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Remembered Today:

Canadians in the Army Service Corps.


david murdoch

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Does anyone have any information regarding recruitment of Canadian nationals to the Army Service Corps? Specifically to Motor Transport in the range M2/153***

Looking at a man who served with 3rd Motor Machine Gun Battery as an ASC driver. He was born and bred Canadian but joined the Army Service Corps Motor Transport.

Now looking at his medal roll up and down finding dozens of Canadian nationals in his range. Chap I have an interest in is M2/153541 John Wesley Richards, but looking at numbers either side pretty well all identified are Canadians. Enlisting December 1915 - January 1916. They appear to have served attached to many units so presumably sent where required. I'm not seeing any surviving service records but lots of them showing up claiming Imperial Service Gratuities which have service details nicely typed! This is showing they had only British Army service and not CEF so not related to CASC. Also some of them with Silver War Badges giving service dates and some invalided out can be seen on passenger lists heading home. Cross checking them on Ancestry family trees shows they were Canadian by birth rather than British who had gone to Canada prior to the war. Going by just the number range I've looked at probably a hundred or more of them.

Are there any records showing that there was a specific recruitment drive in Canada for motor drivers for the British Army? Possibly through newspapers as these men come from all over Canada. It appears they were recruited there rather than enticed over as some of the attestation dates are before they shipped to UK. Couple of the family trees have photos in uniform but unbadged caps. I'd presume they had medical and been approved in Canada but  were numbered and badged once arriving in UK. The gents in the attached photo are Owen Hugh Zavitz and others from 637 MT Coy. Attd.80th Siege Battery RGA. The others are all named and noted to be from his town of Wallaceburg, Ontario. 637 Coy is shown as Formed January 1916. Ammunition Column for 80 Siege Battery in France. Absorbed into battery 7 June 1916.

41629_636897_11206-00269.jpg

zavitz richards.jpg

3d8e418b-f6a3-4fd5-94dc-ed851b69ddf1.jpg

Ernest Harrison.jpg

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The British were actively recruiting Canadians. I can dig the reference out tomorrow.

 

All the best,

 

Gary

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I've had a number of similar cases in my collection.  In one he had a lot of argy-bargy trying to get a passage back to Canada for his wife, who had accompanied him to England.

 

Michael

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Under the current lockdown I can think of several candidates who would willingly cause "argy-bargy" if the result was their spouse was carted off several thousand miles away.

 

Simon

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8 hours ago, Waggoner said:

The British were actively recruiting Canadians. I can dig the reference out tomorrow.

Thank you - that would be appreciated. Regards, Paul

 

@delta - did any of the FTC fit into this category? I am thinking Lionel McAdam in particular?

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Clearly my library cataloguing system is not up to par as I can’t find my copy of this book - Filling the Ranks: Manpower in the CEF (https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XQ5QSQJ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1). It includes a short description of the British scheme for recruiting skilled persons in Canada. My man, a stationary engineer in an electrical generating plant, was recruited into the ASC and was given an M2 prefix. I shall keep looking!😃

 

All the best,

 

Gary

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4 hours ago, pjwmacro said:

Thank you - that would be appreciated. Regards, Paul

 

@delta - did any of the FTC fit into this category? I am thinking Lionel McAdam in particular?

Paul. there are quite a few. If you search without names  just regiment "Tank Corps" brings them up.

McAdam.jpg

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Found it! Pages 44-46. The RFC was recruiting in Canada. Starting in the fall of 1916, both the R.E. (Inland Water Transport) and ASC (Mechanical Transport) were recruiting skilled personnel. 
 

All the best,

 

Gary

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2 hours ago, Waggoner said:

Found it! Pages 44-46. The RFC was recruiting in Canada. Starting in the fall of 1916, both the R.E. (Inland Water Transport) and ASC (Mechanical Transport) were recruiting skilled personnel. 
 

All the best,

 

Gary

The service number range I'm looking at were enlisting fall of 1915 and arriving in UK end of 1915 or beginning of 1916. I think on the right track though - specific recruitment targeting  in Canada. I'll have a look at the Canadian newspaper archives for that timeframe and see if I can come up with an advert. Going by the spread of home towns most likely been something advertised at a national or regional level. Finding this in a UK regional newspaper from December 1915. One problem they had was so many people rushed off to enlist early in the war in local regiments or new  army - they  had lost a whole pool of skilled people to the infantry. I've seen this with motor cyclists who joined up in 1914 then  writing to "The Motorcycle" desperate to transfer when the Motor Machine Gun Service started up. The did transfer many men who were already in service - but still on home service. If you were already operational or a territorial was near impossible. 

asc mt.jpg

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22 hours ago, pjwmacro said:

 

@delta - did any of the FTC fit into this category? I am thinking Lionel McAdam in particular?

 

Paul.

 McAdam was rejected for service with the Canadiansame as being too short.(He was only 5 ft 1in)

He then paid his own passage to the UK with a view to joining the RFC; again he failed as the RFC was oversubscribed.

He then applied to join  the MMGS and was accepted in November 1915.

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2 hours ago, delta said:

He then applied to join  the MMGS and was accepted in November 1915

Thank you

20 hours ago, Waggoner said:

Found it! Pages 44-46. The RFC was recruiting in Canada. Starting in the fall of 1916, both the R.E. (Inland Water Transport) and ASC (Mechanical Transport) were recruiting skilled personnel. 
 

All the best,

 

Gary

Thank you

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  • 10 months later...

I've been doing research on the Zavitzs in my family and my search for info on Owen Hugh Zavitz led me here. Would you be so kind as to point out which fellow in the photograph is Owen Hugh? While I dont have any useful information re. the specifics of your query I can tell you that a LOT of Canucks enlisted in various sections of the British Army in the first year or two of the conflict. I'm tracking around 300 relatives who served in the Great War and while I've not done a careful count I am fairly certain there are somewhere between half a dozen or a dozen fellows who served in the RFC, RN, RASC, RAMC etc. While 6 or a dozen out of 300 does not seem much, it seems to me in actuality its a fairly decent statistical quantity.

Edited by Arnold McBay
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@david murdoch, garn it all in my excitement to reply to you I forgot to add your name to my reply. David re you able to identify which fellow is Owen Hugh Zavitz in that fantastic photograph?

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I'll need to check back where I originally sourced that photo. I do see there are a number of photos relating to him on Ancestry family trees. There is a small amount of information regarding him on this Canadian site. Zavitz, Owen Hugh – Gathering Our Heroes – Chatham-Kent's WWI & WWII Veterans

This mentions him being wounded just after the armistice while handling an un exploded shell.  There is a medical record which links to this showing he was admitted to 18th General Hospital on 24th November 1918 (looks like the man above him on the list from the same unit likely injured at the same time). He was discharged 16th September 1919 with a Silver War Badge due to wounds - the roll for this gives his enlistment date as 10th January 1916.

S2_GBM_MH106_MH106-1169_0059.jpg

1485e251-f35b-4179-b94f-649a82389798.jpg

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@david murdoch WOW thank you so much for the trove/share of images and information (gosh that baseball shot is just fantastic!). I'm on MyHeritage but I'll have to putz around more on the other ancestry sites as I've come up empty on MyHeritage. Crazy story about the exploding shell but at least he survived (although I have to wonder about the extent of the wounds). I've got 6 or 7 other family members who died immediately after the war....a couple due to battle-field clean-up like olde Owen here and the usual unlucky fellows who survived the nightmare of war only to be taken out by the Spanish Flu. I really appreciate this sir.

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Huzzah found it @david murdoch, thanks for pointing me at Ancestry!
637 Mechanical Transport R.A.S.C. (attached 80th Siege Battery)  Members from Wallaceburg Circa 1916
Top row: James Christie, Fred Harrison, Claude Morse, Owen Zavitz, Ernest Harrison, Ivan Young Bottom  row: Ross Wright, Seargent Alan K. Fraser, Seargent J.W. McKee, Dave Dunlop.
 

Zavitz Owen Hugh Motor Transport Wallaceburg men.jpg

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19 hours ago, Arnold McBay said:

Huzzah found it @david murdoch, thanks for pointing me at Ancestry!
637 Mechanical Transport R.A.S.C. (attached 80th Siege Battery)  Members from Wallaceburg Circa 1916
Top row: James Christie, Fred Harrison, Claude Morse, Owen Zavitz, Ernest Harrison, Ivan Young Bottom  row: Ross Wright, Seargent Alan K. Fraser, Seargent J.W. McKee, Dave Dunlop.
 

 

He appears on a number of family trees - one in particular has a lot of photos of him (Owen Zavitz) so I presume the tree keeper is a fairly direct descendant. There are several of him in Scotland  recovering from his injury and these tie in with him being wounded in the arm. Looking up the chap who was wounded at the same time he was M2/153319 Albert Alfred Griffin. There is a shipping passenger list showing a man of that name  returning home to Canada 25th May 1919. Looks like he was born  28 Jan 1891 Montréal and moved to USA in 1926.

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@david murdoch another interesting side-story in that Admission Book, and sadly very timely, is the fact that the Spanish Flu is tearing through that ward with 24 of the 34 admissions having the flu. Also, a question...the last entry lists a Driver P. Forde as being admitted with "debility". I've seen that term used in several of the 300ish service records of family members I've collected and have always assumed it was another word for shell-shock. Is this the case? 

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