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15 Battery


The Battery was formed at Woolwich on 1st April 1757, and following the custom of being named after the Battery Commander was called T. Smith's Company. In the l8th Century war against France, the Battery was split up into detachments and served in Naval Bomb Ships. A detachment took part in raids on the French coast at St Malo, Granville, Le Harve and Cherbourg and a detachment also took part in the capture of Guadeloupe in the West Indies.

In 1782 the Battery served with distinction in the epic siege of Minorca.

The Battery next saw active duty during the Crimean war when it served with an ammunition supply Brigade. This was often the most hazardous job to be involved in because, unlike the dug-in guns, the ammunition had to be brought over open ground under fire.

During the Napoleonic wars the Battery served in Newfoundland defending Canada against the possible American or French attack. The Battery went into action against American forces when they attacked in 1812. The excellent use of Artillery kept the Crown's possessions secure.

After the Crimea the Battery served in widely varying theatres from Ireland to India and next saw active service in the 2nd Afghan war in1878. The Battery was the first British Artillery to cross the 12,000 foot Shutgarden Pass, and took part in Lord Roberts VC punitive expedition against the Afghans, which included the successful engagement at Charasia, when the Battery firing blind destroyed all the Afghan Artillery.

The quiet period before the 1st World War was spent mostly divided between India and England, and on outbreak of war the Battery immediately joined the British Expeditionary Forces in France and fought continually in most battles. In Sept 1917 at Ypres the Battery won 4 Military Medals in one day for bravery in serving the guns and bringing ammunition forward.

The twenty year period between the Wars consisted of a succession of peacetime garrison duties in the UK and India. At the start of the War the Battery formed part of the Anti-invasion Mobile Force, and was then posted to Malta in 1940 to provide smoke protection for the convoys and the harbours. At the start of 1944, the Battery moved to Italy and joined the 8th Army's long hard fight up the heavily defended peninsula. It was the first Artillery to cross the broken Gothic line and fought with determination until Italy was conquered.

The Battery moved to Egypt in 1948, and then to HongKong in 1950 On Internal Security duties. This period of activity continued when the Battery arrived in Korea in 1952 as an Observation Battery with a troop of Bofors 40mm guns attached. The Battery is credited with over 600 locations of enemy guns during the Korean War.

In October 1959 15 Battery as part of 50 Medium Regiment moved to Menden and was at the time equipped with the 5.5 Gun. In September 1960 the Regiment was re-equipped, 15 and 21 Btys with Honest John Rockets and 33 and 78 Btys with 8in Guns.In 1976 the Regiment converted to the American Lance Tactical Nuclear missile system.

Of the 4 original Batteries only 15 Battery remained at the time of disbandment, having served a total of 33 years in Menden. During this time the Battery had carried out, or had soldiers attached on the following Operational Tours:

1971 - 72: Northern Ireland

1990 : Peacekeeping Cyprus

1990 - 91: Gulf War

1991 - 92: Northern Ireland

With the ending of the Cold War, the Battery lost its Lance missile role and amalgamated with Headquarters Battery, 22 Air Defence Regiment Royal Artillery to become 15 Headquarters Battery Royal Artillery. This ensured the Battery title and it's history lived on. It was though, in name only, with the soldiers of 15 Missile Battery as with the other missile Battery's being dispersed and posted throughout the remaining regiments of the Royal Artillery.