REME in the Faroes

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by Scritch1, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Scritch1

    Scritch1 Junior Member


    I'm a new member of this forum, and my enquiry concerns my grandfather, Geoffrey Vincent Clarke, a WO2 in the REME. He spent most of the war stationed in the Faroe Islands, which I understand were a military protectorate during the war. My question is, what was the function of the REME on those islands? I believe the REME maintained military vehicles, which would fit as my grandad was a car mechanic in civilian life. Were they anything to do with the Arctic convoys to Russia, e.g. were there anti-aircraft batteries on the island etc.
    I am pretty much a novice when it comes to WW2, so any info would be great.

    Many thanks
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    This may help explain a little for the British presence in WW2.

    [edit] World War II

    Main article: British occupation of the Faroe Islands in World War II
    During the Second World War Denmark was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. The British subsequently made a pre-emptive (but friendly) invasion and occupation of the Faroes to prevent a German invasion. Given their strategic location in the North Atlantic, the Faroes could have proved useful to Germany in the Battle of the Atlantic, possibly as a submarine base. Instead, the British forces built an airbase on Vágar. Faroese fishing boats also provided a large amount of fish to the UK, which was essential given food rationing.
    The Løgting gained legislative powers, with the Danish prefect Carl Aage Hilbert retaining executive power. The Faroese flag was recognized by British authorities. There were some attempts to declare complete independence in this period, but the UK had given an undertaking not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Faroe Islands nor to act without the permission of a liberated Denmark. The experience of wartime self-government was crucial in paving the way for formal autonomy in 1948.
    The British presence was broadly popular (particularly given the alternative of a German occupation). Approximately 150 marriages took place between British soldiers and Faroese women, although the scale of the British presence on Vágar did lead to some local tensions. The British presence also left a lasting popularity for British chocolate, which is readily available in Faroese shops but uncommon in Denmark.

    History of the Faroe Islands - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  3. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Hi Richard and welcome.

    It's a shame you missed Program 6 of Coast, Series 4 recently. Sadly no longer available on BBC iplayer. They did a nice piece on the occupation of the Faroe Islands and showed the affection which they still have for Britain to this day. The Brits built the airport runway during the War which was quite an undertaking.

    Also look out for anything on Operation Valentine.

    Regards - Robert
  4. Scritch1

    Scritch1 Junior Member

    Many thanks for the info Tom, very interesting!

    And thanks for the info about Coast, Robert, it's a shame I missed that. I will have to check Youtube, you never know, someone may have uploaded it.

    If I found out which company or workshop my grandfather served with in the REME, do you think I'd be able to find out where he served? I know I have his paybook somewhere. My grandmother always said that he served in Germany after the Faroes, but that he would never speak of what he saw there. I'm not sure what year he served in Germany, but I think it was sometime after the armistice.

    Thanks again for your responses! Very helpful
    Kind regards
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi and welcome to the forum,

    Do bare in mind the REME don't just do vehicle mechanics -They recover them, they have armourers who repair weapons and the operating systems, welders, metal smiths, they work on aircraft as well as vehicles, then you have all the support and admin roles within a larger unit like stores etc. They do 1st and 2nd line repairs depending on the orbat of the unit you are in.

    Here's a little on their history:
    Our History - British Army Website

    If you are wanting to find out what units he served with I would apply for his Service Records.

  6. job58

    job58 Junior Member

    I have just watched a repeat of coast/Faroe islands and saw my father in one of the photos, is there any way I can find info with particular reference to my father, army records etc?
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    You can apply for your fathers Service Records here ---> Army Personnel Centre - British Army Website

    They will hopefully identify the units he was attached too which can then lead to obtaining unit diaries etc etc etc.

  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Job58: It might be worth contacting the production company (it's probably not the BBC itself) to see if they can tell you where the source of the photo, or it could be mentioned in the credits.

    There is a webpage for the episode here so it may also be worth leaving a comment and seeing if the production team respond. No-one's bothered yet so they might appreciate the feedback!
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  10. bjork

    bjork Junior Member

    Hi job 58, we will try to help you in"finding" your father on the photos.
    We have contact with the WW2 museum here on Faroe Island, and we know about that broadcasting from BBC.
    If you can give us an explaination about the photo, how many people are on it and so on, we will contact the museum to have a look at the photos and try to help you.

    all the best

    The museum: Krígssavnið
  11. My grandad was in a photo on that episode too! What was your fathers name? My Granda was the tall one!
  12. My grandad was the tall man in the photo 5:26 into this clip can you help??!
    dbf likes this.
  13. 5:23 tall man is Tom Brown
  14. bjork

    bjork Junior Member

    I have the image of Tom Brown. How can I send it to you?

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