873 Movement Light Battery, R.A.
Staines and Twickenham, 1948-1960

The page started in Jan 2013 for occasional memories that do not belong to the main
873 Sapper-days pages.

Staines drill hall seen in 2013
Staines Drill Hall (Leacroft)
in 2013 used as a day centre
click photo for close-up
photo: Ed Woodroffe, 2013

The "Gunner Days" of 873

873 Movement Light Battery, RA was formed in 1947 on the post-war re-organisation of the TA. Based at a TA Drill Hall at Leacroft in Staines, it had a war establishment of BHQ, three troops each with eight 90cm carbon-arc lights, and REME workshops, a total of 286 all-ranks.(15)

In 1958 the unit moved to hutted accomodation in Twickenham, and in 1960 the battery was disbanded following the decision to pass control of searchlight units back to the Royal Engineers because the sole war-time use of searchlights in the army was now ground illumination, which was not an artillery role.

Some of the equipment and personnel passed to a newly formed Sapper unit, 873 Movement Light Squadron, RE, based at the Twickenham premises.

No doubt many members who transferred wore the Sapper badge by necessity, but remained Gunners at heart.
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Ed Woodroofe recalls the lights were originally mounted on [4x4 3-ton] Thornycroft trucks at Staines, then on Bedford QLs. At Twickenham there were QLs, then [long-nosed] Commer Q4s and Bedford RLs. There were also some Fordson 3-tonners.
In Cyprus in 1958, a regular Army RA unit had 90cms mounted on what looks like 4x4 AEC Matadors from an old photo on the Internet.

Quite probably the Q4s, Rls and Fordsons would have passed to the new Sapper unit at Twickenham. Photos of all these trucks later.
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back to top of page page created Jan 2013 last edited/amended 27 January 2013 please e-mail me