Father : Royal Engineers - BEF

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by patsy48, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    How interesting. He did indeed have a railway background! Not that he was an engine driver or anything like that. He left school at 14, although I suspect he rarely went prior to that, and went to join his father on the railways. However, he had nothing to do with engines at all and worked with the horses! I guess by the time he joined up at 22 there were fewer of them because his occupation was given as a porter. I suppose he had marginally more experience of the railways than someone who came from, say, an agricultural background.
  2. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

  3. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    Thanks Steve I will do as you ask. The papers came from Glasgow and they are very faint and often at an angle. No very good at all. Thank you so much everyone for this help.

    Attached Files:

  4. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    Here is the next page of Form B103. I'm afraid it is not much clearer than the other ones! If I take it off text the writing is so faint you can hardly see it.
  5. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    I am not sure that this is 102 second page because the heading is missing. I have taken the scanner off text for this one but I'm not issue that it is better! Many thanks.

    Attached Files:

  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Thanks for posting the additional papers - I can see one page of B103 covering Sept 1939 until Jan 1942 and the B102 so I think there is at least another B103 to follow?

    As you say most of the B103 is very feint - especially the bottom half of it. The top part of the form mentions periods of leave to U.K. from France 1939/40 and the last entry I can make out is his return from an attachment to to a RASC Company at York.

    The B102 is more easy to interpret - although slightly confusing to me in parts as the clerk has crammed a lot of information into a small space :reallymad:

    The first line appears to show his return to U.K. to Derby in June 1940 - presumably post his evacuation from BEF (I can just about make out a corresponding entry on the B103).

    The next 2 entries are from late 1941 and early 1942 and mention 2 MC and then 12 MC (that may be the redesignated 2 MC?) with both units appearing to based in North of England as the entries on the right of the form re promotions mention Northern Command.

    The next entry mentions his posting overseas 10th April 1943 (I assume with 12 MC but the unit appears to be redesignated X MC Group 24th April 1943? (presumably on arrival in North Africa?) or alternatively he was posted to 22 MC Group 24th April.

    The B102 is only an Index Card and these various movements ought to be more fully recorded on the “missing” B103. There also appears to a phrase “Assumed lost at” in this busy period - does it mean he was assumed lost at sea for a short period? The clerks are trying to fit an awful lot of information into a small space!

    Moving on I can see he is posted to X2 11th June 1943 - usually written as x(ii) - which suggests he was evacuated from his unit on medical grounds with the next entry suggesting he is posted back to 22 MC Group 30th July 1943.

    The last entry on his B103 shows the redesignation of 22 MC Group as MC Allied Forces 1st January 1944.

    I am not a RE expert but I’m sure there will be War Diaries available at U.K. National Archives for these various Movement Control Units to which he was posted in 1943 and 1944.



    It might be worth phoning MOD Glasgow and requesting better quality copies of the originals.
    patsy48, Roy Martin and Guy Hudson like this.
  7. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    He joined the Royal Engineers Supplementary Reserve and the Railway Companies at that time had a tradition of providing reserves...in the same way that men working for Post Office Telephones were formed into signals units...If he was thinking of joining the reserve then the 'works' unit would have been appropriate, even if his trade was not relevant.
    Roy Martin likes this.
  8. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks very much for this very detailed reply and apologies for not responding earlier, I'm very busy in the garden this time of year! You have made an awful lot of sense of the various numbers for me and, as you say, I guess what needs to happen now is a look at the war diaries and also the history of the REs that someone posted earlier. You were also correct in thinking there was another page of the 103! I didn't bother to post that because I was trying to work my way chronologically through Dad's service and was having enough trouble trying to sort out the French experience before I embarked on North Africa and Italy! Many, many thanks to everyone who has helped me here. Very much appreciated. Pat
  9. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

  10. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    Hi Tim,
    The grandson who lives in Putney is too occupied with his forthcoming marriage and not really able to help here with visits to Kew. Would it be possible for you to let me know how I could contact someone in this group for copying, as you mentioned previously. I could just contact Kew directly, but someone with knowledge and interest would be preferable. Many thanks. Pat
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Send a message to Drew5233 or PsyWar.Org for any documents you need copying at Kew.
    timuk likes this.
  12. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    Thanks Owwen. I contacted PsyWar.org a few weeks ago and have had no response. So now I have just tried Drew. Fingers crossed.
  13. AlanCooper

    AlanCooper New Member

    In response to Rich Payne's message.
    My father worked for the railway - London Midland - and was in France within 3 weeks of war being declared and I wondered how that could happen without training. I assumed that he was in the Territorials but now Rich's information has pointed me in a direction that seems to fit my father's character.
    I have done a fair bit of research and have his war record and like many others, he managed to get out of France after Dunkirk but was sent to Northern Ireland as they didn't know where to put everyone. He then went out to north Africa and up through Italy ending up in the south of France at the end of the war.
    I have provided pictures and facts to the Movement Control archive, but I am not sure what they did with them.
    Unfortunately all the records in France pre the German advance were deliberately destroyed in the retreat.
  14. geordie809

    geordie809 Junior Member

    Hi Rich,
    I have just come across this post whilst carrying out research, I am currently the Historical Secretary for the Movement Control Association, and Im quite perturbed to find that you have provided information to the Association and no one has been in touch with you, I can say that normally anything like this is passed to me to record and carry out any further research that you may have, but in your case this has not been done as I cannot recall anything like this has been passed to me.

    Please contact me with who you have been in contact with and I will chase this up as it is not how we deal with these matters and I offer my apologies to you in advance.


    Mick Sennett
  15. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    Hi Mick,
    Somehow or other I have received a copy of an email that you sent to Rich Payne way back in June. I did briefly look at it at the time, but the tracing of my Dad's war story is a winter occupation superseded by the garden during finer weather! I'm now getting ready to pick it up again, continuing to try and digest the chapter on France and Belgium 1939-40 from the History of the Royal Engineers that a member kindly sent me last year. I was amazed to see that there is a MCA and wonder if they have any information that I might access.I know that my Dad was in the 2nd MC, but the description given of the sub groups of this larger group in the History leave me completely at sea. My dad was unskilled, but many of the sappers seem to have been so according to this text. I have tried to get the War Diary, but understand from a researcher that it not longer exists - either destroyed or lost in the chaos of leaving France. If you are able to offer any advice/ direction I would be very interested and grateful to receive it. In the meantime I will try and trace your group online to find out more about it. Many thanks. Pat
  16. patsy48

    patsy48 Member

    Hi Alan,
    I wonder if you have got any further with this research that might shed light on my own. Your father's story sounds much like my own father's and I do know a bit about the training they had and have some paperwork completed at the time. I realise that people's interest is not always maintained and you posted this a while back, but I can write more etc if you are still interested. Pat

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