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4th Regiment Royal Artillery
Active May 1939 to the present
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army
Type Artillery
Role armoured field artillery
Part of 4th Mechanised Brigade
Garrison/HQ Topcliffe, North Yorkshire
Nickname(s) The North East Gunners
Equipment AS-90 and L118

The 4th Regiment Royal Artillery is a regiment of the Royal Artillery in the British Army. It is currently based at Topcliffe and serves in the armoured field artillery role, equipped with AS-90 self-propelled guns.

The Regiment moved from Roberts Barracks in Osnabruck, Germany at the end of 2008 where it had previously been stationed for over 20 years. The Regiment's main recruiting area is in the North East of England, and so significant effort has been put into re-establishing links, especially to the city of Sunderland where the Regiment holds the Freedom of the city. These strong links to the local area gives the Regiment its name The North East Gunners.[1]

Under Army 2020, it is likely to provide force support to the Adaptable Force and might lose its AS-90s in return for light guns. The 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery will be paired with this regiment.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

4th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery[edit | edit source]

The Regiment was formed as 4th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) at Helmieh, Egypt on 28 May 1939. The original Batteries were C Battery, F (Sphinx) Battery, and G Battery (Mercers Troop), drawn from independent commands in India and equipped with the Ordnance QF 25 pounder.[3]

Shortly after the outbreak of war in September 1939 the Regiment moved to Mersa Matruh in early 1940. 4th RHA fired the opening rounds of the campaign in North Africa against the Italians at Sidi Barrani on 8 December 1940. As part of the newly formed 7th Armoured Division, 4th RHA advanced westwards across the desert, seeing action again in January 1941 at Bardia, the capture of Tobruk, and at Beda Fomm. 16 October 1941 saw the formation of DD (Jerboa) Battery and the men of G (Mercers Troop) returned to England to join 5th RHA. During the battle of Sidi Rezegh on 23 November 1941, Bombardier William Bradley of F (Sphinx) Battery was immediately awarded the Military Medal for one of many acts of utmost bravery. In the same battle, Brigadier John Charles Campbell, who only a few months earlier had been commanding 4th RHA, won the Victoria Cross. Following the breakout from El Alamein, the Regiment joined the rest of the 8th Army in its pursuit of the Germans to the west, fighting at Tabega Gap, Akarit, El Kourzia and at Tunis. In July 1943, with the Axis forces in North Africa defeated, 4th Regiment returned to England to train for the invasion of Europe. The Regiment saw action again during the Rhine Crossings between 25 March and 1 April 1945. At the end of the war, the Regiment was at Wismar, Germany and remained there until returning to England in 1948.

4th Regiment, Royal Artillery[edit | edit source]

By the time the Regiment redeployed to Germany in 1951 it had gone through many changes; consisting of F (Sphinx), G (Mercers Troop) and I Battery (Bulls Troop) equipped with M44 self-propelled guns. In 1961 4th RHA became 4th Regiment Royal Artillery (RA), losing all 3 batteries to 33rd Parachute Light Regiment Royal Artillery, which immediately became 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. 4th Regiment RA gained 29 (Corunna), 88 (Arracan) and 97 (Lawson's Company) as gun batteries and was posted to Hong Kong. The Regiment then deployed on operations to the Malayan Peninsula in 1965. It saw active service from February to April and during the confrontation with Indonesia in Borneo until November. The Regiment then resumed service in West Germany, moving to Munsterlager in support of 1st Armoured Division.

In more recent times, the Regiment served three emergency tours of Northern Ireland in 1972, 1974, and 1976. During which, five members of the Regiment were awarded medals for gallantry. Ten soldiers were seriously wounded and eight were killed, including two killed in a terrorist attack on a civilian coach.The Regiment returned to Catterick Garrison in 1972 and retrained on the 105 pack howitzer. In March 1977 the Regiment replaced 7th RHA in Aldershot in support of 6 Field Force and equipped with the 105mm Light Gun adopted the parachute role. Members of the Regiment were deployed in Rhodesia in the autumn of 1979 to monitor the ceasefire. In 1981 29 (Corunna) Battery deployed to Long Kesh (HMP Maze) in Northern Ireland.

In 1982 two batteries deployed to the South Atlantic as part of the task force to retake the Falkand Islands, 29(Corunna)Bty with 2 Para aboard MV Norland and 97(Lawsons Company) Bty aboard the QE2 with the Welsh and Scots Guards and the Gurkhas. 88(Arracan) Bty were on an operational tour in Belize at the time.

In 1984 the Regiment moved to Osnabruck equipped with the M109 155mm SP gun, remaining in support of the 1st Armoured Division.

In 1991 the Regiment undertook an emergency tour of Northern Ireland as the Tyrone Roulement Battalion, with batteries in Aughnacloy, Middleton, Armagh and Bessbrook. 52 (Niagara) Battery joined 4th Regiment due to 45th Regiment being placed in suspended animation. The regiment then converted to AS90. A period of conversion training culminated in Regimental live firing at the end of 1994. Shortly after, the AS90s deployed for the first time to the Former Yugoslavia as part of SFOR. In 1999 the Regiment returned to the Balkans, the guns were based in Macedonia and provided a very effective deterrent when NATO troops moved into Kosovo.

After a packed training period throughout 2001/02, The Regiment took part in Operation Fresco during the firemen's strike in the autumn of 2002. In 2003 the Regiment deployed to Northern Ireland from June to December, whilst simultaneously providing two Forward Observation Officer parties on Operation Telic to assist in the capture of Basra. In 2004 the Regiment returned to Iraq and the batteries were split up to fulfil a number of roles, including 3/29 Battery's task to act as Escort for the Provincial Civ/Mil Operations Centre involved in the reconstruction of Basra. Two years later the Regiment deployed on Operation Tosca on peacekeeping duties as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

In 2007 the Regiment began its conversion to the 105mm Light Gun and pre-deployment training for Op HERRICK 7 in Afghanistan. A challenging tour that saw members of the Regiment receiving awards and commendations for bravery, including the Military Cross awarded to Captain Paul Britton of 88 (Arracan) Battery. The Regiment returned from a successful tour in April 2008 and was welcomed home by the city of Sunderland. The close bond between 4th Regiment Royal Artillery and the city of Sunderland was made official in March 1974, when the Regiment was granted the Honorary Freedom of the County Borough of Sunderland. This honour was reconfirmed in 2000 by the City and in July 2008 the Regiment exercised its freedom by marching through the streets in desert uniform to large crowds. With roughly 60% of the Regiment hailing from the north east of England, they are proud to be ‘The North East Gunners’. 2008 was the end of an era as the Regiment departed Germany for the final time. They are now based in Alanbrooke Barracks,Topcliffe, formerly RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, and about to deploy once again to Afghanistan for Op HERRICK 12.

The recently launched charity aims to gather a substantial amount of money for special needs personnel and has already collected a considerable sum; where support was shown en-masse by the city of Sunderland at the Remembrance Day Parade. As always, the charity requires your continued support to ensure that it has the capability to help those members of our Regimental family when they need it most. 88 Arracan Battery has a very active Veterans association ran by Taff Fitgerald, Taff can be contacted via the 88 Bty Veterans website at http://www.88bty.com

Current sub-units[edit | edit source]

As a result of the Army 2020 refines the regiment now controls the following:

Forever Fourth[edit | edit source]

Forever Fourth is the new Regimental charity for 4th Regiment Royal Artillery. The charity charter is:

"To provide immediate and short term financial assistance to 4 Regt RA personnel and their families in the event of serious injury or fatality sustained on or training for operations."

References[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Clarke, W.G. (1993). Horse Gunners: The Royal Horse Artillery, 200 Years of Panache and Professionalism. Woolwich: The Royal Artillery Institution. ISBN 09520762-0-9. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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