Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Bradley Walker, Aug 19, 2021.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I recently received my Great Grandfather's tracer card from the Bovington tank museum. There are some parts of it which I'm having difficulty reading, mainly the 2nd, 3rd and 7th line. I was wondering whether anyone may be able to decipher and of these abbreviations?
    I've already established that 'FDS' would be field dressing station.
    Many thanks
    Chris C likes this.
  2. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    Hi Bradley

    My interpretation of the above as follows (apologies in advance if you already know this) -

    18/4/40 – Enlisted (presumably initially posted to 1/5 Bn Lancashire Fusiliers).

    01/11/41 – Transferred to 108th R(egiment). 1/5 (Bury) Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was converted on 1/11/41 to an Armoured role and re-designated as 108 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (Lancashire Fusiliers). 108 Regiment was effectively a training and holding regiment and prepared troops for service overseas.

    20/12/42 – Per Order - 108/133/42 - he is allocated to draft RWOXA – this is a random code allocated to individuals and units for postings/movements overseas (e.g. UK to Middle East / North West Europe etc.). See link - http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/50973-draft-recognition-codes/#entry597551

    18/01/43 – Per Order - XL/176/43 - he arrives Middle East (ME) as an unposted reinforcement (Xiv list) i.e. awaiting allocation to a Unit. (X lists (Service Records) )

    05/05/43 - Per Order - ME/RAC/1193/43 - Posted to 4 County of London Yeomanry.

    04/08/44 - Per Order - 4 CofL.Yeo/ 91/44 - admitted to 263 Field Dressing Station, and placed on the X4 list of 21 Army Group (21AG).

    11/08/44 – Per Order - 5 R.T.R./54/44 - Posted to 5 Royal Tank Regiment.

    01/11/45 – Per Order - 5.RTR/62/45 - Transferred to 49 Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment.

    28/01/46 – Per Order - YL/E/347/46A - Transferred to Y list (ready for discharge).

    28/04/46 – Per Order - YL/7/1044/46 - Transferred to Z(T) Reserve (i.e. active service ceased but liable to be recalled to the Colours).

    Hope this helps
    Steve W

    Edited to add links
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Hi Bradley,

    I hope you don't mind a somewhat off-topic question but how long did you have to wait to hear back from Bovington with the tracer card?

  4. Hi,
    I went there in person. I booked an appointment at the archive room and went in the next day as I'm staying near Bovington at the moment.
    I was shown the tracer card in person, then emailed it later along with the war diaries.
    J Kubra and Chris C like this.
  5. Thank you very much for this. I managed to work out this morning what AG stood for and that is said army personnel carrier regiment.
    I didn't know about him awaiting to go into another unit.
    Thank you
    sjw8 likes this.
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Are you sure about FDS and AG? I thought FDS = Forward Delivery Squadron and AG = Army Group.
  7. He was placed on Y list so I'm assuming FDS is field dressing station. I've also been told on an army facebook page that it was field dressing station as I wasn't sure either.
    He was in the 21st Army Group
  8. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    A Field Dressing Station (or Advanced Dressing Station) was part of a Field Ambulance unit, not a unit in itself. I stand to be corrected but I don’t think was a 263 Field Ambulance.

    On the other hand 263 Field Delivery Squadron was part of 22nd Armoured Brigade of which 5 RTR and 4 CLY were also part.
  9. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    Good spots SDP & Gary.

    On reflection, this would fit in rather that Field Dressing Station. I suspect the full service records would be clearer than the abbreviated Tracer Card.

    Steve W
    SDP likes this.
  10. Jill Tate

    Jill Tate Member

    Hi what was the archive room like? Was it easy to find the relevant war diaries and would there be help available to do this? I mean to go down in the new year but wonder if it will be productive? I thought the war diaries were in the National Archive. Thanks Jill
  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    It's a simple reading room - large flat tables and chairs. You tell them what you would like to see and they bring it to you. If you tell them your area of interest (that's not the same as giving them a list of what you want to see!), they will again sort out items of interest - books, photo albums and the suchlike - and bring to you. They are exceptionally helpful and, with luck, you might be the only visitor there.

    It's essential you book your visit in advance and that also gives you an opportunity to tell them your area of interest. No booking = no entry......
  12. Jill Tate

    Jill Tate Member

    Thank you that's really helpful. I hope to visit in the new year and will make sure I book but might need their help to sort out relevant material.
    Chris C and SDP like this.
  13. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    The words 'war diary' have different meaning to different people.

    During times of war, each independently organized unit was to keep a record of events and other pertinent information. This was normally written or typed onto a pre-printed sheet of paper titled "WAR DIARY or INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY". Once a month, these sheets were to be bundled together behind a pre-printed cover sheet and sent off to the War Office archivist to be stored. Those sheets of papers are, to some people, the 'war diaries'. No more, no less.

    Most units kept a duplicate copy for their own use. Sometimes a triplicate was made too - often kept by the Commanding Officer or the Adjutant for their own use. No reason not to call these war diaries too as there are copies of the 'original' sent to the WO monthly.

    Often, the original 'war diary' sent to the WO had additional pages or documents attached such as maps, orders received or issued, returns of personnel or equipment etc etc. Sometimes these were marked on the 'war diary' as specific annexes (and thus form an official part of the 'war diary'), other times they were just loose pages sent along too. Since a unit rarely had more than one copy of such papers or documents, those documents are found only with the original 'war diary' sent to the WO. Many people believe the bundle of documents to be the 'war diary' not just the pre-printed sheets.

    Why did I bother typing all that?

    The documents held at TNA are the original 'war diaries' that were sent to the WO monthly. It was this copy, and any other documents bundled together, that were used by the historians writing the official histories.

    Documents held by regimental museums such as Bovingdon are the duplicates. They tend not to have any other documents bundled together and many months are missing. It was these documents which were used by historians to write the regimental histories.

    In summary.

    The unit documents at TNA are for the greater part more complete and contain more historical material than those held by regimental museums. It is not uncommon to go to Bovingdon to read up about some specific event from the 'war diary' and be told they don't hold the documents for that month.

    However, regimental museums often hold personal diaries and papers donated to them which are not found at TNA. Bovingdon is the go-to place for such items relating to the RTC and RTR but (far) less so the cavalry regiments. Bovingdon is also the guardian of the documents generated by the RTC/RTR/RAC Depot such as personal tracer cards.

    So which is the best place to visit depends on what you want. They both hold 'war diaries' but not the same.
    SDP likes this.
  14. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    In the context of the tracer card you posted...

    FDS = Forward Delivery Squadron
    AG = Army Group

    Yes, all I am doing is confirming what others have posted.
  15. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Couldn't agree more - an excellent analysis of basically 'what sits where'.

    I would similarly concur that Bovington holds RAC records (the Tracer Cards are an absolute must-have if you are researching a person) and are also the place for anything RTR....but they are, by definition and which fact they are fully aware, very limited re the Cavalry Regiments (which tend to have their own Regimental Museums). This was brought home to me when researching my late father - 24th Lancers (his first Regiment, Cavalry) = not a lot of information but the Tracer Card saved the day, and 3RTR (his second Regiment, RTR) where Bovington have photo albums and all sorts of other bits and pieces.

    My best advice if visiting is to keep an open mind, don't expect too much....but be prepared to be very pleasantly surprised..... as I said in a previous post, their staff are brilliant.
    J Kubra likes this.
  16. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Bovington has some war diaries (the ones for armoured units) and has transcribed them - typed up in a regular page format. Perhaps someone here who has purchased one from the archive could say more - I don't know whether they contain the many different forms which might be included with a war diary, such as the "returns" detailing the people in the regiment (well, you'd only see offers listed by name), or planning documents.
    Jill Tate and SDP like this.
  17. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Good comment. If anyone wants 'the most definitive complete version available' then that's why we have the National Archive at Kew. A couple of members of this forum offer a War Diary copying service and might already have scans available.
    Chris C likes this.
  18. Jill Tate

    Jill Tate Member

    Thanks I have sent off for these.

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