Troop Movement between France and England

Discussion in '1940' started by MongoUK, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Not sure whether this should be here or in the War At Sea section. So apologies if incorrect.

    Does anyone know how well logged the troop movements via ship across the channel were in late 1939-early 1940?

    Looking to track reinforcements for an expanded force.

    I know that a couple of officers returned to England around 31st Dec 1939 to build a force, returning to France in 3 waves, arriving with the unit between 23rd Feb and 1st March.

    Would each of the ships had logs of all personnel that they were transporting? Does anyone have any details of the runs back and forth during the build up?

  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    WO193/10 gives quite a lot of detail on some aspects, but with apparent gaps. I don't think that you'd see the officers returning.

    Is it this sort of thing that you're looking for ?

    P2090964 (2).JPG

    P2090968 (2).JPG
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  3. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Not only is it the sort of thing, it's got the unit!

    It's the No 10 military mission that I'm after!


    Would they have named the personnel or would the unit show a draft list that the ships would check when boarding?
  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    As an aside - The last entry on the second sheet is for the short lived 5th Scots Guards “Ski Battalion”. It was raised from scratch in February 1940 with volunteers, from various other units, who were “able to ski”. The unit was intended for service in the winter war in Finland.

    They had a short period of training in Chamonix, France late Feb/early March 1940 before returning to UK.

    Their deployment was cancelled as Finland signed an armistice with Russia and personnel returned to their parent units.

    5th Ski Battalion Scots Guards, 1940

    A number of officer’s served in the ranks as Guardsmen as the Officer posts were over subscribed - presumably as the officer rank “able to ski” demographic outstripped the limited Battalion Officer establishment figures.

    The “able to ski” other rank demographic wasn’t very high so numbers had to be made up by ”gentlemen rankers”. That’s hardly surprising since during the depressed 1930’s winter skiing holidays abroad - on which skills could be developed - weren’t available to the impoverished working class masses coping with massive unemployment.:salut::whistle:

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    ...I thought that it might be :)

    There are no names and I haven't found more than this...Some Territorial units included a full roll in the war diaries, but most didn't. There must have been returns, but I don't think that they were retained.
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  6. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    What gives it away, the avatar or constant Phantom questions :lol:
    Does the missing part include the any other dates around there? I was expecting a total of about 10 officers and just over 100 men, so I'm missing about 6 and 30 somewhere around there.

    Thanks for the assistance.
  7. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Erm, Yep ! Something like that...and of course the fact that you clearly weren't asking about a 'normal' unit.

    The first list above included both road and rail parties totalling 7 officers and 75 ORs...and the second movement 2 officers and 20 ORs so you're up to 9 and 95...Maybe with a couple of others sick or returning from leave etc....they wouldn't show up unfortunately. I'll have another look though.
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  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here's some more...The Wireless Detachment from Bordon on 26th March - another 12 ORs bringing you up to 107...

    P2090979 (2).JPG
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  9. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    What a fool! In all the excitement, I missed the road part on the second pic haha

    Thanks, that's amazing. Another small part of the puzzle deciphered.
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  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Excitement !....We are not normal people ! :rolleyes:
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  11. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Haha, I'm more than used to getting eye rolls from the missus on each little breakthrough.
  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    So we've got three movements for 3814, (a), (b), and (c). Their vehicles and kit would have been marked with the serial and three coloured stripes...Bright red / Light green / Bright red.

    Do you know if the motorcycles were all solos ?
  13. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    No, war establishment has it as a total 31 solo, 11 combination.
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  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    That's interesting, so they were four solos short and the combinations must have been counted as 'vehicles'...They must have been Norton sidecar-wheel-drive outfits. There were more of them out here than I had first thought...Where were they based ? Were they ex-QVR machines ?

    The only mention of sidecars in the shipping lists is for 4 RNF...who of course were a full motorcycle battalion.
  15. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    The motorcycle platoon, which had the combos, were 2nd Battalion QVR.

    Not a 100% sure what they already had with the rest of the group.

    6 of these vehicles are the 6x Guy Armoured Cars, the only ones in the BEF.

    WE for April 1940 attached:

    Attached Files:

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  16. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    27 mc and 8 vehicles (of 9) and 11 combos as vehicles?

    6 veh and 4 mc will be the reconnaissance patrols and their d.r.'s

    2 signals trucks.

    Believe there was still a staff car with the mission in France, which would account for the extra vehicle
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  17. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

  18. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

  19. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    I noticed that at the top of the entries was 10th Army Field Workshop (AFW).

    Dad originally joined the RAOC in Dundee and was part of 11th AFW.

    As far as the diaries go, at 1000 on the 10th January 1940, his unit left Hartley Row, 10 miles north of Aldershot, heading for Southampton Docks. At 1400 he was on board the 6000 ton cargo steamer, the SS Contractor which left bound for Cherbourg. He was evacuated off the East Mole by SS Killarney on 29th May 1940. Definitely one of the lucky ones.

    Do you think you could find and post the page that has 11 AFW in WO 193/10? It would be very useful.

    Absolutely no rush.

    Many thanks

  20. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here you are, Gus. The Road Party with vehicles had left on the 7th. He must have been with the Rail Party...

    P2090935 (2).JPG

    Their movement Serial was 10002 which means their vehicles and kit were marked with Dark Brown / Blue / Dark Brown for the '020' (The last two digits readable both ways)

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