Royal Army Ordnance Corps
History of the RAOC
The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) was a corps of the British Army. When it was renamed in 1918 it became a Royal Corps and was both a supply and repair corps.
In the supply area it had responsibility for weapons, armoured vehicles and other military equipment, ammunition and clothing and certain minor functions such as laundry, mobile baths and photography. The RAOC was also responsible for a major element of the repair of Army equipment.
As with the rest of the British Army in WW1 the AOD and AOC was extended to increase in mechanical technology.
The depots at Woolwich, Weedon and Pimlico were supplemented by the wholesale take-over of warehouses throughout the country and in early 1915 a depot was established at Didcot to be the major focus for the receipt and distribution of RAOC stores. Ammunition storage was also expanded dramatically and the former peacetime magazines at places such as Purfleet, Portsmouth and Plymouth were supplemented by purpose-built depots at Bramley, Altrincham, Credenhill and Didcot.
Leading up to WW2 re-armament and the mechanisation of the Army led to a redesign of the UK base. A Central Ordnance Depot (COD) and workshop to support vehicles, built on the site of the First World War National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell, opened in 1937. The operation of the Chilwell depot based itself on civilian work practices to improve it’s army service.
In 1938 COD Branston was established, initially to serve as the Army's main clothing store, freeing up space at COD Didcot. At the outbreak of the WW2 there were five CODs: Branston, Chilwell, Didcot, Weedon and Woolwich.
In 1942 the repair of Army equipment was transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, shortened to the REME. The vehicle storage and spares responsibilities which were part of the Royal Army Service Corps were placed under the RAOC. The RAOC retained repair responsibilities for ammunition, clothing, and certain ranges of general stores
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