View Full Version : Searchlight Training

Peter Kirk
21-09-2011, 11:17
I have come across a reference to a pre-war Searchlight Training Area, does anyone know where that was? It was being looked at with a view to re-open it in 1945/6
A seperate document from December 1945 states that in the UK only a small number of searchlights were available and they were in Norfolk! Could this be related?

21-09-2011, 20:31

I note from Dobinson that in September 1944, substantial cuts in ADGB resulted in searchlights being withdrawn from all areas except North Weald, Tangmere and Biggin Hill sectors. Nothing in TNA search re Searchlight and Training, other than early WWII.

Peter Kirk
21-09-2011, 22:42
What seems to be strange is that the searchlights were gone but the guns were manned and being upgraded in 1945-8.
It seems they wanted to reinstate some searchlights to enhance the post war "Bullseye" exercises and since searchlights were one of the key reasons for this type of excercise it wouldn't have been very realistic without them.
The trail on my current quest has gone dead as there is no follow on file. This means a trawl through possible indirect source files or just add the get out clause "more research is required in this particular aspect" :)
Searchlight files and Anti-aircraft files are indirect sources but the are more than a couple to add to my current outstanding list of 120+ files to look at!

Roll on retirement!

24-09-2011, 11:39
not exactly about training and probably belongs in the memorial thread somewhere but thought you may like to see this. It is in York Minster in a badly lit corner, and I didnt want to use a flash


24-09-2011, 13:11
There's a potted history of searchlights here (http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CEAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.army.mod.uk%2Fdocuments%2Fgen eral%2FRASearchlights-Text-Final(1).doc&ei=m8Z9Tsv5JoSk0AXSwNEG&usg=AFQjCNGgxcihUQu4WxyobPPDb47Qg3QEQA&sig2=qcOAgYIgxJDgpHLz62voWQ).

And from here (http://www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/trng/page7.html) the RA training units are listed in 1940 as:

216 Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Abergele, Conwy
217** Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Hereford, Herefordshire
220* Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Yeovil, Somerset
222 Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Taunton, Somerset
230 Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Blandford, Dorsetshire
231 Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Blandford, Dorsetshire
232** Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Devizes, Wiltshire
234* Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Carlisle, Cumbria
235 Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Ayr, Ayrshire
236** Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
237* Searchlight Training Rgt RA, Holywood

There's a further list for 1942 without locations. Those no longer listed as Searchlight Training in 1942 are indicated with asterix, * indicating a regiment now listed as Light AA Training and ** those listed as Heavy AA Training.

PNK, where have you come across the reference?

Peter Kirk
24-09-2011, 15:18
Alastair - Thanks for the list. The reference comes from AIR 14/3826 in a document dated 20/12/1945, relating to practice bombing on the "new" Bullseye Exercises. I can't lay my hands on the training reference but it was in the same file. There was a move to make Rushford Range area into at "Flashlight" target but I suspect the opeing of the larger ranges in Germany meant it was no longer required. Rushford is probably the reason for the Norfolk searchlight reference. Not much help I'm afraid.