163 (M) H.A.A. Regt. R.A. 1942-43 - HELP NEEDED WITH HISTORY

I'm trying to get some backgound in time for VE Day 75th anniversary, on the WW2 fallen whose names are etched on our local memorial.

One of them is identified by CWGC as serving in 538 Bty, 163 (M) H.A.A. Regt., died 4 Mar 1943. He's buried here, so UK-based has always been odds-on.

But - since the regiment appears to have been in existence for less than a year (my notes say "Regt formed Jun 1942. Home Duties UK. Disb Aug 1943", but when I made that note some years ago, I didn't record the source), I have so far found next to eff-all.

I think the battery was a Mixed (i.e. incl. ATS girls) searchlight unit, and that's about it, apart from a hint on an old, un-maintained web page that identified a location (near Coldharbour Farm), south of Bromley in Kent as the site of one battery from the regiment, I've found nothing.

Where (M) H.A.A. Regiments are listed (e.g on Wikipedia) I can find many instances where units were merged with, or used as cadres to form others, but there are gaps in the sequence of Regimental designations and 163rd Regt RA doesn't appear as a reference of its own, and only shows up elsewhere in its post-war reincarnation, in 1947, which doesn't help one bit.

Can anyone help me out, in any way? A simple pointer towards a decent source of online info would help me to move this on.
 
There will be a War Diary for the unit at the National Archives, Ruskin Ave, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW3 4HT.

You may be able to find the reference number online but the War Diary itself will not be.

I hope this helps
 
28 Jun 42 formed at Wimbledon with 553 Bty plus 350 Bty ex 105 HAA Regt and 538 Bty ex 141 HAA Regt.
14 Sep 42 565 Bty joined.
18 Sep 44 565 Bty disbanded (complete 16 Sep 44).
7 Feb 45 505 Bty joined ex 157 HAA Regt.
31 Mar 45 553 Bty disbanded (at Southend).
1 Jan 47 Considered new war-formed units.
1 Apr 47 Regt and Btys renumbered 101 and 241, 296 and 323. Reg unit based at Woolwich.
 
This was probably your source for the basic form/disband dates:
Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660 - 1978 Vol 2. JBM Frederick 1984.
 

historicus

Swinger
As has been said before, you are unlikely to find much detailed information online - this kind of research generally requires digging into contemporary (paper) documents

A quick search of TNA turns up a reasonable amount in Home Forces War Diaries (WO166)

538 (SL) Battery

WO166/3369 covers most of 1941
WO166/7879 covers most of 1942
WO166/11567 Jan 1943 only

163 HAA Regt

WO166/7530 Jun-Dec 1942
WO166/11644 Jan-Dec 1943
WO166/14975 Jan 1944 only
WO166/14819 Jan-Dec 1944
WO166/16740 covers about half of 1945
 

historicus

Swinger
Well done Gluteus Maximus! - I was desperately trying to remember the precise title and author for the two lineage volumes. Frederick is also a useful source if you're able to get your hands on it - albeit it does have some errors.
 
Well done Gluteus Maximus! - I was desperately trying to remember the precise title and author for the two lineage volumes. Frederick is also a useful source if you're able to get your hands on it - albeit it does have some errors.
He's not a bad bloke for a Septic!
 
28 Jun 42 formed at Wimbledon with 553 Bty plus 350 Bty ex 105 HAA Regt and 538 Bty ex 141 HAA Regt.
14 Sep 42 565 Bty joined.
18 Sep 44 565 Bty disbanded (complete 16 Sep 44).
7 Feb 45 505 Bty joined ex 157 HAA Regt.
31 Mar 45 553 Bty disbanded (at Southend).
1 Jan 47 Considered new war-formed units.
1 Apr 47 Regt and Btys renumbered 101 and 241, 296 and 323. Reg unit based at Woolwich.
Bless you - that's very kind.

Can I ask your source for all of that? (E.T.A. Oops - just spotted it)

And I don't suppose you have any idea where they were deployed in early '43? (E.T.A. Seeing the source title, it seems unlikely :-D )
 
@Stonker sorry mate, the book just says what, not where.....
 
@Stonker look for a copy of 'The History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914 - 1955' by NW Routledge, published 1994. One copy is on Amazon for £140 so your local library is a good idea….
 
@Stonker look for a copy of 'The History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914 - 1955' by NW Routledge, published 1994. One copy is on Amazon for £140 so your local library is a good idea….
Frankly, there's a better chance of reaching Mars by Christmas, than that my county library service will hold a copy :-D

That said, I think the Spydus system can reach out across a whole network of county library services, so I shall have a punt by that route.

Thanks :thumleft:
 
Frankly, there's a better chance of reaching Mars by Christmas, than that my county library service will hold a copy :-D
Ah, but use it for an inter-library loan, if necessary from the British Library.....
 

historicus

Swinger
@Stonker - not sure if it answers your question completely but hopefully it's a pointer. Managed today to get a look at the WW2 Location Index for Troops in the UK. Unfortunately this is the last one that was completed by the War Office in October 1942 (I think it then became too onerous to track every UK unit and formation).

It doesn't have an entry for the specific Battery but it does show the location of 163 HAA Regt as being in Wimbledon. Hope this helps as a start point.

IMG_2387.JPG
 
@Stonker - not sure if it answers your question completely but hopefully it's a pointer. Managed today to get a look at the WW2 Location Index for Troops in the UK. Unfortunately this is the last one that was completed by the War Office in October 1942 (I think it then became too onerous to track every UK unit and formation).

It doesn't have an entry for the specific Battery but it does show the location of 163 HAA Regt as being in Wimbledon. Hope this helps as a start point.

View attachment 451926
At the very least, it puts the Regiment in/around London, even if RHQ in Wombledon is a long way from the Bromley site I mentioned earlier, but then - Why would they need to be closer, given the role.

Thank you.
 
Home defence AA regiments could be quite spread out. In Sully (about six miles west of Cardiff) we had a 3.7in battery on two troop sites about twelve hundred yards apart (the emplacements for one are still there). RHQ could have been anywhere within several miles and the main control room for the Cardiff defences was (again still is) a mile or so north of Cardiff - about eight miles from the guns).
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top