BEF Vehicle Arm of Service Markings (GHQ and others)

Discussion in '1940' started by Rich Payne, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I quite understand, Drew. I do hope though that any relative who might come across this will appreciate the respect shown on this forum.

    Lest we Forget.... :poppy:
    Drew5233 likes this.
  2. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member


    Well done for narrowing this down. The explanation for the two versions of the diary is:

    There are two sets of pages for the same period in May in the diary. Drew's pages come first then 'mine'. Mine have 'Original' written at the top. So presumably the original pages went missing and someone wrote them up again from memory or notes. Then the original pages turned up and both sets were kept. I never noticed this when I picked out the pages from my copy of the diary. Drew's refer to this direct hit and the original pages don't.

    By the way - I have been told that Firepower has copies of the RA diaries as well and that they sometimes contain slightly different material to the copies at Kew. All makes for hard work!


  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hey up Andrew - that'll teach me for not looking at all of May in my diary. I'm not convinced by the whole Firepower thing, certainly not 1940 anyway as I've copied some diaries for them or someone to do with the place and another person told me they didn't have a copy of the BEF RA diary they were after. Collecting all RA diaries would be a colossal task far bigger than my BEF project. I completed all the RE diaries and Divisional GS diaries the other week by the way - very close to a 1,000 BEF diaries now :)
  4. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Possibly Rich :) but as we all know with wonders of computing a name search with afew key words should bring them to the page .
  5. TimRE

    TimRE Member

    I am looking for the AOS marking for 293 Field Park Company, Royal Engineers (aka 293 Fd Park Coy). My father, Eric Sanderson, 2094566, was a sapper with this company.

    I was going to buy Andrew's book but apparently it doesn't include units which arrived after April 11. According to their war diary, 293 (and my dad!) arrived in France May 3.

    From what I understand, they were assigned under SAAR Force, which was the 51st Division reinforced by various small units, and was part of the Colonial Army Corps of the French 3rd Army in front of the Maginot Line.

    Can someone point me in the right direction?

    Thanks, Tim.
  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Tim, in fact they are included in Andrew's book which must mean that even if they hadn't all arrived by April 11th, they had been included in the establishment when the document was produced.

    They appear to have been III Corps Field Park.

    This probably means that initially at least, they carried the III Corps 'fig leaf' formation sign with an AoS '24' on RE cobalt blue with white corps bar above.

    It's probably going to be very difficult to work out if they re-badged for their time on SAAR Force - That would probably depend on whether they were intended to be a permanent fixture there and to remain under III Corps command.

    I've had a look through the BEF movement returns and can't find an entry for 3rd May on the relevant pages which is odd and unfortunately means I can't confirm the movement serial issued. However, the lists do show that HQ III Corps Troops RE moved to France on 1/4/1940 so it's likely that AoS serials for their subordinate units were issued at the same time.
  7. TimRE

    TimRE Member

    Thanks so much for the reply, that sounds like the correct symbol they would have had. Your reply made me have a closer look at the war diary and I realised I had my war diary photocopies mixed up and they did in fact arrive on April 3, not May 3 as in my previous post. So that's why they are in the book.

    Does this make the serial make more sense? Apologies for the confusion.

  8. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    I'm sure you're right Andy. I have only been to Firepower once and I need to go back and see what they actually have.

  9. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    bef 1940 cross keys.jpg bef back.jpg You can see the cross keys on the carrier + number 4 and on a mudguard on the right by the xxx cross keys. There is a bridge in the background, this may ID the area + info on back of photo.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The odd thing is that the only unit in 2nd Infantry Division which carried '4' was 16 Field Regt. RA. and this is a Bren Carrier, not a Scout or AOP (A Sentinel Wagon Bren No.2 mkII if the serial is between T4515 - T4599).

    Could the serial be a damaged '14' ? That would indicate 1 Border.

    The Caption says "Autofriedhof D√ľnkirchen. ?1940" - Vehicle Graveyard. Dunkirk.
  11. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Is this red over blue or blue over red ? It pretty well has to be 32 Army Field Regt. RA, but reds in these photographs usually show as closer to the green (or khaki) background colour. Did someone apply the RA colours upside down ?

  13. Blanket Stacker

    Blanket Stacker Junior Member

    A possible explanation could be the type of film being used to take the original photo. Orthochromatic film was an early type of camera film still in widespread use at this time although it was being supersceded by the more modern panchromatic film. Orthochromatic was sensetive to colour although producing just black and white pictures, it made blues appear light and yellows appear dark. It also made reds appear darker though this was less noticable. This could explain the apparently reversed colours on this AOS plate. Panchromatic film gives a much truer rendition of shades of light and dark.
  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A Bedford MW from 61 Medium Regt. RA on the beach at Malo Les Bains with L'Adroit in the background.


    It appears to have 'TL A' on the tac sign, indicating the 15cwt truck of the Troop Leader of A Troop
  15. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Interesting question as the reproduction of colours in B&W film can differ greatly. Can't vouch for the strict accuracy of the following but here is a colour image converted to black and white using the supposed pre-sets of certain commercial films. The films used are post-war types but give a good idea of how colours are rendered differently. Also note the comparison with a standard Photoshop greyscale conversion.
    How a B&W negative is then printed will also affect the contrast of the tones.

    Original colour image

    Converted to black and white using standard Photoshop filter (designed to mimick human eye)

    Simulated orthochromatic film which isn't sensitive to the red spectrum

    Afga 200X panchromatic film

    Kodak Tri-X panchromatic film.

    Kodak T-Max 100 panchromatic film.

  16. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    What appears to be a ditched Thornycroft Tartar bearing the spearhead of 1st Corps together with the '53' on black with white corps bar of 1 Motor Ambulance Convoy on the same mudguard. 1 Motor Ambulance Convoy.jpg
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    This photograph of a Guy Quad tractor shows once again a corps level marking but is particularly interesting in that it increases the probability or perhaps shows with certainty that 2 Corps came into line with the 'standard' Arm of Service markings used by the other two corps at some point between 11th April 1940 (when the list discovered by Andrew Foulkes was drawn up)

    Vehicle Markings of the BEF

    and 10th May 1940 at which point the Corps went into action and are unlikely to have changed the markings further after that date.

    Guy 88 Field Regt..jpg

    As listed at 11th April, 1 Corps and 3 Corps used the serials '9' and '10' for their 'Army field regiments' and 2 Corps used '22' and '25' This image clearly shows Brooke's 2 Corps sign together with '9' and corps bar over. It would seem likely that having converted to the standard scheme, this marking would have been allocated to 88 Army Field Regt. R.A.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  18. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Here is (or at least it appears to me to be) a new pic which I found in a French magazine recently (Batailles No 78 - and for research only) which seems to show a requisitioned Leyland bearing signs for 58 Ordnance Field Park RAOC of 2 Corps.

    Wow; my first post using IMGUR (as photobucket has let us all down), and it worked!


    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
    JCB and Drew5233 like this.
  19. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Correction: Should, of course, read 4 Ordnance Field Park of 3 Corps. Must be getting old!
  20. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    morris 1940 M4.jpg
    Morris with M4 on the side

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