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54937: Photograph of "A" Battery, anti-aircraft artillery, including Walter Powell

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posted on 2024-02-21, 10:22 authored by Great War Archive Project Team

Note on the back in Walter Powell's writing records: "A" battery 1st Army 1914/1918 then transferred to 5th Army 1918 under General Hubert Gough during the last push. Photograph taken when out on rest by a Belgian - I later had this enlarged. When we saw this building later it was completely demolished. It was just behind Mons.

Walter Powell, despatch rider for this anti-aircraft battery is seated far-right bottom row of seating.

In his notes Walter writes about this unit: "I was then posted to an Anti-Aircraft Battery as the D.R. [despatch rider] at Portsmouth, kitted out, sailed from Southampton to Le Havre on an old cattle boat. There were horses below so we slept on deck - several stops for U-boats. Then gas drill for a few days and a convoy up on to the Arras Sector. A good deal of hit and run strafing by Jerry planes of the trenches and gun emplacements. The battery was a cockney one, grand fellows, I of course was Taffy - my great pals were Sparks and Sgt. Spears. We had our celebrities: footballers Horace Barnes who played for Manchester City and England, Paddy Sloane for Southampton, and N.O. for Tottenham Hotspur - also Sgt. Johnnie Basham, the famous boxer. One of our officers, a major was Busty Martin, a Scottish rugby international. Another interesting character, was Lt. Coates (of Coates Cotton Family). One day, he asked: - 'Taffy, where do you come from?'
- 'Llandrindod Wells.'
- 'Good heavens, we bought two cars from Tom Norton!'
He asked would I know their fishing and shooting house on the Wye between Llowes and Clyro. I said I had passed it on my motorcycle."

Elsewhere Walter records the theatres of War they served in: "Mons - Meubeurg - Cambrai (1st Army). Transfer to 5th Army - Gen Sir Hubert Gough, Lens - Bethune - Arras - Courtrai - Carvin. Then we moved into Tournai and empty bombed houses until April 1919".

Part of a collection relating to Walter H. Powell, Llandrindod Wells, (private / driver M2-267205 Mechanised Transport Army Service Corps). Born 1898, Walter tried to join up under-age on a number of occasions, finally succeeding in 1916. He served many months - (more than 2 years?) - in different army units in Britain, before going over to France. He served as a despatch rider for an anti-aircraft battery in 1918-1919. Walter was gassed "suffering the effects all his life". He was a founder member of Toc-H in Llandrindod, and a keen footballer - he died in 1994 aged 96. However Walter's older brothers (Cliff and Percy Powell) and his uncle (Humphrey Powell) died of wounds sustained during the war.



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Powell, Walter



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