RASC Dunkirk

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Sezuk, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Sezuk

    Sezuk New Member

    First post.

    Trying to decifier service records specifically relating to Dunkirk involvement which we know my grandad took part in but I’m unclear what.

    It looks like 4th June he was posted but struggling to find exactly what as a driver he would have done , unless he was with another unit on the boats getting people out??

    There was also a story he drove an officer into Berlin but at what point in the war I don’t know.

    Attached Files:

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Do you know what RASC Company he was with at Dunkirk?
  3. Sezuk

    Sezuk New Member

    He was first enlisted to 6th Coy RTB - then the information I have is on the previously attached document. I have other service detaisl, but they don't cover June 1940 - It starts with him returning from leave in Aug 1940- I think perhaps because it's not been 25 years since his death they haven't included that section??
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    18 4 1940 - He enlists and is posted to No 6 Training Company

    4 6 1940 - posted to 'B' Com D & C Sch [School] Dvr

    11 6 1940 - posted to M T Pers(?) Com 1 Depot B(???) Dvr

    10 6 1940 - posted to 3rd Div Amm Coy RASC Home Dvr

    8 9 1941 - posted to 3rd Div Amm Coy 23 Coy Appointed Unpaid A/L/Cpl

    Then it seems on 1 11 1944 he was transferred to 'z' list [this means basically he was put into Army reserve]

    Basically he joined in Mid April, trained and was ready for posting in early June 1940.

    Personally I cannot see that he ever left the UK, what makes you say he was at Dunkirk??

    Drew5233 likes this.
  5. Sezuk

    Sezuk New Member

    My mom and aunts understood he - their dad - was in Dunkirk but I agree it doesn’t appear so

    Attached Files:

  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The problem is that there are no embarkation details on his record. Also it appears he enlisted 18th Apr 1940, he would then have a period of basic training, involving how to adapt to Army life, getting fit, learning how to use rifles, grenades etc as everyone had to. This would take about 6 weeks, so mid April + 6 weeks takes you to the end of May. He would then need to go and do training in the trade he was chosen for, in this case driving No 6 Training Company RASC as per the records.
    The last people off the beaches at Dunkirk were on the 4th June 1940. From my point of view they [the Army] would not be sending people of any sort to France/Belgium in June as it was trying its hardest to get people off the beaches.

    The other end of the saga is that Berlin was not available to be driven into until May 1945. From his records he is shown as being transferred to Reserve on 1st Nov 1944 at which point the Allied army was still in Belgium/Holland.

    Drew5233 and CL1 like this.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    In your latest image it seems to show he obtained a special qualification as a Driver HV Petrol - I have no idea what that involves, but he also seems to have been in contact with US forces in 1942, and what may have been Canadian forces as there appears to be a reference to CRASC which has dates going into 1945, so all in all this last part of his record is very confusing.
    There is also a reference to BLA which is British Liberation Army, i.e. the Allied forces in Northern Europe

  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    This is all a bit new to me but I have researched a little deper and CRASC is NOT the Canadian version but is in fact still the British RASC but is the Commander, or HQ unit for the RASC

    "Before and during World War Two the RASC was organised into companies and although they were not formally organised into a battalion, the RASC units of a division were collected under the Commander, Royal Army Service Corps. Some companies carried out petrol supply duties, other general supply work while others were assigned to units "

    "Royal Army Service Corps: Commander Royal Army Service Corps (CRASC)."

    So perhaps being put into Reseve in 1944 he was drafted back out into BLA [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Liberation_Army] so that after the war finished in May 1945 I guess it would be possible that he did drive into Berlin.

    I have found some War Diaries for CRASC units but am unsure if any relate to your relation as deciphering the records is difficult - Search results: crasc | The National Archives , as you can there are quite a few and they cover various theatres of the War, and the lisy gives an idea of the complexity of the organisation

    It seems from the record on 9th Aug 1944 he was posted to G Company of 510 RASC (BLA) then the next line says the same unit but Posted to CRASC 2 Army ?? [2nd Army ?? - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Army_(United_Kingdom)]

    Reference: WO 171/6297
    510 Coy.
    Date: 1945 Jan.-Oct.
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew

    We do have members who copy the war diaries at Kew if you need copies (see Drew5233 above). These explain what that unit was doing, where, and when.

    Its still confusing as to why 1 document shows him in Reserve Nov 1944 and the other shows him as in the BLA and TOS (Taken off strength) from that unit in Oct 1945 ??????

    CL1 and ozzy16 like this.
  9. Sezuk

    Sezuk New Member

    Thanks for all your help.

    I'll have to email family again to try and clarify what they know, but because it wasn't talked about it may be I need to check who told them grandad was at Dunkirk - I know his brother was, so perhaps a confused story?!

    I'll try look at the war diaries, but being a private he won't be mentioned, but an overview of what he could have been doing will be interesting.

    I may also get his brothers records as he was in the coldstream guard and served under Lord Frederick Cambridge so an interesting story there to look at if nothing with my grandad!
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Good luck and please keep the site updated

    Check out the post by Drew5233 if you need copies of War Diaries

  11. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    Troops were sent to France (St Malo) after the Dunkirk operation finished (around 12 June), they were to form the Norman Force which was to man the Breton redoubt (bit of geographical confusion there!) From memory there were 'three divisions' - two British and one Canadian. Only one division got as far as Le Mans and all were brought back through St Malo 17-18 June. Wits in Southampton said that BEF meant 'back every Friday'.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thanks Roy - learn something new all time on here

    Roy Martin likes this.
  13. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    Thanks TD, coming from you I regard that as a considerable complement! Being a simple seaman I am not sure whether they were divisions or brigades, I think there were about 30,000 men in all. Almost as soon as they were sent it was realised that the whole escapade was futile.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I was I guess more focussed on the fact that the OP mentioned their relation being at Dunkirk and trying to sort out a timescale from their enlistment date to last ones off the beaches at Dunkirk.

    Its possible that anyone coming back from France in May/June 1940 may recollect and use the term Dunkirk, rather than St Malo, St Nazaire, Brest etc etc because of its importance as a verb since then.

    Roy Martin likes this.
  15. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    The best book on the period I have found so far is: The Last Act by Basil Karslake. While a secondary source, he had the benefit of his father's records (General Sir Henry Karslake), which he had typed out. And, one assumes, many hours talking to him. Oh and scanning his book I see that they were Divisions, though the Canadians were untested and one was largely made up of the Pioneer Corps - I thought they dug latrines? The remaining division was the 52nd
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019

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