Peter Daniel Desbrow, RGA

1881 Jul 14. (Army list) Born at Alverstoke, Hampshire

1888 Aug 7. Enrolled in Princeton Primary school

1891 census. Living at Dartmoor Prison, where his father is a warder

1896 Joined RA at age of 14 with rank of "Boy"

1901 Cenus. He is a Bambardier in RHA

1903 Oct/Dec Married at Portsmouth, Hampshire to either MINNIE EMILY BRANTON or LILLIE HILL

1903 A keen sportsman Peter was in 1903 playing football for the Royal Garrison Artillery in Portsmouth

1906 he was posted for coastal defence duties in Gibraltar.

1914 Jul 1. Having served in the ranks for 15 Years and 20 Days he was awarded the Long Service Good Conduct Medal whilst he was serving with 29th Coy which was a coastal defence Coy in Portsmouth.

1915 Mar 6. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the RGA having held the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 for only 37 days

1915 Nov 1 Posted to France with 39th Siege Battery R.G.A.During this time the Battery was involved in Counter Battery fire, fire missions to destroy trenches and earthworks and SOS fire. Targets included Mouse Trap Farm, Oscar Farm, Spree Farm, Essen Farm, Plum Farm, Uhlan Farm, Mauser Cottage, Canadian Farm, Pilckem X Roads, Mackensens Farm, Jolie Farm, Stray Farm, Oblong Farm, Racecourse Farm, Kitcheners Wood, Woodlands Farm, The Mound, Van Heule Farm, Hindenburg Farm, Grey Ruin, St Julien Road, High Command Redoubt and various other trenches and targets of opportunity including working parties.

1916 Jan 24. Whilst serving with 39 Siege Battery he was posted home to perform special duties with the Department Of Ordnance Supply within the Ministry Of Munitions . Family tradition says that he was posted back to UK having been gassed.

1916 Aug 8. Promoted to Lieutenant

1918 Jan 22. Promoted to Captain

1918 Jul 17. His duty came an end with the Ministry Of Munitions he was sent back to France and Flandersand joined 297th Siege Battery as a Captain. Peter then played a part in the Retreat and Advance, one such part being the Liaison Officer for the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade on the opening day of the Battle Of Amien and subsequent fighting at Drocourt Queant and Canal Du Nord earning himself a Military Cross,.

He returned home in 1919 and continued work as a Siege Battery Commander with 196th Siege Battery

1919 Jun 3. MC Gazetted the citation being “for distinguished work in connection the military operations in France & Flanders". He was still serving in France and Flanders as the armistice was signed, now having taken command of 297th Siege Battery

In the immediate post war years Peter was an official for the Army Football Council and a prominent member of the Royal Artillery Cricket and Football Teams, he was also secretary of the United Services Mens Recreation Grounds.

1920 he was posted to Ireland, first as an Intelligence Officer and later as a military judge. There are a number of Court Martial references in Irish Records in FindMyPast. Apparently he was on a train in Ireland when the IRA got on and started to check people, he knew he would be caught if he stayed on his own so he joined a wedding party to avoid his possible murder.

1) Was President for the Court of Inquiry for the death of Lt Cyril Robert Mason
2) Was a Member for the Court of Inquiry for the Pickardstown Ambush
3) Was a Member for the Court of Inquiry for the Sinnott's Cross Ambush
4) Was a Member for the Court of Inquiry for the death of Major A H R Richmond
5) Was a Member for the Court of Inquiry for the death of Frederick Newsom, a British Spy. Newsom was executed by Thomas Roche, an Easter Rising man who was also a well know Flying Column man too.

1925 Dec 21. Promoted to Major.

1926 Jul 14. He still holding the rank of Major and left the Reserve of officers in 1931.

1939 When war was declared he worked at the Chemical Defence Experimental Station at Porton Down as a Retired Major. He designed and helped make a mobile surgery which had to be left behind during the retreat from Dunkirk. He met Churchill on several occasions and left the Second World War with the Defence Medal.

1981 Jan/Mar. Died at Salisbury, Wiltshire,

Castle Intelligence

I have a query relating to my great grandfather Major P. D. Desbrow MC. During the Irish War of Independence my great grandfather served first as an Intelligence Officer and later as a military court judge / official. I have confirmed via online records some of his court service in Waterford during the year of 1921 where he was involved in some very interesting cases however i am keen to learn more about his role as an Intelligence Officer. It would appear he was in Ireland during 1920.