2nd Anti-Aircraft Division (United Kingdom)
|2nd Anti-Aircraft Division|
Royal Artillery cap badge and AA patch
|Active||15 December 1935 – 1 October 1942|
|Part of||Northern Command (1936–39)
Anti-Aircraft Command (1939–40)
2 AA Corps (1940–42)
The 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division (2 AA Division) was an Air Defence formation of the British Army from 1935 to 1942. It controlled anti-aircraft gun and searchlight units of the Territorial Army (TA) defending the East Midlands and East Anglia during The Blitz.
In December 1935 the TA's 46th (North Midland) Division (which also acted as HQ for the North Midland Area of Northern Command) was disbanded and its headquarters was converted into 2nd Anti-Aircraft (AA) Division to control the increasing number of AA units being created. At first it administered all AA units in Great Britain outside London and the Home Counties, which were covered by 1st Anti-Aircraft Division. The new division was first organised at York, but shortly afterwards took over 46 Division's HQ at Normanton, Derby.
Order of Battle
- 30th (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Group organised 1 November 1936 in Sunderland
- 62nd (North and East Riding) Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Royal Artillery (RA) – AA guns
- 63rd (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Brigade RA – AA guns
- 64th (Northumbrian) Anti-Aircraft Brigade RA – AA guns
- 37th (Tyne) Anti-Aircraft Battalion (Tyne Electrical Engineers), Royal Engineers (RE) – searchlights
- 47th (The Durham Light Infantry) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE – searchlights
- 31st (North Midland) Anti-Aircraft Group organised 1 November 1936 in Retford
- 66th (Leeds Rifles) (The West Yorkshire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Brigade RA (TA) – AA guns
- 67th (The York and Lancaster Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Brigade RA (TA) – AA guns
- 43rd (The Duke of Wellington's Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
- 46th (The Lincolnshire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
- 32nd (South Midland) Anti-Aircraft Group organised 1 November 1936 at Normanton
- 69th (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Brigade RA (TA) – AA guns
- 40th (The Sherwood Foresters) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – AA guns
- 42nd (The Robin Hoods, Sherwood Foresters) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
- 44th (The Leicestershire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
- 45th (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
- 33rd (Western) Anti-Aircraft Group organised at Chester
- 65th (The Manchester Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Brigade RA (TA) – AA guns
- 38th (The King's Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
- 39th (The Lancashire Fusiliers) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
- 41st (5th North Staffordshire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA) – searchlights
40, 41, 42, 44 and 46 AA battalions had previously been infantry battalions in 46th Division.
In 1938 the Royal Artillery replaced the traditional unit designation 'Brigade' by 'Regiment', which allowed the AA Groups to take the more usual formation title of Brigades.
The TA's AA units were mobilised on 23 September 1938 during the Munich Crisis. Because the organisation of 2 AA Division and its component units was not yet complete, it was only partially mobilised. The emergency mobilisation lasted nearly three weeks before the TA units were released on 14 October. The experience led to improvements in equipment scales, and a rapid expansion of AA defences brought many new AA gun and searchlight units into existence. In November 1938, 31 and 33 AA Bdes transferred to the newly formed 7th Anti-Aircraft Division and 4th Anti-Aircraft Division respectively. In 1939, 30 AA Bde also joined 7 AA Division. They were replaced in 2 AA Division by new brigades. In April 1939, AA Command was formed to control all the AA gun and searchlight defences of the United Kingdom.
The deterioration in international relations during 1939 led to a partial mobilisation in June, and a proportion of TA AA units manned their war stations under a rotation system known as 'Couverture'. Full mobilisation of AA Command came in August 1939, ahead of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939.
World War II
- GOC: Major-General M.F. Grove-White
- HQ: RAF Hucknall
- 32nd (South Midland) Anti-Aircraft Brigade at Derby
- 40th Anti-Aircraft Brigade organised 29 September 1938 at South Ealing, London'
- 33 (St Pancras) AA Bn RE
- 36 (Middlesex) AA Bn RE
- 58 (Middlesex) AA Bn RE
- 9th Bn Middlesex Regiment (60th Searchlight Regiment)
- 10th (3rd City of London) Bn Royal Fusiliers (69th Searchlight Regiment)
- 40 AA Bde Company, RASC
- 41st (London) Anti-Aircraft Brigade organised 29 September 1938 in Chelsea, London
- 50th Light Anti-Aircraft Brigade organised 24 August 1939 at Hucknall
- 26 LAA Regt RA – mobile reserve
- 2 AA Divisional Signals, Royal Corps of Signals
- 2 AA Divisional Workshops Royal Army Ordnance Corps
- Hull: 28 (plus 2 out of action)
- Leeds: 24 (plus 6 out of action)
- Sheffield: 20 (plus 3 out of action)
- Derby: 6
- Nottingham: 6 (plus 2 out of action)
- Leighton Buzzard: 4
- Nottingham: 16
- Derby: 40
- Humber: 38
- Mobile battery: 8
- Airfields: 20 (mainly LAA)
- Vital points: 82 (mainly LAA)
In August 1940, all RE AA battalions became Searchlight regiments of the RA, and AA regiments became HAA regiments to distinguish them from the new LAA regiments being formed.
By late 1940, 2 AA Division formed part of 2 AA Corps. Grove-White had been promoted on 11 November to command the new corps and it shared 2 AA Division's HQ at RAF Hucknall. The brigades were the same, but by February 1941 their locations and composition had changed:
- GOC: Major-General F.L.M. Crossman, DSO, MC (transferred from 1 AA Division)
- 32 AA Bde covering the East Midlands
- 40 AA Bde covering airfields
- 41 AA Bde covering East Anglia
- 78 HAA (part)
- 29 LAA
- 60 S/L
- 65 S/L
- 69 S/L
- 50 AA Bde covering Derby & Nottingham
- 67 HAA
- 113 HAA (part)
- 28 LAA
- 38 LAA (part)
- 64 LAA (part)
- 42 S/L
- 38 S/L (part)
- 50 S/L
- 2 AA Divisional Signals
2 AA Division, like the other AA Corps and Divisions, was disbanded and replaced on 1 October 1942 by a new AA Group structure. The Midlands and East Anglia were covered by 5 AA Group, headquartered at Hucknall. 2 AA Divisional Signals was apparently converted into the new Group signal unit.
- 2 AA Division 1936–38 at British Military History
- Northern Command 1930–38 at British Military History
- Monthly Army List 1936–39.
- Routledge, p. 59.
- Farndale, Annex J, p. 299.
- Routledge, pp. 62–3.
- Sir Frederick Pile's despatch: "The Anti-Aircraft Defence of the United Kingdom from 28th July 1939, to 15th April 1945" London Gazette 16 October 1947
- Grove-White at British Military History.
- Routledge, p. 65.
- Routledge, Table LVIII, p. 376.
- 2 AA Division 1939 at British Military History
- AA Command 3 September 1939 at Patriot Files
- Routledge, Table LIX, p. 377.
- Farndale, p. 105.
- Routledge, Table LXV, p. 397.
- Farndale, Annex S, p. 259
- 2 AA Division 1940 at British Military History
- 2 AA Div at RA 39–45
- Farndale, Appendix J, p. 295.
- 15 AA Z Rgt at RA 39–45
- Lord & Watson, pp. 251, 269.
- Gen Sir Martin Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: The Years of Defeat: Europe and North Africa, 1939–1941, Woolwich: Royal Artillery Institution, 1988/London: Brasseys, 1996, ISBN 1857530802.
- Norman E.H. Litchfield, The Territorial Artillery 1908–1988 (Their Lineage, Uniforms and Badges), Nottingham: Sherwood Press, 1992, ISBN 0-9508205-2-0.
- Cliff Lord & Graham Watson, Royal Corps of Signals: Unit Histories of the Corps (1920–2001) and its Antecedents, Solihull: Helion, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-92-2.
- Brig N.W. Routledge, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914–55, London: Royal Artillery Institution/Brassey's, 1994, OCLC 852069247