17 Vehicle Coy, RAOC

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by Tom OBrien, May 13, 2012.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Source: WO171/2792 - War Diary of 17 Vehicle Company, RAOC

    20 August 1944
    Receipts: “A” 258; “B” 471; M/Cs 188. Issues: “A” 354; “B” 391; M/Cs 25.
    Discussion with O.C. 16 Veh Coy re: Sub-Park for LVTs and Terrapins.

    Can anyone help me with the "receipts" and "issues" titles??
    I'm assuming that "receipts" mean all vehicles taken into the Veh Coy Parks - so including the new 'reserve' vehicles coming off the MT Ships onto the beaches, but does that also mean "unfit" vehicles being returned?
    "Issues" - I'm guessing that from this central pool of vehicles they were "issued" out to Army Parks, but does anyone know if they were also issued directly to units?

    I thought people might find the reference to LVTs and Terrapins interesting. :D

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Unfit vehicles were dealt with by REME, either repairing, scrapping or evacuating them to a higher workshop. An organisational chart in the REME staff history shows the 'normal route for repairable eqpt. of R.A.O.C. origin' flowing through REME units.
  3. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Idler,

    Thanks for the reply. I knew about the REME's role, but I'm not sure whether unfit vehicles (i.e VOR) would be "back-loaded" (as the phrase in the war diary records it) from a unit straight to a RAOC RVP (Returned Vehicle Park) or to a REME Repair workshop park. From the Veh Coy diary that I am working through, it appears that REME workshops (varied over time between L of C Workshops, a Canadian Advanced Base Workshop and Inf Bde workshops released by disbanding of 59 Inf Div) actually worked in the Vehicle Company's Parks.

    So, for example, in the War Diary entry for 11 Jul 44, it records the collection of 100 vehicles from "Tennyson" collection area (West Assembly Area) but also records "B" Vehicle Receipts as 548. :confused:

    Can you see why I am slightly perplexed!


  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Source: WO171/2792 - War Diary of 17 Vehicle Company, RAOC


    Does that War Diary mention 171 Vehicle Park by any chance?
  5. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I'm afraid not - the vehicle parks seem to be numbered 1 to 4 and are referred to as:

    1 Veh Park - 17 Veh Coy, etc.

    Can I ask what your interest is?


  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I've only transcribed from July up to October (in my how many reserve lorries did 21 Army Group have quest) but was planning to go back to look at pre-D Day diaries, so will copy November and December and see if the change over of names is mentioned.

    Actually, thinking about it, somewhere I seem to recall that one of the Vehicle Parks was renamed as 2nd Army Veh Park in around Nov 44, so perhaps a general name change was given to all the Parks then. I'll let you know if I find out anything.

    Re 3 RTR Comet's in summer 45, I do think you are going to be disappointed. The diaries I've seen are limited to number of receipts/issues of "A", "B" and M/cs. No details of types at all, I'm afraid. Perhaps, though, the Tank Museum would be a possible option - I thought I'd seen somewhere that they had some copies of the individual documents that accompanied tanks, etc from unit to unit, to Veh Park, to REME unit, etc, etc. The records may well have been more detailed after VE day as well.

    BTW thanks for the link, very interesting stuff.


  8. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I thought the following appendix from 17 Veh Coy's war diary for July 44 might begin to shed light on the RAOC/REME relationship and how to consider the totals of receipts and issues. I think the haze is beginning to clear but that may only be my new glasses!:D

    Appendix “A”

    Officers present: Col. Murray, No. 2 A.R.G.
    Col. Farrer, C.E.M.E., Base Workshops
    Lt-Col. Tapley, S.E.M.E., No 2 A.R.G.
    Major Ensley, 256 A.D.S.
    Major Egin, 256 A.D.S.
    Capt. Ward, 256 A.D.S.
    Major Sumpster, O.C. 17 Vehicle Coy
    Major Simpson, O.C. No.2 A.F.V. Servicing Unit.
    Capt. Platten.
    Capt. Mosley.

    It was agreed that the responsibility for a Heavy A.F.V. between Beach and delivery to A.D.S. should be divided between Vehicle Coy and No. 2 A.F.V. Servicing Unit in the following sequence of operations:

    1. Responsibility of Veh Coy before delivery to Servicing Unit.
    (a) Collection from beach and delivery into Vehicle Receipts Park.
    (b) Copy of Rough Receipt Sheet will be sent to A.F.V. Servicing Unit showing Vehicles by W.D. number and type as unfit.
    (c) On receipt of Vehicle in the Park all Kit and Small Arms (whether fitted or not) would be removed from the tank. In the case of British Tanks bulk kit would not be removed from outside stowage bins providing the O. i/c Kits Section is satisfied that bins are sufficiently waterproofed and scaled to show any tampering whilst in the Park or Servicing Unit.
    (d) No detailed examination of Kit will be made unless they have obviously been broken open or damaged during transit, when a complete check will be taken.
    (e) A.B.413, Memo of Examination, Tank Trial Sheet and Small Arms if in boxes will be removed from the Kit and the remainder stored correctly numbered, in the kit stores.
    (f) A.B.413 Memo of Examination and Tank Trial Sheet will be handed over to Servicing Unit when required.
    (g) All Small Arms will be cleansed of grease and lightly oiled under the supervision of skilled personnel of No.2 A.F.V. Servicing Unit and stored with a label attached showing W.D. Number, until the Vehicle is finally issued.
    (h) Fuel, engine oil and water levels will be inspected and filled up, if necessary.
    (j) De-waterproofing and de-greasing of the Vehicles and Main Armament, but not stripping of the breech will be carried out in the Vehicle Park. A.R.G. will provide an Officer and S/Sgt to supervise personnel of the Vehicle Coy in De-waterproofing and will also provide reinforcements to assist in the initial stages.
    (k) General cleaning of the whole of the interior of the Vehicle and superficial cleaning of the exterior.

    2. Responsibility of No. 2 A.F.V. Servicing Unit.
    (a) On receipt of the Tank stripped of Kit and in a clean condition, the Servicing Unit carry out servicing, ‘IN’ Inspection, Repairs, Modifications as necessary (within the time available), ‘OUT’ Inspection and Test Run.
    (b) Check Firing Gear and Wireless.
    (c) Make out A.F. G.857A (Inspection Report) in triplicate. 1 copy will be sent to A.F.V. Inspectorate, 1 attached to A.B. 413, 1 File.
    (d) On completion of all work A.B. 413 (A.F.G. 857A attached), Memo of Examination and Tank Trial Sheet will be handed to the Vehicle Park for stowing

    - 2 -
    in the Kit Boxes, and also change of condition report for onward transmission to T.V.P.
    If possible an area for test run purposes will be provided by the Veh Coy.
    (f) On the authority of C.E.M.E. the Vehicle Coy will provide Wireless Equipment for testing purposes by cannibalization of “Centaurs” held in stock for that purpose.

    3. Responsibility of Vehicle Company on Receipt from Servicing Unit.
    (a) Vehicle will be collected from the Servicing Unit.
    (b) A.B. 413 (A.F.B. 857A attached), Memo of Examination, Tank Trial Sheet replaced in the Kit Boxes and the Kit Boxes fastened and stowed in the Vehicle.
    (c) Small Arms will be fitted into the Vehicle if it is for issue in the immediate future, otherwise they will be stored under cover for routine inspection (daily). It is important that the correct Small Arms are fitted to the Vehicle from which originally removed.
    (d) When it is anticipated that a considerable stock will be held in the Vehicle Coy Storage Parks, it will be necessary to arrange Maintenance Parties and definite routine established.

    General Notes.
    (a) Work to commence on Sunday morning, 9th July 1944.
    (b) Estimated time for preparation of Vehicles by the Veh Coy approximately 2 to 3 days, depending on type of vehicle.
    (c) Every effort to be made by Vehicle Company to give the Servicing Unit the work in batches of 12 at a time.
    (d) The following percentage of priorities were given by G.2.A.R.G. as a forecast of their immediate requirements:
    20% S.Ps. M.10 and 17 Pdrs.
    50% Sherman VC and I, II, III and V.
    15% Cromwell VII and other Marks.
    15% Churchill VII and other Marks.
    (e) The operation of No.2 A.F.V. Servicing Unit will relieve Vehicle Coy R.E.M.E. personnel of their responsibility of the initial inspection of Heavy “A” Vehicle.
    (f) Initial inspection of “A” Light Vehicles will remain the Vehicle Coy’s responsibility temporarily, but it was decided that Major Simpson and Captain Mosely should contact Col. Farrer for a further ruling immediately.

    Distribution: 1 Copy C.O.O. 17 A.O.D.
    1 copy Major Sumpster, O.C. 17 Vehicle Coy. 1 Coy Major Milnes.
    1 copy Major Simpson, O.C. No. 2 A.F.V. Servicing Unit.
    1 copy Captain Platten, O.C. No. 1 Vehicle Park.

    Any of you tank WD number collectors looked at the war diary of No.2 Servicing Unit?


  9. Ben_Mayne

    Ben_Mayne Member


    Hoping you can assist, I have an interview with a veteran of 17th Vehicle Coy on Friday. Do you have the war diaries for the normandy campaign? Does it state the six figure grid refs for where these vehicle parks were set up. Any help is greatly appreciated, thank you.

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  10. Ben_Mayne

    Ben_Mayne Member


    my interest is just looking to pin down the locations of the 17 Vehicle company. The veteran I’m working with is desperate to find out the location where he landed and I’m hoping the diaries will give me a little more info to research from. Obviously I can’t get them at this time with the TNA being closed.
  11. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    The WD does not say where the various parties landed.

    Attached are a few pages from the WD that have Grid References on them.



    DSCF0095  17  Coy.jpg DSCF0098  17  Coy.jpg DSCF0106  17  Coy.jpg

    DSCF0120  17  Coy.jpg DSCF0121  17  Coy.jpg
    Ben_Mayne likes this.
  12. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    As Danny points out, the war diary of 17 Advance Ordnance Depot (AOD) and 17 Vehicle Coy are both annoyingly light on locations. However, I did find this in the "Administrative History of 21st Army Group" which is available somewhere on line I think if you 'Google' it:

    "On D+2 and D+3 detachments of 17 BAD, 17 Vehicle Company of 17 AOD and two Ordnance Maintenance Companies landed to recce sites for permanent depots in what was to become the RMA. Unfortunately the recce party of 17 AOD was torpedoed and almost completely lost but another was organised and landed with the advance party on D+7. The three Stores Companies of 16 AOD also landed with 17 AOD and were merged and operated with the latter.

    The site chosen for 17 AOD near VAUX-SUR-AURE proved satisfactory but initial difficulties were experienced because that area was occupied at the same time by two divisions and a tank transporter column. It opened however, for issues on D+26 from BMPs and LRs, the latter having been diverted from OBDs from D+7 onwards. The stormy weather at this period seriously delayed the build-up of ordnance reserves to the extent that by D+23 only 19,139 tons out of the planned 39,240 tons of stores had been landed. Arrangements were made to open OBD stocks in the BMA to OFP and for Ordnance Sub Parks to commence demanding on the AOD.

    Final disbandment of the OBDs was carried out at a much later date and the personnel then became available for other duties such as tank kitting sections for corps, staffing Officers' Shops etc. On the closing down of the OBDs all stocks of their controlled stores were transferred to No 1 Ordnance Maintenance Company to form an initial army reserve of two days' wastage of stores for Second Army. The other ord maint coy (No 1 Canadian Ord Maint Coy) subsequently became the army roadhead depot for First Canadian Army.

    17 Veh Coy brought in their first reserve vehicles on D+7 and set up a vehicle park in the vicinity of 17 AOD. Another vehicle company landed on D+18 with the first of the phased programme vehicles, the drivers then returning to UK to bring over more vehicles."

    Vaux sur Aure is just north of Bayeux (and hence just south of Gold Beach).

    Hopefully, that will be of use.


    Ben_Mayne likes this.
  13. Ben_Mayne

    Ben_Mayne Member

    Danny & Tom,

    This is excellent, thank you so much for this. A big help as I've now mapped two of the vehicle parks from grid co's.

    Can I be cheeky and ask if you have to previous page for the diary outlining all of the 10th June incident and appendix C? That incident happened on the night of the 7th in to 8th June.

    I have a live interview with a veteran of the 17 Vehicle Coy tomorrow and I'm piecing together what I can without being able to get access to the archives.

    You're help is greatly appreciated at this time.


  14. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    WO171/2792 - WD 17 Vehicle Coy:

    4 June 44
    Lt.Col. J.G. Holman, Major W. Brockhill, Capt. R.D. Bryan, Lt. W.G. Goodwin and 4 O.Rs proceeded to Billinghurst to join train at 0850 hrs. Informed by M.C. that train (move) was cancelled, and move postponed. Party inc 2 O.Rs proceeding by road standing by for fresh orders.
    Receipt of Reserve Vehicles – Trucks 15-cwt. A.A. Mk. III No. 4 – 3.
    These vehicles were collected on Second Army authority although surplus to the phasing, and will subsequently be phased in for non-available types.
    O.C. 16 Veh Coy and 2IC 17 Veh Coy visited Second Army and were given authority to phase forward vehicles if necessary in place of non-available types on priority order of carriers, jeeps and 3-tonners.

    5 June 1944
    Recce Party, consisting of Lt.Col. J.G. Holman, Major W. Brockhill, Capt. R.D. Bryan, Lt. W.G. Goodwinn and 4 O.Rs left Billinghurst by train for the Marshalling Area at 0850 hrs. Road Party of 2 O.Rs followed at 1045 hrs.
    No. 9 AFV Depot informed us by telephone that two Scout Cars Daimler were not ready for collection, as they had not passed W/P test. Further report promised on 6 JUN 44.

    6 June 1944
    Following message received from Movement Secc, 1750 hrs, through 17 AOD: “QM 340 W. Restricted. Send Officer representative report at SUSDIS 1200 hrs 7 JUN 44. Ack to SUSDIS phone Haywards Heath 1009”.
    Eight Universal Carriers were phased in, in lieu of non-available types.
    2IC 17 Veh Coy visited Second Army reference phasing in of vehicles.

    7 June 1944
    List Index No. 36047 left for Marshalling Area by road at 1305 hrs.
    Movement Order for List Index No. 36113 collected from SUSDIS at 1200 hrs.
    HQ 17 Vehicle Coy AOD closed down at 1800 hrs, and Camp handed over to O.C. Rear Party.

    8 June 1944
    List Index No. 366113 moved to Marshalling Area by road at 0100 hrs.
    D.O.S. No. 21 Army Group visited Vehicle Companies.

    9 June 1944
    2IC visited 21 Army Group, with other Officers of the A.O.D., and was informed by D.O.S. that the Recce Party was missing, believed lost at sea, and was instructed to embark at Tilbury on the following day. (See Appendix “C”). Appx C

    10 June 1944
    2IC Veh Coy proceeded with other Officers of the A.O.D. to the Marshalling Area SHQ.
    List Index No. 36047 beached at 1600 hrs, dry-shod, and proceeded to Unit location.
    1 W.O. and 5 O.Rs of the Recce Party reported.
    O.i/c List Index 36047 reported that all the Officers of the Recce Party were believed to have been killed when a torpedo struck the L.C.I. (See Appendix “C”).
    List Index No. 36113 embarked, including 2 Officers, 99 O.Rs and 67 vehicles.
    Vehicle Receipts: “A” 8; “B” 12; Issues: “A” -, “B” -.

    11 June 1944
    Capt. Balding, O.i/c List Index No. 26047, carried out preliminary recce of Vehicle Coy area after reporting to Ord. Second Army. Later in the day Capt. Balding reported to the C.O.O., 17 A.O.D. on his arrival. List Index No. 36234 embarked with 3 Offrs, 103 O.Rs and 65 vehicles.
    Vehicle Receipts: nil. Issues: nil.

    12 June 1944
    Detailed reconnaissance of the Veh Coy area taken by Capt Mosley R.E.M.E.
    Vehicle Receipts: nil. Issues: nil.

    13 June 1944
    2IC Vehicle Coy disembarked and report to AOD HQ.
    Vehicle Receipts: nil. Issues: nil.

    14 June 1944
    2IC contacted Veh Coy detachment, and HQ established.
    First Issue of vehicles on Second Army authority commenced.
    Vehicle Receipts: Nil. Issues: “A” 3; “B” 3.
    List Index No. 36113 disembarked, with 2 Offrs, 99 O.Rs and 67 vehicles.
    List Index No. 36235 embarked, with 4 Offrs and 108 O.Rs, and 74 vehicles.
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  15. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Appendix “C”

    Subject: A.F. W.30100. Dated /JUN/44.
    STATEMENT BY No. 7599834 Sgt. Barron S.

    Reference: No. 17 Vehicle Company Detachment – Battle Casualty Report.
    A.1, dated 110800B.

    At about 0500 hours on 8 JUN 44, I, with three other rank and file of the Advance Party of No. 17 Vehicle Company, (namely Cpl. Whitehead, L/Cpl Robbins and Pte Brankin), was in the No. 1 (forward) hold of an L.C.I. (L) at sea within sight of the French Coast.

    An explosion occurred which shook the ship and we were ordered to stay below.

    After a time we were ordered on deck, and I saw the ship was down by the stern to the level of the galley, the No. 4 (aft) hold, which had been allotted to the officers, being blown off, no trace being apparent.

    We saw Colonel Gore, C.O.O. No. 17 A.O.D., on the bridge, and when were taken off by L.C.T.8, he was the only Officer of our Unit to leave the ship.

    The other Officers of the party, Lt.Col. Holman, Major Brockhill, Captain Bryan, Lieut. Goodwin, who I saw on board earlier, were not there and I have not seen them since.

    An Officer of the R.E. who was on the same ship and who had been in the aft hold said that he was the only survivor of the Officers who were, with the exception of the Colonel and himself, in the hold at the time.

    (Signed) S. Barron
    Sergeant. No. 7599834.

    Taken down on this twelfth day of JUNE, 1944.
    (signed) L.C.R. Balding
    Captain, O.C. No. 17 Vehicle
    Company, A.O.D. Detachment.

    We, the undersigned, have read the above statement by
    No. 7599834 Sgt. Barron S., No. 17 Vehicle Company, A.O.D., and corroborate it.
    (Signed) Whitehead
    Corporal No. 10540872.

    (Signed) Brankin
    Pte. No. 7013183

    (Signed) Robbins
    L/Cpl. No. 14600419.
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  16. Ben_Mayne

    Ben_Mayne Member


    Thank you so much for this, a massive help for me to read through.

    If you are interested, the interview will be live streamed tomorrow at 2pm on WW2TV.


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