Help required in identifying HAA batteries

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by HAARA, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    I have come across references to the following HAA gun sites in War Diaries, but have been unable to identify either their reference number, or in some cases location. They are as follows:

    1. Henbury Golf ClubBristol. No reference is made to this on either the RA 1939-1945 websit www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk the map of anti aircraft gun sites www.anti-aircraft.co.uk However, looking on Google, I wonder if the traces of this site are visible at ST 565 781 (in between trees adjacent to club house, and bunkers to the east on north side of the access road)? Or am I imagining things!

    2. Green Street Green, Thames area. Again as above no reference on either website, but references more generally on web. It’s possible that there are remains of the gun site still visible amongst trees, at TQ 590 708. Has anyone visited this location?

    In conjunction with the above gun site, two other locations are mentioned contemporaneously in the War Diaries, being Strood, and Jeskins Court. Any suggestions? I can, to date, find no location for or references to these. Is it possible that these were renamed at some point, as was ZE 18 Queen Elizabeth, being changed to Chingford?
     
  2. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Links need editing - remove characters after html
     
  3. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Apologies, there seems to be a problem with embedding web addresses. Try copy and paste, it seems to work.
     
  4. ed99

    ed99 New Member

    My late Father enlisted in the 58th (Kent) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (T.A.) 9 208th (Bromley) Btry. Penge in 1937 , he told me that he was part of the gun crew at Green Street Green which on one occasion the shot down three Dornier 17’s, from research it appears that this was on 08 September 1940 but only 28 AA Bde. appear to be credited with this and not a specific Btry.

    On 19 October 1941 he was a Lance Bombardier but on 29 June 1942 “Reverts to Rank of Gunner by Commanding Officer”

    You mention in your post the War Diaries, have you seen the Diaries for the Green Street Green location at Sandbanks Hill which I assume was 264th (Dartford) Btry: Dartford?
     
  5. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum ed99

    David
     
  6. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  8. hutt

    hutt Member

    Hi

    Attached shows 6th AA Division gun sites as of 30 09 39 with Regiments, Batteries and designations and confirms information provided by ed99 at that date.

    Map coordinates for Green Street Green, when input into the wartime coordinate translator are, however, to the SW of TQ 590 708 so this might be another example of how we can't rely too much on this web site to convert with absolute precision.

    Graham
     

    Attached Files:

  9. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Thanks all for the suggestions, and as always, much appreciated. Graham, I agree with you on location of Green Street Green, and that this is an example of 'missing' gun site locations. As wells as not being recorded on the map, it does not appear in the RA records that I posted on 10 November. I'm still unable to locate the locations of Strood and Jeskins Court - infuriating!
     
  10. ed99

    ed99 New Member

    GSG-2.jpg Hi
    Building on Graham’s post the Green Street Green Battery was i located off the B262 in Sand Banks Hill Kent however, the location was at TQ5908 7080 , ( attached) this is confirmed in an English Heritage Paper entitled Second World War defences in Kent published 2002. There is also a picture of the gun and crew o e of which I think is my Dad but I need a better copy to be sure
     
  11. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that confirmation!
     
  12. hutt

    hutt Member

    Attached is the 1940 aerial for Green Street Green
     

    Attached Files:

  13. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Thanks Hutt!
     
  14. hutt

    hutt Member

    Hi

    Some thoughts regarding Strood and Jeskins Court (Jeskyns Court)

    Consulting a list of Thames and Medway HAA batteries there are 2 possibilities. On the basis of proximity alone, could Strood be Oak Street at TQ726711 and could Jeskyns Court in fact be Cobham at TQ676683?

    Attached are images from 1940 for Cobham and Oak St along with the English Heritage listing for Cobham.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Barry Brown

    Barry Brown Member

    Hi, Newbie member here - just joined as I wanted to provide some info about the AA battery at Green Street Green near Dartford.

    I have recently been asked by the current owners to help them 'declutter' their premises after 20 years of occupancy. The site still holds the Nissen hut that acted as the barracks for the AA unit - it is halfway up the garden behind the stable block. I am patiently getting rid of rubbish but have one eye on any historically relevant items to preserve them.
    The guns were apparently in the adjacent farmers field (a different property so no access) but the upper area of the garden, I am told, still has the base for the barrage balloon teathering. It is under a bramble thicket so during this winter I intend to clear the scrub and have a look to see what is actually still there.

    Whilst clearing another out-building last week I found an empty old wooden ammunition crate. Research shows this to be a crate that held 120 cartons of .50 calibre Armour Piercing Incendiary ammo of the T1IDQ category. This is probably for the AA machine guns at that site. The crate is brown timber with black inked lettering (no stripes or paint) so seems to be 1939-1948 issue. The lot number is SL7853 but I don't know how to date that to a point in time during the war.
    Can anyone point me at a list that might narrow this down please?

    Also, just outside the Nissen hut is a brick dome structure about 5 feet diameter with a hole in the top about 2 foot diameter. The bricks are laid in such a way that the dome and mortaring are self supporting with the top edge being rendered smooth for the first course. We don't know how deep it is as after 18 inches down it is full of soil. The owners thought it was an old ice-house structure but having seen the larger one a Knowle House in Sevenoaks the hole in the top is too large for ice storage and I doubt it has a side entrance given the shallow ground slope. It isn't an abandoned well as that is lower down the site near the main house. I am wondering if it might be brick type foxhole for use by the AA site personnel. It does not look strong enough to have been a metal shrouded machine gun emplacement but I could envisage a soldier with raised rifle firing from the hole.

    I'll take some photos and post them but in the meantime, any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Barry
     

    Attached Files:

  16. hutt

    hutt Member

    It would be great to see any photos you have. Regarding the brick domed structure, looking through Dobinsons AA Command which has quite a few illustrations, none, unfortunately would seem to match what you are describing
     
  17. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    AA Command, by Colin Dobinson (English Heritage) Contains a gazetteer of AA Batteries. These draw on WO 166/2072 WS AA Cmd G Draft list of gun sites Feb 1940 ands AIR 2/4788 AA Cmd to multiple recipients 23 June 1942. These have the sites acquired but not necessarily developed,

    re 1. The nearest battery location to ST 565 781 is Westbury ST577 774 which is 1200 yards north and 700 yards west
    re 2 Nothing at TQ 590 708. But TS19 is listed at TQ 591 708 about 100 yards away
     
  18. Barry Brown

    Barry Brown Member

    Hi Hutt, I'll grab some photos next week and upload them.

    Hi Sheldrake, re2 - the guns were at Sandbanks farm (near the junction of Green Street Green B260 and Sandbanks Hill B262) You can just make out the 'shadow' on the field in the GoogleMaps screenshot attached if compared to Hutt's 1940 aerial shot.

    The Nissen hut I am decluttering is about 1/2 mile due south from the Sandbanks battery site. Could this be a seperate site for the balloon crew?

    I have made a GoogleMaps screenshot and indicated the items I have discovered so far.

    Regards,
    Barry
     

    Attached Files:

  19. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Hi Barry, all sounds very interesting indeed! The GoogleMaps image that downloads here has no markups that you imply are shown - am I missing something, or is there another version?
    Reference the dome that you've found, are you able to date the bricks in any way? Just wondering if they carry maker's mark or have any distinctive feature to help identify whether these are contemporary with the gun site, or pre date it? I've not come across anything like that on any of the sites I've seen. Interesting to know!
    The ammunition in the box at .5" would suggest a Vickers machine gun , as was used for AA defence on gun sites, in particular at the beginning of the war when 3.7"s were in short supply. Brens were also used, but these were .303".
     
  20. Barry Brown

    Barry Brown Member

    Ooops - sorry folks. I forgot to add the second file with the Nissen hut site info.

    The bricks in the dome are only presenting their 'faces' and none are loose as far as I can tell. I have been careful to strim and mow around it without damaging the intact structure. But I do now have another option for potential dating evidence.

    I hadn't considered the Vickers .50. I'd assumed Browning .50 taking over from Lewis .303 for better armour penetration. Interesting food for thought and exploration. (as it happens I have a .303 ammo crate of my own that I found in our garage when we moved house - it is great for keeping all my Whitworth and BSF spanners in)

    I think the corrugated cladding on the Nissen has been replaced as it runs vertically and most pictures I see of WW2 installation show the corrugations being place horizontally - presumably easier to manipulate onsite rather than 'wheeling' and entire sheet. There are some distributor markings on the inside for the sheets so I'll grab that data as well.
    The Nissen was used by the previous owners as a duck shed so has lots of breezeblock and chicken wire partitioning that I need to work through at the same time as clearing accumulated rubbish. I am trying to get it back to an open structure that can be preserved and then split up using temporary plastic sheds inside for storage. The timbering at each end is now at risk so I need to assess that and see what can be saved and what needs to be restored (I prefer conservation/preservation over restoration but structural integrity holds the trump card otherwise its all wasted effort)

    Once I'm done I'd like to leave a clearer picture of what it was used for rather than anecdotal info handed down during property sales.
     

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