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The Coleraine Battery - Closing Notes  

1939 - 1945


Introduction

The Early Years

The Move

Egypt

Western Desert

France and Belgium

Netherlands and Germany

Italy

Battery Administration

Battery Roll Call

Closing Notes

Home


 

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 Medals  The War Medals issued to the majority of the volunteers of the Coleraine Battery were similar. These included:

 

"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".

 

 

Reunions

 

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. McGowan (Sec.)

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.

  http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/milreview/daddis.pdf

 


Introduction

The Early Years

The Move

Egypt

Western Desert

France and Belgium

Netherlands and Germany

Italy

Battery Administration

Battery Roll Call

Closing Notes

Home


Hot Links

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)

Arnhem Links

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"