RA Clacton ID/Info wanted

Discussion in '1940' started by morrisc8, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Photo of a RA unit at Clacton Dated circa 1940 . Number 55 on tilly with a ATS driver and MC.
    In background of the photo which features the 3 men in machine gun pit , there appears to be mobile radar equipment ?. Original photos from my collection.
    ra unit cl .jpg ra unit cl bike tilly .jpg ra unit tilly ats.jpg
  2. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    The equipment behind the men with the Lewis gun is a searchlight.
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  3. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Found this on the web. Might ? be this but what is the 55 on the car and bike.

    in common with other RE searchlight battalions, the unit was transferred to Royal Artillery in August 1940, becoming 28th (Essex) Searchlight Regiment RA (TA), and the companies were termed batteries
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Tilly's rather lovely, isn't she ?

    I think there is a good chance that the round background to the '55' arm of service serial should actually be the ellipse allocated post-June 1941 to Anti-Aircraft Command but bearing in mind that they were instructed initially simply to overpaint the corners of a square sign, I can imagine that a circle might have been more easily obtained.

    It looks as if there were five AA and 3 SL Regiments in each Brigade and that '55' on red would have been issued to the senior AA Regt. but the lists are not completely clear.
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  5. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    One more photo from the same unit.
    ra unit men in trench jpg.jpg
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  6. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Excerpt from The Wartime Letters of Lt H N Beadle who was at this time a Bombardier with 373 Coastal Battery RA part of 10 Group HQ Clacton.

    Two days later myself and my two fellow OCTU aspirants were summoned to Clacton to see the Major. This was another crazy comedy. We were supposed to be there at 2.30 (1430hrs) but owing to some hitch in the affairs of our neighbouring battery, the lorry which was to take us did not arrive until 1420. Then followed a hair raising ride to Clacton, which included a visit to Colchester Hospital and Station. We were bounced about in the back of the lorry amongst tins of oil and bags of bread and parsnips until we felt almost in a “death where is thy sting” attitude towards the army in general and to OCTU’s in particular.
    Arrived at Clacton we were gleefully informed by the QMS (an old crony of ours who was transferred from 373) that the Major was most annoyed with us and after waiting half an hour, had gone out for the afternoon. So we waited in the Q’s office talking shop for a couple of hours, until the Major returned. A sergeant came in and led us to what he termed as the slaughter but he was premature, for we stood outside the Majors office for another hour (1815 to be precise), while from the inner chambers ebbed and flowed an endless tide of Subalterns and Captains. (our heels were clicking like castanets).

    Below newspaper cutting of HAA guns I labelled being in the Shotley Suffolk area from the Manchester Guardian. Further information might be available from Tony Millatt curator Mersea Island Museum where they hold quite a lot of information about the Islands defences. HQ was at Clacton.

    548 Coast Regiment RA - The Royal Artillery 1939-45

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2021
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  7. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Whilst Lt Beadle was with 373 Bty Coastal Defence Battery the AA were probably under a different Command.
    The photo that I posted did not give a location as it was subject to censorship at that time. It was in the Manchester Guardian a newspaper local to Lt Beadles family in Buxton, portraying the men growing potatoes on the sandbag defences. He had relatives in the Suffolk area.
    I believe the AA were primarily to defend RAF airfields in the area.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2021
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  8. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Found this in my original ww2 paper work [ Reports by inspector`s of fixed defences ] July 1940 to June 1944. covers the UK.
    Document ra aa 1.jpg AA RA Page 2 kb.jpg
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  9. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Lt. HNB Letter 8th March 1941 373 Battery
    Once again, we have changed our routine which has been pepped up one stage further in our transition to a “regimental” battery. We now have Regimental Guards and twice as many parades as before. It costs a hell of a lot in “blacking” this muddy weather. Sometimes we have to clean our boots five times in one day. Once for breakfast parade, once for 9 o’clock parade, once for dinner parade, again for 2 o’clock fatigue parade, and finally for tea parade.
    Inspection at each one. It can’t last long, that’s one consolation, we’ve had these fevers of spit and polish before now. Never the less each time as the spit recedes, we are left slightly more “regimental”.
    This progress is being fostered by our reputation of “show battery” of our group. They send all the staff officers to us for demonstrations of “how the things done”
    and I often think –well if the others are worse organised than we are, then God help England
    (and me if the censor sees that!).
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  10. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    373 Bty Training
    21st March 1941
    Last week we had a practice shoot at a towed target and did remarkably well. If the target had been anything bigger than a destroyer we should have hit it with every shell including our ranging shots which as the attendant I. G. (Instructor of Gunnery) Officers remarks was “bloody good shooting”.
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  11. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Could one of these ladies be "Tilly" #1
    I managed to get my nose into the room, only to find that my presence was as mysterious to the Lt. Colonel RAMC as it was to myself.
    He sent me off to look for his secretary who I ran to earth at last in a dingy room labelled “Dry Linen”.
    She said I must find Miss Manson who was up the corridor first left and you’ll see some steps but don’t go up them turn right and it’s the third door on your left with the red notice.
    (it was eventually)
    Anyway Miss Manson was most disturbed. She bolted out like a scared mouse and returned some minutes later with my papers which the Lt Col RAMC had all the time.
    It was all a mistake she remarked with rather a forced nonchalance and so I could go.
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