Ordnance

Ordnance
Stokes Mortar - one of the simplest inventions

Monday, 16 March 2015

4th Ordnance Stores Company Singapore 1942

In early December 1941 the 4th Ordnance Stores Company was being formed at Aldershot. Men had come from depots around the country. Douglas Hanson, a motor mechanic, had returned wounded from the BEF. Frank Newton came from the food industry and had been called up just as he was planning his wedding. He had been posted to COD Branston and had spent his few months stacking and sorting bales of cloth. Others in the company were drivers, radio mechanics and boot makers. We might suppose there were also men skilled with ammunition and armaments. Their intended destination was the Middle East.  En route they docked at Durban and changed ships to one bound for Singapore.

The events of 7 December 1941 in the Pacific changed everything and for Douglas and his fellow Ordnance men the priority became the defence of Singapore. Douglas had experienced the horror of the sinking of the Lancastria as the final elements of the BEF left France. For Frank Newton it was his first experience of war. For both of them it was the first experience of RAOC men being regarded as combatant.

What lay ahead of them following the fall of Singapore is beyond our comprehension.
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