Allocations of Officers to WW2 Army Regiments

As the title says - how did it work?

Was it "this 10 here, off to 3 WG, all their Subalterns died yesterday" or did individuals get any kind of choice?
 
90-day wonders, off to the Oik regiments with you. Proper chaps, line up here and tell me who your father is and howmuch of Surrey he owns...
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
As the title says - how did it work?

Was it "this 10 here, off to 3 WG, all their Subalterns died yesterday" or did individuals get any kind of choice?
David Render's book describes how, fresh out of training, he was taken off an exercise (iirc) and put on a train to the South coast. There, he's put in charge of a team waterproofing Cromwells and loading them onto an LST. Then he discovers they're halfway to Normandy. Other side, he's put in a jeep and taken to a distribution centre. Another jeep takes him up the line and he discovers he's now a troop leader in Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry.

The crew are battle hardened 7 Armd Div, reckon they've done their bit and refuse to speak to him cos they know he'll be dead in a week.

Survived and wrote an autobiography, "Tank Action".
 

QRK2

LE
Ken Tout similarly describes ending up a a different Regiment to that whose badge he wore in training. For both officers and men it seems that you got pretty much sent where you were needed much as the champions of the 'Regimental System' try to ignore it. IIRC the wartime AG Adam (An Old Etonian Gunner IIRC) wanted to bin the regiments but it never happened for all the usual reasons.
 
Here is an interesting film on officer selection during WW2. To be perfectly honest, I don't think it answers your question 100%, as that would have been later in the process, though it is still well worth watching.

 

oldnotbold

War Hero
A fair number of SNCOs seem to have been commissioned in the field, at least in my old unit (yeomanry). This followed the regiment's pre-war practice of commissioning only after a period in the ranks. Fifty years on several asked MOD if they could swap the roneoed forms they'd been given at the time for proper parchments. MOD, helpful and sympathetic as ever, said not as it was too complicated.
 
David Render's book describes how, fresh out of training, he was taken off an exercise (iirc) and put on a train to the South coast. There, he's put in charge of a team waterproofing Cromwells and loading them onto an LST. Then he discovers they're halfway to Normandy. Other side, he's put in a jeep and taken to a distribution centre. Another jeep takes him up the line and he discovers he's now a troop leader in Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry.

The crew are battle hardened 7 Armd Div, reckon they've done their bit and refuse to speak to him cos they know he'll be dead in a week.

Survived and wrote an autobiography, "Tank Action".
His post war life was interesting. In the early 50s he helped Colin Chapman start Lotus. Neither was particularly forthcoming about what he did, but it must have been significant.

Render was a reasonably successful club racing driver in the 50s and early 60s, nothing hugely spectacular. He then turned to hill climbing. In the 70s Render would turn up to British Hillclimb Championship in a full blown works JPS Lotus F1 car with Team Lotus mechanics to run it. All he ever said was that Chapman lent it to him in return for help in the 50s.

Somewhere at my parents place there’s a picture of me aged 12 sitting in his Lotus 76 at Shelley Walsh.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Ken Tout similarly describes ending up a a different Regiment to that whose badge he wore in training. For both officers and men it seems that you got pretty much sent where you were needed much as the champions of the 'Regimental System' try to ignore it. IIRC the wartime AG Adam (An Old Etonian Gunner IIRC) wanted to bin the regiments but it never happened for all the usual reasons.
It's worth pointing out.

15/19H, 4/7DG and 5 Skins, an ad hoc recce brigade were incompetently sacrificed in front of the River Dendre near Brussels, 18 May 40 to preserve Monty's 3 Div. 15/19H lost ½ their total war casualties in a single day. From a letter to Alanbrooke, it would appear that Monty was close to tears.

Although numbers were restored within a couple of weeks after Dunkirk and 15/19H were restored to the OrBat (as a motor machine gun battalion — all the tanks were smoking in Belgium), they proceeded to spend until August 1944 training. Every time they got close to battle ready, a squadron would be shipped out as battle casualty replacements.

Then they'd retrain on new tanks.

According to the official history, of all the regulars and recalled reservists with the regiment in September 1939, by May 1945 there were four left still badged 15/19H and with the regiment.
 
For a long time, if you were commissioned from the ranks, it was standard practice to post you to a regiment where you were not known (it being held to be difficult to command people who might have been higher in rank than you). George Macdonald Fraser was a private in the Kings Own Border Regiment, when commissioned, he ended up in The Gordon Highlanders.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
For a long time, if you were commissioned from the ranks, it was standard practice to post you to a regiment where you were not known (it being held to be difficult to command people who might have been higher in rank than you). George Macdonald Fraser was a private in the Kings Own Border Regiment, when commissioned, he ended up in The Gordon Highlanders.
Some of that was by choice.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
For a long time, if you were commissioned from the ranks, it was standard practice to post you to a regiment where you were not known (it being held to be difficult to command people who might have been higher in rank than you). George Macdonald Fraser was a private in the Kings Own Border Regiment, when commissioned, he ended up in The Gordon Highlanders.
My bold. A different battalion from my Uncle Jack, 2 Borders, died up the Irrawaddy 18 March 44.

 
@alfred_the_great Units would keep a slack handful of subalterns in reserve at Battalion/ Regimental HQ, otherwise employed in non-essential roles. They would replace killed platoon commanders.

The regiment would then call on the brigade reinforcement camp for more - preferably same capbadge, second preference same regimental theme ( regional regimental background, light div, household etc ), third preference officers from regiments in the same brigade. In practice, there was often an overlap between theme and brigade.

The reinforcements had practically no choice unless they were in the Life Guards or particularly persistent e.g. Colin Mitchell who wanted to join a particular battalion of the A&SH, pulled in favours to avoid Normandy and blagged his way to Italy to join it.

If staff officers or sub-unit commanders were killed then they'd either promote from within or pull in officers of the same capbadge in the same Brigade.

In extremis - on the wrong end of Rommel, Normandy bocage, Salerno etc - you got who you were given and made the best of it. A large number of Gunner officers were forcibly transferred to the infantry in 1944 - posted for a 3 week battle camp, sent to France, given a new beret/ToS by a storemen and a platoon by their new company commander. They were generally not rather happy about it but the alternative - resign your commission & get posted to the infantry anyway - was worse.
 
@alfred_the_great Units would keep a slack handful of subalterns in reserve at Battalion/ Regimental HQ, otherwise employed in non-essential roles. They would replace killed platoon commanders.

The regiment would then call on the brigade reinforcement camp for more - preferably same capbadge, second preference same regimental theme ( regional regimental background, light div, household etc ), third preference officers from regiments in the same brigade. In practice, there was often an overlap between theme and brigade.

The reinforcements had practically no choice unless they were in the Life Guards or particularly persistent e.g. Colin Mitchell who wanted to join a particular battalion of the A&SH, pulled in favours to avoid Normandy and blagged his way to Italy to join it.

If staff officers or sub-unit commanders were killed then they'd either promote from within or pull in officers of the same capbadge in the same Brigade.

In extremis - on the wrong end of Rommel, Normandy bocage, Salerno etc - you got who you were given and made the best of it. A large number of Gunner officers were forcibly transferred to the infantry in 1944 - posted for a 3 week battle camp, sent to France, given a new beret/ToS by a storemen and a platoon by their new company commander. They were generally not rather happy about it but the alternative - resign your commission & get posted to the infantry anyway - was worse.
Ironic that Colin Mitchell ended up in Italy with the 8th Battalion was wounded superficially and because he didn't go to the CCS missed out on his Italy star. He was a man of mystery but very attracted to the shiny dangly things, even worse was missing out on a possible DSO in Aden!
 
@alfred_the_great Units would keep a slack handful of subalterns in reserve at Battalion/ Regimental HQ, otherwise employed in non-essential roles. They would replace killed platoon commanders.

The regiment would then call on the brigade reinforcement camp for more - preferably same capbadge, second preference same regimental theme ( regional regimental background, light div, household etc ), third preference officers from regiments in the same brigade. In practice, there was often an overlap between theme and brigade.

The reinforcements had practically no choice unless they were in the Life Guards or particularly persistent e.g. Colin Mitchell who wanted to join a particular battalion of the A&SH, pulled in favours to avoid Normandy and blagged his way to Italy to join it.

If staff officers or sub-unit commanders were killed then they'd either promote from within or pull in officers of the same capbadge in the same Brigade.

In extremis - on the wrong end of Rommel, Normandy bocage, Salerno etc - you got who you were given and made the best of it. A large number of Gunner officers were forcibly transferred to the infantry in 1944 - posted for a 3 week battle camp, sent to France, given a new beret/ToS by a storemen and a platoon by their new company commander. They were generally not rather happy about it but the alternative - resign your commission & get posted to the infantry anyway - was worse.
Thanks!
 
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