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British Marching Compass R.A.M.C

Article about: Hello All, This compass belonged to a doctor my grandparents knew and I have inherited it. Any comments welcome. Capt. E. Catford RAMC is mentioned below, but I'm not certain that it is him

  1. #1

    Default British Marching Compass R.A.M.C

    Hello All,

    This compass belonged to a doctor my grandparents knew and I have inherited it.

    Any comments welcome.

    Capt. E. Catford RAMC is mentioned below, but I'm not certain that it is him

    This material is held at Leeds University Library
    Reference Number(s) GB 206 Liddle Collection EP 008
    Dates of Creation 1917-1975
    Name of Creator Catford, E.
    Language of Material English
    Physical Description 1 file; typescript, photographs, and press cuttings
    Scope and Content

    2 photographs (nd); Press cuttings, including obituary of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia (26 March 1975, nd); Bound typescript recollections, Beersheba to Damascus, in the form of transcript copies of letters to his parents, 10 November 1917-23 October 1918 (nd).
    Administrative / Biographical History

    E. Catford was a Captain, RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps), serving in Egypt/Palestine. He later became a Colonel.

    gb206-liddlecollectionep008 - E. Catford papers - Archives Hub
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture British Marching Compass R.A.M.C   British Marching Compass R.A.M.C  

  2. #2


    some more pics...Thanks for looking
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture British Marching Compass R.A.M.C  
    Attached Images Attached Images British Marching Compass R.A.M.C British Marching Compass R.A.M.C British Marching Compass R.A.M.C British Marching Compass R.A.M.C British Marching Compass R.A.M.C 

  3. #3


    Hi Necio,

    A very nice example!

    I always wanted one.

    Thank you for posting.


  4. #4


    Great looking compass!....
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.

    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  5. #5


    A lovely example, named as well and through the family, an all round great item.


    Whatever its just an opinion.

  6. #6


    Captain Eric Catford RAMC entered France in May 1915 was Mentioned in Despatches in April 1918. Entitled to 1915 Star British War and Victory Medals. Address shown as 30 Crouch Hall Rd, Crouch End London N.

    lovely item btw.



  7. #7


    Thank you everyone for the enthusiastic response.
    Also, Mark thank you for further details.

    Glad I posted these pics.

  8. #8


    With the positive responses to this post, I was encoured to do a bit more searching on the net
    and I found some more info on Eric Catford. I have edited the article down as it was a little long..

    For anyone interested, he original is here:
    Portraits from memory. 21--Dr Eric Catford OBE (Mil) 1891-1982.

    10 OCTOBER 1987 901

    Portraits from Memory 21
    -Dr Eric Catford OBE (MI)

    In April 1941 I was suddenly transferred from 35 to 56 General Hospital RAMC,
    which was mobilised at Gillingham, Dorset, and all set for departure overseas.
    I was warmly greeted by the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Catford,
    in civilian life a very successful and popular general practitioner in Torquay.
    He had served in the first world war and had continued in the Royal Army Medical
    Corps until 1923. Thus he was part of the regular army reserve of officers and so
    was mobilised on the outbreak of war in 1939. He had served in France but was
    now on his way to Ibadan in Nigeria. This information he had somehow managed
    to collect although exact destinations of units were not supposed to be known
    even to their commanding officers.

    (paragraphs omitted)

    ..Old colonial style
    On our way north to the Clyde by overnight train from Salisbury,
    Catford unrolled his papers and told his officers that he could now
    reveal that we were en route for Ibadan, Nigeria. He had found this
    out by his own methods and had thoroughly "cased the joint."
    Ibadan was in what was formerly known as the White Man's Grave;
    but we had all been immunised against yellow fever, and if we could
    control malaria we should probably survive. Moreover, unless the
    Vichy French helped the Germans to overrun north Africa, we
    might well find ourselves having only garrison duties to safeguard
    the airfields to keep open the transAfrican air route to Cairo and
    Karachi. We might therefore have a phase of the war in which our
    duty would be to keep up our morale without enemy action to
    stimulate us. In these circumstances our duty was not so likely to be
    ready to die for king and country as to avoid boredom.

    He knew what he was talking about. In the first world war he had served in
    France, in Alexandria, and in both Allenby campaigns in Palestine.
    He had twice been mentioned in despatches-no light honour.

    Against the risks of isolation and boredom in Nigeria he had
    ascertained the names of leading citizens and officials in Ibadan, and
    it would be to our advantage to get on good terms with them in the
    old colonial style. This might well be on its way out-but not just
    yet. He had a very encouraging photograph of a society wedding in
    Ibadan, taken a month -earlier. Clearly we could have a relatively
    civilised and comfortable place in which to do our duty.

    So it proved. Catford at once called on all the local officials, paid
    his respects, signed their visitors' book, and invited them to dine in
    our mess. Tangible and intangible benefits accrued to our hospital
    with what seemed to be incredible good will. The mess itself was a
    happy and very well run affair thanks to the commanding officer's
    determination to have it so, and to his second in command's strong
    sense of reality and logistics…

    (Lengthy discussions of golf and bridge playing omitted)

    ….In looking after the best interests of his unit Catford spared- no
    trouble. He entertained not only handsomely but with insight and
    discretion. One "very big master" was due to visit us. Who but
    Catford would have found out that he was not fit to talk to until he
    had downed two pink gins? But so it was; and the two pink gins were
    ready and waiting; and the unit benefited enormously from the good
    will thus engendered….

    He was loved by his patients; he had a full and happy family life;
    and after serving in west Africa he went to the 1944 invasion of
    Europe in charge of the first field hospital crossing over on D + 3
    day. He told me modestly that -that part of his war was "quite
    exciting"-not at all like our time in Ibadan. He went on to become
    assistant director of medical services for the Normandy and later the
    Belgian-South Holland area, for which services he received the OBE
    (Mil). He was promoted to full colonel….

  9. #9


    You can get the recommendation for his OBE, if you want to pay £3.36, here:

    Recommendation for Award for Catford, Eric Rank: Temporary Lieutenant Colonel ... | The National Archives

    Cheers, Tom

  10. #10


    Mark has already provided the details from his MIC, but here's the original for your records.

    Cheers Tom
    British Marching Compass R.A.M.C

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