Advice for researching 295 Coy RASC

Discussion in 'RASC' started by thomatkinson, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. thomatkinson

    thomatkinson Member

    Hi there,

    I’m new to the forum and hoping to get some advice about researching my grandad’s war history (Frank Roy Bolton T/170376). I have his service record and I know he was in 295 Coy RASC (GT). In his own written memoirs he describes this as 295 Independent Brigade RASC. He mentions driving ambulances and working for an M.O. (medical orderly?) due to his St John’s Ambulance experience pre war.

    Are there resources to find out more about what his unit got up to and their movements?

    And can anyone help me to understand how an RASC unit operated? Were they attached to a particular front line unit to supply them, or moved around as needed?

    Also interested to know how much a unit like this would have been involved in fighting, if at all.

    Any help and advice really appreciated - I know very little about the RASC!

    Thank you in advance,
  2. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Now that you have established his RASC Company, the next thing to do is to get hold of drew5233 on this site and ask him to get you the War Diaries for 295 from the National Archives. He will send them to you on a CD.


  3. thomatkinson

    thomatkinson Member

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for this. I was aware the diaries were available at the national archives but it sounded a bit impossible as you could only request a page at a time. A full copy would be a dream. Any pointers on how to contact drew5233?

  4. hutt

    hutt Member

    Attached are two sample pages DSC00569.JPG DSC00547.JPG from 317 Artillery Company RASC diary for part of May 1944. This gives a very general overview of what they did, where they were working and who they were supplying. Hopefully the 295 Coy diaries have a similar narrative. I am sure you will find obtaining them very worthwhile.
    CL1 likes this.
  5. thomatkinson

    thomatkinson Member

    Thanks very much for this - really interesting to see. I’ve contacted Drew directly so hopefully he can help with the war diary.

    I wonder if anybody could summarise how an RASC unit was organised / attached to fighting units? Or give me any sense of their exposure to combat?
  6. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    If you have a public library nearby, ask them if they have a copy of "The Story of the Royal Army Service Corps 1939-1945" Published by G Bell and Sons for the RASC Institution, London (1955)"

    It is a massive 720 page official book on the RASC and should have some useful information.

    It might, given its age, be hidden away in a secure cabinet somewhere (as it was in the main library in Norwich). So ask a member of staff.

    You could buy a copy but they vary online from a very reasonable 18 pounds to a simply crazy 250.

    The Story of the Royal Army Service Corps 1939-1945 by Various: G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., UK Hardcover, 1st. - Hedgerow Books PBFA

    Alternatively this book could be worth getting

    And it is less than a tenner to download onto a kindle.

    Hope this helps

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  7. thomatkinson

    thomatkinson Member

    Thanks Gus - that’s great - I’ll look into both.

    Unfortunately Drew doesn’t have the 295 Coy RASC war diaries so I’m back to the drawing board...
  8. thomatkinson

    thomatkinson Member


    I heard back from Drew but sadly he doesn’t have the war diary for this unit. I just wanted to double check that you’d got the right person, just in case. What do you think?

  9. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Thom

    May I suggest you post the your grandfathers service record here, as it will give all the forum members important details including his postings and the theaters he served in.

    There might also be a way getting relevant information by looking at the war diary of who was in was command of 295 Coy RASC. Search the Kew database for medal awards as they usually have a supporting citation stating where, when and why was the individual awarded the medal. Also stated is who in their chain of command recommended or authorised the award. Should have the units CO, his CO above him and his CO above him. Also will state their roles. (eg. Commanding Officer (CO), Brigade RASC Officer - BRASCO) Commander RASC (CRASC) Deputy Commander RASC (DCRASC) etc.) Use the free "Review" function which is clear enough to read the text.

    Search for key words in Google books and amazon books. Contact the RASC museum or any historical society. Did they produce a Journal? Do they have the War Diary.

    Search IWM database for images of the unit, they might also state where they were taken.

    Search IWM database for any interviewed recordings of individuals from he unit. A absolute gold mine of info if you can find one.

    Search CWGC (or better FMP casualty database) for those who died (or wounded) in his unit. Look for concentration reports which will detail exactly where they were buried initially. You could then roughly plot the units movements. Search POW databases to see if there is a cluster in any one POW camp. A unit would normally only usually destroy a war diary as a last resort so the situation could have been very grave. So casualties and POWs are likely. Search newspapers online (like on FMP) for any casualties or POWs.

    Make sure you search every name possible if you don't find anything, (eg GT coy, Gen Trans Coy, General Transport (GT) Company) as every database will be different.

    Put everything that already have or find on this page as it may help others find more.

    Don't give up just because a War DIary is missing. But do be patient.

    Good Luck

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    hutt likes this.
  10. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Andrew Newson goes to the National Archives all the time. He will put it on his list if you ask him to. He charges £0.10 per page.


    hutt likes this.
  11. hutt

    hutt Member

    Very good overall advice from Gus and as Frank says, Andrew Newson will I am sure copy any diaries you need at a rate substantially below what Kew would expect.

    Here are some suggested references that had 295 Coy in the search and included a reference to RASC

    WO169/11811 July 43 to December 43

    WO175/935 April 43

    WO166/13074 Jan 43 (WO department code suggest they were in the UK)

    WO170/2482 1944

    WO170/5731 1945
  12. thomatkinson

    thomatkinson Member

    Hi everyone, sorry for the slow reply. Thanks so much for all of these suggestions - they're really helpful. I'll try it all and see what I can find. Once I have a digitised copy of the service record I'll post it here too. Thank you so much!

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