1st Heavy Regiment RA 1944...Vehicle markings...

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Bill F, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    Hello all, i've been researching my dads time with the artillery, mainly for 1944/45 and am hoping some of you very knowledgeable folks can help me out with some info on AOS, div markings or flashes etc that would have been displayed on their vehicles, as he was 5 Battery, he would have been using the Mack NO2 heavy gun tractor to tow their 155mm guns.
    War diary research shows he was under command of / in support of No. 2 Army Group, R.C.A.(2nd Cdn AGRA) I know he landed at Juno beach July 1944, so onto Caen, Falaise and later the battle for the Scheldt and also was the FOO for the November attacks on Walcheran Island with 41 Commando.
    Ive been searching for a while, with conflicting results, so am hoping to find the correct markings to add to some models I am currently building. Census numbers would come into it too I guess...
    Perhaps a big ask...but there probably isn't a better place to ask the questions.
    Thanks in advance.
     
    Chris C likes this.
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    5 Battery in the RA or RCA?
     
  3. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    My information is they were part of 2 Canadian Army Group when they moved to France. 2 CAG used the formation sign of 1 Canadian Army, a red diamond with a wide blue horizontal stripe in the middle. The Arm of Service badge was a red over blue rectangle with a white bar below indicating Army troops. Their AoS number in white was 187. The Tac sign of a blue square with a red quadrant would have the red in the lower right corner as 5 Battery was the second battery in the regiment. As an FFO your Dad's tac sign would have an R plus the Troop letter on it.

    Derek
     
    Chris C likes this.
  4. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    RA
     
  5. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    Thank you Derek...info very much appreciated
     
  6. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    Derek, I'm curious...where do you get your info from ? Online ? Books ? or just acquired knowledge ?
    I ask because I would need the same kind of info for 2 other regiments he served with...but wouldn't want to take advantage etc...
     
  7. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Bill, all of the above. I ran a web site on the RA in WW2 for a number of years until my ISP pulled the plug on its free web space. I am currently rebuilding and updating the site and hope to have it back on line later this year. Ask away, I have a lot of information on the RA and have found a lot more on line. I may not have all the answers but having served in the regiment for 20 years I do have a good knowledge and understanding of the regiment.

    Derek
     
    Chris C likes this.
  8. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    Sounds very interesting indeed...so, to my particular research interests, my dad was posted to 6 Field Regt. RA on 14th August 1945, bit later left Dieppe on 7th Oct. 1945 heading for Toulon,on the MEDLOC train...where they boarded the S.S.Mataroa, 5 days later arrived at Port Said. I have the war diaries for all of this by the way...so until the end of March 1946 he was criss crossing Egypt/Israel/Palestine, seems like a heck of a lot of 'backwards and forwards' !!! First question on that period... gun tractor for the 25 pdr...was it the Ford FAT2 4x4 ??? or something else ? Any idea at all ?? Start of April there seems there were lots of changes...this next bit cut/pasted from my 'research map' detail to save me re-tying with all the relevant details etc.....There were many changes to artillery units and regiments which included 6th Field Regt. RA. On 01.04.1947 6th Field Regiment became 67th Field Regiment and on 10.10.1947 6th Regiment RHA became 6th Field Regiment. Also on 01.04.1947 RHQ 1st Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA was redesignated RHQ 76th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA with 207, 208 and 227 HAA Btys from 1, 2 and 17 HAA Btys, respectively. The relevance of the last bit, on the 14th May 1947 my dad was posted to 76 HAA, Aziza Brks, Tripoli, Libya. I have very little info on what he was doing there to be honest, I know there was stuff going on with the upcoming independence following the Italian occupation. He was there until the 29th September 1947, when 76 HAA embarked for the UK. Im guessing by ship, but have no idea of actual craft/route/ or where they docked ? A very helpful researcher at the RA Archive sent me some info about 76HAA and on 7th October 1947 they are listed at Castle Camps, Cambridge. I have found out this is a former RAF station which closed in 1946...no clue what they were doing there ? 76HAA stayed there until 31st December 1947, when they moved to Albany Brks, Parkhust, Isle of Wight (now a prison !) This move did not include my dad, he was granted 95 days leave until the 7th April 1948 when he was transferred to Section 'B' Royal Army Reserve.
    Sorry Derek, that was a bit long winded, but needed to get some details in for my questions...hope that's ok ?
    ?? So, 6th Fld. Regt. Do you happen to know what 'quads' they were using at all ? And any info you may have for any aos/div/formation markings if possible please...
    ?? 76 HAA any idea what they were doing there at all ? Anything at all would be very helpful...
    Following a bit of 'reserve' and 'TA' ...278 Fld Regt is next for a few years, until being posted to 40th Field Regt BAOR Munster 5th August 1958 (I'm 15 months old at this point !)
    QF25 Pdrs again, but, again, I'm guessing here, quads were, or must have been well past their sell by dates, so by my reckoning the gun tractor could possibly be the good old Bedford RL ??
    Possibly the very rare Model 'F' or 'W' ?? if that is the case, then markings required again please...
    He was there until 21st August 1961, posted to 654 sqn AAC Hildesheim, then later to 652 Lt Ac Sqn AAC on 21st September 1964, 2 months later posted to 6 Flight AAC Middle Wallop where he finished his time in the army June 1966
    Thats a lot of info Derek, I really hope I am not imposing on your time, but anything you may be able to help with would be fantastic...
    I would be very interested to know when your site is back up and running...if you might like to take a glance over my map I have done so far n my dads movements...let me know, I will send you link.
    Thank you in advance...
     
  9. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member

    If you need help with abbreviations or terminology, I will be glad to try and help. It is my area of expertise.
     
  10. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    I'll bear that in mind thanks...so far so good, but ya never know
     
  11. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Bill, happy to help. I will have to answer these questions in small pieces and there will be a certain amount of guess work in my answers. To deal with the gun tractors first, I have no specific information on those used in 6 Field. For units in Europe in 1944/45 there are 3 possibilities -
    CMP Chevrolet or Ford Quad Cab 13
    Morris Commercial Mk.3 FAT
    Morris Commercial Mk.3/5 FAT

    For Germany post war the Bedford RL is most likely. My unit (2 Field Rgt) went to Germany in 1965 with a battery of 5.5 inch and 2 batteries of 25 pdr and our 25 pdr tractors were Bedford RL's.

    As to markings, 6th were part of 3 AGRA at the end of the war so presumably, when your Dad joined them, they were still marked for that formation. 3 AGRA carried the badge of 2 Army and an arm of service red over blue with bottom white bar and 174. Tac signs would have been carried.

    If you need any further explanation of any of this please ask. More soon.

    Derek
     
  12. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    Thanks Derek...all good info...all of this is related to the set of model guns and tractors I am building, 1:35 scale, but pinning down what 'actual' quad was used by 6th Field might be difficult ?
    I'd like them to be as factually correct as possible, obviously...
    You mentioned RL's 1965 in Germany...were they the standard truck version, flat bed with sides and tail gate, canvas top ? or more like the RL version shown here
    Bedford 3-Ton/4-Ton (RL) Field Artillery Tractor
    Seems like they were pretty rare...
    Not that I am likely to find a 1:35 scale model of one of those anywhere, any time soon !
     
  13. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Bill, as I remember they were standard GS version. I was never on the guns, command post surveyor, but I am pretty sure they didn't have side doors. About the only ways of finding out the exact tractors used in a unit during the war is to either find a photo positively identified to the unit (difficult), find a mention in the War Diary or other document(rare) or find a mention in the regimental history if there is one.

    In the course of looking for information I found an interesting account by a member of 6 Field of his time from Normandy to Egypt. He mentions the gun tractors a few times but frustratingly only refers to them as Quads. If you haven't seen it already it's worth a read.
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Snapshots Of My Past

    Incidentally, I am also a model maker specialising in RA guns and vehicles in 1/35.
    Derek
     
  14. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    Well that's typical...a specialist Model RA guns maker haha...I'm deffo NOT going to post any pics of mine then !
    A quick run down on the kits I got / Have...
    For 6th Field ... Tamiya 35044 Brit 25 pdr, limber, & Canadian Ford F.G.T. (done in Desert dark yellow)
    For 1 Heavy Regt ... AFV Club AF 35009 Long Tom M59 155mm Cannon / Wespe Models WES 35038 Resin Kit Mack NO2 7.5 ton 6 x 6
    For 40 Field Regt ... Bronco CB35046 QF 25pdr Field gun MkII/I W/No.2 Ammo Limber (poss not required if towed by an RL ?)
    Unless you know differently of course, Bedford RL from Accurate Armour, another resin kit. K152
    Incidentally, given your research etc...RA Archive...worth a visit ? Ive had info back from Tim Neate, he's been very helpful...seems he's a modeller too ?
     
  15. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    I'm just finishing the Long Tom kit paired with Thunder models Scammell. Working on a conversion of the Italeri Chevy Tractor into an Australian Local Pattern No. 9 (if I ever finish it). You are right about the limber, not used with the Bedford. Have you seen the Mirror Models Tractors, they are next on my to do list.
    Never been to RA Archive, too far away but I have had some contact with Tim and he was always helpful.
     
  16. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    The Scammel R100 ? Thought that wasn’t man enough for the 155’s ??? And was used for the 7.2’s ?? Mirror models ? Nope, never seen them...
     
  17. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Sorry for the delay, busy with jobs at the local Veterans centre. I have some info on post war markings, will try and post it later.
     
  18. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Post war the Arm of Service system continued but without the white bars indicating Corps, Army etc. except for a white bar above the coloured square for the unit title in non-combatant units. This system gradually fell out of use although some units were still using it in the early 70's. A "Unit Identification Sign" system replaced the AoS in the 60's but the change over was gradual. It consisted of the formation number, a slash and then the unit code e.g. the 3 close support regiments RA in 2 Division would have 2/66, 2/67 and 2/68. These were originally black numbers on a white rectangle although many units used white on black.

    My unit, on moving to BAOR in 1965 had the following markings. 2/66 in white on black and a small, rectangular union flag carried front and rear of the vehicle. The RA Tac Sign was no longer blue and red but was in each batteries primary colour. These plates were pressed from thin metal with raised letters/numbers and a border in white. In 2 Field these were Red for L Bty, Dark Red for N Bty and Blue for O Bty. All vehicles also carried the battery badge, as a transfer, on cab doors or other appropriate space.
     
  19. Bill F

    Bill F Member

    Thanks for all of that Derek...very helpful.
    I’ve currently got the 4 volumes of ‘Warpaint’ by Dick Taylor out from the library... tons of info, it didn’t help me directly as it doesn’t have a definitive list of regiments aos numbers, but goes into great detail of how the numbering and markings came about and were used etc... my next problem would be where do I get decals from ? Do you do your own ? Or know of anyone who supplies them ? Thanks again, much appreciated...
     
  20. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    As you've probably guessed some of the last post is from the Warpaint series coupled with personal experience. As for decals they come from a variety of sources, Accurate Armour have some useful sheets for artillery with AoS and Tac signs. The more difficult to find I usually print myself on an inkjet printer. Obviously no white ink so the white areas print clear. You have to paint a white patch where the decal is going to go.
     

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