26th Regiment RA Association
Royal Regiment of Artillery
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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The Battery can trace its history back to 1786 when it formed in Calcutta. As the second company of the 3rd Battalion the Bengal Artillery, it was equipped with the 6 pounder gun. Then in 1794 as part of the Oush Brigade, it took part in the second Rohilla war.
The Battery remained in India and was involved in the 3rd Mysore War 1799 and the second siege of Bhurtpore 1825 - 1826. By this time it had been re-named Number 4 Company the 1st Battalion the Bengal Artillery.
In May 1857 the Battery was quartered at Marioan when the Matice Infantry mutinied. Due to the foresight of the local Chief Commissioner, Sir Henry Lawrence, the European women and children had already been gathered into the Residency building at Lucknow, 3 miles north of Marioan. By June 29th the complete Oush area was in revolt and the revolutionaries had captured an 8 inch Howitzer which they were using to great effect. From the 1st to the 17th November the Residency building was successfully defended by the loyalist troops and the Union Flag kept flying. The Battery now uses the Union Flag as it's Battery flag, the only sub-unit in the British Army with this honour.
On the 27th September 1857 a force was sent from the Residency building to storm the enemies defences. This force included Bdr Jacob Thomas, one of the Gunners from 4 Company the 1st Battalion the Bengal Artillery (now 55 (The Residency) Battery). During the action Bdr Thomas rescued severely wounded infantryman from the open ground, while under heavy musket fire, and took him to safety. For this act of heroism he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
In 1889 the Battery was renamed 22 Field Battery. In 1908 the Battery sign outside the “Wet Canteen” was continually defaced by an artistic practical joker who painted two ducks in a lake of beer. Eventually the struggle of repainting the sign was given up and the Battery, was given its nickname "The Double Ducks"
By now the Battery had the Battle Honours Bhurtpore, Seringapatam and Lucknow.
During the Great War the Battery served at Mons, The Aisne, 1st Battle of Ypres and in Salonika, and in 1919 Gallipoli. Between the wars the Battery served in England, as a troop of mounted riflemen and then returned to India. In 1931 it was given the last Union Flag to fly over the Residency at Lucknow. This flag is now encased on the wall in the Battery History room.
During World War Two 22 Field Battery served in France, the Middle East and finally Italy. During this time 5 Officers and 53 men of the Battery were killed or died from their wounds. While in Italy 55 Battery plus 127 Battery (now also 26 Regiment RA) served together as the only Priest Batteries in the campaign.
In 1945 The Battery converted to Anti Tank Guns and in 1947 was renamed The Residency Battery. Since then the Battery has served in Egypt, Cyprus, Hong Kong, UK, Northern Ireland, Belize, Germany, The Gulf and more recently Bosnia and Kosovo.
In April 1982, The Battery moved from Germany to Topcliffe and was equipped with the 155mm FH70. A FOO party from the Battery took part in the Falklands War in 1982 joining the 2nd Battalion, The Scots Guards and supported them throughout the 5 Brigade action.
In 1986 the Battery returned to Lippstadt, Germany and were equipped M109 self-propelled guns. In early October 1990, 19 soldiers from the Battery were deployed to support 40 Regt RA, who were part of 7 Armd Bde for the Gulf conflict. Between December 1990 and January 1991 a total of 43 soldiers were deployed to supporting units of the 1st UK Armd Div Artillery Group for Operation Granby. Including BCR's a total of 5 Officers, 9 SNCOs and 61 other ranks were deployed for this successful operation. Four members of the Battery were awarded the CRAs Commendation for Meritorious Service during this operation.
At 23:59 hours on September 30th 1992 the Battery was placed into suspended animation. At 0001 hours on October 1st 1992 the Battery title was transferred to the Headquarters Battery of 26 Regt RA, based in Gutersloh, Germany. The Battery was titled 55(The Residency) Headquarters Battery Royal Artillery. In June 1993 47 soldiers were attached to the Regimental Headquarters element and other Batteries of the Regiment for an emergency tour to Northern Ireland.
In 1994, on the 1st September 12 soldiers from Thomas Troop deployed with Cymbeline Troop, 40 Regt RA to Bosnia Herzegovinia. Their task was to monitor the TEZ (Total Exclusion Zone) around the war torn city of Sarajevo culminating with the location of 300 Mortar rounds during an intense battle on the outskirts of the city. On 1st March 1995 after completing a successful 6 month tour, Thomas Troop returned back to Gutersloh.
The remaining members of Thomas Troop bolstered by Lewis Troop and elements of 4 Regt RA, 3 AFA RAMC and 1 Bn REME deployed to Sarajevo on March 1st 1995. The mission was as before, however there were increased levels of warring faction activity. The Troop was relieved by 3 RHA on 1st September 1995 and returned back to Gutersloh.
January 1996 once again saw the Battery in the Former Republic of Yougoslavia, this time as a complete sub unit providing the Headquarters elements for 26 Regiment Royal Artillery as part of NATO's Peace Implementation Force (IFOR). The Battery deployed into 3 main areas. Thomas Troop provided mortar locating assets to the Divisional Artillery Group in the Sanski Most area which was 2 Canadian Multinational Brigade's Area of Responsibility (AOR). Lewis and Bonham Troops deployed into a disused metal factory at Jajce, consisting of the Regimental Echelon with the FSCC supporting firstly 4 Armoured Brigade followed by I (UK) Armoured Brigade at Sipovo. Having had a successful tour the Regiment handed over to 1 RHA allowing the Battery Colours to once again fly in Gutersloh.
Following a period of consolidation in Gutersloh the Battery deployed once more to the Balkans in August 1999, this time as part of the Kosovo Force (KFOR). Four Batteries became two as 16/159 and 127/17 deployed to Hijvali and Podujevo respectively. 55 Battery and RHQ were centred in Pristina, then Podujevo. A successful tour over the Millennium then followed.
Defending The Residency, Lucknow 1857