The final book of the trilogy on army supply

The final  book of the trilogy on army supply
The third of my books on army supply

Thursday 20 December 2018

The Class of '22 and the Ordnance supply success on D Day

This photograph has accompanied me all my life. 

I have always known who one of the young men was, my father then known as Bill Williams although he had been baptised Leslie. Of the others, I could recognise the Duke of York and the largest man in the front row, as a child, I named , ‘prawns’, I suppose because of magnificent moustache. 

When it was taken or where I didn’t know, any more than I knew the names of the other young and not so young men. All was partially revealed in 2015 when I found the same photograph in the archive of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps annotated with names. I say partially revealed because whilst the names were there, I still didn’t know who they were, whence they had come or whither they would go. 

The photograph was taken on 2 May 1922 at the then HQ of the RAOC at Hilsea and many of those in the picture were on the very first Ordnance officers course held at Woolwich . That course, comprising two dozen men from the RAOC but also the RA and Indian and Canadian Ordnance, produced no fewer than five Major-Generals and eleven Brigadiers. 

I embarked on a quest and, just in case it may seem to the reader a rather pointless quest, I can reveal that from this group would emerge the small group who masterminded the Ordnance supply success of D Day. This quest digs beneath many of the names that appear in my books, War on Wheels and Ordnance. It resulted in my book, Dunkirk to D Day.

I can now add the names of those in the photograph 

The Duke of York’s visit to Hilsea, 1922. Top row: Lt. A. Symons, Capt. A.R. Valon,

Capt. J.H.D. Sheppard*, Capt. D. Manuelle*, Major W.M. Stokes, Capt. G.W. Palmer*,

Lt. A. Knox-Wilson, Capt. H.R. Skinner. 3rd row: Capt. G.R.S. Love*,

Capt. A.M. Hidden*, Capt. L.H. Williams*, Capt. J.S. Omond*, Rev. G. Heaslett,

Capt. C.F. Cansdale*, Capt. W.K. Dines, Capt. W.W. Richards*. 2nd row: Capt.

W.E.C. Pickthall*, Rev. J. Kelly, Major F.S. Smith, Major A.C. Gibson (Equerry),

Major J. Asser, Capt. E.R. Macpherson*, Capt. D.R. Smith*, Capt. C.F.T. Haigh*.

Front row: Capt. C.W. Bacon, Lt. Colonel H.L. Wethered, Colonel R.S. Hamilton,

Major-General Sir John Stephens, HRH The Duke of York, Lt. General Sir Travers

Clarke, Major-General Sir H.D.E. Parsons, Colonel H.S. Bush, Lt. Colonel Jasper

Baker. (Class of ’22 indicated with *. RAOC officers in the Class of ’22 but not in

the photograph: Capt. P.W. Kidd, Capt. L.H. Aste.)

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