The Humber Regiment

Royal Artillery (Territorials)

 

To trace the direct descendants of "A (The Humber Artillery) Coy. 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Volunteers, one has to go back some 150 years and across the river into Lincolnshire starting with the formation of the "Lincolnshire Artillery". 

This unit served in the South African War, but following the 1908 reorganisation they formed part of the first North Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery with Regimental Headquarters and one Battery in Grimsby with out stationed units in Louth and Boston. The first North Midland served with distinction throughout the 1914/18 War: included in it's ranks were many men from North East Lincolnshire.

In 1920 it was decided that the brigade would be upgraded to two Batteries. Number 238 Battery was located in Grimsby and Number 237 Battery in Lincoln. A year later, in 1921 everything changed again and they became the 60th Field Brigade.

On the 29th September 1939 29LAA Regiment RA was formed in the Grimsby and North Lincs area.  This was not a true TA unit as by this time the TA had been embodied, but it was very much a North East Lincs recruited unit. The Regiment deployed in Algiers in January 1943 and subsequently fought in North Africa at Ouled Rahmoun, Bizerta and Bone and during the Italian campaign at Naples, Lucera, Leghorn and Foligno.

After the war the Regiment reformed as 529 LAA and S/L Regiment RA (TA) with Regimental Headquarters and "Papa" Battery stationed at Westwood Ho Drill Hall, Grimsby and "Quebec" Battery out stationed at the Louth TA Centre.

The Regiment's main claim to fame was the sterling work it carried out during the East Coast Floods during February 1953. Early on the Sunday morning of the tragedy 'Q' Battery deployed in the Sutton-on-Sea area which was extensively flooded with water stretching up to three miles inland. Responding to a Police request the Battery moved into the town and using it's gun towing vehicles was able to totally evacuate all civilian personnel in the town before dark and the tide came back in again.

Following the disaster, there was an urgent need to repair the sea defences. This involved working round the clock in appalling conditions with very little daylight time.

To assist in this work the Regiment deployed it's searchlights to provide illumination on the breached sea defences so that work could continue throughout the hours of darkness. The system used was known as "Monty's Moonlight" first used at El Alamein, where the searchlight beams were diffused and pointed upward to the base of low cloud which then reflected the light back down onto the ground, illuminating the whole area.

To help with this major commitment, searchlights were drafted in from many TA units throughout the North and Midland units.

It was cold, miserable work in atrocious weather conditions and required being operational and in constant action from around 4.00pm in the afternoon through to 8.00am the following morning.

With the coming of daylight, the equipment was pulled back into the Louth TA Centre where the crews were fed and were able to catch a little sleep before re-deploying again at around 14.30 hours. The operation lasted for about six weeks by which time the immediate danger was over and the construction engineers were able to provide their own lighting requirements.

There is a saying that "Coming events cast their shadows before them". There was perhaps an element of truth in this statement in relation to the Regiment and the Ridings of North and East Yorkshire. There was little contact operationally between the TA units on either side of the river. Not surprising as the Humber Bridge had not yet been built and transport was limited to the old paddle steamers that plied between New Holland and Hull Corporation Pier. However certain senior ranks in the regiment were acquiring quite extensive and detailed knowledge of North and East Yorkshire in the line of duty. The unit's mobilisation commitment was to defend the Yorkshire Early Warning Radar Stations against low flying air attack. Every so often car loads of unit members heavily disguised as tourists complete with suitcases and other holiday gear would visit the resorts and beauty spots to work out their operation plans. All this came to an end on the 17th May 1955 when, on the demise of Anti-Aircraft Command (ADUK) the Regiment became "Quebec" Battery of the newly formed 440 LAA Regiment RA (TA).

The new regiment was formed by the amalgamation of;-

In June 1955, permission was granted to the Regiment in view of it's intimate association with Hull, Grimsby and Scunthorpe to add the title HUMBER to it's name.

The structure of the new Regiment was as follows:-

The Regiment was equipped with L70 Bofors which were electrically operated, quick-firing guns used in the low flying anti-aircraft role.

Origins of the Heavy AA Regts.

581 (M) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA).

This mixed unit is a direct descendant of the 10th Foot founded in 1685 by the Earl of Bath.  The unit served in many parts of the world including Marlborough's campaigns, the Napoleonic Wars. The Seikh War and the Indian Mutiny, The Boer War and the American War of Independence. In 1779 the "Shiny" 10th acquired it's connection with Lincolnshire and became known as the 10th or North Lincolnshire Regiment.  In the 1881 reorganisation the regiment became the Lincolnshire Regiment and served with distinction throughout the war of 1914/18. Between the two wars the 5th Battalion continued to exist as a TA unit drawing much of it's strength from the Barton area.

In October 1935 the unit re-badged as 46 Battalion Royal Engineers (Searchlights) with 383 Company consisting of Brigg and Barton Personnel. Following the outbreak of war in 1939 the Battalion was again re-badged to Royal Artillery and became 46 Searchlight Regiment.  After the war, when the Territorial Army was reformed it changed it's role to heavy anti-aircraft defence and became 581 (M) HAA Regiment RA (TA) Regimental Headquarters were in the TA Centre in Coldyhill Lane, Scunthorpe and an out station battery at Barton on Humber.

The amalgamation in 1995 brought the unit into the Humber Regiment as "Romeo" Battery 440 (Humber) LAA Regiment RA (TA).

676 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA ( TA)

The origins of 676 HAA Regiment RA (TA) go back to May 1947 when 423 Coast Regiment RA (TA) was one of two coast regiments formed in Hull.  Their life was short-lived, for later that year 423 Coast Regiment was converted to a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment and became 676 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA). With the break-up of ADUK in 1955 personnel of the Regiment joined their colleagues from 581 HAA Regt. RA (TA) to form "Papa" Bty. 440 (Humber) LAA Regt RA (TA).

462 (M) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA)

This unit has a direct link with the 4th Yorkshire and East Riding Volunteers formed on the 12th of May in 1860. On the formation of the TA in 1908 this unit was divided into two.

In 1937 the 3rd Northumbrian Brigade was re-equipped and became the 62nd (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Brigade and served throughout the war in this role.

After the war the unit became 462 (Northumbrian) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA), A designation and role it held until the amalgamation in 1955 when it's role changed to light air defence as part of "Papa" Battery 440 (Humber) LAA Regiment RA based alongside Regimental Headquarters at Wenlock  Barracks, Anlaby Road, Hull.

The Regimental LAD

On formation, the regiment required a Light Aid Detachment. In 1947 a heavy anti-aircraft workshop company REME (TA) was formed and operated out of the Walton Street TA Centre.  When AA Command disbanded the Workshop was stood down, but many of the members formed the nucleus of 440 (Humber) LAA LAD REME (TA).

At the time of the amalgamation 462 (Mixed) HAA Regt RA (TA) had a large number of WRAC personnel on strength who could not be transferred to the new regiment because of it's operational role. Not to be outdone, they transferred, virtually 'en bloc' to the Signals Squadron that was also located on the Wenlock Barracks site.

With the amalgamation completed the Regiment set about training in it's new role, LAA trained personnel from 529 LAA were on hand to assist and the regiment settled down to become a highly efficient and well-trained unit.

Over the next 12 years the regiment produced some outstanding results. The unit was very well recruited.  Annual camps alternated between one year at firing camp and the alternate year the unit trained in the mobile role. The Regiment on a number occasions won the prestigious "Times Cup" an award presented to the LAA Regiment judged to have the best results from their annual camp training.

The unit also achieved a further outstanding triple award by being granted the "Freedom" of the three main centres of population within the Regimental recruiting area.

On the 23rd of April 1960 the Regiment received the 'Freedom of the Borough of Scunthorpe'. Later that year, on the 24th September 1960 they were granted "Right of Freedom of Entry" into the City of Kingston upon Hull with bayonets fixed and bands playing. Not to be outdone, the following year, on the 23rd of September 1961 the "Right of Freedom" into the town was granted by the County Borough of Grimsby.

In the early 60s the Regiment applied for and was granted permission to form it's own Regimental Band. Based initially at the Louth TA Centre, it recruited well, but after two years, due to the lack of accommodation, it moved to "Q" Battery HQ at Westwood Ho. Grimsby.

The Regiment continued to prosper and grow in spite of the physical problems created by the River Humber prior to the bridge being built. If there was any rivalry between the two halves of the Regiment it was most definitely friendly and the sub units worked very well together.

On the 1st April 1967 the Regiment received a bitter blow when their guns were withdrawn and the unit was designated The Humber Regiment RA TAVR III.

Less than two years later on the 1st January 1969, the Regiment was stood down and all that remained was an eight man cadre, seven from Yorkshire and one from Lincolnshire, the idea being that should units reform they would be the nucleus of any new formation. These soldiers attended annual training with regular regiments. This, one could say, completes the gunner family connection with the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Volunteers as the men of the "Humber" Cadre formed the nucleus of A Company (The Humber Artillery), 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Volunteers, stationed at Wenlock Barracks, Anlaby Road, Hull. A number of ex-gunners re-enlisted into the new company, and so the line goes on in the great tradition of the TA, their work is more important now than it has ever been. In the words of General Slim "Every member of the Territorial Army is twice a citizen".

 

2 Yorks. Volunteers

1971

A Coy.

Humber Regt. R.A.(TA)

Cadre

1.1.1969

The Humber Regt.

R.A. TAVR 111

1.4.1967

Band

Formed

 

581(M) Heavy AA Regt. R.A.(TA)                         ↓                                 462(M) HAA Regt. R.A.(TA)

440 (Humber) LAA Regt. R.A. (TA)

May 1955

Q Bty.

Heavy AA Command Workshops                                                      676 HAA Regt. R.A.(TA)

529 LAA & S/L Regt.

R.A.(TA)

1947

29 LAA Regt. R.A.

25.Sept.1939

60th Field Brigade

1921

238 Bty.

RFA (1920)

1st North Midland Bdg.

RFA (1908)

The Lincolnshire Artillery

1860

 

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