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The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) was a corps of the British Army. At its renaming as a Royal Corps in 1918 it was both a supply and repair corps. In the supply area it had responsibility for weapons, armoured vehicles and other military equipment, ammunition and clothing and certain minor functions such as laundry, mobile baths and photography. The RAOC was also responsible for a major element of the repair of Army equipment. In 1942 the latter function was transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and the vehicle storage and spares responsibilities of the Royal Army Service Corps were in turn passed over to the RAOC. The RAOC retained repair responsibilities for ammunition, clothing and certain ranges of general stores. In 1964 the McLeod Reorganisation of Army Logistics resulted in the RAOC absorbing petroleum, rations and accommodation stores functions from the Royal Army Service Corps as well as the Army Fire Service, barrack services, sponsorship of NAAFI (EFI) and the management of staff clerks from the same Corps. On 5 April 1993, the RAOC was one of the corps that amalgamated to form The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC).

The permanent establishment of an Ordnance Office long predated that of a standing army in Britain; it has therefore been claimed that 'in a wide sense, as heirs to the master-bowyers, master-fletchers, master-carpenters and master-smiths who, in mediaeval days, were responsible as Officers of Ordnance for the care and provision of warlike matériel, and to their successors the storekeepers, clerks, artificers, armourers and storemen of the Board of Ordnance, the R.A.O.C. can claim a far longer continuous history and more ancient lineage than any other unit of the British Army'.[1]

Predecessors of the RAOC

Army Ordnance Corps Cap Badge (pre-First World War)

Supply and repair of technical equipment, principally artillery and small arms, was the responsibility of the Master General of the Ordnance and the Board of Ordnance from the Middle Ages until they lost their independence in 1855. Thereafter followed thirty years of fluctuating allocation of responsibilities and a great variety of titles of both corps and individuals. This complex, convoluted and largely unsatisfactory period insofar as Army logistics was concerned was summarised in 1889 as follows:

'The English Ordnance Department goes back into an older history than the Army. There were Master Generals of the Ordnance and Boards of Ordnance centuries before there were Secretaries of State for War or Commanders-in-Chief. Begun under the Tudors the Board of Ordnance lived through the changes of the Great Rebellion, the Commonwealth, the Restoration and the Revolution until it fell, at last, in the panic that followed in the disasters of the Crimean War. ...the many alterations in administration that followed the abolition of the Board of Ordnance, through the last 30 years, can only be read as a negative evidence in favour of the organisation, and as positive proof that the machinery of effective Army Store administration has yet to be evolved from its ruins.'[2]

Before Crimea

The Board of Ordnance had its own military establishment consisting of the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers (who were not at that time part of the British Army). The Storekeeper's department, on the other hand, was part of the civil establishment, though (as with much of the Board's activity) troops were involved in various aspects of its operation when not deployed elsewhere.[3] In any case, modern distinctions between civilian and military personnel were not so clear cut for those serving under the Board: its officers, engineers and artillerymen received their commissions or patents from the Master-General of the Ordnance, as did the Storekeepers, artificers and storemen. Though civilians, the Storekeepers were provided with uniform, akin to that of the Royal Artil

The permanent establishment of an Ordnance Office long predated that of a standing army in Britain; it has therefore been claimed that 'in a wide sense, as heirs to the master-bowyers, master-fletchers, master-carpenters and master-smiths who, in mediaeval days, were responsible as Officers of Ordnance for the care and provision of warlike matériel, and to their successors the storekeepers, clerks, artificers, armourers and storemen of the Board of Ordnance, the R.A.O.C. can claim a far longer continuous history and more ancient lineage than any other unit of the British Army'.[1]

Supply and repair of technical equipment, principally artillery and small arms, was the responsibility of the Master General of the Ordnance and the Board of Ordnance from the Middle Ages until they lost their independence in 1855. Thereafter followed thirty years of fluctuating allocation of responsibilities and a great variety of titles of both corps and individuals. This complex, convoluted and largely unsatisfactory period insofar as Army logistics was concerned was summarised in 1889 as follows:

'The English Ordnance Department goes back into an older history than the Army. There were Master Generals of the Ordnance and Boards of Ordnance centuries before there were Secretaries of State for War or Commanders-in-Chief. Begun under the Tudors the Board of Ordnance lived through the changes of the Great Rebellion, the Commonwealth, the Restoration and the Revolution until it fell, at last, in the panic that followed in the disasters of the Crimean War. ...the many alterations in administration that followed the abolition of the Board of Ordnance, through the last 30 years, can only be read as a negative evidence in favour of the organisation, and as positive proof that the machinery of effective Army Store administration has yet to be evolved from its ruins.'[2]

Before Crimea

The Board of Ordnance had its own military establishment consisting of the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers (who were not at that time part of the British Army). The Storekeeper's department, on the other hand, was part of the civil establishment, though (as with much of the Board's activity) troops were involved in various aspects of its operation when not deployed elsewhere.[3] In any case, modern distinctions between civilian and military personnel were not so clear cut for those serving under the Board: its officers, engineers and artillerymen received their commissions or patents from the Master-General of the Ordnance, as did the Storekeepers, artificers and storemen. Though civilians, the Storekeepers were provided with uniform, akin to that of the Royal Artillery, described in 1833 as a blue coat with red stand-collar and cuffs, gold epaulettes indicating rank and blue trousers with a gold stripe, worn with a gold-hilted sword and a cocked hat; Clerks on the establishment wore the same uniform but without epaulettes. After Waterloo they were given relative rank (for the purpose of allotting appropriate quarters): Storekeepers to rank as lieutenant colonel, Deputy Storekeepers as major (if in independent charge) or else captain, Assistant Storekeepers as lieutenant and Clerks as a non-commissioned officer.[1] The Storekeepers and their Deputies had oversight of the Ordnance Yards, both at home and abroad, however they were never deployed in the theatre of war.[4]

Field Train Department of the Board of Ordnance

By the mid-eighteenth century, Woolwich Warren (the future Royal Arsenal) had outgrown the Tower of London as the main ordnance storage depot in the realm.[3] In times of war, the Board of Ordnance Storekeepers found themselves responsible for conveying guns,

'The English Ordnance Department goes back into an older history than the Army. There were Master Generals of the Ordnance and Boards of Ordnance centuries before there were Secretaries of State for War or Commanders-in-Chief. Begun under the Tudors the Board of Ordnance lived through the changes of the Great Rebellion, the Commonwealth, the Restoration and the Revolution until it fell, at last, in the panic that followed in the disasters of the Crimean War. ...the many alterations in administration that followed the abolition of the Board of Ordnance, through the last 30 years, can only be read as a negative evidence in favour of the organisation, and as positive proof that the machinery of effective Army Store administration has yet to be evolved from its ruins.'[2]

Before Crimea

Royal Army Clothing Department, with its factory and depot at Pimlico, was taken over by the AOD which then became responsible for the provision of uniforms and other items of clothing for much of the army.[14]

In 1855 Captain Henry Gordon (brother of the famous Gordon of Khartoum) left the Army and joined the Ordnance department;[15] From March that year until July 1856 he was sent to Balaklava to take charge of all stores for all branches of the army: the first time an Ordnance Storekeeper had been appointed in the field of battle.[1] The following year, a memorandum was issued making it clear that, in future, a staff of Military Store officers, clerks, artificers and labourers should accompany troops at time of war to ensure abundant provision of equipment for immediate use together with effective maintenance of reserve stocks in the field. These arrangements were put into practice both in China and in New Zealand in 1860.[1] The labourers and artificers were civilians, until the establishment of the Military Store Staff Corps in 1865.[16]

There was substantial support by the RAOC's predecessors for every late Victorian expedition with the major efforts being the campaigns in Egypt and the Sudan (1882-5 and 1898) and the Boer War (1899-1902). All campaigns required the support of very large numbers of troops, animals and equipment in hostile environments. They produced a well-developed system of stores dumps and repair facilities along extended lines of communication.[17]

First World War

Boer War (1899-1902). All campaigns required the support of very large numbers of troops, animals and equipment in hostile environments. They produced a well-developed system of stores dumps and repair facilities along extended lines of communication.[17]

As with the rest of the British Army the AOD/AOC was transformed by the First World War. Both the sheer scale of the war and the increasing technical complexity created an organisational structure that, in its outlines, survives until today. The depots at Woolwich, Weedon and Pimlico were supplemented by the wholesale takeover of warehouses throughout the country and in early 1915 a depot was established at Didcot to be the major focus for the receipt and distribution of RAOC stores. Ammunition storage was also expanded dramatically and the former peacetime magazines at places such as Purfleet, Portsmouth and Plymouth were supplemented by purpose built depots at Bramley, Altrincham, Credenhill and Didcot.[18]

Inside a Base Supply Depot at Vendroux, 1917.

On the Western Front a highly successful logistic infrastructure, largely rail based, was created to support the front. Parallel systems, but of less complexity, supported operations in Italy. Other expeditions such as Gallipoli, Salonika, Palestine and Mesopotamia brought supply challenges and a large logistic bases were established on the Egyptian Canal Zone and Basra.[19]

1920–1945Basra.[19]

1920–1945

Chilwell (general and surplus stores), Hereford (ammunition), Pimlico (clothing), Woolwich (gun stores and ammunition) and Weedon (small arms).[6] In 1922 the RAOC headquarters, regimental depot and School of Instruction moved from Woolwich to Hilsea Barracks on the edge of Portsmouth. (The School provided education and training in all aspects of the Corps' work, with the exception of ammunition which was taught at Bramley, where the Army School of Ammunition was opened that same year.) The Royal Army Clothing Depot, Pimlico, closed in 1932 and its stock was mostly transferred to Didcot.[20]

In the 1930s re-armament and the mechanisation of the Army led to a redesign of the UK base. A Central Ordnance Depot (COD) and workshop to support vehicles, built on the site of the First World War National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell, opened in 1937. The operation of this depot was notable in that it mirrored and tried to improve on best civilian practice at the time; this became a hallmark of RAOC development in the following decades. COD Branston was established in 1938, initially to serve as the Army's main clothing store, freeing up space at COD Didcot. At the outbreak of the Second World War there were five CODs: Branston, Chilwell, Didcot, Weedon and Woolwich.[6]

In the 1930s re-armament and the mechanisation of the Army led to a redesign of the UK base. A Central Ordnance Depot (COD) and workshop to support vehicles, built on the site of the First World War National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell, opened in 1937. The operation of this depot was notable in that it mirrored and tried to improve on best civilian practice at the time; this became a hallmark of RAOC development in the following decades. COD Branston was established in 1938, initially to serve as the Army's main clothing store, freeing up space at COD Didcot. At the outbreak of the Second World War there were five CODs: Branston, Chilwell, Didcot, Weedon and Woolwich.[6]

Woolwich was prone to aerial bombardment, so from September 1939 the War Department leased part of an industrial estate in Greenford, which provided 632,000 square feet of covered accommodation.[21] A further COD to hold non-vehicle technical stores opened at Donnington, Shropshire in 1940 (in order to remove critical items from Woolwich to a less vulnerable site) and purpose-built depots for both tracked and wheeled vehicles were opened across the country. Woolwich then ceased operating as a COD (though by the end of 1942 it was again being used for bulk storage, albeit as a sub-depot of COD Greenford).[21]

In the 1930s virtually all the Army's stockpile of ammunition was held at Bramley, which was vulnerable to air attack, so three new Central Ammunition Depots (CAD) were built:[22] Serving south, central and northern England respectively, these were CAD Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire (also known as CAD Corsham, an underground depot); CAD Nesscliffe, Shropshire; and CAD Longtown, Cumbria. By 1942 more storage capacity was required and another CAD was opened: Kineton. That same year a very large COD, widely spread out across the Oxfordshire countryside to mitigate the risk of bomb damage, opened at Bicester to hold stores principally to support the invasion of France.[23]

Forward of the UK base, a huge array of temporary depots were built to meet the rapidly changing pace of war. Base Ordnance Depots (BOD) and Base Ammunition Depots (BAD) sprung up all over the world wherever a major line of communication was established.[24]

Major changes took place after 1942 when the REME absorbed most of the RAOC repair functions and the RAOC in turn took over the RASC's vehicle organisation. The more mobile nature of the Second World War also led to the creation of units at div

In the 1930s virtually all the Army's stockpile of ammunition was held at Bramley, which was vulnerable to air attack, so three new Central Ammunition Depots (CAD) were built:[22] Serving south, central and northern England respectively, these were CAD Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire (also known as CAD Corsham, an underground depot); CAD Nesscliffe, Shropshire; and CAD Longtown, Cumbria. By 1942 more storage capacity was required and another CAD was opened: Kineton. That same year a very large COD, widely spread out across the Oxfordshire countryside to mitigate the risk of bomb damage, opened at Bicester to hold stores principally to support the invasion of France.[23]

Forward of the UK base, a huge array of temporary depots were built to meet the rapidly changing pace of war. Base Ordnance Depots (BOD) and Base Ammunition Depots (BAD) sprung up all over the world wherever a major line of communication was established.[24]

Major changes took place after 1942 when the REME absorbed most of the RAOC repair functions and the RAOC in turn took over the RASC's vehicle organisation. The more mobile nature of the Second World War also led to the creation of units at divisional and corps level with higher levels of mobility. The most notable of these was the ordnance field park, principally carrying vehicle and technical stores spares.[25]

During the war the RAOC HQ (together with the RAOC School) had moved from Hilsea to Middleton Stoney (Bicester); in 1946 it moved again to Matthew Barracks, Tidworth and shortly afterwards to Deepcut. The regimental depot was also moved from Hilsea, in 1946, to Feltham Barracks, Middlesex; in 1955 it too moved to Deepcut.[6] Hilsea, which had been used by the US Army during the war, continued to be used (alongside Deepcut) as a training facility for RAOC-enlisted National Service recruits; with National Service coming to an end the Barracks closed in 1962 (but not before serving again, temporarily, as the regimental depot from 1960-1962 while Deepcut was being rebuilt).[6]

A major task that fell to the RAOC in the wake of the war was disposal of ammunition. As well as disposing of large amounts of surplus stock from depots at home, and returning in good order sites that had been requisitioned for the duration of the war, RAOC units were heavily involved in clearing ammunition from Germany's former depots and dealing with live devices still in the field. The RAOC's skills in bomb disposal were later put to increasing use in dealing with terrorist devices at home as well as in conflict zones overseas. The training of Ammunition Examiners, Ammunition Technicians and Ammunition Technical Officers at the Army School of Ammunition became progressively more specialised during the 1950s and '60s. In May 1970 a section of 321 EOD Unit was sent to Northern Ireland to support the local ammunition inspectorate in dealing with improvised explosive devices; what was initially a 6-month deployment marked the start of a much longer involvement through the Troubles.[6]

In the period 1945–93 the RAOC, as with the rest of the Army, reduced greatly in size and closed its worldwide bases as garrisons withdrew. At

A major task that fell to the RAOC in the wake of the war was disposal of ammunition. As well as disposing of large amounts of surplus stock from depots at home, and returning in good order sites that had been requisitioned for the duration of the war, RAOC units were heavily involved in clearing ammunition from Germany's former depots and dealing with live devices still in the field. The RAOC's skills in bomb disposal were later put to increasing use in dealing with terrorist devices at home as well as in conflict zones overseas. The training of Ammunition Examiners, Ammunition Technicians and Ammunition Technical Officers at the Army School of Ammunition became progressively more specialised during the 1950s and '60s. In May 1970 a section of 321 EOD Unit was sent to Northern Ireland to support the local ammunition inspectorate in dealing with improvised explosive devices; what was initially a 6-month deployment marked the start of a much longer involvement through the Troubles.[6]

In the period 1945–93 the RAOC, as with the rest of the Army, reduced greatly in size and closed its worldwide bases as garrisons withdrew. At the same time, there was considerable development of warehousing techniques and information technology (the first move towards computerisation came with the opening of an Automated Data Processing Installation at Chilwell in 1963 and one at Bicester the following year.) In the mid-1960s new recruits were informed that 'The RAOC occupies nearly 90 different locations in the UK alone and world wide uses 86,000,000 square feet of storage space. Over 1,000,000 different items are held in stock and over 11,000,000 issues are made in a year'.[26] By 1980 the RAOC was reduced to two CODs at Bicester and Donnington (COD Chilwell was closing, CODs Branston and Didcot had closed in 1963 and Weedon in 1965 after being downgraded from a COD in 1957), two CADs at Kineton and Longtown (Nesscliffe had closed in 1959, Corsham in 1963 and Bramley in 1974) and three Central Vehicle Depots: Ludgershall for 'A' (armoured) vehicles, and Ashchurch and Hilton for 'B' ('soft-skinned') vehicles[27] (CVD Marchington having closed in 1965, CVDs Feltham and Irvine in the early 1970s).[6]

Across the UK the structure of smaller Regional Depots, Ordnance Support Units (OSUs), Training Materiel Parks, supply depots and Ammunition Sub-Depots was steadily run down. A reconfiguration in the late 1960s provided four Regional Depots (Thatcham, Hereford, Catterick and Stirling) and nine OSUs: Aldershot, Ashford, Burscough, Colchester, Feltham, Old Dalby, Thetford, Tidworth and Woolwich (which had been downgraded following the closure of the Royal Ordnance Factory and the sale of the old Dockyard). At the height of the Northern Ireland troubles Ordnance Depot Kinnegar was a major logistic facility but is now much reduced.[28]

Overseas, 3 BOD in Singapore closed in 1972 leaving a Composite Ordnance Depot in Hong Kong (that finally closed shortly before handover in 1997). The Middle East logistic base withdrew from Egypt in 1956 – 5 BOD and 9 BAD closing in 1955 – and was partially re-established in Aden; in turn this closed in 1967 with facilities being established in Sharjah and Bahrain (these, in turn, closed in 1971). The Ordnance depot in Gibraltar, where the Board of Ordnance had first established a facility in 1704, was transferred to the Royal Navy in 1964; and the depot in Malta, dating from the 1830s, closed in March 1972.[6] The Ordnance Depot in Cyprus became part of the Joint Logistic Unit in 1988. In Germany, 15 BOD and 3 Base Ammunition and Petrol Depot (BAPD) closed in 1992.[29]

Two post-war campaigns (Falklands 1982 and Gulf 1990/1) were unique in being fought in areas completely outside existing theatres. Temporary lines of communication were rapidly established that successfully managed huge surges in matériel.[30]

On 5 April 1993, following the Options for Change review, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps united with the Royal Corps of Transport, the Royal Pioneer Corps, the Army Catering Corps, and the Postal and Courier Service of the Royal Engineers, to form the Royal Logistic Corps.[31] Later that year the RLC withdrew from the Tower of London, where the RAOC had continued to maintain a centuries-old link;[32] and the following year the last vestige of the once-vast ordnance depot left Woolwich, with the closure of Royal Arsenal (West) and departure of the Ordnance QAD (Quality Assurance Directorate).[33]

Appointments in the RAOC

British Army, used the idiosyncratic system of staff titles that was unique to British and most Commonwealth armies. After 1981 in NATO assigned units, principally those in British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), the standard NATO system was adopted with all appointments elsewhere changing the following year.

The senior RAOC appointment was Director Equipment and Ordnance Stores (DEOS) − always a Major-General − which during the 1920s became Director Ordnance Services (DOS). DOS was also a title given to senior RAOC officers at major commands such as Middle East Command, 21st Army Group and in more recent times BAOR. After the Somerville Logistic Reorganisation Committee ReportThe senior RAOC appointment was Director Equipment and Ordnance Stores (DEOS) − always a Major-General − which during the 1920s became Director Ordnance Services (DOS). DOS was also a title given to senior RAOC officers at major commands such as Middle East Command, 21st Army Group and in more recent times BAOR. After the Somerville Logistic Reorganisation Committee Report of 1977 the head of the corps was re-titled Director General Ordnance Services (DGOS). Following the huge expansion of the RAOC in the Second World War the senior RAOC major general was designated Controller Ordnance Services (COS) from 1942[34] to 1948[35]

After 1980/1 most of these titles disappeared with the notable exception of CATO/SATO and DOWO/BOWO. All RAOC appointments gave the staff grade (e.g. Staff Officer Grade 2: SO2 suffixed with the word Sup), the head of corps in a headquarters irrespective of rank was titled Comd Sup. In MOD the titles of DGOS and DDOS were retained.

General Ordnance Services heads

This is a list of heads of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps[36]

Controller of Ordnance Services

  • Major General Sir Basil Hill KBE CB DSO (25 May 1939 to 31 December 1940)
  • Major General Sir Leslie Williams KBE CB MC (28 June 1942 to 20 April 1946)
  • Major General WW Richards CB CBE MC (21 April 1946 to 17 July 1947)

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Major General LH Williams MC 23 April 1940 to 27 June 1942
  • Major General KM Body CB CMG OBE 1 January 1941 to 27 June 1942
  • Major General William W Richards CB CBE MC 18 July 1947 to 20 April 1948
  • Major General Gerald TW Horne CB CBE 21 April 1948 to 20 April 1951
  • Major General Sir Neville Swiney KBE CB MC 21 April 1951 to 21 April 1955
  • Major General Sir Lionel Cutforth KBE CB 22 April 1955 to 21 April 1958
  • Major General George O Crawford CB CBE 22 April 1958 to 21 April 1961
  • Major General Sir John C Hildreth KBE 22 April 1961 to 19 November 1964
  • Major General George le F Payne CB CBE 20 November 1964 to 18 March 1968
  • Major General Alexander Young CB 19 March 1968 to 8 April 1971
  • Major General L

    This is a list of heads of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps[36]

    Controller of Ordnance Services

    The RAOC's motto was that of the Board of Ordnance: Sua tela tonanti (literally "His [i.e. Jupiter's] Missiles to the one who is Thundering", but commonly translated as "To the Warrior his Arms").[37]

    The full-dress uniform of the RAOC had evolved from that worn by the Field Train Department in the eighteenth century, itself derived from the uniform of the Royal Artillery. Consisting of a blue tunic with red collar and cuffs and blue trousers with a double red stripe, it continued to be worn by the band (and in mess-dress form) until the corps' amalgamation.[6]

    The RAOC Band had first been formed in 1922; the regimental march (chosen by its first Bandmaster, WOI R. T. Stevens, as appropriate to the Corps' role and to its artisans) was The Village Blacksmith.[38]

    In common with the Royal Artillery, the RAOC had St Barbara as its patron saint. The garrison church, first at Hilsea and then at Deepcut, was dedicated in her name; the pulpit, organ, stained glass windows and several memorials were transferred from the former to the latter when Hilsea Barracks closed in 1962. There was also a St Barbara's Church at CAD Bramley, which had originally come from the depot in Pimlico; having done service in Bramley for 52 years it was again disassembled in 1978 and moved to Didcot.[6]

    The RAOC Gazette

    The official journal of the corps was the RAOC Gazette.[39]

    Recruiting

    Before the Second World War, RAOC recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 2 inches tall (5 feet 4 inches for Driver Mechanics) and could enlist up to 25 years of age. They initially enlisted for three years with the colours and a further nine years with the reserve. Fitters could also choose six years with the colours and six years in the reserve, or eight and four years. Clerks and Storemen enlisted for six years and six years. They trained at the RAOC Depot, Hilsea Barracks, Portsmouth, before proceeding to specialist trade training. Armourers were only recruited from boy entrants and enlisted for twelve years. Armament Artificers trained at the Military College of Science, Woolwich for fifteen months. Half of t

    The full-dress uniform of the RAOC had evolved from that worn by the Field Train Department in the eighteenth century, itself derived from the uniform of the Royal Artillery. Consisting of a blue tunic with red collar and cuffs and blue trousers with a double red stripe, it continued to be worn by the band (and in mess-dress form) until the corps' amalgamation.[6]

    The RAOC Band had first been formed in 1922; the regimental march (chosen by its first Bandmaster, WOI R. T. Stevens, as appropriate to the Corps' role and to its artisans) was The Village Blacksmith.[38]

    In common with the Royal Artillery, the RAOC had St Barbara as its patron saint. The garrison church, first at Hilsea and then at Deepcut, was dedicated in her name; the pulpit, organ, stained glass windows and several memorials were transferred from the former to the latter when Hilsea Barracks closed in 1962. There was also a St Barbara's Church at CAD Bramley, which had originally come from the depot in Pimlico; having done service in Bramley for 52 years it was again disassembled in 1978 and moved to Didcot.[6]

    The official journal of the corps was the RAOC Gazette.[39]

    Recruiting

    Before the Before the Second World War, RAOC recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 2 inches tall (5 feet 4 inches for Driver Mechanics) and could enlist up to 25 years of age. They initially enlisted for three years with the colours and a further nine years with the reserve. Fitters could also choose six years with the colours and six years in the reserve, or eight and four years. Clerks and Storemen enlisted for six years and six years. They trained at the RAOC Depot, Hilsea Barracks, Portsmouth, before proceeding to specialist trade training. Armourers were only recruited from boy entrants and enlisted for twelve years. Armament Artificers trained at the Military College of Science, Woolwich for fifteen months. Half of them were serving soldiers who were already qualified fitters. Armament Artificers had to be at least 22 years of age and could enlist up to 30; they enlisted for twelve years and were promoted Staff Sergeant as soon as they had completed training.[40]

    See also