This website is dedicated to the officers and men who served in the 58th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery in the Great War.
The brigade was amongst the first units to be created after the outbreak of the war in response to Field Marshal Lord Kitchener’s call to create a first New Army. Almost everyone therefore at the start was a new civilian volunteer who had enlisted in late August and early September 1914. It was one of the three artillery brigades in the new 11th (Northern) Division.
Although the men who enlisted to join the division’s infantry battalions were recruited principally from Yorkshire, Northumberland, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire, the men who joined 58th Bde RFA and its sister units, 59th and 60th Bdes RFA, were recruited from across the country. (A fourth brigade, 61st, was originally assigned to 11th (Northern) Division but when the division was ordered overseas in June 1915, 61st Bde left the division.)
They were helped initially by a small cadre of experienced officers and NCOs, some of whom had been called back into service having previously retired.
As men fell sick, were wounded or were killed, replacements came in over the subsequent months and years changing the nature of the unit.
With the loss of so many of the Army’s records during the Blitz it will never be possible to compile a complete roster of everyone who served in the unit, or even know exactly how many served in it over the course of its 5 year history.
This website therefore attempts to gather as much information as possible from remaining records to help those seeking to find out about their family members. New information will be added as it becomes available and any major updates will be advertised here.
If you have information about anyone listed here – or anyone who you believe to have served in 58 Bde RFA but who isn’t yet listed – I would be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch via the Contact tab.
UPDATE: February 2023:
A new page has recently been added to the Menu – Letters. This page contains the transcripts of a range of letters sent by or to members of 58 Bde, each telling its own story about the lives of those served.
Since being launched 5 years ago, the website has been visited 2929 times. You are of course extremely welcome and I hope that you found something interesting or useful here.
The site has also continued to expand so there are now 854 men listed on the Personnel page and there are 87 photos and 1 cartoon of them on the Gallery page.
To complement the History page, there is a page about the brigade’s experiences at Gallipoli: War Diary – Gallipoli. It is a transcription of the brigade’s war diary starting from when the unit was ordered overseas at the end of June 1915 until the end of October 1915, at which point the war diary for the next few months appears to have been lost.
If you happen to have information about any man who served in 58 Bde, or a photo you would be willing to share, I would be delighted to hear from you. Please do get in touch via the Contact page.
Copyright and Acknowledgements
The information on 58FAB.com has been gathered by me over many months of research. The principal source has of course been the War Diary of 58 Bde RFA, but this has been supplemented by other official histories, publicly available information and information subject to Crown Copyright. Where images are included I have sought to contact the copyright owner to ensure that they are content for me to use their image with suitable attribution. That attribution will usually be placed at the foot of the page the image is on. If anyone believes I have infringed their rights please contact me via the Contact tab.
The photograph in the header of this site shows a gun team from A/58 training on an Ordnance QF 18pdr field gun. The corporal third from left is Cpl Peter Hutchinson Wardlaw. Photo courtesy of Dr Mark Wardlaw. If you can identify any of the other men in this photo please do get in touch via the Contact tab.
The copyright of the textual information on 58FAB.com is held by me. I give permission for the textual information to be used and copied on a “fair use” basis on the condition that you reference “the website 58FAB.com”. If you wish to copy the images used here please ensure that you seek the necessary permission of the stated copyright owner.
Quotations attributed to Captain (later Major) Thomas J Hutton, the battery commander of A/58, are from the papers of Lt Gen Sir T J Hutton, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, and are reproduced by kind permission of King’s College London.
Lastly I would like to thank those who have helped me in conducting my research, in particular staff at The National Archives; the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford; the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester and King’s College London Archives as well as fellow members of The Great War Forum and many individuals who have very kindly offered me photos of family members who served in 58 Bde and told me more of their life stories.