The reminiscences of Cyril Phillips . . .
During World War 2, I was stationed at Pendley Manor, Tring, working with 1st HAA Tractor Battery. HAA stood for Heavy Anti-Aircraft. It was known as ‘Tractor’ by the Home Defence, and developed because as the War progressed there was a need for a unit equipped with heavy transport capable of transporting 3.7 inch and 4,5-inch heavy anti-aircraft guns and support equipment.
The Unit was commanded by Capt. D Thomas and Lieut. Travis, a unit clerk. The unit was about sixty men and included several NCO’s drivers, mechanics and a cook and was established in Tring which had easy access to London and Southern England. There were five in the UK. The others were located in Gloucester, Potterton Hall near Leeds, Warrington and one near Edinburgh in Scotland. This gave sufficient cover for the all the Anti-Aircraft Gun Sites in the UK. At the Pendley base we looked after the maintenance of both lorries and gun transporters.
Each anti-aircraft site had four guns, Radar cabins and generators which required attention either through enemy action, routine maintenance or replacement. We would leave Tring with four lorries and transporters to go to any part of the UK. A senior driver would be in charge of the detachment. For example, when one of the many gun sites around London had been bombed, we would collect guns or other equipment from Mill Hill where there was an ordnance and repair depot, and with the help of Royal Electrical Mechanical engineers, get the site up and running again.