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Volunteer Gunners: Home Guard Rockets

by Mactheknife

Contributed by 
Mactheknife
People in story: 
P J McIntyre
Location of story: 
Portsmouth
Article ID: 
A2013643
Contributed on: 
10 November 2003

Apprenticed to a reserved occupation I wished to do something more active. So,when old enough, I joined the Home Guard. This would be late 1942 and the threat of invasion had receded. Guarding nothing in the small hours was not what I wanted. Orders came that an anti-aircraft battery was to be formed and I volunteered.
We were trained and took up a site on Southsea Common. It was about the size of a couple of football pitches and had 64 rocket projectors, each of which discharged two rocket projectiles.The rockets were a metal tube 3 inches in diameter, six feet long and weighing 56 pounds. One end was a 3.5 inch warhead and it was propelled by cordite. Small fins at the end gave it some direction and stability.
When in action the battery fired 128 of these shells to a determined height and position with the general idea that an enemy plane inside that box would have a very rough time.
We manned the site on Monday nights after work and then went back to work next morning.
We were often called out without action as, if not directly raided, we were on the line for aircraft to proceed inland.If I remember correctly we were twice engaged and were credited with destroying an enemy aircraft.
Wreckage was never found as our 'shoots'were normally out to seaward.
I did this until the war tapered to a close and the whole thing closed with no official farewell. Dad's Army it was not and I feel that we did something useful. It is a part of Home Guard history which seems to have been ignored.

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