Fighting Vehicles School, India

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by J Kubra, Oct 22, 2022.

  1. J Kubra

    J Kubra Member

    I have been looking for information about the Fighting Vehicles School India because my father (7889785 James Coubrough RTR) served there from 15 February 1943 until 14 August 1943.

    I would like to know what he did there and I am waiting to get his service records, however, his RAC Tracer Card provided to me from the Bovington Tank Museum Library, says “Posted X(i) F.V. School India 15 February 1943.” Prior to this, he was with 2 RTR during the retreat from Burma and with them in Dhond, India until posted to RAC Depot Poona 16 Sep 42.

    I have found the following information about Fighting Vehicles School India from a variety of sources including threads on this site as follows:

    Ahmadnagar was the headquarters of Ahmednagar District in the Central division of Bombay Presidency during the British period. In 1921, six Armoured Car companies were based there and in 1924 a Royal Tank Corps School was established at Ahmednagar. This School was the forerunner of the Fighting Vehicle School.” The Families In British India Society (FIBIS) website.

    “In 1938 when the mechanisation of the Indian Cavalry began, a Fighting Vehicle School was established in the same year in Ahmednagar in the premises of the already existent Machine Gun School. This school was divided into two wings; British and Indian. The British Wing trained both, British and Indian officers, besides British soldiers. The Indian Wing, on the other hand imparted training to Indian Junior Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers.” Posted 10th July 2021 by Sampada

    Simla, September 7 1939.
    The School of Weapon Training and Mechanization, India. Has been reorganised into two separate schools:
    (a) The “Small Arms School, India,” consisting of the Small Arms School, Pachmahari……..
    (b) The “Fighting Vehicles School, India”: This School will train British and Indian instructors in driving and maintenance and A.F.V. Gunnery: and also British other ranks in advanced mechanized subjects. This School is located at Ahmednagar.The Times of India pg. 10 Sep 8 1939

    “Indian Troops in Training: three tanks engaged in training personnel at the Fighting Vehicles School
    The Times of India pg.1 Dec 24 1940

    “located in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, The Royal Tank Corps School was established at Ahmednagar to train the personnel of the Royal Tank Corps. This school was the forerunner of the Fighting Vehicle School, which began to impart driving & maintenance training. The Fighting Vehicle School along with the Machine Gun School, the training regiments, the recruit training centre, Armoured Corps Depot and Armoured Corps Records were amalgamated in 1948.” Wikipedia

    “Fighting Vehicle School Area” - WW2 Talk, JITTER PARTY 20 Apr 2019

    “Welch To Meet an Ahmednagar XI – TEAMS FOR TODAY’S RUGBY MATCH----
    Bombay’s Rugby Football season will close today with a match between the Welch Regiment’s first fifteen, unbeaten this year, and a team from Ahmednagar, representing the Cadet Wing, Fighting Vehicles School. This will be played at the A.F.I. ground commencing at 5-30pm, and Mr C. P. Bramble will officiate as referee. The teams will be as follows: ………” The Times of India pg.12 Sep 20 1941

    “The main centre for armour, the sort of Indian Bovington, had always been AhmednagarDavid Fletcher – Librarian Tank Museum letter June 27 1995

    “attending the Fighting Vehicle School, Ahmadnugar, (February to May 1942)” IWM: Private Papers of Capt WD Land - Documents.26146

    ‘‘Biography of Brigadier George Herbert Norris Todd (1897 – 1971), Great Britain Scots Greys ….. was Commandant of the Fighting Vehicles School in India from Feb 1943." WW2 Talk, dbf, 10 Feb 22

    “29.03.43 F V Sch India - Fighting Vehicle School India, as 2 days later hes back with his Regt, perhaps a course or something specific about the vehicle he was assigned to” WW2Talk Tricky Dicky, Aug 20, 2019

    “In November 1942, Brigadier (Temporary) George Henry Norris TODD, M.C. was posted to India. On his arrival, he assumed the role as Commandant of the Fighting Vehicles School in India on 14 February 1943 in the rank of Acting Brigadier.” 50 Indian Tank Brigade Author: Robert PALMER, M.A

    WW2Talk JamesDrury Feb 1 2020

    “Officers and British Other Ranks (B.O.R.), Staff, Wireless Squadron, Fighting Vehicles School (India)
    December 1944.” (WW2 Talk, Internet Forum)

    The following document: “Armour: report by GSOI RAC on his visit to India 1 Mar 44 - 30 Apr 44 WO 106/4746”, is held in The National Archives at Kew. I thought this document may mention the Fighting Vehicle School; its location, role, purpose, organisation etc. and other information about it. However, in a response to my request, Gary Tankard replied in a message on 24 May 22, “If you mean the two files you mention - WO 106/4746 is a report on the potential use of DD tanks in Burma. Regards, Gary.” WW2 Talk Gary Tankard 24 May 2022

    “The 150th Regiment, R.A.C. had left Burma on 15th June for Ahmednagar by way of Madras. On arrival at Ahmednagar, the Regiment soon became involved in training for conversion to the Churchill. On 6th August, two officers were sent to the Fighting Vehicles School at Ahmednagar to attend courses, one to a Technical Officer's Course for Churchill conversion, and one for a gunnery instructor's conversion course.” Churchill Tanks in Burma and India,

    Reference: IOR/L/MIL/17/5/2201
    Title: Courses of Instruction, India 1939[to 1942]. Delhi/Simla: GSI, 1939-42. 11
    pamphlets in 20 issues: No 1 – Fighting Vehicles School Ahmednagar 1939,
    1940 & 1942…….
    Held By: British Library: Asian and African Studies, 96 Euston Rd, London, England
    NW1 2DB Telephone 020 7412 7873 Email:
    Language: English

    “I had a look at IOR/L/MIL/17/5/2201. It contains 3 pamphlets on the Fighting Vehicles School, one from 1939, one from 1940, and one from 1942. Each pamphlet is around 20 pages, with brief paragraphs on each topic such as the organization of the school, the scope of the courses etc. I am attaching the contents list of 1940 so you can get an idea. Please note that where it says e.g. "nominal rolls", these are not included here, it is just a short paragraph on where these would be sent etc. There are no names of those serving mentioned, just basic information, rules etc. Unfortunately, these have not been digitized but if you are unable to visit in person and consult them here, you can order copies through the British Library Digitization Services.” Asian & African Studies Reference Specialist, British Library 13 Sep 22.

    “1. Organisation.

    The Fighting Vehicles School is located at AHMEDNAGAR, Decan, and is three miles distant from the railway station. Courses are held throughout the year, the course year is 1 June – 31 May.

    The School is organised as follows:-
    Headquarters Wellesley Barracks.
    Armament Wing Wellesley Barracks.
    British Wing Napier Barracks.
    Cadet Wing Faria Bagh.
    Indian Wing Wellesley Barracks
    Technical Wing Napier Barracks
    Wireless Wing Stub Farm.
    Experimental Section Napier Barracks.

    The telegraphic address of the School is – SAMECH”

    3. Object.
    The function of the School is to train instructors to teach driving and maintenance and in
    addition W/T in the case of armoured units. The School also trains certain technical
    personnel e.g. unit technical officers and motor mechanics and driver operators for
    armoured units.

    Navigation including the use of the sun compass is taught on D. and M. courses for
    officers and V.C.Os.

    5. Scope of Courses.
    The scope of course is shown in Appendix “A”, which also gives certain other
    information regarding the duration of the courses.
    The syllabus of courses is, of necessity, liable to alteration periodically owing to the
    introduction of new weapons and equipment.”
    Extracts from Courses of Instruction India. Pamphlet No 1. Fighting Vehicles School. Ahmednagar. 1942.

    My father was eventually transferred to the Middle East, (X(iv) ME 14 Aug 43). So, the six month posting to the F.V. School India may have been due to a reinforcement training requirement. However, because it was an active list posting X(i), ie “Officers & ORs, posted or permanently attached to a formation HQ or extra-Regimental unit:” he was most likely to have been on the staff.
    Dave55 and CL1 like this.

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