7th Loyals / 92nd (Loyals) LAA Regiment, RA, 1940-1946

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by tmac, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Robert,

    Thanks very much for those loading documents - they are fascinating. I have never seen them before and they are a real bonus for me, as you say. I'm very grateful to you for looking them up, as I can no longer easily get down to Kew. I'm going to give the documents a good look over, but at first glance, I'm amazed at how much stuff they crammed on to a single LCT.
    As for the new website, my son set it up for me a few weeks back. But I'm still working on bits of it, so I haven't officially 'published' it yet. However, everyone is certainly welcome to have a look at it. It contains the regimental history that is already here on WW2 Talk, plus quite a few pictures and documents old and new. I hope over the coming weeks and months to expand it further, especially with photographs. I'll keep everyone posted. Thanks once again.
     
  2. ramacal

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

    Hi Tom

    I happening to be looking for another unit in those files and the Loyals ones caught my eye. I thought I'd snap em and save them for you. At least it is confirmation that they were going to be loaded on those craft and what they were going to take with them.

    Trust me to find your site. I must say I like the format much better than on geocities. Excellent work you and your son have done.

    Regards - Robert
     
  3. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I see that the loading list for 318/Bty included a Carrier Loyd, but we didn't have one I wonder if it was meant for my 4x4 Canadian Ford wireless truck, which broke down on the beach. The 4x4 tractor would usually have pulled a Bofors, but as it had a winch on the back its was first off to help where necessay - the only problem was it drove straight into a large bomb crater.
    Jim
     
  4. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    This is a document I was given by the Royal Artillery Museum some years ago and I thought it might be of interest to anyone researching an LAA regiment. It was published in 1941, when mobile LAA regiments were being greatly expanded within the Army. However, this was before the advent of the self-propelled Bofors, so it refers only to the towed versions. The text looks a bit jumbled because the paper is so thin that the type from the other side is showing through, but hopefully it should be legible.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Can anyone identify the badge above the three stripes? I think it's Royal Artillery, but it does not look like the regular badge. Also, what rank do the stripes denote - is it a sergeant? I'd appreciate any help.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    You are correct, the badge is a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery. All sgts and staff sgts wore the gun above their cheverons. The gun is worn pointing forwards. Lance Sgts wore the 3 cheverons but not the gun.

    The badge in the photo appears to be brass, later these were replaced with cloth badges. The badge is the same as the RA cap badge but minus the scrolls and crown.

    Derek
     
  7. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Thanks for that, Derek. The sergeant in question was called Francis Connor, who was a member of 92nd LAA. Sadly, he was killed in action in Normandy in July 1944. His family have kindly let me see some pictures of him in his service days. In one group picture (not of 92nd LAA), possibly taken pre-war , he is captioned as 'PSI Connor'. I wonder if you, or any other forum member, could tell me what PSI stands for?
     
  8. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    The only meaning of PSI that I know of is Permanent Staff Instructor. A PSI is a Regular NCO posted to a TA unit as an instructor.
     
  9. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Derek, thanks once again for your help with that. I'm sure that must be the meaning of PSI. I've just seen your RA website and I think it's excellent - a really valuable source of information.
    I'm now attaching two group pictures and I wonder if you or any other forum members have any thoughts as to where they might have been taken and what unit is involved?
    In the first one, Sgt Connor can be seen in the middle of the bottom row and this is the picture where he is captioned as PSI Connor. The hats the men are wearing look quite distinctive and I wonder if they give any clues?
    Sgt Connor joined the Army in 1935 and I think the pictures are pre-Second World War. Going by his Army number, he seems to have possibly been in the Cheshire Regiment at some time before joining the RA. I'd appreciate any help you or any other forum members can give.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Tom, his Army ROH details confirm that he originally enlisted with the CHeshire Regiment

    Name: Francis Connor
    Given Initials: F J
    Rank: Warrant Officer Class II
    Death Date: 25 Jul 1944
    Number: 4123325
    Birth Place: Liverpool
    Residence: Liverpool
    Regiment at Enlistment: Cheshire Regiment
    Branch at Enlistment: Royal Artillery
    Theatre of War: Western Europe Campaign, 1944/45
    Regiment at Death: Royal Artillery
    Branch at Death: Royal Artillery
     
  11. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Hello Phil,

    Thanks for those details - that's really helpful. Is that information available via the CWGC or somewhere else? One thing I don't understand is that Sgt Connor's regiment at enlistment was the Cheshires and his branch was the Royal Artillery. I'm not very well up on such matters, and I thought the RA was a regiment in its own right. Can you help with that? Regarding the two group pictures, I wonder if it is some sort of training camp?
     
  12. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    The side hats look like Cheshires who had Buff facings. 4th Bn The Cheshire Rgt was converted to RA in 1920 becoming 6th Medium Brigade RA. Artillery regiments were known as Brigades until just before the start of WW2.

    I too wondered about the reference to the branch being RA. Maybe the unit was still using their Cheshire title after they became RA as many war time conversions did. They must have changed their title again on the change from Bde to Rgt before WW2 as 6 Medium Regt RA were a regular unit stationed in India.

    Derek
     
  13. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Derek, thanks for that information - it sounds a real possibility that they were continuing to use their Cheshire title after becoming RA. My father's battalion of the Loyals was converted to LAA in 1941, but kept 'Loyals' in their unit title. I'll let you know if I find out anything further.
     
  14. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hello Tom. I wondered if the pictures show Sgt Connor with Officer Cadets. When I was at OCTU we wore white discs behind a our cap badges (we wore Berets) and the white strips on our shoulders. He could have been an instructor at an OCTU somewhere.

    Jim
     
  15. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Hello Jim,

    Thanks for the suggestion - I think you may be on to something there. I'm sure it's some sort of training unit.
     
  16. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    I think Dvr-op is right, I missed the shoulder tabs before. Now it has been suggested I recall seeing a photo of wartime officer cadets wearing side hats just like these.
     
  17. bell.eyam

    bell.eyam Junior Member

    Tom,
    I have been so impressed and encouraged by how you have been able to build this wonderful account of your father`s proud and wonderful adventure.
    15 years after my father`s death; like you I have beeen driven to find out more about my father and his close army colleagues in 1944/45.
    Being from a different part of the allied invasion force you will probably not be able to shed any light on my fathers 5 Guards armoured brigade REME workshop (from 30/6/44 Gold Beach to Cuxhaven in June 45.)..... My hope nevertheless is that you will be able to give me some tips and encouragement on how best to go about things. I`ve already contacted the Army records people in Glasgow and identified the existence of war diaries at Kew.... what else do you rcommend ...Thanks so much for your time.
    David Bell
     
  18. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Dear David,

    Thanks for your message. I wish you luck in your researches and will of course give you any help or advice I can. It’s probably best to tell you how I started my project and how it progressed.
    In 1992, when I began researching 7th Loyals / 92nd LAA, I had little to go on but a few remembered conversations with my father, plus his Army paybook and discharge certficate. All I really knew was that he had landed in Normandy on D-Day and served through to VE Day, interrupted by him being wounded.
    Initially, I wrote off for his service details, but these were very sparse, being little more than a series of dates. So I searched for every bit of published information on 7th Loyals / 92nd LAA and found a brief mention of it in The Famous Regiments series of books. Then I found the official history of The Loyal Regiment, which gave quite a useful outline of 7th Loyals / 92nd LAA’s doings.
    However, I knew that the best source of information would be finding any veterans who were still around. As this was 1992, there was a good chance that many would still be alive and well – and only in their early 70s.
    I knew that the original 7th Loyals - which later became 92nd LAA - had consisted overwhelmingly of men from Liverpool and other areas of Merseyside (my Dad was from Birkenhead). So I wrote a letter to the local paper, the Liverpool Echo, asking if there were any veterans still out there. I was delighted to receive three replies, two from old soldiers and one from the family of a deceased soldier. I followed up these replies by visiting all three respondents and talking extensively to them.
    I also wrote off to, or visited, any organisation I could think of that might be able to help my research. These included the Royal Artillery Museum, The Loyal Regiment Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the D-Day Museum.
    Then I started a long series of visits to the Public Record Office (now the National Archives) to study the war diaries – which provided a mass of information and gave me the whole story of 7th Loyals / 92nd LAA from beginning to end. However, while I had the outline of the unit’s activities, I still needed more personal accounts from veterans.
    By a stroke of luck, a 92nd LAA veteran who was living in the West Country was also searching for his old comrades and wrote to the Liverpool branch of the Normandy Veterans Association asking for help. The NVA passed his letter to one of the Liverpool veterans with whom I was now in contact, and so I was put in touch with this new veteran.
    Around this time, the Internet was just beginning to take off and I put all my stuff on to a rather rickety home-made website, along with an appeal for any veterans or their families to get in touch. From there, things mushroomed and I had dozens of messages over the years which led to several more surviving veterans, plus many useful contacts and much valuable information.
    Finding even one veteran meant that he would have information and recollections that would give clues to where others could be found. And so it proved. In all, over the last 18 years I was fortunate enough to meet up with eight veterans and interview them in depth. Sadly, three have since died.
    In addition, I was given photographs, documents, letters and memoirs by the families of many deceased veterans – most via the Internet. I have also twice visited Normandy with three of the veterans, an instructive and moving experience.
    In summary, I’d say the best thing to get your project under way is:
    1. Try to recall anything, however seemingly insignificant, your father told you about his war service. Find out all you can by talking to family members about his military career and get his service record. This will give you important pointers, even though it may be lacking in detail.
    2. Write to the local paper covering the area where his unit recruited, asking for any veterans or their families to get in touch.
    3. Get in touch with his old regiment or its museum / archives.
    4. Read all you can that has ever been published about his unit.
    5. Read the war diaries at Kew. These will be your best source of basic information about his unit’s activities, although generally they rarely mention individual soldiers.
    6. Put out an appeal for information on the Internet, via sites such as WW2Talk, as well as veterans and old comrades’ organisations such as the British Legion.

    The main thing I found during my years of research was that all the information is probably out there and you just need a little persistence and a little luck to find it.
    The advent of the Internet has been wonderful for research such as this and there is a whole community of knowledgeable people out there who are ready, willing and able to help – the best example being here on WW2Talk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions online. Someone will probably know the answer and will save you weeks and months of searching.
    Sadly, the passing of the years means veterans are inevitably becoming fewer, but it is surprising how many are still around. Without fail, I have found them wonderful people and it has been a privilege to know them. I hope you have similar luck – keep us posted on how you’re getting on.

    Tom
     
  19. bell.eyam

    bell.eyam Junior Member

    Tom, Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement.... this research project is quickly becoming such an enjoyable passion, made all the more so by your thoughtful interest. I will certainly keep you posted.
    Regards
    David Bell
     
  20. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    WW2Talk members may be interested to know that I have now had the True Loyals history published as a book in memory of my father and his comrades, marking the 70th anniversary of the raising of the 7th Loyals.
    It is not a commercial enterprise and my main purpose is to give the veterans and their families a keepsake. However, if anyone is interested in the book, it can be bought from the publisher, Countyvise of Birkenhead, who are at Countyvise Limited.
    I have put details on my True Loyals website at Home.
    If any money is raised from sales, I will donate anything I receive to the Royal Artillery Museum.
     

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