RHA

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RHA

Postby susancammas » 13 Nov 2016 10:43

Good morning

I posted this message a few minutes ago, but forgot to include it in The Army section - so this is a repeat, apologies.

My GGF (Thomas Henry Hosking) served in the RHA in India and GB.

He returned to GB (probably invalided) somewhere between 1882 and 1888 - I can't find more détails than that.

He signed on for further army service beyond 21 years in December 1888 in Maker, Cornwall.
He ended his military career in Cornwall where, according to the 1891 census he was a Gunner living at N° 4 Redoubt Battery, Maker, Cornwall. He died there in 1892 aged 42.

I am particularly interested in his time in Cornwall. Does anyone have any information about the Redoubt Battery and/or photos?

Many thanks in anticipation!
Susan
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Re: RHA

Postby Frogsmile » 13 Nov 2016 15:53

There were two barracks in Maker. Both appear to have been manned by the Royal Artillery. Here is a link to researching at Kew - http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/mili ... /step4.htm

In the 1860s Preparations in Britain against a French invasion led to the strengthening and modernising of existing defences, and the building of new defences. Coastal batteries were built at Padstow, Portreath, St Ives, Whitesand Bay, Penzance,
Mousehole, Mount's Bay, St Michael's Mount, Mevagissey, Charlestown and Looe. Napoleonic redoubts on Maker Heights were extended and waterline batteries built to protect Cawsand Bay as well as the approaches. Many of these still survive to be explored.

Before the huge fort building programme around the major ports and naval bases had begun in the 1860s, a series of coastal batteries manned by volunteer companies (to match the volunteer rifle and cavalry companies) were formed around
the coast of Cornwall. In some cases such as at Padstow, Looe, Fowey, Charlestown, Penzance and St Ives existing batteries were re used whilst at Marazion, Hayle and St Just new batteries were constructed. The batteries at St Ives, Padstow, Charlestown, Fowey and St Just still survive.

Two batteries and part of a third situated on the prominent ridge of the Rame peninsula known as Maker Heights overlooking Cawsand Bay and Millbrook Lake are listed monuments. The northern battery, 'Redoubt No1 (Royal Cornwall)' survives as an irregular rectangular platform measuring approximately 45m by 25m surrounded by high steep ramparts and a flat bottomed moat measuring 3m to 6m wide. It was originally designed to hold ten guns behind embrasures. Within the redoubt is a fenced area containing the visible surface structures and the underground bunkers associated with a 20th century Royal Observer Corps monitoring post. The central battery, 'Redoubt No2 (Somerset)' is partly scheduled and survives as a five-sided battery. The north eastern part is excluded from the scheduling and contains a number of listed buildings. The scheduled portion includes a rampart bank and up to 9m wide flat bottomed moat. The redoubt originally housed ten guns. The southern battery, 'Redoubt No3 (50th Regiment)' survives as a four-sided earthwork measuring approximately 45m by 25m. It is of similar construction to Redoubt No2 with a flat bottomed moat of between 5m and 10m wide and originally housed ten guns:

1. http://mapservices.historicengland.org. ... oGrade.pdf

2. http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/mi ... CiFkdSLSt8

3. http://www.grenvillebatterytrust.org.uk/

4. https://www.victorianforts.co.uk/pdf/da ... nville.pdf
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Re: RHA

Postby susancammas » 19 Nov 2016 20:05

Good evening

What as asset you are to the forum Frogsmile!
Many thanks indeed for your rapid, full and interesting response to my enquiry and with maps and photos to boot.

What you said about completing the final years of service with a unit near where the soldier intended to retire makes absolute sense because my GGF was born in Cornwall and I imagine he planned to retire there. In fact, sadly he died before he retired.

I am a little puzzled though.
Your message made no mention of N° 4 Redoubt battery.
I have checked (as far as possible) the TNA link and find a reference to “Cornwall: Maker Heights (near Millbrook). Plan of part of Number 4 Redoubt [or Greville Battery*].” , so I suppose this is where my GGF lived.

Also, the 1891 census shows my GGF living with his wife and 2 daughters at 4 Redoubt Battery, Maker, Kingsand, Cornwall. Could this redoubt also have provided accommodation for families??
(One other person is shown at this address – he is a single Master Gunner RA.)

Again, many thanks
Susan

* Note spelling - different from your info and link
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Re: RHA

Postby Frogsmile » 20 Nov 2016 15:50

susancammas wrote:Good evening

What as asset you are to the forum Frogsmile!
Many thanks indeed for your rapid, full and interesting response to my enquiry and with maps and photos to boot.

What you said about completing the final years of service with a unit near where the soldier intended to retire makes absolute sense because my GGF was born in Cornwall and I imagine he planned to retire there. In fact, sadly he died before he retired.

I am a little puzzled though.
Your message made no mention of N° 4 Redoubt battery.
I have checked (as far as possible) the TNA link and find a reference to “Cornwall: Maker Heights (near Millbrook). Plan of part of Number 4 Redoubt [or Greville Battery*].” , so I suppose this is where my GGF lived.

Also, the 1891 census shows my GGF living with his wife and 2 daughters at 4 Redoubt Battery, Maker, Kingsand, Cornwall. Could this redoubt also have provided accommodation for families??
(One other person is shown at this address – he is a single Master Gunner RA.)

Again, many thanks
Susan

* Note spelling - different from your info and link


If you read through all of the links that I have posted concerning the fortifications at Maker, Susan, you will see that the various forts and redoubts were enlarged and added to over time (from the Napoleonic period onwards), so hence the changes / additions in name / number. There seems little doubt that the Greville / Grenville differential is merely a spelling error given that both are placed at Maker. The Greville / Grenville battery seems to have been also known at some point as Redoubt No 4, which was not mentioned in my first post as unlike the others it is not 'listed'. See photos and info at this link: http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/mi ... -09-a.html which states the following:

"Maker Heights Redoubt No.4 was built in 1782, & became known as Grenville Battery in 1887 after additional works were built within to house two 12.5" RML guns. These guns were then removed in 1890, & remounted a short distance away at Maker Heights Battery. More works carried out between 1899 & 1901, when three 4.7" Quick Firing guns were put in place,these remained until 1927. Grenville was abandoned by the MOD in 1948 & is now a private site."

It seems that your GGF arraived at Maker just at the time that the fortifications were being modernised via state of the art, heavy calibre guns, something that I am sure he will have been able to assist with.
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Re: RHA

Postby susancammas » 20 Nov 2016 23:03

Again HUGE thanks Frogsmile!
I very much get the picture from the military point of view, but I still wonder where my GGF's family lived - in the redoubt?
I had always imagined a "redoubt" as being a sort of massive area for battery emplacements etc. but I am probably way off the mark. Would I be correct in thinking that these "redoubts" were like (large) forts with living accommodation for families etc.?

All this research, of course, is to do with finding out where/how my ancestors lived so as to record all the information as accurately as possible for my own grandchildren!

By the way, the other person listed in the 1891 census was a certain George Baker - born about 1854 in Hickfield - shown as a (single) Master Gunner Royal Artillery.

Kind regards
Susan
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Re: RHA

Postby Frogsmile » 21 Nov 2016 11:44

susancammas wrote:Again HUGE thanks Frogsmile!
I very much get the picture from the military point of view, but I still wonder where my GGF's family lived - in the redoubt?
I had always imagined a "redoubt" as being a sort of massive area for battery emplacements etc. but I am probably way off the mark. Would I be correct in thinking that these "redoubts" were like (large) forts with living accommodation for families etc.?

All this research, of course, is to do with finding out where/how my ancestors lived so as to record all the information as accurately as possible for my own grandchildren!

By the way, the other person listed in the 1891 census was a certain George Baker - born about 1854 in Hickfield - shown as a (single) Master Gunner Royal Artillery.

Kind regards
Susan


I am glad to help Susan. A redoubt was an 'enclosed' (i.e. on all sides) defensive emplacement that could be small, or large. You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redoubt Most coastal defences comprised a series of co-ordinated forts and redoubts. In general, a redoubt usually contained some guns and often, in action, a small infantry force to protect them. Redoubts were, where possible, self-contained with rudimentary living accommodation and some kind of kitchen facility. It was sufficient to support life, but usually very basic.

As the census shows No4 Redoubt as the dwelling of your GGF, then it seems extremely likely that he was the 'permanent staff' warden who looked after the emplacement on a day-to-day basis. As such he would have lived there rather like a lock keeper on a canal, or a crossing man at a railway crossing, all of them commonly provided with an adjacent, tied-cottage in the Victorian era. He would have been assisted in maintaining the guns and the emplacement by a volunteer artillery company that typically attended the emplacement once during the week, once at weekends and for set periods of annual 'drill' each year. In the event of a potential invasion the company would have mobilised to defend the position and, in this case, entrance to Plymouth Sound. These permanent staff positions were only granted to men of the highest reputation as a reward for good service and enabled them to stay in gainful, paid employment after completion of their regular engagement (known as 'colour service').

The Master Gunner was the other member of permanent staff generally posted at such emplacements and his specific role was the training of gunnery and maintenance of the guns to the part-time volunteers. He too, lived within the redoubt and was the more senior of the two.

Volunteer gunners wore scarlet trim to their uniform (and pillbox caps) and silver coloured insignia, whereas regulars were distinguished by golden yellow trim in the same configuration (including caps) and gilt coloured insignia.
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Last edited by Frogsmile on 24 Nov 2016 17:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RHA

Postby susancammas » 21 Nov 2016 19:17

Thanks again Frogsmile for these interesting détails.
Susan
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Re: RHA

Postby Frogsmile » 22 Nov 2016 12:24

susancammas wrote:Thanks again Frogsmile for these interesting détails.
Susan


Susan, to put the topography more clearly into perspective, If you look at the map again (the link is best) and look a little to the right of the three 'listed' emplacements that are highlighted in red, you can see the un-highlighted Grenville Battery.

I omitted to mention that Master Gunners were specialist non-commissioned officers, who were selected earlier in their career as men who were of above average intelligence, with the ability to retain technical information and impart it to others. Once identified, they formed a career stream all of their own, progressing (after 1881) from third to first class, the upper two classes being designated as within the new category of 'warrant officer' instituted in that year. I enclose an image of the Master Gunner's badge of rank (after 1881 worn by the upper two classes only, with the third class wearing just the gun alone). The badge on the left shows Queen Victoria's crown (a specially stylised version of the St Edward's crown).

I thought you might also be interested in this information about the practice of accommodating Royal Artillery families at coastal forts and redoubts, in this case relating to Shoreham, in Sussex: https://wolfeeboy.wordpress.com/2011/12 ... mment-2381

The image of the seated gunner shows John Bicknell, who sadly died, leaving his wife destitute, as his passing meant that she and his family were expelled from the redoubt where they were living. This was not at all untypical and a reflection of attitudes of the times.
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Re: RHA

Postby Peter » 23 Nov 2016 09:50

Frogsmile,

I appreciate you are alternating between discussing Susan’s GGF Gunner and the Master Gunner fellow lodger.

Regarding the photograph of John Bicknell: Notwithstanding I can’t discern any badges, can I confirm there are no orthochromatic film considerations at play and he is a regular Gunner (ie not a Volunteer)?

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Re: RHA

Postby Frogsmile » 23 Nov 2016 13:06

Peter wrote:Frogsmile,

I appreciate you are alternating between discussing Susan’s GGF Gunner and the Master Gunner fellow lodger.

Regarding the photograph of John Bicknell: Notwithstanding I can’t discern any badges, can I confirm there are no orthochromatic film considerations at play and he is a regular Gunner (ie not a Volunteer)?

Regards,


Hello Peter. Yes, as a member of the permanent complement at the fort/redoubt (the strength of which was much reduced after 1888), he is a regular, so hence the golden yellow Austrian knots on his cuffs. Supplementary, 'Volunteer' artillerymen, both at home and in places such as Australia and Canada, wore red, which you can see on the lowermost photo of a blue helmeted gun detachment above.

As regards John Bicknell's rank, I believe he was just a gunner, but with 4 or 5 good conduct badges (inverted stripes) on his lower right cuff just about visible, indicating his long service. The photo is circa 1870s at a time when all NCO rank for the artillery was worn on the upper arm(s) (Bde SMs on both arms to differentiate) and, in the case of chevrons, point down. It was not until 1881 that new regulations divided the NCOs into two stratas with the lower wearing rank still on the upper arm, point down, but the upper strata on the lower arm and point up - both cases now on the right arm only. At the same time good conduct badges were moved to the left, lower arm, although there would have been a couple of years of gradual change to allow the new orders to be fully disseminated.
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Re: RHA

Postby susancammas » 24 Nov 2016 08:48

Again, many, many thanks for all this very interesting information.
Susan
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