Two Royal Artillery releases in one day has got to be good news.
As well as releasing its data on WW2 honours and awards for the corps, Find My Past has also published a database of Military Medal awards to the Royal Artillery between 1916 and 1993. There's also some useful general information contained on the site, for instance, the difference in the promotion ladders between WW1 and WW2:
During WWI, the artillery rank structure included corporal which was removed from the regiment in the 1920s and Serjeant became Sergeant. The WWI War promotion ladder consisted of:
- Gnr – gunner
- Bdr – bombardier (one stripe)
- Cpl – corporal (two stripes)
- Sjt – serjeant (three stripes with a gun above)
- Gnr – gunner
- L/Bdr – lance bombardier (one stripe)
- Bdr – bombardier (two stripes)
- Sgt – sergeant (three stripes with a gun above)
Dvr – driver
A driver was a soldier trained in the management and use of horses. The six horses drawing the gun, or wagon, were driven by three drivers, all on the nearside horses, and much training was required before drivers would be rated as competent. The drivers, of course, also looked after the horses and the management, condition and state of health of these animals was regarded as one of the most important functions in the battery.
All branches of the artillery used horses, not just the RHA. By WWII, mechanisation had replaced the horse but the gun limbers, lorries and self-propelled guns all required drivers and the rank remained. The number of horses meant specialist roles of saddler, farrier, and shoeing smith were used and added to the name of the rank. Horse-drawn equipment needed wheelers and fitters and the officer needed clerks who could write in artillery code and signallers who could send it.
- S/Sjt – staff serjeant
- SM – serjeant major
- QMS – quartermaster serjeant
- BQMS – battery quartermaster serjeant
- BSM – battery serjeant major (warrant officer class II)
- RSM – regimental sergeant major (warrant officer class I)