11th (City of London Yeomanry) LAA RA in North Africa & Italy

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Adam_, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. hutt

    hutt Member

    Hi

    Slightly more considered response.

    First, treat those locations with caution. Once you get the full set of 11th LAA diaries you should have the locations spot on. Also, a quick search of the catalogue at Kew would seem to suggest that in addition to the Regiment the individual batteries have also got diaries.

    Regarding movement, yes they almost certainly came ashore in Algeria and over the course of Operation Torch and the subsequent campaign, moved east towards Tunisia. See the Brigade diary entry below on the 24the of November suggesting that 2 batteries landed the night before at Algiers.

    As for the use of the LAA, they would have used Bofors 40mm guns and in North Africa seem to have been deployed primarily for airfield and port defence. The regiment and battery diaries will give you this detail.

    Graham
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Adam_

    Adam_ Member

    So 1st Army were kinda heading west to east and 8th Army were heading east to west with Rommel in the middle among other German/Italian units? Oh yeah Monty commanded the Eighth didnt he....."After having an easy war, things have now got much more difficult." A colleague is supposed to have told Monty to cheer him up - at which point Monty said "I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about Rommel!". Not sure how accurate that quote is though:)

    Andy reckons I will recieve the first batch of 11th LAA war diaries today...literally cant wait to get home and check post! I guess that from the Regiment diaries alone i wont necessarily be able to work out what Battery my grandad was in? That is my next objective really...working out which Battery he was in. Do you know if the Battery diaries contain the names of the men in that Battery? Not sure how many men served in a Battery on average? I wonder if my grandad was in one of those Batteries that landed on the 24 Nov in Algiers

    Adam
     
  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    The best single volume on LAA History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: Anti-Aircraft Artillery Hardcover – April, 1998 by N. W. Routledge (Author), Martin Farndale (Author)

    There are copies in good military libraries, including Firepower. You can buy the Book for C £80 via abebooks or Amazon.

    His book mentions 11 LAA as being deployed in January with V Corps and in March one battery defending an airfield and by May all batteries defending Tunisian airfields.
     
  4. Adam_

    Adam_ Member

    Thanks Sheldrake, these book are always so expensive arent they:-( Will have to get myself over to the Firepower Museum, been meaning to go there for a while.

    Ive just finished reading through the first part of the 11th LAA war diary (March 1942-Dec 1943).....has been fasinating following their journey. Hasnt helped me in narrowing down which battery of the 11th LAA my grandad was in. At the moment im leaning more towards the 33rd Battery of the 11th LAA. I noticed on my grandads service record that on the 25/8/1942 it says he was at Penhale Camp which was a practice area for the training of anti aircraft gunners. In the war diary for the 11th LAA it says the 33rd Battery was sent to Penhale 25th March to the 7th April...now i know this is several months before my grandad is sent to Penhale but is there a chance that he was sent there because he was in the 33rd Battery? In the war diary it says that 31st and 32nd Batterys were sent to St Agnes
     
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    I do not think that you can draw these conclusions.

    When a soldier joins a unit the is is entered in his service record. His movements as part of that unit are not usually recorded, unless say, the unit is posted to a different theatre of operations which might affect eligibility for campaign medals. If a unit moves to a training area there is no need for this to be entered in the service record.

    A service record entry showing service at Penhale from 25/8/42 is sounds more like an appointment to the camp itself. The training areas needed manpower to run the ranges and camps. These may not have their own official war establishment but be filled with soldiers seconded from units. It was certainly post war practice to provide soldiers by rota for jobs such as driving instructors for the artillery school, support for the military sales team, range staff military guides at the regimental museum, mess staff for the CRA, someone to work in the kennels for the RA Hunt (I kid you not: this is where some of the tax payers money went)

    I am not an expert on service records or the operation fo AA training camps so this is a hypothesis. I wait to be corrected by someone who knows more.
     
  6. GaryC

    GaryC New Member

    I'm new to this forum. I was just looking up more information about the Rough Riders as my dad (Stanley Crease) was in the regiment during WW2 and I landed here!. He didn't talk about his war too much, at least not to me, but when I was younger I wasn't interested. He knew that I might become interested later and told me on more than one occasion that there was a book on the bookshelf that was the story of his war and to read it when I was ready. That book was/is called Broken Images by John Guest. By the time that I looked for it (I was 49 years old!) mum had got rid of it in a clear-out but I secured another copy on ebay. John Guest was an officer who became a publisher after the war. He was clearly well educated and literary and his book is a detailed and interesting account of his entire war from Britain to Tunisia to Italy and home again.

    The only other bits that I remember my dad saying was that he was on Bofor guns and he "had a lovely war"! I also learned that there was that they clearly had an excess of corned beef in North Africa as they "threw tins of it at the Arabs"!

    How I wished I had asked him more about his experiences.
     
  7. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum Gary, good luck with your research. Like many men, they did not talk about what they did or where they were after the war, my father was the same. When I did ask it was snippets mainly of funny things that happened.
    Hope you enjoy the forum.

    David
     
  8. Julie Roberts

    Julie Roberts New Member

    Hello,
    It’s some time since you posted here, just thought I would add this: My Grandfather was in the 11th and I found this photo. He is the first soldier on the left with the moustache.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. BCE

    BCE New Member

    Hi Andy - did you ever secure copies of the war diaries of 11th LAA - would be interested in buying a copy if you did. I'm in the same position as Adam - I've got sketchy information to sufggest my Grandad was in the 11th but I'm tying to link something official to letters we have. Interesting as I served in 43 Bty many years later on Thorny Island.
     
  10. Brightstarb1

    Brightstarb1 New Member

    Hi all I’m on the same sort of journey. My father was with the 43rd CoLy D battery at Bir Hacheim with the free fighting French. I understand there were six 40mm bofors from the 43rd attached. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre with a bronze star. His name was Leslie Tolan. I have tried my hardest to find more about why he got it but still no solid info.
    If anyone has any pointers or help. It would be much appreciated !
     
  11. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    If you post his name and service number, you can go into the National Archives website, to check the date of the award and download his citation. They charge if I recall, £3-50.

    As an example, here is one awarded to a man in my Dad's Regiment and his citation. I downloaded this award from The NA.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    AS THE CITATION IS DIFFICULT TO READ, IT IS TRANSCRIBED AS FOLLOWS.

    ON THE NIGHT 19/20 AUGUST AT ST. PIERRES SUR DIVES, SGT ADAMS WAS IN CHARGE OF A GUN WHEN AN ATTACK ON THE AREA WAS MADE BY ABOUT 20 AIRCRAFT WITH HIGH EXPLOSIVE AND INCENDIERY BOMBS. AS THE ATTACK DEVELOPED A STICK OF BOTH TYPES OF BOMBS FELL ACROSS THE GUN SETTING FIRE TO THE BIVOUAC AND THE CAMOFLAGE NET AND WOUNDING ONE OF THE ATTACHMENT.

    BOMBS CONTINUED TO FALL VERY CLOSE TO THE GUN BUT SGT ADAMS WHO WAS OFF DUTY AT THE TIME RAN ACROSS AND WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF ANOTHER MAN DROVE THE GUN CLEAR OF THE BURNING BIVOUAC & THEN REMOVED THE BURNING CAMOFLAGE NET.

    BY THIS PROMPT ACTION, SGT ADAMS UNDOUBTABLY SAVED THE GUN FROM DESTRUCTION AND ALSO SET A HIGH EXAMPLE OF DEVOTION TO DUTY.”
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  12. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    You can download all citations at the TNA free of charge
     

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