The Regt History of 25th LAA Regt RA

Image - The 25th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment in action

25th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment RA (TA) was formed in Liverpool on the 23rd June 1939 with 225 Bty (Ex 70th AA Regiment) which formed 81, 82 and 225 Bty's. On 21st February 1941, 225 LAA Bty left and joined 74th LAA Regt RA. On 14th March 1941, a Battery from 102nd LAA/Atk Regiment and a troop from 77th LAA Regt RA joined and converted to become 274th LAA Bty. In September 1942, 81 LAA Bty was reduced to cadre. The following September, 138 LAA Bty and troop from 76th LAA Regt RA joined from the 8th Army to become 138 LAA Bty. The Regiment remained at three batteries 274, 138, and 82 Bty's until the Regiment went into suspended animation in BAOR on 4th February 1946.

At outbreak of war the Regiment was deployed around the Mersey defences, on both the Liverpool and Wirral coastline. Apparently armed with Bofors, 3", and 2 pr Vickers. By October 1940, they were stationed on the Wirral side only, when they were then sent to North Wales. In December, orders to proceed overseas were received and the Regiment sailed via Freetown and Durban to Port Tewfik, Suez in February 1941. The Regiment joined 50th Division on 16th December 1942 in Egypt and stayed with the division until 30th November 1944. During this time the Regiment fought through North Africa, Tunisia and Operation Husky the invasion of Sicily. The Regiment did not stay in Sicily long as it was soon on the way back to Britain for the invasion of Northern Europe.

The Regiment was now stationed in Romsey (on Lord Louis Mountbatten’s estate, Broadlands). In the middle of May it started to move to other camps to form up into boat loads for loading onto Landing Ships Tank (LSTs) with 3 self propelled Bofors 40mm guns and two 3 ton lorries. They set off on their journey meeting up with the rest of my boat load which was called a “Brick”. The Regiment moved towards the coast from camp to camp, as boats were loaded on the hards at Southampton. Finally in glorious sunny weather we moved block by block into Southampton.

25th LAA Regt RA was attached to the assault formation of 50th Infantry Division (30 Corps) for the Normandy Invasion. Due to the loss of a complete battery in the assault on Sicily it was decided that the unit would be split up into subsections of 3 guns per ship. The Regiment comprised three batteries each containing 18 guns in the three six gun troops. The Regiment was equipped with 40mm Bofors guns mounted on a 4 x 4 Morris chassis, a total of 54 guns. The Regiment’s task was to defend the division against low-level air attack. The British Army was very sensitive to low-level aircraft attack due to experiences when the enemy had a high degree of air superiority. Possibly not quite so sensitive as the Royal Navy who believed everything with wings was hostile! Although in Normandy the allies had control of the air, German fighter bombers carried out numerous daylight low-level attacks and nightly bombed the beach head. The Regiment mainly defended the gun lines and a certain amount of route protection in the divisional area.

In 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division 1st December 1944 - 31st August 1945 NW Europe