2nd LAA Battery - Gunner Ronald Bertie Bones

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by BonesJ, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. BonesJ

    BonesJ Member

    I am currently researching my great-grandfather Gunner Ronald Bertie Bones. He served in the Royal Artillery before the war joining in 1927 at the age of eighteen. Having served in 2nd AA regt and an AA Bde in Gibraltar he left the Army in 1931 before being re-engaged on 5th June 1939. He was posted to 4th LAA Bty, 1st AA Regt on 7 Jan 40 before being transferred to 2nd LAA Bty, 2nd AA Regt on 17 Jan 40. He was then transferred to 2nd LAA Bty 1st AA Regt on 5 Feb 41 before being reported missing in the Western Desert in the Middle East. He was subsequently confirmed as a POW and was interned in PG 59 and PG 53, Italy, and Stalag 4C, 8C and 8A in Germany.
    I am interested in finding out more about his time in 2nd LAA Battery prior to his capture so would appreciate any information that can be provided. I am intending to make a trip to the National Archives to have a look at some war diaries.
    I am also curious as to what some abbreviations/illegible words mean which feature in his service records (pictured below) if anybody is able to help!
     

    Attached Files:

    • SR1.jpg
      SR1.jpg
      File size:
      262.5 KB
      Views:
      9
    • SR2.jpg
      SR2.jpg
      File size:
      293.2 KB
      Views:
      9
    • SR3.jpg
      SR3.jpg
      File size:
      346.6 KB
      Views:
      8
  2. BonesJ

    BonesJ Member

  3. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

  4. BonesJ

    BonesJ Member

    An update now I have received the war diaries of 2nd Light Anti-Air Battery. My great-grandfather was initially in 4 LAA, 1st AA Regt when he embarked for France on 7/1/40 but joined 2 LAA Battery on 17/1/40. 2 LAA Battery, based in Lichfield, had been mobilised on the 2/9/39 and reached Cherbourg on 11/9/39 armed with 40mm Bofors guns. After initially being ordered to defend the port the Battery then was ordered to move billeting in Le Mans (8/10/39), Evreux (9/10/39) and Poix (10/10/39) before arriving in Arras on 11/10/39 and digging in/camouflaging positions in the Orchies Area on the Belgian border. After a few false air raid warnings (and a few shells fired at RAF and French planes!) and training conducted in Beauquesne (6/12/39 to 21/12/39) my great-grandfather arrived at the Battery on 151/40 after W.E. III/1931/12A/3 came into effect (2 T.S.Ms and 36 ORs joined the battery as a result).
    The Battery moved to Stella Plage at the end of February 1940 for target practice using targets towed by Henley aircraft before returning back to the Orchies area on 2/3/40. A Divisional Exercise was conducted in the Bapaume area on 9/3/40 for a day and on the 10/3/40 my great-grandfather was granted 10 days of leave to the UK. At this point, the Battery was receving red air raid warnings regularly but aircraft were either not observed of seen flying at height and therefore not identifiable.
    The next couple of months consisted of football matches, played against other units and local teams, as well as further exercises using both the 40mm guns and .303 rifles.
    The Battery was training at Rubempre when the message of "Plan D forthwith" (the formation of the Dyle Line) was received and the Battery proceeded back to their positions in the Orchies area. By this point however, a low bombing attack had already been carried out on Orchies Railway Station. The Battery then moved forward into Belgium occupying positions at Enghien, South of Hal and Lieuw St Pierre with Battery HQ at Hondzocht. It was on the 11/5/40 that the Battery saw their first action, with a damaged Heinkel He 111 mk III spotted and engaged with no success. Large numbers of aircraft at around 2000-3000ft returning from raids were also engaged later that day but no hits were scored. The next day - 12/5/40 - saw the first attack on Hal and Hondzocht but the aircraft were too high to engage (little material damage was suffered). A Henschel HS 126 reconnaissance plane was driven off by fire on 13/5/40 before an attack on Hal by 12 He 111s saw the Battery's first aircraft shot down north of the town. Interestingly, a report came through that a British Lysander was being used for reconnaissance in the area by the Germans and orders came through to shoot it down if spotted. A raid on Enghien followed later that day with 86 planes attacking at 6000ft, with 3 being shot down by the Battery. The raid returned at a greater height out of range of the 40mm Bofors Guns and lasted for 2 hours.
    On the 16/5/40, the Battery suffered dive bombing attacks from Ju 87s and machine gun attacks from M e 109s, with one of each being shot down. The 17/5/40 saw long range shelling on gun positions around Enghien and the Battery was ordered to move West of Lessines. The Battery then received further orders to withdraw further west to Blandain and subsequently onwards to Bois de Flines on 19/5/40. It is evident that the Battery was in full retreat at this point, as later on the 19th the Battery was ordered even further west back into France for the first time to a town called Sainghin-en-Melantois to go into hiding.
    On the 20/5/40, the Battery provided air cover as the Cameronians retreated west, shooting down 1 Me 109 and 1 Do 215 in the process. It was on this day that the Corps Commander RA of 1 Corps visited the Battery HQ to present it with 2 bottles of champagne, one for being the first LAA unit to shoot down a hostile aircraft in Belgium. Later that day, the Battery were ordered south west to Vimy, arriving on the 21/5/40. The guns went into action North of Vimy Ridge with intense aerial activity and heavy ammunition expenditure, with little apparent result. Similar activity occurred the next day albeit not as intense.
    The 23/5/40 saw bombing attacks by Do 215s which were engaged by all the guns of the Battery. The guns were then sought out and bombed by Hs 123s, as well as suffering low level bombing attacks from He 111s, dive bombing from Ju 87s and machine gun attacks by Me 109s. 2 DO 215s were shot down by the Battery later that day, but the Battery was ordered to withdraw North to Fresnoy, Bernard and Ostricourt.
    At this point, the Battery began to split up. The Battery HQ occupied positions at Ostricourt however a couple of troops had been ordered by the Commander RA 5 Division to withdraw to Houplin instead. After returning to Sainghin, the Battery HQ moved North to Houplin along with 2 and 3 Troops of the Battery as Sainghin began to be shelled. 1 Troop had at this time attached itself 1 Corps at Armentiers.
    It was later on the 25/5/40 when the Battery came under the command of 4 AA Bde and proceeded to 3 miles west of Armentiers. After intense aerial activity on the 27/5/40, the Battery withdrew north back into Belgium into positions on the Poperinghe-Rousbruge road and onto the village of Watou on the 28/5/40. It was around 1200 on the 28/5/40 when the Battery began to park and destroy its vehicles before proceeding on foot north to Dunkirk. The Battery embarked at Dunkirk on the 28/5/40 and during the early hours of the 29/5/40 - my great-grandfather is recorded as having embarked on the 28/5/40 in his records.
    I hope this brief synopsis of the 2 LAA from 1939 to the evacuation of Dunkirk is of interest to some, particularly those with a connection to the Battery. I will write a synopsis of the Battery during their time in North Africa up until the point at which my great-grandfather got captured during late 1941/early 1942 when I get around to it!
     
    CL1 likes this.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Image SR1.jpg

    Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
    broadgreen hospital liverpool

    SR2.jpg
    Disembarked ex UK

    SR3.jpg

    SOS (Struck of Strength) RA (Royal Artillery) ME (Middle East)
    Presumably sent back to UK, no longer required in ME - it would be better to see the whole document rather than just selected parts

    TD
     
    CL1 likes this.
  6. BonesJ

    BonesJ Member

    Are those images? Not seeing them my end but my great-grandfather was sent to Broadgreen Hospital in Liverpool on the 29th of May getting discharged on the 15th July. Ill see about posting the document on a seperate thread.
     
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    In your first post you asked the question I have copied above - my post was to answer, hopefully, those questions and I referred my answers by use of the file name you had given your images so you would know which reply referred to which image

    It seems you may already have know the answer to one of them before posting

    TD
     
  8. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    RA Attestations
    Bones_ra_01.jpg

    Bones_ra_02.jpg

    Casualty Lists
    Bones_pow.jpg

    Bones_pow_02.jpg
     
  9. BonesJ

    BonesJ Member

    Sorry had forgotten I had posted that, much appreciated!
     
  10. BonesJ

    BonesJ Member

Share This Page