The Army Service Corps

The Army Service Corps was an essential part of maintaining the army and keeping its soldiers fed, watered and equipped and able to fulfil their roles on the front line and the home front: providing food, equipment and ammunition, providing horses and vehicles, and keeping supplies moving by horse-drawn and motor transport, rail and water, to wherever they were required.

The Corps was organised into companies – horse transport, mechanical transport, remounts, labour, and supply – served by base depots. Some were under the orders of divisions with the rest under the orders of corps, army or General Headquarters. Not all the soldiers of the Army Service Corps were with the Corps’ companies but were attached to other army units, eg as drivers. At it height, the Corps comprised 10,547 officers and 315,334 men.

Supplying an army of millions – building up to 2 million in France alone – was an enormous task, and the majority of goods and equipment required overseas was supplied from Britain. The complex supply chain had to move these vast quantities of supplies from Britain to a base port, from there to a divisional railhead or advanced supply depot, onwards to a divisional refilling point, then to the forward dumps from where a unit itself would move supplies to the front line.

The 53rd (Welsh) Division was served prior to departure from Bedford by the:

  • 53rd Divisional Train, Army Service Corps, comprising the 479th, 480th, 481st, and 482nd companies although this Train did not sail to Gallipoli with the 53rd (Welsh) Division and transferred to the 11th (Northern) Division to serve in France

The 68th (2nd Welsh) Division was served by the:

  • 68th (2/1st Welsh) Divisional Train, Army Service Corps, comprising the 549th, 550th, 551st and 552nd companies 

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