Artillery Regiments That Served With The 7th Armoured Division

 

 

During its history the 7th Armoured Division many Artillery Regiments units served with the Division and it's Brigades. I have tried to include as many as possible with as much information as possible, but I apologise if I have omitted any.

This page will provide more details of the history of the various the Artillery Regiments that served with the Division.

 

Brief History Of Artillery

The story of artillery goes back to pre-Roman times when slings, catapults and ballistas were used to project missiles. Later, longbows propelled arrows both as direct and indirect fire.

The English first used guns in battle alongside longbows at Crécy in 1346. Since then it has used them in almost every war and campaign it has throughout the world, but it was almost four hundred years before a permanent force of artillery was formed.

In peacetime, guns were kept in castles and were looked after by Gunners, skilled in their manufacture and so most knowledgeable in their use. In wartime, men were recruited and trained into a Trayne of Artillery, until on 26 May 1716 the first two Companies of Artillery were formed by Royal Warrant at Woolwich.

The guns of the Royal Artillery are the Regiment's Colours, in the same way that the flags and guidons of infantry regiments are theirs, leading them into battle.

The Colours represent pride in the Regiment, so the guns are protected and retained at all costs. If the situation demands that they are left behind they must be disabled or destroyed.

The gun depicted on the cap badge is a 9pdr Rifled Muzzle Loader of about 1871, and the rammer used to ram the charge into the muzzle is also seen, to the left of the carriage wheel.

"Ubique", surmounting the gun, means "Everywhere", and the Motto below Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt, "Where right and glory lead us".

Prior to 1900 artillery batteries were independent units, being attached to brigades and divisions as necessary, but early in the 1900's Brigades of Artillery were formed consisting of 2 to 4 batteries. In the 1930's these Brigades became the Regiments we now know.

 

Artillery Regiments, (including Anti-Tank and Anti-Aircraft)

 For the following units, please read the information provided against each parent regiment. Each section will provide as much information as possible including regimental badges, associations, war diaries, museums, web sites and information available from the Army today.

The Regiments detailed are;

1st Royal Horse Artillery

2nd Royal Horse Artillery

3rd Royal Horse Artillery

4th Royal Horse Artillery

5th Royal Horse Artillery

102nd Royal Horse Artillery

106th Royal Horse Artillery

Royal Horse Artillery Batteries

57th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery

65th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery (Norfolk Yeomanry)

 

 69th Medium Regiment Royal Artillery

4th Field Regiment Royal Artillery

24th Field Regiment Royal Artillery

51st Field Regiment Royal Artillery

53rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery

60th Field Regiment Royal Artillery

97th Field Regiment Royal Artillery

146th Field Regiment Royal Artillery

1st Light Anti-aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

15th (Isle Of Man) Light Anti-aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

 

 

 

Royal Horse Artillery Regiments 

 

Although part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, the RHA wore their own cap badge in the Second World War as show above. The 'Grenade' badge on the right is the one worn on the collar of the uniform by all RHA and RA units.

1st Royal Horse Artillery

2nd Royal Horse Artillery

3rd Royal Horse Artillery

4th Royal Horse Artillery

5th Royal Horse Artillery

RA Regimental Museum,

Old Royal Military Academy,

Woolwich,

London.

102nd Royal Horse Artillery (Northumberland Hussars)

Museum - Northumberland Hussars (102 RHA/RA)

Discovery Museum

Blandford Square

Newcastle Upon Tyne

NE1 4JA

0191 232 6789

106th Royal Horse Artillery (Lancashire Hussars)

106th RHA - Lancashire County & Regimental Museum

(Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry, Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry, Queen's Lancashire Regiment, 14th/20th King's Hussars).

Stanley Street

Preston

Lancashire

PE1 4YP

Tel: 01772 264075

 

The 1st Regiment Royal Artillery is the senior Regiment in the British Army when on parade with its guns. The Regiment has a long and proud history stretching back over 200 years and fought in virtually every major action since its formation.

It served as part of the 1st Support Group for 1st Armoured Division, in the BEF, during the Fall of France, along side 2nd RHA, where it was 'lost' at St. Valery, in May 1940, but later reformed back in the UK. In May 1941 it served in the Tobruk Garrison, during 'Operation Brevity', along side M and J Batteries of 3rd RHA. Latter it served with 7th Armoured Division during the Gazala battles, having fought with 2nd Armoured Division, during Rommel's first offensive in March 1941.

Short History;

The unit was formed in March 1901 as 5th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, with A Bty in Meerut, India and BB Bty at Christchurch. In 1904 it was based at Woolwich. In October 1906 it was renamed 1st Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, serving in South Africa in 1911.

In 1920 it served in Iraq, returning to the UK in 1923. It the served in Egypt, in 1931, before being mechanised in Aldershot in 1936.

In November 1938 it was re-titled 1st Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.

It was in the UK as the start of the war and was mobilised in Bulford consisting of two eight gun batteries A/E and B/O. Although part of 1st Support Group of 1st Armoured Division, it deployed as an Army regiment because the armoured division was not ready. As such the Regiment, less A/E, joined 51st Highland Division, on the Saar Front in the French Sector in April 1940. In June 1940, the Regiment was captured with that Division at St Valery after severe fighting, whilst A/E Battery, also heavily engaged got out at Dunkirk. The Regiment reformed in North Wales around the survivors of A/E Battery  and many others who managed to escape from France and went to Egypt in October 1940, consisting of A, B & E batteries, with O Battery leaving to join 6th RHA. 

It served with the 7th Armoured Division during the Gazala in April 1942, before joining 10th Armoured Division in October 1942, at El Alamein and later Syria/Iraq. After being re-equipped with US M7 Priest 105mm self propelled guns, it move to Italy in 1944 where it served until the end of the war.

After the war it returned to Egypt equipped in 1947, before briefly serving in the UK in 1951 and the moving to Munster, Germany, in 1952.

It was rename 1st Medium Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (March 1964), 1st Light Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (September 1965) and 1st Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (June 1966).

In April 1993 O Headquarters Bty (The Rocket Troop) & L (Néry) Bty Joined the Regiment after the disbandment of 2nd Regiment Royal Artillery and November 1999 - N Bty (The Eagle Troop) moved from 3 RHA and amalgamates with L Bty to become L/N (Néry) Bty (The Eagle Troop).

 

2nd Regiment Royal Artillery; In 1939, 2nd Royal Horse Artillery Regiment, consisted of H/I, L/N Batteries and was based in England. It served in France in support of 1st Armoured Division, along side 1st RHA, and was evacuated at Dunkirk. It later served with 1st Armoured Division in Greece, in 1941. It the served with 7th Armoured Division during 'Operation Crusader' in November 1941, before returning to 1st Armoured Division in April 1942. It remained with 1st Armoured Division until it was transferred to 8th Army from 1st Armoured Division in September 1944 in Italy.

Short History;

The unit was originally formed in March 1901 as the 6th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, consisting of B Battery in Lucknow, India and C Battery in Mhow, India. In 1902 it returned to Ipswich, in Suffolk, moving to Woolwich, in 1902. In Oct 1906 it was re- titled 2nd Brigade Royal Horse Artillery.

In 1919 it consisted of C Battery in Risalpur, India, H Battery in Sialkot, India, & K Battery in Meerut, India, moving to Egypt in 1926.

In November 1938 it was re-titled 2nd Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and by September 1939 it consisted of H/I, L/N Batteries in support of 1st Armoured Division. It was later re-organised as H, I and L Batteries. It the saw service in 1942 in Middle East, Greece, Italy with both 1st & 2nd Armoured Divisions.

In December 1951 O Battery joined the Regiment and in February 1958 it was re-titled 2nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery, and N Battery joined the Regiment. It the moved to Malaya being equipped with the Sexton SPG.

In November 1961 it was re-titled 2nd Airportable Regiment Royal Artillery, and joined 3rd Division in Cyprus equipped with pack Howitzer. In March 1964 it was renamed 2nd Light Regiment Royal Artillery and then 2nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery in August 1965 when it joined 6th Brigade, Germany.

In December 1993 it was placed into Suspended Animation.

 

3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery's history dates back to 27th August 1938 when it was formed at Abassia Barracks, in Cairo, from 3rd Brigade Royal Horse Artillery. When formed it was armed with World War One vintage 3.7 inch Howitzers, but by May 1940 it was half equipped with 25-pdr Field guns and half with 37mm Bofors Anti-Tank guns. Since that time the Regiment served in the desert campaigns of 1939 - 1943 and the North West European campaign of 1944 - 1945 supporting the 7th Armoured Division, throughout the entire war. Originally, it consisted of two batteries (M/P and D/J), which soon became four as D, J, M and P batteries in its anti-tank roles, which was reduced to three on 15th March 1941, when P Battery left the regiment and in name went home to the UK to be reformed as part of 6 Regiment RHA. Many NCO's and men were absorbed by other Batteries. This left just D, J and M Batteries. It continued as an Anti-Tank Regiment until 1942 when it was converted to a Field Regiment. This is the role that it then served with the Division until the end of the war, mainly supporting the Infantry of 131st (Queen's) Lorried Infantry Brigade. It had the honour of leading the Division in the victory parade through Berlin, in July 1945 and also firing the 18 gun salute in honour Winston Churchill, which started the parade. Click here to read a short history of the regiments time as an Anti-Tank Regiment with the Division until December 1941.

Short History;

The unit was formed in March 1901 as the 10th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, consisting of D Bty in Umballa, India & E Bty in Kirkee, India, being renamed 3rd Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, in October 1906.

It was disbanded in September 1914, but reformed in March 1916.

In 1919 it consisted of D Bty in Lucknow, India, F Bty in Umballa, India & J Bty in Secunderabad, India.

By September 1937 the unit was in Egypt and in August 1938 it was renamed 3rd Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. Consisting of D/J, and M/P Batteries.

In 1955 it returned to Libya, the scene of many of its wartime engagements, equipped with the Sexton SPG. In February 1958, C Bty joined the Regiment from 5 RHA and M Bty was placed in suspended animation.

In December 1961 it was renamed 3rd Airportable Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, followed by 3rd Light Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (March 1964) and 3rd Medium Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (May 1965). In Apr 1966 it was re-titled 3rd Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.

In 1975, M Battery was revived, but in 1978, 3 RHA was disbanded.

In April 1984 the Regiment reformed as 3rd Field Regiment in Paderborn, West Germany with C, D and J (Sidi Rezegh) Batteries , but M Battery was again placed in suspended animation.

In 1993, N Battery joined the Regiment from 2 Field Regt RA, M Battery reformed as M/HQ Bty and the Regiment was re-titled 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.

Finally in 1999, N Battery (The Eagle Troop) left the regiment and amalgamated with L (Nery) Battery and joined 1 RHA.

The Regiment continues it relationship with the heritage of the Desert Rats as it provided artillery support for the modern 7th Armoured Brigade.

 

4th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was formed at Helmieh in Egypt in May 1939 from three batteries drawn from independent commands in India. The batteries were C Battery, F (Sphinx) Battery and G Battery (Mercer's Troop), with the latter as F/G Battery. It was equipped with the 25 pdr MK VP. When G Battery left in 1939 and the Regiment was reorganised into three batteries it was joined by DD Battery, which was formed from C and F Batteries in October 1941.

4th Regiment RHA fired the opening rounds of the campaign in North Africa on 8 December 1940 against the Italians at Sidi Barrani. During this time it was commanded by Lt-Colonel 'Jock' Campbell, who later was to command the Support Group and the Division itself. As part of 7th Armoured Division, the Regiment was involved in numerous subsequent battles in the desert. These included Bardia, the capture of Tobruk, Beda Fomm, Sidi Rezegh and the withdrawal from Gazala to El Alamein. It the took part in the Battle of El Alamein as part of 1st Armoured Division, later taking part in the battle for the Mareth Line and the capture of Tunisia. With the Germans defeated in North Africa, the Regiment returned to England in November 1943 to train for the invasion of Europe as part of 5th A.G.R.A under I Corps. It landed in France on 8th June 1944 and as an AGRA unit it supported many units in many action in Normandy, including 15th (Scottish), 53rd (Welsh) Divisions, plus also 4th Armoured Brigade and 11th Armoured Division, and periodically 7th Armoured Division. On 25th June 1944 the Regiment was permanently attached to 4th Armoured Brigade for the rest of the war and by 5th September 1944 it had converted from towed 25 pdrs to Sexton Self-propelled Guns. It continued to see action right up until the end of the war, where it halted outside Hamburg.

Short History;

The unit was formed in March 1901 as the 9th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery consisting of F Bty in Sialkot, India & J Bty in Bangalore, India, being renamed 4th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery in October 1906.

It returned to the UK in 1908 but was disbanded in September 1914, only to be reformed in October 1914 serving with 3rd Cavalry Div (Western Front). By 1919 it consisted of N, J & L Batteries, but was disbanded in October that same year.

In May 1939 it was reformed as 4th Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, comprising of C Battery, F (Sphinx) Battery and G Battery (Mercer's Troop). Being equipped with the 25 pdr Howitzer. In 1939 G Battery left to serve in 5th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and DD Battery was formed to replace it as part of the re-organisation of the Royal Artillery after Dunkirk, in October 1941.

In 1942 the Regiment left 7th Armoured Division at the end of September and joined 1st Armoured Division until the end of hostilities in Tunisia in May 1943. In November 1943 it returned to England and in June 1944 it landed in France, as part of 5th AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery) under I Corps. On 25th June 1944 the Regiment joined 4th Armoured Brigade for the rest of the war.

After the war it re-titled 4th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Horse Artillery in April 1947, but was re-equipped with the Sexton SPG in 1950.

It was re-titled 4th Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery in 1951, with P Battery joining the Regiment, in December of that year.

In February 1958 - G and I Battery's joined the Regiment, but in June 1961 it was renamed 4th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and it lost F, G and I Batteries to the newly formed 7th Parachute Regiment RHA. However it gained 29 (Corunna), 88 (Arracan) and 97 (Lawson's Company) as its batteries.

It was re-titled 4th Light Regiment Royal Artillery in August 1964, the 4th Field Regiment Royal Artillery in August 1966 and 4th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, in November 1983.

In 1993, 52nd (Niagara) Battery joined the Regiment following the disbandment of 45th Regiment RA and 29th (Corunna) Battery combined with 3rd Battery (from 47th Regiment RA) to become 3rd/29th (Corunna) Battery and Headquarters Battery became 94th (New Zealand) Headquarters Battery. It was the re-titled 4th Regiment Royal Artillery.

 

5th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery fought in the Fall of France, as part of 3 Corps, losing E and F troops in the process. When it was reorganised CC Battery was created out of G and K Batteries. The Regiment then served in the UK until it sailed to the Middle East as part of 8th Support Group of 8th Armoured Division. Upon arrival the Regiment supported units of 1st Army Tank Brigade until the end of August 1842. It the served with 8th Armoured Brigade from El Alamein to Libya and Tunisia, when the Brigade took over from 22nd Armoured Brigade in 7th Armoured Division, while it re-equipped, in November 1942. The Regiment then remained with 7th Armoured Division after the return of 22nd Armoured Brigade in February 1943 and served with until the end of the war. After the end of the war in North Africa the Regiment remained there with the rest of the Division, until going to Italy in September 1943. At the end of November 1943, the Regiment was taken out the the line, with the rest of the Division and started back for the UK in December, arriving at Gourock, Scotland in January, 1944. In February and March 1944 it was re-equipped with Sexton Self-Propelled Guns so that it could better support the armour on the move. It the served with the Division until the end of the war, supporting 22nd Armoured Brigade in actions such as Villers-Bocage and The Battle of the Brigade Box, where it fired over open sights at the advancing Panzer Grenadiers and German armour. When the Division moved to Berlin after the end of the war the Regiment and took part in the Victory Parade through Berlin in July 1945. During the period the Colonel in charge of the Regiment referred to 'G' Battery as his 'Good Boys', 'K' Battery as his 'Bad Boys' and 'CC' Battery as his 'Children'. The latter was evident when 'CC' Battery suffered such heavy casualties at El Aghelia that the Colonel almost cried!

Brief History;

The unit was formed in March 1901 as the 11th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, comprising of G Battery & O Battery stationed in South Africa., but by 1903, G Battery in Bangalore, India & O Battery in Lucknow, India. It was renamed 5th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, in October 1906.

It returned to the UK in 1911 and by 1919, it comprised of E, G & O Batteries all stationed in Aldershot. It served in India in 1920, before returning to the UK in 1922. It was then disbanded in October 1926.

It was reformed in November 1939 as 5th Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, with 'G' Battery and 'K' Battery, and after service in France, in late 1940 'CC' Battery formed from 'G' and 'K' Batteries.

1942-45 The Regiment saw service in Middle East, Italy and North West Europe initially with 8th Armoured Brigade and then the 7th Armoured Division which it joined in November 1942 until the end of the war.

In 1948 it returned to the UK.

In 1958 it was renamed 5th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and P and Q Batteries joined the Regiment.

It was re-titled 5th Airportable Regiment Royal Artillery, in December 1961; 5th Light Regiment Royal Artillery, in March 1964; 5th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, in August 1964 and 5th Light Regiment Royal Artillery in August 1966.

It changed its name again in November 1972 when it was re-titled 5th Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery and equipped with M107.

In April 1993 it became 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, with Q Battery re-titled Q Headquarter Battery and 4 Battery merged with 73 Battery to become 4/73 (Sphinx) Battery.

 

102nd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (Northumberland Hussars) served with 2nd Support Group, as part of 2nd Armoured Division in North Africa, before joining the 1st Armoured Brigade in Greece, in February 1941. After evacuation to Crete, following the fall of Greece, it took part in the defence of the island as infantry before again being evacuated to Egypt in June 1941. After being strengthened by men from the suspended 106th RHA, the Regiment then served, with 7th Armoured Division during 'Operation Crusader' in November 1941 and at Gazala in 1942 as an Anti-Tank unit. It then reverted to RA status and served with 50th (Northumbrian) Division at El Alamein, in Italy and in Normandy in 1944. When the 50th (Northumbrian) Division returned to the UK it joined 15th (Lowland) Division, with which it remained until the end of the war in Northern Europe.

Short History;

The unit was formed in 1797 as the 'Newcastle Troop' and then disbanded in 1802. In 1819, it was reformed as Northumberland and Newcastle Yeomanry Cavalry, changing its name in 1901 to Northumberland Imperial Yeomanry (Hussars) and again in 1908 to the Northumberland Hussars (Yeomanry).

In 1939 it was a Territorial Army unit based in Newcastle Upon Tyne and was mobilised and Cavalry at the start of the war. The official change to an artillery unit was made on 20th February 1940 when it become the 102nd Light Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Tank Regiment, RA (The Northumberland Hussars). Unlike most other Anti-Tank Regiments (like the 65th Anti-Tank Regiment (Norfolk Yeomanry) the Northumberland Hussars Batteries were A, B, C & D and not numbered. A few other Anti-Tank Regiments, did use the same system, but it is important not to confuse these batteries with the Royal Horse Artillery Batteries which always used a letter designation system. The War Office had agreed it could continue to wear the Northumberland Hussars badge its and for the name to be included in the Regimental title.  In 1941 it was re-titled 102nd Anti-Tank Regiment, RHA (The Northumberland Hussars), but later lost its RHA status to become a RA regiment again.

NB. The RHA status of the Regiment is an interesting one, as officially, 102nd RHA never existed as far as the War Office and Royal Artillery records are concerned! However, in many books about the 7th Armoured Division and the Royal Artillery in North Africa in 1941, 102nd Anti-Tank Regiment. RHA is mentioned. It is believed that in common with other Yeomanry artillery units serving with an armoured division it was awarded RHA status, albeit only locally in North Africa. However, this was never confirmed by HQRA in London and the RHA status was rescinded with the Regiment reverting to RA status, thus explaining why 102nd RHA does not appear in any official list as they were never officially granted RHA status. The fact that many men from the suspended 106th RHA (Lancashire Hussars) were assigned to the Regiment, may have also caused it to have been awarded the RHA status, as it was normal practice for men not to transfer to a lower precedence unit as the RA were considered in comparison to the RHA. 

The Regiment is specifically referred to as RHA in "The History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery - The Years of Defeat 1939-41" by Gen Sir Martin Farndale. As this is a book written by a senior gunner officer, it is not likely to be an error. The author would be very much aware of the elite status of RHA units and would not assign that status to a unit that did not warrant it. In this book it refers to 102nd Anti-Tank Regiment in the index. It covers their time with 7th Armoured Division and in the final reference it refers to them as 102nd RHA. The passage refers to the 27th December 1941, mention that "102nd Anti-Tank Regt RHA, had 36 x 2-pdrs". 102nd Anti-Tank RHA is also referred to by Major-General C. L. Vernery, in his book on The Deserts Rats, plus other books by Patrick Delaforce and Robin Neillands referred to on the Books and Other Websites page. Finally, the British National Archives records show information being available to 102 L.A.A. A.tk. Regt and 102 A/Tk. Regt for all years apart from 1941, but does show records for '102 Regt. R.H.A. 1941 Jan.-Oct, Document Ref: WO 169/1433' and '102 R.H.A. Regt. Sig. Sec 1941 Aug.- Dec, Document Ref: WO 169/2008'. This is the time the regiment served with 1st Armoured Brigade and 7th Armoured Division and would have merited RHA status as did the other Yeomanry Regiments. 

In 1947 the Regiment became The Northumberland Hussars, RAC, and in 1967 it changed to The Northumberland Hussars (Territorials), being reduced to cadre in 1969.

Later in 1971 it formed the HQ Squadron, The Queen's Own Yeomanry, then NH (Northumberland Hussars) Squadron, The Queen's Own Yeomanry, in 1972 and in 1986 it was 'NH and D' (Northumberland Hussars) Squadrons, The Queen's Own Yeomanry. In July 1999 this was changed to 'D' (Northumberland Hussars) Squadron, The Queen's Own Yeomanry,

 

106th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (Lancashire Hussars) served with 7th Armoured Division in November/December 1940 during Operation Compass, in an anti-tank role being equipped with 37mm Bofors anti-tank guns and captured Italian 20mm Breda AA/AT guns and later at Beda Fomm. It also served with the Division again during Operation Battleaxe, in June 1941. It then served on Crete in 1941 as a Light Anti-Aircraft unit and as infantry, before being put into suspended animation in July the same year.

Short History;

The Lancashire Hussars were originally formed in 1798 as independent troops, before becoming the Lancashire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1828 and then being disbanded in 1832. In 1848 the regiment was reformed as the Lancashire Hussars, becoming the Lancashire Hussars Imperial Yeomanry in 1901 and the Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry, in 1908

In 1920 it became the 2nd (Lancashire) Army Brigade, RFA and in 1921 the 106th (Lancashire Yeomanry) Brigade, RFA and in 1924 the 106th (Lancashire Yeomanry) Field Brigade, RA

In 1938 it was re-titles the 106th (Lancashire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA. At the start of the war it consisted of 423rd and 424th Batteries, based in Liverpool. By November 1939 it was part of 1st Cavalry Division in the UK before moving to Palestine in January 1940, equipped with 4.5 inch Howitzers (424 Bty) and 18 pdr Field Guns (423 Bty). Later in 1940 it became 106th RHA, consisting of 423 and 424 Batteries. It moved to North Africa in August 1940, after serving in Crete, by which time 424 Bty had become No. 1 and No. 2 Batteries (Anti-tank) and 423 Bty had become No. 3 and No. 4 Batteries (Anti-aircraft). The former were equipped with 37mm Bofors anti-tank guns on Portees and the latter with captured Italian 20mm Breda AA/AT guns. It served with 7th Armoured Division during many of the earlier battles in North Africa.

In 1941 it was known as 106th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA (Lancashire Hussars), but was placed in suspended animation in July the same year, with many of its men going to reinforce the Northumberland Hussars, who were being strengthened and re-equipped after being evacuated from Greece and Crete.

After the war in 1947, it was renamed 306th (Lancashire Hussars) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA, before being amalgamated with 390th (King's Own) LAA Regiment, RA in 1950

Later in 1956 it had become 'P' (Lancashire Hussars) Battery, of 287th (1st West Lancashire) Medium Regiment, RA and by 1967 it was just 'A' Troop (Lancashire Hussars), P (1st West Lancashire) Battery, The West Lancashire Regiment, RA (Territorial)

In 1969 the regiment reduced to cadre, and Yeomanry lineage discontinued. However, in 2004, 106th (TA) RA re-adopted the Yeomanry status of the old 106th Regiment RHA.

 

RHA Battery Histories

Please note that the regular Royal Horse Artillery always designated its Batteries by the use of letters instead of numbers as Royal Artillery and Yeomanry with Royal Horse Artillery status did. Even when extra batteries were formed double letters such as CC and DD were used. It is important to remember this researching batteries, as some Royal Artillery Anti-Tank Batteries did not conform to the convention and consisted of A, B, C & D batteries, but as part of the higher regiment and not separate units as the RHA batteries were considered. i.e. 'A' Battery, 102nd Anti-Tank Regiment is completely different from 'A' Battery RHA.

The Battery histories below are related to the Batteries that formed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Regiments, RHA, who served with 7th Armoured Division.

A Battery (The Chestnut Troop) Royal Horse Artillery

A Battery (The Chestnut Troop) Badge

A Troop Royal Horse Artillery was formed on 1st February 1793 during the reign of George III. During the Netherlands campaign of 1799 the Troop was horsed with chestnut horses and was known as the `Chestnut Troop’. At Waterloo, Lord Wellington referred to the Troop as the `Chestnut Troop’ and it was unofficially called this until 24th May 1902 when the name was officially recognised by His Majesty King Edward VII as A Battery 'The Chestnut Troop' Royal Horse Artillery.

The honour title given to the Chestnut Troop is unique in not being associated with any one particular incident or service. Apart from the Kings Troop RHA, it is the only Battery in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, which has the honour of bearing a title personally given by the Monarch and one, which is officially recognised outside the Royal Regiment. As the senior Battery within the whole of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, it takes position at the 'Right of the Line' on the parade.

A Troop was raised as the first fully self-contained and fully mounted unit equipped with first four, then later six, 6 Pounder guns. The Troop first saw action in the Irish Rebellion in 1798 and then in the Netherlands in 1799. In 1806 Captain Hew Ross assumed command of the Troop and his tenure was to last for an unrivalled period of 19 years, through campaigns in Spain, Portugal, France and at Waterloo. Captain Ross went on to be knighted and become the first ever Gunner Field Marshal. The Troop fought in the Peninsula War from 1809. Following its exploits in Portugal was a protracted period of peace until the Crimean War from 1855-56. Until the turn of the century the Troop served in both the UK and India, before serving in the South African War.

Since its formation, the Chestnut Troop has maintained an unbroken history of service up to the present time. The Chestnut Troop fired its first round in First World War, at Givenchy on 20th December 1914. It took part in the Battle of the Somme and was continuously involved in trench warfare. In 1918 it took part in the general offensive that broke the Hindenburg Line. The Chestnut Troop fired its last round in WWI at Orrs on 4th November 1918.

In between the two World Wars the Troop saw a variety of service that included deployment to Basra in 1921 and also saw service in Mesopotamia and Cairo before moving back home to Aldershot and then Bulford. In 1938 The Chestnut Troop became part of 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery which involved, at the outset, the formation of A/E Battery as a 12 gun composite Battery and was mobilised in Bulford. Although 1st RHA was part of 1st Armoured Division, it deployed as an Army regiment because the armoured division was not ready. While the rest of the Regiment  joined 51st Highland Division, on the Saar Front in the French Sector in April 1940, A/E Battery, saw service in the retreat to Dunkirk, before being evacuated. It was around the survivors of A/E batter that the Regiment reformed in North Wales before sailing to Egypt in October 1940, having been re-equipped. 

The Battery, as part of 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, came under the command of the 7th Armoured Division. It took part in the first Libyan Campaign, including the capture of Tobruk. The Battery remained in Tobruk and was involved in the siege that lasted from April to December 1941. After withdrawing to El Alamein from Gazala it fought at El Alamein and but with the rest of 1st RHA was taken out of the line to refit, and took no further part in the war in North African campaign. It later fought in Italy until the end of the war, being equipped with US M7 Priest 105mm self propelled guns until the end of the war. The Battery remained in Africa during 1942 and 1943 before moving to Taranto in Italy in May 1944. It remained in Italy until the end of the war, being equipped with US M7 Priest 105mm self propelled guns until the end of the war. 

 

B Battery Royal Horse Artillery

B Battery Badge

The Battery was formed on the 1st February 1793 as B Troop, in Woolwich by Royal Warrant of George III, they were equipped with 6 Pounder Smooth Bore Muzzle Loading Guns. However, unlike other Artillery units at that time all the men in the new Horse Artillery were mounted and better able to support fast moving Cavalry. After a short period of service in Ireland the Troop moved to Spain and saw action against Napoleon’s armies, just 4 weeks after landing by supporting the 15th Dragoons at the Battle of Sahagun on the 21st December1808. So fast was the action that they did not have time to unhitch the guns and bring then into action, so they charged the French along with the Cavalry with the guns still attached and forced the French to surrender. They also fought in the main battles during the retreat to Corunna. 

In 1856, B Troop was renamed B Battery RHA and was equipped with six 9 Pounder rifled breech loading guns. In 1900, the Battery was on its second tour of Garrison duty in India when it was deployed as part of the international force that was formed to quell the Boxer uprising in China. During this time they were equipped with 12 Pounders and were the only Horse Artillery to be deployed. It is from this time that most of the Batteries Silver comes from.

During the First World War the Battery was part of the 29th Division and was the first and last Artillery to land and leave Gallipoli and fired more artillery rounds than any other unit during that time. They then moved to France and taking part in the Somme offensive in 1916 and also Paschendaele and Ypres during this period the Battery was equipped with six 13 Pounder and also six 18 Pounder guns. 

Between 1919 and 1936 the Battery deployed as mounted Rifles in Ireland before moving to Egypt in 1930 and then Palestine in 1936. In 1936 the Battery lost their horses and become mechanised with 3.7 inch howitzers. The Battery was equipped with 25 Pdr Guns for the Second World War and saw action in the Dunkirk evacuation at St. Valery. Shortly after this the Battery deployed to the Western Desert fighting in all the major Battles of 1941-42. At the Battle of El-Tamar, during the withdrawal from Gazala to El Alamein the battery fought its fiercest battle, unsupported by Infantry or armour they engaged 60 German tanks at ranges varying between 800 to 1500 yards. When the ammo had run out the Battery had destroyed 12 tanks, but had 5 guns destroyed with high casualties. 

After being re-equipped it and the rest of 1st RHA served at El Alamein and but with the rest of 1st RHA was taken out of the line to refit, and took no further part in the war in North African campaign. It later fought in Italy until the end of the war, being equipped with US M7 Priest 105mm self propelled guns until the end of the war

 

C Battery Royal Horse Artillery

C Battery BadgeThe Battery was formed at Woolwich as C Troop, on 1st November 1793. It fired its guns in anger for the first time at Vinegar Hill, County Wexford. The Troop the fought in The Peninsular War and The Crimean War. During the latter, it gained its most notable achievement when on 25th October 1854 it fought at the Battle of Balaclava. After returning from duty at Inkerman, C Troop where preparing for a rest, when they were called upon to provide further support to the Heavy Brigade (Cavalry) at Balaclava. After an exhaustive night ride over treacherous terrain the Troop joined the battle and came into action immediately. When the Heavy Brigade withdrew, the Troop continued to fire at the Russian forces, and the 49 rounds they fired was sufficient to stop the advance of the Russian Calvary, which turned and fled the field. Balaklava day is still celebrated by the Battery every 25th October.

In 1901, having become a Battery it was part of 6th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, stationed in Mhow, India. In 1902 it returned to the UK as what was to become in October 1906 2nd Brigade Royal Horse Artillery. After service in the First  World War, the battery returned to Risalpur, India, in 1919, before moving to Egypt in 1926.

In May 1939 it was it helped reformed 4th Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery along with F (Sphinx) Battery and G Battery (Mercer's Troop), with the latter two batteries being F/G Battery, before G Battery returned to the UK.

Since 1939 C Battery RHA has served with 4th Regiment RHA (1939 - 1946), 5th Regiment RHA (1946 - 1958) when it was formed out of CC Battery (as part of the re-organisation and reductions in man-power after the war). It was hoped that the title (Campbell's) which had been provisionally granted to this Battery during the war would be confirmed and granted later to the new Battery, but this never happened. Finally, since 1958 the Battery has been part of 3rd Regiment RHA, apart from a brief period 1977 - 1984, when it was an independent battery.

D Battery Royal Horse Artillery

D Battery Badge

D Battery Royal Horse Artillery was formed as F Troop RHA on 1 November 1794 and first fired its guns in anger against the French at the Battle of Victoria. In 1816 F Troop became E Troop RHA. Under this name D Battery RHA won its most notable victory at the Battle of Secundra Gunge during the Indian Mutiny on 5 January 1858. Having located a large formation of mutineers, the commander of the troop, Major Anderson ordered his men to leave their guns, draw swords and charge the enemy. After fierce hand to hand fighting, and hundreds of enemy casualties, the mutineers fled. D Battery RHA still celebrate Secundra Gunge every year on 5th January.

In 1889 E Troop RHA became D Battery RHA. It fought in France in the First World War and as D/J battery was part of 3rd RHA at the start of the Second World War. It soon became D battery again and saw action throughout the North African campaign and in Italy. It landed in Normandy in 1944 on D-Day and with the rest of 3rd RHA and 7th Armoured Division fought its way across Northern Europe to Hamburg in May 1945. As an anti-tank battery it consisted of A, B and C Troops, but when it became the senior battery in 3 RHA as a Field Regiment, it consisted on A and B Troops. Further honour was given to the Battery by taking the salute and leading the Victory Parade through Berlin in 1945. In 1977 D Battery RHA became an independent Anti Tank Support Battery and then reformed in 1984 as part of 3rd RHA.

E Battery Royal Horse Artillery

E Battery Badge

The Battery was raised at Woolwich on 1st February 1794, as E Troop. It embarked for the Peninsular Campaign in 1811 fighting at Cuidad Rodrigo. It played a conspicuous part in the Battle of Salamanca, and was also at Vittoria. In 1815 the Troop fought at Waterloo where the Commander, Robert Gardiner, won the KCB after the Troop’s gallant rearguard action at Quatre Bras, the day before.

Between 1815 and 1914 E Battery saw service in England, Ireland, the Indian Mutiny and the Second Afghan War. In 1914 E Battery fired the first artillery round of the Great War, at 09:30 hrs on 22 August 1914, during a cavalry skirmish the day before the Battle of Mons began. The cartridge case was preserved in the trail leg of the gun of D Sub-Section and is now with the Battery in Tidworth.

During the Second World War E Battery served with 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery in World War two in France and later in the Western Desert and Italy, distinguishing itself at the siege of Tobruk. that lasted from April to December 1941. After withdrawing to El Alamein from Gazala it fought at El Alamein where it fought with rest of 1st RHA but along with the rest of 1st RHA was taken out of the line to refit, and took no further part in the war in North African campaign. It later fought in Italy until the end of the war, being equipped with US M7 Priest 105mm self propelled guns until the end of the war

 

F Battery (Sphinx) Royal Horse Artillery

F Battery (Sphinx) Badge

The history of the Battery dates back to 1800 when a troop of the Bengal Horse Artillery was first formed to accompany the expedition to Egypt later that year. Between 1801 and 1817 the Troop saw active service in Egypt, the Mahratta war, the Gurkha War and finally the Siege of Hathras. After fighting the first Burma war from 1824-26, the Troop found itself involved in the famous retreat from Khabul (1842) during the Afghan campaign. It was during this retreat that all the guns were lost, mainly due to lack of feed for the horses, which rendered them unable to drag the guns of the Battery through the deep snow and rugged mountain passes. One by one the guns were spiked and abandoned. The Captain, two officers and 102 NCO's and men were killed in the retreat, with in one case an entire gun crew perishing rather than desert their charge!

During the Great War the Battery was rarely out of action. For its share of these operations, seeing action at Ypres 1914, Loos and Somme 1916, Arras 1917, Messines 1917, Italy 1917-18, Arras 1918, Bapaume, Hindenburg Line, Canal Du Nord, Cambrai 1918, France and Flanders 1914-18.

In 1926 the honour title Sphinx was awarded to the Battery for services in the 1801-2 campaign.

During the 1930's the Battery spent most of its time at St Johns Wood and in 1939, when the Battery moved to Cairo, it became part of the 4th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, as F/G Battery with 4th RHA and was in action with the ‘Desert Rats’ of 7th Armoured Brigade. The ‘Yellow Dog’ as the battery is affectionately known continued to gain acclaim in North Africa, Italy and North West Europe. The latter was  mainly in support of 4th Armoured Brigade (The Black Rats).

 

G Battery (Mercer's Troop) Royal Horse Artillery

G Battery (Mercer's Troop) Badge

Creation of Horse Artillery

When the Napoleonic Wars started after the French Revolution, the British cavalry soon realised they had a glaring deficiency, compared to their continental Counterparts. Although pulled by horse the British Artillery was served by gunners who marched on foot with the guns and thus it was too slow and cumbersome to keep up with their cavalry. This meant that much of the power of the cavalry’s charge was often lost when they outran their artillery support. Therefore in January 1783 it was decided to raise the first 2 troops of Horse Artillery, which would be able to move rapidly around the battlefield and support the cavalry.

The Army equipped these elite troops with the best equipment available, the 6 Pounder guns with 45 drivers and 190 horses. From the outset the Horse Artillery’s officers and men were viewed as something special. As a result of this 'G’ Battery (then still just G Troop) was formed in - 18O1 at Mallow in Ireland when it was decided to form a seventh troop of Horse Artillery from divisions of ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘F’ Troops. In its first campaign, in 1807, the Troop took part in the ill-fated expedition to take the vital port of Buenos Aires and although the campaign ‘G’ Troop proved itself to be a Horse Artillery unit of very fine quality. No one ever had anything but praise for ‘G’ Troop.

Waterloo

In 1815, when the campaign started 'G' Troop was actually commanded by Sir Alexander Dickson, who was at the time temporarily assigned to other duties. It therefore fell to Captain Cavalië Mercer (who then held the rank of "second captain") to command it at Waterloo.

It was a fine troop, perfect in drill and splendidly horsed, being composed of the best elements of Two Horse Artillery Troops broken up after Napoleon’s exile on Elba. ‘G’ took the best picked horses of both batteries and consisted of 80 gunners and 84 drivers who drove no less than 226 horses. So proud was the Duke of Wellington of 'G' Troop that in the Grand Cavalry Review held at Gramont, on the eve of the battle, the Duke of Wellington himself brought the Prussian Prince Blücher’s attention to what he called "the beautiful Battery.

On the 16th June 1815 the Battery moved forward to the field of Quatre Bras close to the advancing French Army, travelling 38 miles that day over baggy, congested tracks with their 9 Pounders. The French advanced all day long on the sixteenth and after the Battle of Quatre Bras, the British were retreating towards Waterloo by 17th June 1815. It was then on 17th June 1815, that Mercer’s Troop were ordered to cover the retreat as the British Cavalry and the Prussian Infantry began to panic. To steady the situation the Troop opened fire on the French Cavalry Squadrons at a range of 1,200 yards and the French called off the chase, allowing the British to withdraw intact.

The night fall of 17th June and it was a miserable night for Mercer’s men as they spent the night in a newly ploughed field being soaked by 6 hours heavy rain, with a thin blanket as their only shelter. They found their feet 8 inches deep in mud and they were cold, wet, hungry, without a fire, without meat or drink, having spent 48 hours on the march.

The Battle of Waterloo began at about 11a.m. on the 18th June and within the first 90 minutes, Wellington had lost a quarter of his cavalry killed or injured and the Allied troops appeared much shaken. The Battle raged on into the afternoon with Wellington’s position looking more fateful by the minute. Then, at about 3.15 pm, the French launched Three full divisions of cavalry against the Allied infantry. The situation was desperate and ‘G’ Troop were ordered to abandon their guns when the French Cuirassiers were upon them and then to take shelter in the nearest infantry square. However Captain Mercer did neither!

Seeing that the suspect Brunswick Infantry seemed ready to throw down their arms and flee, he was convinced that if the Horse Artillery retreated the Brunswickers would run away. Therefore his Battery stood firm under their Battery Commander, and indeed Mercer’s Troop was the only Battery on the field of battle to drive the French Cavalry off unaided. Later, a French soldier wrote:

"...through the smoke I saw the English gunners abandon their pieces, all but 6 guns (Mercer’s Troop) stationed under the road...now, I thought, those gunners will be cut to pieces, but no, the devils kept firing with grapeshot which mowed us down like grass."

Although Captain Mercer disobeyed the orders of the Duke of Wellington, by standing firm, his action and that of his unrivalled gunners took a terrible toll of the French Cavalry. In all the Troop suffered 140 horses dead or injured and it had fired a total of 700 rounds. The latter was more than any other Horse Artillery Troop in the battle. The fighting around Mercer’s men had been so intense that one English General said after the battle said;

"...he could plainly distinguish the position of ‘G’ Troop from the other side of the battlefield by the dark mass of dead French Cavalry which, even at that distance, formed a remarkable feature on the battlefield.".

If Captain Mercer had obeyed orders and abandoned the guns the outcome may have been very different. As it was the Battle of Waterloo was won by the evening of the 18th June 1815 and Captain Mercer was later promoted after the battle and sent to command ‘D’ Troop RHA.

The Indian Mutiny

In July 1857, after a tortuous 90 day voyage, the Troop, now called a Battery, sailed to India to help suppress the mutiny of the Indian Army. This marked the beginnings of an association with the "Jewel of the Empire" which was to last into the next century. After participating in the relief of Lucknow the Battery supported the attack on Fort Munstrigury and the successful campaign of Oude, which helped to bring about an end to the ill-fated mutiny.

The Boer War

At the outbreak of the Boer War, ‘G’ Battery were in St. John’s Wood. In February 1900 the Battery became part of the Horse Artillery of 2nd Cavalry Brigade and fought in the famous Relief of Kimberley. At the Battle of Diamond Hill in June, the Battery came under very heavy enemy fire, but it still managed to engage and destroy two Boer 15 Pounders in a heroic counter battery struggle. When peace was finally declared in June 1902 the Battery sailed back to India. During the heavy fighting in South Africa, over a period of 3 years, the Battery had marched some 6,000 miles and had fired 5,059 shells from its 12 Pounders. The Battery spent the next decade in relative tranquillity in Secunderabab, India before returning to England in 1914.

World War I

The war broke out in August 1914, G Battery went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and it fired its first rounds near Gongue on 17 November 1914 when, it helped to stop a strong German assault. Although the war soon became the bloody trench warfare of history, Mercer’s spirit never deserted the Battery. This spirit is well shown by how at Mont Kemmel on the 22nd April 1915 when the Battery stood firm in the face of 100 minutes of continuous bombardment by heavy German 6 inch howitzers.

In September 1915 the Battery took part in the Battle of Loos, and in January 1916 provided support for the dismounted Cavalry Division. Throughout the Somme Offensive ‘G’ Battery were stood by ready to follow up the expected breakthrough the German lines, which never materialised.

In April 1917, as part of 8th Cavalry Brigade, the Battery advanced with the attack on Arms. Then in November at the Battle of Cambrai, 'G’ Battery were again in action during the first ever tank battle. Here, in the fierce fighting of the spring of 1918 G’ Battery lost all its officers killed and the Battery as a whole suffered 20% casualties. Throughout the summer of 1918, however, ‘G’ Battery fought on and took part in the great advance that ended in the signing of an armistice on 11th November 1918.

In the War years the Battery returned to India and also served in the Middle East.

WORLD WAR II

Before war broke out in September 1939, the battery had been serving as F/G Battery with 4th RHA, before returning to the UK again only when war seemed inevitable in the spring of 1939. In November 1939 the War Office reinforced ‘G’ Battery with new personnel and the Battery became part of 5th RHA serving alongside 'K' Battery, during the Fall of France, being evacuated at Dunkirk, being formed by A, B and C Troops at that time. It was then was reorganised, with CC Battery being formed from part of it and in March 1941 was it re-equipped with 25 Pounders, and with the rest of 5th RHA sailed to Egypt that summer, consisting of A and B Troops..

The Battery arrived on 6th July, as part of 8th Armoured Division, and by this time Rommel’s Africa Corps was only 60 miles from Alexandria, following the battles at Gazala and First Alamein. This only allowed the Battery a mere 10 days to prepare for desert operations. The Batteries long established adaptability meant that it was ready to play a key part in the Battle of Alam Haifa in August 1942 and subsequently at El Alamein in October 1942. In the latter battle alone the Battery fired 3,400 rounds.

In November 1942 G Battery and the rest of 5th RHA joined 7th Armoured Division, with which it was to serve for the rest of the war and on 7th May 1942 ‘G’ Battery neared Tunis and the war in Africa was over. Since El Alamein, the Battery had advanced over 1,500 miles and suffered 25% casualties.

The Battery rested and refitted in North Africa, before seeing service in Italy in the Autumn of 1943. The Battery then returned to the UK, in January 1944, to be re-equipped along with the rest of 7th Armoured Division in preparation for the D-Day landings.