Brief posting to 51st HAA regt RA (i think) from 87th HAA, why ?

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by mac657, Nov 28, 2022.

  1. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Attached are a couple of pages from my great-grandads wartime service record and my question relates to the entry dated 30-07-42 at the bottom of the first page.

    He spent the whole of his war service (1941 - 46) as a Gunner with 87th Heavy anti-aircraft regiment, Royal artillery however I've noticed what seems to be a brief attachment / posting to 51st HAA between July 1942 and January 1943 - well that's how i read it !

    Firstly, does anybody have any thoughts as to what the entry actually says ? It looks like an attachment to 51st HAA (possibly their RHQ) but is there another attachment underneath ? It looks like 7th HAA to me but i believe they were in Malta at this time.

    In January he returns to 280 bty, 87th HAA which is where he came from initially and was for the whole of the war.

    I appreciate it may be something of nothing but just thought i would ask as in case there was a bigger picture that i'm not aware of.

    thanks.
    Mac.
    51haa1.jpg 51haa2.jpg 51haa3.jpg
     
  2. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    I tend to trace the Regiments on ra 1939-45 website to find out where they were.
    This acts as a cross check.

    Royal Artillery in World War 2 - The Royal Artillery 1939-45
    87 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA) - The Royal Artillery 1939-45

    51 (London) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA) - The Royal Artillery 1939-45

    70 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA) - The Royal Artillery 1939-45

    It seems that he began with 87 HAA in the UK then went to Basra (Iraq Paiforce)

    Transferred to
    51 HAA (ME) Palestine.

    From Wikipedia link below:
    Tripolitania
    Meanwhile, RHQ of 51st HAA, now under Lt-Col C.L. Harrison, had moved to Haifa in Palestine, where it became part of Ninth Army. On 8 September it took temporary command of 28th HAA Bty, 4th HAA Bty Royal Australian Artillery, and 169 LAA Bty of 57th (KOYLI) LAA Rgt until its own batteries returned from Tobruk.

    It looks like they were temporarily short of men, I read the note as ack'a (ack being an Artillery term for an assistant).
    Possibly in this case at RHQ a clerical or technical assistant able to read maps or Artillery data sheets.

    Then moved to 280 Bty 87 HAA BNAF (British North Africa Force Tunisia)
    They then advanced to Italy.

    He went to 70 LAA which changed designation to 605 Infantry Regiment RA (CMF = Italy)
    (See ra 1939-45 70 LAA page).

    He seems to have returned home after this.

    The change of Regiments were for operational reasons. Attack by enemy aircraft was becoming scarce.
    HAA was run down as they were initially needed to defend large assets Ports, Bases etc.

    LAA were highly mobile so used for Antiaircraft and Fire Support for the infantry.
    There was then a shortage of Infantry soldiers, so RA were again changed over to Infantry.

    Looks like you have some homework to do tracing his movements from Iraq across North Africa to Italy.
    It was a well-known route. The dates on the Service Record will help you.
    I suggest that you make a timeframe and fit them in chronological order.

    These links might also help
    87th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery - Wikipedia

    51st (London) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
    mac657, SteveDee and Rothy like this.
  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The importance of Haifa appears on this thread: Basuto Smoke Company

    There could be others, though on a quick scan just for Haifa found plenty and none easily id'd as anti-aircraft.
     
    mac657 likes this.
  4. klambie

    klambie Senior Member

    RA not my expertise, but think you are a bit off on some of your dates. Some dates difficult to read but I see:

    280 Bty Conduct to the prejudice ... 16 Mar? 42. Seems to be 280 Bty here, they record the discipline though appears on the date of the offense 15 Mar 42 he was in hospital on the x(ii) list

    280 Bty Attached for all purposes (att fap) 51 HAA Regt 30 Jul 42

    280 Bty Ceases to be attached (ctba) RHQ 51 HAA Regt for all purposes (fap) and attd RHQ 75 (or 78?) HAA Regt for all purposes (fap) 5 Sept 41 (should be 42?)

    280 Bty Posted x(ii) (hospital) list 15 Jan 43 (presumably while still attached to 75/78 HAA as there is no ctba ending it)

    X list Posted x(iv) (reinforcement) list from x(ii) (hospital) list 12? Feb 43

    280 Bty Taken On Strength (TOS) 280 HAA Bty from x(iv) list 19 Feb 43

    So appears to have been away from 280 Bty from Jul 42 to Feb 43 between attachments and hospital time.

    Was there a 75 or 78 HAA in the region during this period?
     
    mac657 likes this.
  5. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    75 HAA was in Iraq from Aug 42 until Jul 44 when they were placed in suspended animation. They were originally in PAIForce and changed to Middle East Forces, May 44. They were part of 4 AA Brigade the whole time.
    78 HAA joined 9 Army in Palestine in Oct 42. Moved to the Levant in Jan 43 with 20 AA Brigade. They were in Egypt in Nov 43 and went to Italy in Jan 44.
     
    mac657 likes this.
  6. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    Clarification of previous notes:
    I normally screen shot the record then research the key points before posting, deleting the screenshots but on so many occasions when I return someone has posted and I have wasted my time.
    This time I tried a different approach so that we could possibly all share in the enquiry.

    Having spent some considerable time "digging" for information online, I realigned my notes to answer the original question.
    I couldn't make out the reference to RHQ75 or 78 clearly enough to identify but I think the reference to 51HAA in Wikipedia, could be the answer to:

    Brief posting to 51st HAA regt RA (i think) from 87th HAA, why ?

    Answer: From Wikipedia link below:
    Tripolitania
    Meanwhile, RHQ of 51st HAA, now under Lt-Col C.L. Harrison, had moved to Haifa in Palestine, where it became part of Ninth Army. On 8 September it took temporary command of 28th HAA Bty, 4th HAA Bty Royal Australian Artillery, and 169 LAA Bty of 57th (KOYLI) LAA Rgt until its own batteries returned from Tobruk.
    51st (London) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery - Wikipedia

    It looks to me, like they (RHQ 51HAA) were temporarily short of experienced Artillerymen,
    I read the (poorly handwritten) note as ack'a (ack being an Artillery term for an assistant).
    Possibly in this case at RHQ, a clerical or technical assistant able to read maps or Artillery data sheets.

    I posted my data trail for the enquirer to follow as it seems that they have an idea as to what to do but needed a bit of guidance.

    I trust in human nature, that if one is WRONG, someone will always appear to tell you so!

    Thanks to all the other responders and those who might follow.

    So many new postings make rapid progress down the New Postings List and disappear unanswered.

    If I think that I can help, it's worth the effort.

    Perhaps a bit of feedback from mac657 might be appreciated on this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2022
    mac657 likes this.
  7. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thanks for all the replies and apologies for not answering - i have not received any notifications for this thread.

    Well there is certainly plenty to get my teeth into here !

    Fascinating to read all of your interpretations of the service records - and i thought i was pretty clued up on army abbreviations ! Plenty of new ones in here for me.

    I think i'll have to take Uncle Target's advice and start constructing a time line mainly due to number of new regiments / brigades that have been flagged up by you guys.

    I've suddenly got a different picture of his service, from thinking that he was 'steady' with 280 bty most of the timer to service a bit more varied.

    I think this may take some time, but interesting nevertheless.

    Huge thanks again to all contributors.
     
    Uncle Target likes this.
  8. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    If you get stuck just ask.
    Don't forget the Private Message (Conversation) facility
    Most things that you are likely need are available on here.
    It's a matter of finding them.
     
    mac657 likes this.
  9. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Really appreciated.

    I've checked his records again including pay book and nothing jumps out to assist in this.

    The only document that may is attached although it looks pretty straightforward to me - famous last words :) 20221130_181836.jpg
     
    Uncle Target likes this.
  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    mac657,

    You can get alerts if you activate 'watch thread' above your first post. The system only activates the Direct Message option for you to use after you've made five posts. Pretty sure it will work.
     
    mac657 likes this.
  11. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    Posted at #9 is his service summary (not sure which Army Form Number) It only shows details of main postings.
    Interesting that the "contentious" unit numbers are missing.

    In case you don't have it, here is a copy of X List designations

    The ‘X List’ was used to identify a soldier and his status in the system for accounting and pay purposes.
    All time was accounted for particularly if the soldier was unavailable for duty, necessitating an alteration of pay.
    .
    The ‘X’ was followed by a Roman numeral,

    X(i) waiting for a posting to a unit.

    X(ii) held on medical grounds, wounded, injured or on a sick list.

    X(iii) prisoners of war, deserters, and soldiers held further to disciplinary action.

    X(iv) waiting to be posted to a unit from reserve holding / training camp.

    X(v) attending training or trade courses.

    Whilst not exactly correct, some records are written with Arabic numerals X1, X2 etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2022
    mac657 and Rothy like this.

Share This Page