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"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, 
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

8th Belfast H.A.A. Regt.

aka   'The Twelve Mile Snipers'
message board

 

WW1 Soldiers database               8th Index               WW2 Soldiers database

streets (at) marylennon.co.uk

The Men

Sergeant William Adrain - Diary and Biography

D. J. Bailie - War Diary and Photographs

Colonel Wm. N. Brann

Sgt. Thomas Herbert Coulter (Herbie)

Jimmy Cunningham's Private Army Comes Home

L/Sgt. Bertie Goodwin

Gunner Harry Grist

2/Lt. William George Hales

Gunner Herbert Hanley

Ken Heath

Bdr. William (Buttons) Hunter

Irvine Brothers 23rd Battery

Bdr. J. C. Irvine 23rd Battery

Bdr. Thomas Henderson Kane

Tommy and Albert Kinnon 21st and 23rd Bty.

 Gnr. Jim Lennon's War Records - Photos

Sgt. Joseph Harold Lynn (aka Harry-Joe)

Matchett Brothers 23rd Battery

L/Bdr. Harry Joseph Mawhinney 22nd Battery

Gunner Thomas Mercer 21st Battery

 Jimmy McKittrick

Bdr. Thomas McLaughlin

Colonel Harry Porter

Sgt. Billy Wilson 23rd Battery

Sidney Ernest Wright - Diary & Photographs

NOMINAL ROLLS, etc.

N-O-K- Dec'd Personnel 21/22/23 Hy.A.A.

Posted/Repatriated from 23 Hy.A.A.

List of Additional Soldiers

List of names, no addresses 23rd Bty.

Memorial Service Book (list of names) B Troop

22nd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

23rd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

RHQ/REME Memorial Brochure, addresses

Nominal Roll 21st Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 22nd Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 23rd Bty. all ranks

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 21st Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 22nd Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 23rd Battery

Alterations & Additions to Nom. Rolls 23rd

RHQ / REME Nominal Rolls

 

 

 

 

 

FreeFoto.com

Newspaper Clippings

Assorted Clippings 1

Assorted Clippings 2

Correspondence

SEAC March 1944

 

Photographs

Sport & Small Groups

8th Belfast Band

Individuals & Friends

Large Group Pictures

Donated Photos

8th Belfast Band items

Documents  *  Items

MEMORABILIA

Old Comrades Section

Burma Star Luncheon 2009

St. Annes and Lansdowne Court Hotel Laying-up of Burma Star Standard 3rd October 2010

 

Misc.

Obituaries  *  Memorials  Changi Prison Chapel

8th Belfast HAA History
by Colonel Murray Barnes, OBE , TD.

A short History of The 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery (Supplementary Reserve)
by Harry Porter

Poems

Dean Houston McKelvey's Sermon
3rd October 2010

Extract from Coralie Kinahan's book
'Behind Every Great Man'
"Robin's War"

 

Video Page

Harry Porters film of the Twelve Mile Snipers
(in 3 parts)

Burma Star Luncheon

The Last Parade

and more....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

other WW2 stories

Cpl. William F. Davison

Belfast Telegraph Tuesday June, 6, 1944 Invasion

 

A Short History of The 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment
Royal Artillery (Supplementary Reserve)

by Colonel Harry Porter

        The Regiment was mainly recruited in the Spring of 1939 in the aftermath of the Munich Crisis and largely comprised of young men from the City and District of Belfast.  Many were colleagues from the same business offices and organisations; such as Gallahers, Belfast Corporation, Banks, etc.  Being Supplementary Reserve, it was mobilised before the Territorial Army and at Action Stations manning Anti-Aircraft Guns in the Belfast area prior to the official declaration of war on 3rd September, 1939.

        In October the Regiment left Belfast for Practice Camp in Cornwall, firing the guns for the first time as a unit and, after a short embarkation leave, sailed from Southampton to Le Havre, joining the British Expeditionary Force in Northern France before Christmas 1939 in exceedingly cold weather conditions.

        The three Batteries and Supporting Units were soon dispersed to undertake battle commitments over a wide area of the Allied Front in Northern France.  Following the German Panzer-Blitzkrieg in May, 1940, all units were soon in action against the German Army and the Luftwaffe.  The fortunes of war resulted in evacuations from Dunkirk, Cherbourg, St. Malo and other ports during late May and early June.  One Battery successfully brought back three of their 3.7 AA guns and some vital gunnery instruments in spite of having received orders to blow them up.  On returning to England the Regiment occupied gun positions during the Battle of Britain, the German Raids on London and Teeside, prior to a period of intensive mobile training covering most parts of the United Kingdom.

        In the Spring of 1942 the Regiment embarked in the Belfast built line RMS 'Britannic' sailing in convoy with Royal Naval escort including the famous Battleships HMS 'Rodney' and HMS 'Nelson'.  After a long voyage covering the North and South Atlantic it arrived in Durban, South Africa, where a welcome and hospitable stay of ten days was made necessary by engine trouble before finally reaching Bombay.  The guns and equipment arrived at Karachi and both elements assembled in Lahore before driving some 2,000 miles in convoy down the Grand Trunk Road to Calcutta.  Action stations were taken up there and in East Bengal across the Ganges/Bramaputra Rivers before moving south into Burma to join the XV Corps in Slims' 14th Army which became part of Lord Mountbatten's South East Asia Command.

        On arrival in the Far East members of the Regiment quickly realised that the Japanese were not the only enemy when experiencing the monsoons, mud, mosquitos, flies, malaria and, in turn, dense jungle and intense heat.  The Regiment took part in the Arakan Campaigns over a period of some two and a half years firing effectively against the Japanese Air Force and even more extensively against ground targets when their long range and accuracy earned them the nick name of 'The Twelve Mile Snipers'.  Some elements took part in the famous Battle of the 'Admin Box' at the Ngakyedouk Pass when, surrounded by the enemy, the guns were kept firing until the siege was lifted.  Members of the Regiment are proud that several of their comrades received awards for gallantry as a result of this heroic stand which was the turning point in the Arakan Battles.  The ultimate success of the Burma Campaign, together with those of South-East Asia and the Pacific, precipitated by the atom bomb attack on Japan, resulted in the surrender of the Japanese in August, 1945.

        Unfortunately, there were many comrades in arms who were called upon to make the Supreme Sacrifice and are resting in British War Cemeteries in France, Belgium and in the Far East.  A Memorial Tablet in memory of the men of the Regiment who died in the Arakan Campaigns was unveiled in Saint Marks, Akyab, at Easter, 1945.  This little battle-torn Church was one of the first to be retaken in all Burma and men of the Regiment assisted in restoring the fabric of the building.

'When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave out to-day'

        When peace was declared the Regiment embarked at Madras on yet another Belfast built ship, the RMS 'Stirling Castle', and eventually took part in a farewell Parade and March Past in Belfast in the Autumn of 1945.  This was the last official parade of the Regiment in the City.  However, many members came together again in 1947 when the Territorial Army was re-formed and so helped to continue the spirit of the 8th in the new organisation - the successor of which is one of the most efficient and enthusiastic units in the Volunteer Reserve today.

        It is a fact that war brings people closer together and members of the Regiment have always been proud to wear the 'Red Hand of Ulster' on their uniforms and to have had an 'esprit-de-corps' second to none.  Service in this well led and proud unit has resulted in many lifelong friendships being formed resulting in business partnerships, marriages between families and other lies and connections.  Well attended Annual Reunion Dinners are held in Belfast and in London where contact is maintained with those members from the Mainland, who joined during the war fitting in so splendidly and who were proud to become part of the Regiment in every way.

        The Regimental Benevolent Fund, raised by families and friends during the war, has been able to assist many of those who require a helping hand.

        Whilst 'anno-domini' is taking its toll we like to think that the unique spirit of the 8th will remain until the last member was 'shuffled off this mortal coil'.  If a little of its magic touches the next generation, it will have been inspired by the enthusiasm and devotion of duty to those who, at a critical time in our History, were privileged not just to be in the 8th Regiment, but to be the Regiment itself.

                  H. J. Porter

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Colonel h. j. Porter obe td jp dl

Colonel Harry Porter, for many years one of the leading Gunners in Northern Ireland, died suddenly on 2nd January 2002 at his home on the shores of Belfast Lough.

He was 82

click photo to go to obituary