14266271 George Arthur Frederick BARFOOT, REME

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by Chris Walker (Barfoot), Apr 26, 2020.

  1. Hello,

    Firstly a big thankyou to Frank De Planta for pointing in your direction.

    Please can you help me trace the path my Grandad took during WW11. I’ve been meaning to do this for a few years now & am very keen to re-trace his steps when we go to Italy (hopefully) later in the year. I have his ‘soldiers service & pay book’ plus his ‘Class A Soldiers release book’. It is very difficult to make out what is written in parts of the Service book.

    He spoke very little about the war except for two stories, which both happened in Italy. His rank is listed as W/CPL of the unit 638, L of C, W/S REME. He was a driver (recovery) & vehicle Mechanic and the picture is him with others recovering, what I think maybe a Panther tank.

    I have tried to get his records but the Army Personnel Centre Office is shut because of the Corona Virus and I have also tried to get in touch with the REME museum at Lyneham (which is only about 30 mins away from where we live).

    I also think he was attached to the 8th Army as I have some further information, including a letter from his best mate who he was serving with, plus an invitation & Menus for the Eighth Army Old Comrades Association in Portsmouth (where he was from & lived all his life) from 1972 – 1976. He was awarded the Italy Star on 4th March 1946, 50 years to the day before my daughter was born.

    I would be grateful if anybody can give me some help in tracing his movements or point me in a direction of where I can find out any information. As a side I found out at his funeral (2001) that he was the only NCO to have had R & R from a shrapnel wound to his face to stay at Gracie Fields home in Capri. The shrapnel remained with him for the rest of his life.

    Many thanks for taking the time to read this.


    Attached Files:

  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Afraid that his official service records are really the only way to go, there is very little else in the public domain. The wait (there always is one) is obviously made worse by the present situation but, I assume, they may have a method of putting requests in chronological order, so I would get them posted. His service number indicated that he enlisted with the General Service Corps and he didn't appear in the casualty lists. Records the only way.

    I assume, born 25/6/1910, baptised 11/9/1910 St Simon's Southsea. 1911 presumably with parents George Victor (24) and Maude (24) at 76 Napier Road, Southsea. Died Q2 2001.

    1939 living at 23 Chelsea Road, Portsmouth with parents and possibly 6 siblings.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
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  3. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    My dad was A driver in REME too. He too got a Italy Star but never went to Italy.

    He was in Greece instead.

    But I only found this out when I got his service record.

    The unit on his clearance form will have been a UK work shop he probably was sent beck from overseas to and not the actual overseas unit.

    Have to be patient I am afraid.

    When you get them post them here and I will help where I can.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. Hi, Many thanks for your reply. Yes you are right with some of your assumptions. The history I have says they lived in Ronans Road, Southsea in March 1938 (when my Mum was born) & just before the war they moved to Jessie Road, Southsea. He was one of 13, but one of his brothers died at birth.
    Kind Regards
  5. Hi Gus, Many thanks for your post. I have all the forms filled out, so will send them off tomorrow with cheque. I know he was in Italy, as he only ever told me of two stories from the war that occurred both in Italy. Appreciate the offer of help & as soon as I hear back I'll post them on here. Kind Regards Chris
  6. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Good to see you on the site. These people know a lot so hang on in there.


  7. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

  8. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Chris

    My father was in three UK based REME units in the last 6 months of his service.

    Before I got his service record, the only one I actually knew about was the last one stamped on his release certificate. He was only on that unit for a few weeks and spend most of that time on leave in Scotland.

    So please try and resist the temptation to dive into your research or you stand the risk of purchasing lots of war diaries or books etc only to find out that you didn't actually need them.

    And remember the REME was only formed in late 1942, so if he joined before then will have probably been in either the RAOC or RASC.

    When you finally get his service records and in conjunction with everything else you have available (medals, pay book, release cert, etc etc), create a timeline of all of the units he was in and the start and end dates for each posting. Then get the relevant war diaries for those times only.

    Hope this helps

    Tony56 likes this.
  9. Thank you Gus, It's very much appreciated in you taking the time to reply. I hear your advice and I think you're absolutely right in not jumping the gun. I'll wait until I have got his service records before I investigate it further and only obtain the war diaries that are relevant. Once again many thanks. Kind Regards Chris
    gmyles likes this.
  10. Hello
    I have finally received my Grandads service records (George Barfoot). It was a struggle to get them having filled in the application form for a 3rd time. I would be grateful if you can tell me how I proceed from here to track down his movements and any subsequent war diaries. I have created a timeline based on this but I don't understand the box with the numbers in on the file named "statement of services". I don't know how to find out what he was doing and where he went after he embarked for N.Africa/Siciliy on 26/6/43 and when he returned home on 14/7/46.

    We are still planning to try to travel some/all of the route he took whilst he was away. It will probably be late next year.

    I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction?

    Many thanks for taking the time to read this.


    Attached Files:

  11. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Chris

    Here's my input as promised. Some you may already know.

    Joined General Service Corps as Private 26/08/42

    Went to No10 Primary Training Center (PTC)

    Transferred into REME 01/10/42 (REME Formation day)

    27/02/43 – Passed Driving Part of Driver/Mechanics course at 14 Technical Training Center REME

    Embarked (Home) for N. Africa & Sicily 27/06/43

    Cfn - Craftsman

    BNAF = British North Africa Forces

    Underneath is probably 8th Army (but maybe not as he wasn’t awarded the 8th Army clasp)

    Dis-Embarked Sicily 13/07/43

    Home from 20/08/42 to 26/6/43

    N. Africa & Sicily 27/06/43 to 14/07/46 (Italy Star)

    Disembarked Sicily

    Op Husky (Invasion of Sicily) was 09 July to 17 August 1943. So the dates tie in.

    Op Husky started in Tunisia (BNAF) and sailed to Sicily via Malta.

    So he probably left UK bound for N. Africa & Sicily and ended up going straight to Sicily.

    WO 170/6528 - War Diaries of 638 L of C Workshops has them in Italy from March 44 to December 45.

    WO 170/8714 - War Diaries of 638 L of C Workshops has them with Central Mediterranean Forces (CMF) from Jan 46 to June 46.

    Suggesting they may have been disbanded in June 46.

    So was he in 638 L of C Workshops before March 44?

    Attached 28 Days, LIAP – Leave In Absense of Python (accumulated leave entitlement) – No1 LIAP Hldg (Holding) Cen (Center)

    1 LIAP HC (Holding Center) CTBM = Ceased to be (M?)

    Transferred to CMF 2/12/45

    Release cert does suggest he was in CMF in July 1946 with 638 L of C Workshops

    Getting both War Diaries should help fill in the gaps

    No idea about the box stuff I am afraid

    Hope This Helps

  12. Hi Gus,

    That's fantastic and really kind of you to fill in a lot of those gaps, I'll certainly obtain those war diaries that you mentioned. I'm also trying to get in touch with one of his brothers sons who has a lot of pictures of his Dad and my Grandad during the war, he was in the REME as well even though they weren't together but both served time in Italy. . . I'll post them on here if I can track him down.

    Kind Regards

    gmyles likes this.

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