398 (Airborne) Composite Company RASC

398 (Airborne) Composite Company RASC

1943 to 1948

398 Divisional Airborne Composite Company RASC became an Airborne unit of 6th Airborne Division in late September 1943, when redesignated from the Royal Marine Divisional Composite Company RASC, located in Wimborne with an initial Field Strength of 11 Officers and 351 ORs.

The Coy was immediately thrust into training on glider transport and anti-aircraft firing in the Winter and early Spring of 1944. It was in this period the unit was designated as part of the Seaborne Echelon, undertaking vehicle and landing craft training and extensive work on Waterproofing of equipment up to May 1944. In mid-May a party of 1 Sgt and 35 ORs joined 63 Airborne Composite Company, RASC for aircrew duties (of whom three were later killed during Op 'Rob Roy' re-supply on 7 June 1944 and a further two during the Arnhem operation in September)

Elements of the Coy landed on Juno Beach and subsequently set up a DMA which would come under incessant mortar and shellfire, causing multiple casualties.
The Coy were continually deployed in Op Overlord until returning to the Figsbury Barracks, UK in early September, with Cpt Crane (ex 716 Coy) assuming command in late June when Maj Horton transferred to HQ Divisional Column.

This proved a short command, and he returned to 716 Coy, replaced by then Acting Major ME Phipps in early October 1944. The Coy was sent to the Ardennes on 23 December 1944, where the Coy continued into Belgium and Holland, before taking part in Op Varsity, crossing the Rhine by Pontoon Bridge. The Coy continued with the Division and took part in the 'frantic dash for the Baltic', arriving in Wismar on 3 May 45, before finally returning to the UK.

The Coy were sent to Palestine aboard troop ship HMT Ascania as part of the 6th Airborne deployment in October 1945 and were based at the Gaza Ridge, via Haifa with a Field Strength of 11 Officers and 365 ORs.

398 Composite Coy remained deployed in Palestine and retained its title when troops from 398 Coy and 716 Coy W/Shops were merged in April 1946, rebased to Haifa in November 1947.

Returning to the UK in May 1948, the unit was finally disbanded in June the same year.

 

 

Commanding Officers

Sept 1943-Feb 1944    Maj Jarman
Feb 1944-June 1944    Maj WH Horton
June 1944-Oct 1944    Maj CRR Crane
Oct 1944-1948            Maj ME Phipps

Record under construction - compiled with assistance from John White

 

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