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Author Topic: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward  (Read 7366 times)

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Offline stanyard

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2018, 10:06:37 »
Hi Sorry for not replying and being offline for so long have not been well, however I can see you are all giving me good info, I do have a little more to share. My father was posted to 163/55 (308) Unit in Rochester in October 1939, Major J.L.Breeze, Cap't Howell and C.H.R.Lattin mainly WW1 3" guns and for next 12 months or so stationed at various locations, Bell Farm, Isle of Sheppey, Pluckley & Woodchurch before Boarding the HMTT Northumberland on 19th August 1941 for Sierra Leone. Set up training camp at Murray Town as 2nd West African H.A.A Regiment RA West African Army, 4th July 1943 arrive Capetown, then train to Durban, 12th July Kedgaon (Poona) for Jungle Training. 29th November 43, India via calcutta into Bengal to Bramaputhra River, Old Paddle Steamer to Misamari on14th Dec 43 replacing Indian Rajputs 6th (WA)H.A.A. Battery. So far that`s about all I have found out, would appreciate if fellow members have more info.

Offline peterchall

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2015, 22:10:29 »
I think S7 to S15 and S24 were within Rochester Postal District. The link below lists their Cassini Grid Refs. It might be worth plotting those on an OS map to see how close they are to the possible nearest pub.

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=2225.msg53901#msg53901
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Offline peterchall

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2015, 20:21:50 »
‘Rochester’ could have meant just the city on the east bank of the Medway, and only S7 was in that area; it could have included Strood urban area, which was administered by Rochester Council, and S8 and S9 were in that area; or it could have meant Rochester Postal District, which extended as far as and included at least Cobham and Higham. As – presumably – a stranger to the area, would Stanyard know that? I assume that by ‘Rochester’ he meant his father took him to a place within the town area.

Anyway, I provided what looks like a useful link at Reply#6 with a request to Stanyard to let us know if he had any luck, but he hasn’t logged on since his initial post, so won’t have read even Reply#1!
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Offline otis

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2015, 17:39:29 »
A re read of the opening post does not state the site was in Rochester ?

The transfer was to 163/55 which seems to have nominally been at Rochester. Taken from a Service record perhaps ?

So the 163 battery HQ May have been at Rochester, or the parent formation, 55 Brigade, was there. That 55 Brigade seems to cover half the sites in Thames and Medway South, does not reduce our opinions much !
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Offline peterchall

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2015, 08:30:05 »
All we have is Stanyard’s opening post stating the site was in Rochester and there was a pub nearby, which is why I plumped for S9.

But Stanyard hasn’t logged on since that first post, so how can we go further?
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Offline otis

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2015, 07:26:33 »
Kyn has posted part of 166 Battery ORB for the 1939 to 1941 period, which confirms that 166 Battery were covering S7 and S9 through that period.

So where does that leave us ? We covered the Sept 1940 period in that Dornier thread. There were 72 guns in Thames and Medway South area, which means there were 18 troops of 4 guns ( 9 Batteries ).

So of that list of 26 sites below, there were 18 that were gunned. (I think S1 through to S10 were gunned, S12, S15, S16, S17,S18, S21, S24 and S25 ).

S7 and S9 were 166 btty. S4 and S5 were158 btty. S6 and S24 were 307 btty. S25 was 264 btty.

So that leaves us with 11 remaining gunned sites. With a little more site description we may be able to solve this. Was the site on a hilltop, by the river, in a fort, edge of town ?
"there was more hit than miss about this arbitrary bombardment"

Offline peterchall

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2015, 17:32:29 »
S9 seemed to fit Stanyard’s father’s physical description. The only other site that could be said to be within ‘Rochester’ – accepting that to include Strood - is S8, Tower Hill, but that doesn’t fit the description.

However, some if not all, of S10 to S15 might have been within ‘Rochester’ postal area.

Any ideas?
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Offline otis

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2015, 15:22:05 »
A Heavy AA battery consisted of 8 guns, split into two troops of 4. Although some wartime gun sites were laid out for eight guns,  four was the norm. So most batteries were split between two sites - frequently not too far apart.
"there was more hit than miss about this arbitrary bombardment"

Offline peterchall

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2015, 16:52:56 »
It was stated in the ‘Dornier crash near Boundary Road’ thread that No 166 Battery was divided between sites S7 and S9 but, because a Heavy AA Battery normally consisted of 4 guns and there was definitely 4 guns at S7, I doubt that, but for some reason it triggered a thought. Purely based on a gut-feeling I suggest that No 163 Battery was based at S9.

It is listed as being at Oak Street (wherever that is – does anyone know?) but was actually in Dillywood Lane, Strood and, in pre-postcode days had the address “Strood, Rochester, Kent” and so would register as ‘Rochester’ in Stanyard’s father’s mind. It was on the site of, or next to, what is now a garden centre and the ‘Stone Horse’ pub is nearby.

So if the place Stanyard's father took him to was in a very narrow lane with only a farm and that pub about ¼ mile away, I rcckon that was it. Does that make sense?
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Offline peterchall

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 15:22:28 »
The problem seems to be that, while the sites – and probably the guns themselves – were fixed, the personnel moved.

Thus all we know for sure is that 166 Battery was at Fort Borstal (S7) on 15th September 1940 – the day they claimed that Dornier (the basis for that 183 post thread!), 163 Battery could have been there at some other time.
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Offline kyn

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2015, 14:08:05 »
The 5.25"s were later anti - aircraft positions. Some built one earlier sites such as Iwade. 
The list doesn't include the z Rocket Batteries.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2015, 12:44:54 »
Peterchall. Your A/A battery list interesting, particularly the 5.25" 's at S2 & S21. Oddballs, or were they rockets ( Z battereies) like the one adjacent ( across the golf course) to S5- where your Dad & mine (HG) were "stationed"?

Offline peterchall

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2015, 12:33:34 »
Stanyard, is this link useful?

It looks as if you have to sign-up to get into the records.
Please let us know if you get a result.

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C788513
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Offline grandarog

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2015, 09:27:18 »
This from Wicky could be a red herring but looks OK.

The composition of 28 AA Group in December 1935 was as follows:

55th (Kent) Anti-Aircraft Brigade, RA (TA)
HQ at Fort Clarence, Rochester
163rd (Kent) Anti-Aircraft Battery at Tunbridge Wells
166th (City of Rochester) Anti-Aircraft Battery at Fort Clarence, Rochester
205th (Chatham and Faversham) Anti-Aircraft Battery at Chatham

Not in Medway then but may have been moved in WW2.

Offline grandarog

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Re: 163/55 Anti Aircraft Battery Rochester 16/10/39 onward
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2015, 09:23:18 »
From Peterchall's posting link.

Quote :-I have no idea which Battery numbers covered these exact sights. I have a clue that 163, 307 and 308 may have been some of those in the Medway area. Anyone know more ?

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6553.msg117572#msg117572

 

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