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204 (Tyneside Scottish) Battery RA(V)

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204 Battery

204 (Tyneside Scottish) Battery are located at Kingston Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, where they train for their wartime role as a Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Battery, supplying reinforcements to the regular army (Notably 5 and 32 Regt RA) using ASP and Phoenix equipment. Members of the battery can be spotted in a crowd as they wear a Tam O'Shanter with Red Hackle in lieu of a Beret.

History

In October 1914 the War Office authorised the formation of a "Tyneside Brigade", to be composed of 2 Battalions raised by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce.

By the 26 October 1,268 men had enrolled and this was believed to be a record in the country, thus within a month instead of forming two Battalions it had formed a Brigade consisting of four Battalions amounting to 4,400 men in total and within the next three months the Tyneside Scottish reached nearly 7,000 men. The Brigade came under command of Brigadier General Trevor Ternan and was locally known as "Harder than Hammers", for it was believed that a hammer might be broken, before the fighting spirit of the Tyneside Scottish.

The Battalion did not reach France until January 1916, and lead the attack at La Boiselle where a huge mine would be exploded, and the Tyneside Scottish would lead the attack. All four Commanding Officers and 80% of other ranks were killed. The Tyneside Scottish were soon brought up to full strength and were involved in actions too numerous to mention in this short history. After the Armistice in 1918 the Tyneside Scottish like all the Units of Kitcheners Army were disbanded.

In 1939 the duplicate Battalion of the 9th Durham Light Infantry was authorised to be raised as the Tyneside Scottish and was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel H L Swinburn TD. It as not long before the battalion the honour of becoming a Territorial Battalion as part of the justly famous Regiment The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) and on 23 April 1940 whilst only partly trained and under equipped the unit was sent to France. On the 20 May 1940 the unit was encircled by the advancing German Army and after five hours of fighting was overrun.

The Tyneside Scottish was reformed serving in Iceland and later on 12 June 1944 under the command of Lt Col RWM de Winton landed in France and in July 1944 took part in the Rauray Battle, the Battalion becoming so reduced that the remaining men were divided between 5 Black Watch, 7 Black Watch and 7 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

The Battalion had many guises after the war until in 1968 the majority of all ranks and the pipe band became a Gunner Battery in 101 Medium Regiment sharing the drill hall at Knightsbridge, Gosforth. The Battery moved from Gosforth in 1981 to take over a new TA Centre in Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne and converted to the 105mm Light Gun. The Battery converted yet again in 1993 to the 155mm FH70 Gun. The Battery moved to a new TA Centre at Kingston Park in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1994 and in January 1998 the Battery converted from the 155mm FH70 to become a support Battery providing elements to HQ 1 Artillery Brigade, a Metrological Troop, Survey troop, Phoenix Troop and personnel to man the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

With Pheonix being moved to 32 Regt RA, and 5 Regt RA losing the majority of their Survey and Met capabilities, the Tyneside Scottish re-roled to come in line with 5 Regt RA Battery structure with the introduction of new equipment, namely Advanced Sound-ranging Programme (ASP), Mobile Artillery Monitoring of the BAttlefield (MAMBA) and COunter Battery RAdar (COBRA). The training programme in 2004, culminated in the first cumpuslory call-up of members of the Tyneside Scottish since WWII to support P Bty, 5 Regt RA on Op Telic V in Iraq.

Amazingly it was not until 2007 that the Army Dress Commitee, finally authorised the wearing of the Tam O'Shanter (TOS), though only when in working dress, echoing a past incident from WWI when after the Army Dress Commitee rejected an application for the Tyneside Scottish Brigade to wear Kilts, each soldier was issued with a patch of tartan as a sign of congratulations after their efforts in the Somme Battle, leading to one soldier commenting "Man, we'll have to fight a hell of a lot of battles before we get our kilts". It appears nothing changes!

The Tyneside Scottish continue to provide a steady stream of soldiers to 5 Regt RA, for Ops Telic & Herrick and continue serving with an elan and dedication that seperates it from the other batterys that are in 101 (Northumbrian) Regt RA (V). With the future of the TOS secured and a new effective role within the Royal Artillery, it is undoubted that the Tyneside Scottish will go from strength to strength.