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Remembered Today:

Authority for Enlistment WO Letter 4506


AdrianBruce

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Can anyone confirm for me the meaning of W.O. Letter 4506 / ?AG? 2B ?

My chap, one David Urquhart, attested on 28 Sept 1914, joining the "Scottish Horse RAMC". (I interpret this as meaning the "Scottish Horse Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps".) This attestation was on a Territorial Force form, "for the duration".

Then, on 21 June 1915, he attests for a 2nd time, joining the Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport). On the top of the form (marked up as "Short Service - for the duration of the War") it says "Authority for Enlistment WO Letter 4506 / ?AG? 2B of ..." (the date is lost. A letter then goes to the Officer Commanding Scottish Horse Field Ambulance, telling him that David has attested and been approved, and requesting the completion of the documentation, etc, etc.

I'm guessing that David felt he had better prospects in the Mechanical Transport - he describes himself on the ASC form as a "motor driver" and was subsequently rated as a driver - whereas previously he's described himself as a "motor salesman".

So I think I know why he moved but I'm just wondering why he went through a 2nd attestation, why he couldn't just ask for a transfer, and what that WO letter means?

Thanks for any thoughts...

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I have found this happening later in 1915 and early 1916. There must have been a call to the TF for people who had knowledge of vehicles to join the ASC MT. The people I found (Chauffeurs, Motor Engineers etc.) did a test at Grove Park about 3 weeks prior to the transfer. There was an inducement for them to join as the ASC enlistment stated "Specially enlisted at 6d a day as per War Office Letter 115/ASC/806 (QMG3) d/29-12-15". The men had to re-enlist as they were leaving the Territorial Force and joining Regulars. Most of the ones I've seen joined the ASC around 07-01-16 and were numbered in the M2/152xxx range.

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There must have been a call to the TF for people who had knowledge of vehicles to join the ASC MT. ... Most of the ones I've seen joined the ASC around 07-06-16 and were numbered in the M2/152xxx range.

David - thanks for that thought. Your experiences are slightly later than mine (number M2/114030, June 1915) but it's an interesting possibility. My initial guess was that the WO letter was just about transfers but if it's similar to the later letter, then it could be much more personal to his abilities. Nothing on his papers about payment, though.

I shall have to see if anything survives of what the letter said - if I recall correctly, the suggestion elsewhere was that the corresponding Army Council Instructions might be easier to trace.

Re need to re-enlist - OK, that sort of thing sounds understandable.

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Your experiences are slightly later than mine (number M2/114030, June 1915)

Mucked up the date there - it should have read 07-01-16 (i.e. January 1916, I've corrected the original)

I've looked at others in that numbering range and there are a good few.

Most seem to be direct enlistments, although John Frater M2/114029 and a few before him also came from the Scottish Horse.

Some say, regarding question 10, that they got their notice from the War Office.

There is also a stamp saying "South Edinburgh Unionist Assoc.- Temporary Recruiting Office"

At a guess, a recruiting poster went up in Edinburgh asking for suitably qualified men to join the ASC MT.

A few that responded were already in the Territorial Force and the WO letter covered that scenario.

Does that sound more likely?

EDIT: Date of the letter is 15-06-15 - see J. Cunningham M2/114027

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David - double thanks for that. Yes there are a few surviving records round that number, aren't there? And you found one where the top r/h corner was still legible...

(M2/114028, J Mitchell also shows the top r/h - I'm guessing that was filed the other way up in the stack because that's lost the top left-hand corner.)

Adrian

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