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Army Vet Corp in WW1

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Army Vet Corp in WW1

Postby phsvm » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:11 pm

William Orbell's WW1 military records show he was with the Army Vet Corp - he'd been a jockey/stable lad for 20 years prior to WW1 so this isn't surprising.

His unit within AVC is listed as "2 Sec, 21st DAC"

Can anyone tell me from this where he will have spent his military career? I know he went to France in September 1915.
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Re: Army Vet Corp in WW1

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:53 pm

AVC in general - http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/army-veterinary-corps-in-the-first-world-war/

DAC usually means Divisional Artillery Column to me - warning - it may have other meanings that I don't know about. If DAC really is Divisional Artillery Column then it may well be that he was attached to the 21st Divisional Artillery Column from the AVC. And I did just find a reference in one of my little books that described the organisation of a Royal Field Artillery battery where it stated that the medical and veterinary guys were attached from outside the RFA. So attachments are certainly possible for that sort of role.

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/21st-division/ refers to the 21st Division whose DAC was apparently called the 21st Divisional Ammunition Column RFA (I was prepared for a more challenging relationship with the numbers!) - and the 21st Division crossed to France in early September 1915 - coincidence? If this was his unit, then that URL gives you a basic history.

I didn't see anything in his Service Records to clarify whether my suggestions are true but it was a quick look only, so I might have missed something.

Now - a personal plea to people asking queries about Military - can you please give us the full details of name, unit and number as you've found them in the records? I spent some time looking for William Orbell before I found that he was actually Willie Orbell in the Army. Had it been Jones, I'd have given up before finding him....
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Re: Army Vet Corp in WW1

Postby D-F » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:35 am

I think Adrian is on the right lines regarding "DAC".

Often soldiers with "support" organisations (Vet Corps, Medical Corps (RAMC), Army Service Corps (ASC), Ordnance Corps) by the very nature of their role would be attached to "fighting" units (infantry, cavalry, artillery etc.), so tracing "what Great Uncle Fred did" is very difficult.

Unlike the "fighting" units, the support units' "war diaries" can give very little detail as they tend to deal with the administrative parts of these Support Corps, so a small detachment attached to the xth Brigade or the xth battalion of the SomeWhereShire Regiment are very unlikely to be mentioned unless they do something very distinguished when they might be mentioned either in their "home" unit war diary or in the war diary of the unit to which they were attached.

The exception to this would be units like Depots and Hospitals (Human or Veterinary) which would have their own records. It is however rare for non-commissioned men to be mentioned in war diaries - you often find references (for instance in respect of injuries) to Lt [name] and 4 ORs (Other ranks).

A divisional War Diary covers such a huge number of people and such a large geographical area that it does not really help give detail of what a particular member of the division was doing - although if for instance you knew that the 31st Division was in the Somme area in July 1916, you could be pretty certain that they were involved in the Battle of the Somme (they were), but you would have to get into brigade or battalion war diaries (for infantry) to get more detail and you need to know attachment details to know which brigade/battalion your man was attached to!

You refer to "William Orbell's WW1 military records"; these may be a more fruitful source - even though the service records of many non-commissioned men were destroyed in the WW2 Blitz (officers' records were in another building). Have you checked these "burnt records" (at the National Archives and on Ancestry if I remember correctly) - you may be lucky? I am guessing that you have accessed his medal index card; you may also want to look to see if he has a pension file (again at the National Archives).

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Re: Army Vet Corp in WW1

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:43 pm

David - thanks for the comments about the support services, especially about their war diaries.

Just as a follow up - re WW1 officers' papers and the Arnside St fire in WW2. My understanding is that the officers' papers that directly corresponded to the surviving soldiers' papers (eg attestation papers or equivalent) were all burnt. 100%. The surviving papers for officers are sort of semi-formal stuff - of 2 officers in the family, 1 lot aren't available because he served again in WW2 but the other guy apparently has no surviving papers, so far as I can see. So I have no direct visibility of officers' papers but that's my understanding.

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