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269 (West Riding) Battery RA(V)

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Formed in 1975 in Leeds, 269 [[Bty] are all that's left of a proud tradition of Volunteer Gunnery in West Yorkshire.

The forerunners of 269 were the various Artillery Volunteer units formed in West Yorkshire in the 1860's and onwards. This included Regiments in Leeds, Bradford, Halifax & Sheffield.

At the first ever live firing in Morecambe in 1861, one of the Batterys distinguished itself by managing to hit the Morecambe to Heysham ferry . . . .

Other early items of note were the provision of cordial for the troops (at the expense of the officers) on the train journeys to annual camp and a trial of Sheffield-Simplex motor cars as gun tractors at the camp of 1914. This could have had significant effects on future motorisation development and tactics, had not WW1 kicked off 3 weeks later. 15pdr Ehrhardt guns were moved a distance of 89 miles with no major problems.

During WW1, there were 16 Brigades (about the same size as a modern Regt) of artillery volunteers raised. The West Yorks units fought at 3rd Ypres, the Somme and Cambrai among many others.

In WW2, there was a spread to AA units as well as field artillery, and a number of non-Gunner units (bits of the Yorkshire Volunteers & RE) were re-roled as Gunner units, leading to interesting collections of mess silver spread around the various post-War units, particularly as part of 49th Div.

During WW2, the Yorkshire Volunteer Artillery fought in Italy, Iceland (well, garrisoned might be a better term)and N W Europe.

After WW2 the various units were bacon-sliced bit by bit until the last one was closed down in 1969.

In 1975, 269 Bty established (along with 266 GVA and 307 Snotts) to provide 22 extra OP parties in time of war, and given a half Bty of 25 pdrs as training aids. This was the role into the late 80's when the Bty was issued L118 Light Gun and eventually became the 4th Bty of 19 Regt RA, training for the Airmobile role.

These were the glory days of 269. Loads of kit, an interesting job, TA soldiers serving alongside 19 Regt in Bosnia in 1995, helicopters, AMF Exercises, bailing out 266 when they didn't have enough bodies for Ex PURPLE STAR in '96, recruiting easy due to the sexy role, etc etc etc.

Then, in the normal manner, the MoD managed to make a cock of all the good work by changing 269 to a RAPIER cloudpuncher WER Bty. No real purpose and morale screwed, no matter how hard anyone worked to keep things going, although 269 still managed to get some good folk in through the door. Nothing against AD per se, but why then re-role 103 Regt RA (V) as Fd 18 months later? They enjoyed AD, 269 enjoyed Fd.

With luck, 269 will rise from the slough of despond that is cloudpunchery as they are rumoured to be joining 101 Regt RA (V) soon which will give them purpose again. WER is a sh1t job for the TA, designed by the small minded who neither know nor care how the TA works & thinks.

Rant over.

If you happen to know of an ex-Yorkshire Volunteer Gunner in need of financial assistance, or possibly the relatives of same (such as a widow) the West Riding Artillery Trust may be able to help. Probably best to contact 269 Bty and ask for their details.

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