Driver & Maintenance School Keswick

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by jeffbubble, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member


    Looking for information on this unit. It appeared to train Dispatch Riders - there was some very well know TT riders on the staff. Also trained jeep and Carrier drivers. Some training was done on Skiddaw.

    Part of the units duties was to practice waterproofing vehicles for D Day, these were tested in Buttermere Lake.

    Any further details would be a help.

  2. pedagogue13

    pedagogue13 Junior Member

    Hello Jeff - Chris Veitch here!
    I occasionally do a search for D & M School Keswick but nothing much ever appears except for Bovington for Tanks. Did you get a copy of the D & M films from WW2? It was distributed to the veterans quite a while ago now, I copied it into DVD. Some of the scenes could have been filmed yesterday, the quality is so good and in colour too - quite unusual for the time and restrictions

  3. pedagogue13

    pedagogue13 Junior Member

    ... and also seem to remember Father saying Speedway stars were also recruited for the motor bikes - Norton 500 I think

  4. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    Nice to hear from you chris - Yes your Father gave me the VHS Version along with a letter.

  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Jeff, it may have been on the same site as another unit/establishment; tankcrew training was carried out on Bleaberry Fell behind Walla Crag overlooking Keswick, for instance...
  6. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    RASC. I am sure it was in Portinscale village with the Derwentwater Hotel used for Accomodation, drivers where taught over the Newland Valley road and Honnister Pass.

    As Phylo Roadking States the tanks trained behind what is now Castlerigg Campsite part of the road was strengthend to take their weight.

    As for Skiddaw A Wainwright who wrote walking guides to the Lake District, talks of spending the night on the fells and seeing Liverpool a blaze also he talks of soldiers reaching the summit of Skiddaw in a bren gun carrier. Using the tourist path from Keswick it is very feasable.

    Try the local Library in Keswick and also the archieves of the Westmorland Gazette and the Cumbria Magazine.
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    That let me do a bit of quick googling...and found this -

    BBC - WW2 People's War - John Welsh's War Diary

    ARMY NUMBER: T/248123
    Part 1
    Called up for army. Reported to No 7 Battalion Alfreton Derbyshire RASC. Had been deferred for six months. Got fitted out at Alfreton then transported to East Kirby to do a months parade ground training. Stationed in an old wooden hut. Very cold, winter weather. Palled up with Bill Gorman and Geo McGurk one came from West Hartlepool the other from Jarrow. They were a few years older than I was perhaps eight to ten years. I had missed my age group due to being deferred. We had four weeks hard graft then posted to Ripley Derbyshire. Here we had to do six weeks driving instruction. Our officers and NCOs were all oldish men from London Transport. They had to teach us to drive a vehicle and how to maintain it. All this in six weeks. Eventually passed out. Then got posted to the Lake District to form No 6 Bulk Petrol Transport Co. RASC. Arrived at Derwentwater Hotel Portinscale Keswick April 1941.

    While here doing manoeuvres, field training and improving our driving. Kirkstone Pass and Honiston Pass were the objectives. Changing gear on these steep passes was our training. Moved to Rochdale at the beginning of September.

    Looks like the Derwentwater was in more general use by the RASC?
  8. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member


    Nice find! my info came from many years spent walking round the area and seeing the odd veteran on the lake boat who had been back.
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Unfortunately the hotel doesn't have its own website, it's part of a chain now :( Might have had a history page...
  10. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    D&M School Instructors Ex TT Riders

    Attached Files:

  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Interesting skyline there! Should be possible to track down that house...? My first thought is somewhere between Keswick and Bassenthwaite (the lake, south end), on the A66 outside Portinscale?
  12. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    The road seen in the photograph of the two TT riders reminds me of the 'old A66' road through Thornthwaite (looking westwards).

    In the Keswick Museum collection of memories by wartime evacuees to Keswick & district there are some references to the Driving & Maintenance School at Portinscale. The Derwentwater Hotel and much of the other accommodation was used for the RASC training school.

    According to the memoirs, Derwent House (opposite the Derwentwater Hotel) had been taken over for use by officers of the D & M School. The NCOs and men's quarters were further along the road, past the Harney Peak Hotel: billets, a Sergeants' mess & NAAFI. Some Army personnel would arrive for a course to learn how to drive Bren-gun Carriers up and down the fells (mountains).

    The Derwentwater Hotel eventually reverted back to use as a hotel. These days Harney Peak and Derwent House are mainly used as apartments. Anyone visiting the village can still identify these locations. Below are photographs of the Derwentwater Hotel and a parrtial view of Derwent House opposite (through the trees).

    Attached Files:

  13. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Thanks for the photos and update, next time I am over in Keswick I will look the documents up.

    As for the TT riders bikes there are numorous places that spring to mind but the old A66 maybe the right choice.
  14. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    1487 (1024x708).jpg D&M School M/C Instructors.
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  15. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    Jeeps in greta.png

    Attached Files:

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