Life in the
Thank you to Edward Thomson for providing the
several photographs of the 519 Regiment, together with the comments below.
West Pilton Camp
"The 519 LAA/SL Regt R.A.
at West Pilton Camp under the command of Lt. Col. McLeod. The
Honorary Col. was Sir William J Thomson, founder of the S.M.T. The
Regular Adjutant was Capt. Douglas Spratt who eventually became a Brevet
Col. on leaving the Regular Army."
Joining the '519'
with a couple of pals I joined
the 519 LAA/SL Regt RA
at West Pilton Camp in 1947. We were kitted out with uniforms and
equipment. Of course it also involved learning military drill and
To this end we were sent to the Drill
Hall in Grindlay Street to meet up with other newly-joined lads from other
Units in the City. Here we came under strict Military Discipline for the
first time, under Colour Sgt. Price of the Cameronians,
Blancoed webbing, polished brass and
well pressed creases were the norm.
two hours twice a week we carried out marching, rifle drill, and Service
The Regiment was the only one of its
type and was required to provide generators and floodlighting to
supplement the Edinburgh Castle electricity supply on the occasion of
Beating the Retreat on the Esplanade in 1948 for the local Scottish
was bound to happen! Around 7pm one Thursday night about four of us met at
the Tollcross Clock as we had arrived by various means before going to the
dressed up and ready to parade, we were proceeding towards Lothian Road
when a Military Police Patrol chanced upon us. All of us had our web belts
under our shoulder straps (to keep them smart for inspection).
The MP corporal accused us of 'walking
in a slovenly manner' and arrested us! He concluded we had
insufficient ID, so we were conveyed to the Guardroom at Redford
Barracks in the Patrol truck.
On arrival our 'Bona fides' were proved
by the duty RSM and the MPs were ordered to take us back to Grindlay
" The story doesn't end
About three weeks later, we found the
Patrol truck parked, unattended in Rutland Square on our way back from a
Being an auto electrician, Steve, one
of our group, hot-wired the truck and we moved it to Charlotte Square.
As we were in uniform, we were inconspicuous!
wonder what the Corporal put in his
report that night. We were never under suspicion for its removal."
"With the A.A. Searchlights,
a cone of 'Artificial Moonlight' was created. From then on, the Regiment
operated the floodlights at the Tattoo, from its first Performance in
I don't know if it still carries out
these duties as it amalgamated with the Royal Corps of Transport back in
the 70's and moved to Alnwickhill after the the Post Office took over the
"During the War, 519
Regiment saw operational service, landing on the beaches at Arromanches
just after D day. One Battery was also detailed for the defence of the
House of Commons."
Edward Thomson, Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland: May 2006