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113th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, The Royal Artillery

The 113th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment The Royal Artillery began life as the 5th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry.

5th Battalion soldiers were all territorials, that is part-time volunteer soldiers. Before the Second World War, in 1938, the Territorial Army was expanded and the 5th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry was split into two searchlight battalions. Following the outbreak of war, territorial soldiers became full time soldiers.

In August 1940, the second of the two searchlight battalions became the 55th Search Light Regiment The Royal Artillery. It changed its name again in December 1941 to become the 113th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment The Royal Artillery.

The Regiment was stationed in Norfolk in 1942, and then prepared for service overseas in late 1942 and early 1943. However, it remained in England, defending the country against air attack, until it took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944.

Landing on Juno beach, France, the soldiers fought around Caen through June and July.

Photograph of Nijmegen bridge (D/DLI 7/404/28/21)
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In August they set off across France and Belgium until they reached Nijmegen in Holland, where they remained for eight weeks.

The photograph (left) shows the bridge over the River Waal at Nijmegen, Holland, September 1944.

The Path of the Regiment (D/DLI 7/404/19)
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On Christmas Day 1944, the Regiment was moved to the Ardennes, France, to fight against the German counter-attack there.

Returning to Holland for a time, the soldiers were then sent into Germany to support the advance across the River Rhine by the British Army.

Commandos crossed the River Rhine on 23 March 1945, with the main army crossing the next day.

Following the successful action, the 113th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment received their orders to move to Belsen.