RE Railway engineers June 1944 - 1946

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Tricky Dicky, Feb 29, 2020.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    I am looking for any details anyone has concerning the RE and it rail side from June (specifically the 30th) 1944 until into 1946.

    I have some service records (he was infantry but trained in the RE as a gas and electric welder) that do not show any unit except that he was given his impending release from stamped by the 151 Railway Construction Company, have checked the War Diaries at TNA and they show this unit being in Burma in 1944. The only other WD's I can find for this unit are BEF dated i.e. 1939/1940/1941

    As a guess the Rail units (which included bridge repair etc) may have been in a 'higher unit' but I have no idea of its designation, maybe some of you when looking through your books, diaries, records, etc etc may come across something that may relate to a unit repairing rail tracks, bridges etc

    Many thanks in advance

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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    Where are all those members with their massive tomes :whistle: on military organisations in NW Europe 1944 - 1945

  3. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    You could try looking at the units involved in rehabilitating the European ports post D-Day. Bringing the rail lines from them back into service to allow greater quantities of stores to be shifted was a priority.

    Cherbourg from July 1944, although this may have been mostly US engineers
    Dieppe from August 1944. I seem to recall that they were able to land new engines and rolling stock there in Sept after the rail lines were fixed.

    There was an After the Battle magazine on this subject any years ago.
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thanks Ewen - its those sort of links that may open this mans records

  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I have a copy of Allied Military Locomotives of WW2. This has a section on the development of military railways in various theatres.

    If I read it correctly the first RE railway unit to go to France was 181 Company which arrived at Bayeaux on June 18. It moved to Caen to start clearing the lines. Most activity was in the US Army area since all the liberated railways were there. No more British units are listed until August.

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  6. CL1

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

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  7. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Some RE Railway units listed below.

    These WD contain information on the railways. Unfortunately it outside of my interest so I never copied it. WO 171/150, WO 171/151, WO 171/152 21 Army Group HQ TN Directorate



    Rly  30th  June  1944.jpg
    Orbat 30th June 1944, Normandy.

    RE Railway Units 1944.

    Railway Bridging Company : 167, 926.

    Railway Bridging Section : 1, 2.

    Railway Construction Company : 8, 10, 150, 151, 152, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 607, 608.

    Railway Construction and Maintenance Group HQ : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, “A”.

    Railway Control Unit : 1

    Railway Liaison Unit : Egyptian State Railway, Palestine Railways.

    Railway Mobile Workshops : 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

    Railway Operating Company : 153, 154, 164, 181, 182, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 952, 954, 960.

    Railway Operating Group HQ : 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7.

    Railway Survey Company : 29, 165, 166, 168, 956.

    Railway Workshop Company : 155, 163, 169, 199, 206, 955.

    Railway Workshop Group : 1, 2, 3.
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  8. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Although it may be at too high a level for what you want TD there may be some useful background information in the digitised SHAEF papers in WO 229.

    P.S. Please keep an eye out for any more on 18-inch Rail Howitzer to NWE, October 1944.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Does it list them after August?

  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I have checked (as best I can) the TNA for War Diaries for 151 and 157 - 151 for example is in Burma Jan - Dec 1944 (Railway Companies: 151 Coy. | The National Archives) and 157 (Railway Companies: 157 Coy. | The National Archives) is in Burma Jul - Dec 1944 so how could they in NW Europe at the same time. Or do I assume it was part of another higher 'unit'? as yet unknown to me

    Its confusing for my little brain :unsure::wacko:

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  11. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    The units you are looking for might be listed under “Royal Engineers. Companies” in WO 171.

    I have noticed in the past when looking for RE and RASC units that in a lot of cases they just have the Company number on Discovery and not its full designation.

    WO 171/1563, Royal Engineers. Companies. 157 Coy. 01/01/1944, 31/12/1944
    WO 171/5478, Royal Engineers. Companies. 157 Coy. 01/01/1945, 30/11/1945

    WO 171/1560, 151Coy, 1944 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 171/5474, 151 Coy., 1945 Jan.- Dec.

    A couple more lists and locations below.


    1.   21st  Army  Goup  5th  February  1944.jpg 2.   21st  Army  Goup  5th  February  1944   B.jpg
    21st Army Group 5th February 194

    3.   Normandy  31st  July  1944.jpg
    Normandy 31st July 1944

    4.   Normandy  31st  August  1944   A.jpg 5.   Normandy  31st  August  1944   B.jpg
    Normandy 31st August 1944
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thats brilliant - thanks a million Danny

    Looks like I have some work to do

  13. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    WO 229 can throw up some gems but these files are not what they appear to be, because they are the same "file", and they are incorrectly catalogued.

    Reference: WO 229/92/2
    Reports on Belgium railways: volume 1
    Date: 1945 Jan 01 - 1945 Dec 31
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: 319.1

    WO 229/92/3
    Reports on Belgium railways: volume 2
    1945 Jan 01 - 1945 Dec 31
    Held by:
    The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department:

    The list at the beginning of the microfilm is a brief index, as follows:

    "Combined Administrative Liquidating Agency
    Documents Section
    List of Files
    G-4 Records Group
    Roll No.15

    France ( Mission Reports ) pages 1- 192

    Reports on Belgian Railways ( Vol 1 ) pages 193 - 361

    Reports on Belgian Railways ( Vol 2 ) pages 362 - 503

    Denmark ( Mission Reports ) pages 504 - 688

    Luxembourg ( Mission Reports ) 689 - 809

    Netherlands ( Mission Reports ) 810 - 1294

    There are some maps of railways but they are not very easy to read.

    Attached Files:

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  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thanks papermaiche - more grist to the mill

  15. ploughman

    ploughman Junior Member

    When were the 2 Diesel shunters beach landed ?
    They would be amongst the first rail operations units remit wouldn't they?
    I think they were used on track clearance duties at least for a while.

    Just checked my notes
    4 of the locos took part in the landings in Normandy post D Day.

    29 and 32 were loaded at Southampton onto converted tank trailers on 11th of June and landed at JUNO beach on the 14th June 30 31 following on later. The locos then worked in the Caen and Cherbourg areas. 29 Courselles, 30 Bayeux, 32 + 33 Caen. A further 11 locos were shipped over conventionally to Cherbourg in September 1944. These spent most of their time working in supply dumps, then returned to the UK.
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  16. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I am just posting this here as I might need to read it again later

    On 12th June 1944 D+6 Roy embarked for France with 5 Rly Coy as part of the British Land Army leaving from Gosport and being responsible for essential railway repairs and construction work in the French coastal areas. His unit completed the rail link between St Omer & Calais and the necessary facilities serving the new train ferry terminal as well as repairs to bridges, tracks and quays. On 2nd February 1945 at the request of the GWR Roy was specially released from active service and returned to the UK disembarking at Tilbury where he was re-appointed to his previous position of Assistant Divisional Docks Engineer. He was placed onto the unemployed list with the SR on 21st February and was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal and 1939-1945 British War Medal for his war time service.
    EDWARDS Roy Hartley

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  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just a quick update

    Thanks all again for your input.

    Have phoned the RE Museum in Gillingham, but they are having new works done and the archives are being moved around. The archives should be back in operation following this work in Sep/Oct this year, so I will try again then and see if they can help in resolving my headache

  18. Linda Baynes

    Linda Baynes New Member

    I am also looking for details on RE, specifically 936 Port Reconstruction and Repair who were in NW Europe from 30.6.44 until 19.1.46. My dad, Sapper David Baynes 2018158 was with them and I hope to find out specifically where he was. I know he mentioned Caen but I don't know when.
  19. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Can only help post VE Day 8 May 45

    936 Port Construction and Repair Company – 2 Port Construction and Repair Group – 4 Port Construction and Repair Group 30 May 45
    Rees north-west of Duisburg to Kur Hotel Petersburg, Konigswinter south-east of Bonn 25 Jun 45
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  20. Linda Baynes

    Linda Baynes New Member

    Thank you so much!
    You jogged my memory with this- my dad had a wooden coat hanger from (I thought) the Grand Hotel, Konigswinter but it could have been the Kur.

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