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A History of the Army Catering Corps
The Early Years 1941-1953 The   Army   Catering   Corps   did   not   exist   as   a   separate   Corps   in   the   Army   until   1st   January   1965   when   it   was   granted   the   status   of   an   independent Corps   in   its   own   right,   under   the   direction   of   the   Quartermaster   General.   Until   then   the   Catering   Corps   had   been   under   the   control   of   the   Royal Army Service Corps since its formation on 22nd March 1941 under Army Order 35 of 1941. Prior   to   that,   Regiments   had   their   own   cooks,   some   of   whom   were   trained   in   one   of   the   two   cookery   schools   which   existed   in   Aldershot   and Poona   in   India.   Trade   pay   was   introduced   in   1936,   but   equipment   was   poor   and   in   many   units   meals   were   collected   in   bulk   from   the   kitchen   for consumption   in   barrack   rooms.   In   the   late   1930s   the   War   Office   became   aware   of   the   difference   in   standards   of   catering   in   the   other   two Services and the Army Board was tasked with addressing the problem. In   late   1936,   with   tensions   rising   in   Europe,   it   was   felt   necessary   to   increase   the   size   of   the   forces   and   Leslie   Hoare-Belisha   was   appointed Secretary   of   State   for   War.   One   of   his   first   things   he   did   was   to   appoint   Major   General   Beck   to   investigate   the   question   of   cooking   and   food service   and   to   examine   the   existing   methods   of   providing,   training   and   a   career   structure   for   cooks.   His   report   was   not   accepted,   on   financial grounds,   and   the   Secretary   of   State   appointed   Sir   Isidore   Salmon   as   Honorary   Catering   Adviser   for   the   Army,   with   the   remit   of   looking   into   Army messing   standards.   By   June   1938   he   had   produced   a   very   detailed   report   giving   a   of   the   measures   needed   to   make   improvements.   Mr   RAA Byford   was   then   appointed   as   Chief   Inspector   of   Army   Catering   in   the   rank   of   colonel   and   there   quickly   followed   the   appointment   of   civilian catering advisers in each of the Home Commands and the building of a new school of catering in St Omer Barracks, Aldershot. It   was   not   until   27th   July   1940   however,   that   the   Quartermaster   General   once   more   raised   the   question   of   forming   an   Army   Catering   Corps.   This was   not   unanimously   supported   and   the   then   Permanent   Under   Secretary   of   State   said   that   he   felt   that   catering   was   a   civilian   function   and those employed in it should not be of military rank. Nevertheless   the   Army   Catering   Corps   was   formed   on   22nd   March   1941.   During   the   Second   World   War   the   Corps   became   highly   successful   in maintaining   morale   and   many   civilian   catering   experts   were   called   up   to   manage   army   catering   and   the   training   of   cooks.   On   29th   May   1943, under   Army   Order   819   of   1943,   the   Corps   became   an   all   tradesman   Corps.   On   5   October   1945   the   Army   Council   took   the   decision   to   retain   the ACC   as   an   integral   part   of   the   post   war   Army.   The   Corps   then   went   from   strength   to   strength.   The   first   junior   entrants   were   formed   up   on   19th February   1947   and   were   the   fore-runners   of   the   immensely   popular   and   successful   apprenticeship   scheme,   which   became   the   back-bone   of   the now increasingly professional Army Catering Corps. The Middle Years 1953-1973 After   the   war   and   up   to   the   early   1960s,   many   of   the   cooks   were   National   Servicemen   drafted   in   and   allocated   to   jobs.   They   were   generally poorly   motivated,   and   there   was   little   continuity,   craft   progression,   or   incentive   for   them   to   remain   in   the   Army   as   regular   soldiers.   It   was   then that   the   British   Army   was   re-organised   into   an   all-regular   force   and   this   made   a   tremendous   difference.   It   was   recognised   that   catering   and cooking was the business of experts and that all aspects of the profession had to be directed by selected and properly trained staff. The   training   of   not   only   chefs,   but   officers,   warrant   officers   and   non-commissioned   officers   in   the   supervision   of   catering   in   barracks   and   in   the field   became   increasingly   successful.   Members   of   the   ACC   had   for   the   first   time   a   properly   managed   career   structure   and   posting   plan,   which ensured that they developed the proper range of skills for progress through the ranks. The Later Years 1973-1993 The   Army   Catering   Corps   enjoyed   a   long   association   with   the   local   authority   in   Aldershot   and   on   19th   May   1971,   was   granted   the   Freedom   of the   Borough   of   Aldershot,   allowing   it   the   privilege   of   marching   through   the   town   ‘with   bands   playing,   drums   beating   and   bayonets   fixed’.   Again, on   19th   May   1980   the   Corps   received   Freedom   of   the   Borough   of   Rushmore,   which   culminated   in   the   presentation   of   the   Freedom   Scroll   in   a solid silver casket, in a ceremony held at the Rushmore Arena. By   the   early   1980s,   the   Corps   was   a   highly   respected   and   integral   part   of   every   unit   in   the   British   Army.   Its   soldiers   were   fit,   professional,   and highly   motivated,   and   pioneers   of   catering   management   training.   It   is   quite   often   forgotten   that   ACC   cooks   served   with   the   Household   Division, SAS   and   Parachute   Regiment.   The   ACC   also   trained   and   employed   Gurkha   cooks,   non-commissioned   officers,   warrant   officers   and   officers,   in British cuisine and kitchen management, as well as Gurkha cookery. In   1991   the   Corps   was   feted   across   the   world   as   caterers   and   their   units   proudly   shared,   the   celebration   of   the   Corps’   50th   Anniversary.   Soon after   this   historic   milestone   in   the   Corps’   history,   pressure   began   to   mount   for   the   Armed   Forces   to   reduce   in   size   because   of   the   perceived reduction   in   the   threat   to   world   peace.   After   considerable   and   wide-ranging   studies   one   of   the   major   decisions   taken   was   to   make   1000   ACC officers   and   all   ranks   redundant   and   to   amalgamate   several   of   the   service-providing   Corps   under   one   cap   badge.   As   a   result   The   Royal   Logistic Corps   was   born   on   5th   April   1993   and   the   Army   Catering   Corps   was   amalgamated   into   it   with   the   Postal   and   Courier   Service   of   the   Royal Engineers, the Royal Corps of Transport, The Royal Ordnance Corps and the Royal Pioneer Corps. The   Army   Catering   Corps   has   therefore   had   a   very   short   history,   but   the   training   and   employment   of   cooks   in   the   Army   is   still managed   by   professional   military   caterers.   The   Army   School   of   Catering   became   a   tri-service   training   establishment   in 2006   and   soldiers   passing   through   the   new   Defence   Food   Services   School   at   Worthy   Down   near   Winchester,   leave   with National Vocational Qualifications and can build their portfolios over the whole of their career. RLC   Chefs   are   still   serving   with   distinction   in   British   regiments   in   all   theatres   of   operation,   just   as   their   predecessors did   all   those   years   ago.   Importantly,   the   Corps   members   past   and   present   still   gather   annually   in   different   parts   of   the country to share thoughts, words and deeds, through the Army Catering Corps Association and its satellites. The   Royal   Logistic   Corps   Cap   badge   incorporates   one   element   of   each   of   the   forming   Corp’s   badges,   including   the motto of the Army Catering Corps “We Sustain”. The Army Service Corps’ Heritage comes full circle The   Army   Service   Corps   was   formed   in   December   1888.   In   1918   the   ASC   received   the   "Royal"   prefix   for   its   service   in   the   First   World   War   and became   the   Royal   Army   Service   Corps.   The   RASC   was   divided   into   Transport   and   Supply   Branches,   with   the   Supply   trades   including   butchers, bakers and supply issuers. They trained at Aldershot. The   "Cook"   trade   was   placed   under   the   control   of   the   Army   Catering   Corps   on   the   Corps'   creation   in   March   1941.   The   ACC   was   formed   as   a subsidiary element of the Supply Branch of the Royal Army Service Corps. In   1965   the   Army   Catering   Corps   was   granted   the   status   of   an   independent   Corps.   At   the   same   time   all   the   remaining   RASC   Supply   Branch functions   were   transferred   to   the   Royal   Army   Ordnance   Corps.   The   Transport   Branch   of   the   RASC   was   merged   with   the   Transportation   and Movement Control Service of the Royal Engineers to form the Royal Corps of Transport. In   1993   all   the   successor   Corps   of   the   original   1888   Army   Service   Corps,   RAOC,   RCT   and   the   ACC   were   reorganised   back   into   a   single   corps,   The Royal Logistic Corps. Making The RLC the modern descendant of the ASC. Post 2009 Pressure   on   the   size   of   the   Armed   forces   and   the   increasing   use   of   contractors   in   support   services   continues   to   put   pressure   on   military manpower   and   the   latest   Defence   Review   is   likely   to   result   in   the   loss   of   up   to   600   RLC   chefs   making   the   number   of   caterers   in   the   RLC   around 1,000.
Early Association Badge
Cap Badge 1941 - 1953
Cap Badge 1953 - 1973
Cap Badge 1973 - 1993