George Key 2185786 62 coy AMPC

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by TraceyH, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. TraceyH

    TraceyH Member

    IMG_0113.JPG Hi
    My Grandad George signed an attestation paper with the Royal Engineers (?2 unit) on 10th October 1939. He was transferred to 62 coy AMPC on 1 December 1939. Is this usual? I thought the AMPC was for older men who had served in the Great War, Grandad was born in 1917.
    I am finding parts of his service record difficult to understand. At the moment I am particularly interested in trying to understand the fourth line of writing as it is dated 31/5/40. According to the war diary of 62coy the company departed Boulogne 23 May 1940 on the destroyer Vimiera. However, according to my Grandad ‘s note he “left Dunkirk after spending 5 nights and 6 days on the beach landed Dover England”. He has dated this entry 31 May 1940. Can anyone read line 4? Or shed any light on how my Grandad ended up in Dunkirk instead of on the Vimiera? I am interested in any information anyone has regarding 62 coy.
    I hope I uploaded the file Okay. Thanks to everyone who reads this.
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Could his AMPC service have been related to his pre-war trade ? Was he a stevedore or had he worked for a construction company, for instance ?

    It's quite common for BEF diaries not to record small detachments etc. or he may have been transferred earlier and records not kept.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    entry on 4th line reads:

    Joined No 4 ? AMPC ex BEF UK 31/5/40

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

  5. TraceyH

    TraceyH Member

    Thank you for your responses. Grandad worked a stocking machine in a hosiery factory prior to enlisting. He was probably used to maintaining machinery so maybe that was why he was transferred to the AMPC. When soldiers arrived back in England from Dunkirk did they go to various numbered centres? Another idea that I have been given is that what looks like 4 is actually Le for leave centre? Does anyone know anything about leave centres or numbered centres?
  6. sjw8

    sjw8 Active Member

    Hi Tracey
    I can only speak based on my dad's history - he was an Sapper (RE) and his unit worked in collaboration with an AMPC company, therefore -

    Quite often small detachments (e.g. sections) of AMPC could/would be attached to other (usually larger) units to act as general labour and/or to carry out pioneer tasks. During the fall of France and the withdrawal to the ports this work may have involved road blocks and defensive works (again this is based on entries in my dad's War Diaries) and thus become detached from their parent unit (e.g. 62 Coy AMPC). They would then have to make their way back to England either under their own steam or, more likely, as part of the unit to which they were attached. That's why the dates of arrival back in UK can differ from the parent unit.

    On return to UK, soldiers still with their units would move en bloc to new locations to be re-equipped and undergo re-fitting etc. However individual soldiers who had become detached from their parent unit (of which there were many) would initially go through a reception centre and told to report either direct to their parent unit or to report to their HQ/Depot/Training Centre, to be re-equipped etc. and then posted to their parent or re-assigned to a new unit. In you grandad's case, this appears to have been the case i.e. he returns to UK, arrives to No 4 Centre on 31/05/40 (based at Clacton), and then rejoins his parent unit (62 Coy) on 03/06/40.

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  7. TraceyH

    TraceyH Member

    Many thanks for the information. That has made things much clearer for me.
  8. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Active Member

    Hi Tracey,

    Not unusual at all for units to be split up. War diary is only what the C.O. or his delegate writes down. War diary for one unit was left on the quay at St Nazaire as no baggage allowed on transports and the diary was reconstructed in England according to the CO's own record. I think he recomposed it a couple of weeks later, the typing looks as if it was done in one go. Memory can be selective even a few days later and the original choice of words can be critical, perhaps misleading for us,or mistaken by us, for those of us who need to understand nearly 80 years on.

    My grandfather came out of St Nazaire 16.6.40 but his CO went out of Boulogne 23 May. The CO reformed the unit in Chester but as swj8 says at his 2. above soldiers without officers were often sent to reception camps where they could be sorted out. Priority was given to finding lost sheep from combat units as far as I can tell, as they wanted them back in the front line i.e. the British coastline now. Grandfather got to Britain mid June but did not rejoin his CO until 27 June.
  9. TraceyH

    TraceyH Member

    Thanks for that information. I don’t have a military background myself so I probably had a mistaken idea of a unit that trained together and stayed together. It is also making me appreciate the turmoil there must have been.

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