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5th R.M. A.A. (Anti-Aircraft) Brigade - NW Europe

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

North West Europe: August 1944 – May 1945

At the end of August, the move to the Continent began when on 28th August the Regiment went to the South Coast Marshalling Area. Embarking in stages at Denmead between 1st and 2nd September 1944, the R.H.Q. and ‘A’ Battery, less guns, disembarked at Arromanches on 2nd September and moved to Cherbourg. ‘C’ and ‘D’ Batteries followed and the Regiment was complete at Cherbourg by 5th September. Guns and radar equipment began arriving at Cherbourg on 8th September and was completed by 16th September. On 28th September, the Regiment left for Antwerp and began to deploy north and east of the city on 6th October. ‘C’ and ‘A’ Batteries operating in the ground role supported the infantry of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division between 7th and 12th October. On 13th October, several explosions were heard in the Antwerp area, later confirmed to have been V2 ballistic missiles.

QF 3.7-inch AA Battery in Hyde Park (not RM

The Regiment deployed on the east bank of the Scheldt, north of Antwerp, on 16th and 17th October. During the re-deployment, orders were received that the Regiment was to cease operating in the anti-aircraft role and was now to operate entirely in support of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. The German defenders holding the neck of the South Beveland isthmus were engaged up until 21st October when the Regiment was ordered to return to anti-V1 operations and to the Brussels outer gun belt. The Regiment deployed south of Louvain on 22nd October, coming under the operational control of the 101st A.A. Brigade, R.A., and the Regiment destroyed its first V1 since leaving the United Kingdom two days later. The Regiment remained in the Brussels area until 6th December when it went to the Antwerp area, returning to the direct command of the 5th R.M. A.A. Brigade.

At this time, the Battle of the Bulge was raging and the Regiment, in the infantry role, made ready to defend the approaches to Antwerp in the event of a successful German advance. On 31st January 1945, ‘C’ Battery moved to the Bergen Op Zoom area on anti-V1 duty, under the operational command of the 107th H.A.A. Regiment, R.A. which appears to have been under the command of the American 30th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade. The Battery returned to the Regiment on 2nd February but remained on anti-V1 duty.

The Regiment moved to Ostend on 25th February where it came under the operational command of the 75th A.A. Brigade, R.A. On 7th April, ‘D’ Battery was visited by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother of the Belgians.

Royal Marines of a famous Anti-Aircraft Regiment who have established their position in sight of the Zeebrugge Mole © IWM A 28390

In what was an unusual engagement, on 18th April ‘D’ Troop, ‘C’ Battery engaged and sank an enemy midget submarine involved in unsuccessful anti-shipping operations in the Scheldt Estuary.

That same day, the Regiment reverted to the operational command of the 5th R.M. A.A. Brigade, although it remained under control of the 75th A.A. Brigade, R.A. for coast defence. The Regiment provided a Guard of Honour for the Liberation Ceremonial and Service at Zeebrugge on 22nd April. As part of the ceremony, a plaque (presumably commemorating the famous raid of World War One) hidden during the German occupation was replaced and unveiled on the harbour mole.

United Kingdom: April – December 1945

Towards the end of May 1945, with the Allied victory in Europe secured, the Regiment stood down from operations and began handing in its guns and equipment. On 29th May, the men embarked at Ostend for the United Kingdom and disembarked at Tilbury the following day before proceeding to Exeter. Throughout, the Regiment remained under the command of the 5th R.M. A.A. Brigade. At Exeter, leave was granted and postings to other units began. In September 1945, men began to be drafted for demobilisation. On 1st September 1945 at Exeter, 'A', 'C' and 'D' Batteries amalgamated as 'D' Battery, R.M., becoming three troops, 'A', 'C' and 'D'. Lt. Colonel R. Garret relinquished command on 8th September, handing over to Major W.A. Kinnear until the arrival of Lt. Colonel R.H. Ogden on 17th September, on which date the Regiment moved to South Brent and Ivybridge, near Plymouth. On 1st October, the 4th L.A.A. Regiment, R.M. was disbanded and absorbed into the 1st Regiment. The 22nd L.A.A. Battery, R.M. was disbanded at Ivybridge on 29th October and and the personnel posted to 'D' Battery, R.M. Men continued to be posted away until on 15th December 1945, at Ivybridge the 1st Regiment was disbanded and the remaining men posted to the ‘Z’ Company, 28th Battalion, R.M. The H.Q. 5th R.M. A.A. Brigade was disbanded the same day.

There are 14 names registered as 5th R.M. A.A. Bde and a 15th name on Navy Net as killed with this unit during this action.

See all 15 listed here; Royal Marines Rolle of Honour

RM HQ 5th AA Brigade, Dutch operations;

BARTMAN, Arthur G, Marine, EX/4489, killed

CHAPPLE, Phillip G, Marine, PO/X 107134, killed

ELLIS, Harold, Marine, PO/X 104735, killed

GREENALL, Samuel, Marine, PO/X 104683, killed

GROVES, Sidney, Marine, PO/X 109940, killed

KITCHENER, James F, Lance Corporal, RM, PO/X 106532, killed

LOCKETT, John, Ty/Act/Colour Sergeant, RM, PLY/X 102121, killed

MOULD, Leslie W, Marine, PO/X 109325, killed

MOY, Gerald W G, Marine, CH/X 103916, killed

NICHOLS, Harold, Colour Sergeant, RM, EX/3325, killed

PEBERDY, Frederick, Marine, CH/X 107053, killed

PRICE, Courtney L, Ty/Sergeant, RM, PLY/X 103038, killed

STEVENSON, James, Marine, PLY/X 101407, killed

STRAW, Deryck H, Ty/Act/Captain, RM, killed

WINNISTER, Charles T, Marine, CH/X 101273, killed

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