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Mobile Ordnance Workshops


Copper6197
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Good day fellow Forum members;

These questions would be directed to our members that are conversant with the Field Artillery units.

My great uncle, Alex. McKie, #79530 was posted to the 330 Artillery Brigade, Battery D in the spring of 1918. In late September of that year he was temporarily attached to what I believe to be the 14th Ordnance Mobile Workshop. (this from his service records and the able assistance of fellow forum members)

Apart from the obvious duties of repair of ordnance (the artillery pieces) what other things might they do?

How close to the front might these units be?

Lastly, for a man to be Killed in Action, would this include an accident at one of these mobile workshops?

Lots of questions....

Any ideas?

George

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Good day fellow Forum members;

These questions would be directed to our members that are conversant with the Field Artillery units.

My great uncle, Alex. McKie, #79530 was posted to the 330 Artillery Brigade, Battery D in the spring of 1918. In late September of that year he was temporarily attached to what I believe to be the 14th Ordnance Mobile Workshop. (this from his service records and the able assistance of fellow forum members)

Apart from the obvious duties of repair of ordnance (the artillery pieces) what other things might they do?

How close to the front might these units be?

Lastly, for a man to be Killed in Action, would this include an accident at one of these mobile workshops?

Lots of questions....

Any ideas?

George

George

The following is the entry fom my book regarding Ordnance Mobile Workshops:

Two type existed, Light and Heavy. There were two Ordnance Mobile Workshops (Light) per Corps from 1915 onwards, each having an establishment of one Ordnance Mechanical Engineering Officer and 21 other ranks. All the necessary equipment to conduct their role was carried in on two lorries, one of which was equipped as workshop with machine tools whilst the other performed the role of stores wagon. As WW1 progressed a third vehicle was added to the establishment due to the increase in the amount of machine tools carried by the unit. The establishment of Heavy Ordnance Mobile Workshops was authorized in March 1915, at the rate of one per Army. Each had a personnel establishment of two engineering officers and 89 other ranks, together with an Assistant Inspector of Armourers who was responsible for supervising all work carried out on small arms. Heavy Ordnance Mobile Workshops were equipped to repair large calibre artillery pieces. As such, they were outfitted with a steam hammer in addition to the normal range of machine tools.

With respect to being Killed in Action, I would think an accident would not qualify, as KIA infers some involvement from the enemy.

Regards

Phil

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Thanks for the quick response!

I take it from your response that these workshops were quite mobile and thus may have been close enough to the Front to be attacked by the enemy either by his ground troops or his artillery.

There is absolutely no indication in my great-uncle's service record of any accident, but it is a possibility that I put out there for consideration. Similarly there is no indication of where he died.

I guess the War Diary would give general terms and location of where the batteries were on that date.

George

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Hello,

Ordnance workshops do not often figure on the forum and I have found it quite difficult to find information on their organisation and activity. The following, based on my notes taken from ‘History of Army Ordnance Services Vol III’ by Maj Gen A Forbes, may be of interest.

Apart from damage from enemy shell fire artillery pieces required considerable repair. For example the buffers in recoil systems needed to keep topped up, leakage lead to excessive recoil causing buffers to bulge, piston rods elongate, and springs acquiring a set. Workshops in 4th Army dealt with 200 inner and outer springs per day and a French firm was found that was able to re temper. Each of a sample of 8 18 pounders overhauled which should have 4.5 pts in the system were found to contain 3.5, 2, 3.25, 1.75, 2.5, 2.75, full, empty.

In a period of 6 weeks in 1917 16 light and 5 medium shops carried out the following

Eqpt Guns and carriages

Overhauled re-issued

18pr 999

4,5” how 177

60 pr 140

6” 30 cwt 3

6” 26 cwt 260

6” Gun 2

8” How 58

9.2” How 31

450 guns and 390 carriages returned to base or BER – beyond economic repair.

I would be interested to know about Phill's book.

Old Tom

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Old Tom;

It is quite amazing what knowledge Forum members have or have access to.

Phil's book is available on both Amazon.co.uk and over here on Amazon.ca

George

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Hello George

There were Heavy, Medium and Light Ordnance Mobile Workshops and they were units of the Army Ordnance Corps, not the artillery.

Each Army had one of the Heavy type and each Corps had at least one Medium and two or more Light type. They were fairly mobile, but did not move about that much. They were behind the front line but could well have been in range of enemy heavy guns or air attack.

"Killed in action", as Phil says, normally means as a result of enemy action. Soldiers dying in accidents are normally described simply as "Killed" in "Soldiers Died in the Great War" but in practice I doubt it was always as clear-cut as that.

The ASC and the RE normally carried out their own repairs but the AOC workshops could deal with most repairs to mechanical equipment and vehicles as well as guns, and no doubt helped out the RE with repairs at Corps level, i.e. too difficult to deal with within RE units, but not needing to be sent right back to an RE Workshop at one of the coastal bases.

Ron.

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  • 7 years later...
Guest Stuart J T

Good Evening

I have recently recommenced my efforts to research my grandfather's movements during WW1, and was absolutely delighted to discover this forum!  As a result, I have just ordered the recommended AOC book by Forbes. 100 years ago next month (15 March 1917 according to his notebook) my grandfather, Pte Albert Talton, a wheeler, sailed to France.  At some point between 1917 and 1919 in Germany, his unit was 47 Ordnance Mobile Workshop (Light).  I know this from some of his papers and tunic which I hold, and from a handful of photos of his unit's trucks, which conveniently have "47 OMW (Light)" painted on the side.  What I would really like to know, is what ports he travelled from/to, what vessel he travelled on, and where his unit was located as it moved through France.  I know his last location, as I have a leave pass from Wahn, Germany, dated Jun 19. Can anyone offer advice?       

 

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  • 1 year later...

George,

I know it's more than 9 years since you posted this but it's the only reference I found to 14 Ordnance Mobile Workshop. Hopefully you're still interested in this topic.

My great uncle Frank Lane was attached to the same unit. It was a medium workshop and, as he died of Spanish fly in Rouen on 7 Nov 1918, I suppose he was in that area when he fell ill. There was an ordnance depot in Rouen.

Can you help me with any more information about that unit? Where it's war diaries are for example?

Regards,

Jeremy Lane

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