Rag Time Knuts Postcard

Tonight we have a rather battered, but very interesting postcard from 1915 that I have had in my collection for a number of years. This informal group photograph was taken at hove in 1915 and according to the caption on the bottom is of the “Rag Time Knuts”:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001This group of soldier performers come from the Ammunition Column of the 106th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. As such they would be the drivers responsible for keeping the guns supplied with ammunition. They would have worked with horses, as evidenced by the chains around the waist of this soldier:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (7)And over the shoulders of this one:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (8)They wear a mixture of uniforms, with many in shirt sleeves. At least two have 03 pattern bandoliers slung over their shoulders:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (6)Interestingly a couple of them appear to be wearing dark blue uniforms rather than the standard khaki service dress:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (5)This highlights that there were still issues in getting sufficient uniforms to men in the early years of 1915, 106 Brigade was a ‘New Army’ formation formed after the start of the war and training and uniform were perfunctory at best in the early months. Another man at the back seems to have some white work trousers on, presumably to protect his uniform whilst performing a mucky job:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (9)There is just one man holding an instrument, some sort of lute or stringed affair:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (4)Behind the men can be seen the peak of a bell tent:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (2)And some sort of pavilion:SKMBT_C36415112712220_0001 - Copy (3)The 106th Brigade RFA left for France in August 1915, the following account comes from the Wartime Memories Project:

CVI Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, served with 24th Division. The Division was established in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Third New Army and began to assemble in the area of Shoreham. The division suffered from a lack of equipment and a lack of trained officers and NCOs to command the volunteers. In late June 1915 they moved to Aldershot for final training and they proceeded to France at the end of August. The Division concentrated in the area between Etaples and St Pol on 4 September and a few days later marched across France into the reserve for the British assault at Loos, going into action on the 26th of September and suffering heavy losses. In 1916 they suffered in the German gas attack at Wulverghem and then moved to The Somme seeing action in The Battle of Delville Wood and The Battle of Guillemont. In 1917 they were in action at The Battle of Vimy Ridge in the Spring, The Battle of Messines in June and Third Battle of Ypres in October before moving south where they were in action during The Cambrai Operations when the Germans counter attacked. In 1918 they were in action on the Somme and The Battle of Cambrai and the Final Advance in Picardy. At the Armistice the Division were in the line 1.5 miles east of the Maubeuge-Mons road. They moved back to the area between Denain and Douai at the end of November moved to St Amand-Orchies, then on the 18th of December the Division moved to Tournai for demobilisation, which was completed by 26 March 1919.

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