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Canada/Covers & Postmarks : Canadian Army Cover

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Linus
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10 Dec 2015
09:32:23pm
This stampless WWII cover from Field Post Office 453 is my latest research puzzle. I found one with a similar postmark on a postal history dealer's website, and he described his cover as "First Canadian Corps Supply Point Great Britain." Does anyone know what city this was posted from? I think it might be Liverpool, but I am not sure.

On the reverse, there is a rubber stamp return address. My best guess on these letters is this: 1 CORPS TROOPE AMN. CDY. MDASD Does anyone know what these letters stand for?

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Another interesting thing about this cover is the date of the cancel, May 24, 1941.

On this date, Nazi Germany's largest battleship, the Bismarck, sank the pride of the Royal Navy, the battlecruiser HMS Hood. Of the 1418 men aboard, only 3 survived.

Linus


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Ningpo
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10 Dec 2015
10:32:03pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

Are you able to provide a large close-up scan of the purple cachet because you may not have this quite right.

It's difficult to tell but I think I see: 1 CORPS TROOPS, AMN COY. I can't make out the last line but the letters seem different to your interpretation.

I'm guessing here that AMN COY may be short for Ammunition Company. It would seem that this is one of a number of Canadian Supply Points.

I have found a reference to Field Post Office 453 THC but no explanation of 'THC'. It is though the same FPO CDS as yours, just dated earlier the same year.

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Ningpo
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10 Dec 2015
11:14:52pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

I think the reference to THC is an error in the listing, for I have found a couple of examples of FPO-THC1 CDS postmarks. Nothing to do with FPO 453.

Of all Canadian Army FPO useage I have seen so far (and there are many), I've only found one in Manchester (this is the Postal Service unit), one in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland. The majority were all based in the south and east of England.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
11 Dec 2015
08:26:02am
re: Canadian Army Cover

I can't add anything to the RCA field post cover, but should let you know that corps are typically indicated by Roman numerals, so this would be I Corps.

There is a catalogue of WWII APOs and BPOs developed by Helbock that is sometimes able to identify both the unit and its location at specific times; is there a corresponding catalogue for Canadian units and FPOs?


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DavidG
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APS member since 2004
11 Dec 2015
08:58:33pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

David:

There are a number of reference books for Cdn Military markings from BNAPS (British North America Philatelic Society). Visit them at www.bnaps.org.

Where do you see a marking on this cover for the RCA? (Royal Canadian Artillery)

David

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
12 Dec 2015
02:15:03pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

David,

i think i must have used the wrong acronym for Royal Canadian Army

David

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DavidG
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APS member since 2004
12 Dec 2015
08:43:15pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

David:

There is, nor was, a Royal Canadian Army. It is the Canadian Army. The Corps are mostly titled Royal.

David

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
12 Dec 2015
11:28:53pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

there we have it

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Ningpo
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14 Dec 2015
06:54:58pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

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Linus
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14 Dec 2015
11:04:43pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

Yes Ningpo! I am still alive! Where the heck did you get that sign? Thanks for giving me a good laugh, today.

Thanks to all of you who replied to my post. I have still been digging around the internet trying to figure out this cover. The rubber stamp on the back is small and smudgy and when I try to make it bigger, it gets blurry and is still smudgy. I just cannot make it much better. The first line is "1 CORPS TROOPS" with a one, although internet sources use both a "1" and an "I" my cover uses a "1" which can be seen with my 8X magnifier. The second line "AMN. COY." is definitely "Ammunition Company" as you thought Ningpo. I have found references to verify that. The third line is still a complete mystery, and not sure about the first letter at all. Unconfirmed possibilities:

MDASD Motor Drivers Ammunition Sub Depot (Motor Drivers was used in WWI, so not sure.)
ROASD ? ? Army Supply Depot
MOASD ? ?
RDASD ? ?

I have found that ASD could be either Army Supply Depot or Ammunition Sub Depot.

There are reference books about the Canadian Field Post Offices, but I could not find any that I can look into on the web without buying the book. That is all I know, Ningpo.

Sorry I was slow to answer back.

Linus


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Ningpo
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15 Dec 2015
09:20:42am
re: Canadian Army Cover

It's a pity that 'cachet' is so blurred Linus. Until another one turns up we'll be none the wiser. The difficulty is that so many different handstamps were used, seemingly down to unit level.

As DavidG pointed out, BNAPS (British North America Philatelic Society) probably is the main source of such information, but you would have to join of course.

You mentioned Liverpool as a possible location. If this was an ammo supply depot, then I suppose Liverpool could have been the supply docks, which may have reduced the incidence of Luftwaffe bombing raids.

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malcolm197
21 Dec 2015
06:01:43pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

According to Wikipedia the 1st Canadian Corps was not established until 1943 in Italy, but before that there was just "Canadian Corps" ( badly mauled at Dieppe in 1942 ). Therefore I suggest that it was "Canadian Corps Troops Ammunition Company" - in other words a unit of company strength servicing the whole of the Corps which at that time was probably at little more than one or two Division strength. I think the "1" you think you can see is actually the edge of the handstamp as seen all along beneath the lettering.Could the other lettering be RCASC ( Royal Canadian Army Service Corps) - the army logistics organisation?

A central ammunition facility is most unlikely to have been based in a major city particularly Liverpool which was a prime target for air attack, and also at high risk of accidental explosion. Liverpool was in fact quite severely bombed, and defence against night bombing was pretty basic at this time. The Liverpool connection is probably explained by the fact that it was the main port of entry from North America( along with Glasgow).

Malcolm

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malcolm197
21 Dec 2015
06:26:21pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

Just to clarify "Corps". In the British Military parlance this had 2 meanings.

Firstly as an operational formation ( in Naval Terms - a task force) - usually 3 divisions ,but could be more or less according to the task.

Secondly a specialist organisation, distributed among operational units according to need,equivalent in organisational terms to an infantry or cavalry regiment. Examples are Service Corps, Medical Corps, Pay Corps, Veterinary Corps, Army Air Corps and Pioneer Corps. Examples without the word Corps included are Engineers (RE),Artillery(RA),Military Police(RMP), Royal Signals and REME - Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.Elements of each were attached to most Brigades, with additional specialised formations attached to Divisions, Corps and Armies as appropriate.

The Canadian Corps was formed as it was deemed to be desirable by both the British and Canadian Armies to have a Canadian formation commanded by Canadian Officers as a distinct tactical unit, even if ultimately it strategically was under British command.

Malcolm

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Linus
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22 Dec 2015
08:14:26pm
re: Canadian Army Cover

Malcolm,

Thanks for responding to this thread. I have read the same "1st Canadian Corps" Wikipedia article that you mentioned, but there is more to the puzzle. You make two points. First, I must respectfully disagree about the "1" in "1 CORPS TROOPS." With an 8X magnifier, you can clearly see the serif of the "1" and I have no doubt that this represents "1st Corps Troops." I have found proof that this was in use from August of 1938, from my further research. Second, you asked could the bottom row of letters be RCASC? At first, I thought no way, but now, after further research, I think you might be correct, sir. It actually makes the most sense. Check this out for yourself:

Open a web browser to http://rcasc.org
A webpage opens for the "Royal Canadian Army Service Corps"
Click on "Corps History" on the left side
On the next page, click on "CASC/RCASC Units"
On the next page, go to the bottom of the page and click "NEXT" as we need page 2.
This page displays: "2. 1918-AT THE END OF THE GREAT WAR"
Go down this page and find : "3. 1938 - ON THE EVE OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR Reference: Defence forces List August 1938"

Keep looking down this list under: "Military District #3 (Ottawa)" and BINGO! There it is:

"1st Corps Troops Ammunition Company" a unit of "1st Corps Troops RCASC"

The letters in the last line of the rubber stamp could very well be RCASC if the C's were filled with ink to look like O's or D's. I sure think that RCASC makes the most sense after finding this web page.

And David (amsd), there actually is an RCA, you just left off the SC part, and it stands for Royal Canadian Army.

So I think this is probably an RCASC cover:

"1st Corps Troops Ammunition Company Royal Canadian Army Service Corps"

What do you think?

Linus











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malcolm197
24 Dec 2015
10:05:16am
re: Canadian Army Cover

Obviously as a Brit I have no inside knowledge of the Canadian Army, but my argument was extrapolated from my knowledge of British Army practice, and up to the end of WW2 the Dominions tended to mirror British Army practice,albeit with a much smaller permanent establishment. Since the formation of NATO American practice has tended to creep in more.

I have been giving a bit more thought to the "1st" argument. It is probable that up to the period mentioned in the Wiki article the 1st Corps was the only one in theatre and hence the use of 1st was superfluous in practice if not officially until the formation of a 2nd. Until operations commenced the Corps would be a static rather than operational entity but once in the field along with other (British ) numbered Corps the enhanced title would be a more appropriate distinction.

It is I think significant that the designation 1st was used whereas British Army convention on operations was to use the Latin system of numerals I,II,III,IV etc,the smaller and larger,Brigades, Divisions and Armies and as far as I know,even verbally, "four corps" would be used rather than 4th. Interestingly even today Royal Marine Commandos 42 and 45(note without nd and th) are known verbally as Four- Two and Four- Five.

The place of traditional uniforms and insignia,regimental esprit-de-Corps, and custom and practice is often not understood by non-Commonwealth military and civilians. It is often described as quaint and anachronistic,but actually plays an important part in morale terms.

Malcolm

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