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The History of 36th Regiment
Royal Artillery

1908                         First formed as 4th North Midland Brigade RFA Territorial Force at Derby, and as such served with 46 North Midland                                             Division on the Western Front 1915 - 1918. The Brigade was broken up in August 1916 and redesignated.


1920                         Became 62 (North Midland) Brigade RFA TA, at Derby.

1937                         Became 68 (North Midland) AA Brigade, at Derby.


1940                         Became 68 HAA Regiment RA, moved to Egypt in August 1941.

                                 8th Army, fought alongside Polish Forces, lost at Tobruk June 1942. Reformed in Eygpt June 1943 and moved to Malta in                                       January 1945.


1.1.1947                   Redesignated 36th Coast / HAA Regiment in Malta.

1.4. 1947                  Retitled 36th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Comprising of 56, 60 and 168 Batteries, 3.7" Gun

1.10.1948                 36th Heavy Anti - Aircraft Regiment in Malta., 3.7" Gun

29.11.1956               Regiment moves to Shoeburyness, 56, 60 and 168 HAA Btys, 3.7"Gun

1.4.1959                   Retitled 36th Guided Weapon Regiment (Anti-Aircraft), Re-equipped with Thunderbird 1 Missiles

168 Battery placed into Suspended Animation  


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sept 1961                 Regiment moves to BAOR, Regiment arrives at RAF Sundern in Gutersloh, later renamed Mansergh Barracks.

                                 CO Lt Col Walkling, 56 and 60 GW Btys, Thunderbird 1

Nov/Dec 1961          Regiment moves to Glamorgan Barracks, Duisburg, 56 and 60 GW Btys, Thunderbird 1

18.3.1964                 Retitled 36th  Heavy Air Defence Regiment, 56 and 60 HAD Btys

1964                         Re-equipped with Thunderbird 2 Missiles, Duisburg

1966                         Regiment moves to Napier Barracks, Dortmund, 56 and 60 HAD Btys

1.4.1968                   Amalgamated with 37th Heavy Air Defence Regiment at Shoeburyness, became 36th Heavy Air Defence Regiment.

                                 56 Battery to 50 Missile Regt, 60 Battery placed into Suspended Animation. 260 Sig Sqn joined from 37 Regt.

                                 CO Lt Col J A Gallie until Feb 1969. New CO Lt Col A J A Brett.

July 1971                 Regiment moves back to BAOR, Napier Barracks, Dortmund. 28.3. - 31 Jul 73 NI Tour, East Belfast, 

                                 26 11.76 - 29.3.77 Long Kesh. 10 and 111 Btys, 260 Sig Sqn.

March 1976             43 Bty joined Regiment from 20 Regt.

May 1977                 'Syrena Day' - Disbandment Parade, Napier Barracks, Dortmund.

1.9.1977                   Ceased Operational Role, CO Lt Col Peter Painter

31.12.1977               Placed into Suspended Animation, 10 Bty to 45 Regt, 43 Bty to 39 Regt and 111 Bty to 2nd Regt


Commanding Officers and R.S.M.'s


If you have any information regarding dates of Service for Commanding Officers

and RSM's of 36 Regiment, then please E-Mail me with the details.


Commanding Officers


                                                                              1952 - 1953                                   Lt Col GFA Barff MC RA

                                                                              1959 - 1961                                   Lt Col Eiloart RA

                                                                              1961 - 1963                                   Lt Col Walking RA

                                                                              1963 - 1966                                   Lt Col Purvis MBE RA

                                                                              1966 - 68                                       Lt Col Lewendon RA

                                                                              1968 - 1969                                   Lt Col JA Gallie RA

                                                                              1969 - 1971                                   Lt Col AJA Brett RA

                                                                              1971 - 1973                                   Lt Col Groom RA

                                                                              1973 - 1975                                   Lt Col Monk RA

                                                                              1975 - 1977                                   Lt Col P Painter RA


R S M's


                                                                              1959 - 1962/63                              WO1 Woodsford

                                                                              1962/63 - ?                                    WO1 Newall

                                                                              1963 - ?                                         WO1 Parmenter MBE

                                                                              1968 - 1971                                   WO1 Lewis

                                                                              1971 - 74                                       WO1 Booth

                                                                              1974 - 1975                                   WO1 JJM McDonald

                                                                              1975 - 1977                                   WO1 Paddy Feeny


36th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment was Stationed at Tigne Point, Silema, Malta from 1945

until 1956. The Batteries in operation with the Regiment in Malta were168 Battery,  

56 (Olpherts's) Battery A and B Troops, and 60 Battery C and D Troops.

The Regiment had 3.7 Guns as its equipment.


36 HAA Regiments, 3.7 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Guns on Malta

36 Regiment wore a red flash behind the cap badge while stationed on Malta. The reason was

 that in 1951 73 HAA Regiment were also stationed on the island at St George's Barracks.

The only way to identify members of either Regiment was for one to wear the red flash.       


On the 29th November 1956,  36th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment arrived at Shoeburyness from

Malta. In 1959 the Regiment was again retitled, this time as 36th Guided Weapon Regiment

(Anti-Aircraft) when it gave up its guns and was re-equiped with Thunderbird 1 Missiles.

168 Battery was put into Suspended Animation on the 1st April 1959, and disbanded on

the 1st January 1962.


When the Berlin Wall was being constructed there was only one Air Defence unit in BAOR,

that was 12 LAA Regt stationed at Delmenhorst. It was announced that a 'CRACK' Regiment

was to be sent to reinforce the Rhine Army, that was 36 Guided Weapons Regt RA, along with

22 LAA Regt and 16 LAA Regt. Embarkation leave started and the Regiment started its move to

BAOR in September 1961. The Regiment eventually arrived at RAF Sundern in Gutersloh which

was renamed Mansergh Barracks.


Press Release dated 12th September 1961


Shoeburyness: Guided Weapon Regiment Inspected

before being Shipped to Germany

The Director of the Royal Artillery, Major General Bates visited the

36th Guided Weapons Regiment at their Barracks in Shoeburyness,

Sept 12. The Regiment will be posted to West Germany in the next few

weeks to support the British Army of the Rhine.


Armed with the British Thunderbird Anti-Aircraft Missile, the Regiment

will reinforce the two British Guided Missile Regiments already in Germany.

The Thunderbird has a range of over twenty-five miles. It is the most mobile

guided weapon in the British Army. A later version of the Thunderbird

with a greater range and better mobility is now being developed.


Defence experts say the Regiment will help to compensate for the

British loss of manpower in Germany, caused through National

Servicemen being demobbed.


Due to the Berlin Crisis 6,000 West German conscripts who were

ready to be demobbed will have to serve another three months.

Several thousand others have been warned that they may have

an extended period of duty.

And these Press Release's was Dated 26th / 27th September 1961


Thunderbird Missiles leave for UK

Base in West Germany

The first reinforcements from Britain to go to West Germany

because of the Berlin crisis left Britain Sept 26. Among them

were Thunderbird Missiles of a Guided Weapons Regiment, which

were loaded onto the Cross - Channel ferry at Dover, Kent, at dawn.


The all British Thunderbird - an Anti-Aircraft Missile, is designed

to increase the protection of british bases against attack. The

whole Guided Weapons Regiment, with lorries and equipment,

will go to Germany in five groups, each travelling separately

during the week.


Each group will rest a night in Belgium, and one in Germany

before reaching their destination near Bielefeld: The first

Thunderbird Regiment to go into the field.


The first of five units of the 36th British Royal Artillary Regiment,

armed with Thunderbird missiles, passed through the Dutch border town

 of Elmpt, September 27, into West Germany. The Regiment is the first

 british force to be sent to Germany as part of the build up to meet the Berlin crisis.


The all-British Thunderbird - an Anti-Aircraft Missile - is designed to increase

the British bases against attack. The other four units of the Guided Weapons

Regiment are to follow the advance force soon, with lorries and equipment.


In Germany, The Regiment will set up Headquarters near Bielefeld.


The Regiment moved to Glamorgan Barracks Duisburg in Nov / Dec 1961.

While in the British Army of the Rhine the Regiment was retitled 36th Heavy Air Defence

Regiment and equipped with the Thunderbird 2 Missile. The Regiment remained in Duisburg

 until 1966 and then moved to Napier Barracks in Dortmund. The Regiment remained there

until the Labour Government reduced the Rhine Army, and in 1968 the

 Regiment returned to Shoeburyness.


37th Heavy Air Defence Regiment moved from Pembroke Dock, and was stationed at

Horseshoe Barracks from 1967 until April 1968. 36th Heavy Air Defence Regiment

returned from the British Army of the Rhine and amalgamated with 37 Regiment

 at Shoeburyness on the 1st April 1968.


56 (Olpherts's) Battery moved on to 50 Missile Regiment and is still in

operation with 39 Regiment RA as the Headquarters Battery, but  60 Battery

was put into Suspended Animation.


The new unit retained the title of 36th Heavy Air Defence Regiment. While the

 new Regiment was numbered 36, the two Batteries from 37 retained their numbers

 with the personnel from that Regiment generally forming 10 (Assaye) Bty, and those

 from 36 Regiment in 111 (Dragon) Bty.


1st April 1968, Amalgamation Parade on the Cricket Field, Shoeburyness

The Salute was taken by Lt Col John Gallie, Commanding Officer.

You can find more Photos of the Amalgamation Parade on our Facebook Page.

In July 1971 the Regiment returned to the British Army of the Rhine leaving a small Recruiting

detachment in Southend on Sea. Between the 17th - 23rd May 1972 the Regiment took part

in a KAPE tour to Essex, and visited Southend on Sea on the 23rd. Two Launchers and

Equipment were on display on the site of the old Municpal College, Victoria Circus.


26th May 1977


Shortly after the Regiments successful tour in Northern Ireland.  36 Heavy Air Defence Regiment

Royal Artillery held it's Disbandment Parade. Although the Regiment did not cease it's operational

role until September, the 26th May was the last occasion when all the Batteries and other

sub-units would be together in Dortmund.


Not only did the parade mark the end of service for the Thunderbird II SAGW System but also marked

the end of the last Heavy Air Defence Regiment in the British Army. The day was aptly named

'Syrena Day', since Syrena is the Regimental Emblem, cherished after it was awarded to the Batteries

of the Regiment for their gallant support by the Commander of the Polish Forces fighting in Italy during

World War II. The Guest of Honour at the Syrena Day Parade was Gen. P.T. Tower, C.B., D.S.O. M.B.E.

He inspected the five guards, one each drawn from each sub-unit of the Regiment. The Syrena Day was

brought to a close with an Officers/Sergeants Mess Ball in the evening.

Since that time much has happened, the Army have gone from Shoeburyness Garrison and Ranges.

The Garrison has been sold to Gladedale Homes Ltd for £8 million, and has been developed

for housing and with leisure in mind. Dortmund Garrison has also disappeared, and

Napier Barracks has now been completly demolished. If only we could put the clock back.



Maid of Warsaw

Syrena was the name of a mermaid associated with early greek mythology famous for her beauty

and her signing. Many sailors sought her affection, but were lured to their deaths when their

ships were wrecked upon the rocks where she dwelt.


Many years later a statue of Syrena was erected in the main square of the Polish city of Warsaw.

The statue showed her carrying a sword and shield and she became the symbol and rallying point

of the Ploes during the German occupation in World War 2. The silhouette of the statue was used

as the shoulder badge,or formation sign, of the 2nd Polish Corps.


In the summer of 1944 several British Regiments were placed under command of 2nd Polish Corps

during the Adriatic Campaign. The British units fought with such distinction that the Polish

Corps Commander granted them the priviledge of wearing the Syrena Badge. One of these Regiments

was 26 Medium Regiment which included 10 (Assaya) Battery and 111 (Dragon) Battery.


In 1946, 26 Medium Regiment was retitled 37 Field Regiment, which later became 37 Heavy Air

Defence Regiment. Recognition of the link between 37 Regiment and 2nd Polish Corps was

officially acknowledged in 1966. It was in that year that 37 Regiment were granted the right to use

the Syrena motif as a Regimental symbol. When 36 and 37 Regiments amalgamated the Syrena

tradition was adopted by this Regiment.


This is the Flag of 2nd Polish Corps

654 "Maid of Warsaw" Squadron

Army Air Corps


You will be pleased to know the "Syrena" lives on in the Army Air Corps

654 Squadron and they proudly wear the Maid of Warsaw on their No2's.


The Syrena Squadron are based at Wattisham Airfield, Suffolk.

My thanks to Pilot Murray Nicol for telling me of this Syrena link.


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