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Royal Defence Corps


sjustice
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Hello everyone,

Does anyone have information relating to the RDC, it's structure, aims, relationship to the Regular Army etc?

There seems to be so little information about it which, on the face of it, is a little strange.

Any information/links etc gratefully received.

EDIT: 20th December 2006 - Added some research in this post: RDC Organisation Research

Kind Regards,

Simon

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A Home Office report of January 1918 records PoW camps at Chisledon, Perham Down, Yatesbury (at the north end of Number 1 Camp East, close to the road leading to Yatesbury village), Bulford, Codford, Lark Hill, Fovant and Sutton Veny (National Archives: HO 45/10883/345466). Providing commanding officers and security were members of the Royal Defence Corps (whose duties also concerned protecting sensitive sites). In November 1917 there was a captain and two subalterns based at Lark Hill who had a share of 282 other ranks spread over an indeterminate area that included Oxfordshire and Stratford. In other areas, one captain was allocated to Chisledon, another to the ordnance depot at Tidworth, and a third to Corsham (perhaps in respect of the ordnance depot in a nearby quarry). There are "0" entries for Fargo and for Devizes (where there was a military detention centre and a nearby "secret" wireless station), suggesting officers had been allocated previously to these localities. The area comprising Codford, Sutton Veny, Fovant, Porton, Bulford and Perham Down 9all military camps) was allocated a major, captain, four subalterns and 295 men. In the first half of 1918 many Royal Defence Corps were disbanded and their duties taken over by reserve battalions. (National Archives: WO 32/18622)

Moonraker

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I have the complete ACI for the raising of the RDC and it's role & structure, what would you like to know?

Graham.

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I have the complete ACI for the raising of the RDC and it's role & structure, what would you like to know?

Graham.

Hello Graham,

I'm sorry I have no idea what ACI stands for.

Generally I am trying to find sources for information about the RDC where there appear, on the surface, to be none at all.

I want to understand, more specifically, what they did between 1916 and 1919; who they were; where the men were drawn from; how the units were made up; where the Coys were etc etc

My end goal is to discover the history of 267 P Company and it's individuals. This is working towards that.

Kind Regards,

Simon

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A Home Office report of January 1918 records PoW camps at Chisledon......

<snip>

Hi Simon, there's a couple of links here , google throws up a few more, cheers, Jon :D

Moonraker & Jon, many thanks! Good addition to my very small knowledge.

Kind Regards,

Simon

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ACI = Army Council Instruction

Chris

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Simon,

ACI stands for Army Council Instruction, which deal with various aspects in the running of an Army in detail, whether it's the disposal of horse manure or raising units, it goes into detail in print. This is then usually followed up by Army Orders without the detail.

PM me an e.mail address and I'll forward the ACI, but you'll have to excuse the slight tears in the bottom right hand corners, but the dog we had at the time beat me to the post.

Graham.

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Just had a look at the link that was recommended and can honestly say what a load of b****cks in the Encycopedia. There were two phases to the RDC, WWI and post-1934-1936 but with differences in their role and the only reason I can be so off the cuff with my remarks is because my documents for both phases came from the War Office itself. The 1934 RDC wasnt disbanded at all, but replaced by the National Defence Companies, again my copied documents concerning the change came from the War office from files which hadn't seen the light of day in well over half-a-century.

Graham.

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Simon,

ACI stands for Army Council Instruction, which deal with various aspects in the running of an Army in detail, whether it's the disposal of horse manure or raising units, it goes into detail in print. This is then usually followed up by Army Orders without the detail.

PM me an e.mail address and I'll forward the ACI, but you'll have to excuse the slight tears in the bottom right hand corners, but the dog we had at the time beat me to the post.

Graham.

Graham, Gold stuff thanks very much. Your ACI contains all the strategic why/whats in 1 go.

All other info gratefully received but I'm now very interested in "Southern Command" and in particular the 267th Protection Company. Any information about which Home Garrison Btns provided men for that and who was in that Coy would be priceless.

Widening that slightly, also does anyone have any information e.g. as to what Btn RDC the 267.P.Co was part of?

Kind Regards,

Simon

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Simon,

267th Protection Coy,R.D.C. was possibly an independent unit within Southern Command and although certain regimental Home Sevice Garrison battalions were converted to battalions of the RDC, I have no details as to what became of their old companies, i.e. were they designated "protection companies" or not?

There is an Order of Battle of Home Forces located somewhere in the National Archive, but I haven't had it at my disposal, so cant tell you any reference numbers, this would give you a detailed run down of the Home Army as it was. Also you will have noted a file reference at the end of the ACI, this indicates that the RDC had files detailing it's own records, but where they are located, apart from the National Archive, I couldn't honestly say.

Other ACI's may contain further information on the RDC as changes apply, again these are in the NA.

Graham.

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Graham,

Thanks yet again. It does indeed look like more has to be added to my next trip to TNA. The Order of Battle sounds like a good start and if there are surviving records belonging to RDC itself that may be very exciting.

Incidentally I note that WO/95 does hold at least one diary for RDC which may hold some treasures.

Kind Regards,

Simon

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello All,

OK I have done some more digging around in TNA for information relating to the RDC. I'll post some general information here for future reference for all. There is a lot of information in WO/32/18622 which is a huge file of correspondence relating to RDC re-organisation.

1) I found a comprehensive list of all RDC Protection companies as at 14th May 1918. They were listed by Command. The commands were: Eastern, Western, Northern, Scottish, London, Irish, Aldershot, Guernsey and Held in Reserve for Ireland.

You can see there was an eye on the "troubles" in Ireland and WO/HS were trying to figure out how to slim the RDC down but keep men for service in Ireland. Some units had already been demobbed by this date and there were plans for more during the coming months. There is an original letter from CICGS Home Forces (French himself) outlining his thoughts for Ireland.

Southern Command is shown as having 14 Protection Companies and 1 Reserve: P.Coys: 251, 252, 253, 254, 257, 258, 259, 261, 263, 265, 267, 268, 270, 271 (missing #s recently demobbed) and 300 in Reserve.

2) RDC Establishment in Round Figures at 5th April 1918 was listed as:

Employed P/W Camps 14,000

Employed Vulnerable Points 8,000*

Employed in Ireland 10 Coys 3,000

Employed in M.I. and Sp.M.Areas 2,000**

Total 27,000

* I did see a wonderful memo in the file stating along the lines that, "As no-one has tried anything against these points in 3 1/2 years of war, I think we can re-organise these forces somewhat" :)

** I saw reference elsewhere to Special Military Areas but I have to assume that M.I. is "Military Intelligence"

These troops were marked as not to be demobbed in the current climate.

3) Statement of Duties and Establishment for Southern Command 31/12/1917 was shown in a letter and attachments:

This was very lucky for me but, sadly, was not replicated for other commands. Anyone who's ever had their butt kicked for being over budget will recognise the tone in the COs letter as he tries to explain why he's 10 Officers over establishment ha ha! :) It lists how many officers (with all names and the Station they commanded), No. ORs at each station and they were doing. So, for example, for the P.Coy my man was in, under Major J.J. Forbes-Pelloxfen. OC 267 Protection Company (267's responsibilities are all P/W Camps except one - Slimbridge). , based at Evesham, there are listed:

5 Lieuts

3 2/Lts

237 ORs

Each Station

Strength of Station

I hope this helps someone else in future.

Kind Regards and Good Luck,

Simon

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  • 8 months later...

To continue this thread:-I'm trying to trace J. Bray, Pte. No. 14336, Royal Defence Corps., 331 Provisional Company, I've been given this info.--Date of discharge 13/11/1917, Enlistment 22/1/1915. Cause of discharge: S A.D. 265/17 2.d. Does anyone know where 331 Provisional Company were located and what the cause of discharge ref. no's mean? please.

Keith

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone have information to what the protection companies of the royal defence corps were doing in 1916-18?

I have a medal to man that served as follows: 29/4/1916 he is transferred to 153rd Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps. To 161st Pro Co 9/3/17, 159th Pro Co 7/5/17, 165th Pro Co 30/6/17.

/Lars

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Does anyone have information to what the protection companies of the royal defence corps were doing in 1916-18?

I have a medal to man that served as follows: 29/4/1916 he is transferred to 153rd Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps. To 161st Pro Co 9/3/17, 159th Pro Co 7/5/17, 165th Pro Co 30/6/17.

/Lars

'lo Lars,

All those companies were in Northern Command R.D.C.

For a chance to see what they were doing during those dates you might find a leasurely plough through WO 32/18622 very interesting.

As above, in general terms the Protection Companies were mainly engaged in guarding work - POW (P/W) Camps, Vulnerable Points (Docks etc.), Ireland, and M.I. and Special Military Areas (Govt, Camps, Munitions etc). A total of 27,000 men were employed as such in 1918.

Kind Regards,

SMJ

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Dont know if this is any use or anyone can add any info but i have a n mic which list John J Clark 204605 12th Liverpool Regt and the R.D.C number 94200, medal roll lists served abroad 3/12/17 to 14/4/18 so presume he would have served with the RDC after his return home 14/4/1918, why this is i have no idea ???

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Hi Simon,

In my collection I have a MSM for the RDC. Awarded to 17975 to CSM Joseph Wood he was with 454th Coy. stationed in Cork. His MSM is actually awarded for Ireland. He was aged 52 when he died in Cork and was buried in Manchester. The RDC were used in Ireland at the Docks, Prison duties and I have found evidence of 'body guards' to Crown subjects sent to Ireland, eg Judges and in one case an Executioner.

Pity no real 'history' or documents exist.

Regards,

Simon

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Dont know if this is any use or anyone can add any info but i have a n mic which list John J Clark 204605 12th Liverpool Regt and the R.D.C number 94200, medal roll lists served abroad 3/12/17 to 14/4/18 so presume he would have served with the RDC after his return home 14/4/1918, why this is i have no idea ???

Sounds like he may well have been wounded/sick and not fit enough to serve further overseas and was discharged into, or joined shortly after, the RDC. What was the discharge reason and date? Also, were his medals awarded as RDC? Does his MiC show him as being entitled to the Silver War Badge?

Kind Regards,

SMJ

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Hi Simon,

In my collection I have a MSM for the RDC. Awarded to 17975 to CSM Joseph Wood he was with 454th Coy. stationed in Cork. His MSM is actually awarded for Ireland. He was aged 52 when he died in Cork and was buried in Manchester. The RDC were used in Ireland at the Docks, Prison duties and I have found evidence of 'body guards' to Crown subjects sent to Ireland, eg Judges and in one case an Executioner.

Pity no real 'history' or documents exist.

Regards,

Simon

'lo Simon,

That's useful information. Thanks for posting. I'm interested to note the Coy number. The maximum allocated was 350 in the ACI. Is that a typo?

Kind Regards,

SMJ

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'lo Simon,

That's useful information. Thanks for posting. I'm interested to note the Coy number. The maximum allocated was 350 in the ACI. Is that a typo?

Kind Regards,

SMJ

Hi Simon,

I have it in triplicate:- its states 454 Coy on his MSM card, LG for MSM and CWGC Certificate. I wish I knew more about their involvement in Ireland, but have very little information. I also believe a 465 Coy also existed in Ireland in 1919.

Kind regards,

Simon

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  • 1 month later...

I have just come across a reference to someone who is down as being in the Royal defence Corps, after serving in the 4th Dorsets, (another slightly mysterious unit). He appears to be a prison guard. Who were they please?

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Thanks Doug. That explains the RDF nicely. 4th Dorsets look as if they might have been changed into 2nd Dorsets, (Home Service), but I am not entirely sure of this. This man by the way was born in 1865, so he was certainly quite old (relatively speaking)!

Anthony

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