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Bowler hat & brolly formation sign

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by reddevon, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    Hi chaps, its been a while since i have posted on here, but i have been lent an old photo album. The chap a William (Bill) Williams joined the Devons at the outbreak of war, but served in Egypt, Lybia, Tripolitania, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and finally Germany. in a few photos there are some trucks with a marking which i have never see before, could anyone shed any light as to what unit they belong to.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    apparently this was his lorry called Wendy after his daughter.
    chears.
    Tony
     
  2. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    sorry i have just noticed that i have put it in the wrong place
     
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Do you know if he stayed with the Devons, or was he posted out at some point?

    I'm going to put my neck on the block and suggest he was RASC, based on:
    i) the arm of service plate having a GHQ/Army bar at the bottom;
    ii) World War 2 Military Vehicle Markings by Wise has three pages of 'unusual' signs used by independent RASC companies in NW Europe 1944-55. It hasn't got this one, but there is a multicoloured umbrella without the bowler. It's possible that similar signs were used in other theatres?

    I await the axe...
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    That is a high AOS number isn't it? Highest I have seen. I love the bowler and umbrella - Very British !

    Thanks for posting them.
     
  5. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    thanks for the reply idler, his daughter says he was definitely in the Devons, but i a bit scepticle, the only Devons that were in North Africa were the 2nd Battalion while they trained for the Sicily invasion between March and the beginning of July 1943. And the 7th (Haytor) Battalion later becoming the 87 Anti Tank Regt RA which was part of 9th Corp seeing action Pichon and Fondouk Pass after the African campaign they were disbanded in constantine (apart from the band which kept going untill the end of the war)
     
  6. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    2012 Olympic games:)
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just seen these in another thread so moved them to their own.
    Super pics.
    Havent a clue on the formation sign.
     
  8. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    I could make a joke an suggest Thompson and Thomson from Tintin!

    I've never seen that sign before, but hope you get a result (you probably will, here!)
     
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Wonder if it a fictional one in a deception scheme to fool enemy intel about troop movements.

    Just a thought .
    I'm sure someone will come up with a positive ID.
     
  10. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Might be a link between the Devons' and Umbrella Tree Hill ? ( Boer war Battle -Devons' )
    Now for the Bowler!



    On November 20th the Boers mounted some more guns on Bulwana and also on Umbrella Tree Hill, which lay in the Nek between Bulwana and Gun Hill. Colonel Knox ordered a dummy battery to be made at night on the further side of the Klip River and out in the open. Wooden imitation guns and imitation gunners were erected, and these were worked with a string by a gunner concealed in the bank of the river.

    Captain Kincaid-Smith, with the two Maxim-Nordenfeldt guns captured at Elandslaagte, of which he was now in charge, was to open fire from Devon Post on to the Boer guns newly placed on Umbrella Tree Hill, and as he was perfectly concealed and fired smokeless powder, it was supposed that the Boers would imagine that the firing came from the new dummy battery just erected.



    Extract from:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15972/15972-h/15972-h.htm
     
  11. londoner

    londoner Member

    Possibly the City of London Regiment? I can see how the symbolism would fit and I understand that they were in North Africa 1940-1943. David
     
  12. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    i, thinking he transferred out of the Devons to RASC, but i have no proof
     
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    if only someone could work out the 1602 AoS sign with white line underneath
     
  14. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Tony-Can you read the writing on the side of the vehicle by the drivers door?

    Lesley
     
  15. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    From the original thread:
    I'm going to put my neck on the block and suggest he was RASC, based on:
    i) the arm of service plate having a GHQ/Army bar at the bottom;
    ii) World War 2 Military Vehicle Markings by Wise has three pages of 'unusual' signs used by independent RASC companies in NW Europe 1944-55. It hasn't got this one, but there is a multicoloured umbrella without the bowler. It's possible that similar signs were used in other theatres?

    Do you have any idea when/where the photos were taken. Alternatively, if you can find out Wendy's birth date, we can assume that the photo postdates it.
     
  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    From the original thread:




    sorry didnt know there was an original thread, as been on my holidays.
    Found the pics hiding somewhere else so moved them to a new one.
    have merged both threads now.
     
  17. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    I have had another look through the album and have come across a few more pics

    [​IMG]
    Capt.Morris and Lt.Bawdon in front of a unit lorry showing a camel on a dark background above the number 1602

    [​IMG]
    Ken Sheperd in front of a unit lorry

    [​IMG]
    Mersa the Mascot on a Bedford MW, with a number Z576802 on the bonnet

    [​IMG]
    unit motorbikes
    On the original post the pic of the lorry on its own is labelled as the bottom of Halfia Pass.
    Tony
     
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Camel sign is GHQ Middle East .
    1602 sign is divided diagonally as the RASC ones were red/green & the thick white band as stated already denotes GHQ troops.

    should help narrow it down. :p
     
  19. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Ken Shepherd! - I think most modern
    British soldiers call that look 'very Ally' :D

    the pics worth adding to the Ally thread on Arrse! :D
     
  20. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    That's a nice trio of G3/WO Matchlesses. Would you mind if I shared the photo on the WD Motorcycles forum ?

    C934351 is an RASC number and the Ordnance record cards show contract C7183 as being exclusively RASC (this is not definite proof as they were responsible for vehicles for all second-line units).

    The main book on the subject states "(Delivery) Ashchurch & Feltham (Destined for Middle East) 150 per week rising to 450 per week. Deliveries starting from 29/3/1941".

    I've scoured Hodges & Taylor's markings book but cannot match the 1602 Arm of Service serial. As Owen has said,it is clearly GHQ MEF and the diagonal colour change pins it down as RASC.

    The nearest I can get is that amongst units transferred from GHQ MEF to BNAF or 15 Army Group in November 1943 were the following RASC Units:-

    1509 - 376 Arty. Coy.
    1670 - 47(6?) Water Tank Coy.
    1753 - 336 Tank Transporter Coy.
    1759 - 130 Water Tank Coy.
    1766 - 397 Gen Tspt. Coy.

    Nothing quite there but it's clear that under GHQ MEF, a number of RASC units had serials in the general range.

    It may be that there is a reference amongst the war diaries but based on how long it has taken to get some order in the BEF numbering, it might be a long slog to locate the MEF details.
     

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