Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by jonheyworth, May 26, 2021.
Oh dear. What rotten luck, and what irony that he was a member of the Non-Combatant Corps. Haven’t heard of that before. I wonder why he was in the tank in the first place and why there was a RAMC lieutenant there also. Curious.
Reminds me of the up-armoured tank (Centurion?), which trundled around on Salisbury Plain and against which we fired 84mm TPTP (I think it stood for Tank Practice Tracer Projectile) rounds from Carl Gustav anti-tank weapons. Don’t think the tank crew were too worried as we rarely hit the target.
Another reason to be in the infantry and stay away from tanks.
There was an article in 'Soldier' magazine about them back in the 80s.
I remember one of the crew saying he spent most of his time reading Sven Hassel books.
CWGC entry for the chap in post 1.
Casualty Details | CWGC
PRIVATE PHILIP AMBROSE SELF
Service Number: 97004191
Regiment & Unit/Ship
Non Combatant Corps
Date of Death: Died 03 January 1944
Age 24 years old
Buried or commemorated at TORQUAY CEMETERY AND EXTENSION
Sec. S. Grave 15555.
Additional Info: Son of George Wilson Self and Mary Ellen Self, of Wellswood, Torquay.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about the NCC: Non-Combatant Corps - Wikipedia. You learn something new every, well, nearly every, day.
Given the connection between the RAMC and NCC, perhaps that explains the presence of the RAMC lieutenant. Still doesn't explain why they were being fired at in a tank!
Pvt Philip Ambrose Self (unknown-1944) - Find A...
Interesting that the gravestone isn't a CWGC type and there is no kind of indication of him being in the Army or having died due to his service - I wonder if the family wanted to distance him from his whole thing - maybe his NCC service was a sign he wasn't overly keen on the military/war - although I am heading down the route of supposition
I think you are possibly correct
one here from my collection showing CWGC headstone
We have an old thread on the NCC.
Non Combatant Corps
I would think you are absolutely right. IMHO it's a fine gravestone with high quality engraving.
Relatives took responsibility for the grave and headstone, so presumably reflects in the quality as you say
The 18th Century style of the headstone might hint towards Quakers or a similar religious order ?
Were the NCC subjected to battle training with a view to giving them experience extracting casualties on a battlefield ?
This shows he studied at Oxford University., but no further info on his military service.
SELF, Philip Ambrose (CCC 1937-1939)
Born Alton, Hampshire, 7 June 1919, 1st son of George Wilson Self, bank manager, of Torquay, Devon.
Educated Reading School and Newton College.
Scholar; Haigh Prize 1938; 1 Classics Moderations 1939; 2nd public examination Ancient History with distinction 1939.
Military service WWII 1939-1944:
Private, Non-Combatant Corps. Killed accidentally on Salisbury Plain on 3 January 1944 (aged 24).
From Pelican Record Vol. XXVI, No. 5:
Self. – On 3rd January, 1944, accidentally on Salisbury Plain, Philip Ambrose Self, (Scholar, 1937-41).
Corpus Christi College Roll of Honour 1939-1945 | Corpus Christi College Oxford
Looked to see where Lieut. J.W. Lovett-Doust RAMC was in the war & it locates him near Salisbury Plain.
The Army List Oct 1943
Ministry of Supply
Chemical Defence Experimental Station, Porton
Pathologists or Physiologists
Doust, Lieut J.W.L. M.B. R.A.M.C. 19.8.43
Other Army Lists show he was Lieut from 16.1.43, W/S Captain 16.1.44 & still serving on 1945 Army List.
"What rotten luck, and what irony that he was a member of the Non-Combatant Corps. Haven’t heard of that before. I wonder why he was in the tank in the first place and why there was a RAMC lieutenant there also. Curious."
Prompted by JDKR’s observation above.
Answers to the why and wherefore will be buried somewhere (RAMC Muniments Collection/Papers maybe) but whether they will ever see the light of day is another matter.
Why? Porton Down has a track record (certainly post-war) of keeping the findings of inquests secret, and given this poor soul met his death in wartime likely adds a further barrier to discovering what was the reason for those chaps to be in that tank on the fateful day.
Personally, as JDKR has prompted, I only hope that it was for the chap’s education, and not evaluation, but I suspect it may have been for the latter, given that a RAMC officer based at Porton Down (as from travers1940’s entry a Pathologist/Physiologist no less) was present within, perhaps to observe and evaluate the men’s reactions (even possibly including his own).
Not a conspiracy theorist by any means, I’m too old and long in the tooth, had too many bangs on the head, to give any time I have left to that side of things, but maybe that day in 1944 was an area of evaluation and/or experimentation in it’s infancy when tragedy ensued.
“We have actually got work going on in Porton Down looking at whether or not blasts alone will cause an injury to the head. We know that blasts will cause an injury to the head if the head bounces around, but does blast per se cause an injury to the head other than by bouncing it around? So we are carrying out some experiments in Porton Down to identify whether or not that is the case”.
And no, the quote above is not from the inquest, but by crikey it could have been.
Part of a continuous line of “experiments” from that fateful wartime day? Maybe, as those words are from a reply given to the House of Commons Defence Committee in November 2007 by Lt General Lillywhite MBE QHS, the then Surgeon-General. The crash-test dummy era yes, but with Porton Down heaven only knows. (n.b. and that reply just two months before The MOD confirmed it would award £3 million in compensation to 360 veterans of Porton Down tests (without admission of liability of course!))
Ifs, buts, and maybes.....
One thing for me that’s certain is that if we learned something from this tragedy it was soon (conveniently?) forgotten and its ilk allowed to continue.
Always remember, and never forget, Isaiah 35:10
Yours, spitting bullets,
Separate names with a comma.