Royal Oak

I have an old photo of my grandfather in a sailors uniform. No his hat is says HMS Royal Oak. I have found this ship but there is some writing on the back of photo wondering if anybody on here would no what it meant

631 com
Building A44
royal wool which Arsenal


War Hero

Royal Woolwich Arsenal was a massive Military Depot specialising in armaments, ammunition and explosives, engaging in the manufacture and testing of and research into various types of ordnance on the Thames in South-East London.

Building A44 was one of the smaller buildings over on the West side of the Depot. I know that there was a Royal Navy Ordnance Inspection Department at Woolwich Arsenal; A44 might have been one of its buildings.

The Depot has since been revamped as smart apartments, town houses and a military museum called Firepower. There is also a Local Historical Research Centre there; I'll ask one of its librarians tomorrow for more specific details re Building A44. I'll also see if I can find out anything about 631 for you.
My Father worked in the Woolwich Arsenal

as posted it is no more although the main gate was still in situ last time I was in the area .

The Royal Artillery Regiment Museum used to be in a place called the Rotunda near Woolwich Common ----have they moved that aswell.



Lantern Swinger
The Royal Oak's ships placard is in the musuem on the Island of Hoy in Orkney. The cemetery has a lot of graves there dedicated to those who died when Royal Oak was torpedoed by Gunther Prien of the U47 in Scapa Flow. A buoy now lies at the place the ship sank. Paid my respects at the cemetary when I went there on holiday a couple of years ago...very emotive... Hope you find out the details you require. The museum is well worth a visit. Relics from HMS Hampshire are also up there - shaft and prop...etc. Good luck..
soleil and all who left me a reply to my question

Thank-you for the information you left me. I found a very small piece on internet a British military power boats trust it said 631 coy RASC at Woolwich but it was dated 1948. I may at some point try and get to Woolwich museum which is a long way from were I live. Hopefully they may have the answers to my questions. thank-you again
I have had some information from another forum on my question i posted here
631 comp RASC = 631 company Royal Army Service Corps
Water train building A44 Royal Woolwhich Arsenal = Water Training Building No A44 - RWA

can anybody explain what a water Training building is
and what it was used for. What is RAW ?

I also got some service records would somebody like to translate them for me cant make head nor tail of them. Have had offers but they want money which I don't have. I don't wish to post them, there are some medical information on them which may come has a shock to my family or somebody else. these do mention royal Oak.


War Hero
janner said:
Roz, type out the bits of the docs that you want people to translate and miss out the others,

Copy the Docs and make the adjustments, to the copied version, as Janner suggests
After all these years, ROYAL OAK is still of great interest to the MoD:


Page 3

page 52
I've been fortunate enough to have been allowed to dive on the exterior of the Royal Oak. RN divers replace her ensign periodically as a mark of respect, as they do for those other sacrosanct maritime war graves, Repulse and Prince of Wales in the Far East.