73rd Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by DavidW, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member


    Usual question, this time regarding the 73rd Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery.
    Movements in 1940 - 1942.

    Thanks in advance, David.
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    73rd Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (T.A.)
    HQ, 209th (Wolverhampton) Bty: Wolverhampton
    210th (West Bromwich) Bty: West Bromwich
    311th Bty: Brierley Hall

    The regiment started the war under 34th AA Brigade. It moved to France at the start of war and served under 12th Anti-Aircraft Brigade defending the southern airfields of Advanced Air Striking Force in France from November 1939 until June 1940. HQ was located at Chouilly, 209th Battery at Ecury and Athis and 311th Battery at Matouges, St. Mard-les-Rouffy and Mesnil-sur-Oger. 210th Battery was detached to 2nd AA Brigade at Beauval in May 1940 north of the Somme. After returning from France, it moved to Aberporth. It served under 43rd AA Brigade in February 1941. It was sent to the Middle East in late 1942. From January to May 1943 it served under 18th AA Brigade in the Alexandria, Aboukir, and Matruh area.
    It landed in Sicily on 10/11 July 1943 under 2nd AA Brigade, having 209th and 311th Batteries under the Beach Groups. It transferred to 62nd AA Brigade and was located at Syracuse under the brigade on 7 August. It awaited the moved to Italy in mid-September 1943 and was briefly sent to Italy before returning to Sicily in January 1944 to join 73rd AA Brigade in Augusta. It moved to Italy in October 1944 under 62nd AA Brigade. The regiment and batteries were placed into suspended animation on 31 March 1945.
  3. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Thanks David.
  4. 311

    311 Member

    My father served in this regiment, in 311 Battery, and I recently visited the Royal Artillery Museum to read the unit's and regiment's War Diary. I can post some more detail if it's useful.

    For many years after the war, right up to the late 1980s if I remember correctly, the "311 Club" still met regularly. Unfortunately all the guys died relatively young, in my dad's case just 65, in part due to the exposure to early radar equipment when the batteries were repurposed in 1943/44.
  5. 311

    311 Member

    I don't know whether this is true but I have a recollection that my Dad told me that 311 was on its way to Singapore in 1942 but Singapore fell while they were at sea and they were redirected to Suez. Anyone know anything about that?

    According to the war diary, they left Liverpool on 5 Dec 1941 and arrived at Suez 30 Jan 1942. The Japanese invasion of Malaya started 8 Dec 1941 so it's plausible, even though Singapore didn't finally surrender until February.

    Slight correction to dryan67's post above: 311 were in Alexandria from 5 March 1942 onwards, not late 1942. They moved to Ed Deir in April 1943 and then El Tahag before returrning to Suez on 20 June 1943 ready for Sicily. 311 stayed in Sicily for quite a while, firstly at Siracuse and then at Augusta. They spent a good part of 1944 retraining for their new role and quite clearly champing at the bit before leaving Augusta abruptly on 7 Oct 1944 and arriving at San Stefano on 20 October. They were then clearly in the thick of the action until 14 January 1945 when they were told that the regiment was placed into suspended animation. Most of the personnel had been reassigned by mid-Feb (I don't yet know where my father moved to) but the remaining people continued in some sort of training role.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I thought I'd just have a quick look at the Regt's 1940 diary and see that all of RHQ embarked on the Lancastria and were subsequently rescued with the exception of a Gunner C Wilkinson. It looks like most of 311 Bty left France from La Rochelle.

    Did your father serve with the BEF?
  7. 311

    311 Member

    Funny you should mention that. The main reason for my visit was to find out where my father left France. He mentioned something about it when we holidayed in Concarneau when I was a kid so I was trying to reconstruct the story. The regimental diary talks of 1 section of the 311th going from La Rochelle on 18/19 June. The separate 311 diary was reconstructed after the original was destroyed in France and talks about the Ulster Monarch and the Grimsby Trawler "Welbeck" that same night but that seems to be departing from Brest. They arrived the next day at Falmouth and Plymouth respectively. Also the Jeff 1 unit was detached from the rest of 311 and that unit reconstructed a separate diary. They departed from La Rochelle (a lot further south) on the evening of 17 June on two boats and arrived at Newport at nearly midnight on 20 June.

    I'm not sure I'll be able to find out which port my father left from as there may not be a record of which Jeff he was attached to.
  8. Julian60

    Julian60 New Member

    I am helping research the wartime experiences of the late John Warrender Green who served with the 311. He was mentioned in dispatches on two occasions (Gazette date 24.6.43 Middle East and Gazette date 29.11.45 Italy). His daughter is very keen to learn the reasons for the mentions. I wondered if his name has been seen in the War Diaries? Most grateful for any help.
  9. 311

    311 Member

    I did not copy the whole diary - just the bits from 1940 that I was most concerned about. Sorry.

    On 24 June 1943, 311 were in Suez preparing to sail to Sicily. 311 was in suspended animation in Nov 1945 so he must have been transferred to another unit. Do you have his personell record?
  10. Julian60

    Julian60 New Member

    Many thanks for your reply. The personnel file has been awaited for two years now!
  11. prees heath common

    prees heath common New Member

    my father frank baker from wolverhampton was in 209 battery he joined about 1938 and went to france with the battery in 1939 he was at ecury sur coole i did know alan raymont who also served with 209 battery at plivot he left an account of this time it can be found on the bbc war time memories
    a friend of my fathers was gunner sidney waine aged 20 lost on lancastria
    if any one knew my father or knows of any veterans or any information let me know
    i have a old photo of 209 in training
    regards jonathan
  12. 311

    311 Member

  13. retsub

    retsub Member


    I am pretty amateur at this, so please excuse any rubbish I am talking. I recently decided to discover what I could about my fathers war record. From speaking to him many years ago I understood that he had been evacuated near Dunkirk on a British destroyer (I may be wrong here). Eventually I managed to get a copy of his military record and it shows he was serving in France from October 1939 to May 1940. His record seemed to indicate that he served with the 53rd AA and on the 21st May 1940 he was posted to 311/73 HAA.

    The next entries in July and September relate to leave and Being docked pay for being awol.

    I am assuming given the dates that he would have been part of the BEF. Can anyone throw any light of the whereabouts of 311/73 HAA in late May 1940?

    Many thanks in advance

  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    311 Battery war diary has a reinforcements arriving at the battery on the 21st May. The Battery was evacuated on the west coast of France around the 17th June 1940. From what I have quickly read they were a bit split up with some departing from Brest and some further south at La Rochelle.
  15. retsub

    retsub Member

    Many thanks much appreciated
    Drew5233 likes this.
  16. Michael Pearson

    Michael Pearson New Member

    Hi - I'm completely new to this.
    My father served with 209 Battery, 73rd HAA from Sept 39 to Feb 43 and wrote very detailed memoirs which I've just finished getting into digital form. I'm looking to publish them in some form and wondering if there is a regimental archive/museum or some physical depository of information or is everything in cyber space?
    Many thanks

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