Bromley, Tom Ramsden (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 9544
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 210, Number Of Items 7
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British NCO served as driver with Motor Transport Section, Army Service Corps on Western Front, 1915-1919

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Bolton and Manchester, GB, 1897-1914: family life and social conditions; memory of death of Queen Victoria, 1901; education; employment; opinion of Regular Army; question of knowledge of international affairs; description of patriotic response to outbreak of war and recruitment campaigns; memory of thermometer outside Manchester Town Hall showing number of men enlisted; reason wanting to enlist, 2/1915; attitude to conscientious objectors and white feathers; story of being rejected for infantry and enlistment with Army Service Corps in London, 4/1915; question of driving ability and eyesight; posted to Grove Park for basic training; issued with kit; description of vehicles used by Army Service Corps; reaction of parents to enlistment; previous knowledge and experience of cars and engines; story of volunteering to be driver and memory of first car. REEL 2 Continues: comments on basic design of cars in 1914; story of driving Vauxhall car from Avonmouth to London and mechanical problems; entrained from Southampton to Le Havre and arrived Rouen, France, 15/Apr/1915. Recollections of operations as driver with Army Service Corps on Western Front, 1915-1918: question of lack of training; daily duties at Motor Transport depot, Rouen; story of passing driving test on second attempt; memory of driving Singer car in Ypres area, 5/1915; description of role as driver for officer of 5th Div Signals Coy; reaction to first experience of shelling; effects of gas and precautions; memory of attacks by German planes; problem of poor road conditions; question of motor transport and horses; posted to GHQ at St.Omer and duties in workshop; posted as corporal to 7th Div Ammunition Sub-Park at Corbie, 12/1915; description of function of Ammunition Sub-Park and role supplying ammunition to 4th Army area near Albert; question of supplies of ammunition. REEL 3 Continues: further description of ammunition delivery in Somme area, 1-6/1916; question of driving at night and lights; description of preparations for Somme offensive and memory of preliminary bombardment, 7/1916; location of 7th Div in Mametz/Montauban area on 1/Jul/1916; question of maintaining supplies of ammunition during Somme offensive and description of conditions; story of Army Service Corps team hit by shell and casualties; question of casualties on 1/Jul/1916; problem of congestion on roads and poor driving conditions; use of one-way system; question of morale and inexperienced troops; problem of lack of ambulances; description of ammunition supplied and problem of dud shells; comparison of German and Allied organisation and trench systems; problem of starting engines during severe winter, 1916-1917. REEL 4 Continues: promoted sergeant and moved to Arras front, 4/1917; description of ammunition supply chain and comparison to Somme front; story of promotion to Company Quarter-Master Sergeant and nature of responsibilities; question of initiative and organisational ability; control of petrol supplies; opinion of rations; nicknames for various rations including Tickler's Jam; question of rum ration; story of primus stove on ammunition boxes and question of accidents; description of London buses and role in transporting troops and wounded; description of bomb damage in Arras; description of role as CQMS; opinion of officers; story of application for commission being rejected because of age; question of NCO's pay. REEL 5 Continues: transferred to 1st Army Siege Park at Bethune, 1917; role with siege guns and Royal Garrison Artillery personnel; description of various types of caterpillars; effects of German offensive on Bethune area, 4/1918 and amusing story of CO playing Patience; problem of Portuguese troops abandoning positions; description of retreat to Arras; moved to Douai, 10/1918; relations with French civilians; memory of news of Armistice and celebrations, 11/Nov/1918; amusing story of obtaining early demobilization; description of railway guns. REEL 6 Continues: question of corruption in Army Service Corps; description of maps and road markings; living conditions and state of health; washing and sanitary facilities; shaving and use of safety razor; problem of lice and delousing procedure; prevalence of VD and attitude to prostitutes and brothels; problem of rats; communication with home; story of home leave and memory of departure from Victoria Station; question of morale and discipline in Army Service Corps; amusing story of verbatim report; question of sense of humour while at front; comparison of men from north and south of GB; recreational activities including concerts at Bethune; sings extracts from two songs 'Wait 'Till the Sun Shines Nellie' and 'Lizzie Tucker'. REEL 7 Continues: Reflections on period of war service.

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