Iceland Occupation info sought, RAOC.

Discussion in 'Scandinavia and Finland' started by sylvandale, Oct 7, 2021.

  1. sylvandale

    sylvandale New Member

    Hello all. I'm hoping someone can give me some pointers on where to find out about the British forces involved in the occupation of Iceland, please. I'm researching a relative who was there with the RAOC from December 1940 through to September 1942. There seems to be a fair bit of information online about the invasion, understandably. But not that much about the subsequent occupation.

    I'm not hoping for a lot of detail, just really what units were there and where the main bases were. I know the 49th Division was one of the main ones, and the 70th Brigade too (although not initially as part of the 49th Div, at least according to wikipedia). Some kind soul has put loads of info about 70th Brigade's time in Iceland online at Iceland Garrison October 1940 - December 1941 - 70 Brigade. But

    I've not found much else, and no mention of RAOC anywhere so far. I've not even found a simple listing of all units stationed there. A lot of the Records Office war diaries that may or may not be relevant are all "not yet digitised" so it's hard to know where to start.

    Any help gratefully received!
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Have you got your man’s service records?

    They ought to tell you which RAOC unit he was serving with or it may be that he was attached to an infantry unit.

    Your best way forward is to get firm details of his service.

  3. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Welcome Sylvandale

    There is a wealth of high-level material within the War Cabinet and Chiefs of Staff papers concerning ALABASTER available to download from TNA. For instance, CAB 80/13/48 contains the Joint Planning Sub-committee’s final report detailing the required garrisons for key locations.

    As you may be aware, from the outset the Canadians were expected to take some of the load and Héritage have six hundred odd pages available from British and Canadian sources: I spotted a few references to small ordnance detachments. Troopers is the War Office in London; Defensor is the Canadian Department of National Defence and Canmilitry is the Canadian Military Headquarters, London.

    Operation Alabaster – Library and Archives Canada Blog

    Headquarters, Z Force, Iceland

    Z Force, Weekly Progress Reports, Iceland
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021
    Chris C likes this.
  4. sylvandale

    sylvandale New Member

    That's great. Many thanks for the TNA and Canadian links, I didn't really know where to start looking.

    My wife's dad was a fitter, first as a private but promoted to Sgt while in Iceland. He was in 1MLU from 14/12/40 and then 3 Base Ldry from 3/11/41 until leaving on 1/9/42.

    Finding out about the MLU units seems just to add to the difficulties. I've tracked his later service in 102MLU, across NW Europe including Belsen, by paying for the 1944/45 war diaries for his unit. But there doesn't seem to be anything available for 1940/41/42.
  5. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Sylvandale posted above:
    Ldry I would say in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
  6. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

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  7. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    Order of battle (ie. List of units) for Iceland are in WO212 series at Kew. Similarly, the war diaries of the units concerned are in WO176 series. The RAOC ones are there too but I suspect the laundry unit did not run a stand alone diary (too small) and you will find details either in the base unit diary, the ADOS file or a higher unit HQ.

    Edited to add.
    1 Mobile Laundry (unit serial 3852 due to sail ex UK in convoy 'C' early July) is noted on an order of battle list dated 28 June 1940 which can be read in the Canadian files that Richelieu linked above.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021

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