmundham in January 1916
(also formed in December 1916 were 822 - 824 Company Army Service Corps, 71st Divisional Train ASC, disbanded by February 1918)

7th Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 Nov. - 1916 Feb.) became 226 Mixed Brigade (at Clacton attached to 67th Division)
29th Provisional Battalion (connected to 5th, 6th & 8th Bn Notts & Derby Sherwood Forresters) became 21st Sherwood Foresters
82nd Provisional Battalion (6th Gloucs Regt.) became 17th Gloucestershire Regiment, Clacton-on-Sea in March 1917 and St Osyth in 1918
106th Provisional Battalion was formed in June 1915 and was amalgamated with and absorbed by the 108th Provisional Battalion*
107th Provisional Battalion became 31st London Regiment (moved in May 1917 to St Osyth and was disbanded in September 1917)
108th Provisional Battalion became 32nd London Regiment (moved in May 1917 to Walton-on-the-Naze, before being disbanded in April 1918)
7th Provisional Yeomanry Squadron
7th Provisional Cyclist Company
7th Provisional Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Frinton-on-Sea in 1916, became 1209th South Midland Bty RFA
7th Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 646th London Field Coy. at Clacton-on-Sea
7th Provisional Field Ambulance (2nd & 3rd N. Midland, 5th & 6th London FA), became 334th London FA at Thorpe-le-Soken and Clacton
7th Provisional Field Brigade Train Army Service Corps, became 838 Company Army Service Corps

8th Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 Sept. - 1916 Jan.) became 72nd Home Service Division
28th Provisional Battalion (formed from 5th Leicestershire, Lincolnshire & Staffordshire Regts.) at Maldon & Southminster in August 1916 -
- became 13th Lincolnshire Regiment part of 215th Brigade, 72nd Division in Bedford and Ipswich
8th Provisional Yeomanry Squadron
8th Provisional Cyclist Company
8th Provisional Battery Royal Field Artillery at Southminster in August 1916, became 1210th North Midland Bty RFA
8th Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 647th South Midland Field Coy. at Southminster, Essex, disbanded by April 1918
8th Provisional Field Ambulance, formed 304th - 306th South Midland FAs. in 72nd Division at Burnham in December 1916, disbanded in 1918
8th Provisional Brigade Train Army Service Corps (previously North Midland Divisional Train ASC) 825 Company ASC at Southminster in July 1916
(also formed in December 1916 were 826 - 828 Company Army Service Corps, 72nd Divisional Train ASC, disbanded by April 1918)

9th Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 Sept. only) became 73rd Home Service Division
41st Provisional Battalion became 12th King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) part of 218th Brigade, 73rd Division
42nd Provisional Battalion became 14th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment part of 218th Brigade, 73rd Division at Witham (Essex)
44th Provisional Battalion became 26th The King's (Liverpool Regiment) part of 218th Brigade, 73rd Division, disbanded at Kelvedon in 1918
45th Provisional Battalion became 28th Manchester Regiment part of 219th Brigade, 73rd Division, at Margate in 1916
9th Provisional Yeomanry Squadron (South Western Yeomanry Detachment, attd. 44th Provisional Battalion at Broadstairs in Feb 1916)
(Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles, attd. 45th Provisional Battalion at Margate)
9th Provisional Cyclist Company, at Margate in March 1916
9th Provisional Battery Royal Field Artillery at Minster, Thanet in October 1916, became 1211th East Lancs Bty RFA
9th Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 648th Home Counties Field Coy. at Margate in October 1916, landed in France June 1918
9th Provisional Signals Section became 73rd Divisional Signals Company and was disbanded in March 1918
9th Provisional Field Ambulance (merger of 3/3rd E A & 4/3rd H C Field Ambulance) became 307th - 309th Home Counties FA in 73rd Division
9th Provisional Brigade Train Army Service Corps, (Middx & Surrey Home Service Coys.) became 829 Company ASC in 73rd Division
(also formed in December 1916 were 830 - 832 Company Army Service Corps, 73rd Divisional Train ASC, disbanded by April 1918)

10th Provisional Brigade (WO 95/5458 1915 Sept. - 1916 Jan.) became 227 Mixed Brigade (at Saxmundham attached to 67th Division)
23rd Provisional Battalion became 26th Durham Light Infantry (formed from 5th - 9th D.L.I.) at Westgate-on-Sea in March 1918
70th Provisional Battalion (East Surrey) became 15th Royal Sussex Regiment (in 215th Brigade, 72nd Home Service Division)
81st Provisional Battalion became 18th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (in 215th Brigade, 72nd Home Service Division)
83rd Provisional Battalion became 10th Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (in 216th Brigade, 72nd Home Service Division)
84th Provisional Battalion became 17th Hampshire Regiment (at Blyth in July 1915, Whitstable in Oct. 1917 and Southwold in Feb. 1918)
85th Provisional Battalion became 11th Somerset Light Infantry (formed from S.L.I. and Wilts. Regts. at Yeovil in 1915) to 177 Bde, 59th Division
86th Provisional battalion (connected to 5th & 8th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and 4th & 6th Devon Regiment) at Herne Bay in March 1916*
13th (Home Service) Battalion Somerset Light Infantry formed at Wrentham, Suffolk in 1918 to replace 11th Bn.
10th Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers, 649th W. Riding Field Coy. at Herne Bay in May 1917 then Reydon, Southwold in 1918
227th Mixed Brigade Train Army Service Corps (839 Company Army Service Corps) - War Diary available from April 1916
4th Northern Home Bty in May 1915, then 10th Provisional Bty at Herne Bay in April 1916, became 1212nd West Riding Bty RFA
10th Provisional Cyclist Company formed in July 1915 from home service sections of Northern Cyclist Battalion
10th Provisional Field Ambulance, (previously 3rd Lowland FA) became 335th Lowland FA at Herne Bay in 1917 and Yoxford in 1918

additionally there was Wessex Provisional Brigade?
Wessex Provisional Bty RFA at Rest Camp, Southampton in June 1916
Wessex Provisional Company Royal Engineers (508th Wessex Field Coy. at Christchurch?)

As these are tricky to pin down I welcome any errors or additions to the listing, which I hope to modify accordingly.

David

#2 Chris_Baker

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:28 PM

Great piece of work, David.

#3 David Porter

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:06 AM

Thanks Chris, but I do owe you much gratitude for producing The Long Long Trail. I've already edited the above to include more of the ASC, where I can see a pattern in the numbering as there is with the RE companies and RFA batteries. I've yet to look at the War Diaries indicated which will obviously help this along.

#4 David Porter

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 01:33 PM

I have updated again with further information obtained, especially about the Field Ambulances and the Scottish Provisional Battalions.
The numbered Battalions would seem to be in 6 distinct groupings:

1 to 12 Highland & Lowland
21 to 29 Northumberland, Yorkshire, Durham, Notts & Derby, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire & Staffordshire
41 to 51 Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool and Welsh
61 to 72 North Midlands, East Anglia and Home Counties
81 to 86 South Midlands, Southern and South West
100 to 108 London

I cannot find evidence of higher numbers in each grouping. This would give a total of 59 numbered Provisional Battalions prior to mergers and disbanding. There are some suggestions there were more that this, so perhaps these only existed for a short while in name only prior to the numbering?

#5 Charles Fair

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:35 PM

Great piece of work, very useful.

#6 charlesmessenger

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:53 PM

I have updated again with further information obtained, especially about the Field Ambulances and the Scottish Provisional Battalions.
The numbered Battalions would seem to be in 6 distinct groupings:

1 to 12 Highland & Lowland
21 to 29 Northumberland, Yorkshire, Durham, Notts & Derby, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire & Staffordshire
41 to 51 Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool and Welsh
61 to 72 North Midlands, East Anglia and Home Counties
81 to 86 South Midlands, Southern and South West
100 to 108 London

I cannot find evidence of higher numbers in each grouping. This would give a total of 59 numbered Provisional Battalions prior to mergers and disbanding. There are some suggestions there were more that this, so perhaps these only existed for a short while in name only prior to the numbering?


They were numbered according to Home Command. Thus 1-12 was Socttish Command, 21-29 Northern Command, 41-52 Western and Northern Commands, 61-72 Eastern Command, 81-86 Souhjtrn Com mand and 100-106 London District.

Charles M

#7 David Porter

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:01 AM

Thank you Charles M., I thought that would be the case but I wasn't sure of the boundaries of each command.
Great to have positive feedback on this. I could not find it fully documented but there were lots of leads here and there.
Pulling it all together patterns in the numbering started to appear and I'm sure this will help others in their research.

#8 ddycher

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:18 PM

David

86th Prov. Bn came out of the Devon and Cornwall Bde. It included the 5th Devons (hence my interest). I have a synopsis on it through its existance which I can send you if you are interested.

Regards
Dave

David

#9 David Porter

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:19 PM

Dave,

Yes, a potted history of the 86th would be welcome, particularly as this one seems to have been disbanded or merged.
Happy to amend the details above based on fresh information. PM with email address on its way.

#10 David Porter

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:55 PM

From a small portion of a large document - WO 33/765 Distribution of Northern and Southern Armies for Home Defence dated July 20, 1916.

Attached File  Provisional-BdesBW.jpg   89.53KB   5 downloads

Compared with my list above it shows some Battalions moved Brigades e.g 21st. Curiously the 65th, 68th and 69th were once called Yarmouth Bns.
Apologies for the blurry picture, I had to zoom in a bit to the right sections. The rest of the document quite is interesting too.

#11 David Porter

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:12 PM

It would also appear that 6 of the Provisional Batteries went through a second number change in October 1917

1203rd Lowland Bty RFA became 414 Bty at Canterbury & Sandwich/Deal
1204th Northumberland Bty RFA became 415 Bty at Margate
1205th West Lancs Bty RFA became 416 Bty at Holt, Norfolk
1206th East Anglia Bty RFA was not renumbered
1207th Home Counties Bty RFA became 417 Bty
1208th Sussex Bty RFA was not renumbered
1209th South Midland Bty RFA became 418 Bty at Clacton & Frinton-on-Sea
1210th North Midland Bty RFA was not renumbered
1211th East Lancs Bty RFA was not renumbered
1212nd West Riding Bty RFA became 419 Bty at Saxmundham

#12 aussienoel

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 03:29 AM

Thanks for all the infornation posted here.

I have an interest in a soldier who served with the 17th Battalion, Essex Regiment (67th Provisional Battalion). He enlisted 28th October 1916 and was discharged 27th February 1918 under KR 392(xvi) and received the SIlver War Badge.

I would like to gain some idea of this soldier's war, and, please forgive my complete ignorance, but what did these Home Defence battalions and brigades actually do? Were they the same size as an infantry battalion (c. 1000 men)? Were they in camps? What was their equipment in terms of vehicles, motor cycles etc., rifles, artillery? What were their duties in terms of patrols etc.?

Perhaps I've used inadequate search terms but I've Googled unsuccessfully. I have 'Defending Albion' by K. W. Mitchinson, but find it a difficult book to read.

I really don't know where to start and would be grateful for any help that anyone can provide.

Noel

#13 battiscombe

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:41 PM

It would also appear that 6 of the Provisional Batteries went through a second number change in October 1917

1203rd Lowland Bty RFA became 414 Bty at Canterbury & Sandwich/Deal

Attached File  414 Bty RFA x.jpg   182.45KB   0 downloads
 Do you think your 414 Bty is the one indicated on this service record, still listed as having an Ammunition Column?

There was also a  recent post/query about a 412 Bty .. might this relate to this series of Bty numbers?

 

 

 

 



#14 David Porter

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 06:57 AM

Yes, that is the same 414 Bty. They were based at Hammill Colliery, near Woodnesborough and Eastry. I'm also finding that the 12xx series batteries have carried on so there may have been duplication. In late 1917, there was a 12th Brigade, 67th (2nd/Home Counties) Division which was made up of 1203 Bty, 1204 Bty, 1207 Bty and 'D' (Howitzer) Bty. It is all rather confusing as you have it written down in service records that one battery became the other but then the old battery number appears again. I don't have anything on 412 Bty, it is not related to these Provisional batteries but I guess it was formed about the same time in 1917

 

I've attached an extract from the Pension Record of Archibald Frederick Parkinson. Some pages still suggest he was discharged from 1207 Bty AC.

 

Attached File  1207-Bty.jpg   64.83KB   0 downloads



#15 battiscombe

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 10:22 AM

thanks for that.. I can now read  Eastry