REGIMENTAL HISTORY FOR SERIAL 0082 Page 1
1939 16 Field Regiment RA Lt Col FB.Binney
Leipsic Barracks, Ewshort with RHQ 27/72 and 34/86 Batteries
1st September 1939
Mobilised with 2 Infantryantry Div of 1Corps. Reservists arrived on 3rd September.
9 September the vehicles were camouflage painted. The advance party left for Southampton on 13th September and embarked on the 14th.
16th September the vehicles were sent for embarkation at Newport, Mon, but were then transferred to Avonmouth for embarkation, destination St Nazaire.
23th September the main body Marchched to Aldershot Military Siding and entrained for Southampton. Embarked there at 1400 hrs. Disembarked at Cherbourg on 24th September and at 2000 hrs entrained for Noyen.
Detrained there and Marched to Mezeray and went into billets. On 27th September the vehicles arrived by road at Mezeray from St Nazaire.
1st October the Regiment moved off for its operational area. Billeted at Longes on the night 1/2 October, at Vris, Somme, on the 2/3rd and at Rosult, near Orchies on the 3/4th, arriving at Bruille on the 4th.
The Regiment was on the right of the line of the BEF, making contact with the French Army at Cense de Coutan. 27/72 Battery at Sameon and 34/86 Battery at Rosult, near St Amand-les-Eaux. The first few days were spent in the preparation of active battle, alternative and harassing firing positions. Pits were dug and trenches prepared for telephone wire. Ops were constructed and recce made of the ground up to the blockhouse posts.
On the 14th it began to rain heavily and the ground began to be waterlogged.
By 19th October trenches were full of water. The rain eased off on the 21st.
There had been wireless silence up to 1st November when it was broken to allow training to take place. On 2nd November AA gunfire was heard and seen at about 1000 hrs.
By 8th November work was concentrated upon the construction of better cookhouses, latrines and bathhouses in battery billeting areas. There were rumours of enemy espionage agents, hostile parachutists were said to have been dropped and there was much firing at aircraft, often friendly, due to ignorance of Marchkings. Due to the heavy rain and much increased traffic the Regiment had to deploy road repair parties.
By 25th November all officers and men were quartered in billets such as farms, barns and empty houses. Only detachments and a few vehicles were forward. There was an exercise to practice the manning of gun positions and battery areas on 28/29 November. On 30th November 27/72 Field Battery was attached to 18 Field Regiment whilst at “Rest”.
During the month guns, IPO and CP positions were strengthened. From the 3rd of December, passes were authorised to Lille, Douai and St Amand. Some personnel noticed that artillery positions could be seen from the train in the St Armand – Lille line. On 5th December the Regiment lined part of the road for the visit of HM King George VI.
27th December RHQ and 34/86 Battery moved to Bapaume, a rest area, and occupied billets in the town.
1940 Page 2
The Regiment, less 24/72 Battery, was in the rest area. On the 15th all leave was cancelled. It remained cold and freezing, with occasional snow, for the whole of January and by 15th February the snow was 18 inches deep. The thaw set in on the 18th and there was flooding. 41 Other Rank reInfantryorcements arrived in February. On 4/5 March the Regiment took part in a 4 Infantry Brigade exercise on the Somme area.
On the 15th the Regiment moved to the training area, RHQ to Henu, 27/72 Battery to Souastres and 34/86 Battery to Pes-en-Artois, Pas de Calais. The period up to 18th March was devoted to intensive training
18th March the Regiment left the training area to return to Rosult, arriving on the 19th. RHQ was at Rosult with 34/86 Battery and 27/72 Battery was at Sameon.
Wagon Lines were at Bruille and Vred. In the event of a German invasion of Belgium Plan D was to be put into operation. 2 Div was to move to a defensive postion on R Dyle, southeast of Brussels with the French on the right and 1 Div on the left. An advance guard of 4 Infantry Brigade, with 16 Field Regiment under command was to move direct to R Dyle and take over the whole of the Div front until the arrival of the main body when 4 Infantry Brigade was to sidestep to the right and 5 Infantry Brigade was to take over the left of the Div front.
10th May at 0500hrs, AA gunfire was heard and some bombs were dropped. At 0714 hrs the CO,
Major Radford in the absence of the Commanding Officer who was on leave, was called to HQRA 2 Div to collect orders.
At 2100 hrs the Regiment Recce party moved off and Battery Recce parties followed later and crossed the border at Midnight.
On the 11th OP and Battery positions were smoothly occupied and ready fro action by 2030 hrs. RHQ at Charcan Tembeck with IIQ 4 Infantry Brigade, 27/72 Battery forward at Champles, 34/86 Battery in the rear in the Woo area with a forward to northeast of La Templier.
The wagon lines were in Bopis De Soignes, west of La Hulpe. On the right of the Brigade the French troops had not arrived and the Brigade was isolated. On the 12th contact was made with French Brigade HQ and RHQ moved to Champles. It was a quiet night. Throughout the next day messages from the Div cavalry Regiment, 4/7th DG, indicated that contact with the enemy was imminent. At 1800 hrs 27/72 Battery fired its first round at an enemy recce party and small parties of enemy got into the houses in Wavre and along the river.
By 220 hrs small groups had crossed R Dyle. SOS was fired and by the morning of the 14th the riverfront was secure. In the evening however more serious attempts to cross were made and SOS had to be fired again. 34/86 Battery sent forward and HF sections just west of Wavre.
The CO returned from leave having had only one day at home. The concentration of British Artillery at this point on the river was quite large and the enemy moved elsewhere to force a gap. Orders were received to withdraw behind the river at Rosieres after dark. HF and DF were fired until midnight when the guns withdrew without difficulty. The Regiment was in action by dawn at Malaise (27/72 Battery) and Backenbosh (34/86). On the evening of the 16th a further withdrawal was ordered. HF and DF, using all dumped ammunition, was fired and the Batteries withdrew at 2330 hrs with orders to cross the Brussels Canal at Loth and then move to Moerbeke. The Regiment assembled at Moerbeke by midday on the 17th by using a variety of different routes. On the whole there was little enemy air activity, which was just as well considering the traffic congestion.
That evening the Regiment moved to the area Lierde St Marchtin and got some sleep. On the 18th the situation at Hal on the Brussels Canal was vague and 2 Div was ordered to occupy the line of the Dondre Canal from Lessines to Grammount. RHQ went to Everbneck, 27/72 Battery east of the main road and 34/86 Battery west of Paricke.
Only slight contact was made with the enemy but the bridges wee blown at about 1900 hrs. One bridge was insufficiently damaged and 27/72 Battery sent forward one gun to destroy the bridge by close range gunfire. This gun fired 50 rounds from under 80 yards range and destroyed the bridge. During that evening a further withdrawal was ordered, 34/86 Battery leaving at 2330 hrs and 27/72 Battery supported the cavalry rear guard and did not withdraw until noon on the 19th May .
The Chateau Woods at Oroq were occupied and the Regiment spent a quiet day at maintenance and sleep. Several fish wee caught in the moat, wine and cigarettes were procured from the chateau and strawberries from the garden.
On the 20th it was Decemberided to stand and fight on the line of R L'scaut. 4 Infantry Brigade was allocated the line from Calonne to Tonmai, RHQ moved to Bargas. 34/86 Battery to Willeman and 27/72 Battery to the southwest of that place. Waggon Lines were at Bachy. The guns were moved out of the Chateau to hide during the afternoon, I small groups, all exits were in full view from Mont St Aubert. At 1800 hrs only B Echelon remained in the hide but it was heavily shelled and two men were killed and three wounded.
By nightfall the Regiment was in action in the Bargas positions. On the 21st small bodies of the enemy crossed the river in the Calonne - Anloign area and were shelled by the Regiment.
On the 22nd the Royal Scots pushed the enemy back into a very small bridgehead over the river. However the situation on the French front to the right was doubtful and the Regiment was ordered to withdraw. Recce parties were off at dusk and 34/86 Battery withdrew to a covering postion west of Froidment. At 2300 hrs 27/72 Battery began the withdrawal to Genech and 34/86 Battery followed after covering 4/7 DG, which had screened the Infantryantry withdrawal.
The Regiment was in action on the Genech area soon after dawn on the 23rd hoping not to have to withdraw again but news then came of German armed divisions on the Arras area and the consequent threat to the Northern group of allied armies made a further withdrawal inevitable.
At 1830 hrs orders came for the formation of an anti-tank force under Brig Findlay, DRA 2 Div, to be known as FINDFORCE. It was to consist of the Regiment.13 ATK Regiment and the 6th A&SH MG Bn. The Regiment moved off at 2030 hrs for the Aubers area but during the night fresh Infantryormation was received and the Regiment had to do a U turn on very congested roads to move to Camin and Annoeulin where attack positions were occupied in the early hours of the 24th May .
The day was quiet but on the 24th FINDFORCE was broken up and the Regiment was ordered to join 46 Div. This was a TA div sent out to France for digging and training but it was now needed in the line. It had no Artillery and the Regiment was ordered to join. The div was to hold a defensive flank with 139 Infantry Brigade in the line from the canal Junection south of Carvin to Raches, a very long front for any Brigade. RHQ was established at La Vacquerie, with HG 139 Infantry Brigade 27/72 Battery around Gorguechon and 34/86 Battery in the Le Thelu area. The Regiment was in action before dark.
On the 26th May an eventful day followed a quiet night. Heavy bombing preceded attacks on the right of the Brigade front although no serious breaches were made. The Regiment fired on the advancing enemy at Point De La Batterie and on Courrieres and stopped the advance. Bombing continued all day although there were no casualties and only very little damage. After dark the Regiment withdrew via Armentieres, Bailleul and Caestre to Steinvoorde. Positionss were occupied covering Cassel Hill and with good attack fields of fire.
The wireless news on the 27th May was that Belgium had capitulated and that German armour had penetrated into St Sylvester Chapel and Hondeghem.
Fire was put down on these villages and also on the Croix Rouge and Bavivchove where more enemy were reported. Late in the evening 139 Brigade formed an anti-tank lager with 16 FIELD Regiment and 13 ATK Regiments covering the approaches. No enemy tanks appeared during the night and Cassel still held.
At 1000 hrs on the 28th orders were received to damage all stores and vehicles not essential to the guns and to withdraw to the positions covering the Bergues Canal.
This was carried out and all guns except one troop of 34/86 Battery were in action by 1530 hrs having first occupied atk positions. The tp of 34/86 Battery not with the Regiment had been turned away by a traffic policeman before the canal, sent down to the beach to embark and did so having removed the sights and breeches from the guns.
RHQ was established at Leffrinckoueke. 27/72 Battery around Tertegham and 34/86 Battery at Exam. 205 Field Battery, which had lost its parent unit some days before had been grouped with the Regiment on 25th May with an anti-tank role. On 28th it was sent back on an attack mission to cover the river crossings at Fambecque. It rejoined the Regiment late on the 28th and occupied a field position northeast of Leffrinckoueke.
The night of 28/29 May was quiet. On the 29th the Regiment was reorganised into two regimental groups as follows: BD 27/72 Battery with 11 of its own guns at Tertegem,.
4 x 4.5 inch howitzers of 99 Field Regiment northeast of Nieges and two guns of Field Regiment joined later.
BC 34/86 Battery with 8 of it sown guns, 205 Battery with 12 guns northeast of Leffinckoueke, 2 x 4.5 inch hows and 1 x 18 pr on 99 Field Regiment as atk guns on the bridges and 5 guns of 32 Field Regiment jointed later.
On the 29th it was decided to evacuate all personnel not required to man the guns and communications. Parties were formed from RHQ and the two Batteries and these were dispatched to the beach and succeeded in getting a transport that evening. Officer patrols were sent out and these brought in some useful Infantryormation.
The French were holding the canal west of Bourges. 138 Brigade held from there to Werve with a Battalion in a reserve position along the canal Moeres. The Guards were on contact with 1239 Brigade left flank and RUR held a vague outpost line about Warhem.
On the 30th the enemy gradually occupied Socx, Le Kap Hock and Quaedypre and began to push towards Bourges. Heavy concentrations were fired by our guns and stopped any serious advance.
On the 31st large numbers of French and British troops were still passing through and the Germans appeared to make little attempt to stop them. The left sector, near Furnes, was reported to be threatened. 34/86 Battery group, now joined by 5 guns from 32 Field Battery were accordingly moved to a position dug in the north bank of the Canal de Dunkirk. 27/72 Battery Recce a position on the dunes ready to face east and this position was occupied late in the evening. This Batterty group, was joined by 2 guns of 10 Field Regiment.
Early on 1st June Div HQ and RHQ were subjected to some enemy shelling but no casualties were reported but reports began to come in of enemy penetration from the east. The odd single guns were now taken under direct command of Lt Col Tyler, the remaining guns of 328 Battery, 205 Battery and 99 Battery still in their original positions were ordered to withdraw as soon as they had fired their few remaining rounds. One enemy shell fell into the 34/96 position wounding Major, Hyde-Smith and Captain Uniacke. Captain Burton assumed command.
RHQ moved to Bray Dunes near 34/86 Battery. At midday orders were received for the final British evacuation.
Artillery concentrations were fired throughout the withdrawal, which began at 2230 hrs. By midnight all ammunition had been expended and orders for the destruction of the guns and the evacuation of the personnel were issued.
On the 2nd June Batteries having completed their tasks, moved independently to the beaches, the troops then Marchched to the Mole at Dunkirk but that only orders which came, at 0230 hrs were that no more sailings would take place until the following night. The men got into hides on the beach or into the cellars of houses adjoining.
Rations and fresh water were found and distributed. There were some casualties from shellfire during the day. At 2030 hrs the Regiment paraded and at 2300 hrs Marched off, carrying all available instruments, anti-tank riffles and Bren guns in the direction of the Mole. It Marched to a waiting destroyer, the last few yards at the double, and the vessel sailed at 2245 hrs.
Arrived at Dover at 0330 hrs on 3rd June and went straight to waiting trains. Refreshments were received at Dover and at small stations en route. The train moved to Aldershot Military Station and forming there the Regiment moved in buses to a series of reception camps. The evacuation organisation had distributed the Regiment all over the UK according to the boat they arrived on. There were parties at Ashton Under Lyne, Doncaster, Bulford and Aldershot.
On 5th June RHQ began to assemble the Regiment at Halifax, Yorks and for the next few days parties began to arrive. RHQ was at the Grange, Halifax. Some transport was issued and the re-equipping of the personnel began. 48 hrs leave passes were authorised.
By 14th June the majority of the personnel had arrived at Halifax and it could now be said that the Casualties in France and Belgium had been - 3 killed, 18 wounded and 6 missing. The MO was missing, being last seen on the beach at Dunkirk on
2nd June attending to casualties.
On 15th June a draft of 2 officers and 67 ORS arrived.
On 16th June 25 Pdrs Mark II began to arrive.
On 21st June a third battery was formed, to be known temporarily as X Battery. Each battery now consisted of two troops each with 4 guns.
Captain J Fairclough commanded X Battery. Vehicles began to be issued.
On 23rd Junee the Recce party moved to the new location, Kilmwick, Driffield, Yorks, and the main body moved by rail and road on the 24th.
The Batteries were to be temporarily referred to as A, B and C. A Battery went to Kilnwick, B Battery to Cowkeld Farm and C Battery to Watton Grange. The role of the Regiment was to support 4 Infantry Brigade as a mobile reserve to repel landings by air. Most of the personnel were organised as rifle troops since the Regiment only had three 25 Pdr guns. Work began on constructing road blocks and demolitions around Driffield.
On 30th June Lt Col Tyler left on promotion to Brigadier to be CCMA 10 Corps.
Major JVD Radford assumed command.
From 1st July the HQ of the unit as shown as Driffield.
By 6th July the Batteries were known as 27, 34 and 86 Field Batteries but official authority for this had not been received. 27 and 34 Batteries each had 4 x 25 Pdrs. The Regiment now had 75 vehicles. 86 Battery was despatched for duty with the coastal defences, taking over 7 x 18 pr Mk II guns, four of which were on action as beach defence guns.
On 11th July 10 x Guy gun tractors were received.
On 16th July Lt Col A.N. Venning joined and assumed command
On 19th July 27 Battery moved to Tibthorpe.
In August 6 x 18 Pdrs were received from 10 Field Regiment and sent to York for conversion to 18/25 Pdrs. There were a few air raids on the Driffield area in August and the airfield and some aircraft were damaged.
7th September at 2130 hrs the code word "CROMWELL" meaning invasion imminent, was received.
The Regiment was ready to move by 2245 hrs.
No further orders were received and at 1130 hrs on
8th September "CROMWELL" was cancelled.
Training took place throughout this period and included some live practice, with air observation at times. The Regiment exercised with the Infantry Brigade.
16th October the Regiment began to move to its winter quarters.
27 and 86 Batteries to Welton on the 16th and RHQ and 34 Battery to South Cave and Elloughton, respectively on the 18th October.
27th December the Regiment moved by road, via Lutterworth and Cirencester, for Sennybridge Camp, arriving on the 31st. Carried out live practice and exercises.
The Regiment was stationed in the Driffield area of Yorkshire but was at Sennybrridge for practice camp. Left Sennybridge on 3rd January and moved via Cirencester, Lutterworth and Doncaster to South cave, near Driffield, Yorks.
On or about 6th January the numbers of the three Batteries were confirmed as 27, 34 and 72/86.
18th January snow began to fall, and eventually turned into a blizzard. By the 19th most roads were blocked and personnel were turned out to keep roads open as a single line traffic. The snow stopped on 5th February and the roads soon cleared. Collective training began at troop, battery and then Regimental level.
20th March the Regiment took part in a 4 Infantry Brigade exercise. On 26th March the Regiment gave a barrage demonstration to the Infantry at Ulrome, near Skipsca. Ranging rounds were fired into the sea over the heads of the Infantry who were formed up along the sea front. Firing was 8 minutes at normal rate and 1 minute at rapid.
All rounds landed accurately 400 yards out to sea.
This was followed on 27th to 29th March by a division exercise. During March more guns were issued and the Regiment then had 9 x 25 Pdrs, 4 x 25/18 Pdrs, 8 x 18 Pdrs and 9 Bren guns.
From 6th to 8th Apirl the Regiment took part in Northern Command Ex No.1 during which the Regiment exercised in the Birdsall – East Heston – Thornton Dale – Moorsholm – Lingdale area.
On 8th May the Regiment was all set to take part in a 2 Div exercise but Hull was heavily bombed on the night of 7/8th May and 4 Infantry Brigade was called out to assist in clearing the city.
There was another heavy raid on 9th May and the Regiment again assisted. From 11th to 17th May the Regiment attended a practice camp at Otterburn, Northumberland.
The Regiment took part in Northern Command Ex No. 3 from 7th to 9th June in the Hull – Driffield – Selby area.
The exercise included a crossing of River Ouse. From 13th June, for one month, the Batteries took over 7 x 6 Pdrs beach defence guns from 201 Brigade. These guns were deployed between Hornsea and Spurn. From 16th to 19th June the Regiment took part in a 2 Div exercise.
1st to 3rd July the Regiment took part as enemy in a 2 Div exercise.
19th to 22nd July the Regiment took part in Northern Command Ex No.4 in the Everingham – Routh – Long Riston area.
During the month more Mark II 25 Pdrs were received providing enough for the two Batteries. The third battery still had 18/25 Pdrs still had 18/25 Pdrs. The Regiment also received 22 x Ford 14 cwt trucks.
7th August Lt Col Venning was posted to a staff appointment in Kent and Lt Col NC Lang joined and assumed command.
On 8 Aug the Regiment received 36 Ford Tractors as gun towers. On 14th Aug the Regiment took part in a 2 Div RA exercise during which live ammunition was fired into the sea off Ulrome.
25th September to 5th October the Regiment took part in the major exercise BUMPTER in the Norfold – Oxford – Newport Pagnell – Paxton – Great LInfantryord – NewMarchket area.
On 7th October 8 x 25 Pdr guns arrived for 72/86 Battery and the 18/25 Pdrs were handed in.
9th to 16th October the Regiment took part in Ex PERCY in the Newbiggin – Amble – Widdrington area of Northumberland.
20th October Embarkation leave began.
By the beginning of November mobilisation procedures were well in hand. 72/86 Battery calibrated the new 25 Pdrs at Bluberhouses on 14/15th November.
6th December the Regiment advance party left for the new area. Witne, Oxfordshire.
The main body of the Regiment left on 13th December, staged at Lutterworth and arrived at Witney on the 14th. RHQ and 27 Battery at Witney, 34 and 72/86 Batteries at Eynsham Park. On 22nd December a Regimenal drill order was held.
On 29th December 27 Battery went to Okehampton Ranges for course shooting by the officers of the Regiment.
31st December and 1st January.
The Regiment was at Witney, Oxon, less 27 Battery, which was at Okehampton Ranges. This Battery returned to Witney on 3rd January.
The Co set drill orders and tested all three Batteries. A Regimental exercise was held on 23rd January but a practice camp at Sennybridge had to be cancelled due to a heavy fall of snow. The RA 2 Div exercise SANEX was held in the Condicote area on 4th February.
On 17/18th February the Regiment fired anti-tank practice at Red House Range Larkhill, using 4 guns of 34 Battery. From 22nd to 24th February the Regiment took part in the 2 Div Ex ROBIN in the Marchlborough area. Training continued but embarkation day was now getting near and on 24th March the vehicles of the Regiment left the port of embarkation.
7 officers and 265 Ors accompanied this party. General training continued and on 28th March the Regiment took part in a 2 Div parade for the Prime Minister.
On 1st April HM the King inspected 2 Div, which included the Regiment.
4th April the remaining vehicles of the Regiment, and the motorcycles, left for the port of embarkation. The baggage left on 10th April and on the 13th the remainder of the Regiment entrained at Handboro and Witney Stations at 2359 hrs for Courock.
Arrived there at 1300 hrs on 14th April and embarked in SS Orduna.
The convoy sailed on 15th April, escorted by a cruiser and four destroyers. That night the MT ships from Liverpool joined the convoy. Called at Freetown and Cape Town where the convoy arrived on 15 May.
The Regiment spent four days at a camp called Retreat, 18 miles outside Cape Town, carrying out route Marches in the mornings and on passes out of camp in the afternoons.
Re-embarked on 17th May and sailed on the 19th. At this point the Regiment learned that it had been diverted from the Middle East and was to go to India.
There it was to become part of the Imperial Reserve, ready to move east or west at short notice.
Arrived at Bombay on 7th June, spending two days in dock before disembarking. Moved to a tented camp at the Racecourse, Kirkee. It was very unsanitary and full of flies. No monsoon ditches had been dug so when the monsoon broke the place became a morass.
The CO discovered that Elliott Lines, Ghorpuri Bks, Poona, were about to be vacated and enquiries were made about moving in. No one in Poona could be found who was prepared to refuse so the Regiment moved in on 2nd July.
On 5th July a party went to Bombay and collected the guns and vehicles from the docks. Firing practice was carried out on the ranges.
18th August the Regiment moved to Ahmednagar and went into quarters at East Ridge Lines, all brick or stone buildings with electric light. The next three months were spent on exercises and day after day in the arid wastes of Kharjuen Khare Ranges.
21th Septembert Lt Col Lang was promoted to Brigadier at CRA Baluchistan District, Quette. Maj J.A. Macdonald, the 2IC, was promoted to Lt Col to command.
From 5th to 11th October the Regiment took part in the Div EX TREK, which took place over a wide area of ranges.
26th October the guns were calibrated, together with a calibrated gun from 10 and 99 Field Regiments so that the whole of the div party could shoot together.
27th to 30th October parties from the Regiment visited the Kapurwadi Tank and carried out trials of the crossing of water obstacles. In early November all three Batteries fired on the KharJunee Khare Ranges. Survey and signal training was also carried out.
8th to 11th December the Regiment Marchched by foot, by sub units, and camped at various places about 12 miles from Ahmednagar. Considerable improvements in field craft and Infantry training were made.
The Regiment was at Ahmednagar and maintained its base there while it trained away from camp in combined operations and amphibious roles. Leaving a rear party at Ahmednagar the Regiment moved to Poona on the 17th January, to Satara on the 18th, to Kholapur on the 19th and to Kanapur on the 20th.
RHQ, 27 and 72 Batteries camped at Khanapur and 34 Battery some 4 miles away at Shiruli and the R Norfolks. Battery drill orders began on 25th January and there was a Regiment drill order on 2nd February. All three Batteries then practised a barrage, a destructive shoot and high airburst ranging in thick Junegle. On 14th February a new rear party was sent to Ahmednagar so that the original one could take part in the training.
This was arranged to take place once a month. During February the Regiment took part in 4 Infantry Brigade Ex TARRAS and in early March in Ex SHER. The latter took place in the Supe – Londa – Tmai area.
10th March the Regiment spent the night at Kholapur and on the 11th moved to Kharakvasla. There the Regiment took part in Ex PUNCH with 4 and 29 Brigades.
19th March the Regiment moved to Bombay for training in combined operations. RHQ and 27 and 34 Batteries were stationed at Aksa Creek and 72/86 Battery at Marchol.
Three days were allotted to recreational activities and the men were free to visit Bombay.
Between 24th and 3st1 March combined ops training was carried out.
3rd to 16th April the Batteries practised in rotation on two stages of combined ops training, RHQ personnel being split between the three Batteries. Stage A was assault landings from landing craft, loading and disembarking vehicles and swimming in full kit. Stage B was crosscountry Marchches and creek crossings, practice with country craft, dismounted drill orders by day and night and cliff and tree climbing.
After the 16th this training was carried out under battery arrangements.
30th April the Regiment moved RHQ and 34 Battery to Bhiwandi, 27 Battery to Juhu and 72/86 Battery to Ahmednagar and came under command 60 FIELD/AA Regiment.
From 1st to 23rd July, 27 Battery, Now designated to Lt Battery and probably equipped with 3.7 inch hows, continued with its combined ops training.
8th May RHQ and 34 Battery moved to a bivouac area near Mahapoli preparatory to Ex GYMNAST II. This was held from 9th to 10th May In the area north of Bhiwandi between Agra and Poona Roads and was designed to practise 4 Infantry Brigade in the working of a landing table and an advance with assault scales of transport over rough country.
15th to 18th May a party of 49 from the Regiment attended a Ships MT Training Course on board HMT El Hind. The object was to practice artillery personnel, in conjunction with a Docks Operating Company in discharging vehicles and guns from ship into craft. On the 20th the CRA tested 27 Lt Battery over the 3.7 inch how assault course.
24th May 4 Infantry Brigade embarked to take part in Ex VIKING VI to practice unopposed assault landings of a Brigade group from ships with assault scales of equipment and vehicles. Landings took place on 29/30th and troops then re-embarked and returned to harbour. Disembarked and returned to camp.
6th June the Regiment left for Ahmednagar, staging at Poona and arriving at Stud Farm camp, Ahmednagar on 7th June.
181 LAA Battery, which was already at Stud Farm Camp, came under command. The rest of June was devoted to training, including live practice by 27 and 34 Batteries, and leave to Poona, Bombay and Secunderabad.
1st July 181 LAA Battery reverted to under command 60 LAA Regiment and 72/86 Battery reverted under command from 60 LASA Regiment.
9th July 27 Lt Battery carried out loading trials with the complete battery loaded as for the assault scale of vehicles and personnel. This was inspected by the CRA.
13th July an advance party went to Nira Camp to prepare a camp alongside 72/86 Battery for the remainder of the Regiment.
17th July RHQ and 34 Battery moved and joined 72/86 Battery. 27 Lt Battery remained at Ahmednagar to carry out firing with the Battle Craft School. It moved, less one section, to Nira on 28th July.
2nd to 7th August the Regiment took part in 5 Infantry Brigade Ex FOX on the Lonand Ranges. This included live practice. On 8th Aug the Regiment moved to Minto Lines Extension, Ahmednagar. Training continued.
3rd August three General Lee tanks arrived for 34 Field Battery for use as OP vehicles as the battery was soon to receive 105mm SP Priests. Training continued and there was some live firing.
20th August the first three Priests arrived.
2nd to 11th November the Regiment took part in a GHQ exercise.
29/30th November the Regiment moved to Stud Farm Lines, Ahmednagar.
3rd December Moved to Thana less 34 Battery, for practice. Returned to Ahmednagar on 5th December.
1th and 21st December the Regiment took part in the 2 Div Ex JUMBO and 4 Infantry Brigade Ex FUNNY.
At the end of the year the strength was 38 Officers and 615 ORs.
The Regiment was based at Minto Lines, Ahmednagar. 27 Battery had 3.7 inch hows,
34 Battery had 105mm Priests and 72/86 Battery had 25 Pdrs.
7/8th June the Regiment practised a dry landing and occupation and digging in of positions on a beachhead.
9th January calibration of all 105mm and 25 pr guns and 3.7 inch hows was carried out. Sections of 27 Battery carried out training with Infantry bns at Khadala, returning on 18th
20th January the Regiment received 36 wooden body Chevrolet quads to replace the Ford quads.
23rd January the Regiment, less 34 Battery, left Ahmednagar for the Londa Training area, staging at Satana and Honge, and arriving at Londsa on 25 January.
26th January the Regiment dug defences, slit trenches and CPs.
1st February one troop of 34 Battery joined. Skeleton exercises were held at first with the Infantry bns and loading trials took place.
24th February the Regiment moved to a concentration area for Ex GOSH, in support of 4 Infantry Brigade. The scheme was that 6 Infantry Brigade had landed and secured a beachhead. 4 Infantry Brigade then landed and passed through 6 Infantry Brigade to attack and hold an airfield some ten miles distant. The exercise ended on 29 February.
18th March the main body of the Regiment moved to Tondebhavi Camp, staging at Harihar and Tumkur, arriving at Tondebhavi on 20th March.
2nd April Orders came for the move of Men, guns and jeeps were to go to Amada Road, South of Calcutta, and fly to Dimapur, the remainder of the vehicles to go by road taking 14 days. The task was to relieve the garrison at Kohima.
3rd April the guns, first line ammo and all jeeps and trailers entrained at Bangalore. 34 Battery was now issued with 8 x 25Pdrs instead of the Priests.
4th April the Regiment entrained at Bangalore and then travelled for four days to Amada Road, South of Calcutta, and went into camp, the train vehicle train arrived. Planning then began for the move by air to Manipur Road, jeeps and stores were loaded in Curtis Commando aircraft and guns and detachments in Dakotas.
9th April the guns were taken to pieces for loading in Dakotas and the jeeps and stores were loaded that nigh in Commando aircraft.
10th April the first parties emplaned at 0500 hrs and left at 0600 hrs, landing at Jorhat airfield, 60 miles north of Dimapur where the troops were supposed to go. The reason was that Dimapur airstrip was not all weather and could not take the larger Commando aircraft. Two aircraft did go on, taking advance parties, the remainder moved by road, arriving that night. The Dakotas landed at Dimapur with guns. The last party of the Regiment, from 27 Battery, arrived on 14th April.
ONB 12th April 72/86 Battery moved off to 10 Field Regiment area to come under command of that Regiment.
On 13th April the CO had given orders ro recce to move off at 0800 hrs, 27 Battery to go into action in the Priphema area, 34 Battery to go into action at Ghaspani and advance RHQ to be established at Priphema and Rear RHQ at Chespani. The enemy were closed and Jap patrols attacked the I R Berks Box, where 72/86 Battery was, on the night of 14th.
16th April 34 Battery moved forward to MS 32 at 395745. Rear RHQ moved to Priphema. On the 17th 27 Battery and Rear RHQ moved to join 72 Battery. 34 Battery was placed under command 10 Field Regiment for the operations around Kohima. At midday on the 18th it was learned that the operation to relieve the garrison in Kohima had been successful and that wounded were being evacuated. The guns engaged the enemy for most of the day. Two 5.5 inch guns, manned by drivers and rear details of 4th Field Regiment, unable to join their Regiment, came under command 72 Battery. On the 19th E Troop fired smoke to guide Harribomers on to targets.
Throughout the night of 19/20th April 27 and 72/86 Batteries fired HF on to Jap positions.
20th April IE Scots and 2 DLI carried out attacks, which were supported by the Regiment with a barrage and a fire plan. HF was again fired on the night 20/21st. 34 Battery remainded under command 10 FIELD Regiment and continued fire support for 6 Infantry Brigade on the Kohima Frotn. By the 24th the Regiment was out of range of the battle in the Kohima area and there was little activity of note.
The Regiment was then preparing positions in the Zhotsoma area but on 25th April was ordered to Zubza. Left there at 0800 hrs on 26th April for Zhotsoma.
34 Battery had rejoined on 24th April but reverted to under command 10 Field Regiment on 26th April.
30 Battery of 10 FIELD Regiment, the guns of which were in Zubza, came under command.
On the 27th April 34 Battery was ordered up to the Regiment area of Zhotsoma and was in action there by 1530 hrs on the 28th. The battery column was bombed and machine gunned and 3 Ors were wounded.
On the night 28/29th April HF was continued and there were several calls for SOS fire which were all answered. The main activity on the 30th was the firing of smoke screens to cover the activities of our own troops in Kohima Garrison.
1st May was quiet as the Regiment was conserving ammunition for the main attack on Kohima. Some of the Ops were in Kohima. The Regiment’s tract Pdrs arrived at Dimapur and some, were sent for to be kept on the guns positions.
On 2nd May there were a number of calls for fire from Kohima Garrison but not all could be answered due to ammunition restrictions.
On 3rd May targets were registered in preparation for the attack on Kohima which began on 4th May.
72 Battery fired a smoke screen to cover the advance of a column of tanks and Regiment fired a fire plan in support of those tanks and later for two companies of DLLI.
Calls for fire from the Ops in Kohima were met. At 1500 hrs the CO wend into Kohima to co-ordinate the DF tanks for the night. During the night 4/5th May the Infantry were thrown off their positions overlooking Kohima and had to be reinstated before further operations could proceed. 72 Battery was placed at the disposal of 10 Field Regiment for the support for the reinstating operations and also covered other operations by smoke screens. On the 6th the Regiment fired a fire plan in support of 4 Infantry Brigade but otherwise the day was quiet.
On the 7th the Regiment fired a fire plan in support of 33 Infantry Brigade and fired HF during the night. On 8/9th May the Regiment relieved
99 Field Regiment parties with 4 Infantry Brigade and 9 Field Regiment OP parties relieved those of the Regiment in Kohima. HF was fired both nights and on the 8th two calls for SOS fire, were made from 4 Infantry Brigade.
11th May the Regiment fired in support of 33 Infantry Brigade. On the night of 14/15th May the Regiment supported an attack by 4/1 Gurkhas, on the Treasury Building area, which was successful.
Over the next few days the Regiment was very busy supporting various operations. Attempts were made, to rake enemy positions on 28th and 29th May but although there was some initial sucucess no consolidation was possible.
The end of May was very quiet and apart from minor operations there was little activity in early June. On 5th June 34 and 72/86 Batteries began the move the Assam barracks area of Kohima and on 7th June 27 Battery moved one section to Garage Sour but later in the day the whole battery moved to the Kigwema Hospital Area. Tac HQ was with HQ4 Infantry Brigade.
The Regiment was very short of transport and it was not until 8th June that the Zhotsoma postion was cleared.
27 Battery put B troop into 4 Infantry Brigade Box.
9th June the Regiment began to move to the northwest of Visema, 34 First, using all the transport, and then 72/68 Battery when the transport was freed. During the night 13/14th June HF was fired on to Visema and Jap concentrations on the Imphal Road. On 18/19th June an attack by 7 Infantry Div made good progress and the Regiment moved to positions between MSA 71 and 65 on the Imphasl Road.
By nightfall on the 19th Tac HQ was at MS 75, 27 Battery was on wheels at NS80, 34 Battery in action between MA 77 and 78 and 72/86 Battery was in action at MS 77. RHQ Main and part of B Echelon at MS 71.
By 20th June forward elements of the Regiment were at MS 81 but an armed carrier was stopped by Jap MG fire at this point. The road was later cleared and by the end of the day the gun area was around MS 84 with the guns of 27 and 34 Batteries wheel to wheel. The following day 72/86 Battery was ordered to MS 92 and later 34 Battery went to MS 95.
In the evening 27 Battery moved forward to the R Berks Box at MS 103 but the guns remained on wheels all night. On the 22nd 27 Battery moved to MS 106 and RHQ to MS 102.
23rd to 26th June the Regiment remained in action but was “At Rest”.
24th June supported 23 Indian Infantry Div at Palel Tamu Road.
26th June the Regiment moved to the Palel area with RHQ at Kakching. Here the role of the Regiment was uncertain. 27 Battery was in a purely defensive postion protecting admin boxes and the airstrip while 34 and 72/86 Batteries were in support of 1 Infantry Brigade but on call to 49 Infantry Brigade, but ranges on the front were rather high. On 27th June C to F Troops moved forward to a postion from which support could be given to an attack on Scots Knob.
29th June 5 Indian Field Battery came under command and 27 Battery went under command to 3 Indian Field Regiment. HF was fired over the next few days. The Regiment remained in the Palel area until 18th July and was engaged daily.
Floods due to a torrential thunderstorm on the 13th restricted operations for a couple of days. From 16th July arrangements were being made to get the guns out of positions and by the 18th RHQ moved to Seaforth Hill at Shenam and the guns were in action in their new positions. A three day harassing fire programme was begun to destroy Japs and to capture guns in the area north of Lokchao. Some of the guns of 72 Battery had still not arrived and all attempts to get them out proved fruitless and on 22nd July two elephants arrived to do the job just as 72 Battery got their guns out.
24th July the Regiment supported an attack on Tengnoupal and all went well. There were only a few calls on the Regiment for fire. By the 26th most of the ground taken was consolidated and 34 and 72/86 Batteries came out of action and concentrated on the Palel Plain and on the 27th the Regiment moved back to MS 83 on the Dimapur –Imphal Road for rest and maintenance. The Regiment built an attractive camp on a virgin green hillside, which was occupied for some 14 weeks.
Training began, including live firing for course shooting.
21st November the Regiment began the move to a forware concentration area, making the stiff clim up the Shenam saddkie and down the dusty road to Ramu on the 22nd. Staged at Ramu on the night of 22/23rd November and moved via the Kabaw Valley to Yazagyo on the 23rd. Vehicle maintenance was carried out and the Regiment took its share of responsibility for road improvement sin the area.
The Regiment remained in this concentration area until the
16th December when it moved off late at night and crossed the Chindwin on the 17th.
19th December the Regiment moved to Chaungzonand by nightfall 27 and 34 Batteries were in action and 72/86 Battery was in postion but remained on wheels.
On the 21st the Regiment moved to Thetkegyin and by 1530 hrs all three Batteries were in action.
23rd December the whole Regt was concentrated on newly bulldozed traks in thick Junegle at Okkon. Tac HQ was with 6 Infantry Brigade HQ or Pyingaing Myak.
25th December the Regiment moved forward to Muakadaw Chaung and concentrated. Fire support was given to the Infantryantry on 27th December and on 28th December the armed column began to move and progress was then rapid. RHQ was at Wainggyo.
29th December the Regiment moved off down the main road with two Infantry battallions and the armed column, the head passing Tawgyin at 0815 hrs. RHQ arrived at Tawgyin at 1100 hrs. The plan for the 29th was for a further advance towards Sinthin and the Regiment supported the Infantry in the attack on Jap positions at Taungyaing. On the last day of the year the Regiment concentrated with the Brigade around Kaduma.
In December the Regiment took part in the advance across R Chindwin for the reconquest of Burma and was engaged in the actions of Kabo, Weir and Shwebo.
The Regiment was concentrated around Kaduma with 6 Infantry Brigade.
1st January 1945 large recce parties and a pivot gun from each left Kaduma and moved towards Kabo. The rest of the Regiment moved that night. By 3rd January there was a bridgehead across the Mu River. All the operations, were supported by the Regiment and much HF was fired.
On the 4th all guns were registered on Bugyi. Kabo was still strongly held by the enemy. On the afternoon of the 5th the Regiment moved to Hnawgon and came under command 4 Infantry Brigade. On the evening of the 6th the Regiment moved to a concentration area at Muntha. On the 7th the Regiment was in actionat Nyaungbintha. On the 9th the Regiment was at Zigon and on the 11th south of Shwebo.
It was very quiet after that and some maintenance was done.
17th January the Regiment moved to Sadaung and went into action. Moved to Thitchogon on the 21st and was in action in that area until the 26th January when the Regiment moved ot Ondaw. This was a reasonably quiet period but on 30th January the Regiment moved to Natkayaung. The role there was to support I R Scots in an attack on Ywathitgyi and subsequent consolidation.
4th February 1/8 Lancashire Fusilere,s captured Kyaukse after preparation by artillery and RAF bombers and the Regiment moved there on 5th February. The Regiment remained in the Kyaukse area until 24th February fiving continuous support to the operations.
24th February the Regiment moved to Kindaw and occupied position,s which had been prepared to digging parties over the last two days.
The Regiment supported the crossing of R Irrawaddy on 24th February and the CO and Tac Hq crossed on 27th February, the Regiment following on 2nd March. The crossing was c ompleted in the early hours of 3rd March and the Regiment was in action at Ngazun.
The Regiment supported various minor operations and on the 7th March no fewer than nine Ops were deployed. Three with R Berks, three with RWF and one each with the Recce Regiment, DLI and 5 Infantry Brigade.
On the 8th the Regiment heard that 19 Indian Div had reached Mandalay. On 9th March the guns began to move to Ywahlagon and went into action there on the 10th.
On the 11/12th the Regiment supported attacks on Kyauktaing and Myinthi. At first light on the 15th the Regiment moved to Thangedaw and on the 16/17th supported the operation,s which resulted in the capture of Ava Fort.
18th March the Regiment moved at first light to Sizon with the intention of crossing into the bridgehead over the Myitinge River.
On the 19th the Regiment enganged enemy AA guns seen to be firing at British aircraft.
On the 22nd 27 and 34 Batteries moved to Senacaing while 72/86 Battery remained to take part I a fire plan in support of an attack by R Berks. 72/86 Battery then joined the Regiment at Senacaing.
23rd March the Regiment began a rest period which lasted until 26th March when F Tp left to join 4 Infantry Brigade advance guard moving to Pyinzi. The rest of the Regiment moved off on the 28th for Ketlan.
1st April the Regiment moved to Pindale in support of 4 Infantry Brigade mopping up all enemy in the triangle Pyinzi-Pindale-Mahlaing. For the next few days Batteries moved around in support of bn operations. On 7/8th April the Regiment moved to Myingan and concentrated there. The Regiment was ordered to India with 2 Infantry Div. The Regiment advance party flew out on 8th April and some stores were despatched to Chittagong. By 11th April all vehicles had been handed over and the personnel moved by rail to Chittagong.
12th April the main body left Chittagong and moved by rail and ferry steamer to the new camp at Kanchrapara, arriving on the 14th. It was a pleasant camp with an open air theatre and swimming pool. There were two cinemas in the area.
5 officers and 24 OR reInforcements arrived. On 14th April 24 x 25 Pdrs were issued and vehicles began to arrive. 29 OR Infantry reinforcements arrived on 18th April.
Day passes to Calcutta were authorised. Sports were arranged and some individual training began. The Regiment was under orders to be ready to take part in a seaborne operation against the Rangoon area but this proved to be unnecessary.
26th May the Regiment vehicle scale was reduced from the operational scale to a training and admin scale. The Regiment was under orders for Secunderahad. The advance party left on 31st May by rail, the road party set off on 2nd June and the main bodies departed by rail, HQ and 34 Battery on 7th June and 27 and 72/86 Batteries on 8th June. The guns moved by rail. The main bodies arrived at Secunderabad on 11th and 12th June and moved to KaMarchedi by RASC transport.
The main road party and the gun rail party arrived on 16th.
KaMarchedi Camp was 62 miles north of Secunderahad in a large wooded area. It consisted of bashas and a few tents. Camp followers were already installed. A “training battery” was organised and training began on 25th June. Men in appropriate release groups began to be repatriated to UK. A lot of sport was organised. In September leave parties to Bangalore, Bombay and the Nilgiris were authorised. On 1st October the Regiment was under orders to more to Kharakvasla, near Poona. The road party left on 2nd October and arrived on 4th October while the rail party left on 6th October and arrived on the 8th.
During October 12 officers and 134 OR and Infantry reinforcements arrived. On 13th October Lt Col KM Wright joined and assumed command. More personnel left on release and reInforcements joined in their place. Lt Col Wright on 20th November and on 23rd November Lt Col C Collingwood joined and assumed command.
1946 Page 14
The Regiment was stationed at Kharakvasia Camp, Poona, and was engaged in training. Personnel continued to leave on release. Firing camps were held at Lonand and Aundh ranges.
24th February 27 Battery was ordered to stand by for an IS task and carried out this task on 26th February.
The Regiment carried out exercises in the Gelgum area from
19th March to 2nd April. Exercises and firing camps continued throughout the next few months.
In May the Regiment came under orders to move to the West Camp, Coimbatore, in the Nilgiri Hills, and the advance party left on 10th May, staging at Kolhapur, Harihar, Bangalore and Salem.
18th May the main body of all the guns, most of the remaining vehicles and 400 men felt by road. Staged at Karad , Belgaum, Harihat and Bangalore arriving at Coimbatore on 26th May.
27th and 30th May the main body of personnel moved in three rail parties, which arrived at Coimbatore.
Leave to the Wellington Holiday home was authorised, a week for all personnel in groups of 90 men.
4th July the Regiment was warned to be ready to move to a new area in order to be nearer the rest of the RA Group.
24th July the advance party moved and on 10th October the remainder of the Regiment, less a rear party, moved to Wellington Barracks, Nigiliris. A rear party was maintained at West Camp, Coimbatore.
30th November the advance party of 10 Field Regiment arrived at Wellington Barracks to relieve the Regiment and the advance party of the Regiment moved to West Camp, Coimbatore.
2nd November At Wellington Barracks, Major JC Dent, Officiating CO, was promoted to Lt Col on.
5th December The Regiment moved to Coimbatore is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
January Lt Col C Collingwood assumed command from Lt Col JC Dent.
At the beginning of the year the Regiment received orders for reduction to cadre and a move to BAOR.
From the posted strength on 1st January to 31st March
of 26 officers and 475 BORs the Regiment had reduced to 2 officers ad 6 BORs.
The cadre moved to BOAR and the Regiment reformed at Crookenden Bks, Essen, Kupferdreh on 1st April where it took over the personnel of 76 Field Regiment RA (War Formed) (Serial 0676a) which then disbanded, and was redesignated 42 Field Regiment RA. Armed with 25 Pdrs.
WHERE RIGHT & GLORY LEAD