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Re: I'm back with more questions

August 13 2017 at 11:56 AM
Dan Martel 

Response to I'm back with more questions

Sorry for the long delay, Melodie. I'll make a stab at responding in numerical order as you posted them. Probably the easiest thing to do.

1. Would you know what ship soldiers sailed on from Canada to the UK and where they debarked in the UK?

I have seen a list of all the ships and their sailing dates which carried the Canadians to England, but I'll be darned if I can remember where. I think it might have been in one of the red official histories. I'm on the look out and when I see it I'll post it.

2. He was on PL from October 15 to Oct 22 1942 so he would have been available to be in this picture. But how could this be since the picture was taken about 2 months before he was actually TOS? Did soldiers have advance notice of what regiment they would be posted to?

Interesting question. PL could stand for Paid Leave or Personal Leave, or Leave of some sort. Yes, he could have potentially been a part of the Regiment prior to being officially TOS as a member of an increment or 'surplus to establishment,' a term used to cover those extra soldiers whose pay and rations the Regiment administered. (It's all rather technically administrative and I'll be first to admit not always easy to follow.) What was his unit prior to being TOS to 3rd Medium?

3. On his blouse he had a shoulder patch with the letter "L". According to Michael Dorash's book "Dressed to Kill" it is a "skill-at-arms badge. I understand that means Gun Layer but can you elaborate a bit on what duties would be involved in this position?

Michael who? A gun layer was responsible for setting the traverse and elevation of the gun barrel. Traverse meaning left and right and elevation meaning up and down. This was done by operating mechanical instruments attached to the carriage of the barrel. It was considered a skilled trade and required more training than a regular gunner received. I believe it was the layer who sat in the little seat to the left of the breech on a 25-pdr gun.

4. Is there any way to find out where the 3rd Medium Regiment was situated on the night of Feb 8, 1945? I don't know if he was part of that particular operation (Veritable) but if he was, do know where they were just before crossing the border?

Your best bet is to find a copy of the 3rd Medium's history from the war. Each unit published one just after VE Day which were distributed to its members, former members, and appropriate libraries. There might be one in the library of the Royal Canadian Military Institute. I will check the next time I'm there.

5. I'm having some difficulty following / understanding the TOS and SOS changes on the last few entries on his service records. I am typing them exactly as they are entered in hopes that you might be able to decipher.

SOS To 1 Adm Trp Coy –Sept 30 1945
TOS from 2 CGRU - Oct 1 1945
SOS to 2 Mac Increment 1 CATC RCASC - Oct 2 1945
TOS from 1 CATC RCASC - Oct 3 1945
SOS to 7 Cdn Repat Dep – Oct 15 1945
TOS from 1 admin Trp Coy - Oct 16 1945
He remained at 7 Cdn Repat Dep till he left UK in Jan 1946.

What is the difference between 1 Adm Trp Coy and 2 Mac Increment 1CATC?
It looks like he was with 1 CATC RCASC for only 1 day - am I reading that correctly? Seems like such a short time so why bother?

How was 7 Cdn Repat Dep different from 1 Cdn Repat Dep, (he was at this one in May) where was it located and what would he have done there?

First off, I can't make hide nor hair out of the various SOS and TOS entries that are shown, either. I'm afraid they make no sense to me. They'd probably be clear as a bell to a circa 1945 RCASC Grade 1 Clerk, however. A lot of it might just be administrative paper shuffling. For example: The records show his postings from Sept 30, 1945, to when he left the UK in Jan, 1946, a period of 4 months. It could very well be that he never physically relocated from one place to another. The changes could be coming from the fact that the name of the unit responsible for the camp at which he was stationed was continuously renamed as a result of post-war changes. Just a thought.

What would he have done there? He'd be waiting for his place on a transport ship home. Lots of sight seeing, lots of sports, lots of nights in the pub. Probably lots of avoiding camp details as well.

I still have some things to check out for you. If you have anything else, just ask. It justifies my having all of the stuff that my wife considers 'junk.'


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