The Army Service Corps

This section of the Long, Long Trail will be helpful for anyone wishing to find out about the history of the units of the Army Service Corps, which became the Royal Army Service Corps in late 1918.

The unsung heroes of the British army in the Great War - the ASC, Ally Sloper's Cavalry. Soldiers can not fight without food, equipment and ammunition. In the Great War, the vast majority of this tonnage, supplying 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. In addition were tens of thousands of Indian, Egyptian, Chinese and other native labourers, carriers and stores men, under orders of the ASC. Yet this vast, sprawling organisation - so vital to enabling the army to fight - merits just four mentions in the Official History of the war.

The organisation of the ASC

The ASC was organised into units known as Companies, each fulfilling a specific role. Some were under orders of or attached to the Divisions of the army; the rest were under direct orders of the higher formations of Corps, Army, Lines of Communication or the General Headquarters of the army in each theatre of war.

Tip for researchers: if your soldier's number had a T prefix he was enlisted into the Horse Transport; M for Mechanical Transport; S for Supply Department; R for Remounts Service.

 


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