Royal Engineers unit help.

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by nickb, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. nickb

    nickb Member

    I have been given a copy of a paper message that my grandad sent home to his mother in 1943.

    as you can see the paper has been folded just where the unit details are. maybe one of the more knowledgable members can make it out.

    Spr Brown JH (number) A Sect 1013 D.O.C.R.E. ???? (unknown in red)

    Or could the post marks give a clue?

    Any hints as to the unit details would be gratefully appreciated

    Many thanks

    nickb
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    BNAF is straightforward - British North Africa Forces.

    I think that your Grandfather was 1015 Docks Operating Coys Royal Engineers.

    I've got them listed as GHQ, Lines of Communication and Army Troops, 1st Army.
     
  3. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    NickB
    Could be D.O.CRE BNAF or DNAF it is hard to see the 2nd letter properly
    to see if it has any part actually in the fold.
    Perhaps one of the regulars may shed further light on this

    Do you know what unit he was with? this may help

    Oldman
     
  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    I have an exact same postcard from my Grandfather. He was RE 1st Army.
    But presumably the same design postcard was used by all the lads out there?
     
  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    BNAF is straightforward - British North Africa Forces.

    I think that your Grandfather was 1015 Docks Operating Coys Royal Engineers.

    I've got them listed as GHQ, Lines of Communication and Army Troops, 1st Army.


    Rich,

    I think you are correct with your assumption.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  6. nickb

    nickb Member

    Many thanks for all the replies.

    I will have a search on the web and see what I can find on that unit.

    I have not sent for his records as yet but must put it on my DO now list. his occupation before the war was on the railways.

    Rich: can you recomend any further reading where I could look up this unit?

    many thanks again to everyone
     
  7. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello Nick,

    Researching the individual units of Corps is never easy compared with famous regiments (especially armoured !).

    Have you been able to work out if it was 1013 or 1015 Docks Operating ? I thought that I could see the straight back of the '5' but I'm not certain.

    You'll need his service records to be exactly sure of where he went personally.

    The only avenue open for researching a little known unit is to look at the War Diaries in the National Archives at Kew. The RE museum at Chatham only really have WW1 diaries and the more general Corps histories.

    This link may help, you'll find most of the Docks Operating Companies there:-

    JavaScript Support Check

    I don't think there's much alternative to a personal visit. It's something that I still have to do. There are others on the forum better placed to advise you on the ins and outs. It's not a very user-friendly web site and the whole system is rather intended to discourage the casual visitor from afar (or so it seems to me). I think that it's your only option though.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Rich
     
  8. nickb

    nickb Member

    Thanks again Rich

    My Grandads service records are my first priority after xmas. I know without these I could be running around in circles for years. for example..if you look at my avatar you can make out he is wearing a RA cap badge. It certainly looks like it is 1015 as his service number has a 3 in it and the last digit of the unit doesn't quite match.

    The NA, well theres another story. I used to use them often, I am researching the loss of a bomber in 1943. they did do a service were all you did was request the documents and received them via an e-mail. but apparently this was not making them any money so they have since stopped it. So much for our National heritage. Money is the key here unlike Canada & Austrailia. So it looks like I will have to visit them at some point.

    many thanks again

    Nick
     
  9. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    The NA, well theres another story. I used to use them often, I am researching the loss of a bomber in 1943. they did do a service were all you did was request the documents and received them via an e-mail. but apparently this was not making them any money so they have since stopped it. So much for our National heritage. Money is the key here unlike Canada & Austrailia. So it looks like I will have to visit them at some point.
    Nick

    It is strange whats going on at the NA. They have moved more in the direction of being a glorified family history centre, since the Family Records Centre in Islington closed. They've also responded to central Government budgetary pressure by pledging to cut down on unprofitable activities. Mind you they'll happily fund any project if its PC enough. I know times are hard, but when you factor in how much they're planning on saving its peanuts compared to what gets wasted elsewhere in Government. I've always thought you can't put a price on heritage, you can try and maximise income to offset losses, but it shouldn't be the be all and end all.

    sorry, rant over lol
     
  10. nickb

    nickb Member

    My sentiments exactly James. I know I could always drive the 4 hours. I know what I want so (not knowing how things work there) say queue for an hour for the documents I need, then drive the 4 hours back. but it was so much easier and convenient the way it was. I feel for the many researchers scattered all over the world who now must pay a small fortune for a proffessional to get what they want.

    So it looks as if this part of my research is on the back burner. may be a nice kind MP will lend me their second home for a couple of days.lol.

    Nick
     
  11. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Obviously the med. After the war in Europe. the Third British Infantry Div was sent on to Palestine... Peace keepers... where they came under attack from the Stern gang the haganah and other terrorists groups. AS to the DOC? I do not know.There are so many RE companies that cover a huge range of skills and trades... From Dock to railways to shipping....The lot
    Cheers sapper
     
  12. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    My sentiments exactly James. I know I could always drive the 4 hours. I know what I want so (not knowing how things work there) say queue for an hour for the documents I need, then drive the 4 hours back. but it was so much easier and convenient the way it was. I feel for the many researchers scattered all over the world who now must pay a small fortune for a proffessional to get what they want.

    So it looks as if this part of my research is on the back burner. may be a nice kind MP will lend me their second home for a couple of days.lol.

    Nick

    If you already have a reader's ticket you can pre-order the documents so they are there waiting on your arrival.

    A few of these might be of interest:

    WO 166/3961 1013 Docks Op. Coy. 1941 Apr.- Dec.
    WO 166/8370 1013 Coy. 1942 Jan.- Aug.
    WO 169/10831 1013 Docks Op. Coy. 1943 July- Dec.
    WO 169/20910 1013 Coy. 1945 Aug.- Dec.
    WO 170/1809 Companies: 1013 Coy. 1944 Jan., Feb.
    WO 171/1771 1013 Coy. 1944 Mar.- Dec.
    WO 171/5720 1013 Coy. 1945 Jan.- Oct.
    WO 171/8118 1013 Det Schleiden 1945 June-Sept
    WO 175/721 1013 Coy. 1942 Oct.- 1943 June

    WO 166/3963 1015 Docks Op. Coy. 1941 June - Dec.
    WO 166/8372 1015 Coy. 1942 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 169/10833 1015 Docks Op. Coy. 1943 July- Dec.
    WO 169/20912 1015 Coy. 1945 Sept.- Dec.
    WO 170/1811 Companies: 1015 Coy. 1944 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 170/5330 Companies: 1015 Coy. 1945 Jan.- Dec.


    Lee
     
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  13. nickb

    nickb Member

    Thanks for the help Psywar will see about a readers ticket before I plan my trip.

    Sapper, until I get his records I will not know where he went but I know almost nothing about his war service, it was always said he had a bad war ( as if anyone could have a good one!) N Africa was a complete eye opener but it was told he was part of the D-Day landing (quite early on).
    My other Grandad was in 169 Rly Wkps (RE) in Palastine until 1947-8 posted from Europe at the end of the war.

    Many thanks again to everyone anything else that will help would be very much appreciated. I will keep posting as I come across info.

    regards

    Nick
     
  14. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I do know that some Companies (Of all regiments and Corps)were brought back from other overseas areas, to take part in the D day landings.
    The variety of RE companies is quite staggering. Good Luck with your search.
    As an aside: The miracles that some of those Docks companies achieved. were little short of superhuman.The Country owes them a debt of gratitude.
    Sapper
     
  15. nickb

    nickb Member

    Well, I thought I would keep everyone informed of my progress on my Grandfathers service as I have now received his records.
    MOD take a bow::: I sent for his service file in January and they landed on my mat yesterday. Not bad going as I have read on here that it has taken some people a year.

    I can confirm that his service in N Africa was indeed with 1013 Docks Operating Coy. The crease on the postcard was the bug bear but now I know which War diary to check. Next job.

    He landed in N Africa on Nov 12th 1942 only 4 days after the initial landings. The diaries will give me more information on his time there. He stayed with 1013 until he was shipped back to the UK in preparation for the D-Day landings.

    On his return to the UK he seems to have transfered to 1055 Port Operating Coy. Disembarked NWE 6-6-1944. These diaries are also next on my list.

    I have one question for any ex-RE: He did his trade test and passed as firstly Checker D3 then later as a Checker D2. Was this trade/job as it suggests someone who was checking the supplies as they were landed?

    I have used Geoff's search engine to find losses within these units as a rough tool to see where he was.

    For 1013 there are 8 KIA on the CWGC website all buried in Algeria. but there is one member of the unit buried in Naples in Dec 1943. I will have to get the diary as this burial would also put him in Italy and he does not have that medal entitlement. He was with 1013 until March 1944 so wonder if the unit was split later during that campaign.

    I NWE he was as I have said with 1055 and a look at their casualties shows that they lost 8 men during my Grandfathers time with them. 4 of these were near Zeebrugge in Mar 45 and 3 were just after D-Day on the 12th June 44.

    To go back to the stories that I had been told I always thought he was at Dunkirk and I can now confirm that he wasn't. He was with "A" battery 9th Field training Regt RA then 109th FT Regt RA when he first enlisted. On his records it did show embarked for BEF May 1940 but in says CANCELLED across it. I guess he was a very luck man at that time. His life could have turned out so differently.
    He was transfered to the RE I assume because of his civvy trade as a "Greaser" on the LNER in Hull.

    Well thats it for now I may come back with some more

    Nick
     
  16. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Nick
    Great that you received your Grandfathers service records in such quick time.
    Really pleased for you, and it clears up which unit he was in.
    If you don't know already, there are a couple of people on the forum who can copy the war diaries for you at a very reasonable rate if you cannot get there easily-PsyWar has already given you the war diary numbers.

    Lesley
     
  17. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Nick
    Great News!
    As for the burial in Naples he could have been posted to a unit there and not taken on strength a conundrum to solve.
     
  18. nickb

    nickb Member

    Lesley: I have a friend in London so I will ask them to pop to the TNA when they can but I have seen the members on here who copy files. It will definately be looked into though.

    Oldman: I agree and the diaries will help me figure out where they where. I love this kind of research there are always more questions to be answered the further in you delve.

    A question for Geoff or anyone who may be able to help with search options on his database: I searched with 1013/1055 as the unit text and RE in the regt/Corps. I have read that the CWGC may miss some records out when searched because of a comma etc. I may have missed some losses.

    One story goes that my uncle was named after a mate who was killed "Cedric" but not come up with any with that name thats one reason I did not know if I had not got all the units casualties during my search. But it could be another story that holds no truth. There seems to be others that I have heard but as I have said he never talked about the war and the stories come from my parents.

    Such as: He was wounded in the side!!!! Sorry but he wasn't he had an abssess and the scar came from that.
    He was in italy My dad during the 50's could not wear a Black shirt because of this. Well until I read the diaries I won't know about this one.

    Parents with tall tales make my research so enlightening.
     
  19. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  20. RichardAJ

    RichardAJ Junior Member

    Hi chaps

    Am trying to find some details of my grandads RE unit, Which was 937 Port Construction Coy. At normandy from 7 june, France then up to Holland. Part of 21 Army Group. Any help or direction would be great.

    Regards
    Richard
     

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