FANDOM

278,248 Pages

30th (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Brigade
Active 1 November 1936 – 1 March 1954
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army Territorial Army
Type Anti-Aircraft Brigade
Role Air Defence
Part of 2nd AA Division
7th AA Division
6 AA Group
5 AA Group
Garrison/HQ Sunderland
Engagements The Blitz

The 30th (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Brigade was an air defence formation of Britain's Territorial Army from 1936 until 1955, which defended Tyneside and Sunderland during World War II.

OriginsEdit

The formation was raised as 30th (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Group on 1 November 1936 at Sunderland forming part of 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division. Its initial order of battle was as follows:[1]

In 1938 the RA replaced its traditional unit designation 'Brigade' by the modern 'Regiment', which allowed the 'AA Groups' to take the more usual formation title of 'Brigades'. Brig F.C. Chaytor, OBE, MC, was appointed brigade commander on 1 November 1938.[3] Anti-Aircraft Command was formed in April 1939 to control all the TA's AA units and formations. 30th AA Brigade transferred to the new 7th AA Division when that was formed in Newcastle in June 1939.[4][5] As AA Command continued to expand, 62nd AA Regiment and 47th Searchlight Battalion moved to other brigades in 7 AA Division and were replaced by newly formed units.

World War IIEdit

MobilisationEdit

On the outbreak of war 30th AA Brigade was mobilised to defend its home area of Tyneside and Sunderland, with the following order of battle:[6][7]

Early in 1940, 37th (TEE) AA Bn left to join the British Expeditionary Force in France. It was one of the last units to be evacuated, from Saint-Nazaire two weeks after the main Dunkirk evacuation.[9]

In 1940, RA regiments equipped with 3-inch, 3.7-inch or 4.5-inch AA guns were designated Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) to distinguish them from the new Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA) regiments, and RE AA battalions were transferred to the RA and designated Searchlight regiments.

The BlitzEdit

Order of Battle 1940–41Edit

During The Blitz, 30th Anti-Aircraft Brigade comprised both HAA and LAA artillery while the searchlight units in the area were controlled by 57th Anti-Aircraft Brigade:[4][10][11][12][13]

  • 63rd (Northumbrian) HAA Regt – as above
    • 176, 177, 178, 269 HAA Btys
  • 64th (Northumbrian) HAA Regt – as above
    • 179, 180, 268 HAA Btys
    • 431 Bty (joined Summer 1941)
  • 37th (Tyne Electrical Engineers) LAA Regtduplicate of 37 AA Battalion RE (see above), organised on 28 August 1939 as an LAA Regiment RA; left July 1941
    • 123, 127, 222 LAA Btys
  • 38th LAA Rgt (part) – new unit raised on 28 August 1939 in North Yorkshire; shared with 10th AA Division[14]
  • 68th LAA Regtnew unit formed December 1940, joined by February 1941[15][16]
    • 203, 204, 205 LAA Btys
  • 7th AA Z Rgt – new unit raised in September 1940, equipped with Z Battery rocket launchers[17]
    • 106, 109, 110, 117 Z Btys

Mid-warEdit

As the war progressed, many experienced prewar AA units were deployed overseas and replaced in Home Forces by newer units, often 'mixed' units including personnel from the Auxiliary Territorial Service or members of the Home Guard. 37 LAA Regt went first to Palestine in April 1942 and then moved on to North Africa;[4][18][19] 63 HAA Regt went to Ceylon in May 1942;[4][20][21] 38 LAA Regt went to North Africa in August 1942 [14][22][23] and 64 HAA Regt to Tunisia in May 1943.[4][24][25] 68 LAA Regiment joined 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division in April 1943 and served with it during the Normandy Campaign.[15][26]

Order of Battle 1941–42Edit

During this period the brigade was composed as follows:[13][27][28]

  • 63rd (Northumbrian) HAA Rgt – left for War Office (WO) Control December 1941 preparatory to embarking for Ceylon[21][29]
  • 64th (Northumbrian) HAA Rgt – left April 1942 preparatory to joining Operation Torch[30]
  • 135th (Mixed) HAA Rgtnew unit raised in October 1941[17]
    • 466, 467, 473 (M) HAA Btys
  • 136th HAA Rgtjoined from 2nd AA Division April 1942; returned to 2nd AA Division June 1942
    • 182, 198, 409, 432 HAA Btys
  • 146th HAA Rgtnew unit raised in January 1942; left May 1942[17]
    • 176, 339, 414, 465 HAA Btys
  • 153rd (Mixed) HAA Rgtnew unit raised in March 1942[17]
    • 509, 521 (M) HAA Btys
  • 37th (TEE) LAA Rgt – left for Middle East Forces June 1941
  • 50th LAA Rgt – left for 6th AA Division February 1942
    • 58, 93, 245 LAA Btys
  • 68th LAA Rgt – 'to 43 AA Bde by May 1942
    • 203, 204, 278 LAA Btys
  • 124th (Highland) LAA Rgtconverted from 51st S/L Rgt and joined May 1942
    • 404, 411, 412, 413 LAA Btys
  • 7th AA Z Rgt – to 43 AA Bde February 1942
  • 30 AA Brigade Signal Office Mixed Sub-Section (part of No 1 Company, 7 AA Division Mixed Signal Unit, Royal Corps of Signals)

ReorganisationEdit

On 30 September 1942 the AA Divisions and Corps were dissolved and 30th Anti-Aircraft Brigade came under a new 6 AA Group covering Scotland and North East England and aligned with No. 13 Group RAF.[4][4][31][32][33]

Order of Battle 1942–44Edit

Under the new command structure, 30 AA Bde had the following composition:[34][35][36]

  • 122nd HAA Rgtfrom Orkney and Shetland Defences (OSDEF) February 1944
    • 397, 400, 401, 455 HAA Btys
  • 130th (M) HAA Rgtfrom 42 AA Bde Summer 1943
    • 442, 443, 448, 449 (M) HAA Btys
  • 135th (M) HAA Rgt – left Summer 1943
    • 466, 467, 473, 494 HAA Btys
    • 547 HAA Bty – joined November 1942
  • 149th (M) HAA Rgtfrom 4 AA Group Summer 1943
    • 506, 507, 512, 581 (M) HAA Btys
  • 153rd (M) HAA Rgt
    • 509, 521 (M) HAA Btys
    • 513, 544 (M) HAA Btys – joined December 1942
  • 170th (M) HAA Rgtfrom 42 AA Bde April 1943; left Summer 1943
    • 528, 554 567, 568 (M) HAA Btys
  • 124th LAA Rgt – to 2 AA Group by March 1943
  • 53rd (Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) S/L Rgt
    • 408, 409, 410, 565 S/L Btys
  • 21st (M) AA 'Z' Rgt – new unit formed December 1942,[17] joined April 1943
    • 109, 110, 213 (M) Z Btys

Later warEdit

In March 1944, 30 AA Bde HQ was transferred to 2 AA Group in South East England. Here it had just two units under its command:[36]

Order of Battle 1944–45Edit

However, in April 1944 the brigade's reporting line changed again and it became part of 5 AA Group covering the East Coast and East Midlands. A number of its former units returned to its command, and over succeeding months it exchanged units with other brigades in 2 and 5 AA Groups.[37]

  • 122nd HAA Rgt – to 3 AA Group May 1944
    • 397, 400, 401 HAA Btys
  • 129th (Mixed) HAA Rgtfrom 43 AA Bde July, returned August 1944
    • 444, 445, 454, 455 (M) HAA Btys
  • 130th (M) HAA Rgt – to 43 AA Bde September 1944
    • 442, 443, 448, 449 (M) HAA Btys
  • 149th (M) HAA Rgt
    • 506, 507, 512 (M) HAA Btys
  • 151st (Mixed) HAA Rgtfrom 41 AA Bde August 1944
    • 510, 511, 514, 516 (M) HAA Btys
  • 158th (Mixed) HAA Rgt
    • 540, 541, 572 (M) HAA Btys
    • 548 (M) HAA Bty – disbanded December 1944
  • 183rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery|183rd (Mixed) HAA Rgt – from 71 AA Bde November 1944
    • 564, 591, 608, 640 (M) HAA Btys
  • 187th (Mixed) HAA Rgtfrom 57 AA Bde October 1944
    • 626, 644, 645 (M) HAA Btys
  • 128th LAA Rgtfrom 3 AA Group November 1944
    • 421, 422, 423 LAA Btys
  • 7 AA Area Mixed Rgt – from 43 AA Bde July 1944
    • 106, 117, 228, 229 (M) Z Btys
  • 21 AA Area Mixed Rgt
    • 109, 110, 213 (M) Z Btys

By October 1944, the brigade's HQ establishment was 9 officers, 8 male other ranks and 25 members of the ATS, together with a small number of attached drivers, cooks and mess orderlies (male and female). In addition, the brigade had a Mixed Signal Office Section of 1 officer, 5 male other ranks and 19 ATS, which was formally part of the Group signal unit.[38]

War's endEdit

By the end of 1944, 21st Army Group was suffering a severe manpower shortage, particularly among the infantry, and AA Command was forced to disband several regiments and batteries, and release their personnel. At the same time the German Luftwaffe was suffering from such shortages of pilots, aircraft and fuel that serious air attacks on the United Kingdom could be discounted, so the War Office began to convert surplus AA regiments into infantry battalions, primarily for line of communication and occupation duties in North West Europe, thereby releasing trained infantry for frontline service.[32][39][40] Being stationed in Eastern England, still threatened by V-1 flying bombs air-launched from the North Sea, 30 AA Brigade was less affected by these changes. Nevertheless, in January 1945, 128th LAA Rgt was converted into 628th Infantry Rgt, RA,[17][41] and went to Europe, while 183rd (M) HAA Rgt was sent to Antwerp to defend that city against bombardment by V-1s.[42][43][44]

Order of Battle 1945Edit

From mid-February 1945 until the end of the war, 30 AA Bde had the following composition:[37][45]

  • 130th (M) HAA Rgt – returned June 1945
  • 144th (M) HAA Rgtjoined June 1945
    • 497, 498, 503 (M) HAA Btys
    • 504 (M) HAA Bty – disbanded July 1945
  • 151 (M) HAA Rgt
  • 158 (M) HAA Rgt
  • 147th LAA Rgt
    • 492, 493, 495 LAA Btys
  • 7 AA Area Mixed Rgt – disbanded April 1945
  • 21 AA Area Mixed Rgt – disbanded April 1945
  • 10 AA Area Maintenance HQ – joined May 1945

PostwarEdit

When the TA was reformed in 1947, 30th Anti-Aircraft Brigade was renumbered as 56th (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Brigade, with its HQ at Washington, Co Durham, and the following order of battle:[46][47]

654 LAA Regt was placed in suspended animation in May 1949, and 325 LAA Regt merged into another unit in January 1954. Then on 1 March 1954, 56th (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Brigade HQ was disbanded at Seaburn, Sunderland.[2][46] The following year AA Command was disbanded and the air defence of the UK was reorganised. A new 30th Anti-Aircraft Brigade was formed as a TA HQ from the Regular Army's 1st Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based at Edenbridge, Kent. It had no connection with Northumbria and was disbanded in 1961.[46]

NotesEdit

  1. 2nd AA Division at British Military History
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Litchfield pp 54–7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Monthly Army List May 1939
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 7 AA Division 1940 at British Military History
  5. Routledge, Table LVIII, p. 376.
  6. AA Command 3 September 1939 at Patriot Files
  7. Routledge, Table LX, p. 378.
  8. Hewitson p. 150
  9. Routledge, pp. 116, 122–3, Table XVII, p. 125.
  10. 7 AA Div at RA 39–45
  11. Routledge, Table LXV, p. 397.
  12. Farndale, Annex D, p. 260.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 12 May 1941, The National Archives (TNA), Kew, file WO 212/79.
  14. 14.0 14.1 10 AA Division 1940 at British Military History
  15. 15.0 15.1 68 LAA Rgt at RA 39–45.
  16. Farndale, Annex M, p. 337.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Farndale, Annex M.
  18. 37 LAA at RA 39–45
  19. Joslen, pp. 484–7.
  20. 63 HAA Regt at RA 39–45
  21. 21.0 21.1 Joslen, p. 520.
  22. 38 LAA at RA 39–45
  23. Joslen, p. 484–5.
  24. 64 HAA Rgt at RA 39–45
  25. Joslen, p. 465.
  26. Joslen, p. 93.
  27. Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 2 December 1941, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/80.
  28. Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 14 May 1942, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/81.
  29. Order of Battle of the Field Force in the United Kingdom, Part 3: Royal Artillery (Non-Divisional units), 2 April 1942, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/515.
  30. Routledge, Table XXXII, p. 190.
  31. Palmer, History.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Sir Frederick Pile's despatch.
  33. Routledge, p. 399.
  34. Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 1 October 1942, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/82.
  35. Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 13 March 1943, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/83.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Order of Battle of AA Command, 1 August 1943, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/84.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Order of Battle of AA Command, 27 April 1944, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/85.
  38. AA Command Organisation Table, October–November 1944, TNA file WO 212/148.
  39. Routledge, p. 409.
  40. Ellis, pp. 141–2, 369, 380.
  41. 628 Rgt RA at RA 39–45.
  42. Routledge, p. 338.
  43. Ellis, Appendix IV.
  44. joslen, p. 463.
  45. Order of Battle of AA Command, 15 November 1945, TNA file WO 212/86.
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 AA Bdes 67–106 at British Army units 1945 on.
  47. Territorial Army 1947 at Orbat.com Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  48. 444–473 Regts at British Army units 1945 on.
  49. 474–519 Regts at British Army units 1945 on.
  50. 564–591 Regts at British Army units 1945 on. Archived 2016-01-10 at the Wayback Machine.

ReferencesEdit

External sourcesEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.