Personal Stories

Cpl Colin Bates

Cpl Colin Bates

Author

Unknown

Branch

Army

Personal Stories

My grandfather was born in Paisley, Scotland on January 23rd 1925 he was the third born of a quartet of sons. My grandfather's story in the war began on the 14th December 1942 just short of this 19th birthday when he was enlisted, after training at Glen Parava Barracks and his trade is given as Garage Mechanic, he obtained his vehicle/mechanic licenses.

Records show that he went to 17 Primary Training Centre (17 PTC). Here he was introduced to military life, kitted out with a uniform and rifle and given a thorough medical examination and inoculated. This was his 6 weeks training to get him fit and trained for war.

My grandfather was employed as a Garage Mechanic, he was transferred into the RASC. Here he was to become recognised as a Vehicle Mechanic after being posted to the 14 Training Battalion Royal Army Service Corps (14 Trg Bn RASC) as a Learner Vehicle Mechanic Class 3.

Once trained, he was remustered as Vehicle Mechanic Class 3 on 31st March 1944 and posted to 915 Company Royal Army Service Corps (Anti Aircraft) (915 Coy RASC (AA)) in April 1944 here he was supporting an Anti Aircraft Division in UK with the MT carrying fuel, supplies and ammunition

By July 1944 he was on his way to British West Africa, now Ghana and Nigeria, to join 792 Company West Africa Army Service Corps (792 Coy WAASC).

Following further training in West Africa my grandfather departed from Accra for India in late 1944. While at sea my grandfather wrote a letter home to his mother.

“Dear Mother,

Im sorry for not having written for such a long time but this is the first opportunity I’ve had of getting a letter posted since we left Africa. We only stayed these six weeks but I had time to do some shopping amongst other things that I bought one was a gold ring and it’s quite an unusual shape and I’ve had plenty of offers for it since I bought it”

My grandfather arrived in India on 26th October 1944 and underwent further training with the Lagos training unit until he was posted to the 892 WAASC general transport company.

While working with the 892 company my grandfather travelled between Calcutta, Chittagong, Dohazari and Hatazari to collect stores and on welfare duties, we have many pictures from his time with 892 company but no real details of his work, we do however know that during my grandfathers time in the 892 company he was promoted to corporal.

While working with this company and during his time in Calcutta my grandfather took leave to meet his brother Gordon who was fighting with the Indian XIV Army, you can see below a picture of where my grandfathers brother stayed while waiting for my grandfather this is from my grandfathers photo collection (Picture_1).

After working with the 892 company my grandfather was posted from the XIV list training & reinforcement camp to the 812 company on 10th December 1945 for around 6 months we have various records of him traveling around Rangoon and Burma, he was then transferred to the HQ Burma Command and India Command unit. For the next year my grandfather would be traveling around Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Penang and Burma, the nature of my grandfathers work during this time is something we are still researching.

After receiving his notification of impending release in Burma my grandfather embarked from Rangoon on 18th July 1947 for home, travelling up the Suez Canal he arrived home on the 15th August 1947, sending a telegram to his mum on his arrival (Picture_2)

My grandfather would go on to lead a very full life, becoming a mechanic for more than 30 years, being married for more than 50 years and having two daughters. My grandfather never really talked much about his time in the war but he kept many war papers and various other documents and pictures from the war, they have and are still giving us an amazing insight into his life in the war.

On 2nd March 2014 my grandfather passed away, he left a great legacy behind, one we shall never forget.

I hope to continue his story about his time in the war on my website www.mygrandfatheratwar.co.uk and will be publishing more information as I research it.

You can see all the documents my grandfather carried with him which he brought home on the My Grandfather at war website, we have an amazing collection from Drivers licenses, Movement orders, MOD Files and photos.

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