Service Number 23940
Battalion 66 Divisional Ammunition Column
Regiment Royal Field Artillery
Reginald Walter Midgley was born in 1880 in Cawthorn near Barnsley, the son of Thomas Midgley.
Reginald attested in the Army in Sheffield in 1902 and joined in Preston on the 19th June 1902. He joined on a short service contract of three years service plus 9 years on the reserve.
In 1911, we can find Reginald living at Compton, Collingham as a boarder with James Robert Levitt, and giving his profession as a Groom. On the 4th February 1913, Reginald married Hilda Fozzard in Wetherby. Reginald still gave his trade as a Groom. Later in 1913 they had a son Ronald Trevor Midgley.
Reginald would have been reaching the limit of his reserve service in 1914 as the war started and he was immediately mobilised into No. 4 Section of 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC) of the Royal Field Artillery. The Divisional Ammunition Column was responsible for the supply of ammunition to the Guns and we can imagine that Reginald's skills as a Groom would have been desperately needed in keeping the horses fit and well to transport the vast amounts of ammunition needed.
As an experienced soldier, Reginald's skills would have been invaluable and he was promoted a number of times: to Acting Bombadier (30th Sept 1914), Bombadier (20th Feb 1915) and Corporal (30th Sept 1915) and Sergeant (5th Dec 1916); all in 2nd DAC.
On the 26th February 1915, the Wetherby News published a letter that Reginald had written to them about his experiences and his wishes for the future:
Unfortunately, Reginald's wishes did not come true and it was another three and a half years before the war ended.
In 1918, Reginald completed the Absent Voters list and gave his address as Compton, Collingham.
Reginald's service record is then silent about his service until the 7th April 1918 when he was still serving with 2nd DAC when he was Mentioned in Despatches. A few months later, on the 2nd September 1918, Reginald was posted to Base before onwards posting on the 18th September to 66th DAC. This posting coincided with a furlough back to the UK from 19th October to 2nd November 1918. This furlough was probably on compassionate grounds, as on the 29th October 1918, we have found a record that his wife, Hilda, died in the great influenza pandemic. Reginald returned to France on the 3rd November 1918, just in time for the end of the War. He remained in France until the 19th January 1919 when he was posted to base on his way back to the UK which he reached on the 20th January 1919.
Reginald's service still did not end as he stayed in the Army being transferred to a Dispersal Centre before transfer to the Army Reserve (Class Z) on the 18th February 1919. His final discharge from the Army was on the 31st March 1920.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 25962
The Wetherby News 26/2/1915
The Collingham Parish Magazine Jan 1915
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War British Army Service Records. The National Archives (WO363).
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