CLXV, CLXIX, CLXX and CLXXI (Howitzer) Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery

These units were formed in Lytham and St Annes in Lancashire in late April and May 1915 and are sometimes known as 165, 169, 170 and 171 (Howitzer) Brigades RFA. They were also collectively known as “2nd County Palatine”. The brigades originally placed under command of the 32nd Division.

On 14 November 1915 the 32nd Divisional Artillery, by now at Heytesbury on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, was informed that it was to remain in England while the rest of the division went to France, but that it would also proceed there in the December. This did not take place. On 2 December further orders arrived, transferring the artillery to 31st Division. It then remained with that formation for the rest of the war. You can see details of its battles and movements on the pages describing the divisions.

CLXV

  • This brigade comprised A, B, C and D Batteries, each of four 18-pounder field guns, and a Brigade Ammunition Column.
    • On 22 May 1916 D Battery left and joined 171 Brigade as its A Battery. It was replaced by the arrival of A (Howitzer) Battery from 171 Brigade, which was then renamed as D (Howitzer) Battery.
    • On the same date, the Brigade Ammunition Column left to join the 31st Divisional Ammunition Column.
    • On 30 August 1916 the field gun batteries were brought up to six guns each. A section of two from A Battery of 171 Brigade was added to A Battery; the other section was added to B Battery; and a section of two arrived from B Battery of 171 Brigade was added to C Battery.
    • On 26 January 1917 D (Howitzer) Battery was brought up to six howitzers by the arrival of a section of two from 169 Brigade.

CLXIX

  • This brigade comprised A, B, C and D Batteries, each of four 18-pounder field guns, and a Brigade Ammunition Column.
    • On 22 May 1916 D Battery left and joined 171 Brigade as its B Battery. It was replaced by the arrival of B (Howitzer) Battery from 171 Brigade, which was then renamed as D (Howitzer) Battery.
    • On the same date, the Brigade Ammunition Column left to join the 31st Divisional Ammunition Column.
    • On 30 August 1916 the field gun batteries were brought up to six guns each. C Battery was split into two, with sections going to A and B Batteries respectively. It was replaced on 1 September by the arrival of D (Howitzer) Battery from 171 Brigade, which was then renamed as this brigade’s C (Howitzer) Battery.
    • On 20 November 1916 (9 days after it landed at Le Havre) 517 (Howitzer) Battery joined the brigade.
    • The brigade was broken up during the period 24-31 January 1917. A Battery went to 23 Brigade as its C Battery; B Battery went to 14 Brigade as its C Battery; C (Howitzer) Battery was broken up, one section going to D (Howitzer) Battery of 14 Brigade and the other going to D (Howitzer) Battery of 23 Brigade. D (Howitzer) Battery was also broken up, one section going to D (Howitzer) Battery of 165 Brigade and the other going to D (Howitzer) Battery of 170 Brigade; 517 (Howitzer) Battery was also broken up, one section going to D (Howitzer) Battery of 155 Brigade and the other going to D (Howitzer) Battery of 311 Brigade.

CLXX

  • This brigade comprised A, B, C and D Batteries, each of four 18-pounder field guns, and a Brigade Ammunition Column.
    • On 22 May 1916 D Battery left and joined 171 Brigade as its C Battery. It was replaced by the arrival of C (Howitzer) Battery from 171 Brigade, which was then renamed as D (Howitzer) Battery.
    • On the same date, the Brigade Ammunition Column left to join the 31st Divisional Ammunition Column.
    • On 29 and 30 August 1916 the field gun batteries were brought up to six guns each. C Battery arrived from 171 Brigade and was split into two sections which were added to A and B Batteries respectively; a section arrived from B Battery of 171 Brigade and was added to C Battery.
    • On 24 January 1917 D (Howitzer) Battery was brought up to six howitzers by the arrival of a section of two from 169 Brigade.

CLXXI (Howitzer)

  • This brigade comprised A, B, C and D Batteries, each of four 4.5-inch howitzers, and a Brigade Ammunition Column.
    • On 22 May 1916 A, B and C Batteries all left, going to 165, 169 and 170 Batteries respectively as their D (Howitzer) Batteries. They were replaced by the D Batteries from those same brigades, which were renamed as this brigade’s A, B and C Batteries respectively. At this point the brigade dropped the “Howitzer” from its title.
    • On the same date, the Brigade Ammunition Column left to join the 31st Divisional Ammunition Column.
    • The brigade was broken up in the period 27-30 August 1916. A Battery and a section of B Battery went to 165 Brigade; the other half of B, along with C Battery, went to 170 Brigade, and D (Howitzer) Battery went to 169 Brigade and was renamed as its C (Howitzer) Brigade.

Divisional Ammunition Column

  • This unit was expanded on 22 May 1916 by the arrival of the four Brigade Ammunition Columns.

Links

The Batteries and Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery

31st Division

32nd Division

Order of Battle of Divisions