Bedford QLB Regiment

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by Sunray 636, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. Sunray 636

    Sunray 636 Member

    Can anyone help me identify which Regiment the Bedford QLB pictured below belonged to ?

    From the cab door markings it can be seen that it was the third vehicle in J troop belonging to the third Battery of its parent Royal Artillery Regiment.

    The Allied star on the vehicle side suggests that the picture dates from late ’43 at the very earliest, while the European style of what might be barrack type buildings in the background suggest a later date.

    We know that the driver started his military service as a territorial in the 5th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and at some point transferred into the 113th (The Durham Light Infantry) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery in which he was to serve in the fighting through Europe until the end of the war.

    It had been assumed that the truck belonged to the 113th LAA Regiment but doubt has been raised by the right hand (offside) mudguard markings which show the number ‘162’ on the RA coloured flash.

    I cannot find any reference to the number 162 being used as a vehicle Tactical Serial number. I have however discovered that another LAA Regiment, the 54th (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery actually had a Battery Numbered 162 which was the third battery in that Regiment. The 54th had been formed by conversion of the 9th Bn. Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in 1939.

    Given that the soldier started his service as an Argyll and that the 54th LAA Regt. was formed by conversion of an Argyll Territorial Battalion equally local to him my suspicion is that the soldier started off as an Argyll infantryman, transferred into 54 LAA Regt and then transferred into 113 LAA Regt.

    Or is it purely co-incidental that the vehicle carries the number 162 and if so what might the use of that number reveal?

    Were there circumstances / theatres / deployments / periods when a unit identifying number would be used on these panels?

    IMG_20200508_155530.jpg IMG_20200508_155733.jpg
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hodges & Taylor list '162' as issued to an LAA regiment allocated to 2nd Army. For security reasons, it was intended that this serial should never be the actual unit title.

    We can't see it, but the sign would have a white 'Army Troops' bar along the lower edge.

    The barracks look German to me.
    Chris C likes this.
  3. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    2nd Army LAA Bde (M. Belis)
    Try asking Trux
  4. Yes, this is a gun-towing lorry from 113 LAA Regt. Another one from the same J Tp, towing its gun J1 named 'WEE NATTY':

    A slightly less terrible version of this photo:
    40mm Bofors AA AoS 162b J~1 'WEE NATTY' EUSTON 1 - MHS26 p26.jpg

    Gun G6 'PANAME' (Parisian slang for 'Paris'), from the same 3 Bty (370 LAA Bty RA), with the 2 Army sign clearly visible on the rear of the towing lorry:
    40mm Bofors AA AoS 162b G-6 'PANAME' - [George Rodger] TimeLife_image_116756249.jpg

    See: Search: LC001946 | Flickr
    with a remark: 370 LAA Bty's troops were apparently G, H & J and not G, H & I as stated. The Troop letter 'I' was often (but not always) omitted because of the possible confusion with the digit '1'.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  5. Sunray 636

    Sunray 636 Member

    Thanks for the feedback which has answered my question everyone. The pictures are of great interest Michel.

    A reference source tells me that there were 21 LAA Regiments, including 54 and 113, which were deployed under 8 independent Anti-Aircraft Brigades belonging to 21 Army Group. Presumably each regiment had a different AOS marker.
    Presumably there was a logic to the number allocation ?
    Is there a reference source which identifies these numbers with Regiments ?
  6. Nick P

    Nick P Active Member

    My Grandfather was with 113th LAA, so this thread is of particular interest. The first photo looks like the parade at Belsen on VE Day. There were three batteries 368, 369 and 370 together with 54 bofors.

    Do you know the soldiers name?
  7. Sunray 636

    Sunray 636 Member

    His name was James Fagan and he served in J troop of 370 Battery.

    I would be interested to know what leads you to believe that the initial picture was taken at the Belsen Victory Parade.

    I now have a photo better showing the building which featured in that first picture. Rather than a barracks building it looks more like it had been some type of civic building while the jeep and motorcycles outside suggest it is being used as a headquarters building.

    You may be interested in another picture showing what I believe to be the 370 Battery guns. It is annotated on the back with the words ‘Belsen Horror camp 1945 Victory Salute’ IMG_2456.JPG IMG_2452.JPG
  8. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Hullo Sunray
    There are several sources of AoS information which I shall list in a moment, butI do not think (like I have never found) a source which gives absolutely all the answers one would like. Helpful are : 21st Army Group Organisation and markings, by Malcolm Bellis (1992); British Military Markings 1939-1945 by Peter Hodges and Michael D Taylor (1994 - this is the revised and expanded version of an original book with the same title, by Hodges only, in 1971); Warpaint - colours and markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003. Volume 3 (2011). All of these, I think I am right in saying, are out of print and some change hands for silly prices, but are occasionally available from booksellers (new and used), eBay and such.
  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    I took the family of one of 113 Regiment's officers to follow their wartime story. The Belsen parade was in what would become Bergan Hohne Camp. We found the spot where the photos were taken. The guns were lined up on the sports pitches. IRRC 54 guns firing ten rounds single then ten round automatic.

    On 8/9th May the concentration camp inmates were still housed in Belsen Concentration camp. There was a typhus epidemic among the inmates and it took several weeks to de louse and treat the 40,000 inmates and transfer them to the barracks. On the day of the parade the inmates were still under armed guard by the Hungarian battalion handed over with the camp. The parade went past the camp so the inmates could see that the war was over and the allies had won.

    There is/was a little museum at Hohne that tells of the story from Nazi times onwards. Here is a piece I wrote about the visit.
  10. Sunray 636

    Sunray 636 Member

    That’s really interesting feedback Sheldrake and thanks for the link to that great article which was very informative.

    I wonder if anyone can identify the function and location of the building in my photos. There are loads of pictures of the Bergen Hohne garrison buildings on the web but I cannot see this one which stands out by having arched windows and a distinct roof profile. Does it survive ?
  11. Sunray 636

    Sunray 636 Member

    Thanks for the info Chris. I managed to get a copy of the 1971 British Military Markings book by Peter Hodges which is proving very helpful in understanding the vehicle marking systems.
  12. Baz Reid

    Baz Reid New Member

    Hi I've just come across this forum researching my Grandfather's militarily history. I too have pictures of a QLB from the same regiment showing the markings at the front a bit more clearly.
    Also the gun salute to celebrate VE day 20200508_093033.jpg 20200508_093033.jpg 20180930_183802.jpg

    Attached Files:

  13. Great photos Baz Reid! Thank you for posting them and please keep them coming! They would deserve to be flat-scanned in high resolution rather than photographed with a smartphone...

    The QLB is the same vehicle T3J H4921332 'BONNIE SCOTLAND' as the one in the OP. The guns are the same as on the photo "1945 Victory Salute in Sunray's post #7 above, but this time shooting Victory salvoes. The Jeep 'GOOFY III' is presumably from G Tp, the one behind from the Light Aid Detachment (LAD).

    Is the motorcyclist your Grandfather?

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  14. Baz Reid

    Baz Reid New Member

    Hi Michel.
    Will sort hi res scans out next time I'm at my parents.
    My grandfather is the handsome chap out the top hatch of the QLB.
    He never spoke about his time during the war because of Belson.
    Always rember he was deaf as a post no doubt from firing the Bofors.
    There are more pics I will scan and post them.
    Baz 20200508_092932.jpg
  15. Nick P

    Nick P Active Member

    The jeep photo - guy sitting in the back can be seen in the cine film at Belsen on 24th April, 1945, leading the line of SS guards.
    I'll try to grab a still.
  16. Nick P

    Nick P Active Member


    So to clarify 162 could only be 113th LAA? This despatch rider (John Morris) who was in the 113th had 162 on his bike along with all other vehicles (including AA guns)?
    So if an unknown photo comes up, from 1944/45 with a vehicle with 162 on it is HAS to be from 113th. Is that correct?
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Yes indeed, the serials were unique. In combination with the white 'Army' bar below this can only be 113 LAA. Serials for lower formations were repeated, but they were combined with a unique formation sign.
  18. To be exact, Serial 162 over RA Flash with the Army white bar below AND Second Army Formation Sign can only be 113 LAA. One could imagine the same Serial with white bar below but with a different Arm of Service Flash and/or a different Army Formation Sign, and this would not be 113 LAA. However, the odds for such a marking to have existed are low...
  19. Nick P

    Nick P Active Member

    Thank you chaps - that info really helps ID vehicles.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
    Chris C likes this.
  20. Nick P

    Nick P Active Member

    What is this guys name? I may have a photo of him from June 45.

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