BEF ( WELCH RGMT/ AMPC)

Discussion in '1940' started by THR1939, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. THR1939

    THR1939 Member

    Can anyone please help me understand the attached service record with regards to regiments, companies, groups, divisions / attachments etc....that my grandfather served in from 1939-45.. He served in welch regiment from 1924 - 1931 then signed on again as a reserve in 1936 and it's his wartime record I want to understand. I have his Welch and CMP cap badges along with his 56th division insignia and would like to build up a collection of the other insignia he would have worn. Many Thanks
     

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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    56 Company Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps (AMPC) | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 167/1292
    Description:
    56 Company Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps (AMPC)
    Date: 1940 Jan.-June
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)


    BEF = British Expeditionary Force
    British Expeditionary Force (World War II) - Wikipedia
    British Expeditionary Force order of battle (1940) - Wikipedia

    CMP could simply be Corps of Military Pioneers
    Royal Pioneer Corps - Wikipedia

    Seems as though he spent most of his war in North Africa and Middle East 25/08/1942 - 25/08/1945

    TD
     
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  3. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    CMP = Corps of Military Police. The ‘Royal’ prefix was granted in 1946, from when it was abbreviated to RMP.
    MEF = Middle East Forces.
    BNAF = British North Africa Forces.

    Richard
     
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  4. THR1939

    THR1939 Member

    I am trying to understand the circumstances surrounding my grandfather (3953700) being reported as missing in action at Dunkirk.....only to reappear some time later. He was in France from 1939 with the Welch Regiment and attached to No 3 coy AMPC (2 group) I am led to believe in the Rennes / Nantes area.The attached docs show him as reported missing on casualty list 276 then returned to his unit at a later unknown date.

    Has anyone got any details from war diaries W0167/1239(3 coy) or WO167/1218 (2 grp) or the casualty lists that could shed any light on this or his activities in France?
    Many Thanks
     

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  5. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    THR1939,

    One of the snags for this period is the absence of war diaries, whether front line or support formations. With one expects a far degree of chaos amidst order. Have you applied for his service records? Admittedly there is lengthy wait currently.

    This Wiki entry indicates the AMPC role in France 1939-1040: Royal Pioneer Corps - Wikipedia
     
  6. THR1939

    THR1939 Member

    Hi yes I have his service record...( see attached excepts) although I must confess I struggle to decipher them !
    So using the link you sent it confirms 3 coy AMPC were in the Rennes area.
    I assume he only stayed on attachment with the AMPC whilst part of the BEF then returned to Welch Regiment following Dunkirk.
     

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  7. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

  8. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

    Hi, I cant help you with his whereabouts in France but possibly he may have got evacuated from St Nazaire after Op Dynamo? My wife's grandfather was 32 AMPC and got back to the UK from there around 17 June 1940.
    Looking at his record is it possible he transferred to the CMP (Corps of Military Police - now RMP) on 05/07/41? it seems he was then promoted to LCpl on 13/09/41 Maybe after he had completed RMP training? It looks like he then went to 56 Div and went out to Persia (Iraq) in 1943.

    I'm sure there will be someone more qualified than me will come along
     
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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  10. THR1939

    THR1939 Member

    Apologies for the second thread....this was an attempt to understand the missing in action listing on the casualty list 01-06-40 and then the later return to regiment some weeks later.
     
  11. THR1939

    THR1939 Member

    Thanks for your reply.....yes he did transfer to CMP in 1941...I have both his Welch Regiment and CMP cap badges.
     
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The War diary quoted in the other thread is probably the closest you will get to knowing where he might have been. Remember that many were probably told to 'make your own way home' - this would have meant obviously that if he was at Rennes he could have gone north up to Cherbourg direction or east towards Brest and St Nazaire or even south west towards La Rochelle/Bordeaux area. It is doubtful that they would have stayed together as one large group. Following this it would have been difficult after arrival back in UK to have everyone back at camp relating their details of how they 'got back to blighty' there were other things to concentrate on, so knowing exactly how he got back will be difficult, if he had been unlucky then you would know where he had been via his headstone location

    TD
     
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  13. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    From where do you get your information that he was "reported as missing in action at Dunkirk"?

    The document that you attached to this post does NOT report him as missing. It reports him as attached to the AMPC - which dovetails with your other information.

    I don't see any evidence that he was ever "missing" nor that he was ever "in action". There is nothing in the paperwork you post to suggest anything other than an orderly withdrawal and departure from France with the unit he was serving with a rear area labour unit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  14. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Further to my previous.

    There was a 3 Coy, AMPC (prior No.12 Docks Labour Coy) located at 2 BAD (Base Ammunition Depot), Le Vieux Marche near Plouaret in Brittany.

    Towards the end of May they were hastily reorganized into a rifle infantry company and moved forward. On 20 May the entrained to Rennes, then on 21 May entrained to Evreux. On 22 May they marched forward to La Bossiere.

    On 23 May they became part of a scratch battalion known as A Battalion DIGFORCE part of the Beauman Division.

    On 1 June they moved forward again to take up positions on the Andelle Line defensive position.

    They remained there for a week before retiring. During this period groups were detached at intervals for various guard and other duties.

    A series of withdawals occured to various adhoc defensive lines until on 15 June they moved to Caen and then to Cherbourg on 17 June. They were back in Southampton then Crystal Palace on 18 June.

    Between 9 and 14 June the company was in the vicinity of action and were certainly in range of enemy artillery and air attack.

    Given that the Company was constantly having groups of men detached for other duties, the 'history' is somewhat muddled.

    Suggest looking through the diaries of DIGFORCE, A Bn and P Bn for an idea of what they were up to at the time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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  15. THR1939

    THR1939 Member

    Hi, page 1 of the document lists BEF personal in France reported as 'missing' (date he was missing listed as 01-06-40)and page 2 of the document lists ' previously missing now not missing'. I understand the first page is from casualty list 276 , unsure of the number or date of the second document.
     
  16. THR1939

    THR1939 Member

    Brilliant......thank you....so that would be war diary WO167/1176 for 2 BAD and WO167/1406 for A battalion?
     
  17. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    My own research in regards to the Andora Star indicates a number of lower category personnel from 38th and 53rd Welsh Divisions were sent to France to act as guards etc. Whereas the Andora Star tends to get a lot of interest, the guard narrative tends to be heavily muted.

    A substantial number of them were then assigned to the Andora Star as guards, which went on to have tragic consequences.

    You'd need his service records to see if the gist of this hunch is correct.
    https://twitter.com/ReassessHistory/status/1282992422105030657
     
  18. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    For future searching, the ship was the SS Arandora Star. Misspelt above.
    There are many threads here on the ship which was sunk 2nd July 1940, after leaving Liverpool for Canada. None of them appear to include the word Welch, I have not examined each thread and have relied on Google.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    From Google search (a short one) on parameters "Arandora Star Welch"


    Duxberry, Ivor James (Oral history)
    REEL 1: Aspects of operations with 2/5th Bn Welch Regt in GB and France, 1939-1940: pre-war training with Territorial Army; duties guarding HMS Warrior in Pembroke Dock; duties in France prior to evacuation, 5/1940; relations between Welsh and other British troops. Recollections of period as NCO with 2/5th Bn Welch Regt during sinking of SS Arandora Star by submarine U-47 in Atlantic, 2/7/1940: embarkation aboard ship in Liverpool, 30/6/1940; duties guarding Italian internees; use of barbed wire to cover lifeboats and exits; behaviour of crew and guards towards internees; problem of ship not being marked with Red Cross symbol; sighting submarine periscope and sounding alarm; abandoning ship after being torpedoed by submarine U-47; problem of barbed wire blocking exits; rescue and landing in Greenock, GB; role in communicating with internees families; question of nearly being sent aboard SS Dunera; attitude to survivors from SS Arandora Star being transferred to SS Dunera; character of passengers aboard ship; accommodation for guards; relations between Welsh and Italians; further comments on barbed wire; problem of inadequate lifeboat training and shortage of lifejackets; opnion of condition of lifeboats.

    https://colonsay.org.uk/sites/default/files/fileattachments/Italian Casual-.pdf
    Guests of honour included two of the three known survivors of the tragedy, 88 year old Rando Bertoia from Glasgow and 89 year old
    Evan Morgan Jones, formerly of the Welch Regiment, who was one of the Military Guard


    Arandora Star National Memorial in Wales
    This was too late for the internees, crew and guards on the Arandora Star.
    Many of the guards came from the Welch Regiment.

    TD
     

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