39th Regiment RA - alias - 'The 39ers Club' (est. 2003)

The History of the 39 Regt RA

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39th Regiment Royal Artillery 


1947 - 2015

Info. updated   5th August 2015

Did You Know ?
39 Regiment RA was one of the last 'Honest John Missile Regiments RA' to be place in suspended animation on 20th of February 2015, from the 3 original  Missile Regiment's - 24th 39th & 50th Missile Regiment's Royal Artillery, they are all now in suspended animation.

39 Regiment RA was the only Active Regiment with direct links to the 3 Missile Regiments which served in B.A.O.R Germany with the Honest John Missile.  1960-1977.

** **


The Honest John Missile on the Launcher

39th Regiment

Royal Artillery


39 Regiment Royal Artillery is part of the Royal Artillery.

Its name is pronounced "three nine", The Regiment is one of the Depth fire units of 1st Artillery Brigade, part of the British Army.

It was formed in 1947, and placed into suspended animation on 20th February 2015.

The Regiment is based at Albemarle Barracks in Newcastle, Northumberland.

As of 2011, the regiment was equipped with the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS). They will be the first unit to deploy the new Fire Shadow loitering munition; training has already begun and they were planned to take it to Afghanistan in 2012. The regiment recently deployed Batteries on Op Herrick and have fired the first GMLRS rounds in theatre.

Under Army 2020, the regiment is being disbanded and its GMRLS launchers transferred to the other regiments and the Territorial Army.

The Regimental flag was lowered on 20 February 2015.



1947   to   2015


The history of the

39th Regiment RA is as follows.

  • 1947 – 39 Regiment RA was formed with the re-designation of 2 Medium Regiment RA. It was originally equipped with BL 5.5 inch Medium Gun and was first stationed in the Middle East and Africa. The Regiment left the Middle East in 1948 after an Emergency Tour to Palestine, where it deployed to Ayrshire and was re-equipped with the M59 155 mm Long Tom Gun.


  • 1955 – Converted to a 155mm Self Propelled Regiment.


  • 1958 – Deployed to Cyprus to support operations against EOKA with batteries based in Episkopi, Dhekhlia, and Jophinou. In 1960 the Regiment moved to support the BAOR, and was based in Dempsey Barracks in Sennelager for the next 35 years. Here its role was one of three Nuclear Regiments, and was equipped with Honest John Rockets and towed M115 203 mm howitzer


  • 1967 – 75 Battery was placed in suspended animation and was replaced by H Battery (Ramsays' Troop) Royal Artillery.


  • 1969 – the Regiment was caught up in the Cou d'état by Captain Gaddaffi in Libya, and the Regiment's 2IC was captured and held hostage, but later released unharmed.


  • 1972 – Further reorganization with 39 Medium Regiment now using the M109 Howitzer and M110 Self Propelled Guns, and 132 Bty RA and 176(Abu Klea) Bty RA joining H Battery. The Regiment completed four tours of Northern Ireland over the next seven years.


  • 1973 – Changed roles once more when it became a General Support Regiment, and was equipped entirely with the M110 Self Propelled Gun.


  • 1977 - Redesignated 39 Field Regiment with H Bty, 132 & 176 Btys


  • 1977 - 43 Bty joined Regt. equipped with Blowpipe


  • 1980 - On 15 Mar 1980 granted Freedom of the City of Paderborn, Germany


  • 1982 – Redesignated 39 Heavy Regiment was joined by 56 (Olpherts) Bty RA, 34 (Seringapatam) Battery and 76 (Maude's) Battery. H Battery was placed into suspended animation and 132 Battery together with 176 Battery departed for the Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill.


  • 1987 – 132 Battery and 176 Battery rejoined the Regiment with the M110 Self Propelled Gun role and 56 Battery converted to a special weapons battery, equipped with the M109 Self Propelled Guns.


  • 1989 – 39 Heavy Regiment took delivery of the MLRS, and was given a year to convert, complete training and become operational. The Regiment deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of 1st Armoured Division on Operation Granby. In a visit for VIPs it spectacularly failed to hit an island, during a demonstration of its firepower.


  • 1993 – The Regiment was joined by 57 (Bhurtpore) Battery Royal Artillery, who were to be equipped with the Phoenix UAV, and deployed to Cyprus, as the British detachment in UNFICYP. This tour saw the Danish and Canadian Contingents leave, with only the Austrians and the British left. Argentina then sent a force to control Sector One, the Austrians were in charge of Sector Three and the British in charge of Sector Two. This was the first time that British and Argentine army units had met since the Falklands war in 1982.


  • 1995 – 39 Regiment left Dempsey Barracks, Sennelager and moved to Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland.


  • 1996 – The regiment deployed again to Cyprus in support of UNFICYP. The island experienced some of its highest tension along the buffer zone in 30 years, and two of the Regiments soldiers were shot and wounded by Turkish Troops

  • .

  • 1998 – The regiment deployed to Northern Ireland.


  • 2001 – The Regiment supported MAFF, in the North-East of the UK, during the Foot and mouth outbreak,


  • 2003 – 57 Battery deployed to Kosovo to carry out UAV flights, and this was followed in 2003 with the Battery moving to 32 Regt RA, which was reorganised as one of the Royal Artillery Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiments with its focus on UAVs 74 Bty (The Battle Axe Company) joined 39 Regiment and it was formed as the only Depth Fire Regiment in the British Army. 101 Regiment is the Territorial Army Regiment of MLRS, and is based in Newcastle.


  • 1998 to 2004 – 39 Regiment has completed several tours of Northern Ireland from 1998, as the Urban Reinforcement Battalion. It continued to support operations in the province, until the end of Operation Banner in 2007


  • 2002 to 2007 – Soldiers of the Regiment have deployed to Kuwait and Iraq as part of Operation Telic.


  • 2004  35 Bty RA joined 39 Regiment after the disbandment of 22nd Regiment Royal Artillery. The Regiment is now also equipped with GMLRS.


  • 2007 to 2014 – The Regiment continues to deploy soldiers to Afghanistan to support Op Herrick


  • 2015 – 39 Regiment was disbanded on 20 February 2015 at Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland.UK



  • The Regimental flag was lowered on 20 February 2015.





 The Old Report

Brief History 
before 2015 !

On April the 1st 1947, 39 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery was formed following the redesignation of 2 Medium Regiment.  The Regiment was equipped with 5.5" guns and was initially stationed in the Middle East and Africa.  Following an emergency Operational tour to Palestine in 1948, the Regiment left the Middle East and moved to Ayrshire where it re-equipped with the M59 155mm 'LONG TOM' Howitzer and was joined by 180 Battery equipped with the towed 7.2" Howitzer.  After moving to Hampshire in 1952, the Regiment subsequently converted to become a 155mm Self-Propelled Regiment in 1955.

In 1958 the Regiment deployed on a nine month Emergency Tour to Cyprus to support operations against EOKA, with batteries based in Episkopi, Jophinou and Dhekhlia.  

1959 On return to the UK, the news was broken that the Regiment was to move to join the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).  By February 1960, the Regiment had reorganised in Dempsey Barracks, Sennelager to become one of the Corps Artillery's three Nuclear Regiments, equipped with two 'HONEST JOHN' Rocket batteries and two towed 8" M115 Howitzer batteries.  This was to become home for the next 35 years.

Following a period of some stability, it was announced in 1967 that 75 Battery was to be placed in suspended animation.  In an unusual parade the Batterydrove 200 yards out of Dempsey Barracks, turned around, replaced their vehicle identification marks and drove back into camp as H Battery(Ramsays' Troop) Royal Artillery.  Two years later, whilst on exercise in Lybia, the Regiment found itself caught up in the military coup of the then Captain Ghadaffi against the government of King Idris.  During this the Regimental 2IC was captured and held hostage, being later released unharmed.

A further reorganisation in 1972, as 39 Medium Regiment equipped with the 155mm M109 and 203mm M110 self-propelled guns, saw 132 Battery(The Bengal Rocket Troop) and 176(Abu Klea)Battery joining H Battery.  During the next seven years, the Regiment completed four emergency tours in Northern Ireland, the first to FortGeorge, Londonderryin 1973.  In 1981, the Regiment changed role once again, to become a General Support Regiment equipped entirely with the M110 gun.  This change of role also involved a change of organisation.  In April 1982, 39 Heavy Regiment was joined by 56(Olphert's)Battery, 34(Seringapatam)Battery and 76(Maude's)Battery.  H Battery was placed into suspended animation and 132 Battery together with 176 Battery departed for the Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill.  Some five years later, 132 Battery and 176 Battery rejoined the Regiment in the conventional M110 Field Gunnery role and 56 Battery converted to a special weapons battery, equipped with the M109 Self-Propelled gun.

In 1989, 39 Heavy Regiment fired its guns for the last time and took delivery of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), being given a year to convert, complete training and become operational.  This was curtailed with the Regiment deploying to Saudi Arabia as part of 1st (UK) Armoured Division on Operation GRANBY.  During the campaign, 39 Heavy Regiment became the first to fire MLRS in anger.

In 1993, the Regiment was joined by 57(Bhurtpore) Battery, which became the first battery to be equipped with the Phoenix Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV).  In the next three years, the Regiment deployed on two operational tours of Cyprus, as part of the United Nations forces.  In the latter tour, during the highest tension experienced along the buffer zone in 30 years, two soldiers were shot and wounded by Turkish Troops.

After 35 years in Sennelager, the Regiment moved to Northumberland, where it currently resides.  In February 2001 the Regiment was heavily committed to supporting the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food,(MAFF), here in the North-East, during the Foot and Mouth outbreak, earning high praise for its work during what was a tragic and emotional time for local farmers.

In 2003 57 Battery moved to 32 Regiment, where all the Gunners UAV assets are now located, and 74 Battery (The Battleaxe Company), left 32 Regiment and joined 39 Regiment, making 39 Regiment a single capability MLRS Regiment. The Regiment completed tour of Northern Ireland in late 2002 and continues to support operations in the province.  In addition a number of 39 Regiment soldiers deployed with 1st (UK) Division to Kuwait and Iraq as part of op TELIC.

In 2004, 35 Bty left 22 Regiment RA, which has now been disbanded, and joined 39 Regiment at Albemarle Barracks.  With the demise of 22 Regiment RA, formerly "The Welsh Gunners", 39 Regiment changed its recruiting area to cover Wales. 39 Regiment RA is part of 1st Artillery Brigade.


The Present Day

The Regiment is currently going through yet another busy time, recently 35 Battery rejoined the Regiment after a very successful OP Telic Tour.  We currently have most of the Regiment deployed on a United Nations Peacekeeping Tour of Cyprus.  35 Battery will be shortly undergoing BOWMAN Conversion.

Future Plans

On current planning the Regiment are due to deploy with 3 Batteries, 56 Bty, 74 Bty and 176 Bty, on a UN tour of Cyprus (Op TOSCA) in October 2006. To provide a United Nations peacekeeping force.

35 Battery will be deploying to Germany and Poland on Exercise Uhlan Barbara and Exercise Sheldrake Sword.

132 Battery will be trialing a new ammunition system.

The Regiment on a whole will start to convert to Bowman Communications equipment in 2007.

The next year is busy for the Regiment, training, deployments and conversions all stretch the regiment but as usual we will rise to the occasion and do our very best.


39th Regiment RA

Drop Me a Line !
I'm; Michael (Cabby) Hughes

Michael (Cabby) Hughes in 1962

{'!'}  {'!'}

Michael (Cabby) Hughes in 2004

Michael (Cabby) Hughes
(Secretary - The 39ers Club)
35 Roman Rd.,
Blackburn, BB2 3EZ
Lancashire, UK
New e mail address:

as April 2014

Thank you for looking at
'The 39ers Club' 'website'.

Michael (Cabby) Hughes
  Website Creator, Secretary,
Webmaster & Washer-Up

(Sep 2003) All Rights Reserved ©

Please Note


This (The 39ers Club) is a personal web site and has no official status. The contents and design of this site is by me and no other. I WISH TO THANK ALL THOSE WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO MY SITE.

I myself served with the Royal Regiment of Artillery from 1954 till 1976 of which a considerable amount of that time was spent with - 39 Regt RA or 40 Regt RA - Sennelager or Gutersloh, West Germany