Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by DavidW, Feb 23, 2013.
Usual request of Batterys & movements for 1940 - 1942 please.
9th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (S.R.)
HQ, 24th-25th AA Btys: Londonderry
26th AA Bty: Ballymena
6th Light AA Bty: Coleraine
The regiment served under 3rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade at the outbreak of war. It mobilized on 18 November 1939. 26th Battery manned the heavy guns in Belfast’s defence from the departure of 8th Heavy AA Regiment and the arrival of 309th AA Battery from England. After mobilization the regiment moved across France to Marseilles and sailed for Alexandria on 27 November. On arrival it moved to Sidi Bishr and assumed the AA defence of Alexandria. It was located at Alexandria in the Delta until January 1943 under 2nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade from January 1941. 25th Battery arrived at Port Sudan on 29 June 1941. ‘F’ Section was then diverted to Aden but returned by 31 August. ‘G’ Section moved to Atbara in November and later went to Kassala. In April, ‘G Section moved back to Egypt. The regiment was retitled 9th (Londonderry) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (S.R.) on 8 May 1940. It was designated Heavy AA on 1 June 1940. In January 1943 the regiment moved to Tripolitania and served in the Tripoli area under 2nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade. 28th Battery had served in Palestine for twenty months as the only Heavy AA Battery, being located at Haifa. Detachments of this battery served under 234th Infantry Brigade on Leros in October 1943.
It then served in Italy from 9 September 1943, landing under 12th Anti-Aircraft Brigade. It later served under 22nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade at Naples, but later joined 66th Anti-Aircraft Brigade in the Anzio area in May 1944. It remained there until July 1944, when it returned to the United Kingdom. It was placed into suspended animation in Northern Ireland in September 1944.
Thank you David. That was quick!
Do you know if the Hvy Btys were sent to N.Africa with 3" or 3.7" guns?
How many Bofors were in the Lt Btys of these Hvy Regiments?
Sorry. That is all I have.
Never mind, perhaps someone else can chip in with this information.
3.7" guns. A detailed history of the regiment can be found in Richard Doherty's "Wall of Steel the History of the 9th (Londonderry) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery (SR)".
Hi I was just lookin to see if my grandfather was in this regiment his name was George Caldwell and was born in 1912,
12 Bofors normally in the light batteries, in three troops to two sections.
All the best
Thanks for that.
My dad served in this regiment throughout the war. He told me lots of stories of the 9th's good times and the bad. From leaving Derry until the regiments return. I wish he was still alive so I could hear his tales again. Talk about Irish lads on tour these lads went through the mill but were ace gunners. God bless my dad he did his bit.
If he served with 9 HAA Regt RA at Anzio when your Dad gets my vote. It was grim.
I take groups to Anzio all the time and it ceases to amaze me what the troops had to endure during their time there.
I remember my dad saying Anzio was one of the few times he was used as infantry. The other time was retreating from Rommel.
Towards the end of Anzio, both British Infantry Divisions in the beachhead - 1 Inf Div and 5 Inf Div, were on their knees with massive gaps in their ranks. Without a substantial air threat, a lot of the LAA and HAA Regts RA were cannibalised and the soldiers sent into the line. The tricky bit for people like your father was that they were sent into the 'wadis' and lived a troglodyte existence for weeks on end. The wadis were deep ravines with German positions just yards away - very much Great War type of warfare. This is how the Regt History of the Irish Guards described it:
‘It was a savage, brutish troglodyte existence, in which there could be no sleep for anyone and no rest for any commander. The weather was almost the worst enemy. Isolated by day and erratically supplied by night, soaked to the skin, stupefied by exhaustion and bombardment, surrounded by new and old corpses and yet persistently cheerful, the Guardsmen dug trenches and manned them till they were blown in and then dug new ones, beat off attacks, changed their positions, launched local attacks, stalked snipers, broke up patrols, evacuated the wounded, buried the dead and carried supplies. The life was one of unremitting drudgery.’
One day, you should go and see what people like your father endured. I take groups deep into the wadis to get a feel for it.
Thanks for that incite Frank. I guess like most veterans my dad didn't dwell too much on the grim side of soldiering. I have often wanted to retrace my dads regimental routes but apart from Italy most of the places where my dad was stationed are now war torn. I should go to Naples because I have a half brother there whom I have never met who will be about 74 years old if he's still alive. My dad was a bit of a ladies man.
You should. Seize the day.
I might well adhere your sentiments. Thanks Frank
As Frank said, seize the day-you won't regret it. I made a visit to Italy 3 years ago to some of the places my father had been in the war. Emotional and unforgettable.
I know what you mean Lesley. I took my dad to Flandres and visited the battlefields where my grandad fought.
I'm new to this site but as a son of a WW2 veteran, who has told stories to me, I hope I can recollect some of my dad's experiences. My dad went to war in 1939 and was in volunteer reserve Royal Artillrery. My dad left Londonderry with his mates to England and to a base in Hampshire before embarking to France(Cherbourg) to travel to Marseille and then to Egypt via Malta. I remember my dad saying that they foot marched through Hampshire and stopped at a village to be met by some lovely old ladies who gave them cups of tea and sticky buns. The voyage to France was horrendous and everybody was sea sick. Then there was a long rail journey from Cherbourg to Marseille. I'm not sure of my dad's next journey but I know he travelled as far south as Eritrea and mentioned the heat. I know that he defended Alexdriana and went to the Holy Land before traversing to and fro across North Afica. My dad didn't dwell too much upon the bad times but he once told me he had stepped upon some poor unfortunate dead Italian soldier whom had putridifed and he had to throw his boots away. Another time my dad said he and his mates( on retreat from German Africa Corps) came across an abandoned Italian army bakery and because they were starving they ate stale bread. My dad said he had seen both Monty and Winston Churchill. After victory in North Africa my dad embarked for Italy and I think he first lands eat Salerno before Anzio. My dad's regiment was attached to the American 5th Army and was positioned in Naples. My dad saw the eruption from Vesuvius. In the entire time my dad spent the worst time was in Naples when my dad's RA battery were positioned inside a football stadium and during a German air raid my dad's battery was completely wiped out. My dad lost lads he had grown up with. My dad should have manned the guns that night but a young lad by the name of Jeff Evans, whom owed my dad 10 bob, offered to repay my dad but my dad said you can keep the 10 bob if you do my gun stag. Jeff agreed. My dad had an Italian girlfriend and went on his date. That night the Germans raided Naples and my dad with his girlfriend sheltered in an air raid shelter. Whilst in the shelter frightened people were saying the football stadium had been bombed. The next morning when my dad returned to the stadium and he found devastation. He identified his mate Billy Peoples decapitated head still wearing an helmet and his other mate Dougy Mark by his Masonic ring on a severed hand. After Naples the regiment went as far as Leghorn before being repatriated to Blighty. On return to Blighty my dad's ship was held for over a day in Liverpool before they could disembark. Somebody on the ship had made a sign saying ' Altmark' because of the delay in being disembarked. On being disembarked from the ship the returning military personnel were subject to HM Customs and apparently they were methodical. My dad's return to Derry was via Skegness before he and his compatriots got off the train after Being away for such a long time.
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