Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps (RASC)

The Army Service Corps, is the same as the RASC: it received the Royal prefix in late 1918.

The officers and men of the ASC – sometimes referred to in a joking, disparaging way as Ally Sloper’s Cavalry – were the unsung heroes of the British Army in the Great War. Soldiers can not fight without food, equipment and ammunition. They can not move without horses or vehicles. It was the ASC’s job to provide them. In the Great War, the vast majority of the supply, maintaining a vast army on many fronts, was supplied from Britain. Using horsed and motor vehicles, railways and waterways, the ASC performed prodigious feats of logistics and were one of the great strengths of organisation by which the war was won. At peak, the ASC numbered an incredible 10,547 officers and 315,334 men.

The Organisation of the ASC
The ASC was organised into units known as Companies, each fulfilling a specific role. In most cases the Company also had a sub-title name describing its role.

Some of the Companies were under orders of the Divisions of the army; the rest were under direct orders of the higher formations of the Corps, Army or General Headquarters of the army in each theatre of war. They were known as part of the Lines of Communication. Many men of the ASC were not, however, with ASC Companies, for many were attached to other types of unit in the army – for example, as vehicle drivers.
Horse Transport
The largest element of the ASC was the Horse Transport section.

Most Horse Transport Companies were under orders of Divisions, with four normally being grouped into a Divisional Train. Others were part of the Lines of Communication where they were variously known by subtitles as Auxiliary Supply Companies or Reserve Parks.

Soldiers who served in the Horse Transport usually had the letter T as a prefix to their number.

Mechanical Transport
The British Army was already the most mechanised in the world when the Great War began, in terms of use of mechanical transport. It maintained that leadership, and by 1918 this was a strategically important factor in being able to maintain supply as the armies made considerable advances over difficult ground.

All Mechanical Transport Companies were part of the Lines of Communication and were not under orders of a Division, although some (unusually known as Divisional Supply Columns and Divisional Ammunition Parks) were in effect attached to a given Division and worked closely with it. Those in the Lines of Communication operated in wide variety of roles, such as being attached to the heavy artillery as Ammunition Columns or Parks, being Omnibus Companies, Motor Ambulance Convoys, or Bridging and Pontoon units. Soldiers who served in the Mechanical Transport usually had the letter M as a prefix to their number.

Remounts
The ASC Remounts Service was responsible for the provisioning of horses and mules to all other army units. The units of the Remounts were always part of the Lines of Communication and were never under direct orders of a Division. Soldiers who served in the Remounts usually had the letter R as a prefix to their number.

ASC Labour Companies
In France and Flanders it was soon discovered in 1914 that the local authorities could not supply civilian men for labouring duties, such as helping the BEF disembark its stores and equipment from ships. The War Office arranged to send 300 labourers for these duties. More followed, and by the end of December 1914 they had been formed into five Labour Companies of the ASC. They were numbered 1 to 5. Many more Companies were formed in 1914 and 1915, but none are well documented.

Each Company consisted of 6 officers and 530 other ranks. Numbers 1 and 2 Labour Companies were officially formed at Aldershot on 24-25 August 1914. A number of Foremen and Gangers were recruited in the early weeks, to act as NCOs. Approximately 21,000 skilled labourers and dock workers had joined by the end of 1915. However, the Companies were not destined to remain for long: 28 of them were absorbed into the newly-created Labour Corps between February and June 1917; 8 other Companies were disbanded between January 1915 and June 1917, with personnel from 3 of these Companies being transferred to the Royal Marines.

The first specialised ASC Railway Labour Company was formed in January 1915, doubling to two in October 1915. They eventually took the numbers 33 and 34 Railway Labour Companies. Detachments were based at Le Havre, Bailleul, Steenwerck, Caestre and Strazeele.

The Supply section, Field Bakeries and Butcheries
The ASC provided an important service in the production of bread and meat for the troops in the field. Details to be added shortly.

Field Bakeries

Reserve Supply Personnel depots (RSP) were located at Aldershot, Bath, Hastings and Prees Heath.

Base Depots
The Base Depots established in the various theatres of war were the primary locations. They were used as main stores; for organisation of men and units going to and from the units in the field; and for administration.

Last Name
Address
Narrative
Lund, Beverley, Uk
       
Died on
20/10/1918
       
Aged
22
Born Lockington, Beverley, 1895. Son of Harriet Hayton, of Lund, Beverley. Employed as a Horseman on Farm Enlisted Driffield. Served as a Driver, Army Service Corps, 120th Coy. Died in Greece, on 12/04/1918, aged 22.
74 WESTBOURNE STREET, HULL, EAST YORKSHIRE, UK
       
Area
       
Died on
07/07/1915
       
Aged
35
BORN SUTTON ON HULL 1879. SON OF JOHN ALEXANDER ALLAN AND FANNY GALLOWAY. MARRIED WAKEFIELD 1906. WIFE HARRIET JANE PAYNE. TWO CHILDREN. THIS WAS HIS 1915 ELECTORAL ADDRESS. SERVED WITH ARMY SERVICE CORPS. HE DIED ON 07/07/1915. BURIED HEDON ROAD CEMETERY, AGED 35.
66, Wilbert Lane, Beverley
       
Died on
24/10/1918
       
Aged
26
Born Broughton, Lancshire, 1892. Eldest son of Charles Harker and Alice Elizabeth Grantham, of 66, Wilbert Lane, Beverley. A former Drayman (1911 Census) Enlisted at Driffield. Served as Corporal in the Army Service Corps, 5th Army AuxilaryHeavy Transport Company. Died while on leave, on 24/10/1918, aged 26.
Bishop Burton, Beverley, Yorks.
       
Died on
28/08/1915
       
Aged
19
Born 17 Sep 1895 • Bishop Burton, Yorkshire East Riding. Son of George Hawes (1848-1940) and Emma Clayton (1856-1940), of Bishop Burton, Beverley, Yorks. A former farm worker (1911 Census). he enlisted in the army in April 1914. Served as a Driver, in No.2 Coy. East Lancs Divisio. Train, Army Service Corps. Died at sea, on 28/08/1915, […]
, KING EDWARDS STREET, HULL, EAST YORKSHIRE, United Kingdom
       
Died on
26/07/1916
       
Aged
23
SON OF THE LATE JOHN W PEASEGOOD AND BEATRICE M (CHAPPELLE) OF VICTORIA VILLA, BROOMFLEET, GILBERDYKE. HIS DEATH WAS REPORTED IN THE HULL DAILY MAIL WITH HIS PHOTOGRAPH ON 9TH JUNE 1916. * HE WAS WELL KNOWN ON THE HULL CARS. HE WAS KILLED IN ACTION AND LEFT A WIDOW AND ONE CHILD, LIVING IN HULL. HE WAS 23 YEARS OLD. HIS TWO OTHER BROTHER […]
CLEVELAND VILLA, SOUTHCOATES LANE, HULL, EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE, United Kingdom
       
       
Died on
21/08/1914
       
Aged
32
BORN HULL 1891. SON OF THOMAS SHEMELDS TAYLOR (1848-1930) AND ELIZABETH BROWN PEARSON (1856-1938), OF CLEVELAND VILLA, SOUTHCOATES LANE, HULL. HIS FATHER WAS A LAUNDRY OWNER AND HULL CITY COUNCIL ALDERMAN. THOMAS WORKED AS A CLERK IN HIS FATHER'S LAUNDRY BUSINESS. HE WAS SHOT BY A SENTRY, PRIVATE GREEN, OF THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT, ON DU […]