32nd (Midland) Anti-Aircraft Brigade

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32nd (Midland) Anti-Aircraft Brigade
Active 1936–1955
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Anti-Aircraft Brigade
Role Air Defence
Part of 2nd AA Division
5th AA Group
Garrison/HQ Derby
Engagements The Blitz

The 32nd (Midland) Anti-Aircraft Brigade was an air defence formation of Anti-Aircraft Command in Britain's Territorial Army (TA) from 1936 to 1955, charged with defending the East Midlands of England.

Origin[edit]

The formation was raised on 1 November 1936 at Normanton House, Derby, as 32nd (South Midland) Anti-Aircraft Group, forming part of 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division. It comprised anti-aircraft (AA) 'brigades' of the Royal Artillery (RA) and AA battalions of the Royal Engineers (RE), but when the RA redesignated its brigades as regiments in 1938, the group adopted the more usual title of 32nd (Midland) Ant-Aircraft Brigade in November 1938. On first formation the brigade comprised the following units:[1]

All these units had previously been infantry battalions of the former 46th (North Midland) Division, which had been converted into 2 AA Division in 1935.[2]

World War II[edit]

With the continued expansion of AA defences, especially after the Munich Crisis of 1938, new formations appeared, culminating in the creation of Anti-Aircraft Command, responsible for all TA air defence units in the UK, as a result of this expansion, some existing units transferred from 32 AA Bde to the new formations, while newly formed units replaced them, although the brigade remained within 2 AA Division. On the outbreak of war its order of battle was as follows:[3][4][5]

In 1940 the RE AA battalions were transferred to the RA, and that summer the AA regiments of the RA were redesignated Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) to distinguish them from the new Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA) units being formed, during The Blitz of 1940–41, 32 AA Bde controlled the following AA units defending the East Midlands:[6][7][8][9]

When the AA Divisions were disbanded in 1942, 32 AA Bde came under the command of 5 AA Group, based in Nottingham, and remained with it for the rest of the war.

Postwar[edit]

The Brigade was reformed in the TA in 1947, still based at Derby, but renumbered as 58 AA Brigade (TA), with the following composition:[19][20]

  • 262 (North Midlands) HAA Regt at Derby – formerly 68 (North Midland) HAA (see above)[21]
  • 526 HAA Regt at Derby – formerly 26 LAA Regiment[22]
  • 528 LAA Regt at Nottingham – formerly 28 LAA Regiment[22]
  • 575 (6th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters) S/L Regt at Chesterfield – formerly 149 LAA, and before that 40 S/L (see above)[23]
  • 577 (The Robin Hoods, Sherwood Foresters) S/L Regt at Nottingham – formerly 42 S/L (see above)[23]

In 1954, 262 and 526 HAA Regiments amalgamated as 262 Regiment. Then on 10 March 1955, AA Command was disbanded and a number of AA units were disbanded or merged, from 58 AA Bde, 262 HAA Regiment became P (North Midland) Battery of a new 438 LAA Regiment (which also included the former Leicester and Northampton Searchlight Regiments, see above), while 528 and 577 Regiments merged into 350 Regiment in Nottingham. Finally, the brigade was placed in suspended animation on 31 October 1955, and completely disbanded on 31 December 1957.[20]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Gen Sir Martin Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: The Years of Defeat: Europe and North Africa, 1939–1941, Woolwich: Royal Artillery Institution, 1988/London: Brasseys, 1996, ISBN 1-85753-080-2.
  • Monthly Army Lists.
  • Brig N.W. Routledge, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914–55, London: Royal Artillery Institution/Brassey's, 1994, ISBN 9781857530995.
  • Titles and Designations of Formations and Units of the Territorial Army, London: War Office, 7 November 1927.

Online sources[edit]