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Those known to have served with
Army Catering Corps
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
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Pte. Ronald Robert Broadway 35th Searchlight Regiment, 342nd Battery Royal ArtilleryOn the 18th of April 1939, Ron Broadway, my Dad, enlists in the Territorial Army, Royal Engineers. He signs up for 4 years. His Attestation (enlistment) took place at Highwood Barracks, Lordship Lane, Dulwich. He was declared fit and assigned to 342 AA Company, 35th AA Battalion RE (TA). At the time of enlistment Dad was: 25 years and 8 months. He stood 5’ 6” tall, weighed 145lbs, his girth when fully expanded was 38.5”. He was of fresh complexion with blue eyes and fair hair. He was assigned as Sapper R R Broadway No. 2085852. His address at the time was given as 37 Playdell Avenue, Stockwell, SE19 and he was a Decorator by Trade.
Highwood Barracks was so named from the Dulwich Volunteers who fought in WW1 at Highwood on the Somme. Although the Barracks no longer exist a block of flats built there in recent years bears the name Highwood. Home to 35th (First Surrey Rifles) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, Royal Engineers (H.Q., 340th, 341st, 342nd & 343rd Anti-Aircraft Companies, Royal Engineers) The 21st Bn. The London Regiment was also converted into a searchlight unit of the Royal Engineers in 1935. It was affiliated to the East Surrey Regiment. The headquarters and all the companies were based at 4, Flodden Road, Camberwell, London. In January 1940 it was redesignated as the 35th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery. In March 1942, it was converted into the 129th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. The regiment served in the U.K. throughout the war.
On the 18th of June 1939 Dad was embodied (put on stand by) into the Regular Army. As Dad was in the TA his unit was embodied into the Army and prepared for duty in the UK. As a member of the TA he was not expected to serve abroad, but could volunteer for overseas service. On the 16th of July 1939 his unit was Disembodied (stood down) from the Regular Army the TA volunteers would have returned to their normal peacetime occupations.
On the 19th of August 1939 he married Dorothy Margaret Archer and on the 24th of August he was called out for actual Military Service and Reported to TA Barracks in Dulwich before being posted to 342nd Battery, 35th Searchlight Regiment at Wingham in Kent. On the 1st of September the 342nd/35 S/L Battery was embodied into British Army on the 3rd of September 1939 at 11.15am War declared with Germany
On the 1st of August 1940 Dad Transferred to Wingham in Kent with the 342/ 35th Searchlight Regt., Royal Artillery, having mustered as a Gunner On the 21st of August 1940 hereported sick on leave and failed to return to Wingham on expiration of his pass. On the 3rd of September he returned from sickness on leave to Wingham.
18th November 1940: 342nd S/L Battery vacated DG area, being relieved by 314th S/L Batt. The personnel concentrated at Herne Bay and billeted in town overnight. The following day the Battery moved by train to Seaton, Devon and were accommodated at Warner’s Holiday Camp, Seaton.
1st to 26th December 1940 was a period spent on squad drilling, PT, arms drill and route marches. In addition much entertainment during period as well including boxing tournaments, football and rugby matches against other units. On the 8th of December 1940 a Defence exercise was held against local Home Guard and on the 19th a warning order was received notifying movement to Leatherhead, this was confirmed on the 21st and on 27th December they moved by rail to Leatherhead to replace 460th S/L Battery
On the 10th of February 1941 Dad was admitted CBS Fetcham (this would have been through an injury received. CBS Fetcham was probably a casualty clearing station) He was discharged on the 18th.
On the 28th of May 1941 Dad was Classified as Class 2 (Non tradesman) Cook at Leatherhead. 342/35 S/L Regt. In July the Battery moved to Herstmonseux and in August to Storrington. On the 5th of September the Battery moved to Funtington Hall Hotel, Chichester then on the 24th to Midgley Lodge, Farnborough.
On the 28 March 1942 Dad was upgraded from Class 2 to Class 1 Non-tradesman cook wghilst stationed in Watford with 342/79 S/L Regt. On the 31st of May 1942 he became attached to London District School of Cookery from 31 May to 13 June. He undertook a Course of Kitchen Management, Organisation and Technical Control and achieved a pass rate of 88%. On the 25th of August 1942 he was Posted to 342(M) S/L Battery R.A. at Watford then on the 9th of December was Posted to 79th S/L Regt. RA Watford abd on the 11 December to 502 S/L Battery RA Field. On the 11th of February 1943 he transferred to the Army Catering Corp in the rank of Pte. as non-tradesman Class 1. Permanently attached to 79 S/L Regt. R.A. On the 29 May 1943 Dad Tested and Classified Gp. B Class 2 Tradesman Cook by Officer Commanding 502 S/L Bty. RA.
On the 22nd of April 1945 he was Taken on Strength of Admin Battalion, Army Catering Corp, Training Command until the 20th of May when he embarked for the Middle East, arriving on the 3rd of June 1945 where he was posted to Army Catering Corp. On the 10th of July 1945 Dad was posted to 922 Company RASC and on the 26th was appointed Acting Corporal. He seems to have suffered an accident on the 12 September 1945 and on the 4th of October he was admitted to 27 General Hospital, being relegated to Private on admission to hospital. He was discharged and returned tohis unit on the 17th of October.
I have his notification of impending release form dated 19th October 1945: Pte. Ronald Robert Broadway No. 2085852 of 922 Company Army Catering Corp (Cook Gp. 8 Class2). Military Conduct: Exemplary. Testimonial: Has proved himself a willing worker and has applied himself with zeal to his duties and carried them out efficiently, sober and well behaved. A sound reliable man with good organising ability. On the 20th of October 1945 Dad was Posted to X List, Sidi Bashr, Egypt (The X list was the register of those personnel awaiting repatriation and discharge to the UK and on the 25th was released for embarkation to UK. He was released to Territorial Army Reserves on 31st December 1945.Bob Broadway
Pte. F. Wally MacKenzie Army Catering CorpsWally Mackenzie knew that France had been invaded through Normandy, but he was in a field in the south of England, waiting to be called and as this was the Army he just continued to wait. He arrived in France around 54 days after the 6th June invasion. Eventually, in the rain, he scrambled over 3 ships to get to his channel transport. The hatch was screwed down tight...... that was when he knew fear. He doesn’t do dark closed in spaces, even now. He spotted a tank in the next enclosure so he knew he was on a TLC (Tank Landing Craft). On landing on the French shore (somewhere on Gold Beach) the lowered ramp enabled him to get onto the beach, without getting his feet wet, as Frank, his mate, held his rifle for him as he jumped off the ramp. The rifle was 6’’ taller than Wally. Wally does humour, this is the way he tells it. It was raining still, as in England, and they marched forever and slept under a hedge with Frank, one ground sheet beneath and one on top.
The following day more marching and arrived at a large field, surrounded by barbed wire with a large group of other soldiers with 1 large water truck in the middle. For 2 weeks, lots of fatigues, did no cooking. I cannot find out what they ate - only that they had 2 X 24 hour packs that were not to be opened Meantime lots of shelling over the top of them from our artillery and naval guns. At the end of 2 weeks he moved to the outskirts of Bayeux with 8 other cooks to support Royal Engineers in 30 Corps while they waited to move forward. By this time he was cooking and drawing rations for 30 men and officers. It must be mentioned that most of the 2nd World War operated on 1918 Argentinean Corned beef and it was weeks and weeks before they saw a bread baking unit, as they had no flour to bake with. He learned to be resourceful, trade, acquire, steal, be creative and always have a burly Sergeant behind you as you served (and look after the sergeants specially).
The War moved forward and he was on the outskirts of Caen, feeding, cooking what came to hand, collecting rations. Wally made friends with the French people where ever he stopped and helped them where he could, many were children, helping probably more than he should. Caen was Paul and Yvette, who were writing to him up to 2005, though I believe the family has passed away now.
On to the outskirts of St Lo., where he cooked and did his job and helped more French people/children who were close to his cook house, he was adopted as a 4th son, though the family names have faded with time from Wally’s memory. How do you make tea for 100 men, 20 minutes to do so. Boil water, plenty of tea, but no sugar, solution pour 3 lbs of raspberry jam into large tea container. No one complained. No milk, the cows were dead
This is his time in France, at no time was he told where he was or going and when speaking French he did so with a Normandy accent, so other French people have said. He shakes his head and says he did not know how he did it, feeding the men, but he was 20 then and resourceful. Then onto Holland, Breda, more Dutch friends and adoption. He left his appendix in Brussels and speaks fondly of an injured German soldier who helped him in the hospital. He spent time in Hamburg (it snowed) and cooked surrounded by Gerry cans of petrol as he and others cooked for a Tank repair and service group. By now he was a fully mobile in a 1.5 ton truck which moved him and cooking equipment around. The .303 rifle was long gone and was replaced by a Stengun which was a better size.
Berlin in 1945 and he managed an escorted trip (with a Sergeant in charge) to where Hitler died. The Russians were armed; the Brits had to leave their guns in the British Quarter. ”Like a scruffy rubbish tip “ was Wally’s comments on the bunker area. In 1946 he was demobbed. Everyone one likes Wally, they still do now. No mention of guns and war but this was Wally’s WWII.Dave
Frank Lomas Army Catering CorpsMy father Frank Lomas was in the Army Catering Corps of the 8th Army and served in Egypt and Italy.Anne Bradley
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