'A' Special Services Squadron RAC

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Barb20, May 14, 2012.

  1. Barb20

    Barb20 Member

    Does anyone have any knowledge of the above Service? I need to know whether they could have been attached to other Regiments.

    My Uncle was with the 48th RTR in 1941 and then attended an Emergency Cook's Course, after which he returned to the 48th. However, he then seems to have been posted to 'A' Special Service Squadron RAC and appears to have ben on a few ships possibly in Scotland until he was sent overseas and ended up with1st Army Tank Brigade.

    Any information would be helpful.

    Many thanks

    Barb 20
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Don't know anything about a "special services" squadron anywhere BUT you have Typo inasmuch as the 48th RTR were part of the 21st Army Tank brigade - and like many others - were responsible for the AA duties on board ships taking then to North Africa etc ....and Cooks kept well away from guns.....too noisy !
  3. Aixman

    Aixman WE addict Patron


    according to Keith Flint: Airborne Armour, page 63:
    "... three tank squadrons were created in mid-41 for special operations overseas, particularly in an amphibian role, and designated 'A', 'B' and 'C' Special Service Squadrons, RAC. 'A' Squadron was formed on 29th April at Wickham Market from men and vehicles drawn from 48th Royal Tank Regiment and 'B' Squadron ... These two squadrons were each equipped with 8 Infantry Tanks MkIII (the Valentine) and 6 Light Tanks MkVIc, along with 3 scout cars, 3 universal carriers and various lorries for administrative support. Troop strength was authorised as 8 officers and 97 other ranks for 'A' Squadron ..."

    Following tis introduction, the author outlines the story of 'C' Special Service Squadron, RAC, being the ancestor of the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.

    Hope this fits with your data.

  4. Barb20

    Barb20 Member

    Hi Aixman
    Your information fits very nicely with my data - can't thank you enough. I knew my uncle wasn't just a cook and he merely underwent this course so as to receive the extra pay! I also knew that he was very loyal to the 48th and that he always marched with them and went to all their reunions until his death at the age of 90 years. Just couldn't see the connection with the SS Squadron.

  5. Barb20

    Barb20 Member

    Hello again Aixman - sorry, I meant to ask whether Flint's book gives anymore info around the 'A' Squadron, other than what you have already quoted. Wondering whether it is worth obtaining the book?

    Thanks Barb20
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList


    I will apologise in advance if this is a red herring, but it might be worth looking up some of Phaethon's threads about 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards.

    The Special Service Sqns were raised to support combined operations (which is why B SS Sqn ended up in Madagascar). 2 Coldm Gds spent a fair amount of time in Scotland training for speculative amphibious operations (e.g. the Canary Islands) before being sent to Tunisia. A SS Sqn may have been part of the same formation?

    Here's his OP PILGRIM thread. The orders in the first post mention AFVs and Appendix E should say who they are. Unfortunately the appendices weren't posted so you may have to ask him directly.
  7. Barb20

    Barb20 Member


    Thanks for the tip re OP Pilgrim thread. I will cetainly study this when I have a spare hour or two because glancing at it it certainly seems interesting.

    I know the 48th of which 'A' Special Services were a part did a lot of training for beach landings in Inverary. Reliably informed by a veteran of the 48th that they were in training for beach landings under Admiral Sir Roger Keys. They were out in the Atlantic around June 1941 when the convoy were turned back because all ships were needed in connection with the Sinking of the Bismark! Their escorts at this time were Princess Beatrice and Queen Emma. Apparently they were kept in Loch Fyne and confined on boat for 6 weeks.

    My uncle, as part of A SSSq went to Freetown, West Africa in October 1942.

    Whether any of this will tie in, I am yet to discover.

  8. Aixman

    Aixman WE addict Patron

    Hello again Aixman - sorry, I meant to ask whether Flint's book gives anymore info around the 'A' Squadron, other than what you have already quoted. Wondering whether it is worth obtaining the book?

    Thanks Barb20


    as the book is about "airborne" and those tracing back to C Squadron, there isn't much opportunity left for A Squadron, unfortunately. I only left out some organisational facts useless to you unless you had some idea about certain vehicles (Valentine, MkVIb, Universal Carrier, ...) which he puts into context to the squadron's troops.

  9. Roddy1011

    Roddy1011 Senior Member

    Hi to all -

    Ref the Special Service Sqns, RAC - you can read their war diaries at TNA as follows:

    A Spec Svc Sqn - WO 218/155
    B Spec Svc Sqn - WO 218/156
    C Spec Svc Sqn - WO 218/157

  10. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here are some more details:

    ‘A’ Special Service Squadron
    After April 1941 at Wickham Market

    The squadron was formed from a squadron of 48th Royal Tank Regiment. It was reequipped with light tanks, a few partially worn Valentines, two or three Dingoes and six Bedford trucks. It was unofficially known as the ‘Light Squadron.’ It was organized with two Valentine troops and two light tank troops.
    The squadron left Wickham Market in May 1941 and moved to Melrose, Scotland, where it came under command of 29th Independent Infantry Brigade along with ‘B’ and ‘C’ Special Service Squadrons. It then moved from Melrose to Inverary to train with landing craft. The squadron arrived in Freetown, West Africa in September 1941 and remained there until March 1942. While in Freetown, it trained with the Royal West African Frontier Force. It returned to the United Kingdom in March 1942 at Wemyss Bay, Clyde and moved to Haddam Castle by 17 March 1942. It then moved to Auchterarder and was disbanded in August 1942.

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