A series of photographs showing AEC Matadors moving 6inch 26cwt Howitzers and operators to a training area at Linford.
The unit are first seen on the road (H7714). This photo was taken just south of Blashford from the Snails Lane junction with the A338, the houses in the background are still there though hidden by trees now.
The series of photos go on to show the crews moving the guns (by hand) into position and preparing to fire, which can be heavy work in the New Forest mud. In the background of some of the photos one can see Keeper’s Cottage in Linford.
We have no other information about this unit. But visible (H7715) on at least one of the Howitzer’s is a painted insignia. The insignia shows a depress gun-carriage, cannon balls and written underneath ‘Gibraltar 1779-1783’. We believe this is a Battle Honour insignia and it was awarded to 22 Battery 32 Royal Artillery Regiment. This Battle Honour insignia would appear on all their guns so it is not clear why it only appears on a few of them in these photos. There are no dates with the photos but we believe it may be Jan-Mar 1940 or 1941.
32 Regt. appears to have been in Brighton before France (1940) and then spent the rest of 1940 in the UK before going to India in 1941 and then off to Africa.
All Photos are credit: Imperial War Museum for Non-Commercial Use