T/14385797 Dvr. Harry WARHURST, RASC, 2nd Army

Discussion in 'RASC' started by simon lamb, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. simon lamb

    simon lamb Member

    I have been asked by a close friend to look into the above soldier (her grandfather). I jumped at the chance having researched a few WW1 soldiers and then the grim realisation that I know absolutely nothing about researching WW2 hit me.
    I have been handed a number of photocopied sheets which will be a start. They include copies of his paybook,
    His army driving permit, a receipt slip relating to AB 62 Part 1, a supplementary clothing coupon book, a motor fuel ration book, a British Red Cross ID card and his permit allowing him to enter Belsen after the liberation. There are also 18 photographs mainly from his time at Belsen.
    Yesterday (with the assistance of forum member Owen) I discovered via my description of a few patches that he was an driver with the RASC as part of the 2nd Army.
    I have a multitude of questions to ask and my apologies in advance if some of them appear a bit obvious, I'm really out of my sphere. I would welcome any advice or information, I don't have access to any subscription genealogy sites and am further hampered by the libraries being closed but am happy to follow up any leads you may provide.
    From his paybook he enlisted 17/12/42 and I am guessing he would then have undergone basic training but don't know for how long, his driving licence was passed on 25/4/43 so would this be part of basic training or a further course?
    I need to apply for his service record of which I have never seen a ww2 example, presumably in the current climate this may be delayed. Are ww2 service records fairly complete? I ask because the WW1 examples are usually anything but. As I am not related will I be eligible to apply or must it be NoK?
    I did a very quick search of the 2nd Army and it appears they were heavily involved at Normandy, would he have been under the 2nd army right through or would he have been moved around. A more accurate unit detail for him appears on one of the papers stating 257 (poss 267) Co. RASC Ambulance Car but this was dated Sept 45 so I wonder was he always with them.
    One of the photos shows a few troops on the rear of a truck and a sign saying Burma bound, on the reverse of the card it says in his writing "Burma via London". If he went to Burma after his no doubt harrowing time at Belsen would he have got there before the war ended? Would his work there have been dealing with the POWs or something else? As he appears to have served in Burma would he have qualified for the Burma Star. I would like to know what his medal entitlement was but I failed when I looked for medal index rolls.
    There are many more questions to come I suspect but I'll leave it at that for now.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this, I'm quite looking forward to this 'journey' having never properly looked at this conflict.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The troops knew that after VE Day they'd be of to fight the Japanese.
    They joked that BLA , British Liberation Army , meant Burma Looms Ahead.
    He may not have gone to Burma at all.

    Here's the other thread for members to see.
    RASC insignia
  3. simon lamb

    simon lamb Member

    Thanks Owen, beyond the truck photo with the Burma sign there is a notation in his paybook that as far as I can see says "Far East 1", these really aren't the clearest copies. I imagine his service record would confirm or otherwise. As I've only just started looking at this soldier I expect there'll be more questions and probably in random order!
    While I'm on, are RASC units relatively straightforward to track through war diaries and which diaries should I look for?
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    There is a delay with MOD applications. Forum discussion here on this link Service Records application - MOD response timescale

    There are plenty of examples of service records shared on the forum particularly under Service Records.
    You can search the forum yourself but some examples of RASC records can be found in amongst these results:

    The level of information released to non-NOK is determined by length of time since death.
    Full info is supplied to NOK, so worth either getting them to apply or to give consent.
    General enquiries without consent will receive full info only if it's more than 25 yrs since death.
    Full explanation via this link: Request records of deceased service personnel

    Good luck with research
  5. simon lamb

    simon lamb Member

    I thought a delay might be inevitable in the current climate. In terms of next of kin I'll have to ask if any of his children are still alive if it means dodging a fee.
    I will follow your advice regarding reading other service records if only to familiarise myself with the layout of the documents having never seen one before.
    Thanks for your reply
  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    You ask about WW2 medal rolls?

    Like the vast majority of WW2 documents they are not in the public domain. Medal entitlement - and issue - is recorded on the service record. If his medals aren’t shown as issued you can apply to the Army Medal Office.

    Don’t be tempted to pay for “information” on paid for sites such as Forces War Records as you will be very disappointed. Just wait for the service records to arrive and once you have sight of them your journey will begin in earnest. It’s all conjecture and speculation until you receive the records.

    Good Luck

    dbf likes this.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Just to clarify - Fees are waived for veterans who apply for their own records, and for surviving spouses. All others applying pay the fee.
  8. simon lamb

    simon lamb Member

    I don't intend to use any fee paying sites (other than MOD for his service record). I'm hoping his service record will answer many questions.
    I found this guide/explanation last night and will be ordering his record. I also noted that during the pandemic postal enquiries will not be processed so its ordering online for now. I wonder how big the pile of postal applications will be and the time factor as the backlog is dealt with.

    Thank you both for your help
    Tullybrone likes this.
  9. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    "Far East 1" was the classification for those who were to be the earliest sent onwards. I'm not sure to what degree that happened. The reference to 'London' confirms that there would normally have been home leave first. I've not heard of any who ended the war in Germany having arrived prior to VJ Day.

    My Dad was also "Far East One" with the pay book entry initialled by W. A. Greaves....It was a standing joke in his unit that it said "Far East 1 Way"....

    Afbeelding (74).jpg

    There ought to be clues in the Pay Book such as where post-war leave was authorised etc.

    By late 1942, he'd have been enlisted in the General Service Corps for six weeks basic training and during that time assessed for subsequent posting...In his case that would have been for Driver training;..The GS Corps enlistment was intended to identify aptitude, strengths and weaknesses rather than have square pegs volunteering for round holes.
  10. simon lamb

    simon lamb Member

    thank you for your interesting and informative reply. As a newcomer to world war 2 I'm trying to find my feet, so as I learn about a specific thing (e.g. Far East 1) I hope to gain a general overview and ultimately piece the bits together to trace this mans path so tonights reading will be examples of WW2 service records and pay books. I imagine there'll be plenty on the net but if any members can bring to mind specific threads that discuss the translation of these documents it may help me to get to bed a bit earlier!
    I'm in full agreement that there will be clues in the paybook though its not in front of me now, I'd like to ask a few questions regarding this particular aspect but without the paperwork to hand I can only bring to mind one to mind which I suspect relates to leave (as you highlighted). The page heading has worn away but beneath it are list of about 6 entries with date, number of days and are described as "privilege", would these be periods of leave? The copies I have are below average photocopies so I'm hoping I'll be able to decipher the dates. I'd love to be able to post all the copies from decent scans as its usually easier to view the item than rely on someones description. I'm useless with technology and neither of us own a scanner so this bit might take some working out.
    Would I be better to ask questions of a more general nature (items that deal with more general matters such as unit formations or vehicles etc.) under separate threads in the appropriate sub section or contain everything on this one? I'd appreciate the guidance.
  11. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Alistair AB64 has a particular interest in AB64/pay books and has created a topic containing numerous examples.

    Casualty Service and Paybook Collection

    Just look through the service records sub forum for examples of service records. There are many 100’s to view.

    dbf and AB64 like this.
  12. simon lamb

    simon lamb Member

    Thanks Steve, when I've absorbed as much as I can understand I suspect I may be troubling the likes of AB64 and others. As mentioned tonights reading is paybooks and service records. There are many other aspects I need to at least learn the basics of but I'll pose those queries as they surface
  13. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I'm always happy to have a look at scans from paybooks (even poor scans are better than nothing) - its no trouble, I cant promise lots of detail - the Service and Paybooks can have lots of entries without telling a great deal, but you can usually pick out some odds and ends.

    Like most on here I don't take questions as a trouble, more an interesting challenge to solve and at the moment with extra free time its good to be able to help with
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  14. simon lamb

    simon lamb Member

    many thanks for your offer, in literally the last few minutes I think I've been able to sort out getting the originals scanned and e-mailed to me so hopefully when I've received them I'll be able to work out how to post them. I'm sure we'll be in touch again. thanks again.
    AB64 likes this.

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