6 HEAVY ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERY
2/2ND HAA REGIMENT
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

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It appears that the 6th Anti-aircraft Battery, 6 AA Bty, was not formed in Brisbane until March 1942, when 3” guns were installed to cover the RAAF airfield at Amberley. Their Battery Headquarters was located at Blackheath Boys Home at Oxley. 3.7” gun sites were developed at Colmslie, Victoria Park and Hendra with further 3” guns at Archerfield. Anti-aircraft units of the US Army were also in Brisbane from March 1942.

The HAA defences in Brisbane came under command of Headquarters 2/2nd Heavy Anti-aircraft Regiment, HQ 2/2 HAA Regt, in June 1942 and the gun sites were numbered in July 1942 as follows:-

In August 1942, 38th Anti-aircraft Battery, 38 AA Bty, was formed to take over 386 HAA Gun Stn and 389 HAA Gun Stn which were north of the Brisbane River. In September 1942, 387 HAA Gun Stn at Balmoral was formed under 6 AA Bty.

6 AA Bty Headquarters relocated from Blackheath Boys Home to a house called "Belbowrie" at 95 Donaldson Street, Corinda in December 1942. They also took over the adjoining house in Donaldson Street. Today there are two extra houses built in between these two houses that existed in WWII. Their Commanding Officer was Major Tony Steinl, and the 2IC was Captain Douglas.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 24 April 2018

"Belbowrie" 95 Donaldson Street, Corinda. They
also occupied the adjacent house in Donaldson Street.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 24 April 2018

This was the second house used by AA units during WWII. Since
then, two other houses have been built between the two houses.

 

390 HAA Gun Stn was formed to take over the Hemmant site from the 2/5th Heavy Anti-aircraft Battery, 2/5 HAA Bty, in January 1943 and 385 HAA Gun Stn moved to Lytton in June 1943. In August 1943, a reorganization saw the HAA batteries come directly under command of Headquarters Brisbane Anti-aircraft Group, HQ Brisbane AA Gp.

In mid 1943, the Volunteer Defence Corps, VDC, soldiers of "A" Coy, "B" Coy and "D" Coy, 4th VDC Battalion, 4 VDC Bn, commenced training to operate the HAA guns and soldiers from "A" Coy and "B" Coy, 9th VDC Battalion, 9 VDC Bn, trained at Amberley. The August 1943 restructure incorporated partial VDC manning of HAA guns in southern Australia and 6 AA Bty became 6 HAA Bty (Static) with the following restructured units:-

Each of the above had large groups of VDC soldiers which had been detached from their battalions. Also the reformed 385 HAA Tp (Static) transferred to 38 HAA Bty (Static). In September 1943, the 3” guns of 391 HAA Tp (Static) and 392 HAA Tp (Static) were taken out of service and those units disbanded so 385 HAA Tp rejoined 6 HAA Bty (Static) in October 1943 while 6 HAA Battery Headquarters, moved from "Belbowrie" at Corinda to Hemmant in November 1943.

Very few VDC officers and senior NCOs were used in these units. In February 1944 when the AA defences were to be reduced, the VDC formed complete ‘shadow units’ which could fully man the positions, with the AMF unit reduced to a training and maintenance cadre for the VDC unit.

4th VDC Battalion, 4 VDC Bn, was restructured as 6 HAA Bty (VDC) which also absorbed the gun crews previously detached from 9th VDC Battalion, 9 VDC Bn. 6th Heavy Anti-aircraft Battery (Static), 6 HAA Bty (Static) was reduced to 6 HAA Bty (LE).  It took until July 1944 to fully implement the changes.

Although the VDC and AMF batteries continued as separate units, their records were often intermingled. HQ Second Aust Army took over control of Brisbane Fortress in November 1944 and all anti-aircraft defences in Brisbane, including 6 HAA Bty (LE), were disbanded in December 1944 while 6 HAA Bty (VDC) re-designated to 4 VDC Bn which went into reserve.

 


 

A 17 year old Terry Sullivan signed up to join the Army at the Exhibition Grounds in Brisbane on 25 June 1942. He slept on the floor of a building at St. Laurence's College on his first night in the Army. The College had been commandeered by the Army and was used as Headquarters for Brisbane Fortress Command. His group then moved to Camp Tabragalba near Beaudesert, where they completed 6 weeks of basic training. 

Terry Sullivan was then allocated to 6 Battery HAA at Colmslie near the Brisbane River. He described the location of the battery as being at a location down the end of a road running down from the Cannon Hill Shopping Centre that heads straight for the Brisbane River. You go across a railway line and he thought it may have been in a park area.

As part of their training 6 Battery HAA would drag the 3" guns from Archerfield Airfield Battery up to Currumundi Beach on the Sunshine Coast and fire at drogues towed on long ropes behind aircraft that would fly over the area.

 


Photo: via Terry Sullivanj

Terry Sullivan

 


Photo: via Terry Sullivan

3.7" gun

 


Photo: via Terry Sullivan

Members of 6 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery. Terry Sullivan is on far right in the front row.

 


Photo: via Terry Sullivan

3.7" gun

 


Photo: via Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan

6haa-06.jpg (193948 bytes)
Photo: via Terry Sullivan

Men of "A" Troop, 2/6 HAA, 2/3rd Composite AA
 Regiment at Strathpine in March 1945. Terry Sullivan
 was not in the photo as he was on pre-embarkation
leave before going to Morotai.

Back Row: Blakeman, Billingham, MacKenzie, Mayberry, Caffrey, Seccombe H., Taylor, K. Smith, Trainor, A. White, Campbell, Sanders, Nuttall, Langsford, Thompson, Ballard, Langdon, Hill, Hope, McGuren, Gunn

4th Row: McCann, Evans, Hayes, Simmonds, McDermott, Cassidy, Davies, Dalmazzo, Morrison, Fogarty, Kayser, Spencer, Kilpatrick, Sterry, Howe, J. Morgan, Lundie, Grant, T. Wilson, Anderson, Telford, Williamson

3rd Row: De Graves, Lloyd, Dunn, Cuttriss, W. White, Ferguson, James, W. Davies, Bunn, Wright, Christoe, Symons, Peterson, Cusack, McPhee?, Hogan, Nolan

2nd Row: Bushell, Harmer, Hammonds, Spence, Symons, Wittick, Gordon, Meckiff, Lee, McNeil, McConchie, Henley, Mitchell, Irving, Knight, Moran, Steer, Kendall, W. Ferguson, Burch

Front Row: N. Wilson, Rudd, Budd, Dougall, Howells, Carter, Cardillo, O'Hara, Williams, Faulkiner, Mears, Evans, M. Davies, Hamilton, J.S. Sherwood, Agg, McNaughton

 

Can anyone please confirm the exact location of the guns at Colmslie?

 

Terry said that the US Flying Boats used to land near them and moor upstream of their location. He thought there may have only been 2 guns at Colmslie while he was there.

Terry's detachment of 6 Battery HAA moved from Colmslie to a Battery at Amberley airfield

Terry's group spent a week at the Balmoral Heavy Anti-aircraft Battery before they moved to New Guinea in 1943.

Terry later told me in a letter that his group embarked from Brisbane on the Liberty Ship "Sea Spray" on 10 April 1945 and disembarked at Morotai on 22 April 1945.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 I'd like to thank Terry Sullivan QX52687 of 6 Battery HAA for his assistance with this home page. Terence "Terry" Timothy Sullivan passed away on 8 April 2018. Terry told me a few years ago that he visited our house in Townsville with my uncle Jack Dunn from Innisfail when I was a very young boy. He was apparently a dance partner for my aunty Norah Dunn, Jack's wife.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 14 May 2003

This page last updated 30 April 2018