Ordnance

Ordnance
Stokes Mortar - one of the simplest inventions

Friday, 21 October 2016

COD Old Dalby

Following the evacuation at Dunkirk, what remained of the Army's armaments that had not been left behind in France were moved by train to Donnington in deepest Shropshire. It soon became clear that there was still insufficient space and so the planned vehicle sub-depot at Old Dalby in Leicestershire became the second Central Ordnance Depot for armaments.

Bob Hiam had come to the RAOC direct from Dunlops and had been given the job of creating the vehicle sub-depot. In 1940, when the demands of more armaments stores became acute, Old Dalby became a Central Ordnance depot with Hiam as Senior Ordnance Officer.


Old Dalby's role became the storage and distribution of engineering and signals equipment ranging from wireless sets to Bailey Bridges; armaments including anti-tanks guns and Bofors A.A. Guns, small arms and workshop machinery. Old Dalby was also responsible for kitting out ordnance mobile workshop lorries.




Bob Hiam later took his experience of armaments stores across with him after D Day when he commanded the huge Advance Ordnance Depot first in Normandy and later in Antwerp.

Private John Frost, who had been a territorial before joining up into the RAOC, remembers a call being made for men with clerking experience. He volunteered and found himself posted to Old Dalby. He recalled a massive office with row after row of desks and paper, in Frost’s own words, “the army runs on paper”.

This photograph of the 'Bee-hive' at Chilwell gives a sense of what Frost meant.


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