Unit War Diaries - Rolls of Officers / Field Returns

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by Red W, Jun 13, 2020.

  1. Red W

    Red W Member

    Hi - I wonder if anyone can help.

    I'm currently looking through the Field Return of Officers which was produced weekly and attached to unit war diaries. The battalion I'm looking at arranges these in order - HQ (CO, 2IC etc) and the split by company (A,B,C, and D).

    The names listed by each company are the company commander, second in command and then the 3/4 Lieutenants who made up the rest of the company strength.

    Two questions:
    1. Is this usual
    2. Are the Lieutenants generally arranged in order of platoons (2, 3 ,4) or is it a seniority thing? (struggling to work out the order).

    Any help gratefully recieved.

  2. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    No, it is not normal in my experience. Normally the lists are by rank then alphabetically or by seniority.
  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Have attached a page from the officers' roll from 56 Recce for December '43, obviously ordered by rank but not sure after that. No idea if there was an Army 'standard' or regiments could do their own thing.
    56 Recce 1 Officer Roll - Copy.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
    4jonboy likes this.
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    They vary greatly going by the circa 5,000 diaries I have from basic form of senior rank to junior or more details identifying what job the officer had with the unit and when then joined the unit and or the date in their specific job.
  5. Red W

    Red W Member

    Ok - thanks, that's helpful.

    Pretty sure it is by Company and assuming from comments that it will be on seniority after that - I'll try and work back the dates of commission (?) to prove that theory.

    Is there any other way anyone is aware of for working out which platoon an officer was in (specifically which a Lieutenant commanded)?
  6. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Officers are often named in war diaries which also often contain reports by officers on particular actions they were involved in, so these are a good source, also unit histories.
  7. Red W

    Red W Member

    Thanks Tony56 - I've found a single reference to his platoon when it cleared a village, though just listed as his platoon rather than the number. I've got some more details about the actions of specific platoons, but all set by number rather than CO, so struggling to connect the two.

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