Huntforce or Hunt Force

Discussion in '1940' started by gunnersson, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. gunnersson

    gunnersson Member

    Hi, I would be very grateful if anyone can tell me anything about Huntforce or Hunt Force, which was an ad hoc force during the Battle for France in 1940. Did ad hoc have War Diaries? All I have is a reference to Huntforce in a Wiki article.

    I have a hunch Trick Dickie may be able to point me in the right direction and Drew5233 can help me if there is info. in TNA - the question is where?

    Regards, Gunnersson
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Some ad-hoc units such as MacForce provided documentation, but I suspect that HuntForce was too temporary a command situation.

    It may be worth looking at WO167/427 (2nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade) and WO167/618 - 60th (London) Anti-Aircraft Regiment. It seems likely that Hunt was OC 60th AA Regt.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    2nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    On 22 May the brigade reorganised into ad hoc groups under regimental commanders:[6]
    'Huntforce' – Merville airfield
    RHQ 60th AA Rgt
    169 AA Bty (less 1 Trp)
    1 Trp 194 AA Bty
    151 LAA Bty

    BBC - WW2 People's War - WIth no 85 'F' Squadron Hurricanes in France
    Another job before the squadron retreated from Merville to go to Boulogne to get out of the place altogether — Flight Sergeant Howard Gun ----- Howard he said to us “Okay I want 12 volunteers to stop behind and put the main plane from one aircraft onto another aircraft etc etc and then smash up all the cockpits and I’ve got your names here.” This was typical asking for volunteers when the 12 had already been selected.

  4. gunnersson

    gunnersson Member

    Hi Rich, Thanks for your reply. I wondered if Huntforce had actually been formed or events had overtaken the objective. I've asked Drew5233 for a copy of 2 AA Bde. War Diary next time he goes down. I'll check out 60th (London) AA Regt. too.

    Thanks for the info. which is much appreciated. Gunnersson
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I suspect that it became a force by virtue of the fact that 'Brigade' had left them to their own devices !
  6. gunnersson

    gunnersson Member

    Hello Trickie Dicky,

    Thanks for your reply. I have read quite a few of your posts and found them very useful. You are spot on. I have been following 5 Battery 2 S/L to the point where 2 troops were sent to 169 HAA Battery at Merville. Drew5233 got me a copy of 169 Battery WD (Andy does a brilliant job by the way).

    I then followed 169 all the way to Dunkirk and evacuation. The problem is there is no mention of the 2 troops of 5 Battery 2 S/L in the 169 Battery WD after 169 left Merville. It is likely the S/Ls stayed with 169, but there could have been other orders from Huntforce - hence my interest.

    My father was a Bombardier in 5 Battery 2 S/L. He was evacuated on 1 June 1940. My mother found him in a park in the centre of Bristol. He was so exhausted she couldn't rouse him and she initially thought he was dead. He was a pre-War regular. Like most veterans, he didn't say much about his War service. But he did tell my mother he was involved in door to door fighting. As 169 moved towards Dunkirk from Merville, they could have passed close to Hondeghem. It's a long shot, but I can't help wondering if that was the door to door fighting he talked about...

    Thanks for your posts and keep up the good work. Gunnersson
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    From what you say the main WD was written by the main body of the unit as it retreated - or more likely as the person responsible for it recalled events as he remembered them, once back in the UK.
    As for an offshoot of that main unit I would suspect there will be no mention in the WD. The only 'history' will be ffrom those men directly involves in it. This would obviously be a very small number in the scheme of things, so I feel that you are unlikely to get any further details about your fathers route back to Dunkirk over what was a few days. Reading through the histories of other Units may have tit bits of information that recall 'men from so & so unit helped defend such & such a place'

    Good hunting
  8. gunnersson

    gunnersson Member

    To be honest I think I would have given up the hunt if it wasn't for this site and people like yourself, Rich and Andy Drew, who so generously share information and advice. As you say individual accounts are gold dust. When I come across the name of a member of 5 Battery 2 S/L, I check Peoples' War, FMP and Ancestry. As a result, I have found and had replies from some 5 Battery families, but they didn't have any information on their relatives War service - they do now!

    So I would be very grateful for absolutely any information about 5 Battery 2nd Searchlight Regiment during 1940. I am planning to put the information on the internet as a small tribute to my father and the rest of the men who served in 5 Battery.

    Thanks, Gunnersson
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    In your searching I assume you have a copy of:

    2 Searchlight Regiment | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 167/677
    2 Searchlight Regiment
    Date: 1940 Jan.-July
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
    Access conditions: Open Immediately

    If this has details about 5 Battery I have no idea

  10. gunnersson

    gunnersson Member

    Yes, I have my father's full-service record and I had 2 S/L WDs plus 169 AA Battery WD from Andy Drew. The point I'm at is when on the 14 May 1940, 2 Troops of 5 Battery 2 S/L were at Merville with 169 AA Battery. Then on the 22 May 1940, 2 Troops of 5 Battery 2 S/L are mentioned as being part of Huntforce. See below from Wiki on 2 AA Bde.

    Order of Battle 22 May 1940

    Situation map, 21 May 1940.
    On 22 May the brigade reorganised into ad hoc groups under regimental commanders:[6]

    'Huntforce' – Merville airfield
    RHQ 60th AA Rgt
    169 AA Bty (less 1 Trp)
    1 Trp 194 AA Bty
    151 LAA Bty
    'Hammondforce' – Saint-Omer and Clairmarais
    RHQ 51st LAA Rgt
    168 AA Bty
    194 AA Bty (less 1 Trp)
    155 LAA Bty from 52nd (East Lancashire) LAA Rgt
    'Forbesforce' – Hazebrouck
    21 AA Bty (with a pool of 13 gun tractors for the whole brigade)
    152 LAA Bty
    1 Trp 1 Independent LAA Bty
    1 Trp 173 LAA Bty
    3 and 4 S/L Btys of 1st S/L Rgt
    2nd S/L Rgt less 11⁄2 Btys – Point de Jour
    1⁄2 5 S/L Bty with Huntforce

    I still haven't found anything on Huntforce, but as Rich Payne said the CO may well have been Lt. Col. C. A. Hunt MC TD RA (TA).

    Andy is getting me 2 AA Bde. WD, which hopefully we tell me a bit more about 5 Battery 2 S/L and possibly something on Huntforce. If that doesn't help I'll be back asking you for advice!

    Thanks, Gunnersson

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