Help Required finding RAOC War Diaries

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by ClankyPencil, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Partly following on from my previous thread

    Eventually after about 9 months my Grandad's service records have turned up, but they tell me very little more than i already knew from the above thread.

    They are quite detailed regarding his time in the UK (training, trade tests etc), but then become quite sparse in detail regarding his tenure overseas.

    They confirm he was posted to the 8th Ordnance Beach Detachment in 1943 (in time for the Sicily Invasion). The next relevant info is him transferring to 140 Ordnance Depot (in Greece) in mid 1945. Other than that the only info of significance, is that he appears to have hospitalized for about a week soon after landing at Sicily.

    My next avenue of research would be to get hold of the War Diaries for the 8th Ordnance Beach Detachment (8 OBD), but this is where i've hit a brick wall.

    Using either ARCRE's or the NA's Discovery search engines i can't find any 8 OBD War Diary references.

    I can find War Diaries refs for the 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 9 OBD's but none for the 8 OBD.

    Have tried various searches like OBD, beach detachment, beach det, ordnance beach etc with no luck.

    The nearest i have come across is WO 166/13316 which has a vague heading of 8 Gp which makes reference to Beach Group & Detachments in the sub-headings. As Beach Groups & Ordnance Beach Detachments are totally different i'm not sure this is what i am after.

    So if anyone can provide any help, suggestions or point me in the right direction as to how to find the War Diaries for the 8th Ordnance Beach Detachment (RAOC) for the dates mid 1943 to mid 1945 it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in Advance

  2. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    Can't help with the war diaries, but a history of the royal army ordnance corps has one mention of 8 OBD:

    "140 Ordnance Depot was established in Athens, staffed from 3 and 8 OBDs. It was designed to handle only clothing and general stores, the replenishment of MT and technical stores being undertaken by the Middle East base. 140 Ordnance Depot acted as a composite unit dealing also with the limited requirements of ammunition and vehicles"

    This is in Autumn 1944, after the Germans withdrew from Greece and it was difficult to find RAOC units to help the British forces sent to Greece as they were overburdened with tasks in Italy.
  3. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Scott

    According to the Op Manna Op DRYSHOD Team file (WO 204/9070)

    A soon as it was decided that the docks were not useable and to land the beaches off Piraeus, the following teams were brought ashore to prepare the maintenance beach:

    200 x 64 LAA Regt - Ex HMS Ajax
    80 x 713 Artisan Works Coy RE - Ex HMS AJAX
    16 x Provost - Ex HMS AJAX
    12 x 236 Petrol Depot - Ex SS Norman Monarch (plus 1 vehicle)
    8 x 8 Beach Ordnance Detachment - Ex SS Norman Monarch (plus 4 vehicles)
    12 x 30 Reception Camp - Ex LST 33 (plus 1 vehicle)
    7 x HQ 9 CRASC - Ex LST 33 (plus 2 vehicles)
    2 x 7 BIS/EFI - Ex LST 33 (plus 1 vehicle)

    According to the Op Manna, loading charts.
    The remaining 68 x 8 Beach Ordnance Detachment personnel came over from Italy on board Canadian Landing Ship (Infantry) HMCS PRINCE HENRY.

    According to "The history of the Canadian Princes - 1939-1945" by the Directorate of History, National Defence HQ, Ottawa.

    There were 408 personnel on board HMCS PRINCE HENRY including 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade HQ and the Band of the Queens Own Hussars. She sailed out of Taranto along with her sister ship HMCS PRINCE DAVID and escort Destroyer HMS WILTON at 0200 on 15/10/44,

    They all arrived off the island of Poros on 17/10/44 and HMCS PRINCE HENRY was then escorted by HMS WILTON into the mooring area off Piraeus. HMCS PRINCE HENRY started off-loading her troops at 09:30.

    All were brought ashore using their own Landing Craft (Assault) and those from HMCS Prince DAVID which had sailed into the area ahead of her mother ship.

    HMCS PRINCEC HENRY - LCA 736, LCA 850, LCA 925, LCA 1033, LCA 1233, LCA 1371 or LCA 1396
    HMCS PRINCE DAVID - LCA1432, LCA 1373, LCA 1375, LCA 1359, LCA 1346, LCA 1115, LCM 176

    I have read that when the troubles started, lots of small units had to either prepare to stand and defend themselves against any ELAS attacks or withdraw to the safety of the controlled zone around the centre of Athens.

    In the Piraeus area, where 8 Ord Beach Det were, quite a few units were overrun and some were taken prisoner, The Detailed Inventory Depot (DID) at the racecourse was one such example. Others were laid under siege for weeks.

    I have read of a REME workshop in Piraeus frantically rendering all of their vehicles unuseable (just like Dunkirk) before hot footing it North.

    In these circustances, it is quite feasible to suggest that 8 OBD simply lost their war diaries as they withdrew from Piraeus to ROUF Barracks.

    It is not the only unit war diaries that I have not found over the years regarding Greece.

    Hope this helps

  4. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member


    Similar info was posted in my previous thread, but thanks for looking it up.


    Thanks once again for the excellent additional info.

    I could understand the 8 OBD's War Diaries for their time in Greece going missing (or possibly being included in a larger units War Diary - i.e. 3 Corps), but would still expect to find some trace or links to their War Diaries from their time in the UK and upto and including the invasion of Sicily.

    I will keep searching and maybe contact the Royal Logistics Corps at Deepcut to see if they can turn anything up.

    I've also attached the 2 relevant pages from his service records, in case you can spot anything useful i might of missed.

    Attached Files:

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