Non Combatant Corps

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Paul Reed, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    I recently picked up a group photo of men in the Non Combatant Corps and realised I didn't know much about them, except that (IIRC) they were conscientious objectors.

    Any good sources?

    I will post the photo in the next few days.
     
  2. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Paul, could this be CO's, or maybe an " Out to Grass " Corps, for those rendered unfit for 'active service', but still able to pull a lessened weight, and military pay?

    Only, my Grandad was wrecked in WW1. Siege Battery Gunner. Did his bit alright. Sampled gas and lost a chunk of skull to a chunk of shrapnel. They brought him home and put him in the " Agricultural Corps ".

    As it happens; Precious little is known about those, 'old' outfits. Though a guy has a Yahoo GeoCities page dedicated to them. But, that's WW1 of course. Just wondered.
     
  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    That's the Labour Corps you are referring to for the Great War. No, this unit is not the same. I am pretty sure it was for men who wanted to assist in the struggle against the Nazis, but for various reasons conscientiously objected to killing.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just 1 photo on IWM.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]Photographer: -

    Title: BRITAIN'S HOME FRONT 1939 - 1945: NON-COMBATANT CORPS

    Collection No.: 4700-09

    Description: Men of the Non-Combatant Corps undergoing training at a camp on the East Coast. The Corps includes men not physically fit for combatant service and conscientious objectors registered for non-combatant service. Photo shows: Men of the Non-Combatant Corps on the march.

    Paul,
    Have you seen this?
    Archives: Non Combatant Corps and conscientious objection
     
    Paul Reed likes this.
  5. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Thanks for both of those posts Owen; so it does seem it did have unfit men in it like the Labour Corps!
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Tom,
    That link is about The Great War.
    ;)
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    o_OOOPS

    Tom
     
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Never mind, Tom. Thanks for looking. I did have a trawl through the net, but didn't find much. Was wondering if there were any books; there is a lot about COs in the Great War, but not so much about WW2 it seems.
     
  10. the_historian

    the_historian Pillboxologist

    I've got one about American conshies in ww2- We have just begun not to fight (I think).
    The guy who wrote Scotland the Brave was a conshie.
     
  11. elyncho

    elyncho Member

    For what its worth, the Non-Combattant Corps in WW1 was based on the principle of "equal sacrifice" ie they would work in difficult and dangerous jobs such as forestry in conditions considered to be at least as harsh as those faced by front line troops and in support of the war effort as opposed to true Conshies who would do nothing that might be seen as assisting (and just about any job seemed to fit that bill!).

    I suspect that the WW2 version was more or less the same.
     
  12. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    For what its worth, the Non-Combattant Corps in WW1 was based on the principle of "equal sacrifice" ie they would work in difficult and dangerous jobs such as forestry in conditions considered to be at least as harsh as those faced by front line troops and in support of the war effort as opposed to true Conshies who would do nothing that might be seen as assisting (and just about any job seemed to fit that bill!).

    I suspect that the WW2 version was more or less the same.

    Thanks for that - I suspect you are right.
     
  13. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Just 1 photo on IWM.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: -

    Title: BRITAIN'S HOME FRONT 1939 - 1945: NON-COMBATANT CORPS

    Collection No.: 4700-09

    Description: Men of the Non-Combatant Corps undergoing training at a camp on the East Coast. The Corps includes men not physically fit for combatant service and conscientious objectors registered for non-combatant service. Photo shows: Men of the Non-Combatant Corps on the march.

    Paul,
    Have you seen this?
    Archives: Non Combatant Corps and conscientious objection
    The IWM is mistaken. The Non-Combatant Corps was established in 1940 (modelled on a WW1 version) specifically to receive men accepted by their tribunals as consciencientious objectors but with exemption only from combatant service. This meant a requirement to serve in the military but with exemption from handling and using weapons. The Corps mainly worked on road-making, transport, non-weapons stores etc. Some 400 volunteered for bomb-disposal work.

    Officers and NCOs for the NCC were seconded from other corps and regiments, but all privates were men so desgnated by tribunals. There were no privates admitted as physically unfir for other duties.
     
  14. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    The first announcement of the corps seems to have come in July 1939: this is from The Times of July 7th. A report 8 days later says that the corps headquarters was to be at Colchester: their tasks would include agricultural work, "construction of recreation grounds, improvement of camping sites, drainage of training areas ... and the filling-in of trenches." (That makes me wonder who was supposed to dig trenches if these guys were only supposed to fill them in?)

    [​IMG]

    It also seems there was some confusion about their role and their relationship with the Pioneer Corps at the time. From The Times, May 6th 1941:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Private JEFFREY JOHN GILMOUR

    97001643, Non-Combatant Corps., Non Combatant Corps
    who died
    on 25 April 1942

    Remembered with honour
    HATFIELD ROAD CEMETERY, ST. ALBANS

    001 BATTY LA 97007877 - 04/10/1947 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    002 BRAY DE 97003170 - 03/05/1941 - - 04/05/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    003 BRISTOW HK 97001959 ATTD 16/03/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    004 CONEY K 97001976 - 03/05/1941 - - 04/05/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    005 COWELL J 97006658 - 16/11/1944 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    006 DANHER JT 97003629 - 21/03/1945 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    007 FORSTER A 97001908 - 20/07/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    008 GILMOUR JJ 97001643 NON COMBATANT CORPS 25/04/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    009 GOLDBERG S 97002376 - 06/01/1946 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    010 GREAVES H 97002144 - 11/01/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    011 GREEN J 97005685 - 13/03/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    012 HARDEN PJ 97003963 - 06/04/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    013 HOGAN EH 97003031 - 31/12/1940 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    014 JONES B 97003127 - 11/02/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    015 LITTELL GA 97004022 - 13/09/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    016 MACKEY LJJ 97002025 - 19/04/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    017 MUSTARD WS 97001752 - 31/07/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    018 PARRY WA 97001933 - 21/01/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    019 PITMAN DW 97003001 - 21/05/1945 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    020 ROBINSON L 97002863 - 11/07/1944 NON COMBATANT CORPS

    021 SARGENT F 97004801 - 27/08/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    022 SELF PA 97004191 NON COMBATANT CORPS 03/01/1944 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    023 TAYLOR DA 97001009 NON COMBATANT CORPS 28/04/1946 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    024 WALLER HE 97002806 - 23/01/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    025 WHITEHOUSE HJT 97000758 - 12/02/1945 NON COMBATANT CORPS
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks to Geoff's WSE :poppy:

    001 BATTY LA 97007877 - 04/10/1947 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    002 BRAY DE 97003170 - 03/05/1941 - - 04/05/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    003 BRISTOW HK 97001959 ATTD 16/03/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    004 CONEY K 97001976 - 03/05/1941 - - 04/05/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    005 COWELL J 97006658 - 16/11/1944 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    006 DANHER JT 97003629 - 21/03/1945 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    007 FORSTER A 97001908 - 20/07/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    008 GILMOUR JJ 97001643 NON COMBATANT CORPS 25/04/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    009 GOLDBERG S 97002376 - 06/01/1946 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    010 GREAVES H 97002144 - 11/01/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    011 GREEN J 97005685 - 13/03/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    012 HARDEN PJ 97003963 - 06/04/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    013 HOGAN EH 97003031 - 31/12/1940 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    014 JONES B 97003127 - 11/02/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    015 LITTELL GA 97004022 - 13/09/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    016 MACKEY LJJ 97002025 - 19/04/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    017 MUSTARD WS 97001752 - 31/07/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    018 PARRY WA 97001933 - 21/01/1942 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    019 PITMAN DW 97003001 - 21/05/1945 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    020 ROBINSON L 97002863 - 11/07/1944 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    021 SARGENT F 97004801 - 27/08/1943 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    022 SELF PA 97004191 NON COMBATANT CORPS 03/01/1944 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    023 TAYLOR DA 97001009 NON COMBATANT CORPS 28/04/1946 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    024 WALLER HE 97002806 - 23/01/1941 NON COMBATANT CORPS
    025 WHITEHOUSE HJT 97000758 - 12/02/1945 NON COMBATANT CORPS

    None are buried overseas so I guess its a fair bet they never left the UK as a unit.
     
  17. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    The Labour/Pioneer Corps of WW1 and WW2 was not non-combatant [though there were specific non-combatant units within the Labour Corps of WW1]
    Our Dunkirk experts can tell of the heroic defence put up by elements of the Pioneer Corps - incidentally they were only armed on a 25% scale untill 1940 when it was increased to 100%.
     
  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    During the Second World War,foreign nationals who had fled from Nazi persecution and who had been interned at the outbreak of war,were, after screening,allowed to join the Pioneer Corps.Others went on to serve, what would be their adopted country,at a much higher level as their aptitude and skills were discovered by the military authorities.

    The prewar economic postion also saw family men who were well outside what would be regarded as a fighting age and who could not find work,volunteering for army service.A large number were directed into the Pioneer Corps and many did not return from France with the BEF.Quite a number lost their lives on the Lancastria at St Nazaire.
     
  19. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    The first announcement of the corps seems to have come in July 1939: this is from The Times of July 7th. A report 8 days later says that the corps headquarters was to be at Colchester: their tasks would include agricultural work, "construction of recreation grounds, improvement of camping sites, drainage of training areas ... and the filling-in of trenches." (That makes me wonder who was supposed to dig trenches if these guys were only supposed to fill them in?)

    [​IMG]

    It also seems there was some confusion about their role and their relationship with the Pioneer Corps at the time. From The Times, May 6th 1941:

    [​IMG]

    This is interesting, because in fact the Non-Combatant Corps was not established until 24 April 1940, well after the Military Training Act had been superseded by the National Service (Armed Forces) Act. The homework had already been done in the sense of the previous experience of the NCC of WW1, so there was no obvious reason why it took so long to set up the NCC in WW2.

    The confusion about the NCC, to which the second Times cutting refers, was only ever in the minds of journalists and other less percipient people. Conscientious objectors were never confused. It is sad to see such confusion perpetuated by the IWM forty years after the NCC was disbanded, although I feel bound to comment that contributions on this this about the Pioneer Corps (however worthy), when the thread is clearly headed "Non-Combatant Corps", also exacerbate confusion.
     
  20. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    The Labour/Pioneer Corps of WW1 and WW2 was not non-combatant [though there were specific non-combatant units within the Labour Corps of WW1]
    .

    As I have already tried to make clear, the only "specific non-combatant unit" of WW1 was the Non-Combatant Corps, which was a Corps in its own right, not "within the Labour Corps".
     

Share This Page