Author Topic: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918  (Read 127 times)

Offline hmserge

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William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« on: Tuesday 12 March 19 18:19 GMT (UK) »
Hello Everybody,

We’re hoping to visit a great uncle’s war grave at Canada Farm Cemetery, Ypres in April.

William Griffiths was born 1891 in East Dean, Gloucestershire.  In 1911 he lived in Adwick upon Dearne, Mexborough, South Yorkshire.

He was a driver 165195 for the 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade Royal Field Artillery.   He died whilst grooming a horse when a shell exploded near him.  He died on the 22nd March 1918 and he is buried in the Canada Farm Cemetery.  It says France and Flanders. 

I’ve tried to find out where he was injured/killed.  Does anyone know how I could find this information?  Would it have been Ypres or France? 

We’d love to go to Belgium knowing more information about where he fought and died to show our respects but I don’t know how to find this out.

Anybody’s help or advice would be much appreciated.  Thank you.
Serjeant/ Sergeant/ Surgun/
Ipswich, Suffolk......
Shaw - Halifax area, (Ovenden, Northowram, Brighouse), Yorkshire......
Garratt - Crich/Belper/Ambergate, Derbyshire......
Elliott - Dewsbury, Yorkshire.....
Kay - Walton, Yorkshire.....
Griffiths - East Dean, Gloucestershire.....

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Offline MaxD

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 20:24 GMT (UK) »
"France and Flanders" was the name by which the theatre of war was known.  The cemetery in which he lies is in Flanders, in Belgium.  The Register of Soldiers' Effects tells us he died in 91st Field Ambulance which indicates he had been taken from where he was wounded along the casualty evacuation chain but sadly succumbed to his wounds perhaps while the medics in the field ambulance were trying to save him.
The war diary of the brigade is in my library, give me a mo and I'll be back with some locations.

MaxD

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Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

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Offline hmserge

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 20:35 GMT (UK) »
Hello MaxD

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your help.  Do you think he was wounded somewhere in Belgium?  Any locations would be amazing.  It’s very kind of you.

Heidi
Serjeant/ Sergeant/ Surgun/
Ipswich, Suffolk......
Shaw - Halifax area, (Ovenden, Northowram, Brighouse), Yorkshire......
Garratt - Crich/Belper/Ambergate, Derbyshire......
Elliott - Dewsbury, Yorkshire.....
Kay - Walton, Yorkshire.....
Griffiths - East Dean, Gloucestershire.....

Offline MaxD

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 20:43 GMT (UK) »
91 Field Ambulance was located in farm buildings called Zuidhuis Farm to the north west of Ypres.  The map of the time and todays' image at the link following shows the farm, there are still buildings there today:
http://www.rootschat.com/links/01ni8/

Look in the square marked 28 you will see Zuidhuis Farm, mouse over the buildings to the right of the name and you will note the farm buildings on today's image on the right.  The main N8 road you see on the image is running south from Oostvieteren to Woesten and then on to Ypres which is about 6 miles south east of Woesten.

More soon

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
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Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline MaxD

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 20:57 GMT (UK) »
The brigade war diary records on 20/21 March 1918 ".....a high velocity shell killed 23 horses and 2 men and wounded 9 men in 83 Battery wagon lines on 21st". Even though the men are not named, your great uncle was no doubt among the 9 wounded.  The wagon lines were located (amended post) in the village of Woesten so he didn't have to be taken too far to the field ambulance.

More tomorrow.

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline hmserge

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 21:24 GMT (UK) »
Thank you for the map details with Zuidhuis Farm, I can’t wait to look at this.

I’m sure I saw somewhere the date 21st March but all other records say 22nd March so the 21st makes sense now.  What a lot of horses too, so sad.  It did say he was grooming a horse at the time.

If the battery were located in Woesten, I wonder what battle this was? 

Thank you MaxD for taking the time to look up this information and for passing it on to me.  It’s very kind of you. 

Thank you

Heidi

Serjeant/ Sergeant/ Surgun/
Ipswich, Suffolk......
Shaw - Halifax area, (Ovenden, Northowram, Brighouse), Yorkshire......
Garratt - Crich/Belper/Ambergate, Derbyshire......
Elliott - Dewsbury, Yorkshire.....
Kay - Walton, Yorkshire.....
Griffiths - East Dean, Gloucestershire.....

Offline MaxD

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 10:56 GMT (UK) »
The war diary date is quite clear, 21st was when he was wounded (the 2 men killed that day are buried in the same cemetery).  22nd is when he succumbed to his wounds in the field ambulance and is the date on the Commonwealth War Graves entry and the effects register.

My earlier post was incorrect when  I said the battery was in Woesten.  It was the brigade headquarters and the wagon lines which were there where the casualties were sustained.  The brigade headquarters was to the south east of the village and my guess is that they were occupying the wooded area near the "straat" of Elverdingstraat (you need to zoom out a bit of the map I linked to).  Canada Farm Cemetery can also be seen on the image, look for Omloop-Zuid and then left to Elzendammestraat, the cemetery is on the "mm" at the cross roads. 

There was no specific action taking place at the time.  By coincidence, 21 March was the start of the massive German offensive called Operation Michael but this was taking place more to the south of Ypres.  The guns of the battery were "on loan" to another division at the time, involved in what the
diary describes as "normal trench warfare" and supporting small scale raids by the infantry.  William's job was away from the firing lines, although not immune to incoming shelling, looking after the many horses that were not away with the guns.  11 Brigade had 4 batteries each with something like 200 horses so they took some looking after!

Do come back if I have skated over it too much.  This should at least have given you three places that relate closely to him that you can visit.

If it will help, I can put these locations on one map, let me know.

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline hmserge

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 13:29 GMT (UK) »
The information you have given me is amazing and fascinating, I cannot thank you enough for sharing this with me.  You learn something new every day and I have learnt so much in the last 2 days with many thanks to yourself.

We will have 3 places to visit which will be so nice.  Do you happen to know the surnames of the 2 men killed on the 21st?  It will nice when we’re at Canada Farm Cemetery to visit their graves too to pay our respects. 

200 horses is definitely a lot of looking after. 

Would you be able to put the locations on one map and wouldn’t you mind doing that?    It would help very much. 

Thank you once again for everything. 

Heidi
Serjeant/ Sergeant/ Surgun/
Ipswich, Suffolk......
Shaw - Halifax area, (Ovenden, Northowram, Brighouse), Yorkshire......
Garratt - Crich/Belper/Ambergate, Derbyshire......
Elliott - Dewsbury, Yorkshire.....
Kay - Walton, Yorkshire.....
Griffiths - East Dean, Gloucestershire.....

Offline MaxD

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Re: William Griffiths, 83rd Battery of the 11th Brigade RFA March 1918
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 13:57 GMT (UK) »
https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead/results?regiment=Royal%2BField%2BArtillery&cemetery=Canada%2BFarm%2BCemetery&war=1&dateFrom=21-03-1918&dateTo=28-03-1918

These are four men from 83 Battery who died between 21 Mar and 28 Mar buried at Canada Farm Cemetery.  The two dated 21 March will be the two killed instantly and then William and Gunner Amos would have been two of the wounded.  The brigade left the area on 1 April so the remaining wounded either recovered or were taken further up the casualty chain, there are no more 83 Bty burials there after 28 March.

I shall send you a PM about the map.

MaxD

Double  Essex/Suffolk
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Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia