1051 port Maintenance Company, Royal Engineers

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by freddieisgod, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    If you have photos that show any of the work done by the Port operating companies I think others like me would be interested. My personal interest is operations at Cairnryan and its part in providing vehicles for the US army in 1944. Thanks
     
  2. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Duplicate removed
     
  3. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Attached are a few assorted photos - not too many of them when they were working! All are of PMC 1051 in SEAC (with one exception in Singapore) between June 1945 and mid-1946.
    Scan 1: The company's officers - my father Ron Smith (4th from right rear row) made Warrent Officer in Sinagpore
    Scan 2: Burial of 4 colleagues in June 1945 and probably in India or possibly Burma
    Scan 3: My father's platoon - he's sitting in the second row near the centre
    Scan 4: Preparing to dive - my father is in the suit! The only time I've known that he went diving
    Scan 5: Going into Singapore Harbour to look for obstructions

    scan0001.jpg scan0001.jpg scan0001.jpg scan0002.jpg scan0003.jpg scan0004.jpg scan0005.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Dr. Chris. This unit and others like it are part of the history of the Royal Engineers that does not attract the limelight like other parts of the organisation.
     
  5. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Just to follow up with a little text.
    Dad was in PMC 1051 until 1 July 1944, when he was transferred to 1034 Port Operating Company and embarked for France. On 29 December 1944 he transferred back to 1051 PMC but stayed in France, until 31 March 1945.
    Having married on 11 April 1945, he was embarked at Grenock on 22 May 1945, arriving Bombay on 13 June 1945. I have no indication that he did not travel with 1051 PMC.
    He told me that they were trained for a seaborne invasion of Malaysia - the British Army was short of infantry by this stage of the war and they were to be used as assault troops. Fortunately, the War ended on 15 August 1945 (his 25th Birthday), but they were subsequently made to go through with the beach landing: he told me that they would have been cut to shreds during if the landing had been opposed. They moved to Singapore unopposed and set about repairing the dockyard. Dad left on 16 June 1946 for home.
     
  6. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    I understand that Royal Engineers were trained to fight as infantrymen as well as practice their professional skills.
     
  7. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    You are very welcome, Osborne2! I am very pleased to honour my father's memory - a very modest man. I was intending to re-visit the RE Museum this summer to do some more research - until Covid got in the way. I know so much more about the details of my father-in-law who was at Dunkirk than I do about my own father's time so I'm hoping to track down a few clues in War Diaries etc. Having picked up some references in this thread I am also looking forward to Kew re-opening.

    Dad would not have relished fighting as infantry - and I would not have blamed him.
     
  8. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Kew just reopened I understand but restricted hours and big limit on what you can order. If you live a long way away, may not be worthwhile. Check for yourself. See Kew tips elsewhere in this site.This is one of the most useful sites I post on for reliable help.
     
  9. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Many thanks. I'll let the initial rush die down I think! I'm new to this site so your words are encouraging - I will look for tips here. We are only about 40 minutes away so it's an easy visit.
     
  10. Laurie F

    Laurie F New Member

    I've only just found this site and am quite excited - I have only very recently discovered that my dad was in 1051 Port Maintenance Company. I opened your photos, Dr Chris, thinking my dad might just be in one of them, but no. But they give an insight into the life those young men were living. I have learnt a lot from you and Osborne2, so thank you both. I'll have to get to the National Archives, which I assume is where the RE Museum is. Not much I can share, but do try me!
     
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  11. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Dear Laurie
    Delighted to find someone whose father was in 1051 PMC! I think I posted all the photos I have but will check to see if there are any other groups.
    I haven't managed to get to the National Archives Kew yet - I tried several times to book a slot but without success so gave up until better times. The RE Museum is not there but in Gillingham in Kent. Again I haven't managed to get there yet to inspect the archives which I think is a more bespoke activity and requires a conversation with the Museum in order to organise. I did though visit the Museum part last year (it is/was open to the Public). There is a very good display of the Mulberry Harbours, which may be of interest depending on when your father joined the unit. Do you have his Service Records? If not, well worth getting. You can apply on-line, though it can take a while especially at this time of the year - Remembrance Day apparently creates a spike!
    Anyway, good luck and great to hear from someone with a shared background
    Chris
     
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  12. Laurie F

    Laurie F New Member

    Thanks again Chris. I will certainly go to the museum when such things are possible. My dad was involved with the construction of Mulberry Harbour - he was also at one point before that, certainly in 1943, in 285th Field Park Company as a driver. He used to speak of driving tank transporters though the blackout in Wales, which always impressed us hugely. No, I don't have his service records, but you have pushed me into action and a request will shortly be on its way!
    Laurie
     
  13. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Hi Laurie
    Pleased to have nudged you into action.
    Having looked through Dad's service records, he was with 1051 PMC from 30 Oct 1943, having been called up in mid-June that year. After initial training in Scotland, he was sent to a place that looks like 'Glennavis' only Google maps doesn't recognise the name! I know he was in Scotland mainly in the Stranraer and Port Patrick area. That's one of the places where the Mulberry harbours were constructed. If you have any photos of that time from your father it would be great if you could share them - I have none of that period.
    Chris
     
  14. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Stranraer. Possibly the building or running of Cairnryan. Military Port No.2 being built and run in case Liverpool or another major port closed by bombing.
     
  15. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Interesting that as late as the second half of 1943, we still feared German bombing on such a scale!
     
  16. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

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  17. Andrew Bennett

    Andrew Bennett New Member

    Hi all,

    My grandad was Sapper John Martin, born Glasgow 1923. I know he was in the Royal Engineers, and found out he was in 1051 PM Company. I've always thought he landed on D-Day and possibly fought in Caen. From reading previous posts on this thread, this seems to correspond with other relative's journeys.

    I've recently looked further into his old documents from the war and found letters that enable me to track his timeline. Hopefully this gives other people some more information concerning their relatives. The addresses on the letters are:

    i) 'C Bay F.W.T.W, 66 Party Hut 131, T.T.C. R.E., Longmore Liss, Hampshire' dated February 1943. *The writing on this letter is very difficult to interpret and I've tried my best to translate what it says*.

    ii) '1051 PM COY D Section, Drummuck Loch Camp, Stranraer' in October 1943.

    iii) A permission of leave for Paris in November 1944.

    iv) A postcard home from Normandy in Christmas 1944.

    Does anyone know any more information? I would love to find out about his and the company's journey through France, my mum has maintained that he reached Belgium too.

    Kind regards,
    Andrew
     
  18. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Andrew
    Fascinated to hear about your grandfather as it ties in closely with my father's service noted earlier in this thread.
    Dad did his basic training just outside Chester in the summer of 1943. He was posted to 1025 Dock Operating Company on 2 October 1943 in Glennevis/Glenmavis? (writing not clear). On 30 October, he was transferred to 1051 PMC.
    On 1 July 1944 he embarked for France, where he was transferred to 1034 Port Operations Company until 29 December when he went back to 1051 PMC, returning to the UK on 31 March 1945. While I have no record of where he went, going through all the old photos, there were a lot of postcards of famous landmarks in Paris, so he too probably had a leave there. I pretty sure he worked his way up the French coast towards Belgium, but where and when I don't know. I do though remember him telling me about having to clear some old pillboxes one day - I think a lot of Germans were simply by-passed as 21st Army Group advanced north. They came across one on this day and he shot one of the blokes in the foot (or it may have been just the boot), and then scappered. Dad and his guys did not pursue - and I do not blame him!
    Dad embarked from Grennock on 22 May 1945, arriving in Bombay on 13 June 1945. I'm not sure when he got to Singapore. He left there on 24 May 1946, arriving home on 17 June 1946.
    I hope this adds a little to your knowledge or at least narrows down a few dates.
    Good luck with your investigations - I hope you find something to report back!
    Best regards
    Chris
     
  19. Andrew Bennett

    Andrew Bennett New Member

    Hi Ch
    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your reply and for the further information. Really interesting to hear about your dad’s journey. I don’t blame him either!

    I’m going to request my grandad’s war records from gov.uk in the hope I can get some more information. I’ll certainly post if I find out anything more.

    Andrew
     
  20. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Just looking through an old photo album of my parents which related to a trip to Normandy in June 1984. It showed my father standing on a Bailey Bridge (complete with traffic lights that Dad fashioned from a buscuit tin) that the unit built in June/July 1944 at the habour in Courseulles-sur-Mer on Juno beach. So 1051 PMC did more than port maintenance!
     

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