Has anyone ever seen or use a DRAMA report?

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by Bluez28, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Bluez28

    Bluez28 Member


    I have had a reply back from the royal artillery museum and they have something called DRAMA reports for certain units. Has anyone ever seen what they are like? Can’t find them anywhere.

  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    I know this is really dumb, but, if the museum have them, can't they help?
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  3. Bluez28

    Bluez28 Member

    Sorry what I mean is they have said they have one about 52 field artillery and that it is pretty detailed.

    What I meant was has anyone seen one for another unit etc. As they are £25 for a copy of it and it takes about a month for a reply so I am trying to save time on waiting for if it’s worth a route going down etc
  4. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I've not heard of DRAMA report but if this is a printout of the information they hold on their database for many RA Regiments then the report I received for my Dad's Regiment was worthwhile.

  5. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Just a wild guess but could DRAMA stand for D???? Royal Artillery Museum Archives.

  6. Bluez28

    Bluez28 Member

    Possibly. I have been trying to work it out
  7. Bluez28

    Bluez28 Member

    Maybe digitised
  8. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Funnily enough I've just received a reply from the RA museum too, about an enquiry I put in a month or so ago, and they mentioned DRAMA. From the way it was put, I think it's a database of war diary summaries:

    "Coming on to 139 Field Regiment, we have our War Diary precis database, DRAMA, which has the 1940 action described in a couple of pages but you probably have the War Diary already. If you don’t then the charge for this is in the attached document."

    From this I'm guessing that someone reads the war diary of a regiment and writes a summary of what it contains, so if you've already got the regiment's diary it's not going to reveal any additional information. If it's £25 then it would probably be better value to ask one of the archive chaps on this forum to copy the full diary for you - at least then you've got the original source and not one person's interpretation of it. Certainly I've found that it can be the little incidental details and appendices in the war diaries that can reveal a lot of useful stuff, and you'd miss all that with a summary.

    There's some stuff I'd really like access to in the RA museum but frustratingly most of their WW2 records are off in deep storage following the move from London and it may be a very long time before it sees the light of day. Understandably they seem to be concentrating on WW1 data at the moment.
  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Prior to obtaining the report from the RA archives they warned me that I might learn little additional information if I already had the Regiment's War Diary. In the event the RA report did contain quite a lot of detail not available in the War Diary I had. Why this should be I'm not sure but I found having both documents worthwhile.

  10. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    I've just received a standard reply from the museum which may be of interest to some of you:-

    Temporary Enquiry Closure
    We are currently closed to enquiries, please e-mail us again from Monday 9th September.

    For the last three years the majority of our archives have been in deep storage, and not accessible to members of the public. Over the next few weeks we will be moving them to a new storage area, close to the Royal Artillery’s Headquarters at Larkhill. They should be available from mid to late autumn.

    Unfortunately the move is going to take up a lot of resources, and we won’t be able to answer enquiries during this time. We are sorry for the problems this causes. Please re-send your e-mail once we re-open on Monday 9th September.

    If we have overestimated how much time the move will take, we will re-open our enquiries earlier. Thank you for bearing with us!

    Please read further for suggestions of other places which might also be able to help you.

    Family History

    We do not hold service records for people who served with the Royal Artillery. Service records post-1920 are held by the MoD: www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records<http://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records>.

    If you know which unit your ancestor was with (Battery, Regiment/Brigade) then we may have further information on the unit’s activities.

    The following records which we hold are available on-line via www.findmypast.co.uk<http://www.findmypast.co.uk/>. They are both for Other Ranks rather than Officers:

    * Attestation Ledgers (1880-1942). Enlistment records of soldiers joining the Royal Artillery. Please be aware that the records do not catalogue all soldiers who enlisted. They give more information for the years before 1929; they are less detailed for later years.
    * Casualty Cards (1939-1947). Created for soldiers who died during the War.

    These research guides at The National Archives are a useful source for Family History:



    Records at the Royal Artillery Museum Archive

    Following our move from Woolwich to Larkhill in Wiltshire, please be aware that a large portion of our collection is in deep storage, and is not accessible. We are therefore not able to answer some questions. We will be transferring more records here over time.

    The records to which we currently have access are at the bottom of this message.

    In the meantime it might be worth seeing if the following organisations can help you:

    The National Archives – www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact-us/make-a-records-and-research-enquiry/<http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact-us/make-a-records-and-research-enquiry/>

    The National Army Museum – www.nam.ac.uk/collections/enquiries<http://www.nam.ac.uk/collections/enquiries>

    The Royal Armouries – Contact Us

    Imperial War Museum - http://www.iwm.org.uk/research/research-facilities

    The following are now at the Archive & Library at Larkhill:

    * Battery Digests of Service (peace-time details of the activities of individual Batteries, c.1890-1939)
    * Annual Historical Returns (as with the Digests of Service, but c.1945 onwards, and also includes details for Regiments)
    * Part of the WWI War Diary collection
    * Part of the ‘MD’ collection (personal papers of former Gunners)
    * Part of the ‘AL’ collection (photos and photograph albums)
    * Gun Handbooks
    * Gun Training Pamphlets
    * Gunner Magazine (1919-2016)
    * Royal Artillery Journal (c.1860 – 2014)
    * Royal Artillery News (1899-1970)
    * Royal Artillery Distribution List (1868-1938)
    * Regimental ‘Blue’ Officers’ Lists (early copies, from 1904)
    * WWII Tracer Cards (on microfilm)
    * Establishment Lists
  11. Bluez28

    Bluez28 Member

    Thanks. They did send me the Drama report last year. Found out his units moments and training at places etc. They did hold info on him such as a training course he attend whilst in Italy to be a number 2 gunner and that they went to Venice on leave after the German's surrendered
  12. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Cheers for posting the email.

    I've been waiting a few months for a follow up enquiry.

    This explains why... some of the worst comms in the entire museum sector, only slightly beaten by Royal Navy Museum who said they'll respond IN A YEAR OR SO.

    A shameful state.
  13. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    I have now received a proper response to my enquiry made at the beginning of August, which includes a Family History Leaflet.

    I've zipped and attached this. Its in the form of a Word document, so you should be able to open in a word processor whether you are running Linux, OS-X or Windows once its been unzipped (...but let me know if you have any problems).

    The email says:-
    Please find attached our family history leaflet, which I hope will be of use to you.
    If you look at the 'Unit Records' section, you will see information on our database, DRAMA. I have checked DRAMA and there is a fairly detailed entry for 59 HAA Regt for the whole of the War years. However I should warn you that reports for anti-aircraft units tend to include a lot of references to locations such as 'N9 Hadleigh' or 'S21'. It is usually clear enough what part of the country the Regiment is in, but I do not know what maps or location lists (if they survive) are required to identify the specific sites.

    ...and follows on with the bad news:-
    I'm afraid that the new Museum won’t be opening as early as 2020. Currently the earliest date we could open would be late 2021, but this would depend on all aspects of the building works going completely to schedule. Given how these things can drift a little, we haven't committed to a date yet.

    Hmmm...see you in 2025 then!

    Attached Files:

  14. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    I now have a DRAMA Report for the 59th HAA regt. It consists of a 10 page PDF document with a word-count of around 9,600 words.

    Its been compiled by Major D.Rollo who seems to have had a hand in several of these reports, but I can't workout whether he would have done this in the 1940s or much more recently (maybe someone knows the answer).

    The Report is mostly about when & where the batteries, BHQ & Regiment were for each year from 1939 to 1947. It seems to cover most of their movements, so is quite detailed. It also mentions attacks, plane type & numbers, the number of rounds fired, and casualties in some cases (not names, just numbers of officers & ORs).

    There are lots of typos. I was looking for the meaning of RHW for a while, before I realised that "W" sits alongside "Q" on a qwerty keyboard.

    I have found it both interesting and useful. It has raised question marks over some of the dates/locations that I have, many of which rely on the memories of those who served in the 59th way back in the 1940s.
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Assuming that's Major Denis Rollo, it will likely be more recent. He worked in the R.A. Records Department.

    See here:

    MAJOR DENIS ROLLO 1929 – 2016
    Author of “The Guns & Gunners of Malta”

    Denis Rollo joined the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1950 and served in the coast, anti-aircraft and field branches of the Regiment in the Middle East, Germany and the United Kingdom.

    In 1969 he was in Libya on exercise when in September a military coup took place, at the head of which Muhammar Gaddafi subsequently emerged, and the Battle Group he was in was detailed off for operations. Denis and Lt Michael Phillips (later Historical Secretary of the RAI) hauled down the last Gunner regimental flag to fly in Libya and were the last of the Battle Group to leave.

    He went onto retired pay on 31 December 1979. He then became an RO (Retired Officer) at RA Records, MoD Establishments and finally in HQ Director Royal Artillery, which was then in Woolwich. Increasingly involved in Gunner history, he succeeded Lt Col M E S Laws, the authority on the descent and provenance of batteries and regiments, continuing his work in recording and indexing this important information.

    Since his second retirement in 1994, he was able to give even more time to military history which was a great interest of his since an early age. Considering his long service in the Royal Artillery, it is not surprising that this interest centred on the Gunners.

    He was involved in the research work which resulted in the award of Honour Titles to two Batteries and soon after that was made a member of the Royal Artillery Historical Affairs Committee, which advises the Master Gunner and the Regiment on historical matters. He was also a Trustee of the Royal Artillery Historical Trust which is the governing body of the Regimental Collections. He was the Honorary Archivist of the National Artillery Association (TA affairs) and has done a great deal of work on the history of the Royal Artillery Territorial Army.

    He has written short histories of the Orkney and Shetland Volunteers and Territorials and of the National Artillery Association and worked on the unit records of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. He became an authority on Coast Artillery of Great Britain and the Colonial Fortresses. This interest has resulted in published works on the Royal Artillery in Gibraltar and in Hong Kong (The Guns and Gunners of Hong Kong) and his book on Malta, The Guns and Gunners of Malta. His book on Singapore Gunners is held in the Archives, as yet unpublished and another book, a successor to `Laws lists' on the descent of regiments and batteries, still awaits publication.

    His work was based solidly on official records and diaries and visits to locations, which took him to Malta a few times to further his research and then returned on a number of occasions on holiday with his family. On one of his earlier visits a meeting was set up with Brig A Samut-Tagliaferro, who at the time did not know Denis and after a slow start he was soon won over and a very warm and interesting exchange took place. He got on famously with Mario Farrugia of Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna (then Din l’Art Helwa). The Foreword for the Guns and Gunners of Malta was written by Dr Vincent Tabone, President of Malta who received him in his house to discuss the book and very readily agreed to write the Foreword. It was a double Foreword with General Sir Martin Farndale, a great military historian in his own right, and who held Denis in very high regard. The launch of the book took place in Malta in November 1999 at Tigne Fort, the one-time Officers’ Mess of 11 Regt RMA(T).

    The Royal Regiment of Artillery has recognised his endeavours with the Napier Award in 1973, the Alfred Burne Memorial Award in 1978, 1990, 1992 and 1999, the Lefroy Gold Medal in 1984 and the Royal Artillery Medal in 1994 for outstanding service to the Regiment.

    He served the Regiment over some 65 years, and his legacy in the recording and accuracy of Gunner history is immeasurable. He was arguably the best, most prolific historian the Royal Regiment has produced, and we have been fortunate to have him.

    Denis's sense of humour and personal charm made him great company.

    He is survived by his wife, Nancy, son Bernhard and daughter Brenda, thirteen grand-children and twenty great-grandchildren. He was a much-loved family man and is greatly missed by them all.

    3/11 Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.
    SteveDee and timuk like this.

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