The Coleraine Battery -
1939 - 1945
1939 - 1945
|Battery Roll Call|
The Jerboa "We would be lying sleeping in the desert at night and the desert rat, the Jerboa, would come up and suck the grease out of our hair" ( William Gamble). The Jerboa was the resident rodent of the Egyptian desert. The Jerboa first appeared on the 7th Armoured Division's signs in Feb. 1940.
The term "Desert Rat" is sometimes associated with the victorious 8th Army of Montgomery or any other unit that served in the Western Desert. This is not strictly true. Although William Gamble, fought at the Battle of El Alamein with the 8th Army and advanced through France to Germany with 30 Corps, he was not an official "Desert Rat". His brother, Tom Gamble, supplied me with his Jerboa and RA shoulder flashes. He was attached to 15th Regiment (Isle of Man) as part of the 7th Armoured Division for the Battle of El Alamein and also saw action in Italy, therefore he was an official "Desert Rat"
The emblems and insignia of the 8th Army included,
The Crusaders Shield
The Mailed Fist
The Black Cat
The Red Gazelle
The Full Rigged Ship
The Medals The War Medals issued to the majority of the volunteers of the Coleraine Battery were similar. These included:
The Militia Efficiency Medal
The 1939 - 1945 Star
The Africa Star
The France and Germany Star
The Defence Medal
The 1939 - 1945 War Medal
"Put the Tipit on" After the war, up until his death, Blinkie Gamble had a standing joke in the family. It was a joke only he understood as he never explained it. Blinkie Gamble would come into the house and say, "Put the tipit on". He always smiled when he said it, not necessarily expecting someone to put the "Tea Pot" on. Twenty nine years after Blinkie died, Spanky McGowan was showing me the photos of Cark Camp, he said, "Thats Tipit McCaw there". I asked Spankey how he got that name and Spankey told me that it did not matter where the Battery was...., Scotland, Egypt or Europe, when his Troop stopped Sgt McCaw would always say, "Put the tipit on".
1964 Silver Jubilee Reunion - Golf Hotel - Castlerock
E Kelly M Wilton J Shearer W Scott N Walker J Dorren J McGrotty D Pringle G Stewart N Morrison
|H McCandless A Diamond R McDonald J Montgomery SK Leslie|
Bobby McDonald - Robin Martin - Norman Walker - 1964
The Battery On Friday 7 June 1996, the Old Comrades Association of the 6th Light AA Battery RA (SR) held their 50th and Final Anniversary Dinner in the TA Centre at Artillery Road in Coleraine. Due to the advancing years and the infirmity of it's members, the Association had decided to make the 50th Dinner it's farewell.
It was RSM Andy McGowan who called for the 50th and final toast to 'The Battery'. Before he did this, Andy reminded everyone of why they liked to be known as 'The Battery'. It came, he said from 57 years of comradeship and a great pride in their country, their unit and each other. War had forged a togetherness that still existed over half a century later.
50th and Final Organized Reunion of 6th LAA Bty RA (SR) O.C.A. 7th June 1996
|Back Row: R. Burns (Pres) H.
Stockman S. Anderson (Chair) R.W. Martin J.Haslam G. Turkington
W Haslam J. McMullan R. McDonald H. Campbell J. Hamill A.
Front Row: W.Norris N. Irwin D. Christie J Loughery R.J. Simpson J Doherty S. Nevin J. Gilmore
Final Reunion News Letter It's here - but whether ye' celebrate or commiserate is entirely dependent on yer outlook on life. To some it could be a milestone.... to others a millstone. Looking back 50 years to when shoulders weren't bowed, eyes were keen and limbs did what they are supposed to do without pills or artificial aids, puts a strain on most ageing brains, and a hopeful longing for better times ahead. However, most of us are bravely having, at least, many memories to be grateful for, and comradeships that have, and will continue to stand the test of time. 50 years of anything can either bring nostalgia or thankfulness, and we've had our share of both. Nostalgia brings thoughts of those who are not permitted to reach this day, and thankfulness is the prime feeling of we who have been spared thus far.
Many times at our Reunions, names and faces are brought very close in our conversation and each empty seat is as a family bereavement. There are those with us tonight who have their own thoughts and memories, and we share an affinity with them in that we, in a different way, had the same regard for each other as they shared. There loss was great and we grieved with them and since.
The sadness we feel for those who have gone is matched by the pleasure we had of having such good friends and comrades. 6th Battery was more a family than an army unit, and sure, occasionally, tempers got frayed, things were said, but when the storm blew over, we were a family again, an' dear help anybody who tried to tae take the len' o' us...shades of the battles o' Baillieston and Heliopolis. Them Free French had tae learn the hard way!!
War is evil, but out of that evil sprang a comradeship which has survived for 50 years and will survive another 50 if so it be. We are fortunate to have been given this opportunity to mark such a memorable occasion and lang may we be spared to sit around our Reunion table each year. (Tom McDonald Friday 14th April 1989)
Willie Norris and Norman Irwin - 1939 and 1999
WWII Memorabilia Display by the Old Comrades Association
The Bofors Gun - Tactics and Units -Sources and Links
http://www.csn.ul.ie/~dan/war/btniweb.html The history and location of NI artillery units by D.A .Ryan.
http://www.ukans.edu/carrie/specoll/AFS/library/Ball/fire09.html Ball of Fire - The Indian Division Chapter 16 (xvi) First four paragraphs
http://www.nesa.org.uk/html/manchester_veterans.htm#100EditorsNotes See the Article - Chosen to Volunteer by Ken Crutchley
http://www.maps.iofm.net/bofors_guns.htm Manx Aviation Preservation Society. A section on the Bofors Gun
http://www.skylighters.org/hammer/index.html The Hammer of Hell by Semmens. US Bofors info
http://www.skylighters.org The US Searchlight Veterans Web Site
http://www.btinternet.com/~ian.a.paterson/battles1942.htm The Battle of El Alamein 1942
http://www.btinternet.com/~ian.a.paterson/history.htm The History of The 7th Armoured Division - The Desert Rats
http://www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/laa/page21.html Location of 27th LAA Regiment RA (TA) for WWII
http://www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/laa/page9.html Location of 15th (Isle of Man) LAA Regiment RA (TA) for WWII
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_El_Alamein Short essay on the First Battle of El Alamein
http://www.mm.com/user/jpk Sgt J Kline 106th American Division. The Battle of the Bulge veteran.
Doherty R. (1988) Wall of Steel: The History of the 9th (Londonderry) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (SR) North West Books. Limavady
Elstob P. (2003) Hitler's Last Offensive. Pen and Sword Military Classics. Barnsley
Marrinan P (1986) Churchill and the Irish Marshals. Pretani. Belfast
Pope S. & Wheal E-A (2003) Dictionary of the Second World War. Pen and Sword Military Classics. Barnsley
Ross H (2003) Paddy Mayne. Sutton Publishing Ltd. Stroud
Stewart A. 2002 The Early Battles of Eighth Army. Pen and Sword Barnsley
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/longley/pow2.htm This site mentions Stalag 4B. Gunner Jackson Robinson ended up there. He was captured by the Italians. At the time he was part of the 6th LAA Battery supporting the Guards Brigade at Charruba on Jan 29th 1942.
|Battery Roll Call|
Eighth Army Website
WWII Daily Events - DH Lippman
46 Talavera Battery (RA) OCA
The History of the Bofors Gun
The Royal Artillery 1939 - 1945
The Desert Rats - Ian Paterson
Royal Artillery - Robert Langham
Stalag Luft 1 (WWII POW Camp) Links Page
Stalag IVB(6th Battery POW's Camp)
War Gunner - Andy Parsons
Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp
Sandbostel Concentration Camp
Sgt John Kline 106th American Division
NZETC On-Line book referring to Force "E"