RGA

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RGA

Postby cannasue » 05 Nov 2013 00:21

Hello,
I,m doing some research on the RGA, particularly those based in the Nothe fort, Weymouth after c1901.

Is there any reading that I can do that would give me a flavour of their lives, what they did during their day.

Am I right in thinking that these companies were static?

Also I know that drunkenness and suicide were a problem in the Victorian army, but can,t seem to find any info for later. Was it still a problem?

Cheers,

Sue.
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Re: RGA

Postby Maureene » 05 Nov 2013 02:31

Sue, the following link to a chapter in a book published in 1899 , written by “A British Officer” is about the Army generally, not specifically about the RGA, but the routine is probably much the same whatever the regiment

The aim is
“To set forth the mode of life, amusements etc of the men of the rank and file, and of their wives and family.”
http://archive.org/stream/cu31924012890 ... 1/mode/2up
page 63, Social Life in the British Army by "A British Officer" Illustrated by R. Caton Woodville. 1899 Archive.org

Cheers
Maureen
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Re: RGA

Postby Peter » 05 Nov 2013 07:40

Sue,

Have a look at these:

i) For ‘operational’ matters:

Maurice-Jones, KW, The History of the Coast Artillery in the British Army.

Published in 1959 ….. readily available: republished by The Naval and Military Press.

ii) For ‘generic’ matters:

Palmerston Forts Society, http://www.palmerstonfortssociety.org.uk/Home/1/

Victorian Forts and Artillery, http://www.victorianforts.co.uk/index.htm

In particular, see Duncan Williams’ Tommy Atkins articles: http://www.victorianforts.co.uk/tommyatkins.htm. While
general, for example, the “Domestic Life” one has a photograph of the Fort Nelson Barrack Room display.

Very good text references:

Skelley, AR, The Victorian Army at Home: the recruitment and terms and conditions of the British regular, 1859-1899, London, Croom Helm, 1977

Spiers, EM, The Late Victorian Army, 1868-1902, Manchester University Press, 1992

Regards,
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Re: RGA

Postby cannasue » 05 Nov 2013 09:38

Thank you both for the links and suggestions.

Will be looking at them today, looks like just the sort of thing I,m after.
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Re: RGA

Postby zerostate » 05 Nov 2013 12:33

RGA companies were not static - but that does not preclude a particular company being at the same station for a large number of years.

Chris

"Cookery is the art of preparing and softening food by the action of fire, so as to render it fit for digestion" - Instructions to Military Cooks in the Preperation of Dinners at the Instructional Kitchen, Aldershot, 1878.
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Re: RGA

Postby cannasue » 07 Nov 2013 18:34

Loads of good things there that I can insert in the chapters a give a bit more depth.

Have ordered the book about the Coastal artillery.

Thanks again for your help.

Will just throw in one more quick question while I'm here, one chap is a smithy, but it's also listed as a gun-fitter. I can't seem to find out exactly what that means.
Does he repair guns? fit the guns? (they were in the process of moving the guns from teh casemates at that stage to up on the ramparts.)
Also, there were 3 other blacksmith in the fort, what exactly would their jobs have been, there is a smithy in the fort, but never really took a lot of note of that, and it's now closed for the season!

Cheers,

Sue
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Re: RGA

Postby zerostate » 07 Nov 2013 19:45

A gun fitter is an armourer - he probably looked after the fort's small arms (rifles).

Chris

"Cookery is the art of preparing and softening food by the action of fire, so as to render it fit for digestion" - Instructions to Military Cooks in the Preperation of Dinners at the Instructional Kitchen, Aldershot, 1878.
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Re: RGA

Postby cannasue » 07 Nov 2013 20:41

Cheers Chris.

Was looking at the quite on the bottom of your post, just been writing about the cook at the barracks, hadn't realised until today that they had attended Cookery school.
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Re: RGA

Postby zerostate » 08 Nov 2013 13:23

Yes - the school of cookery was at Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot from 1872.

Attendees had to be at least a corporal, and be in possession of a second class certificate of education. Does that match your cook? If not, he might have been an assistant cook... I'd be interested to know how an RGA company handled cooking if not garrisoned with other arms, in that did they necessarily have a qualified cook?

With regards to the smiths, they would provide all metalworking for the fort - from barrack maintenance, to manufacture/repair of tools.

Chris

"Cookery is the art of preparing and softening food by the action of fire, so as to render it fit for digestion" - Instructions to Military Cooks in the Preperation of Dinners at the Instructional Kitchen, Aldershot, 1878.
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Re: RGA

Postby cannasue » 08 Nov 2013 13:56

I,m looking at the 1911 census at the moment.
The Nothe fort only has about 40 people listed as there, including a cook. I,m assuming that this is the basic crew needed to man the guns, which by then was only 3 up on the ramparts.

The Red barracks down the road has 200 odd men, but they have a female civilian cook.
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Re: RGA

Postby zerostate » 08 Nov 2013 17:37

Hi,

Do you know if the civilian cook is a soldier's wife, or just a locally hired woman?

The 40 odd guys you have would probably not be enough to man all the guns, ammunition supply, and whatever gun direction system was in use. They would usually only man the armament that could engage the target, and switch guns as the target moved from one gun's aspect into another. EDIT: Having just read that from 1906 they had three 6 inchers, 40 may well have been enough to crew, ammunition and direct all three guns at once.

You asked about day to day details, so here is a quick summary of what happened day-to-day...

The daily routine was pretty standard throughout the army.

Reveille: 06:00 or 06:15, dependent on the season.

Breakfast: 08:00

Orderly Room: 10:00-11:00

Dinner: 13:00

Tea: 16:00

Tattoo roll call: 21:30

Lights Out: 22:15

Daily parades would normally be held at 07:00 or 07:15, and would last about 30 minutes. Then another at 11:00 or 12:00.

Variations might be that one or both parades could be replaced by some form of training. Tradesmen (such as the cook or smiths and armourer that you have) would be excused a lot of the parades and work duties to practise their trades.

Work duties would be regular, and would involve things like getting the coal issue, keeping the barracks clean, spud bashing, etc.

After 13:00, once a soldier was excused from the need from compulsory schooling or any remaining recruit training, the day was often their own until tea at 16:00., which was the final official meal of the day.

A fair bit of spare time would be taken up by what was called 'soldiering' – which was the practice of keeping uniform and personal accoutrements clean and in repair.

On Sundays there would be a compulsory divine parade.

Chris

"Cookery is the art of preparing and softening food by the action of fire, so as to render it fit for digestion" - Instructions to Military Cooks in the Preperation of Dinners at the Instructional Kitchen, Aldershot, 1878.
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Re: RGA

Postby zerostate » 09 Nov 2013 15:59

Sorry to double post, but on reading around the subject on 'gun fitter'....

zerostate wrote:A gun fitter is an armourer - he probably looked after the fort's small arms (rifles).


I think he was more likely maintaining the artillery pieces from looking at the number of fitters in WWI artillery units. I am not entirely certain though.

Chris

"Cookery is the art of preparing and softening food by the action of fire, so as to render it fit for digestion" - Instructions to Military Cooks in the Preperation of Dinners at the Instructional Kitchen, Aldershot, 1878.
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Re: RGA

Postby cannasue » 09 Nov 2013 16:02

Cheers Chris.
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Re: RGA

Postby Peter » 11 Nov 2013 13:29

Another for:

i) For ‘operational’ matters:

Hogg, IV, Coast Defences of England and Wales, 1856-1956, 1974.

and one that probably warrants another classification:

iii) For ‘technical’ + ‘operational’:

Sarty, RF, Coast Artillery 1815 - 1914, Bloomfield, Ontario, Canada, 1988.

..... considers fortifications in Britain and other countries ….. and the series of “invasion panics” that swept Britain in the 1840s and 1850s.
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Re: RGA

Postby cannasue » 11 Nov 2013 13:59

Thanks for the links and notes, very useful.
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