John Joseph Wilton RE 2001098

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by CarlyW, Apr 16, 2022.

  1. CarlyW

    CarlyW New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I’m new to researching service records and planning a trip to the National Archives to find out more about my grandfather’s experiences as a Stevedore with various Docks Operating Companies between Feb 1940 and July 1945. I have his service records and have managed to decipher a lot of it based on what I already knew. He was in Egypt, North Africa, Sicily, Naples and Rome. I think I know from that which War Diaries I need to be looking at as I have the dates of transfers between 1001 DOC, 1003 DOC, 994 DOC and 993 DOC.

    What I’m struggling with is the period from Feb 1940 until he leaves the UK for Egypt in May 1942. I’m finding it difficult to decipher some of the handwriting and although I know he was in the UK I don’t know where or what he was doing. I’ve uploaded the information I have in the hope someone here can help me make sense of it. I don’t recognise the names of locations. I also don’t know what some of the abbreviations refer to. I see it mentions him being drafted RGHZO for example.

    I have his medals in the old Rowntrees Clear Gums tin that he kept them in, along with his cap badge and a few other mementos. There’s a commemorative medal struck to mark the entrance of the Allued Forces into Naples which has an engraving of mount Vesuvius and 8th Army on one side. There’s also a group photo outside St. Peter’s in Rome. Sadly he passed away in 1983 when I was only 8 so I never had the chance to talk to him about it.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance!

    Attached Files:

  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    My guess at the UK locations:
    ? Walmer

    Forget the draft codes i.e. RGHZO, no meaning.
    CL1 likes this.
  3. CarlyW

    CarlyW New Member

    That makes a lot of sense. In that case I’m guessing the last entry there is Woolmer for Woolmer Ranges near Borden.

    Thanks for deciphering!
    Tony56 and CL1 like this.
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    See the other thread on 993 Dock Operating Company (DOC): 2110900 Sapper William George HOWE, 993 Docks Operating Company, Royal Engineers:02/07/1943

    Searching the CWGC there are no other deaths. Checked around 2/7/1943 and no other Royal Engineers died and buried in Eygpt a month either side. He appears to be their only wartime casualty.

    A stand alone post / thread on the CO of 1001 DOC: Award MBE & OBE Major J.A. Balfour, 1001 Docks Operating Company, Royal Engineers

    Another post / thread on 994 DOC: Sapper James Martin

    There are two small threads on 1003 DOC: 1003 Docks Operating Coy, No 3 Docks Group and Corporal WILLIAM LARVIN:1003 Docks Operating Coy., Royal Engineers

    A couple of general threads on 1017 DOC: Sapper James Martin The link in Post 2 no longer works, a later one does: RE1017 dockopcoy and The Bombing of Bari Harbour 2 December 1943 - a white-wash? and RE 1017 Dock op Coy Beirut 1943

    A memory of DOC training @ Longmoor: BBC - WW2 People's War - Travels Of An Engineer
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2022
  5. CarlyW

    CarlyW New Member

    Thanks for that. I think for most of the threads the timings are a bit out. He only transferred into the 993rd DOC in Sept 43 and I think he was already in Sicily by then. I think I need to get the War Diaries based on the dates he transfers in and out.

    The last link was really interesting though as it sounds like a very similar experience to my grandad’s. Training and drills at Longmoor followed by being sent to the areas around Folkestone.

    Feels like making progress so thanks to everyone who replied so far.

    I’m still not sure what he was up to between Feb 1940 and July 1940. My Dad said he thought he was somehow involved in Dunkirk but that seems unlikely as there’s nothing mentioned after his enlistment at Lympne.
  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    CarlyW cited in part:
    Could it be that his involvement was ad hoc deployment to France? Somewhere on the site I have read units were re-roled to provide rear area duties. Or, more likely a deployment to help with the evacuation, either in a port or inland as so many came back ( both British and French).
  7. CarlyW

    CarlyW New Member

    That seems entirely possible. If I understand correctly some of the Stevedores were shipped over to Dunkirk for a week or so in May to help with unloading supplies for the retreating forces. He was part of the 4th Stevedore Battalion at the time.
  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

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