The Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS) had the job of insuring that the troops in the trenches were properly supplied with everything they needed to do their job apart from fuel and food: so armaments and ammunition, boots and uniforms, periscopes, bicycles, pontoon wagons. Speed was of the essence in making sure what was lost was replaced without delay.
It was a front line job, often under fire and immensely hard work. Bill received a letter from General Sir Tom Bridges, who commanded the 19th Division in the battle of the Somme. It said, 'I should like ot have seen you to thank you for the great services you rendered the division since you joined.'
The 19th Division had been held in reserve on the first day of the battle. In a Special Order of the Day dated 4 August 1916, General Bridges wrote 'I thank all ranks of the Division for the way in which during the last 10 days, they have upheld the best traditions of discipline and hard fighting. The Division leaves a name behind it in the Fourth Army which will never be forgotten.'
The experience of very much the sharp end of ordnance work would help equip Bill for the enormous task that would lay ahead for him in WW2. I tell his story and that of his colleagues in Dunkirk to D Day