Monday, October 22, 2007

The Royal Pioneer Corps

In the past months I have done a lot of research on the Royal Pioneer Corps in WW2 and I have realized that little was known of those men who enlisted with the British Army from Africa and Palestine to fight alongside the Allied forces. For the Palestinian Jews it was almost paradoxical at first as they had been fighting the British before the war and went back to Palestine to fight them again.

In the meantime all these men performed the most menial but hardest of tasks, and were only at times given the means to
defend themselves, which they did, in France, Greece and Crete. I wish to pay a tribute to these 'unsung heroes'.
These companies were referred to as 'Alien Companies' - they were often composed of up to 25 nationalities (and languages) and were soon forced to communicate in English. Some were given English classes and those who picked up the language quickly got promoted. They were based in Quasassin, Egypt.
The reference book for the Corps is A War History of the Royal Pioneer Corps, by Major E.H. Rhodes-Wood (available in CD format)

If anyone has first or second hand experience of meeting some of them or of hearing of them, I will be most interested in reading their messages.



Blogger Tomcann said...

Ctherine -
I have already mentioned the Basutos'Pioneer company who helped build the Tank road from Fabriano to Jesi in oder that we could leave the "official" road clear for the Tracks carrying the Infantry in another comment of a posting.
It should be noted that many British soldiers made up the Pioneer corps and also did exceptional work in road building and other tasks to facilitate our movements.
One of the chaps - Ted Lloyd - who worked alongside me on permanent nightshift making Crusader Tanks in Birmingham was called up three months before I was and on his second leave he showed up as a sergeant...he wa not well blessed in scholarship but he was big and muscular !
Lost track of him after the war so don't know how he fared.

Monday, 22 October, 2007  
Blogger Boabbie said...


Wednesday, 24 October, 2007  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Boabbie -
you may be right about the vertically challenged Pioneers but they did need the big and muscular N.C.O.'s to keep them in line !

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007  
Blogger Cathie said...

Boabbie, thanks, that is an interesting remark. Actually, I believe that they took all those who were not accepted in other corps, either because of their age or stature or ...intellectual (lack of) achievements!

But they also took all those who because they were not British could not join the (regular) Army - in Britain as in the mandates.

However, in the colonies and mandates they allowed anyone to enlist, even encouraged them to do so - labour forces were needed. They were called the 'Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps' AMPC.
Judging by Tomcann's remark, they also recruited big men!
And I can also say that they definitely recruited very bright ones - and not always that tall either!

Boabbie, where did your uncles serve in the Corps?

(It is interesting to note that they were sent to all the fronts and of course helped clear the debris in bombed Britain. The Corps was 100,000 strong in 1940.)

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007  
Blogger Cathie said...

Tomcann you published this just as I was writing my comment - have to add that some of the NCOs were tiny as well from what I heard ! Do I understand that you believe authority to
depend on a man's size? Luckily it does not work that way for women!

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Catherine ..... well no - I don't believe that authority is dependent of size - Monty was short but had authority as were Kirkman and O'Conner - it did help to maintain discipline if one had to physically look up to anyone in authority always remembering that -

in the British army ALL had to look above the eye line of both Officers and N.C.O's when being addressed.....

unlike the Americans who treated all their Officers - and N.C.O's as "buddies" - with subsequent loss of authority from which arguements ensued and orders became matters for discussion !

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007  
Blogger Boabbie said...

Unfortunately all of that generation in my family have passed on and I have not come to the finer detail of my uncles army records yet at least not the two who were in the pioneer corps. I do know that both of them were just over 5 feet tall and one was a seargent in Italy.

Thursday, 25 October, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a muchly overlooked unit - thanks for populating cyberspace with its memories. My father was 5ft5", 25 years old and was not a big man. He was made a colour sergeant soon after enlistment in 1940. He was far from stupid but was not medically A1 - although strangely that didn't stop his company (292 company) from being landed with the 2nd wave (11am) on 6th June on (Queen Red sector) Sword beach - an experience he refused point blank to ever talk about. The casualty list in the unit's war diary probably explains why....

PS being pedantic The Pioneer Corps was the wartime unit - it did not become Royal Pioneer Corps until after the second world war

Tuesday, 01 July, 2008  
Blogger Peter G said...


You have every reason to be proud of your father and of the magnificent contribution the Pioneers made in WW2.

You are quite correct regarding the 'Royal' designation. The corps was raised in 1939 as the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, it became the Pioneer Corps in 1940 and received royal patronage in 1946 as the Royal Pioneer Corps.

Friday, 04 July, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am the Controller of the RPC Association. Our historian has recently input the details of over 400,000 records onto our data base. If you have relatives who have served in our corps we will be happy to supply information on their service. We can be contacted on

Sunday, 14 September, 2008  
Blogger Peter G said...


Many thanks for your helpful and kind offer. My apologies for this belated reply. Having found one unanswered comment in another thread I decided to comb through them all and found yours.

Inputing 400,000 records is a gargantuan operation, well in the spirit of the Royal Pioneer Corps! Historians will be grateful to you.

Thursday, 30 October, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am extremely grateful to the Royal Pioneer Corps Association - I was helped from day one in my research, provided with amazingly interesting material, given crucial information, explained all the subtleties of my relative's service records... etc...
Thanks to Norman and their dedicated historian I have been able to reconstruct a whole story, I encourage donations to their association !
Thank you Ron, too, for your patience. My post is a little late too, as I was away for several weeks, but hello to all of you.
Catherine L

Thursday, 30 October, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the difference between The Pioneer Corps and the Auxilliary Pioneer Corps?. My father was in Aux Pio Corps. He was not very tall and blind in one eye.He was captured at Boulougne and saw out the war in Stalag xxa and xxb as well as being on the long march, any information woul be appreciated. Thank you . Pauline T.

Thursday, 05 March, 2009  
Blogger The Priestess of Restormel said...

My grandfather was Major Aubrey Lewis Woodroffe, 147541, Pioneer Corps. He had first joined up in 1917 as a 14 year old bugler with the Royal Dragoons. He was discharged on completion of first period of service in 1929. In 1939 he enlisted into the Pioneer Corps. He was commissioned in 1940 as a 2nd Lieutenant, then appointed Captain, then Major. I have his medals and know that he was in the 8th Army and mentioned in Dispatches at Dunkirk. He relinquished his commission on the grounds of disability in 1947, being granted the honorary rank of Major.

I know he was the Officer commanding 2038 Mauritius Company, Qassasin, Egypt in 1945. I have a typewritten copy of a lecture he gave there on 'Man Management'.

One of the medals is with a Palestine 45-48 clasp, so I think he must have been there.

In a letter from a fellow officer, A.N. Chadwick, in my possession, he is reminded of the 'exodus from Boulougne'.

If anyone could enlighten me further as to Aubrey's movements during the war I would be delighted.


Friday, 03 July, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was told that my grandfather was taken into the pioneer corps because he was flat footed and wore glasses. He didn't speak about his time there much to anyone, but he spent a lot of time in Africa. He was a Major after discharge, CH Stoneley, if anyone knew of him, it would be great to hear something.
Apparently, he narrowly avoided probable death because when the unit he should have been arrived at the battle line, they where mostly wiped out. He was lucky as they needed officers at the time and thus he was "late" to arrive, and so avoided the major pasting.

Tuesday, 02 March, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

To Anonymous : The historian of the Royal Pioneer Corps whose email is mentioned somewhere above will be able to help you. Your grandfather's name must be on their lists. They also have booklets that cover the period, they are a mine of information.
They certainly were in Africa : Lybia, Egypt, Syria... and very likely in Sicily and Italy also.
Good luck with your research, I'll be glad to provide more information if I can.

Saturday, 27 March, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

--I meant - your grandfather is likely to have been in Sicily and Italy, as the PIoneer Corps followed the 8th Army there.
I should add that it was also known at the beginning of the war as the Auxiliary Pioneer Corps : they were those in charge of helping the regular army (see the comments above)

Saturday, 27 March, 2010  
Anonymous keith hemmings said...

My Uncle, William C Webb (13070625 Private aged 31) is buried alongside many of his comrades in Syracuse commonwealth cemetery,as I have just completed a visit there to pay both my respects and those of his sole surviving sister, my mother. I would relish any information regarding tasking and events leading to the fateful day of 17th july 1943, which saw at least 2 dozen pioneers losing their lives. I also noticed the comparable older age of these servicemen, ranging from 28-43 years of age

Friday, 17 September, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

Keith, here is where you'll find all the info you are looking for :

The website of the RPC is a mine of information. I suggest you buy: A war history of the Royal Pioneer Corps 1939-1945 - it is available as a CD.
pp 197 to 204 will explain exactly what took place before the landing in Sicily.
Just a few indications:
Their tasks were the same as usual; "loading, unloading, construct beach tracks and roads, provide smoke cover, make air-landing strips, collect wounded and prisoners and bury the dead, and if necessary, (...) provide a reserve for the assault troops in establishing a firm beach head"

As to the age of the Pioneers, well I believe many of them were men who had been turned down by the regular army because of their age, or of some physical problem, or because they were not British.

The number of casualties does not seem to have been that high, only a few in the initial landings, and some on the airfield on July 11 .
Besides his "number", do you have any indication of the company he belonged to?
BTW your uncle's name does appear on the roll of honour.

Hope this helped.

Sunday, 19 September, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

And I forgot to add the website :

Sunday, 19 September, 2010  
Anonymous h rollins said...

i woul like to hear of any one thathe was in the can tell me were my dad was in the war some where in belgium hazel

Monday, 02 May, 2011  
Anonymous tommy'sgirl said...

Hello H Rollins

My father was in the Pioneer Corps in WW2 and he was also in Belgium. Having landed at Arromanche on D-Day 6th June, he was in Normandy and Brittany. During the liberation he moved up to Lille, then through Belgium and Holland and into Germany

Whilst in Belgium he was in Antwerp then Bergen-op-zoom,Holland. In Germany, Nurmberg and Hamburg. There were others which I can't remember. My son has the Order of Service from the Thanksgiving Service on Nurmberg Heath. We also have a photo of the Memorial there.

People talk about these men as if they were somehow lesser mortals, with low IQs etc. etc. Yes, my dad had a disability - poor eyesight, as did some of his peers. However, apart from that he was a fit, healthy, intelligent man.

I know he was in Antwerp, they were billeted in a convent there. We have some photos of dad and some of his pals. It would be quite a coincidence if your father were amongst them.


Thursday, 12 May, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to have a photo of two pals of my dad taken on the farm with a little girl i belive it was in belgium i wonder to which reg my dad would have gone into he came from brownhills in west middlands all he would ever say when asked what he did in the war was he ran behind with his gun h rollins

Thursday, 02 June, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

after reading these posts i find it impossible not to comment, my father (whom is still alive !!) was roayl pionner corps, after landing in normandy he jioned the ccg or baor. he initially interogated albert speer and was one of a few inside hitlers bunker before the russians destroyed it. i accompanied him to bayeau for the 60 th anniv. where a french admiral presented him with a honourable medal on behalf of franch , he is now in the french corriculum and 100 per cent real. the mere notion that the rpc was comprise of twits is in itself luducris. most were individuals whom spoke a few langauges and had firsat hand knowledge of strategic targets, in other words intelligence, my father was offered the position to run th baor at the end of the war. all documented and on file in the imperial war museum in london

Saturday, 10 September, 2011  
Blogger Cathie said...

This last comment is very moving. No one can say anything unpleasant about this Corps. I am glad you found us here, and I hope you found our exchanges of interest. I personally would like to know your father's name so as to add him to the (long) list of people I believe I should be thankful for what they did.
Catherine L.

Saturday, 10 September, 2011  
Anonymous Ian said...

My late father served in the No. 1 Spanish Company of the Pioneer Corps and I am keen to find out about his service. I sent an e-mail to but this has resulted in a delivery failure notification. Is anyone able to supply the current/correct e-mail address to which enquiries can be sent?

Tuesday, 20 December, 2011  
Blogger Cathie said...

Check this link, it should have all the necessary information
that you need :

But I see there has been nothing new on the site for a while...

Thursday, 22 December, 2011  
Blogger pennyanne said...

My grandad was in the the 'Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps' AMPC in ww2 and served sometime in India. who love to know about his time there

Saturday, 11 February, 2012  
Anonymous Chunkie said...

The last remaining service link with the Royal Pioneer Corps 23 Pioneer Regt Royal Logistics Corps will be disbanded soon. Pioneers with then no longer exsist in the British Army. This is and will be a very sad day for all Pioneers that served through WWII to present.

Sunday, 30 December, 2012  
Blogger KC said...

My father 91 served in the Pioneer corps 1941-1945 (short with flat feet and bad eyesight but wanting to do his bit). He never spoke of his wartime experiences but has started to want to tell his story. He was among those brave men who were landed on the beaches on D Day and went on into Germany where he was in the SS quarters at Bergen Belsen 6 weeks after the liberation. he wouls dearly love to talk about those days with someone who shared his experiences.

Monday, 29 April, 2013  
Blogger KC said...

My father 91 served in the Pioneer corps 1941-1945 (short with flat feet and bad eyesight but wanting to do his bit). He never spoke of his wartime experiences but has started to want to tell his story. He was among those brave men who were landed on the beaches on D Day and went on into Germany where he was in the SS quarters at Bergen Belsen 6 weeks after the liberation. he wouls dearly love to talk about those days with someone who shared his experiences.

Monday, 29 April, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello ,
My late father was a Pioneer from Cork , Ireland .He landed on Sword on the morning of 6 June .They moved to Caen, Belgium , Holland .He lost friends near Hermanville .We went back saw the graves in 1982.He was fit , tall , lean man.Came home to Ireland worked climbing poles for the electricity company here in Cork .Never spoke much about the war .Most of his work friends did not know he was an ex army man.Lovely gentle man , a great Dad .I miss him. John.

Friday, 10 May, 2013  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi my late father served in the corps in the 2nd word war ,he survived Dunkirk I remember him telling me all about that time but he is passed on to the beach with his fallen comrades,he was from Sheriff Street in Dublin,when he left the army he got a job in the British Railway in Dublin's north wall docks as the Irish government refused to give any one who served in the British army a job. may he and all his fallen comrades rest in peace.

Monday, 17 June, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi every one on this page, I have been trying to research my late Fathers ww11 record but all it keeps saying is not recorded, we think he went there, or went here, he was an Sgt named
Kenneth Rodney Willoughby, and went to North Africa in 43 and then on to Italy until 47, I believe he was a Qrt Master, I would love to hear from any one who might have known him as he his now deceased, and we would love to find out more
Pete Willoughby (Son)

Tuesday, 08 July, 2014  
Blogger Cathie said...

Pete : If the Royal Pioneer Corps have no record of your father, maybe you should try the Army's Offices in Scotland to get his service records, but they will only help if you can provide a number for him, or at least the number of his company. I know, it is a very long and difficult research, I wish you luck.

Wednesday, 09 July, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you go on facebook to the Pioneer Corps and send a message to a gentleman by the name of NORMAN BROWN he will probably be able to answer most questions as he is the controller of the Pioneer Corps Association. I myself was a member of the corps during the 1970/80s and Norman is very knowledgeable. The final parade takes place in St David's Barracks in Bicester in September as sadly my beloved corps in which I was proud to serve in is finally disbanded in October 2014 and I for one will greatly miss it.

Friday, 12 September, 2014  
Blogger Unknown said...

My farther was CSM Frederick Teale. He served in the royal pioneer core and was mentioned in dispatches. He was taken prisoner of war in the western desert and escaped with his men. He spent three days in the desert and was finally re united with our army. He was offered a post as director of prisons in Burma after his experience with the east African rifles.

Tuesday, 21 October, 2014  
Anonymous Francisco Haro said...

To Ian. My late Father, Corporal Rodrigo Haro was in the No.1. Spanish Coy. I am keen to communicate with anyone associated with this Coy. Kind regards, Francisco Haro.

Saturday, 27 December, 2014  
Anonymous Bette Higgs (nee Smith) said...

My late father Harry Smith was in the Pioneers from 1939 to 1946. He was a Wolverhampton man and was 30 when war broke out. He never spoke about the war much but he was in Belgium and Holland and also was part of a meteorological team when a doodle bug hit the tower they were in. Is there anyone else on here that remembers that? I would love to hear more!

Tuesday, 27 January, 2015  
Anonymous Bette Higgs (nee Smith) said...

My late father Harry Smith was in the Pioneers from 1939 to 1946. He was a Wolverhampton man and was 30 when war broke out. He never spoke about the war much but he was in Belgium and Holland and also was part of a meteorological team when a doodle bug hit the tower they were in. Is there anyone else on here that remembers that? I would love to hear more!

Tuesday, 27 January, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father was in no1 Spanish company of the Pioneer corps. He had a long journey leading to his joining the corps. He joined the Spanish republican army in 1936 aged 18 and fought for 3 yrs against General Franco, driven across the French boarder to Argeles sur Mer where many thousands refugees died in the internment camps. Was given a "Hobsons choice" offer to join the French foreign legion, signed up for 5 yrs in the 13th Demi brigade, fought at Narvik , many died from a lack of winter clothing, somehow ended up at Dunkirk, he was only allowed onto the ship because of the kindness of one of many British troops who gave the Spaniards their battle jackets allowing them to be rescued. They were then taken to Plymouth where a ship had been made available, the French military wanted them deported to Spain, they refused to go and staged a sit down revolt ( knowing they would at best be shot by Franco's army) the order came from French command ( General De Gaul) to " Shoot every 3rd soldier to deter others" it was at this point the British army stepped in and they were enlisted in The Pioneer Corps, for which he was very grateful.

Wednesday, 18 March, 2015  
Anonymous Tony Almond said...

I have been researching my Grandfather Pte. William George Almond 6515111 who enlisted into the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps at Holloway on 6th May 1940 and was posted to No1 Company.
His military record (obtained with help of Norman at RPC Assoc.) shows he was initially sent to Cherbourg and was subjected to 'many air raids' until they were evacuated on 15th June 1940 and on landing at Southampton was immediately posted to 140 Coy.

Following the Operation Fork, the British invasion of Iceland on 10th May, he was sent to Iceland and endured horrendous hardships, having to sleep in tents initially, in blizzard conditions until they could get materials to build more hospitable accommodation.

He left Iceland for London on New Years Day 1942 and spent that year and the spring of 1943 on duties in London and later training in Scotland.

On 10th April '9 officers and 297 men' left Liverpool on MV Staffordshire for Malta and landed on the beaches at Rada Di Portpalo, Sicily on 10th July 1943. He moved up the east coast, working on 'beach and road clearance' and was landed on the beach at St Venere 'under intense fire' on 9th September 1943.
He was then moved about the south of Italy,(Sapri, Vasto, Termoli) but when the Volcano Vesuvius erupted on 22nd March 1943 with hot ash falling on the camp' burning tents and equipment', he was evacuated.

Whilst screening route 66 south of Monte Cassino he was injured by a mortar attack and was sent to a hospital in South Africa, returning to UK in Dec. 1945.
He died of his injuries in Feb 1950 aged 48.
Quite a bit of 'action for a 40 year old man of 5ft 3 1/4 inches.

Having learned his story I am immensely proud of the man I never knew until now.
I would be pleased to hear from anyone who's relative might have been in the vicinity of my Garndfather and can add more details.
Tony Almond

Saturday, 18 April, 2015  
Blogger Unknown said...

My grandfather, Leslie Arthur Baker, served in the Pioneer Corps in the Middle East between 1941 and 1945. A career soldier since 1919, rising from a Shoeing Smith/Private in the 7th Queens Own Hussars and 15/19th Hussars serving in the North West Frontier Province India/Pakistan boarder lands, to Farrier/Staff Sergeant in the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales’s Dragoon Guards), attached to the Remount Depot, Abbassia, Egypt, before being discharged in Dec 1940 for the purpose of being appointed to a Commission.

Initially assigned to 60 Company Pioneer Corps as a Lieutenant in Jan 1941, he was soon on his way back to the Middle East, disembarking in Egypt in Sep 1941 to join the Pioneer Corps Base Depot, where he was immediately promoted to Temporary Captain and second in command of 1 Eritrean Refugee Working Battalion stationed at 309 POW Camp, El Tahag, Egypt and later 305 POW camp.

Promoted to Captain and immediately promoted to Temporary Major in Jun 1943, he spent the next 2 years attached to 54 and 70 Groups, serving in various war Areas throughout Egypt and Libya. Records suggest he was wounded in action while attached to 70 Group and spent 5 days in 89 British General Hospital before returning to service until the end of the war.

As others have suggested, if you are looking for details about relatives who served in WWII, and particulary a direct relative such as a father or grandfather then MOD is the place to go. I was luck enough to obtain all of my grandfather's service records, including the original bound duplicates of his Soldiers Service and Pay Book, Regular Army Certificate of Service book and Officers Record of Service book, not to mention the myriad of photocopied attestation, service statements and service marriage, births and baptism records. All for just 30 pounds. Bargain!

Next step it to trace all the War Office references through National Archives; A bit of a challenge as none of the records I'm after have been digitise and I now live in Australia.

Footnote: Previous blogger Keith Hemmings (FRIDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER, 2010) doesn't happen to be an old Tewkesbury lad does he? Cheers Bunny Baker

Saturday, 27 June, 2015  
Anonymous Julie Murphy said...

I am trying to find out a little more about the circumstances in which my Grandad died. His name was Patrick Joseph Hoctor and died on 21st September 1945 he is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetary his Pioneer Corps number was 1311812. I know that wasn't his original resting place but I do have a map reference which I am not having much luck with. He died a few months after the war but we have no idea how or exactly where. the map reference I have where he actually died is Cologne GSGS 4416 1/100.000 Sht R1 403594 anyone have any idea where to look next

many thanks

Thursday, 05 November, 2015  
Blogger Cathie said...

Julie, if you read all the comments, you'll find one that can be of great help, posted by Norman :
" I am the Controller of the RPC Association. Our historian has recently input the details of over 400,000 records onto our data base. If you have relatives who have served in our corps we will be happy to supply information on their service. We can be contacted on"
And also, further up, you'll find my post saying that there is a CD containing all the history of the Corps, with the
moves of the different companies.
If you have kept your grand-father's enlistment number, you can also have access to his service records, which are probably kept in Glasgow.
Hope this helps.

Thursday, 05 November, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Julie, one of the graves concentration reports posted to the CWGC website page for your grandfather says 'Died, D/Acc'. This suggests he died as the result of an accident.

Contacting the RPC Association via the website given by Cathie in the previous comment would be useful for your quest. The other thing that should tell you the full story, plus your grandfather's complete service record, would be to apply for his service records. There is a fee for this and a long wait but you would probably find it worthwhile.

Good luck.

Thursday, 05 November, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you both so much for your comments both are really helpful. Cathie I will certainly look at Normans post.

I have seen the forms about the death by accident, the family rumours are that he was shot but a lot of people with better knowledge than us have said possibly not. Just would love to know what he was doing still in Germany and how he did actually die it is so frustrating. I have the forms for request of service records but my uncle is next of kin as the only living sibling of my grandfather my father dies many years ago so may have to gain permission from my uncle first before applying.

I am unsure about how to find out the actual place of death (the first grave site) I have the map reference but finding that difficult too.

Many thanks guys for your help its much appreciated.


Friday, 06 November, 2015  
Blogger Cathie said...

Julie, I just checked the "War History of the Royal Pioneer Corps" and of course there are details concerning the presence and work of the Pioneers at this late date (1945) as they had to repair bridges, roads and maintain equipment that would allow the Allies to keep moving. Chapter X is very detailed, I advise you to order the CD.
I checked their roll of honour : there is a Private PJ HECTOR listed there. So Norman should be able to help you!

As for permission, I think that you, being a direct relative, may have permission to have access to your grand-father's service records. In any case, they will be the source of all reliable information, and very detailed, as I found out.
Good luck!

Friday, 06 November, 2015  
Blogger HC said...

My father served in the Pioneer Corp, he voluntary enlisted in 1939 - in Clitheroe, Lancashire. I understand he took part in the expedition forces Normandy Landings and survived! I have very little factual information of his particular unit and where they went and what they did. He died in 1960 when I was 13. Members of my family tell me that he would not talk about his experiences - only the funny ones. I understand he helped in liberating some of the concentration camps and that he was in Holland. If anyone can give me an idea of which company he was in or how I can find out I'd be grateful.

HC 28/11/16

Monday, 28 November, 2016  
Blogger Cathie said...

Please HC read the other comments to know how to proceed. The Royal Pioneer Corps historian should be able to help you. Good luck.

Monday, 28 November, 2016  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi HC if you haven't already done so request a copy of your father's service records from the MOD first. The should list the companies he served in.

Tuesday, 29 November, 2016  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Hello HC (and others).

As a 'next of kin' of a deceased service man or woman, probably the best thing you could do at this stage is to apply for your father's military service records from the M.O.D. There is a fee payable (at the time of writing £30) and it is likely to take a few months but you should find it worthwhile when it arrives.

Click on this link and it will take you to the relevant page on the M.O.D. website:

Get a copy of military service records (M.O.D.)

Although there are a lot of military acronyms, it is reasonably decipherable and will give you all the relevant dates, units, etc from enlistment to discharge. It does away with any guesswork so you can work out exactly what your father did in the war.

Good luck.

Tuesday, 29 November, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may be interested in viewing a blog I have just started about my grandfather's time in the Pioneers and his experience as an officer training the Basutos.

Find it by googling Major Batley war diary - it is updated as I transcribe his diary - not easy as his writing takes some deciphering!

Thursday, 15 December, 2016  
Blogger Unknown said...

My granddad (who I never met) was in the Pioneer Corps. He became a major and was in charge of a POW camp in Italy. He was William David Gunn. Does anyone have any info on him?

Friday, 10 February, 2017  
Blogger Unknown said...

My granddad (who I never met) was in the Pioneer Corps in WW2. He became a major and was in charge of a POW camp in Italy. His name was William David Gunn. Anyone have any info on him?

Friday, 10 February, 2017  
Blogger vickilouise said...

this is all so interesting as heroic and sad it is i have loved reading your comments.
im commenting because i have been recently researching my family history and just 2 days ago learnt of an unkinown great great uncle who was in the pioneer corps, so ive been reading up abit on since and ended up here. He was a casualty of WW2 and died on 16 april 1941 age 26 he was Wiltshire born and i have seen a photo of a memorial with he,s with other names on that is in a church in Wooten Bassett and he is also buried in a cemetery in Wooten Bassett. Ive also seen his name on an army roll of honours list i would love to find out more about what happened to him. I am going to have to visit Wiltshire one, to pay my respects to my gr gr unncle but it turns out i have 5xs gr gr generations of grandparents in wiltshire so far going back to 1750, so theres alot more to find out i hope. But is there anywhere i could find out more details about Herbert. my great great uncle
Private Herbert C Page died on 16 April 1941 Age 26 buried in Wooten Bassett.

Monday, 16 October, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father, Silverio Marco served in No 1 Spanish Company Pioneer Corp from 1940 to 1946 and being lucky enough to have his service number which had been annotated on his British marriage certificate I applied for his service record from 'Army Personnel Centre, Support Division Historical Disclosures, Mail Point 555, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX. For the cost of £30 they provided me with a complete service history including Enlistment and Discharge Documents. They also provided me with other avenues to research. Took about 5 weeks and well worth the money.

Thursday, 28 December, 2017  

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