59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery

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59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment
148th (Warwickshire) LAA Regiment
594th (Warwickshire) LAA Regiment
The Sparrows Insignia.png
Royal Artillery cap badge and AA patch
Active 1 November 1938–1969
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Role Air Defence
Part of Anti-Aircraft Command
61st Infantry Division
Garrison/HQ Birmingham

The 59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery was an air defence unit of the Territorial Army (TA), part of the British Army, and was raised in Birmingham in 1938 just before the Second World War.

Origin[edit]

The unit was formed in November 1938 when the 399th Anti-Aircraft (AA) Company was transferred from the 45th (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) AA Battalion, a TA searchlight unit of the Royal Engineers (RE), to the Royal Artillery (RA) to provide the cadre for a new unit, entitled 59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, RA (TA). 45 AA Bn had itself been formed two years before by converting the 5th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The new unit had the following organisation:[1][2][3][4][5]

  • HQ at Coventryraised 1 November 1938
  • 399 AA Battery at Birmingham
  • 427 AA Battery at Birmingham – raised 1 November 1938
  • 428 AA Battery at Birmingham – raised 1 November 1938
90 cm Projector Anti-Aircraft, displayed at Fort Nelson, Portsmouth

Second World War[edit]

Mobilisation[edit]

In February 1939, the existing AA defences came under the control of a new Anti-Aircraft Command. In June, a partial mobilisation of TA units was begun in a process known as 'couverture', whereby each AA unit did a month's tour of duty in rotation to man selected AA and searchlight positions. On 24 August, ahead of the declaration of war, AA Command was fully mobilised at its war stations.[6]

At the outbreak of war in September 1939, 59 S/L Rgt formed part of 54th Anti-Aircraft Brigade, a new formation based at Sutton Coldfield being formed within AA Command's 4th Anti-Aircraft Division.[4][7][8]

In November 1940, 59 S/L Rgt was transferred to the Orkney and Shetland Defences (OSDEF) under AA Command.[4][9][10][11][12] It moved to 36th (Scottish) Anti-Aircraft Brigade in East Scotland in August 1942.[13]

148th (Warwickshire) LAA Regiment[edit]

On 7 April 1943, while it was based at Holywood, Devonshire, the regiment was given a new role and title as 148th (Warwickshire) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, with the following organisation:[1][4][5][14][15]

  • 498 (Coventry) Battery – converted from 399 Bty
  • 499 (Sheldon) Battery – converted from 427 Bty
  • 500 (West Midlands) Battery – converted from 428 Bty

From 2 March 1944, 148 LAA Rgt served with 61st Infantry Division (a training formation in Eastern England) for the remainder of the war.[4][16]

Postwar[edit]

When the TA was reconstituted in 1947, the regiment reformed at Birmingham as the 594th (Warwickshire) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA.[1][15] The regiment formed part of 80 AA Bde (the former 54 AA Bde at Sutton Coldfield).[5][17][18][19][20]

When AA Command was disbanded on 1 March 1955, there was a reduction in the number of AA units, and the 594th LAA Rgt was amalgamated with the 469th (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) Heavy AA Regiment, 580th (5th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) LAA Regiment (the former 45 AA Bn, from which the cadre of the regiment had been drawn in 1938), and 672 Heavy AA Regiment (Worcestershire), to form the new 442nd LAA Regiment.[1][2][5][19][21]

594 Rgt formed 'Q' (Warwickshire) Bty in the amalgamated regiment, but in 1961, 442 LAA Rgt was broken up and 'Q' Bty transferred to 268th (Warwickshire) Field Rgt. Then, in 1967, the TA was reorganised again, and 268 Rgt became Regimental HQ and 'P' (68 South Midland) Bty of The Warwickshire Regiment, TA. Finally, the regiment was reduced to cadre strength in 1969 and subsequently disbanded.[2][21][22][23][24]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d 594 LAA Rgt at Regiments.org
  2. ^ a b c 5th Bn Royal Warwickshire Rgt at Regiments.org
  3. ^ Army List January 1939.
  4. ^ a b c d e 4 AA Division 1939 at British Military History
  5. ^ a b c d Litchfield, p. 243.
  6. ^ Routledge, pp. 65–6, 371.
  7. ^ AA Command 3 September 1939 at Patriot Files
  8. ^ Routledge Table LX, p. 378.
  9. ^ 59 S/L Rgt at RA 39–45
  10. ^ OSDEF at RA 39–45 Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Farndale, Annex D, p. 261.
  12. ^ Routledge Table LXV, p. 397.
  13. ^ Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 14 May 1942, with amendments, The National Archives (TNA), Kew, file WO 212/81.
  14. ^ 148 LAA Rgt at RA 39–45
  15. ^ a b Farndale, Annex M, pp. 338, 340.
  16. ^ Joslen, p. 95.
  17. ^ Litchfield, Appendix 5.
  18. ^ Watson, TA 1947. Archived December 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ a b 592–638 Rgts at British Army 1945 on
  20. ^ 67–106 AA Bdes at British Army 1945 on Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ a b 414–443 Rgts at British Army 1945 on Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ 266–288 Rgts at British Army 1945 on
  23. ^ Litchfield, pp. 237 & 242.
  24. ^ Warwickshire Rgt RA, TA at Regiments.org

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.
  • Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2003, ISBN 1-843424-74-6.
  • Norman E.H. Litchfield, The Territorial Artillery 1908–1988 (Their Lineage, Uniforms and Badges), Nottingham: Sherwood Press, 1992, ISBN 0-9508205-2-0.
  • Brig N.W. Routledge, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914–55, London: Royal Artillery Institution/Brassey's, 1994, ISBN 1-85753-099-3

Online sources[edit]