1st Anti-Aircraft Division (United Kingdom)

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1st Anti-Aircraft Division
Active 1935–1942
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Anti-Aircraft Division
Role Air Defence
Part of London District (1935–39)
Anti-Aircraft Command (1939–40)
1 AA Corps (1940–42)
Engagements The Blitz

1st Anti-Aircraft Division (1 AA Division) was an Air Defence formation of the British Army before and during the early years of World War II. It defended London during the Blitz.

Origin[edit]

1 AA Division was organised on 15 December at Hillingdon House, RAF Uxbridge (at that time the headquarters of the Royal Observer Corps).[1][2] The headquarters of the division was formed by converting 47th (1/2nd London) Division, whose General Officer Commanding, Major-General R.H.D. Thomson, continued as GOC of the new formation.[1][3] Responsible to London District, the Division's role was to command the growing number of Territorial Army (TA) anti-aircraft gun and searchlight units around London (2 AA Division was in formed in 1936 to cover the rest of the country).[1]

Order of Battle 1935[edit]

1 AA Division was initially composed of the following formations and units:[1]

In 1938 the Royal Artillery replaced the unit designation 'Brigade' by 'Regiment', which allowed the AA Groups to take the more usual formation title of Brigades.

Outbreak of War[edit]

During the period of tension leading to the Munich crisis and eventually the outbreak of World War II, the Territorial Army grew enormously, and existing TA infantry battalions continued to be converted to AA regiments. The existing divisions and brigades were expanded, and the whole AA defence of the United Kingdom was taken over by Anti-Aircraft Command on 1 April 1939. When the UK declared war on 3 September 1939, 1 AA Division had the following composition:[4]

General Officer Commanding: Major-General F.L.M. Crossman, DSO, MC[1] HQ: Hillingdon House, RAF Uxbridge

The Blitz[edit]

In August 1940, during the Battle of Britain, the RE 'Anti-Aircraft' (searchlight) battalions became regiments of the RA.[6] Royal Artillery AA units regiments were now designated Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA), Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA), or Searchlight (S/L) regiments and batteries.

Towards the end of 1940, at the height of The Blitz, AA Command formed three AA Corps: 1st AA Division formed part of 1 AA Corps in Southern England.[7]

1st AA Division was still covering London, and bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe attacks on the city. At this time its composition was as follows:[8]

  • 38 AA Brigade
    • 26th (London Electrical Engineers) S/L Regiment, RA (TA)[14]
    • 35th (First Surrey Rifles) S/L Regiment, RA (TA)[15]
    • 75th (Middlesex) S/L Regiment, RA (TA)[5]
    • 79th S/L Regiment, RA (TA) – formed October 1940[16]
  • 48 AA Brigade
    • 54th (City of London) HAA Regiment, RA (TA)[17]
    • 97th (London Scottish) HAA Regiment, RA (TA)[18]
    • 105th HAA Regiment, RA (TA) – formed September 1940[19]

Between September 1940 and September 1941, 1 AA Division formed 1st, 6th and 14th Anti-Aircraft Z Regiment, Royal Artillery equipped with Z Battery rocket projectiles.[26][27][28]

Disbandment[edit]

1 AA Division, like the other AA Corps and Divisions, was disbanded and replaced on 1 October 1942 by a new AA Group structure. London was covered by 1 AA Group.[2][7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "13 January 2010 : 1 Anti-Aircraft Division (1936-38)". Britishmilitaryhistory.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  2. ^ a b "1 Anti-Aircraft Division". Ordersofbattle.com. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  3. ^ Monthly Army List September 1935–January 1936.
  4. ^ "British Anti-Aircraft Command, TA on 3 September 1939 :: The Patriot Files :: Dedicated to the preservation of military history". The Patriot Files. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  5. ^ a b "RA 1939-45 75 SL Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  6. ^ "RA 1939-45 Searchlight Index". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  7. ^ a b Pile, F The Anti-Aircraft Defence of the United Kingdom from 28th July, 1939, to 15th April, 1945. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38149. p. 5974. 16 December 1947.
  8. ^ "RA 39-45 1 AA Div". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  9. ^ "26 Anti-Aircraft Brigade". Ordersofbattle.com. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  10. ^ "RA 1939-45 4 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  11. ^ "RA 1939-45 52 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  12. ^ "RA 1939-45 119 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  13. ^ "RA 1939-45 62 LAA". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  14. ^ "RA 1939-45 26 SL Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  15. ^ "RA 1939-45 35 SL Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  16. ^ "RA 1939-45 79 SL Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  17. ^ "RA 1939-45 54 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  18. ^ "RA 1939-45 97 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  19. ^ "RA 1939-45 105 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  20. ^ "RA 1939-45 84 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  21. ^ "RA 1939-45 109 HAA Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  22. ^ "RA 1939-45 11 LAA". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  23. ^ "RA 1939-45 36 LAA". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  24. ^ "RA 1939-45 42 LAA". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  25. ^ "RA 1939-45 70 LAA". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  26. ^ "RA 1939-45 1 AA Z Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  27. ^ "RA 1939-45 6 AA Z Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  28. ^ "RA 1939-45 14 AA Z Rgt". Ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]