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Kings Heath.. 192/69 Anti Aircraft Brigade

Paul D

master brummie
Hi, can anyone help please. Does anyone know where in Kings Heath the 192/69 Anti Aircraft Brigade were based in 1938 onwards. Is the building still there? The unit was later renamed 69th (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) AA Regt R.A. I think the building where the unit trained was called Brandwood House but not sure.
Paul
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi paul
I have a picture of brandwood house dated 1900 Located at one of the highest points in KingsHeath,
It had excellent views It was owned for over a century by the Gem family,
Who were well known attorneys and in 1890 G.F Lyndon, the edge tool maker,
Moved here,
It is now part of a TAVR Centre
Best wishes Astonian,,,,,
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Despite the very generous comment from maypolebaz, I am about to prove that my knowledge is far from "encyclopaedic"!

As is generally known, a large number of Home Guards were transferred from 1942/3 onwards from normal infantry duties in order to man anti-aircraft batteries of various types: light and heavy guns and rocket launchers. By mid-1944 some 118,000 men had been transferred or conscripted, about 7 percent of the total service. In inland Britain these batteries were obviously concentrated in and around urban areas.

Anti-aircraft defences were the responsibility of the Royal Artillery. Many units had been formed by the outbreak of war. The transfer of Home Guards meant that many of those trained men could be transferred to more aggressive duties in the buildup to D Day and beyond. Some batteries were almost wholly manned by the Home Guard.

As with the Home Guard as a whole, records concerning these HG AA units is fragmentary in the extreme. Virtually all records were destroyed after the war. It is just possible, however, because it all remained basically a Regular Army function, that there is more information still tucked away somewhere in the National Archives or the Imperial War Museum. But nobody seems to have dug it out and, as would have been especially valuable, produced a list of what unit was located where.

So, in Birmingham, what seems to be known is based on fragments of information in people's memoirs. It does sound as though Brandwood House was the HQ of more than one local AA Battalion and the battery or batteries associated with any of these battalions were located somewhere in the neighbourhood. I have seen references to batteries on Billesley Common, in Swanshurst Park and also one described to me as "in Crabmill Lane in Kings Heath, near to the Maypole". (I should be interested to hear if the latter reference makes sense – I don't know that part of Birmingham and the only Crabmill Lane I can find seems rather further away). There may well have been more – located on any piece of open ground.

I have one story from the 71st Warwickshire AA Battalion with obvious connections to Brandwood House – https://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences74KingsHeath.htm - but, I'm sorry to say, absolutely nothing so far on the 69th.

Chris
 

Paul D

master brummie
Thanks everyone for your comments. Chris, thanks also to you for your interesting input. From what you say there were a number of units using Brandwood House for HQ and possibly the 192/69th. Maybe the large shed like building in the links picture you supplied was the drill Hall.
 

Hughes

master brummie
Hi paul
I have a picture of brandwood house dated 1900 Located at one of the highest points in KingsHeath,
It had excellent views It was owned for over a century by the Gem family,
Who were well known attorneys and in 1890 G.F Lyndon, the edge tool maker,
Moved here,
It is now part of a TAVR Centre
Best wishes Astonian,,,,,
Where is the picture?
 

TerryD147

Brummie babby
I too would like to know more of the history of AA units around Birmingham. My father joined the TA in about 1938 and served in the 69th. He used to refer to P & Q sites by their names "Pip site" and "Queen site", the latter, I think, at Swanshurst park. I used to own his regimental ashtray with the badge of the 69th in the middle, sadly now lost.
 

Mad4brumkarl

New Member
I too would like to know more of the history of AA units around Birmingham. My father joined the TA in about 1938 and served in the 69th. He used to refer to P & Q sites by their names "Pip site" and "Queen site", the latter, I think, at Swanshurst park. I used to own his regimental ashtray with the badge of the 69th in the middle, sadly now lost.
Hi, first timer here but had to reply about “ the tank ramps down crabby” . If you walk down crab mill lane and go round the bend and about 500 yards on the right there is a gate which is now difficult to get over as it’s overgrown but once inside field keep walking and about 30 yards from the road there is definitely something well built. There are 2 ramps close together about 30 feet long and rise to about 8 foot pointing towards town. A couple of feet away there is a really thick brick wall which reaches the same height
It’s always puzzled me as to its purpose but it’s got to be military based . I’ll help anyone find it as one day it won’t be there and it would be a shame not to have some information logged on it , cheers K.
 

maypolebaz

master brummie
Hi, first timer here but had to reply about “ the tank ramps down crabby” . If you walk down crab mill lane and go round the bend and about 500 yards on the right there is a gate which is now difficult to get over as it’s overgrown but once inside field keep walking and about 30 yards from the road there is definitely something well built. There are 2 ramps close together about 30 feet long and rise to about 8 foot pointing towards town. A couple of feet away there is a really thick brick wall which reaches the same height
It’s always puzzled me as to its purpose but it’s got to be military based . I’ll help anyone find it as one day it won’t be there and it would be a shame not to have some information logged on it , cheers K.
I never got around to looking for the gun site my dad was on, in Crabmill Lane. What you describe, Karl, sounds like an air raid shelter and could well have been part of the gun site, I can't think of any other reason for one to be out in the middle of nowhere.
 
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