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

Friday 31 May 2024

200,000 blog visits

 I began my exploration of the history of the RAOC ten years ago with the help of the albums my mother kept of my father’s war 

Since then I have spent many hours in the RLC archive, the IWM, the National Archive and the British Library. 

The result is this blog and three books:

Monday 27 May 2024

COD Greenford

COD Greenford’s main functions were the receipt of warlike stores from manufacturers, their storage, maintenance and issue to units at home and overseas. The depot also assembled complete units from many thousands of single parts. As with the other depots, there were workshops working alongside.

Kenneth Johnson-Davis was a barrister, a former scholar at St Catherine’s College Cambridge, and had served in the RASC in the First World War. On demobilisation, he remained in the Territorial Army. In the thirties he was Secretary of the Motor Traders Association and joined the RAOC with a number of others from the motor trade. He would undertake the task of setting up the Greenford Depot in West London.

de Wolff at COD Donnington was the only Chief Ordnance Officer to write at length about his depot, but there are surely many features in common with the others, not least size – they were all massive. The provision of education was a thread throughout. Kenneth Johnson-Davies ran the Greenford Depot, with his wife, Anne, as Welfare Officer. Together they instituted a very broad education provision, including a series of lectures drawing on Kenneth’s contacts industry and the law. A not dissimilar regime operated at Derby under Robbie Robinson, who saw it essential for his men and women to understand the context of their work. He also championed education and effective relaxation, given the very long hours worked.

Looking to the plans for the invasion, depot structures had been worked out. COD Greenford was to be the focus for armaments and technical stores and the first port of call for demands from the Advance Depots over the channel. COD Feltham as the southern part of the Chilwell network was to be the focus for vehicles. COD Bicester provided back up for both. Indeed all depots around the country had their focus on supplying the 21st Army Group.

In August 1943, the Queen visited COD Greenford, which was then under the command of Alfred Goldstein preparing for the key role it would in supplying the D-Day force. Her Majesty was accompanied by the Princess Royal and took particular interest in meeting the many ATS working there.