WW2 Abbreviations help needed


Book Reviewer
My Father in law is doing some work on his father's War Diary from 1941. He was a member of 9th (Minden) Heavy Battery 5 Regt RA. It seems he was in Aden in Feb - May 1941. We are stuck on some of the abbreviations used and are looking to the massed minds of ARRSE - especially those with a RA history - to help out.

TE Test


SAAI = Skill At Arms Instructor?

It might be beneficial if you could give us a bit of context, if available, Legs.
BCA - Battery Commanders Assistant (bit like an Adjt)
DRF - Depression Range Finder


QE - Quadrant elevation...

The angle between the horizontal and the barrel of a gun...

(Tangent elevation (the angle given to achieve range) + AoS (Angle of sight))

.. why do I remember this guff?

Edited to correct poor recolletive powers ( not as good as I thought I was..)
BOP - Battery Observation Post ??
CCS - Casualty Clearing Station
CD - Commissioned ??
SL - Searchlight
ALD = Alternative Location Decider (map)
BCA = Blank Cartridge Accumulator (the floor)
BCO = Blank Cartridge Organiser (magazine)
BDRA = Broken/Destroyed Regimental Asset (duff kit)
BOP = dance
BRA = what you try to undo at a dance
BRAA! = what you say when you see one, drooling
CCS = Civillian Catering Section ( the char wallah)
CD = Catering Detatchment (the ACC)
DEL = the Battery spiv
DRF = Direction Range Finder (the ruler in the map box)
EI = Equipment Invisibility (the QMs stores)
FFI = Fast Food Index (the menu in the char wallah's hut)
JG = Joint Games (playing the RAF at cricket)
LBW = What the sneaky RAF types try to do to save the day.
MBW = Member Before Wicket (what happens to them if they do it twice)
PAD = worn on the legs to avoid pain in the event of LBW
PF = Pavillion Fraternization (tea after the match)
QE = Queen's English (spoken by officers)
SA = Sarflahndan Accent (spoken by some ORs)
SAAI = Sound Anti Aircraft Indicator (instruction to wind up the siren)
SI = Sanctimonious Infidel (what the local Aden types probably thought of your Dad's mob
SL = Smelly Local (what your Dad's outfit probably thought of them)

...sorry , I was bored, and was just imagining a world (today's) where we seem to need long and complicated sets of initials to describe simple things, superimposed on wartime service overseas.

Hope you didn't mind, and good luck in deciphering the diary.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Anyone know what HFP stands/stood for? I have an old WWII steel helmet (civvy type as worn by police ARP etc) with it written on.
CD - Canal Defence? (As in Canal Defence Light - a very powerful carbide lamp in a modified tank turret to provide artificial daylight for night ops)
BRA - Brigadier Royal Artillery

PAD - Passive Air Defence

CD - have a suspicion that this is Chemical Defence - certainly Porton Down, for example, was the CD Experimental Station. The other, less likely, is Camouflage Development, since there was the CD&TC - Camouflage Development & Training Centre.
(Petriburg is right on CDL but in 1941 that was a classified project unlikely to make it into a Gunners' War Diary.)

EDIT - I am an idiot; CD, particularly for RA at this stage of the war and in Aden, is most probably Coast Defence.

BDRA - a bit of a guess, but could just possibly be Base Defence Royal Artillery - there was a table of establishment in 1939 formally entitled Base Defence Anti-Aircraft - basically semi-static Batteries with 3.7". Which would be again be appropriate for Aden.


War Hero
Obviously Coast Defence is the place to start (what else would a gunner be doing in Aden at that time?)

From the abbreviations listed in 'The History of Coast Artillery in the British Army' Col KW Maurice-Jones, 1957.

BRA - Brigadier Royal Artillery
CD - Coast Defence
DEL - Defence Electric Light
DRF - Depression Range Finder
JG - possibly IG? - Instructor in Gunnery
PF - Position Finder

Next stop 'Royal Artillery Glossary of Temrs and Abbreviations Historical and Modern', Philip Jobson (he posts on this site), 2008

BCA - Battery Commander's Assistant
CCS - Casualty Clearing Station
EI may be El - Elevation
PAD - Passive Air Defence, but I'm not sure about this in 1941
QE - Quadrant Elevation
SA - Small Arms or Semi Automatic
SAAI - Skill At Arms Instructor
SI - Senior Instructor (unless its Sl searchlight)
SL - Searchlight
TE - Tangent Elevation

Probably need to dig into Coast Artillery Training pamphlets for the others, although some may be equipment specific so you need the handbook. The 'Defended Port of Aden' (9th heavy Battery RA) had 4 x 6-inch guns.


Book Reviewer
There are several lists of official abreviations on the Internet. The Royal Artillery has its own list of Gunner terms.

Is this his private war diary? If so it is popssible that he was using his own appreviations. (FFI was the abbreviation for the Forces France d'Interior, but unlikely to be from 1941.

It would help if you post some sentances with the abbreviations in them. It will help to provide context. Several of the abbreviations may have more than one meaning. Otherwise this is a cryptic crossword.
Given that the helmet is civilian-type, I suspect HFP stands for the local community police in a community with the initials HF. Not being conversant with British communities, I can't advise as to which.

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