Royal Engineers in Persia/Iran 1941/2

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Roy Martin, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    I am looking for information on the ships, with locomotives, discharged in Iran by the REs from December 1941 until the end of 1943. I have been on to the RE's archives at Chatham and, though they were helpful, there was no way of gauging if they had information that would justify a trip there. Are there war diaries at Kew covering this operation? I attach a bit from Wikipedia:

    "In September 1941 the Allies took over operation of the Trans-Iranian Railway: British and Empire Royal Engineers (RE) commanded by Brigadier Godfrey D. Rhodes operating the Southern Division between Tehran and the port of Bandar Shahpur on the Persian Gulf and the Soviet Army operating the Northern Division between Tehran and the port of Bandar Shah on the Caspian Sea.[26] The RE expanded freight capacity by building new railway yards at Bandar Shahpur, Ahvaz and Andimeshk and a junction at Ahvaz for a new line to Khorramshahr on the Shatt al-Arab. In order to increase the line's locomotive fleet the RE built a yard at Abadan to transfer locomotives from merchant ships to barges to take them up the River Karun and a derrick on a jetty on the Karun at Ahwaz to unload them from the barges onto the railway."


  2. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Roy, do you know which RE units were sent to there?
    There will certainly be war diaries at Kew. Perhaps also operational files as well.

  3. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Hope this helps you
    153 (london & N E) Railway Operating Coy Persia 1942 onwards

    190 Railway Operating Company Persia (Basra) Dec 41 thru Jan 45

    Also worth a visit is the website this has a lot of info on locos and a roll of honour
  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Using Oldman's information, here are the war diaries for those two:


    WO 169/1890, 190 Op. Coy. (1941 Sept.- Dec.)
    WO 169/5286, 190 Rly. Op. Coy. (1942 Jan.- Dec.)
    WO 169/10642, 190 Rly. Op. Coy. (1943 Jan.- Dec.)
    WO 169/5279, 153 Rly. Op. Coy. (1942 Mar.- Dec.)

    (Downloaded from ARCRE War Diary Search Engine: Arcre - War Diary Search Engine - 2012-01-11 12:18 GMT)

    This file might also be of interest:
    WO 201/1503, PERSIA AND IRAQ COMMAND > Demolition Zones > Demolition Trans-Iranian railways (Sep. 1942)

  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    Lee and Oldman,

    Thank you both. I have exchanged quite a lot of information with the 8F Society in the past, they have been most helpful, but know little about arrivals of ships etc. I want to start by finding how many/which locos a ship called La Pampa delivered in late December 1941. I then want to go on to deliveries she made from India in the following 22 months.

    It will be a while before I can get to TNA, but will post once I do.


  6. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Have a look on the convoy website see if you can find which convoy the La Pampa travelled in, also see if you can find a copy of the book LMS AT WAR it contains a lot of information about the railway in wartime plus I recall had photos/pictures ot traind hauling oil tanks accross the desert.
    Your local library may be the best bet or request through them from the British Lending Library
  7. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    Thank you Oldman,

    I have only just seen your post. I have the movement cards for La Pampa, so I know when she loaded locos in Cardiff - Sept 1941, and when she arrived in the Gulf for discharge - Dec 1941. It looks as if six locos left Cardiff in September and LP is listed as carrying 'Important military stores'. She was well capable of carrying six locos or more, but I wonder if they would have put so many in one ship. I hoped that an RE Port Regiment would have listed the locos they discharged = especially at the begining of the operation.

    One of the six was the loco now owned by the 8F Locomotive Society.

  8. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Any idea at which port they where unloaded? this could be a way of finding out if they are recorded as you suggest they should have been in the port/dock operating records or war diary
  9. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron


    Thanks yours.

    Bushire Arr 7 Dec 1941, sailed 11 Dec; arr Abadan 12th, sailed Basra 24 Dec, next port Karachi. OHMS 5 Oct to 17 Dec.

    As you can see there are several gaps.

  10. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    The latest point I have got to is that Persia was nearly all under the Indian Engineers on the Port Operating and Docks side so further research is required
  11. Poppy Joe

    Poppy Joe New Member

    Hello Roy and Oldman,

    My Grandfather (Joseph William PLASTER) was with the 190 Railway Operating Company RE in Persia and later instructed at the Longmoor Military Railway.

    I'm very interested to find out as much as I can about his movements during the war, where he was stationed, the names and or pics of ships he may have been transported on etc, company war diaries, any source of pics of the 190 ROC RE etc. He went to France with the BEF 190 ROC RE and was evacutated from St Naizare after the evacuation at Dunkirk was over.

    I live in Western Australia which has its benefits, but ease of access to records in the UK is not one of them.

    Given your interest in this field I wondered if you would mind sharing any info you may have or giving me any tips you feel would be helpful for someone who is just starting out.

    with thanks

    Poppy Joe
  12. borneo72

    borneo72 Junior Member

    Hi Poppy Joe, your best bet is to apply for his service records first, this will list the units he served with. The War diaries can be defined once you know the unit he was with. There are many experts on this site to help. The instructions for applying are listed on this forum, and it may take up to a year to receive.
    Best of luck,

  13. Poppy Joe

    Poppy Joe New Member

    Thanks Dave, appreciate your advice, and will do just that......then wait. cheers Poppy Joe

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