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Hi. Hoping someone will be able to help me with some information. 

I have inherited a pocket watch, which belonged to my great, great grandfather. On the rear is engraved the following:

”Presented to Corpl W.HALL by the N.C.Officers F/t.R.A. Septmber 1888”

Does anybody know what F/t.R.A. May refer to?

Any guidance greatly appreciated. 

9364CA54-F925-4E85-9CC1-F5F98F41F07E.jpeg

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Hopefully someone who knows will be along to solve this but just having a guess here, could F/t be something to do with Frontier?

Do you know anything about the unit he was in?

Tony

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Absent strong evidence to the contrary, I'd say 'R.A.' is 'Royal Artillery', so that leaves the 'F/t' to puzzle out.  Perhaps 'From the R.A.'?

Looking at a very extensive list of military abbreviations doesn't suggest anything more likely than 'Royal Artilery' and nothing at all for 'F/t'.  'Fd' is 'Field, as in artillery, and 'FT' is French Translator but neither of those is relevant so... ??? :(

Edited by peter monahan

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It might help if you could provide his  full names and any details you may have regarding where and when he might have served.

G.

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Thank you all for your information so far. Sadly I know nothing about his service. His name was William Hall, b 1860, d1934 in Peterborough. 

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On 18/10/2017 at 00:34, peter monahan said:

Absent strong evidence to the contrary, I'd say 'R.A.' is 'Royal Artillery', so that leaves the 'F/t' to puzzle out.  Perhaps 'From the R.A.'?

Looking at a very extensive list of military abbreviations doesn't suggest anything more likely than 'Royal Artilery' and nothing at all for 'F/t'.  'Fd' is 'Field, as in artillery, and 'FT' is French Translator but neither of those is relevant so... ??? :(

Peter, I did find reference to a Frontier Force Royal Artillery yesterday however, I've just searched William Hall born 1860 and came up with three men, none of them being above the rank of Pte.

Chapster, do these three men named William Hall, born 1860 ring any bells? I couldn't see that any of them had the rank of Corporal.

751 William Hall, 21st Brig. then transferred to 43 Light Infantry, born Wem, Shropshire. Married Elizabeth Keay in 1884 and stayed ‘Home’ until his discharge in 1890. He also served at Depot, Ox. & Bucks LI.

2668 William Hall, 1/23 Fusiliers, born in Bermondsey, in the Burmah Field Force in 1888, record shows India 1880-1888, campaign Burmah.

1797 William Hall, 34th Brig., born St. Pauls, discharged 1890 and was ‘Home’ in 1888.

By the way, there'll be many, many men named William Hall but the above were the only ones showing up as born in 1860.

Edited by Tony

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"Peter, I did find reference to a Frontier Force Royal Artillery yesterday however,"

My apologies, Tony, I didn't understand your point there.  There certainly were RA units attached to the Indian Army and thus, of course, to the Frontier Force and it would be interesting to find a reference to such on a lovely artifact like this!

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Just an observation but wouldn't a Corporal be called a Bombardier in the Royal Artillery? Perhaps we need to look further afield?

Regards Simon.

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Having again looked at the images close up is the second letter definatetly  a 't'? it looks like it could be an 'i' or 1.

Simon.

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12 hours ago, coldstream said:

Just an observation but wouldn't a Corporal be called a Bombardier in the Royal Artillery? Perhaps we need to look further afield?

Regards Simon.

Doh! I didn't even think about that.

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24 minutes ago, coldstream said:

This is an intriguing puzzle, another thing I have only just noticed is that the word September is misspelt !

Simon

Intriguing indeed.  It is sounding less likely that India is part of the answer, though misspelled words are a staple of engraving work from that part of the world.  Curiouser and curiouser, to quote Alice.

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8 hours ago, Tony said:

Doh! I didn't even think about that.

Just found a reference that Royal Artillery did have Corporals up until 1920? That suggests RA could still fit?

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50 minutes ago, chapster76 said:

Just found a reference that Royal Artillery did have Corporals up until 1920? That suggests RA could still fit?

Ok, was he from Peterborough too?

There’s a Cpl. William Hall Royal Artillery from Peterborough who was transferred to the reserve in Dec. 1888 after 12 years service.

His promotions are interesting with respect to ranks in the RA:

Gnr. – 1881 to 83

Actg. Bbr. -1883 to 83

Bombr. – 1883 to 1885

Corporal – 1885 to 1888

Served India 1883 – 1888 

His Corps and regimental number changed from 1st Bde. RA, 9089 to F/i (or F/1) 14516 but I can’t tell if this happened after his transfer to the reserve in Dec. 1888 or previous to that. And I've no idea what the meaning of F/i (F/1) is on the attached extract is or if I've gone completely off track.

GBM_WO97_2958_156_003.jpg

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YES!!! That's the one!

From Yaxley, in Peterborough - where I and the whole of my family on that side from that time are from. His Nephew - fought at La Boiselle with 1st Lincs, died 3 July 1916, and is commemorated in the Village War Memorial 

Outstanding work team - really pleased. Thank you all.

Edited by chapster76
Correction

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A pity we're none the wiser about F/1 but do you have his medals?

I can download the whole record if you like, just pm me your email and I'll sort it out in the morning.

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I have found a reference - online - to the Stations of the Royal Artillery in India in it shows a 1st Brigade F Battery, based in Ahmdednuggur, during the years he was in India...could it therefore have been an abbreviation for:

"F Battery/1st Brigade Royal Artillery"?

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Possibly. If you check page 4 of his record it looks like he was in Ahmdednuggur from 1885 to the end of 1887 although the writing is difficult to understand in places.

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Lovely that you've found your answers! 

And I suppose it's too late to claim that I thought I remembered the RA having 'Corprorals' at some popint, isn't it? ;)

Peter

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18 hours ago, peter monahan said:

Lovely that you've found your answers! 

And I suppose it's too late to claim that I thought I remembered the RA having 'Corprorals' at some popint, isn't it? ;)

Peter

And being promoted from Bombadier to Corporal makes me wonder if Corporal was something between Bdr. and Sgt.

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5 hours ago, Tony said:

And being promoted from Bombadier to Corporal makes me wonder if Corporal was something between Bdr. and Sgt.

I must confess I simply muttered 'Oh, those Gunners!' when I came across the fact that both ranks were used, but what you say makes senses!

And, for what it's worth, here is Wiki's take on the question.  Not sure it is a huge help! ;)

Bombardier (Bdr) and lance-bombardier (LBdr or L/Bdr) are used by the British Army in the Royal Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery...  The Royal Canadian Artillery uses the ranks of master bombardier and bombardier, corresponding to master corporal and corporal.

Originally, the Royal Artillery had corporals, but not lance-corporals. Unlike a lance-corporal, a bombardier held full non-commissioned rank and not an acting appointment. The rank was equivalent to second corporal in the Royal Engineers and Army Ordnance Corps.

In 1920 corporals were abolished in the Royal Artillery; bombardiers became the equivalent and acquired the normal two chevrons.

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In 1888 "F/1" would be a field battery - F Battery, 1st Brigade, RA which in that year was at Neemuch and commanded by Captain W L Hutchinson.  During the Great War it was designated as 26th Battery RFA,

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