At our Society Meeting on 11 May, we were privileged to listen to a presentation on the ROYAL ARTILLERY COMMANDO GUNNERS by Col J.R.McGregor, especially the 29 Field Regiment RA with whom he proudly shared a good part of his military career.
When in 1960 it was decided to select an artillery regiment to
support 3 Commando Brigade RM, 29 Field Regiment RA, doing duty
in Kuwait and Aden at that time, was chosen. In consequence, all
personnel was required to pass the RM commando course.
Our speaker then showed a Video about the tough and diverse training forcing soldiers close to physical limits, almost beyond exhaustion day and night. The course finished with an endurance march over 30 miles, survived only by the fittest, and the best were then presented with the coveted green beret.
Regimental training continued until the end of 1961, and in 1962 the Commando Gunner Establishment came into being, consisting of 95 Cdo AO Regt RA and 29 Cdo Rgt RA.
1963 saw 29 Cdo Regt RA dispatched to Singapore on HMS Bulwark
Cdo Carrier. Further deployment in 1963/1964 included operations
against Indonesian Invasions in Malaya and North Borneo.
By 1965 the Cdo Gnrs were subjected to organisational changes, the 95 Cdo AO Regt was converted to a Gun Regt and 29 Cdo Regt structure changed to HQ Bty, 1 x AO Bty and 3 x Gun Btys.
From 1966 on the 29 Cdo Regt was deployed to NATO's north flank, and 95 Cdo to the Far & Middle East. Operations in 1967 saw one Bty of 29 Cdo Regt dispatched to Nigeria on HMS Albion, while 95 Cdo Regt took part in the evacuation of Aden with HMS Bulwark, Albion, Intrepid and Fearless.
In 1968 there came a change of tour, with 29 Cdo Regt being sent
to 3 Cdo Bde in Singapore to relieve 95 Cdo Regt returning to the
UK to do duty with NATO. At that time the RM Commando strength
was: 3 RM Cdos in the UK and 2 RM Cdos -3 Cdo Bde- in Singapore.
1971 saw the withdrawal from Singapore and disbandment of 95 Cdo
RA which was re-equipped and then consisted of 1 x TA AA missile
Bty and 1 x AO Bty.
The Falklands conflict brought 29 Cdo RA into the thick of the fighting and we were treated to a Video about part of this campaign with all its drama, and afterwards the homecoming of the troops.
With the fall of the USSR TA AO Bty disbanded and in 2000 only 29 Cdo Regt RA exists, fully equipped with the most modern guns and transport vehicles, as well as HMS Fearless and Intrepid which will be replaced at a later date. 1 RM Cdo and 1 Cdo Bty RA can be embarked on HMS Ocean, and as it happens they are now employed at Sierra Leone.
It is planned to conduct a ceremony on 15th July 2000 to commemorate the affiliation of 29 Cdo RA with Cape Field Artillery at the Royal Citadel. These two units fought in Tobruk together during World War 2.
8 June 2000
13 July 2000
10 August 2000
John Mahncke, (Vice-Chairman/Scribe), (021) 797 5167