Updated 5 February,2014

Cass, Gordon William George, Private M/284791

Charlie, now Private M/284791, was mobilized6 from the Army Reserve on 16 January,1917, then posted to the Army Service Corps (ASC) on 22 January when he joined the Motor Transport (MT) section at Grove Park, London SE. In his ASC memories he mentions being in the Silvertwon area of south london when the enormous explosion occured on the evening of 19 January.

Grove Park or "Grove Park Hospital" as it was, was built as a workhouse for the poor of Greenwich in 1902. In 1912 it was taken over by the Army Service Corps to be used as a Mobilization and Training Centre’. It later became a hospital but after this it closed and the site became a housing estate with only a few of the hospital buildings being preserved. It is now in the London Borough of Lewisham.

This modern view is of the main entrance and is kindly provided by Dr J D Johnston of the web site Histories of Hospitals in the area of Greenwich.

Within a few days, on 29 January, he had been "tested" in the Workshops and his Trade was given as Learner Fitter7 by 2nd Lt Read.

During 1917, Charlie's next-of-kin, his father, was shown8 as still living at 11 Avenue Road in Scarborough.

Charlie mentions in his ASC memories, his time at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain followed by a second sojourn at Grove Park. Larkhill is now the home of the Royal School of Artillery. In his handwritten summary, dated 6 June,1917, of his "practical experience"12 he says that he spent "five weeks in the Motor Repair Shop at Larkhill Camp (ASC) Salisbury Plain". The only mention of Larkhill in the records to hand is that he was at "S of A" from 19 October,1917.

During the next few months Charlie would have learnt to drive; he passed his Learners Test on 19 May and was reclassified as "Lt Car Driver" the following day. Five days after this, on 24 May, he had filled in the application form to join the Royal Flying Corps as an officer.

This postcard shows Charlie, age 19, with a school friend, William Morley Wright, produced by a commercial photographer "Nola" of 234 High Street, Lewisham. The image was very kindly provided by Joy Clough who says,

"The R.C. ll is my father-in-law, Richard Clough, who was the same age as G W G Cass, and was Head Boy at Scarborough College. The College was evacuated to Keswick during the Great War due to the shelling of Scarborough from the sea."

His discharge papers9 record that his Trade on leaving the ASC was "Engineers Apprentice".

His application must have been speedily vetted and accepted as he was discharged9 from the ASC on 5 December,1917, having spent almost the entire year of 1917 in that Corps. The Proceedings on Discharge9 form notes that his Service was 1 Year 184 Days i.e. from the date of Attestation to Discharge.

The record8 notes the Place of Casualty for the Discharge as being "Norwood". In his ASC memories he mentions visits and billets in Grove Park, Norwood, Catford, Forest Hill and Sydenham.

A summary of his service in the ASC is provided.

6. source: Statement of the Services of No. M/284791 Gordon William George Cass

7. source: Certificate of Trade Proficiency (Army Service Corps).

8. source: Casualty Form - Active Service Army Form B.103

9. source: Proceedings on Discharge

12. handwritten summary of his "practical experience"

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