RAOC War Diaries

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by redcap56, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. redcap56

    redcap56 Junior Member


    I have just received copies of my Fathers Service Record, wherein it appears he was a Storeman II in the R.A.O.C. with a Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit.

    His time is well documented for service at home, but I guess like lots of others after being sent to France after D-Day details are non existent except on some documents service in Normandy, Belguim, Holland & Germany are mentioned without specifics.

    Family rumour has always said that he was involved in the liberation of Belsen, and I have found reference to this type of unit being there.

    Any suggestions of how I track down his whereabouts during 1944 / 45 would be greatly appreciated. I have already written to RAOC museum and I guess a visit to Kew would be useful.

  2. TomTAS

    TomTAS Very Senior Member

    HI Redcap,

    PRO Kew would be a good place to start if your not far from London.. Kew will have the war diarys of your Fathers unit so you can find out for sure....
  3. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Hi and welcome Redcap.

    Can you see if your Father's service record mentions the number of the Mobile Bath & Laundry Unit. If so, we can help identify the relevent war diaries.

    Cheers - Robert
  4. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

  5. redcap56

    redcap56 Junior Member

    Thanks for quick replies, it seems he was posted to 54 Re-inforcement & Holding 14/06/44 for draft RSHOF then it seems to 34 RHU which embarked for France 28.06.44. he is then basically de-mobbed B.A.O.R. from 35 Mobile Laundry & Bath Unit.
  6. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA


    The war diary at Kew for 35 M.L.B.U. is WO171/6869 for the period Jan to Nov 1945
  7. redcap56

    redcap56 Junior Member


    Thank's for the headstart.............at Kew.
  8. shunnerp

    shunnerp Junior Member

    I have been doing some research in this area. I have details on some WW2 MLBU units, locations, equipment, some photos etc. Bit to much to put on here but if you would like to get in touch direct I am only too happy to share what I have.
  9. Sailor77

    Sailor77 Junior Member


    This is my first post. I wonder if someone can help me by pointing me in the right direction for some unit and individual research for the RAOC in WW2. I would like to put together a history document that I can give to my father in law who has just had his 90th birthday - I know, I should have started earlier! Anyway, I would like to do this without him knowing so that I can surprise him.

    My father in law served in 5 Div Ord Fd Pk (Ordnance Field Park?) and was a Corporal in 1945 when, as a corporal for a ‘specialist unit’ he was mentioned in dispatches for his previous 4 years of service with this unit, but I suspect he was serving prior to this. From his stories, I know he served in at least India, Persia, Iraq, Palestine, Sicily and Italy and I believe he joined the unit in Belfast on mobilisation. I think the ‘specialist unit’ may have been a bath unit. I managed to get the citation for his M-I-D, although it reads as a recommendation for a BEM a couple of years ago from the National Archives Online service which is why I know the dates and unit info above. I assume that his service number will be on this.

    I would like to give him a diary of his wartime service (including details of his unit diaries and any photos I might be able to get hold of) as well as getting any documents I can, such as his own service records and any unissued medals to give to him. I’m not sure whether it is possible to do this without his knowledge as I’ve recently learned that individual service records for people serving after 1923 are held by MOD and not the National Archives. I know that medals can be applied for, but wonder whether this could be done on his behalf by my wife or his son.

    After looking at the question posed by ‘redcap56’ and the very helpful replies he has had, I think that this is the right place for my questions. It would seem that a trip to the National Archives at Kew is the way to go, but I would be extremely grateful for any advice and guidance I can get from those who know about this stuff to speed up my research. Although my father in law is in good shape for his age, I realise that it makes sense to do this as quickly as possible, given that I’m doing it for a 90 year old. Memories are very important to us as we get older and I hope that I can help to rekindle a few with your help.

    Many thanks in anticipation.
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    If your Father-in-law spent the war with 5 Div then he was certainly well travelled - Northern Ireland pre-war, France, Scotland, Ireland again, Madagascar, India, Middle East with Paiforce, Sicily, Italy, Belgium, Germany.

    I'd suggest starting a new thread with 5th Division prominent in the title. This will be followed shortly by Owen with Divisional history in his hand and plenty of info on the Italian campaign in particular.

    If you can get to Kew then you'll be able to see various War Diaries which are unlikely to have featured much in post-war publications.

    I think that you're going to be struggling to obtain Service Records for a living ex-serviceman without his knowledge. The records do include personal information so this is understandable. Although most records say what a good man the old soldier was, there must be records for those who spent more time in the glasshouse than out or who had regular trips to the M.O. for nasty little infections. - Not quite the thing to whip out at a family party:)
  11. Sailor77

    Sailor77 Junior Member

    Rich. Thank you very much for your quick reply - very much appreciated. As luck would have it, my father-in-law called me not long after I read your reply and I was able to engage him in conversation on his wartime service on the grounds that I had been ‘browsing’ on the internet’. He confirmed that he joined the unit during its second time in Ireland (ref your chronology above). I was wrong about the bath unit though. Apparently, he was co-located with a bath unit in Naples. He tells me that his unit was an Ordnance Field Park and was literally a mobile ordnance depot for all types of vehicle spares and maintenance.

    I thought the Service Records might prove difficult. I’ll have to think of a new plan there. It sounds like he’s had all his medals though; he mentioned about 5, including medals for India and other areas.

    I assume that Owen is an expert on 5 Div WW2 history? I will take your advice and start a new thread just as soon as I’ve worked out how to do this.

    Thanks again for your reply and very helpful advice
  12. landrover

    landrover Junior Member

    I am looking for any info on my Husbands Grandfather who was listed on his Mothers birth certificate who was later adopted.The birth was Registered in Belper Derbyshire. His name Staff Sergeant Sidney A Trodd No:294699 Royal Army Ordinance Corps (carpenter) in 1944 and the address listed was 153 Amesbury Ave Streatham hill London SW2 . His Grandmother is Edith Naome Kyte but might have been known as Mennell. They we not married I don't think as she later went on to remarry in 1948.
    Any info would be great Thanks
  13. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I have never heard of a 'Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit' before.

    What involvement would they have had during the war?
  14. nick richards

    nick richards Junior Member

    I'm trying to find out more about my fathers WW2 service. He died before I had the chance to talk to him about it as an adult, although he occassionally mentioned certain things which he experienced which I didn't really appreciate at the time. now that I'm getting older, I'm really interested in and respect what he did as a young man.

    Fortunately, I have his 'Soldier's Release Book' which gave his service number and his service trade - ST/amm Class 11. Does anyone know what this means?

    Also, the book gives his unit as being 33 A.S.D. Does anyone know whether this is likely to have been his Unit for all of his career or would have been his last 'posting' prior to his discharge? - He left the army in 1946 to work as a civilian for the No 8 DemolitionTeam in Lubeck, so I know that his army job involved explosives/munitions.

    I know that he was at Dunkirk and in Burma. Does anyone know how I go about discovering more about his service? i'd appreciate any help.

  15. jawan

    jawan Old Hand

    Hi Nick,

    Firstly from the abbreviation I can confirm that he was a Storeman Ammunition Class II (or Class 2) - the RAOC Storeman trade was subdivided into various specialist commodity groups each of which required a certain degree of specialist handling eg POL, vehicles, rations etc. ASD is an ammunition sub depot and would have been a specialist ammunition storage depot of I would think up to 30,000 tonnes. It would have been subordinate to a Central Ammunition Depot whioch could contain 100,000 tonnes. After basic training (shooting and saluting stuff!) RAOC soldiers were allocated (this may or may not have accorded with what they wished to do but was influenced by ability and need) to a trade and undertook basic trade training which gave them a Class III (or 3) qualification. After some experience, a recommendation, some further upgrading training of some sort and an assessment of competence, a soldier would become a Class II tradesman and then in due course Class I which was the top level. Promotion required upgarding and trade pay increased. I will keep my eye open for more but hope this helps, good luck, Jawan
  16. nick richards

    nick richards Junior Member

    Hi jawan
    Many thanks for this information, I would never have worked that out! It's a good start.
    Is it possible that he would have been attached/posted to other army regiments/units?
    He did say that he worked with Indian soldiers during his time in Burma, most probably, from what you've told me, at or near ammunition dumps. I don't know how many Indian regiments served in Burma, but if I knew it were a possibility, I could try looking.

    Thanks again
  17. jawan

    jawan Old Hand

    Hi jawan
    Many thanks for this information, I would never have worked that out! It's a good start.
    Is it possible that he would have been attached/posted to other army regiments/units?
    He did say that he worked with Indian soldiers during his time in Burma, most probably, from what you've told me, at or near ammunition dumps. I don't know how many Indian regiments served in Burma, but if I knew it were a possibility, I could try looking.

    Thanks again
    Hi Nick,

    As an ammunition storeman it is possible he was attached to Armour or Artillery units simply because they would have had large quantities of ammunition but more likely he was in ammunition storage or handling RAOC units. It may well be he served with Indian soldiers - they too had the RIAOC. May I suggest you apply to Historic Disclosures section, Army Personnel Centre, Glasgow (see precise details and how to apply on the web) for your fathers service record because this hopefully will detail the units and theatres of war in which he served and give his medal entitlement. It is unlikely that you would find him by simply searching unit records. Good luck - and come back to me when you have his service record if you need it deciphering!! Jawan
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  19. jawan

    jawan Old Hand

    Small thread on them here:
    WW2Talk - Mobile Bath and Laundry Units
    A mobile laundry and bath (in fact shower) unit does "what is says on the tin!" They still exist and are generally allocated in theatres of war/operations where there is no access to available laundry and shower/bath (MBLU) facilities, they would be located close to an appropriate water source and provide laundry and shower facilities. They were operated by the RAOC and now the Royal Logistic Corps. In more recent times they could also provide a personnel decontamination capability in a chemical warfare environment. Generally a unit would be commanded by an experienced Sgt or Cpl and may operate in a somewhat isolated location. Having at various times had MBLU under command I recall the thrill of the (all male British) crew operating the MBLU on a multinational training exercise in Turkey when a company of female American servicewomen turned up for a shower and showed no inhibitations whatsoever!! These are not only operated by the British Army but I can assure you after a sweaty, gruelling period in the field in any climate a hot shower and freshly laundered clothes is to say the least very refreshing and a huge morale booster. I hope this helps.
  20. thika

    thika Junior Member

    I served in 3 Inf Div OFP RAOC in the UK and then I was posted to 24 Ind Inf BDE OFP RAOC in Kahawa Kenya. In the UK we took a bath unit with us when playing soldiers in the UN manouvres on Salsbury Plains under canvas, and in Kenya when we went bush every now and again for a few weeks. Mostly in northern Kenya in semi desert. The muram red dust was terrible. It got everywhere. No fun sitting in the back of a three toner.:huh::mad: I was a storeman tech' II. Thika.B)

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