The following article is a brief shot at producing a thumb nail history of 94 Locating Regiment Royal Artillery. From the conception of Locating during the First World War 10 the time the Regiment went into suspended animation in September 1993.
I am in debted to John Powell for a copy of his Lecture Notes and to all the readers of "Everywhere." who have sent me little snippets to add to the overall picture would hasten to add that this is by no means an official document or absolutely correct in every detail, but a layman's attempt to lay down some facts and to encourage discussion and probably answer some of the questions I often get through the letters to the magazine.
I am expecting and indeed look forward to some letters telling me which parts
are dubious or incorrect, and please rest assured no offence will be taken by
your observations. Who knows maybe one day we may have an accurate and concise
History as a result of your endeavours.
In 1915 a serving Officer by the name of Lt. Bragg R.A. was involved in a Research and Development Unit working with the French who were realising the value and success of Sound Ranging and Flash Spotting in the accurate locating of enemy artillery.
They soon found that accurate survey of the microphones and flash spotting positions was important if they were to produce accurate locations of enemy artillery for counter bombardment.
The surveying was done by the Royal Engineer Topographical Units and the Sound Rangers and Flash Spotters were on the whole Sapper Surveyors. These Special Units were made up of volunteers and a varied number of cap badges were employed in this new development of battlefield techniques.
They wore a distinctive arm band and were considered a funny bunch of boffins going into some funny places where only angels fear to tread and being on the whole independent little groups self administering and reporting back to special HQ's.
Communication was by wire and I've no doubt sometimes by little men with cleft sticks. (It makes you wonder what's changed anyway)
As a result of Lt. Bragg's work and research during the First World War, the first elements of Locating Artillery were introduced.
A Company was formed and given the title of :1st Survey Company Royal Artillery. The aims of this unit were to carry out surveying tasks and further develop Sound Ranging and Flash Spotting techniques.
(Salisbury Plain was the area chosen and probably this was the first indication that the School of Artillery would develop a Survey wing)
In 1939 the "1st Survey Company Royal Artillery" was re-named 1st Survey Battery Royal Artillery.
World War was looming and the need for Locating Artillery was realised and the Unit was expanded to three Batteries, one Survey, one Sound Ranging, one Flash Spotting.
The Unit was again re-named and became 1st Survey Regiment Royal Artillery
Just prior to and after the outbreak of the Second World War, 1st Survey
Regiment formed the nucleus for the formation of "2nd Survey Regiment
Royal Artillery" and eventually five Survey Regiments were formed.
(NOTE: - There is still an element of doubt from our correspondents as to how many Survey Regiments were formed. It would appear that there were only two "Regular" units i.e. 1st and 2nd, and that as early as 1937, instructors from 1st helped in the formation of "Territorial" units. For example 4th (Durham) Survey Regiment was formed in Gateshead County Durham and the bulk of the surveyors came from the mining community.
I believe that five Territorial Units in all were originally formed and at some time during the War years split to form a second Regiment each, that would account for the fact that there were in all twelve Survey Units during the War i.e. two "Regular" who re after the war, and ten "territorial" units some of whom re-formed into peace time "Territorial" units until the early fifties. My limited information indicates that both 4th and 10th Survey were involved in "D" Day and that 10th eventually disbanded at Delmenhorst, 4th ended the war in the Hannover area then moved back to Gateshead, a "special" small unit "5 Survey Troop" was formed mainly from 4th and was given, the task of Surveying the Hohne and Munsterlager and Luneburg Training Areas for future artillery training. They were disbanded on completion of the task.
1st Survey Regiment moved to France with 1 Corps as part of the British Expeditionary Force, and advanced into Belgium.
The Regiment was evacuated with 1 Corps in May/June from Dunkirk, and was based in Yorkshire in the 1 Corps area. The Regiment played a very busy and important role in the anti-invasion preparations during the remainder of 1940 and 1941, it was thenmobilised for overseas service.
The Regiment sailed to the Middle East and saw service in Egypt, Iraq, Persia, Syria, and Palestine.
The Regiment embarked for India and joined the 14th Army remaining with them until the end of the campaign.
The Regiment returned to UK for the second time and to Bulford Barracks.
Major Holt 1950-1951 Battery Commander of 211top
Radar FA Mk1 arrives 94 (Observation) Regiment Luneburg where it took over from the now long-defunked flash spotting role as a mortar locating radar troop under Captain Williamson. 94 acquired a Radar Battery equipped with the FA Mkl Radar used for observation of "fall of shot". Mortar Locating, and movement detection.
Survey Other troops in that battery 211 Bty did corps survey
Sound Ranging At this time the other battery (210 Bty) did the Sound Ranging
Major Geoffrey Stapleton BC 210 Battery 1951-1952
Major Harrison 2IC 1952-1953 commissioned from the ranks had been a soldier in the Regiment and/or its predecessors over many years. He was highly experienced in observation techniques and the Regiment's history.
Major Monty Flash 1952-1953 Battery Commander 211 Bty
The Regiment was at this time based in Dennis Barracks, Munster Lager prior to moving to Celle.
The Regiment moves again, this time to Celle, and is billeted in Taunton Barracks (Heide Kasserne). Most of the families occupy a newly built "small town" on the edge of Kleine Hehien over the river to the North West of the Barracks and about 15 minutes drive. 1956 also saw the 9 (Plassey) Locating Battery going into suspended animation and quite a lot of the members being integrated into 94.
This year saw the demise of the Radar PA Mkl.
We are unclear at this time as to the date of introduction of the "3mk 7f" radar but it was in full use by March 1961.
At this time The Regiment was using the radar set "3mk 7f" .The
3mk 7f was a modified Anti-aircraft Radar.
The Regiment received another Radar this time a movement detection radar known as the "Robert" Radar, a box like construction on top of a Saracen armoured vehicle. (Oh dear the tears shed by the driving instructors, and the frustration of the drivers, "how do you drive with preselected gears?" "With great care and trepidation!!!")
(NOTE:- The Regiment had to acquire a second Barracks during the early sixties
to cope with two Batteries 152 and 156 who had joined them from their "Independent
Divisional "positions. The strength of the Regiment was upto over 2000
From within 94 a new Regiment was formed to perform the tasks of "Short Range Location", and along with this newly arrived equipment a new Regiment was formed and billeted at Fallingbostel and to be named "21 Locating Regiment" "Royal Artillery"
This new Regiment had two Batteries, 14 (Coles Kop) Battery equipped for Meteorology and Survey, and 57 (Bhurtpore) Battery equipped with Drone and Robert systems.
This year saw the introduction of the"Green Archer"Morter Locating Radar. A really eye catching modern design with it came a new generator " supposedly" silent, a far cry fromthe defening 27 Kva.
New Drone equipment is introduced (MQM57). Further changes to the deployment takes place, with the "Green Archers" going to become part of Field Regiments, and Survey Troops becoming part of Missile Regiments, and Artillery Intelligence moving to Headquarters Royal Artillery.
To accommodate these changes "21 Locating Regiment" is disbanded and "94 Locating Regiment undergoes another reformation to accommodate the changes.
94 now consists of three Batteries, 57 (Bhurtpore) Battery from the disbanded 21 Regiment with Drones and Robert Radar, 73 (Sphinx) Battery with three Troops of Sound Ranging, and a Headquarters Battery with Meteorology, 633 Troop Royal Signals, and RHQ. 152 and 156 Batteries were placed into suspended animation.
In late 1965 early 1966, 73 (Sphinx) Battery. 'A' Troop in particular were put on standby for active service in Borneo to relieve a troop from 22 Battery Larkhill, the tour was to be for approximately one year.
Training started in BAOR and then to Malaya (Malacca) for Jungle Training before moving to Borneo to take over three positions from 22 Battery. Kutching 7 Mile Bazaar for Troop HQ, Stass with an Australian Infantry Company and a Sound Ranging Base, and Biawak with a Company of Sarawak Rangers and a Sound Ranging Base, both bases had a Gun Detachment from 137 (Java) Battery. Their tasks were to Locate enemy Mortar and Artillery fire coming from the jungle firing points.
The "Robert" Radars were all but phased out with the majority being deployed to Gibraltar with a newly formed 8 Surveillance Troop.
A new deployment policy was formulated to form "Composite Batteries", each of three Batteries was to consist of Meteorology, Drones, and a Survey/Sound Ranging Troop, each Battery was to support a Division. To fulfil this policy 156 (Inkerman) Battery was brought out of suspended animation.
In 1969 the Town Council and Government of the Town of Celle decided to award the "Freedom of the City" according to British custom, the Regiment having served in Lower Saxony for 21 years. This was the first time that a German town had bestowed such an honour on an Artillery Regiment. "Unique in the Federal Republic" was the comment of one German Newspaper.In October 1969 the citizens of Celle were able for the first time to see the complete Regiment on parade at the Schlossplatz.
The Inspection was taken by Oberburgermeister Dr. Blanke who then presented the Commanding Officer Lt.Col. J. Rigby with the scroll giving the Regiment the "Freedom of the City". The Regiment returned the compliment by presenting Dr. Blanke with a large Silver Salver inscribed with a dedication to the town of Celle. In most years since 1969 the Regiment has exorcised it's right to march through the town with "Swords drawn and Bayonets fixed".
Although a new Drone System (USD/501 Midge Drone System) had just been introduced and training just started. Northern Ireland was brewing up, and 57(Bhurpore) Battery and 156(Inkerman) Battery were deployed as part of a composite Regiment with 32 Heavy Regiment to Northern Ireland for a four month tour.
This tour was to turn to great sadness for 94 Locating Regiment when Gunner Robert Curtis became the first British Soldier to be shot and killed, this happened in a riot situation, and then L/Bdr Laurie was murdered in an ambush.
The Sound Rangers of 73 (Sphinx) Battery were off again, this time to start a series of four months tours of Salalah, these were completed in 1976. 22 Battery also played a part.
This year saw the Regiment deciding to do something for the enjoyment of the Local Population, as well as offering a sign of gratitude for being awarded the Freedom of Celle, and in this way the much favoured "Tattoo" was born. Over the years the "Tattoo" grew in size and American and German displays were included. The musical and theatrical climaxes of the "Tattoo" have been Tschaikowski's 1812 Overture and the Battle of Waterloo. Originally the Tattoo was purely a Regimental event but over the years became one of the main events in the calendar of the British Army in Celle and probably West Germany.
The Survey Sections re-joined the Regiment from the Missile Regiments, but in the same year the Regiment deployed to Londonderry on a four month tour. The tour proved successful with a significant number of arrests, and large finds of explosives and the discovery of bomb making factories in the Bogside.
Once again the Regiment was saddened at the horrific murder of Bdr Heinz Pisarek and Gunner Brookes in a machine gun attack on the Observation Post situated upon the Rossville Flats, also the loss of Sergeant John Howie who was killed whilst on patrol when a bomb exploded by an electric power box.
Large Forest Fires almost reached the outskirts of Celle town. Eleven civilians were killed, and the Regiment turned out to assist the local services. The Regiment were tasked to assist in creating and building "fire breaks" which can still be seen today on Route 3 and out towards Scheuen. The Ammunition storage areas and bunkers in the Ordnance Depot at Scheuen were right in the fire's path and had to be quickly emptied and moved to a safe area.
57 (Bhurtpore) Battery went to Northern Ireland as part of 1st R.H.A. and took over the guard duties at the "Maze" prison.
This year saw the Regiment celebrating it's "Silver Jubilee" in Celle. A huge and successful "Tattoo" was arranged to mark the occasion with many events, including the Stallions of the Hanoverian State Stud, The Bands of the Royal Hussars, The 14/20th Kings Hussars, The 1st Battalion of The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment, The Corps of Drums of the 2nd Battalion The Coldstream Guards and the Band and Drums of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.
The displays included a Helicopter Assault, Unarmed Combat, Alarm Stakes, and the Massed Bands to start and finish the day. Naturally the massed bands accompanied a re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo and finishing with the 1812 Overture with Guns blazing and fireworks galore, a wonderful sight to behold.
This was the beginning of "The End of an Era" in the history of 94 Locating Regiment, it would have to say a sad farewell to the town of Celle and all the firm friends it had made during the last 28 years.
General Sir Thomas Morony KCB OBE was the Inspecting Officer when the Regiment took it's "Farewell Parade" through the Stechbahn on 1st September 1984. The move followed a policy decision to combine 2 Heavy Regiments with a Locating Battery and an HQ Battery to form "Depth Fire Regiments". In Germany 5th and 32nd Regiments both based in Dortmund.
The Regiment moved to Bulford prior to moving to Larkhill in 1985.
The Regiment now established in Larkhill, has the largest number of Batteries ever, comprising. Two Locating Batteries (22 Gibraltar Bty and 156 Inkerman Bty) each having Survey/Sound-ranging Troop, Meteorology Troop, Drone Troop, One Mortar Locating Battery (73 Sphinx Bty) equipped with Cymbaline Radar, One Field Battery (5 Gibraltar Bty) equipped with 105mm Light Guns, these were part of ACE Mobile Force (Land)-AMF(L).
One Air Defence Battery (43 Lloyds Company) equipped with Blowpipe and Javelin equipments. And Headquarter Battery which houses the CO's Party, he is the Commander Force Artillery (CFA) for multi-national AMF(L).
The Air Defence Battery (43 Lloyds Company) moves and joins 26 Field Regiment based at Thorney Island.
73 (Sphinx) Battery disperses to Field Regiments Numbers 2nd,27th,40th,47th,49th. 73 (Sphinx) Battery reforms as 73 (Sphinx) Locating Battery in Dortmund.
Elements of the Regiment involved in the "Gulf War". A "prisoner of war" camp is opened in Rolleston and the Regiment have a major commitment in running it.
22 (Gibraltar) Battery in Northern Ireland.
156 (Inkerman) Battery in Northern Ireland. Elements of the Regiment involved in Bosnia
Regiment goes into suspended Animation, September 1993