How Grandad Went to War

   Philip Brewin recalls his part in the early part of WW2

How I Went To War - 2

Hart Badge
Hertfordshire Yeomanry Uniform Badge

The Drill Hall at Watford was a typical product of the 1914 era having a large floor area under cover for gun drills and lectures and a sizeable yard outside for parades and marching drills.
The building served the needs of two Anti-Aircraft Batteries, 246 and 247 of the 79th Heavy AA Regiment, Royal Artillery (The Hertfordshire Yeomanry) recently converted from a 25 pounder Field Regiment into an AA roll with 3 inch AA guns.  The badge worn on the uniform was a rampant hart.


The equipment consisted of two guns complete with dummy shells, height/range finder, a spotting telescope and a predictor (a rather cumbersome box of tricks made by Vickers for calculating the future position of an aircraft in order to hit it).

Predictor Explanation
Predictor Explanation

Thus on March 14th 1939, having passed a medical examination and found to be A1 fit, I was duly “sworn in” to serve King and Country as Gunner 1446434 in the Royal Artillery.
We were issued with strong black leather boots, brown denim overalls for the normal drills on Tuesday and Friday evenings and a forage cap which folded flat when not in use and was worn tilted to one side of the head.

Me in 'Working Dress'

Later we were issued with a khaki uniform jacket which buttoned up to the neck, a brown leather belt, trousers to match the jacket and a peaked cap.   This uniform was for important parades and walking out in public.

Me in 'Walking Out Dress' with brothers Paul and Keith

The fire power of each Battery would consist of eight guns (3 inch which were superseded by 3.7 inch mobile later on) and the Command Post equipment of height/range finders, spotter telescopes, predictors and plotting table with instruments which would usually be safely housed in a dug-out.

3.7inch AA Gun
3.7inch Anti-Aircraft Gun, Dover Castle

Supporting the daily life of a Unit would be the Stores and the cook-house facilities.
For operational purposes the number of personnel needed for an actual shoot would be roughly 55 men and officers per Troop.  A standby section of about 35 men would act as back-up and carry out camp duties such as guard and piquet duties and the necessary fatigues to ensure efficient running of the life on the site.

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