Indian Light AA/Anti Tank Regiments

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by RobG64, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Heathmount

    Heathmount Member

    Photo 1: A Sunday morning in May 1943 outside the Officers’ Mess, Clairwood Camp, Natal, S. Africa.

    Photo 2: Near Umbumbulu during three-day route march to Amanzimtoti, Natal, April 1943.

    Photo 3: My father in India, December 1943 with his orderlies Malabux and Vasuppannikar. “They were both thrilled to death when I gave them copies of this photograph!!” is written on the reverse.

    Photo 4: Cartoon of the Battery by “Gwil” (I think his name was Williams” drawn at the end of the war.
  2. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member


    Wonderful photos and the caricatures - thanks for posting them.

    Best wishes for your ongoing research.

    Heathmount likes this.
  3. Mikeb4472

    Mikeb4472 Member

    Hi - can I check anywhere which War Diaries are available at Kew for the Indian Artillery? I am looking into the 3rd Lt A A Brigade, in September 1942. Acting Colonel Thomas F Hartley was killed "in action" on 4th Sept (reported on Casualty List 976) with reported location New Delhi.

    Thanks - mikeb4472
  4. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Hi Mike,

    Here's what I can find regarding your query. There don't appear to be any surviving war diaries at The National Archives however there are two files dealing with missing personnel (see below).

    It seems the unit T.F Hartley served with was the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong & Singapore Royal Artillery (H.K.S.R.A.).


    Major Thomas Fitzhardinge Hartley

    Service No. 58005, died 4th September 1942. Attached to the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong & Singapore Royal Artillery (H.K.S.R.A.). Buried at Delhi War Cemetery.

    Died New Delhi.[ii]

    Reported missing, Malaya, 15th February 1942. Previously reported missing, now not missing, 6th April 1942.[iii]

    Reported as Prisoner of War.[iv]

    Major Hartley served with the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong & Singapore Royal Artillery (H.K.S.R.A.). The Regiment was formed in Malaya on 1st September 1941 with the 14th and 16th Light Anti-Aircraft Batteries taken from the 1st and 2nd Anti-Aircraft Regiments (H.K.S.R.A.).[v]

    The commanding officer of the 3rd L.A.A. Regiment (H.K.S.R.A.) was Lt. Colonel D.V. Hill.[vi] Hill was reported as missing on 15th February 1942, later confirmed as P.o.W. on 1st December 1942.[vii]

    I can’t find any war diaries for the Regiment at The National Archives, however there are two files dealing with missing personnel of the 3rd L.A.A. Regiment (H.K.S.R.A.):

    WO 361/347: Malaya: 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery; missing personnel
    WO 361/1407: Far East: 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery.​

    Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, accessed January 2020.

    [ii] British Army, Royal Artillery Officer Deaths 1850-2011, FindMyPast

    [iii] British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945, FindMyPast

    [iv] Prisoners of War, Far East: Royal Artillery; nominal roll, D-H, WO 361/2185

    [v] “The Lineage Book of British Land Forces, 1660-1978”, Frederick J.B.M., Microform (1984)

    [vi] “The Far East Theatre 1941-46”, Farndale, M. Royal Artillery Institution (2000)

    [vii] Casualty Lists
    daisy1942 and timuk like this.
  5. Mikeb4472

    Mikeb4472 Member

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for all of that. I had picked up items [ii] and [iii] but I hadn't understood he became a POW. I don't get the New Delhi/Delhi War Cemetery connection, if he was a POW??? I note the day Lt Col Hill died is the day the Japanese took Singapore...

    Looking at [iv] I note it is missing his service number but also it does say India in the right hand column....??

    WW2 is new to me - I previously researched the 6 men of our village who died in WW1 and are on our war memorial, and am now looking at the names from WW2 on there. Much harder I think!!

  6. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    I wonder if he was one of many who managed to escape from Singapore? It seems those that did were either picked up by ship and/or taken to Sumatra from where some were taken by ship to Ceylon. From there to India and Delhi only to maybe succumb to disease or wounds?

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  7. Mikeb4472

    Mikeb4472 Member

    Well, he definitely appears in the Royal Artillery list of POWs (WO 361/2185) but without his service number. The right hand column (whose meaning I dont know is generally of the form OVL or OCS then a date. Hartley's juts says India. CWGC have him dying of typhoid in New Delhi. Not sure how to progress on this... suggestions welcome..!!
  8. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    I suggest that you get to see the files relating to missing personnel at TNA, these might hold some clues or explanations:

    WO 361/347: Malaya: 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery; missing personnel

    WO 361/1407: Far East: 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery.
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  9. Mikeb4472

    Mikeb4472 Member

    Thanks Steve. I will give them a try. I had found reference to WO 361/347 but the NA online catalogue says it covers July 1944, and I note the other one has a "covering date" of 1946. Could be those dates are not the same as the contents, I guess.
  10. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    I think that those dates might apply to when the investigations were done and, as you suggest, the contents will refer back to 1942 and thereafter. Let's hope you can find something helpful.

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  11. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Inclusion in WO 361/2185 does not mean that the serviceman was a POW. These lists were compiled in Changi from Regimental Rolls and then notated with whatever information became available. The notation 'INDIA' indicates that they had information that Maj Hartley was there and had not been captured. I am not sure how those compiling the information would have come to such a precise location. If he had merely escaped from Singapore the notation would usually be different; it may indicate that he had been sent to India earlier than the fall of Singapore. Confirmation that he was not a POW is the fact that there is no Japanese Index Card for him. The Casualty Reports you have are quite usual - all known to have been, or likely to have been, in Singapore were initially listed as 'Missing'. When they popped up somewhere else the correction 'Not now missing' was issued, if and when they were confirmed as a POW the correction would be 'Now reported POW'.

    Rothy likes this.
  12. Lewis Dobney

    Lewis Dobney Member

    Did the 28th LAA Reg R.A take part at the Battle of Kohima?
  13. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    The 28th Light AA Regiment is not mentioned in the RA Official History volume on the Far East in the chapter on Kohima. XXXIII Corps was committed to the Kohima battle in April 1944. The 28th was the Light AA Regiment of IV Corps in the Imphal area. I am sure that some other members will weigh in on this.

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Very possibly. The regiment was assigned to 4 Corps and later 33 Corps and suffered at least 10 fatalities between 05/04/44 and 14/04/44, including four buried in Kohima War Cemetery, one at Imphal and the rest commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial.
    I can't recall mention of any actual LAA sub-units at Kohima during the siege, but it is possible that the casualties may represent individuals from the hospital or reinforcement camp, perhaps. War Diaries will clarify.
    Why do you ask?
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  15. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Lt Col D V Hill did not die. He was captured at the Fall of Singapore. Transported in Letter Party 'W' on Train 18 on 26/10/42 to Thai/Burma Railway. He survived and was liberated 2/9/45.

    Rothy likes this.
  16. Mikeb4472

    Mikeb4472 Member

    Thanks Tim. My note taking was poor - I am not sure where I read that he had died, but clearly that was in error.
  17. Mikeb4472

    Mikeb4472 Member

    Thanks for this Tim. That helps unravel that puzzle slightly. He died in India but I do not know where as the New Delhi cemetery was a consolidation of a number of others. I have a request in for his service record but I have been formally advised that the Army (unlike the Navy) have frozen all such requests during Coronavirus.
  18. ChrisW

    ChrisW New Member

    Screenshot_20200508-202831_Chrome.jpg Hello All, really quite interesting all the above. I have recently been trying to find out a little more about my Grandfather. This record is above, but trying to decode it seems quite hard work. From what I understand he was mostly joined to the 28th LAA Reg. I was also trying to find out if he was at Kohima. If anyone could help offer up further info, I would be really happy. Thanks Chris

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Well, both regiments were under command of 4 Corps at the time that he transferred between them, but they would most likely have been in the Imphal area. As I said above, I cannot recall any LAA at Kohima itself, but I'm happy to be corrected. The date of his transfer, 08/04/44, is about the time the siege of Kohima was starting, so it seems unlikely. You may have to wait for the relevant War Diaries.
    Even if the unit in question wasn't there, it is, of course, possible that any individual of that unit may have been. Kohima is on the main road and you need to pass through it to get to Imphal.
    Perhaps you could tell what leads you to believe that he was there.
  20. ChrisW

    ChrisW New Member

    Hello, Thank you for the quick reply. The info was passed down from my Grandmother some years back indicated he was involved. Accounts of living on Tinned Beetroot as Air drops often landed beyond where they could safely collect. Leonard returned from War safely but died in 1960. Hence his Son was not able ask much. But my Grandmother always said he never spoke about his time in depth, possibly even returning his Burma Star. The only item connected to him and this period was his kookra? Appologies for spelling. Again not sure if they was standard issue for a LAA Bombadier. The only other info was during this period he was not with his Bofors. Not sure why.

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