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59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery

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Active  1 November 1938–1969
Branch  Territorial Army
Garrison/HQ  Birmingham
Country  United Kingdom
Role  Air Defence
59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery
Part of  Anti-Aircraft Command 61st Infantry Division

The 59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery was an air defence unit of the Territorial Army (TA), part of the British Army, and was raised in Birmingham in 1938 just before the Second World War.

Contents

Origin

The unit was formed in November 1938 when the 399th Anti-Aircraft (AA) Company was transferred from the 45th (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) AA Battalion, a TA searchlight unit of the Royal Engineers (RE), to the Royal Artillery (RA) to provide the cadre for a new unit, entitled 59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, RA (TA). 45 AA Bn had itself been formed two years before by converting the 5th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The new unit had the following organisation:

  • HQ at Coventry – raised 1 November 1938
  • 399 AA Battery at Birmingham
  • 427 AA Battery at Birmingham – raised 1 November 1938
  • 428 AA Battery at Birmingham – raised 1 November 1938
  • Mobilisation

    In February 1939, the existing AA defences came under the control of a new Anti-Aircraft Command. In June, a partial mobilisation of TA units was begun in a process known as 'couverture', whereby each AA unit did a month's tour of duty in rotation to man selected AA and searchlight positions. On 24 August, ahead of the declaration of war, AA Command was fully mobilised at its war stations.

    At the outbreak of war in September 1939, 59 S/L Rgt formed part of 54th Anti-Aircraft Brigade, a new formation based at Sutton Coldfield being formed within AA Command's 4th Anti-Aircraft Division.

    In November 1940, 59 S/L Rgt was transferred to the Orkney and Shetland Defences (OSDEF) under AA Command.

    148th (Warwickshire) LAA Regiment

    On 7 April 1943, while it was based at Holywood, Devonshire, the regiment was given a new role and title as 148th (Warwickshire) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, with the following organisation:

  • 498 (Coventry) Battery – converted from 399 Bty
  • 499 (Sheldon) Battery – converted from 427 Bty
  • 500 (West Midlands) Battery – converted from 428 Bty
  • From 2 March 1944, 148 LAA Rgt served with 61st Infantry Division (a training formation in Eastern England) for the remainder of the war.

    Postwar

    When the TA was reconstituted in 1947, the regiment reformed at Birmingham as the 594th (Warwickshire) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA. The regiment formed part of 80 AA Bde (the former 54 AA Bde at Sutton Coldfield).

    When AA Command was disbanded on 1 March 1955, there was a reduction in the number of AA units, and the 594th LAA Rgt was amalgamated with the 469th (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) Heavy AA Regiment, 580th (5th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) LAA Regiment (the former 45 AA Bn, from which the cadre of the regiment had been drawn in 1938), and 672 Heavy AA Regiment (Worcestershire), to form the new 442nd LAA Regiment.

    594 Rgt formed 'Q' (Warwickshire) Bty in the amalgamated regiment, but in 1961, 442 LAA Rgt was broken up and 'Q' Bty transferred to 268th (Warwickshire) Field Rgt. Then, in 1967, the TA was reorganised again, and 268 Rgt became Regimental HQ and 'P' (68 South Midland) Bty of The Warwickshire Regiment, TA. Finally, the regiment was reduced to cadre strength in 1969 and subsequently disbanded.

    References

    59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery Wikipedia


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