Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Military Medals awarded to the Royal Artillery

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:

Soldiers' ranks

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)
The WWII promotion ladder was:
  • Gnr – gunner
  • L/Bdr – lance bombardier (one stripe)
  • Bdr – bombardier (two stripes)
  • Sgt – sergeant (three stripes with a gun above)
Between gunner and bombardier there was a lance bombardier (L/Bdr) and between bombardier and corporal there was a lance corporal (L/Cpl). During WWII there was also the rank of lance sergeant 'L/Sgt'. The names of some of the ranks also denoted their role, for example:

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)
 All MM awards to the RA are now searchable on findmypast.


  1. Hello

    Have just started looking on this site (and others). Am bit lost as dont exactly understand all different Brigades etc. I am going to France with a friend in 2013 and his relative Bombardier 311274 George Colquhoun Dick was killed/died on 17.9.18 serving with the Terriers 1st/1st (North Riding)Heavy Battery, Middlesbrough R.G.A. He is buried at La Chapelette cemetery near Peronne. I will be going to the Nat Archives shortly to try and find a war diary so I can find out where he was and perhaps what happened for him to lose his life. His battery seemed to move all around with divisions and brigades. Any clues where I start.
    Martin in Middlesbrough

    Your website is good. On other websites I have researched a family soldier KIA with the Green Howards at St Julien April 1915 and will also have a look further at your info

  2. Martin, thanks for your message. Suhggset you have a look at The Long, Long Trail website and also join The Great war Forum and post your queries there. If you Google both, you'll find them. Good luck.