Friday, May 06, 2005

6 May 1915 - Captain Cooper appointed S.O.

The War Diary records that Captain Cooper - presumably the Capt. Gordon McNeill Cooper (later Major) mentioned in the List of Officers who arrived with the Train in late April - was appointed "S.O." on 6 May. Cooper was a former diamond merchant from London, Ontario, who had previously served for three years with the 16th Company Militia, C.A.S.C. I have been unable to find a reference to this abbreviation, but feel it may mean "Sanitary or Sanitation Officer."

Any comments or suggestions welcomed, and if confirmed, I will change the entry on the CEF Study Group Forum's List of CEF Abbreviations Used in Personnel Records & War Diaries.

The other entry in the War Diary for Thursday 6 May was:
All rations issued thru C.A.S.C. Training Depot.
The following extract from Wait for the Waggon, a History of the Canadian Army Service Corps, p. 101 (The Evolution of Supply and Transport, 1913-1918) described the formation and evolution of the C.A.S.C. Training Depot:
At the end of March 1915 a CASC Training Depot with a strength of 18 Officers and 158 other ranks left Canada for England, where it was located at Shorncliffe. In addition to carrying out training, it accomodated reinforcements arriving from Canada and casualties ready to return to active service. In July, when the CASC took over the supply of all Canadian troops in England, it was reorganized into a Training Company and an Operating Company on order to handle this work.

Drafts sent to France by the Training Depot went first to a Base Depot at Le Havre where they were taken on strength of an Army Service Corps Pool. If urgently required, they went directly from the Pool to operational units. Otherwise, they were sent from the Pool either to a Base Mechanical Transport Depot at Rouen, or to a Base Horse Transport and Supply Depot at Le Havre, both British units, where they received further training until required in the field. Thousands of MT Drivers, including many Canadians, were trained at the former Depot.

Later, two additional CASC Training Depots were opened in England at Bramshott and Witley. However, it was learned that this led to an undesirable diversity of training. They were closed in April 1918, leaving only Shorncliffe.
Wait for the Waggon, The Story of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, by Arnold Warren, publ. 1961, by McClelland and Stewart Limited.


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