Royal Artillery question

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by retsub, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. retsub

    retsub Member

    Hi Guys
    I recently discovered a small book of poetry which was written by my Dad prior and during WW2. He wasn't the greatest poet, but its treasured by the family and I thought it would be a nice touch to create a phonebook for our family. I thought it would be good to start off with a paragraph or two about his military service. Like many people I never took the opportunity to ask questions why he was alive and greatly regret it. We know he saw service in Germany and also believe he was evacuated on a naval vessel from Dunkirk. All we have to go on is his soldiers release book. I have detailed what this reveals below

    Soldiers Release book class A 5MDU
    Surname Fisher
    Initials Francis George
    Army Number 1490783
    Rank Gunner
    Arm of service RA (LAA)

    A smal stamp seems to say

    369 LAA BTY 113 LAA regt R A (DLI) TA

    date of last enlistment 15.7 1939 release leave certificate 16 Jan 1946

    We believe he acted as a fitter on the Anti Aircraft guns (I assume) he had made mention that if shells failed, he was responsible for clearing and reloading the guns.

    Apologies for my lack of information, on a subject I really should know better on, but if any of the knowledgeable people out there can provide any further information about the unit, where they served etc I would be extremely grateful

    Best regards and thanks in advance
    Nick P likes this.
  2. CL1

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

  3. retsub

    retsub Member

    Thanks Clive
    will get right on it.


  4. CL1

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

    Bob make sure you keep us updated on your research.
    I am sure other forum members will be along to offer more assistance.

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Bob and welcome to the forum. As Clive suggest, service records are the best place to start.
  6. retsub

    retsub Member

    Thanks Drew
    Been made to feel very welcome and have learn't a great deal already.

    Really looking forward to getting the service record as it will hopefully answer a few questions. He had mentioned that he had won some Rhine Army boxing awards and I noted from the information provided by Clive (thanks again Clive) that the unit had crossed the Rhine.

    At the risk of looking a little stupid can I ask a general question. When a man signed up for service in WW2 would he typically be. Assigned to a local unit? Or would he be assigned to a specialised unit in line with any civilian skills he may have possesed?

    The reason I ask is I wonder why my Dad a confirmed Londoner would sign up for The Durham Light infantry? After the war he spent his working life working for London transport as a fitter, but I am unsure if he had any of these skills prior to signing up?
  7. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum retsub
  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Whilst it is true that the man power for the pre-war Territorial battalions was drawn from the regiments home area - in this case West Hartlepool, Horden and Easington, County Durham, once WWII commenced replacements were drawn from far and wide; and especially after the advent of the General Service Corps.

    As one of Clive's links shows, the 113th LAA Regiment were on Home service until the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and then served in NW Europe for the duration. Apart from the fighting in Normandy, they were also involved (one Battery) in support of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division's attack at Gheel, Operation Market Garden (the Arnhem thrust), the Rhine Crossing and the relief of Belsen.

    At the latter they were reposnsible for two tasks: bury the dead and move all those that had the slightest chance of survival to a Panzer training school and barracks nearby. They arrived at Belsen on 18 April 1945, and using bulldozers, Bofors tractors and German lorries buried 1,700 people in one day. By the time their burial work was complete on 25 April 1945 17,000 people had been buried. By the 19 May, their task of looking after the survivors was completed and on 21 May the Belsen Camp was burned to the ground. - Source: The DLI at War (Rissik).

    The reason for mentioning the 113th LAA Regiment supporting the 50th (Northumbrian) Division is that the 1/5th Bn Durham Light Infantry, of which it had been part, had during WWI and up until 1938 been part of this Division.
    Nick P likes this.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The Army sent a soldier wherever it wanted.
    Forget the geographical titles of a regiment.
  10. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    His attestation has a few additional snippets of information. Transfered from HAA to LAA (Date illegible) Transferred to REME 1/10/51, assuming TA.

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  11. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    My father was a Londoner, he was sent to Lincolnshire
    Hope this helps

  12. retsub

    retsub Member

    Thanks guys

    Really do appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

    Guy that's really interesting and gives me another lead to follow up on. The soldier release book only mentions LAA. There is a receipt for his greatcoat dated 26th Jan1946, but it also mentions his release leave expires 23rd March 1946

    We were under the impression that the poetry book was written during his military service, but one of the poems appears to be before the boxing match between Joe Louis and Tommy Far which took place in 1937.

    Am absolutely fascinated at what you have uncovered already and very much appreciate all the effort that you have put in.

    David....nice car
  13. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member


  14. Buteman

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

    PM (Private Message) sent.
  15. Buteman

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

    Some war diary pages for 113 LAA Regt from June 1944. They loaded at Tilbury on 15 June and the last of the Regt unloaded on 26 June 1944. They were caught in the severe storm that badly damaged the Mulberry Harbours off Normandy, so were stuck on board their Motor Transports for 11 days. A most unpleasant trip.

    DSCF3546 (Large).JPG
    DSCF3547 (Large).JPG
    DSCF3548 (Large).JPG

    Copy of the loading table at Tilbury showing 768 men and 162 vehicles went across. The remaining 130 or so men of the Regt went later.

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
    Owen, Guy Hudson and CL1 like this.
  16. retsub

    retsub Member

    Wow many thanks for the diaries which are fascinating. It must have been an awful crossing and that's without even thinking about the mines etc
  17. Buteman

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

    On 18 April 1945, 113 LAA Regt took over the duties of 63 Anti-Tank Regt at BELSEN Concentration Camp and spent over a month there helping to Administer the camp. 369 Battery were responsible for No 1 Camp and burying the dead. Not something that your Dad would have cared to remember or talk about. They left on the 24th May 1945.

    Apparently a War Documentary was made on 24 April about the work carried out by 113 LAA Regt with a address by the Commanding Officer and other personnel. Probably held at the Imperial War Museum film and photographic archives.

    DSCF3907 (Large).JPG
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
    Guy Hudson likes this.
  18. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Rob
  19. retsub

    retsub Member

    Thanks Rob

    Certainly not something he mentioned to me. Can only imagine how horrible that must have been. I do remember him telling us about A black German helmet with a skull and Crossbones on them, which he brought back with him. Apparently my elder brother swapped it for a fishing rod.

    Lastly a complaint. Everyone on here has been so friendly and helpful.... I think I've got the bug Grrrrrr

    Seriously very much appreciate all the help i have been given.
  20. ChrisCart

    ChrisCart Member

    Hi Retsub

    A quick online search for 113 LAA on IWM website shows two references to 113 LAA: - Catalogue No. HU 61016 "A 40mm Bofors gun of 113 Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA) Regiment Royal Artillery in the barrack complex adjoining the concentration camp at Belsen. 113 LAA Regiment took over general guard duties in the camp from 63 Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery on 18 April 1945." - The private papers of Joseph Wyatt Sanderson, who served with 369 LAA Battery, 113 LAA Regiment RA, includes a group photograph of 369 Battery.
    Nick P likes this.

Share This Page