wocci - meaning?

Discussion in 'General' started by kmvenables, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. kmvenables

    kmvenables Dr Harry Walker

    The acronym wocci appears a couple of times in the records the MoD has sent me for my father. Does anybody know what it means? Kate
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    WOCL1 is Warrant Officer Class 1
    4jonboy likes this.
  3. kmvenables

    kmvenables Dr Harry Walker

    I can't see how it would be that. When I searched using 'wocci' on this forum there was a reference to a card index? Does that ring a bell with anyone? Maybe an older system for recording officers' details?
  4. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Might help if you could post an image of the record - otherwise its mainly guess work
  5. steviebyday

    steviebyday Junior Member

    according to the list of abbreviations ,I received with my fathers service record, it does indeed stand for Warrant Officer Class 1.
  6. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    WOCCI = War Office Central Card Index

    See short film: “Wocci is Master of Demob” (British Pathé)

    M/S of A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service) corporal seated at desk writing, she is filling in soldier's name on card index at W.O.C.C.I. (The War Office Central Card Index). Various shots of girls at work on the vast filing system and card index at the War Office in punching room, interpreting room, printing room where statistics are given ready for release. A machine sorts them and files them according to age, occupation etc. Another machine can correlate and tabulate the data to be printed, so they know, for example, how many bricklayers there are and how much experience they have. C/U of soldier laughing knowing his civilian life is being planned for him.
    Harry Ree, kmvenables, Cee and 2 others like this.
  7. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    Not only did WOCCI find bricklayers but it “supplied a nominal roll of all syphilis cases admitted to hospital during the twelve months 1943-44”. (From Army Experience of Syphilis Therapy by CCM James, Donald G Mackay and JT Wright, 1948)

    A picture of a card from Shutterstock
    WWII: Britain: A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service) .some 350 girls, most of them in the A.T.S. after three months training are working in shifts for 24 hours a day sorting every man and woman in the Army and Auxiliary Services into age and Service groups ready for their release when the way with Germany is over ('W.O.C.C.I. War Office Central Card Index). In five minutes 'WOCCI' can produce a complete categorization of civilian occupations throughout the Army. Picture shows: One of the cards with coded particulars of each man punched ready for the machine
    Stock image, Nov 22, 1944.
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  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Presumably they were using Hollerith cards which were sorted on IBM unit record machines? MOD still using some as late as the mid 70s for some personnel records
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  9. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Very interesting video - In RCAF records I've seen similar cards but with less punched holes (only about 1/3rd of the card has holes)
    kmvenables likes this.
  10. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    From what he told me, I believe that is the same card system that was what my father was using with the RAF at Innsworth in 1949.
    kmvenables likes this.
  11. kmvenables

    kmvenables Dr Harry Walker

    Fascinating! Thank you! Lovely film - 'robot marvel'! I think this card index is what is meant. One sheet in his record appears to have been copied from the card index. Or maybe it is the reverse and the notation was to say what should be punched into the wocci? Presumably the card index was destroyed, if anyone knows? Kate
  12. kmvenables

    kmvenables Dr Harry Walker

    Re the syphilis cases - these punch cards were the mainstay of all large-scale epidemiological research and clinical follow-up studies until the age of computers. I remember being taught how to use them in 1980.
  13. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

  14. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Yes, although Innsworth later became one of the more advanced military payroll and personnel computer centres - certainly well ahead of the army whose system was a disaster by the 70s.
    It's amazing how the influence of punch card systems lingered and the logic imposed persisted right up until the rewrites for the millennium. For example I encountered a system that for some reason kept writing files and then reading them again. It turned out that there had been a punch card system that punched cards, physically sorted them and then processed the new sequence. As technology had advanced and newer systems had replaced older ones lazy analysts/programmers had failed to rethink the logic and were still producing procedures processing electronic images of the data on the cards mirroring the old mechanical machines so that the computer of 2000 was simulating the machine of the late 40s - just a bit faster.
  15. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    I believe that some of the records were eventually copied onto magnetic tape when early versions of this technology became available but were later destroyed. I came across evidence of the system when doing some work in the 70s for C6 evaluating the failure of a later successor project although I didn't know that the original was called WOCCI. There would almost certainly be no machine extant today that could read such tapes even assuming that they were still readable at all (which is unlikely).
  16. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Very interesting thread. Some of the Army's systems were indeed strange. In the early 1980s I was responsible for the computerised personnel systems in BAOR. Every week, or maybe month, we were sent a tape from Worthy Down of all the personnel in BAOR. This purported to contain a copy of each person's computer record. At the time we were trying to sell Chieftain tanks to Persia (as it was then) and I was often asked to identify anyone who could speak Persian. All went well until one day, the guy in the next office came in and asked why we never nominated him as he was a Persian Interpreter. It turned out that (not altogether surprisingly) Worthy Down's records for Officers were different (and longer) than their records for non-commissioned ranks. They resolved the problem of fitting two different records onto one tape by just not sending us the whole of Officers' records, but only the bit that fitted the length of soldiers records. We never nominated the guy in the next office because we had never been sent that part of his record!
    I might add we still used punched cards for various purposes.

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