No.2 Light & No.3 Heavy Batteries

The Old and the Bold


No.2 Light Battery and No.3 Heavy Battery

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On the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers’ arrival in East Africa the artillery available in that theatre only amounted to four field batteries.  The 27th and 28th Mountain Batteries had arrived with Indian Expeditionary Force ‘B’ in November 1914, the Calcutta Volunteer Battery arrived, with their six 15-pounders, as part of Indian Expeditionary Force ‘C’ in October 1914 and some infantrymen from the 2nd Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, which had also arrived with Indian Expeditionary Force ‘B’, had been organised into an artillery unit known as Logan’s Battery and armed with two naval 3-pounders.

“AN OX-TEAM HAULING A FIELD GUN IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA”

The Times History of the War", Volume 10, Page 145

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At the same time as No.2 Light Battery was being formed in September 1915 another, heavy, battery was also created and armed with two naval 4-inch Mark III guns from H.M.S. Pegasus, mounted on improvised field carriages. This unit, designated No.3 Heavy Battery, was initially manned by an officer and 25 N.C.O.s and men of the 25th Royal Fusiliers and the Royal Navy Reserve and was also based at Maktau.  In the February 1916 artillery re-organisation this unit, with a third gun added, would be reconstituted as No.10 Heavy Battery.


As neither No.2 Light or No.3 Heavy Battery maintained a war diary that has survived it is difficult to determine where they actually served and what actions they may have been involved in once they were no longer required for Maktau’s defence.  Certainly, from the Official History, it can be seen that No.3 Heavy Battery was involved as divisional artillery for Brigadier-General Malleson’s 2nd Division and its assault on Salaita in February 1916 but beyond that details for both units are sketchy.  It is also impossible at the moment to determine how many men of the 25th Royal Fusiliers actually served with any of these artillery batteries.

In September 1915 the artillery establishment in East Africa was re-organised and in so doing a number of new, improvised, batteries were created and it was two of these new batteries that were to be partly manned by men of the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.  

Logan’s Battery was renamed No.1 Light Battery and a second Light Battery, No.2, was created.  This new unit, armed with two 15-pounder B.L. guns, was manned by two officers, one of whom was Lieutenant W. P. S. Jones of the 25th Royal Fusiliers, and 25 N.C.O.s and men drawn from the 25th Royal Fusiliers and 2nd Rhodesia Regiment.  This battery was to be used for the local defence of Maktau and another light battery, No.6, was similarly formed for the defence of Bissel and manned by personnel of the 29th Punjabis. This unit would, in another artillery reorganisation in February 1916, combine with No.2 Light Battery and be reconstituted as No.7 Field Battery, a mobile battery with four, ox drawn, 15-pounder B.L. guns.  At least twelve fusiliers continued to serve with this battery until May 1916 when they were struck off the unit’s strength and returned to the battalion.  

“MAKTAN (sic) 4th (sic) NAVAL GUN OFF THE ‘PEGASUS’”

The Zodiac, Volume 9, No.102, January 1917, Page 167

Official History. Military Operations East Africa, Volume I, August 1914 - September 1916 compiled by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hordern.

British East Africa General Routine Order #767 of 14th September 1915.

WO95/5337 - 7 Field Battery War Diary 1 March 1916 - 31 October 1916