72 LAA Regiment and X4 Field Regiments RA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Alan Styles, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. Alan Styles

    Alan Styles Member

    I am researching the war record of John (Jack) Waddington. His service in North Africa dates from 10/4/1943, His army record shows him as serving with 212 bty. He was promoted to sergeant on 6/6/43 and posted to 72 LAA on 19/9/43. The next entry is on 1/10/44 when he is posted to X4 field regiment.

    The next entries have been crossed out, dated 19/2/45 and 11/6/45.

    The following entry reads Unit X(4a), To U/A & P/WO II (BSM) for period 20/8/45 to 4/10/45 (?LIAP)

    He returned to the UK on 27/12/45

    The story is that Jack and several other gunners escaped from the Germans by sailing a boat to Malta. This only came to light when Jack met by chance another escapee while on holiday in the Isle of Wight.

    His service record does not mention any service in Italy, where his relations think he sailed the boat from.

    Can anybody supply any further information on these units, or the boat episode?
  2. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Do you have photos of the service record that you could post here? Seeing everything in context can help people to tease out the small clues from all the entries.

    X4 (with many variations, like brackets or Roman numerals) is usually the 'X' List code for being in the unposted reinforcement pool.
    U/A is usually Unpaid Acting (with regards to a rank), P is Paid.
    BSM is Battery Sergeant Major.
    LIAP is Leave In Addition to Python.
  3. Alan Styles

    Alan Styles Member

    Thanks for that. Service record uploaded.

    Attached Files:

  4. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Here are the movements for 72 LAA Regt RA.


    It looks like he joined 72 LAA Regt RA when they moved from North Africa to Italy in Sep 43 and stayed with that Regt until it was disbanded in Oct 44. Every unit in Italy was desperately short of soldiers so a lot of LAA Regts were disbanded and the soldiers sent elsewhere. It looks like he became a Royal Engineer but that is then crossed out.


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  5. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    The entry for 1/10/44 looks like he was transferred to "RA (Fld) & posted to X (4) List". That would tie in with what Frank has posted above - 72 LAA was disbanded so he moved from the AA 'wing' of the RA to the Field 'wing', becoming part of the general reinforcement pool and available for posting to another artillery unit.

    There's something about being transferred to the Royal Engineers (Line of Communication) immediately afterwards which has been crossed out. The 'Place' for that is CMF (Central Mediterranean Force) which would cover Italy.

    On the first page of his record (Corps/Unit section) and also in one of the crossed out entries he is shown as RE (Field) not RA (Field). His appointment to BSM in October 45 would suggest Artillery not Engineers, but that seems to be followed by an entry pointing to the School of (Military?) Engineering. But he is then posted to the RA Depot on repatriation to the UK. Bit of a puzzle what he was up to between Oct 44 and Oct 45 - hopefully someone can work out more.
  6. Alan Styles

    Alan Styles Member

    Thanks again for the information. I am surprised that his record makes no mention of Italy, as he should have been entitled to the Italy Star.

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