CCXV, CCXVI (Howitzer), CCXVII and CCXVIII Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery (43rd Divisional Artillery)

These units was formed in 1908 for the new Territorial Force. They were originally known as the 1st, 2nd (Howitzer), 3rd and 4th Wessex Brigades RFA.

Each of the units raised a “second line” in September 1914 which were organised into the 45th (2nd Wessex) Division.

Western Times” 21 August 1908. Officers and Sergeants of the 3rd Wessex Brigade, which had just completed its first field training after formation. Major Parsons and Lieutenant Timms are seated in the centre.

CCXV (1/1st Wessex)

  • The 1st Wessex Brigade RFA TF was based at the drill hall on St. Paul’s Road in Portsmouth. It comprised a headquarters, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Hampshire Batteries and the Brigade Ammunition Column. The 3rd Battery was based at Walpole Road in Gosport. Each battery was armed with four obsolescent 15-pounder field guns.
  • The brigade came under orders of the Wessex Division and went to India with the division in October 1914 but leaving the Ammunition Column at home.
  • In 1916 the brigade was renamed as 215 Brigade RFA TF and the batteries were lettered A, B and C.
  • In July 1916  the batteries were re-armed with the modern 18-pounder field gun.
  • At some point a new ammunition column was added and the brigade moved to Mespotamia, landing at Basra on 12-13 October 1916. On 8 December 1916 it came under command of 3rd (Lahore) Division and transferred to the 15th (Indian) Division on 4 October 1917.
  • On 7 August 1917 the batteries were renamed as 1086, 1087 and 1088 Batteries. Two-gun sections of 1087 were then moved to bring 1086 and 1088 up to six guns each. 1087 Battery was then disbanded.

CCXVI (Hampshire) (1/2nd Wessex)

  • The 2nd Wessex Brigade RFA TF was based at Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It comprised a headquarters, the 4th and 5th (Howitzer) Hampshire Batteries and the Brigade Ammunition Column. The 4th (Howitzer) Battery was based in Ventnor and the 5th in Freshwater. Each battery was armed with four obsolescent 5-inch howitzers.
  • The brigade came under orders of the Wessex Division and went to India with the division in October 1914 but leaving the Ammunition Column at home.
  • The 4th (Howitzer) Hampshire Battery served in Aden in 13 September 1915 to 14 August 1916. On its return to India the battery was re-equipped with the modern 18-pounder field gun and ceased to be a howitzer unit. In 1917 it was renamed as 1089 Battery. and was brought up to six guns by the arrival of a two-gun section from 228 Brigade from England.
  • The 5th (Howitzer) Hampshire Battery went to Mesopotamia, landing at Basra on 23 March 1915 and soon coming under command of the 6th (Poona) Division. It was besieged at Kut-al-Amara with the rest of the division and was surrendered on 29 April 1916. It played no further part in the war.
  • In 1916 the brigade was renamed as 216 Brigade RFA TF.
  • 1097 Battery (the former 2/1st Hampshire Battery from 45th (2nd Wessex) Division) joined in April 1917. In 1919 it took part in the Third Afghan War as part of 47th Mobile Indian Brigade.
  • 1104 Battery (the former 2/1st Wiltshire Battery from 45th (2nd Wessex) Division) also joined in April 1917.

CCXVII (1/3rd Wessex)

  • The 3rd Wessex Brigade RFA TF was based at the drill hall on Prospect Place in Swindon. It comprised a headquarters, the 6th Hampshire, Dorsetshire and Wiltshire Batteries and the Brigade Ammunition Column. The 6th Hampshire was at Bournemouth; Dorsetshire at Bridport; Wiltshire at Swindon and the Ammunition Column at Malmesbury. Each battery was armed with four obsolescent 15-pounder field guns.
  • The brigade came under orders of the Wessex Division and went to India with the division in October 1914 but leaving the Ammunition Column at home.
  • In 1916 the brigade was renamed as 217 Brigade RFA TF and the batteries were lettered A, B and C.
  • In July 1917 the brigade was joined by 79 (Howitzer) Battery from 6 (Howitzer) Brigade.
  • In August 1917 the batteries were renamed as 1091, 1092 and 1093 Batteries. Two-gun sections of 1092 were then moved to bring 1091 and 1093 up to six guns each. 1092 Battery was then disbanded.

CCXVIII (1/4th Wessex)

  • The 4th Wessex Brigade RFA TF was based at Exeter. It comprised a headquarters, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Devonshire Batteries and the Brigade Ammunition Column. The 2nd was at Paignton, the 3rd at Tavistock and the Ammunition Column at Crediton. Each battery was armed with four obsolescent 15-pounder field guns.
  • The brigade came under orders of the Wessex Division and went to India with the division in October 1914 but leaving the Ammunition Column at home.
  • In 1916 the brigade was renamed as 218 Brigade RFA TF and the batteries were lettered A, B and C.
  • 1104 Battery joined from 45th (2nd Wessex) Division in April 1917. In 1919 it took part in the Third Afghan War as part of 4th Indian Division.
  • In August 1917 the batteries were renamed as 1094, 1095 and 1096 Batteries. Two-gun sections of 1095 were then moved to bring 1094 and 1096 up to six guns each. 1095 Battery was then disbanded.
  • In 1919 1096 Battery took part in the Third Afghan War as part of 46th Mobile Indian Brigade.

Wessex Division Ammunition Column

  • This unit does not appear to have been formed.

Links

Other Royal Field Artillery units

43rd (Wessex) Division

Order of Battle of Divisions

Territorial Force