Service Number M2/116096
Regiment Royal Army Service Corps
Thomas Edmonds Harland was born in Leeds in 1897, the son of Thomas Michael and Mary Helen Harland and the elder brother of James Pullan Harland. Mary had been born in Linton, but in 1911, the family were living at 216 Harehills Avenue, Leeds where Thomas was a laundryman. The Harland family at this time ran The Jubilee Steam Laundry, with Thomas' father, Thomas Michael Harland, as its head. In the 1908 Kelly's Directory for Leeds their business was boasting branches at Nowell Lane, Harehills Lane, Woodhouse Lane, Hunslet Road, North Street, Beaufort Place, Fenton Street, Roundhay Road and York Road in Leeds.
By 1918, and again in 1919, Thomas appeared on the Collingham absent voters list due to Naval or Military service. He served as a Private, service number M2/116096, in the Royal Army Service Corps. He enlisted in Leeds on the 28th July 1915, giving his address as 1, Nowell Lane, Leeds and his trade as Motor Driver. Thomas underwent training and served in the UK from the 28th July 1915 until the 19th August 1915. He then went to France on the 20th August, embarking on the SS Inventor in Southampton and disembarking the following day in Havre. He was then posted to be attached to 402 Company ASC with 25th Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery.
After a brief period of 7 days leave (from 3rd April 1916 to 10th April) Thomas was posted to 491 Company ASC with 11th Corps. Later he transferred again to 403 MT Company on the 15th September 1916. His transfers and posting came thick and fast a this time, first on the 25th September 1916 to be attached to 1st Anzac HA and then on the 3rd October 1916 to 87 Siege Battery Ammunition Column as part of XIII Corps. Another move, on the 12th January 1917 followed to 363 MT Company and then to 335 MT Company on the 13th April 1917.
In full, Thomas' service record shows him at the following times in the following units:
|Date||Movement||Allocation of Unit|
|20th August 1915||Embarked Southampton|
|21st August 1915||Disembarked Havre and attached 402 Coy, 25th Bde RGA||with 25th Bde RGA|
|3rd April - 10th April 1916||Granted leave|
|18the April 1916||Posted to 491 Coy., 11th Corps||HQ XI Corps Heavy Artillery "L" Corps Siege Park|
|15th Sept 1916||to 403 MT Coy.||with Corps HQ Heavy Artillery|
|25th Sept 1916||ASC attached 1st Anzac HA|
|3rd Oct 1916||To 87 Siege Battery Ammunition Column XIII Corps|
|12th Jan 1917||To 363 MT Coy||Attached HQ V Corps Heavy Artillery "O" Corps Siege Park|
|13th April 1917||To 335 MT Coy||with 14 Bde RGA Attd HQ XIII Corps Heavy Artillery "N" Corps Siege Park|
|27th July 1917||Granted 1st Good Conduct Badge|
|9th Sep - 19th Sept 1917||Leave|
|9th Nov 1917||To 641 MT Coy.||Attached HQ III Corps Heavy Artillery "C" Corps Siege Park|
|15th Dec 1917||To 363 MT Coy||Attached HQ V Corps Heavy Artillery "O" Corps Siege Park|
|29th June 1918||To 272 MT Coy||Attached Australian Heavy Artillery|
|5th July 1918||To 884 MT Coy||with HQ XVIII Corps Heavy Artillery 'T" Corps Siege Park|
|5th Aug 1918||To 594 Coy||Attached HQ X Corps Heavy Artillery "X" Corps Siege Park|
|24th Aug 1918||To 402 Coy (via 611 Coy)||Attached HQ Canadian Corps Heavy Artillery|
|20th Sep 1918||To 403 MT Coy||Attached XXII Corps Heavy Artillery|
|11th Oct 1918||To 402 MT Coy||Attached HQ Canadian Corps Heavy Artillery|
|30th Sep to 14th Oct 1918||Leave|
|19th Oct 1918||To 403 MT Coy||Attached XXII Corps Heavy Artillery|
|1st Dec 1918||To 491 MT Coy.||Attached HQ XI Corps Heavy Artillery 'L" Corps Siege Park|
The mechanised transport (MT) companies of the Army Service Corps had a wide range of roles in transportation on the Western Front, but from the above allocations we can see that Thomas Harland served in a number of MT companies but all were associated with heavy artillery. Some of these units were 'shared' between RGA Siege Batteries and were organised into Siege Parks. Siege Parks attached to Corps were designed for work with Heavy Artillery, but were administered by the ASC. They were answerable to the Heavy Artillery for the haulage of guns, supplying ammunition to batteries when in position, and the movement of batteries, also to the MT Branch of the ASC for the upkeep of lorries and administration of personnel. The planning of parks for lorries and tractors was naturally dependent upon the positions of the guns and the situation of the ammunition railheads, but the movement of lorries was a matter for the ASC. Members of the Corps who supported the heavy guns were often involved in activities which brought them in constant danger, largely due to enemy shelling. A good number became casualties and a number received decorations for bravery.
Thomas was discharged from the Army on the 16th July 1919.
After the war, Thomas returned to the UK and rejoined the laundry industry. In 1939 he was living with his parents at "Willow Bank" on the Leeds Road in Otley where his father's occupation was Laundry Proprietor and Thomas was a Laundry Manager.
Thomas' brother, James Pullan Harland, also served in the Great War and survived, and his sister, Dora Mary Harland, served in the Voluntary Aid Detachment.
Thomas died in 1983.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 26974
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War British Army Service Records. The National Archives (WO363).
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