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KazFletch

Army Service Corps (MT)

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KazFletch

Does anyone know whether the ASC kept diaries. I'm trying to find any details on my grandfather Harry Smith. The National Roll of the Great War has him down as RASC (M.T). I don't have a Regimental No. He was already in the ASC in 1911 as a Driver and immediately went to the Western Front at the outbreak of war transporting food and munitions. He was wounded at Arras where he lost an eye. He was invalided home and discharged in May 1919. I know it's hard to find soldiers in the ASC but I'm wondering if anyone has access to ASC diaries, Arras records or hospital records that could help me or point me in the right direction. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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johnboy

Try Ancestry, their Medal Index Cards may be FREE.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

Hi KazFletch,

Yes the ASC did have war diaries, many of them.

I'm sure that you know that the ASC consisted of over a thousand Companies, most of which had their own diary.The great majority of those have survived.

The numbers of the companies, and the reference number of the relevant diary is listed pretty comprehensively in Michael Young's Book "Army Service Corps 1902-1918.

My experience of trawling through the diaries, is that they almost never mention ordinary soldiers by name, even if killed.

A daily diary might state that "Lt. Atkins, and 3 OR's were killed, and 2nd Lt. Blimp and 2 OR's wounded by enemy shelling" that day, but I can't recall seeing names of wounded OR's.

Officers are mentioned quite often, with regard to rosters and duties, but not comprehensively.

My own grandfather was in the ASC (MT) from April 1916 to September 1919, (It didn't become "Royal" until after the armistice), and was moved around between about 15 different MT Companies of the ASC.

To try to obtain a rough idea of where he served involved examining the War Diaries of all those companies at Kew.

But I was fortunate in that his War Service Record survived the blitz, and from that document, I was able to obtain the information as to which ASC (MT) Companies he served in, and when.

But not "Where?". That will come from the War Diary.

Do I assume correctly that your grandfather's record did not survive?

Unfortunately Harry Smith is a very common name, and narrowing it down on Ancestry could be very difficult without any other information like date of birth, or regimental number.

But you really need the service record to state which companies he was in, to progress further.

PS. How do you know he was wounded at Arras?

Do you know when that happened.

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KazFletch

Hi, thank you for your responses. I've searched Ancestry for his service record but no luck so assume they didn't survive. He was born 30 April 1891. I found him on the 1911 Census Enumeration Book for Military Establishments, Rank as Driver Occupation as Groom. I then searched The National Roll of the Great War, see attached, which is where I found out about him being wounded at Arras. This must be where he lost his eye. I think the Battle of Arras was 1917 and then obviously his discharge in May 1919. I searched on Ancestry for the ASC 1914 Star medal records and narrowed it down to 8 with the name H Smith and all Drivers by rank, but although I had all their Regimental Numbers I couldn't find any records for them. Highly likely one of them is my grandfather. Maybe there are some medical records? I just keep hitting a brick wall. Thanking you, any ideas?

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Chris_Baker

There is a possible clue in the National Roll entry, and that is the reference to agricultural work. It is likely to mean that he was transferred to the Labour Corps after making a recovery from his wound. So, if you can find a 1914 Star to a Driver of the ASC MT who was later with the Labour Corps, you might have him.

...

Such as Driver T/28453 Harry Smith, for example.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

That may be a good lead Chris,

KazFletch,

This Harry Smith's medal card lists him as being in "HQ Coy 4Div T ASC"

This means he was in the HQ Company, of the Divisional Train, of the Fourth Division.

The Long Long Trail gives further detail:http://www.1914-1918.net/4div.htm

HQ Company would be No 1 Company (of four, in the Divisional Trainfor the Fourth Division), which was No.25 Company ASC. The reference number for their War Diary is WO95/1476

This company however, according to Michael Young's book is Horse Transport (HT), not Mechanical Transport.

I can't find an MT Coy for the 4th Division.

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Phil Evans

There were a couple of MT Companies attached to 4th Division in 1914:

4th Divisional Supply Column [No. 65 (MT) Coy ASC]

4th Divisional Ammunition Park [No. 47 (MT) Coy ASC]

4th Reserve Park [No. 20 Coy ASC]

Unfortunately, that will not match with the man Chris has flagged up (Transport & Supply), with later service in the Labour Corps.

I've just ploughed through every Harry Smith with a Labour Corps MIC and can't see a single one who previously served as ASCMT.

Is it a National Roll error?

By the way, the Labour Corps number 501590, according to "No Labour, No Battle", was issued in the period October 1917 to February 1918.

Phil

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KazFletch

Hi, Thank you all very much for your encouraging leads. I'm searching the 1914 Star records at the moment. It is possible that he started out in the HT and progressed to MT. The 1911 census at the Woolwich Barracks does have his occupation as Groom, rank Driver. Your comments have been

a great help and I feel hopeful again! I am out of my depth with the military but you explain it so well.

I did notice my grandfather gave his occupation on his son's birth certificate in January 1918 as "Oil and Tar Warehouse Labourer (?C - army). Couldn't make out what the letter was before the

'C', but transferring to the Labour Corps seems highly likely.

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KazFletch

Sorry, the birth certificate was dated 31 January 1920.

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KazFletch

Yes you're right, it is ex-army. I've ordered the birth certificate of his first child born in March 1918 so that might help as he wasn't discharged till May 1919. Thank you.

So is there any way of finding out if HT Coy 4Div T ASC were based at Woolwich at the time of the 1911 census?

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

So is there any way of finding out if HT Coy 4Div T ASC were based at Woolwich at the time of the 1911 census?

Yes I think so, the HT Companies were formed before the Great War, and their diaries are at Kew:

18 ASC Company (Train,No 3 Co (HT) 4th Div) 1878 WO95/1476

25 ASC Company (Train,No 1 (HQ) Co (HT) 4th Div) 1887 WO95/1476

32 ASC Company (Train,No 2 Co (HT) 4th Div) 1887 WO95/1476 & 4553

38 ASC Company (Train,No 4 Co (HT) 4th Div) 1892 WO95/1476

and

20 ASC Company (4 Reserve Park (HT) 1885 WO95/132

47 ASC Company (4 Ammunition Park (MT) & 4 Ammunition Column (MT)) 1901 WO95/950

65 ASC Company (4th Division Supply Column (MT) 1902 WO95/949) & 4th Division (MT) Company 1902 WO95/979)

Source: Army Service Corps 1902-1918, Michael Young.

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KazFletch

Thank you very much. Looks like a trip to Kew.

The birth certificate for March 1918 has my grandad's occupation as Driver in ASC. Do all soldiers have to re-enlist every 6 years? As he was already in the ASC in 1911 would there be other records showing re-enlistment? Any ideas?

Many thanks

Karen

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KazFletch

I have today found some interest information on my grandad about how he lost his eye. Find My Past newspaper extracts gives details on a shooting incident at the ASC Barracks Woolwich on the 14 August 1911. Driver William Walters was committed for trial on a charge of unlawfully wounding my Grandad, Harry Smith.

Is it possible to find out more about this incident? What happened to William Walters? I'm hoping there will be some details that will give my grandads Regimental Number, what Company of the ASC he was in. It could even confirm that he is the person mentioned in the above post. The extracts talk about 'strikes'. What strikes were these?

Sorry to ask so many questions but I'm really interested in it.

Many thanks

Karen.

Source: The Western Gazette Friday 18 August 1911 'A Soldiers Mad Act'

Sunderland Daily Echo & Shipping Gazette 24 August 1911 'A Barracks Incident'

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David_Underdown

the normal period of enlistment for a regular solider was 12 years in total, but this was usually split between a period on active duty, and a period in the reserve. If you can pin down a number then someone may be able to work out a rough enlistment date. Another tack is to look at the names on the census return - are they in alphabetical order? If not, it may be that they are actaully listed in regimental number order, and if you cross reference the names with the medal cards it may help work out the number - there might be quite big gaps between them depending how freqeuntly people were actually posted into the company. If they're in alphabetical order, this will be of little help.

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KazFletch

Thank you for your reply, unfortunately they are in alphabetical order. I have still made a note of the regimental numbers from the MIC to the names on the census, as suggested by yourself, and they all seem to start T/27 and T/28. There is still the possibility that Driver T/28453 Harry Smith, as posted above by Chris Baker, is my grandad.

Regards

Karen

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