Between August 1915 and January 1916 the camps at Sutton Mandeville were home to units of the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) attached to the 31st Division, as the camps at Sutton Mandeville formed part of the divisional camp centred on Fovant.
The RFA was organised in ‘brigades’, equivalent to ‘battalions’. There were four brigades of RFA attached to the 31st Division, as follows:
164 (Howitzer) Brigade
The RFA attached to the 31st Division started moving over to France in December 1915, where they joined the 32nd Division, subsequently participating in the battle of the Somme (see http://www.1914-1918.net/32div.htm).
In the churchyard at Sutton Mandeville there is the grave of Richard Thomas Perks from Sheffield, a Gunner in the 164th Brigade who died on 26 November 1915, presumably while training at one of the camps in the parish.
We do not know for certain which RFA brigades were in the camps at Sutton Mandeville, as there were also RFA camps in Fovant, to the north of the A30 opposite West Farm.
The camps at Sutton Mandeville appear to have been built as RFA camps rather than infantry camps, but they were used by infantry after the RFA left and for the rest of the war. Interestingly, when the huts from the Sutton Mandeville camps were advertised for sale in the 1920s, they were still referred to as RFA camps.
Two broken RFA cap badges were found during our archaeological investigations of the RFA camps.
Further information about the Royal Field Artillery can be found in the posts below:
Posts about the Royal Field Artillery