RAOC; 77HAA; Radar

      Stuart - My mother's first husband Walter who was taken into captivity in Java and died in Kuching was in the RAOC, attached to the 77HAA.

      It seems, in contrast to my mother's belief that he was 'something to do with supplies', that he was involved with the servicing and maintenance of Radar systems for the HAA.

      I am trying to find information concerning RAOC involvement in radar servicing, and in particular how and where Walter might have been trained.

      Any suggestions on where I could start researching? His war record is so
      pitifully sparce as to be no help unfortunately.

      Mark - >Stuart, You don't mention where you live but a visit to the Public Records Office in Kew, London, might help. File WO 172/16 covers light AA in Malaya and may offer some information, or else you could try searching the PRO website (www.pro.gov.uk) for details of heavy AA units in the 1942 timeframe.

      Finally, the RAOC may have a museum or historical section that could shed
      further light. Just a few ideas that might be of assistance.

      Ron - >Stuart, Try the London Gazette 1948, I had a quick look and there is quite alot of info on heavy ant-aircraft units and a bit on radar.

      Use the search on the first page it just searches the Gazette's articles.

      A search on radar from:

      P1S6 - ... of cable available but only small progress had been made when war broke out. There were a few radar sets available but efforts to supplement the system with wireless communication met with only partial ...http://www.fepow-community.org.uk/Research/London_Gazette_1948/html/body_p1s6.htm - 74k - 2002-05-05

      P2S40 - ... of the outer part of the area covered by the warning system. Nevertheless, with the aid of the radar sets, it was still found possible in most cases to obtain some warning of attack though rarely enough ...
      http://www.fepow-community.org.uk/Research/London_Gazette_1948/html/body_p2s40.htm - 17k - 2002-05-05

      Brian - >Stuart, As you would imagine, radar was somewhat primitive up to 1941 but there was then, as now, a distinct difference between early warning aircraft detection systems and gunnery systems. The latter had greater positional accuracy but less range and a degree of mobility. The type taken to Java by the HAA batteries was probably the type known as GL 1 which were first issued in 1939. They had separate transmitter and receiver units in cabins mounted on wheels with an array of aerials on the roof when deployed. I have a bit more technical stuff if you want it but it's a bit too 'anorak' for me!

      I can't help you with details of RAOC locations or training but it may be significant that 241 battery of the 77HAA, which was originally located in Cardiff, was in October 1941 sent to defend the Ordnance Depot at Donnington, Shropshire. It may be worth starting your search here.

      As I'm sure you know, 77HAA sailed from Gourock on 7 December 1941.

      By the way, have you read Ernest G Darch's book 'Survival in Japanese POW Camps with Changkol and Basket'? He was RAF but was transporting radar equipment in western Java on 1 March 1942 when he ran into a Japanese patrol and was eventually captured. He spent most of the rest of the war in the POW camp at Kuching.

      Ron - >Brian, Being a radio and TV engineer since school, I do collect any old radio gear and info., have you any technical information that gives you the manufacturer of the valves, is it Pye, if so very interested. I am looking for circuits of radar equipment using EF50 valves as they were later used in their first black and white TV's.

      Stuart - >Brian, many thanks for this.

      I know a fair amount about the 77th, based on various books etc, it is the RAOC and Radar angle which I am trying to home in on, so the comments on GL1 and Darch's book are very useful.

      Brian - >Ron Sorry, I realise now that what I might call technical gobble-de-gook is probably bread and butter to you! No, I'm afraid my info is nothing like as detailed as describing valves and such like, but more on things like frequency bands and detection ranges. My source for this info is Brigadier Routledge's 'Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914-55'. I suppose this would be considered the standard work on the subject but I'm afraid I've found some surprising inaccuracies and omissions regarding events in Java which makes me a little sceptical about other areas of interest. Researchers beware!

      Ron - >Brian, Thanks for looking though.

      Stuart - >Brian, AH, that sounds a must-read book.

      Does it clarify this :
      Who ran the AA radar? I assume that the HAA were responsible for operating it, but that RAOC provided the workshop repair facility? Can anyone indicate whether the training of radar operators (HAA) and radar repair technicians (RAOC) was done jointly, or entirely separately?

      Brian - >Stuart, I've had a fairly quick scan through the parts of the Routledge book I copied and I see in the index there is reference to RAOC on just one page (p422) which perhaps suggests their role was minimal. There is also reference to a 'Radar Training Centre' at Storrington (p435). Needless to say I didn't copy either of these pages!

      Stuart - >Brian, Yes, I found a ref to Storrington somewhere on the net. I think RAOC role minimal till it broke...just like anything else which needed fixing, eg radios, vehicles etc.

      Keith - I do not think I can contribute much to this discussion I regret to say, but to quote from a book "Britain's Wonderful Fighting Forces", printed I suspect in the early 40s. The date the first owner put in the book is 1941.

      "The R.O.A.C. is primarily responsible for the army's armaments. Actually the work of the corps covers a very wide field. It deals with the provision, storage, handling, and despatch of stores, personnel and unit equipment, armaments, ammunition, mechanical transport, clothing and other necessaries. In wartime the corps saves the Army a great deal of money by reclaiming and repairing damaged armaments and equipment."

      Thats the passage quoted word for word, hope it is of some use. The book Brian refers to, although interesting, is a general work, and needless to say, I never copied the radar bits either.




Search Box

The Monthly Revue now covers over 150 pages, a search box has been added to help search for a topic.

This search can also be directed at the Fepow Community or London Gazette, selecting one of these limits the topic searched to that particular area of the site.

Search for
Get a Free Search Engine for Your Web Site


Sharing Information


Sharing information with others is rewarding in itself, the pieces from the jigsaw start to fit together and a picture begins to appear. Improve your knowledge and help make the Fepow Story an everlasting memorial to their memory.


The questions and answers from the emails sent in and the Message Board will be collated, any Leggies, including pictures or further information please send to:



Subscribe to Fepow-Community
Powered by groups.yahoo.com