Service in Royal Engineers 1943 - 1946

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Roy Martin, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    I would appreciate help in deciphering my fathers record towards the end of the war. He was a Carpenter and Joiner, but when he enlisted in March 1940 he was told that the REs had enough chippies. As he had travelled to the recruiting office on his motor bike he was made a Dispatch Rider. This rankled for years after and he obviously was 'difficult' as he did not get further than L/Cpl and lost that stripe several times! He managed to get a transfer to the REs on 24 August 1943, while in North Africa, I think. He went across to Italy and spent some time in Northern Italy bridge building. Sorry about all the background!

    By December 1944 he was U/L/Sgt, then, on the same day P/L/Sgt. He talked of being in Austria and Greece after the war, so here is my query - at last! His attached reference in his Notice of Impending Release is for Exemplary conduct as a Sergeant in 324 Works Section Royal Engineers. He is described as Assistant Foreman of Works in 19 Feb 1946, the reference is signed by a Major, W Dootson? in 'Fullion Greece (CMF)'. It is difficult to decipher the writing and I am sure I haven't got the place correct. Can anyone tell me where that was, I think that they were making pre fabricated huts for displaced people?

    Attached Files:

  2. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I think it looks like Faliron, which is near Athens. It now seems to be marked on maps as Faliro.
  3. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Tim, thanks.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Many thanks TD.
  6. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    According to the December 1944 war diary of 3rd Infantry Corps Commander Engineers (CE) (WO 170-258), 324 Works section, Royal Engineers consisted of just 23 personnel and 3 vehicles. They were based at Piraeus, which was next door to Faliron (aka Phaleron). It would appear that 324 Works was originally intended to go to Patras but was kept in Athens because of the developing civil war. The Commanding Officer of 324 Works RE was Major Norman McBride (156991), Royal Engineers.

    Their task was maintenance works on quays, hospitals, and Prisoner of War cages, etc, buildings and military accommodation. They were under the overall command of Brigadier F W Hands, RE, HQ 3rd Infantry Corps, Chief Engineer (CE).

    The earliest mention I can find of the unit is in aCommand Staff List dated 30 October 1944. So they must have arrived in Greece not long before that.

    During the troubles in December of 1944, 324 Works Section RE was subordinated to ARKFORCE. This was the force under the command of Major-General R H B Arkwight who were responsible for the overall defence of central Athens, Piraeus/Faliron and the roads connecting the two. 324 Works Section RE were based at the Hotel Majestic in Athens. The "H" in the center of the map below is the Hotel Majestic.


    On the 14th December 1944, as more and more reinforcements poured in to Greece from Italy and Egypt, an area centered on the racecourse in Faliron was turned into a massive forward operating base and given the name as GREEKBASE. Around the 16th December 1944, 324 Works Section RE was moved to GREEKBASE and taken under command of 1240 Commander Royal Engineers (CRE) commanded by Lt-Colonel Keiller, RE. Major McBride was given the role of deputy CRE at GREEKBASE. The racecourse can be seen on the map below.


    After the troubles subsided in mid January 1945, 324 Works Section RE remained under the command of 1240 Commander Royal Engineers (CRE) but returned to Athens.

    As far as I can tell, no personnel from 324 Works Section RE were killed, wounded or taken prisoner during the troubles.

    Hope this helps

  7. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    That helps a great deal, thank you. My father had been in 291 Works Section, in Italy I think. He was sent home on leave on 12 July 1945, returning 21 July 1945 to 324 Works Section. He told us that until he was demobbed he was prefabricating buildings for displaced persons.

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