692 Inf Troop Workshop REME

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by Pete Ashby, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    Hello I'm new to this forum, I have been interested in all things relating to the second world war for more than 40 years with particular focus on collecting and restoring soft skin vehicles. However I have joined this excellent forum with the hope that I may to find out more about my Father's war time service.
    His name was Edward James Ashby known universally as 'Ted' and he was conscripted in May 1940 to the Royal Norfolk Regiment as an infantryman, he then undertook trade training in 1941 and transferred to RAOC as Driver Mechanic then to REME in October 1942 as Fitter class 1, it was with 692 Inf Troop Workshop REME that he served as Class 1 fitter MV's.
    I have my Father's AB64 and have applied for his service record I know he was in North Africa with the first Army then took part in the landings on Sicily and then spent nearly 2 years in Italy finishing the war on the Yugoslav boarder followed by 12 months army of occupation in Austria.
    I have many questions but first I would like to understand where an Infantry Troop Workshop fitted into the order of battle my understanding ( which may well be incorrect) is that it operated as a self contained mobile unit above an LAD but below a Brigade workshop, if any one can either confirm or correct me I would be most grateful.
    What I would really like to be able to do is track down the unit war diary for 692 however I am aware that may not be possible however, if any one has any information as to which public records office file may hold such a document or indeed any information on Troop work shops and 692 in particular I would really like to hear from you.

    Regards

    Pete
     
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  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Pete

    I've found two diaries for you at the later part of the war and the ref's suggest they were in Italy

    WO 170/2990 Infantry Troops Workshops: 692 Workshop 1944 Jan.- Dec
    WO 170/6479 Infantry Troops Workshops: 692 Workshop 1945 Jan.- Oct.

    Do you know when he joined 692? I didn't see anything earlier than this after a quick glance so it may need more looking or the unit went by a different name before they went to Italy?

    Cheers
    Andy
     
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  3. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    Many thanks for such a prompt and informative reply Andy, one of the problems I have is knowing when 692 was formed, my Father always maintained that it was formed in N Africa and the unit was a new creation that his draft joined in November 1942, however I have no evidence of this so I'm hoping his service record may shed more light
    Pete
     
  4. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Pete.

    Get Andy to get the WDs for you when he next goes to Kew - he charges are very fair price, and that should at least unlock where they were in Italy.

    I am intrigued to know.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  5. Mr Bradbury

    Mr Bradbury Junior Member

    Pete,

    I echo the other posters.. Get the diaries! Have a look at the pinned thread for the REME/RAOC. It's the Order of Battle for the CMF (Central Mediterranean Force)
    It's like a big list of who and where every unit is. The 692 gets a mention on the 7th page!

    Cheers

    Colin
     
  6. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    Thank you all for the advice and information. I am currently waiting for my Fathers service record to arrive, I think that is a useful first step and when I have that information I will come back here and post what I have discovered, with out doubt I will have many more questions.

    One more thing can anyone shed any light on the suggestion in my first post above about the role and position in the table of organisation of Inf Troop wkps during WW2. The only information I have is that my Farther said that 692 was a fully self contained outfit fully mobile and they were never in the same place for more than a few days at a time attached to many different units.

    Pete
     
  7. Mr Bradbury

    Mr Bradbury Junior Member

  8. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    Thanks Colin the link has been very useful

    Pete
     
  9. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    I have just finished transcribing my Fathers service record the information on army clerical abbreviations found on this site has been invaluable in this task so many thanks to the people who took the time to compile and publish the lists. It transpires that 692 Inf Trp Wksp was in fact not created until 10/04/1944 and was a re designation of 78 Inf Trp Wksp this leaves me with the question why this would have been done?. I have tried to find any information on 78 Inf Trp Wksp but have so far failed to find anything it certainly operated in Tunisia and possibly in Sicily I have tried the NA web site and a general web search with no luck.
    For anyone who may be interested my Father's record of service is transcribed below,

    regards

    Pete

    TIME LINE FOR WAR TIME SERVICE
    5777663 ASHBY EDWARD JAMES
    16 May 1940 to 4 June 1946






    ROYAL NORFOLK REGIMENT

    · ENLISMENT: 16/05/1940 8th Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment

    · TRANSFERRED: 23/06/1940 ‘U’ Company 8th Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment

    · NAME SUBMITTED TO
    WAR OFFICE AS POTENTIAL
    TRADESMAN: 15/05/1941 ‘U’ Company 8th Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment


    · ATTEND MV MANTIANCE
    SCHOOL NEWMARKET: 4/01/1942 30TH Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment
    ( 8th Battalion renumbered as the 30th)





    · ATTACHED No23
    TECHNICLE TRAINING
    GROUP NORWICH
    FOR COURSE
    FITTER MV: 15/01/1942 30TH Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment



    · PASSED
    MOTOR MECHANIC
    GROUP B CLASS 11 No23
    TECHNICLE TRAINING
    GROUP NORWICH: 29/04/1942 30TH Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment



    · TRANSFERRED FROM
    ROYAL NORFOLK REGIMENT
    TO RAOC: 6/05/1942



    ROYAL ARMY ORDANCE CORP


    · POSTED AND
    TAKEN ON STRENGTH
    TO RAOC
    ALDERSHOT: 6/05/1942 51 SECTION RAOC
    (training unit for home forces based in UK)


    · DETACHED FROM
    51 SECTION RAOC
    ALDERSHOT: 21/05/1942 Mobile centre RAOC Aldershot


    · MUSTERED IN TRADE OF
    MOTOR MECHANIC
    GROUP B CLASS 11 25/5/1942 Mobile Centre RAOC Aldershot
    ALDERSHOT:


    · STRUCK OFF STRENGTH
    51 SECTION RAOC: 8/07/1942 Transferred to 10th Army Ordnance Workshop RAOC Aldershot


    · 10th ARMY ORDANCE
    WORKSHOP ALDERSHOT: 20/08/1942 Privileged leave to 26/08/1942



    · TRANSFERRED FROM
    10th ARMY ORDANCE
    WORKSHOP RAOC TO REME
    ALDERSHOT: 1/10/1942









    ROYAL ELECTRICAL MECHANICLE ENGINEERS



    · EMBARKED FOR
    NORTH AFRICA: 26/11/1942


    · DISEMBARKED: 6/12/1942 NORTH AFRICA 10th Army Ordnance Workshop REME

    · DESIGNATION OF
    UNIT CHANGED: 25/05/1943 78 Infantry Troop Workshop REME


    · REMUSTERED AS
    FITTER MV GROUP A
    CLASS 11: 20/05/1943 78 Infantry Troop Workshop REME


    · ADMITTED TO
    71ST GENERAL HOSPITAL
    SOUSSE NORTH AFRICA: 18/08/1943 Posted to X(ii) list
    (X(ii) indicates transferred to sick list of parent unit (78th Infantry Troop Workshop)


    · DISCHARED 71ST
    GENERAL HOSPITAL 5/09/1943 Posted to 78 Infantry Troop Workshop REME


    · ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL 10/11/1943 Posted to X(ii) list with deep incised wound to third finger left hand causing
    Compound fracture of phalanx finding ‘not to blame’

    · DISCHARED HOSPITAL 12/11/1943 Returned to 78 Infantry Troop Workshop REME

    · REMUSTERED AS
    FITTER MV GROUP A
    CLASS 11: 1/01/1944 Successful completion of trade test to determine fitness to return to duty as a
    result of Injury sustained 10/11/1943


    · AWARDED AFRICA STAR: 1/01/1944

    · RECLASSIFIED FITTER
    MV GROUP A
    CLASS 1: 8/04/1944 Passed Trade Test 78 Infantry Troop Workshop REME


    · 78 INFANTRY TROOP WORKSHOP
    REME REDESIGNATED 692
    INFANTRY TROOP WORKSHOP: 10/04/1944


    · AWARDED FIRST ARMY CLASP 10/04/1944

    · APPOINTED PAID
    LANCE CORPERAL 1/12/1944 692 Infantry Troop Workshop REME


    · CEASED TO BE ATTACHED
    TO 692 INFANTRY
    TROOP WORKSHOP: 30/06/1945


    · GRANTED 28 DAYS
    UK LEAVE EMBUSSED: 30/06/1945


    · TRANSFERRED
    TO X(iiii)a LIST : 15/10/1945 Reverted to craftsman


    · STRUCK OFF STRENGTH
    ON X(iiii)a LIST: 22/10/1945 Posted to 705 Workshop Company Central Mediterian Force Naples


    · APPOINTED PAID
    LANCE CORPERAL: 22/10/1945 705 Workshop Company Central Mediterian Force Naples


    · TAKEN ON STRENGTH
    ASSEMBLY CENTRE: 17/02/1946


    · STRUCK OFF STRENGTH
    CENTRAL MEDITERIAN
    FORCE TO UK: 26/02/1946


    · TRANSFER TO ARMY
    RESERVE
    CLASS Z
    WITH RANK OF
    LANCE CORPERAL: 05/06/1946
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  10. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Could it be that he was in 78 Infantry Division's Workshops? 78 Inf Div were certainly in Italy.

    FdeP
     
  11. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    That was my first thought but I don't think so as on a number of occasions in the record it is written as 78 Inf Tps W/shop. My Father said that a lot of the work carried out in North Africa and Italy was for the 78th Div but the unit was fully mobile and worked for a number of different units.

    Pete
     
  12. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    Although officially closed a contact within the REME Museum in Arborfield has kindly responded to my request for info on 692 Infantry Troops Workshop

    He has come back to say that 78 Infantry Troops Workshop and 692 Infantry Troops Workshop are the same (but retitled) unit. He has kindly offered to see if there is any other easily accessible information he can find which he will pass on to me. I will then add his simple explanation of the difference between a Infantry Brigade Workshop and an Infantry Troops Workshop.
     
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  13. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

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  14. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    Thank you very much I'm looking forward to see what information you have, I do know that the the Corp museum has the wheel from a German patrol vessel which I believe was presented to Major Hugh McNiven the CO of the unit when he left them to return to the oil fields in Persha it has all the unit crest that the workshop worked with painted on shields round the rim by the sign writer for 692. My Father and his best mate Cyril Andrews were responsible for driving him back down through Italy to a port in the south of the country a journey that took 4 days in a Tilly with broken steering gear. Father said they didn't tell the 'Old Man' but waited until he had bedded down for the night then did a running repair with some liberated fencing wire and some bent nails and drove the last day as if they were driving on eggs. On the last night they set the ships wheel up in the Majors room as a surprise gift for him from the unit, I believe the unit carpenter 'Chippy Gosling' modified the wheel so that it could be taken apart to be packed into a travelling box.
    Apparently Major McNiven was considerably moved (as was my father when I took him to the Corp museum and he saw it for the first time in 60 years) and copious amounts of Johnny Walker were consumed by the three of them. I have a picture somewhere of the wheel in the museum I'll look it out and see if I can post it here. The next day a slightly 'tired' Major was waved off on the next leg of his journey and the Tilly was booked into a local REME unit where they were told not to hurry so Cyril and my Father got a few days unofficial leave out of the deal plus four days back to the unit in the North.
    Thanks again for your offer of help

    Pete
     
  15. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    Many thanks for the file references, I really don't seem to have the knack with the National archive web site I turned up no return when I looked for files relating 78 Inf Trp Wks. I can usually find my way around data bases search engines but for some reason the NA one seems to defeat my best attempts so thanks again.

    Pete
     
  16. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

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  17. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    Pete

    Thank you for your latest, very interesting input.
     
  18. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    There follows a timeline for the two units in question which is a transcript of the information held in the now closed REME Museum (although the response is an answer to Pete's query, other veterans of the Italian Campaign may recognise some of the place names).

    78 Infantry Troops Workshop

    Formed Tunis July 1943
    Sousse 3rd August
    Bizerta 20 20th September
    Embarked for Palermo 28th September

    On arrival in Sicily
    Moved to Mazzaro area (adjacent to 312 Armoured Troops Workshop)
    Messina 12th October (relieving 168 Infantry Brigade Workshop)
    Embarked for Reggio Italy 15th October.

    Established in village of Chiuti 20th October
    St Maria Capua Vetere (in support of 5 Infantry Division) 9th January 1944
    Presenzano 4th April
    Renamed 692 Infantry Troops Workshop 10th April

    692 Infantry Troops Workshop

    Formed from 78 Infantry Troops Workshop April 1944
    Acquino (in support 78 Infantry Division) 30th May
    Rignano 15th June
    Macchie 30th June (workshop site attacked by enemy aircraft 2nd July- no casualties)
    Montegriggioni 25th July
    Creve 11th August
    Burgo San Lorenzo 19th September
    Ceria 20th March 1945
    Consaldolo 23rd April
    Padova 4th May
    Sacile 8th May

    Villach (Austria) 15th May

    Ravenna (Italy) 1st October
    Affralago 5th October
    Disbanded 25th October

    Comment

    This data reinforces Pete's fathers comment that 692 was a mobile workshop which supported many units

    It also highlights the effects of the dreadful winter of 1944/1945 when the Allied Advance north stalled in front of the German Gothic Line across the northern Appenine Mountains due to the appalling weather conditions and lack of Infantry.

    An Infantry Troops Workshop's role was to provide additional repair and heavy maintenance capability within the forward British/ Canadian Divisions by reinforcing the Infantry Brigade Workshops tasked with fast moving repairs beyond the capability of the individual unit tradesmen or Light Aid Detachments (LADs). They also could be tasked to provide the equivalent REME support to the units operating in the Rear Areas along the British/Canadian Lines of Communication. There was a separate REME Base Workshop organisation set up in southern Italy capable of carrying out major repairs to tanks and heavy artillery in particular. These large units required specialist facilities in requisitioned civilian factories and often employed suitably qualified civilian tradesmen though the management/ senior supervisory staff was always British/Canadian military

    There was a similar frontline REME repair organisation in the Armoured Divisions involving Armoured Troops Workshops and Armoured Brigade Workshops
     
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  19. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    I can not thank you enough for the information provided above, it's invaluable in helping me create a history of my late Fathers war time service. I need to incorporate the information you have provided and then consider my next move. I have some pictures of my father and his mates would this thread be the correct place to post them ?

    Pete
     
  20. Pete Ashby

    Pete Ashby Junior Member

    This is a photo that my Father took of the wheel mentioned above in my previous post, I'm afraid not all the badges are visible due to the flash photography (no digital 20 odd years ago), however it gives a good indication of the variety of units for which work was undertaken by 78/692.

    img083.jpg

    Pete
     
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