Diluted Regiments

The process of dilution of Heavy Anti-Aircraft regiments consisted of replacing the majority of Other Ranks in a unit with men from the African Pioneer Corps. These men, Bechuana, Basuto and Swazi from Botswana (Bechuanaland Protectorate) Lesotho (Basutoland Protectorate) and Eswatini (Swaziland Protectorate) were trained as gun crews on the 3.7 inch Gun.

 

In 1943, in the Middle East and Italy, there was a shortage of men for the infantry. The idea was to replace the men in Heavy Anti-Aircraft units with Africans, so allowing the British troops to be employed elsewhere. Most men under 40 years of age went to the infantry while those older men remained in the RA to replace younger men. A few older men went elsewhere such as the Royal Signals.

 

The Africans were to take over all duties except for No’s 1 and 4 on each gun and the 12 men in the newly formed battery plotting detachment. They were formed into Companies with a British Subaltern and 3 NCO’s. The Company Sergeant Major and company clerk were both African’s.

 

The following is a brief record of those Bechuanaland Companies that served with the RA.

 

1971 Company

CSM G Mooketsi
Jul 41 Australian Engineers Syria
Jul 42 Guard Duties  
Jan 43 2 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Egypt
Aug 45 Presumably shipped back to southern Africa before repatriation
was halted until early 1946.
Egypt

 

1972 Company

CSM Elisha K Gwathe
Dec 41 Australian Engineers Syria
Feb 43 73 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Egypt
Feb 45 73 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment disbanded Italy
Feb 45 76 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Italy
Aug 45 Presumably shipped back to southern Africa before repatriation
was halted until early 1946.
Egypt

 

 

1973 Company

CSM’s S Seaomeng & Robert Moreri
Dec 41 Royal Engineers labourers Syria
Feb 43 311 Battery, 78 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment &
76 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment (to 1972 Company Feb 1945)
Levant & Tunisia
Dec 44 78 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment suspended animation Italy
Aug 45 Presumably shipped back to southern Africa before repatriation
was halted until early 1946.
Egypt

 

1974 Company

CSM G Selogoe Pilane
Dec 41 Australian & British engineers Syria
Feb 43 61 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Libya
Aug 45 Presumably shipped back to southern Africa before repatriation
was halted until early 1946.
Egypt

 

1975 Company

CSM S Seaomeng
Dec 41 Australian & British engineers Syria
Feb 43 69 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Libya
Aug 45 Presumably shipped back to southern Africa before repatriation
was halted until early 1946.
Egypt

 

 

1976 Company

CSM M Meese?
Dec 41 Royal Engineers labourers Syria
Feb 43 87 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Libya
Sep 44 1 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Italy
Aug 45 Presumably shipped back to southern Africa before repatriation
was halted until early 1946.
Egypt

 

2301 Company

CSM S Letsholathebe
1943 Formed in Middle East  
Feb 43 96 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Egypt
Jun 44 96 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment to suspended animation
Company to 106 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment ?? (Regiment on its way to UK for disbandment)
Italy
Sep 44 106 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment disbanded Italy
Sep 44 Men dispersed to fill gaps (men invalided out or on home leave)
in other Bechuana RA gun crews
 

 

 

2302 Company

CSM T Mosimaingape
1943 Formed in Middle East  
Feb 43 89 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Libya
Aug 44 89 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment disbanded Italy
Sep 44 57 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Italy