Remaining Gas Casualties

From the RFA war diaries of the 27th Division it was seen that there were two gas casualties recorded. These were incurred by the 67th battery which is reported to have disembarked on the 20th December 1914. The Times casualty list of 28th September 1915 lists 32 RFA personnel. If the disembarkation date for each man is determined then it should be possible to see which of them served with the 27th Division. If the only two gas casualties incurred by the 27th Division were indeed from the 67th battery then we should see no more than two men disembarking on 20th December 1914 and no others disembarking in late December 1914.

The Times RFA Gas Casualties
28th September 1915.

The table to the left shows each man with the details as listed in The Times and the details I have obtained from the medal index cards. A disembarkation date in late December 1914 implies service with the 27th Division and it is these that are of most interest.

As can be seen, there are six men who appear to have served with the 27th Division and their names have been highlighted. Three of them disembarked on 20th December 1914 and three disembarked on 21st December. Therefore there is a problem since the war diaries show there were only two gas casualties amongst units that disembarked on 20th December.

It is possible to shed a bit more light on the situation by searching for the service records of these soldiers (except Herbert's which has previously been searched for). Up until recently only the soldier's next of kin could ask for a search but starting from November 1996 the records are being transferred to the PRO. Due to the delicate state of the documents they are being microfilmed and released in stages.

As stated in "Research Aims", the service records were badly damaged in a bombing raid during 1940. However, there was a collection kept by the Ministry of Pensions that survived intact. Known as the "Unburnt Documents" they cover about 10% of those who served and are available at the PRO in class WO364. I have searched WO364 and have found three of the soldiers: Alfred Allen, Harry Bertram and Robert Smith.