Thursday, 11 August 2011

Hong Kong Singapore Royal Artillery (2)

HKSRA Gunners manning a 3 inch Anti Aircraft gun on the coast of Singapore cir 1939. Note the gunner without his helmet- against regulations? Call the CSM! source : Life

Hong Kong – Singapore Royal Artillery HKSRA (1930 – 1942)

1920-30’s – HKSRA expanded for defenses of Singapore & Hong Kong with the construction of the Naval Base in Singapore due cheaper to deploy Asian troops than British Soldiers.

1930’s - 3 heavy battery in Hong Kong and 1 in Singapore. By 1938, 2 more heavies added including 1 Heavy battery in Penang

Anti aircraft (AA) units were included in the HKSRA Regiments with 9 AA battery (6 fully operational) and 3 coastal battery available in Singapore by Oct 1941 (OCT 1937 – 1 HKSRA battery established). Further plans to include 12 guns manned by HKSRA in Penang and positions and plans for expansion of AA defenses to be completed by 30 Jan 1942

By 1941 (less than 4 yrs) – 3 HKSRA regiments with 14 battery was formed

Rapid expansion has created problems as:

- Singapore units are less experienced than Hong Kong units

- New battery formed faster than available guns

- Recruits were in army for few months when battery formed and officers and men were still picking up skills

- Rarely practice with live rounds and communication were poor with primitive radios

- Shortage of experienced officers and NCOs – made worse when Aden formed more battery; milking experienced gunners

1938 – Built a new cantonment in Nee Soon to house HKSRA with the largest officer’s mess outside UK (dining capacity for 90)

Malaya (1941 – 1942)

- 20th Heavy AA Battery formed in Malaya on 11 Mar 1941 (location possibly KUL?)

- 9th Battery of 1st HKSRA Regiment at Kota Bahru ( LT J C Close) & Alor Setar

- 13th Battery at Sungei Petani ( Battery Comdr Maj PE White) – 6 guns

- 14th Battery at Ipoh – shot down 5 aircrafts ; pulled out 24 Dec & 27 Dec to reach KUL

- 16th Battery to cover 3rd India Corps – deployed to protect bridges & key cross roads, B troop involved in Slime River. Equipped with Bofors

- 2nd HKSRA Regiment under LT COL HV Allpress was commanding AA defenses of Malaya. 3 battery was deployed in KL Airfield with 5 planes shot & probable 7 kills

- HKSRA shot down 51 planes and claimed 30 probable kills

- 14 HKSRA AA guns were destroyed and lost when Malaya was abandoned

- 1st HKSRA Regiment defended Diary Road location with A troops of 9th battery losing guns to Japanese mortar fire

- 20th HKSRA Battery was forced to destroy guns and retreat when HQ22 Australian Infantry Brigade withdrawn

Bibliography : Forgotten Regiments by Barry Renfrew

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