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Unit 1st Airlanding Light Regiment RA

The 1st Airlanding Light Regiment, Royal Artillery became one of the first Airborne artillery units, as part of 1st Airborne Division. It began life as 458 Independent Light Battery, before conversion to an Airborne unit in December 1941. It was renamed 1st Airlanding Light Battery in mid-1942, before being expanded to a Regiment in February 1943.

Shortly afterwards, the 1st Airlanding Light Regiment was deployed to North Africa. On 16May they sailed from Liverpool on M.V’s Stirling Castle and Staffordshire and arrived in Oran, Algeria on 26 May 1943. 1st Airlanding Light Regiment was deployed to locations such as Froya Airfield near Mascara in June and M’saken in Tunisia in July. Although not required for the Sicily invasion, the Regiment travelled to Italy from Tunisia in September and arrived as part of the seaborne invasion flotilla to Taranto.

 In Southern Italy, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment supported 1st Canadian Infantry Division in Campobasso before alternating with 5th Infantry Division to Rionero in October 1943. The unit spent the beginning of December supporting 2nd New Zealand Division in three unsuccessful attacks on Orosogna. However, by mid December it was deployed to support 2nd (Independent) Parachute Brigade and 78th Infantry Division in many locales such as Casoli, Gessopelena and Roccascalegna where they fought on until January 1944.

 After being withdrawn from the line in January to hand over all equipment to 165 Field Regiment, R.A. in the Gioia area, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment sailed on S.S. Ranchi from Taranto, Italy to Greenock, Scotland. After rejoining 1st Airborne Division in the UK, the unit sailed for Normandy on 14 August before taking part in the mass airborne operation in Arnhem in September 1944. They were withdrawn from Oosterbeek on 26 September 1944. 

 By May 1945 1st Air Landing Light Regiment were ready for large scale exercises and were deployed to Stavanger, Norway as part of ‘Operation Doomsday’. On 23 June 1945, volunteers to join 6th Airborne Division (53rd A/L Light Regiment) flew to England. By August the remaining unit embarked on M.V. Aquitantia for the U.K.

 The 1st Airlanding Light Regiment formally disbanded on 1 December 1945

Officer Commanding (1st Airlanding Light Battery)

1941-43          Maj P Lloyd

Commanding Officers

1943              Lt Col RW McLeod
1943-4          Lt Col WFK Thompson
by Paradata Editor

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