29th Australian Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery
From Our Contribution
15 Nov 1943 Crew of Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun 29th Heavy AA Battery - AWM Photo 060199
15 Nov 1943 29th AA Battery going through their Gun drill. Note the female member - AWM Photo 060195
The 29th Anti Aircraft Battery was formed in Fremantle in February 1942, and their Headquarters unit in July. The Fremantle AA Group comprised the 2/3rd, 109th and 116th LAA Regiments; the 4th, 5th and 29th Heavy AA Batteries and the 66th Search Light Battery. The HQ unit was established at South Beach, controlling 418 HAA Gun Station in Skinner street, and 420 HAA Gun Station on Scotsman's Hill. The 423 HAA Gun Station was at South Beach manned by personnel from the previous AA Gun Station Pearce.
In November 1942 the 22nd HAA Battery arrived from Darwin and took over the 418th, 420th and 423rd HAA Gun Stations, while the HQs unit of 29th HAA Battery moved to Buckland Hill and it now controlled the 417th HAA Gun Station on Rottnest Island, and 419th HAA Gun Station at Buckland Hill. In March 1943 the 450th HAA Gun Station at East Fremantle Oval, and the 451st HAA Gun Station in North Fremantle also came under their control. The Rottnest Island Gun Station was closed in April 1943. In July 1943 the unit was renamed 29th Australian Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery (Static). At that time they were responsible for the 418th, 419th, 420th, 450th and 451st Australian Heavy Anti Aircraft Troops.
From early 1943 Metro VDC battalions (1st, 2nd and 3rd) had been detaching individual, suitable men to be trained in Anti Aircraft work, and these then formed a VDC component of 29th Australian Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery (Static) from July. In November this was formalised with the men formed into a 'shadow unit' which was capable of operating the gun positions with only a 'cadre' of AMF staff. With little risk of a threat to Fremantle, defences continued to be reduced. In December 1944 the Skinner street, North Fremantle and East Fremantle sites were closed and the Battery HQ element moved to the Artillery Barracks, along with 418th Troop. 419th and 450th Troops were disbanded and 451 Troop moved to Buckland Hill. By April 1945 the Buckland Hill site had been taken over by 802nd Anti Aircraft/Coastal Artillery Battery, with the 451st HAA Troop disbanded. Battery Headquarters and 418th Australian Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery managed the remaining Anti Aircraft sites on a care and maintenance basis from the Artillery Barracks.
- Alfred Hansford Fuller 22 Aug 1942 - 24 Mar 1943 (419 Gun Station) & 25 Mar 1943 - 23 Nov 1944 (Battery HQ)
- Leon Ernest Aubrey 18 Sep - 12 Nov 1942
- Marie Marguerite Gwynne 28 Sep 1942 - 1 Sep 1944 (Had stints in both the 418th and 419th Gun Stations at Buckland Hill)
- Peter Spence 6 Mar - 8 Oct 1945 on detchment from 10th Australian Garrison Battalion
- George Gould Elworthy 7 Aug - 31 Oct 1945
- Gunter Krebs 13 Sep - 16 Nov 1943 - 66th Search Light Battery
As the war progressed and the threat from Japanese aircraft subsided, the manning of anti-aircraft defences in Australia was reduced to release manpower for other branches of the Army and for industry, and was increasingly taken over by Australian Women's Army Service or Volunteer Defence Corps personnel. Most batteries were disbanded between mid-1944 to late 1945.
Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 3 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, page 3.270 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018