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Remembered Today:

(R)ASC Service numbers - can they tell us anything?


Bob Chandler
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Evening all. My great uncle Ernest Brice BUTLER served as a Driver with the ASC from 1916 onwards, having initially been exempted from military service on health grounds. I know nothing else apart from his service number from the medal rolls - M2/264153. Apart from the fact that this indicates he was a motor transport driver, can I extract any further information about where / in what unit he might have served? 

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Hi Bob,

ASC numbers are a bit of a mystery, and it is extremely rare to see two consecutive numbers being issued to two soldiers attesting together at the same time, in the same place. Number allocations do seem to be sequential, but is difficult to be very precise.

The M2 prefix seems to have been terminated for new numbers in early 1917, at around M2/270000, so that suggests perhaps that it was issued in late 1916. If you can find a near number from surviving records, you might be able to narrow the date down.

 

M2 suggests someone who could already drive before joining the army, maybe a professional driver.

In the absence of a service record, or other corroborating evidence - eg an AVL,  a marriage or birth certificate or a local newspaper it's dashed difficult to follow the course of an ASC man's war.

 

 

 

 

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An enlistment in late 1916 would certainly fit - Ernest's final appeal for exemption (made on his behalf by his employer) was declined in October that year. He was employed as a baker's motor delivery driver so that fits the M2 designation. It doesn't seem likely I'll be able to find out much more though, sadly.    

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I would agree with Dai, late 1916 and near numbers would confirm. Have you tried the absent voters lists? If you know where he lived the surviving AVLs are listed on the Long Long Trail, if you're lucky his unit may be mentioned.

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20 hours ago, Bob Chandler said:

An enlistment in late 1916 would certainly fit

M2/  near numbers:

264151 CoulterRC Motor Driver  Reengaged 10/10/16 having previously been time expired discharged April 1916

 

264153 Butler ........

264154 Hill W Chauffeur   Called up 10/10/16  Joined Grove Park 13/10/16

 

Thus suggests he was called up 10/10/16 but thereafter I don't suppose any conclusions can be drawn ?

 

Charlie

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2 hours ago, charlie962 said:

M2/  near numbers:

264151 CoulterRC Motor Driver  Reengaged 10/10/16 having previously been time expired discharged April 1916

 

264153 Butler ........

264154 Hill W Chauffeur   Called up 10/10/16  Joined Grove Park 13/10/16

 

Thus suggests he was called up 10/10/16 but thereafter I don't suppose any conclusions can be drawn ?

 

Charlie

M2/264148 Was discharged sick with a Silver War Badge  - this shows an enlistment date of 2nd October 1916

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This was the report in the Newbury Weekly News of Ernest's tribunal on 1st October 1916. Looks like he was then enlisted pretty much straight away. He does appear on the 1919 Electoral Register as absent on military service, however no other details are given. I am fairly sure from the medal rolls though that the theatre of war he served in was France and Flanders?

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