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Royal Field Artillery 40th Brigade


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#1 Nje1964

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:47 PM

I am researching my Great Uncle Thomas Edge,b 1889, Whitchurch, Shropshire. I couldnt find his enlistment papers and so had to work backwards from his discharge papers. I have assumed that it is the correct Thomas Edge as the address is Sound Heath which was the location of the family farm. So far I have found:

Thomas Edge
No: 68661
Transferred to reserves: 19/02/1919
Discharged:18.09.1919
Ref: X/2:TMB RFA

He received the "Military medal"
Ref: RFA AHD:X/2 MED:TMB
Corporal

His Medal Roll:
1914 Star
Victory
British

Qualifying date :19.08.1914

He starts as a gunner and then is promoted to corporal.

I assume that he finished his service with x battery, 2nd division, Trench Mortar Battery.

I have lots of questions to ask. Did he enlist for RFA and then was allocated to to 40th Brigade? How to I find out which battery he was originally part of and where he enlisted? It is my understanding that the 40th Brigade were at Mons, Le Cateau, Solesmes, Cambrai... I spent all my holidays around this area as a teenager..
40th Brigade were attached to 3rd Infantry Division so at some point he was moved/attached to a 2nd division TMB. Is my best bet to go to Kew and look through the war diaries and work backwards?

This is a new area for me so I do apologise if I seem a little dense..

#2 battiscombe

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:40 PM

He went to France with 40th Brigade RFA in 3rd Division. His number - and 'date of entry' indicate he was a prewar regular ... already serving .. enlisted January 1912 I would suggest.
How and when he transferred to 2nd Division is unclear (and unusual) ... This is X/2nd Trench Mortar Battery, formed by 1916 from 2nd Division gunners, (X Y and Z Battery). The original gunners for these batteries came from various 2nd Division units. ..and there is no way of knowing how he got posted there... he may have been home (sick or wounded) and got posted to them when returned to France later in the war, from the general pool of replacments - or indeed joined after the end of the war .. I am not sure when the TM Btys were disbanded (some soon after the end of the war I seem to remember). It is very unlikely his name will appear in a war diary .. just possibly in relation to his MM. In Aug 1914, most likely in 6th, 23rd or 49th Battery (as the 40th Brigade Ammunition Column mainly comprised mobilised reservists).

#3 rflory

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:52 PM

As his MM LG date is 13 November 1918 he must have been serving with X/2 Medium TMB until the end of the war. I doubt very much that the 40th Brigade, RFA war diary will mention when he transferred to the TMB as usually they only mention the comings and goings of officers (and occasionally senior NCOs). Unless you can locate his servce papers I think you will probably have a difficult finding when that transfer occured.

#4 battiscombe

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:54 PM

His records do survive and confirm that after being disciplined in November 1914 when in 49th Bty 40th brigade, he was posted to the 2nd division 36th Brigade in May 1915.. and then lots of other units .. finally X2 TMB in feb 1918. and got his MM ic October 1918., before going down with flu on the penultimate day of the war!

#5 battiscombe

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:56 PM

His papers can be found amongst the 'Pension' records. Prewar he would appear to have served with 30th Battery

#6 Nje1964

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 06:30 PM

Wow. Thank you so much. I have been trying in vain to get to grips with the National Archives site. He sounds like quite a character! He was older by 12 years than my Grandfather so I know very little about him. The only pension record I could find was his transfer to the reserves. I had guessed that he had joined up before the war as 40th Brigade were regular army and he must have had some training to be a gunner in advance of August 1914, plus to have a pensions record he wouldnt have been a volunteer.
I have only ever researched Naval records online on the NA site before( prior to ww1, I have other ancestors who were gunners - Indian Mutiny and China medal). I will attempt to try the army service records now. I get the impression that it is a lucky chance that his service records have survived.

There was an older brother William Edge b 1887 and I cant find any war service records for him at all. He was a Police Constable in 1911.

I am also trying to find records for Percy Climo ( my Gmother's brother) b 1893. I know he served in WW1 and survived, I have a number of photos of him and his friends, some standing in uniform outside tents. Walter Peake was his friend and Gmothers fiance who died of wounds. I have photos of him too. He was in a Cheshire Regiment and appears to have 2 uniforms. Walter was meticulous about recording the names etc on the back of his snaps.

1 photo:
Sgt Wright
QM S Taylor
Sgt Daniels
L/Cpl W Peake
Sgt M Harrison
Sgt Swindells

#7 battiscombe

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 07:30 PM

I can see the aCpl Walter Peake who died in 1916 - 1st Cheshires. several Swindells served as Sgts in Cheshires. Perhaps a posting about them might attract a Cheshires specialist.

the only Percy Climo I can see is a Major , later LtColonel in the Garrison Artillery, and Mountain Artillery .. with various Indian Army connections. His records may well survive at kew in officer records.

I am interested in 36th Bde RFA and 2nd division artillerymen so interesting to pick up another one!

#8 Nje1964

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:07 PM

No success on the NA site. Where am I going wrong? Is there another source? I can do a trip to Kew as it is not far from where I live.

Is Thomas's record typical of a member of a battery unit? Was he moved around so much due to being a pain/bad at his job or were they desperate to fill the gaps with experienced men? I suppose that in 1918 when he qualified for a MM, he did something of merit The Battle of the Selle?

A posting to 2nd division 36th Brigade in May- was in time for Vimy Ridge? How long did he spend with them?
TMB - I assume they were deployed near the front to knock out enemy artillery? Did they fire before/during an attack? Who was responsible for the maintenance of the artillery?


Sorry I have lots of questions? I have studied WW1 but mostly in terms of politics and the actual details is fascinating in a horrifying way. The practical details of how they moved from one place to another, supply lines, how and who moved the ammunition to the mortars, How did a battery communicate with one another,or even a unit during firing? Hand signals? Thomas must have been pretty much deaf by the end of the war..

I am being to think that I should take a battle and really study it so I can get a clearer picture of how the army worked.

#9 battiscombe

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:54 PM

After his disciplinary event in 1914 - he was transferred to another unit (not unusual) arriving in 36th Bde about the time they were forming first TMBs in 2nd Div. He went to TMB School and then X/2 TMB. .. some time with 32nd brigade Ammunition Column also... He is perhaps notable for surviving longer than most amongst TMB men, - in fact after illness and going home sick in 1916, and back to the field to 2nd Div and its TMBs, until 10/11/1918 when he was struck down in the influenza outbreak (lucky to survive that too). His records can be found online through 'ancestry'. .. military records include service records and so-called 'pension record' copies.
see this blog diary for 36th brigade (and 2nd division artillery) progress 1915 -1918 .. we have got to 5th June 1917 to date. TMBs are mentioned occasionally .. for the artillery they were rarely out of the line and set piece battles were only a small part of their lives, as you will see..
http://ewmanifold.blogspot.co.uk/

#10 Nje1964

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:29 AM

I'll have a look on Ancestry, I have a subscription so should be able to access the records. Your blog is fascinating and answers lots of questions. My Uncle by marriage has his Father's diary, I believe he was a member of the Royal Horse Artillery. I have read a little of it, full of details about events and day to day life, includes some recipes for horse distemper and some mentions of a young French girl that wont have pleased Nanny Morris. It's a leather pocket book and wont be easy to scan or transcribe, do you think anybody would be interested if I make an attempt at it?

#11 battiscombe

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:16 PM

any such record is likely to be of interest. I have encountered other descendents of members of 36th Bde who have diaries they are working up for some form of publication - online or otherwise. The Manifold brothers blog is remarkable I think. My grandfather was in 36th Bde in Aug 1914, but wounded in october 1914 and did not serve in France again.. but 3 brothers were also gunners, one a Trench Mortar man 1915-1917 until killed at Messines. I would certainly be interested to see his diary. I have a small database of 2nd Div TMB men, to which I have added Cpl Edge now. there is a good 'History of 2nd Division' by Wyrall which details their war very fully - mainly focussed on the infantry but you get a sense where the gunners were - its available as a relatively cheap reprint, in 2 volumes.