Royal Defence Corps (RDC) :: Shared Description

The Royal Defence Corps was introduced by a Royal Warrant of 17 March 1916 and promulgated by Army Order 115 of 19 March 1916.
“To carry out duties connected with the local defence of the United Kingdom, including those hitherto performed by the Supernumerary Territorial Force Companies, as well as those allotted to the Observer Companies now in process of formation“.
The Royal Defence Corps was a corps of the British Army formed in March 1916 and disbanded in 1936.

It was initially formed by converting the (Home Service) Garrison battalions of line infantry regiments. Garrison battalions were composed of soldiers either too old or medically unfit for active front-line service; the Home Service status indicated they were unable to be transferred overseas.
The role of the corps was to provide troops for security and guard duties inside the United Kingdom; guarding important locations such as ports or bridges. It also provided independent companies for guarding prisoner-of-war camps.

The RDC would consist of two types of unit:

1. Protection Companies. They would take over the duties of the Supernumerary Territorial Force Companies and would come into existence on 29 April 1916. While it was expected that the number of such units would vary across the army’s geographical command areas, company numbers were issued in blocks of 50.
Protection Companies 1-50 would be for Lines of Communication Companies.
Protection Companies 51-100 would be for Eastern Command.
Protection Companies 101-150 would be for London District
Protection Companies 151-200 would be for Northern Command
Protection Companies 201-250 would be for Scottish Command
Protection Companies 251-300 would be for Southern Command
Protection Companies 301-350 would be for Western Command.
Any Protection Companies required that were outside this structure would be numbered 351 and upwards
2. Observer Companies. They would be numbered consecutively in their own sequence, starting from 1.

In April 1918 some 27,000 men were serving in the RDC. Of these, 14,000 were employed at prisoner of war camps.
by Richard Hoare
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SC2482 : 33032 Private Patrick O'Brien headstone by Richard Hoare
SC2482 : 76573 Private T J Fell headstone by Richard Hoare
SC2482 : 29765 Private William John Taylor by Richard Hoare


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Created: Thu, 27 Feb 2020, Updated: Sun, 15 Mar 2020

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