Life in the

519 Regiment

Royal Artillery

Thank you to Edward Thomson for providing the several photographs of the 519 Regiment, together with the comments below.

Ed wrote

West Pilton Camp

   West Pilton Camp  -  The 519 LAA/SL Regt R.A. TA unit prepares for its annual camp in Norfolk

"The 519 LAA/SL Regt R.A. was raised 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'

"Along 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 'deportment'.

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.  For two hours twice a week we carried out marching, rifle drill, and Service duties."

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 Military Bands."


"It 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 Drill Hall.

All 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 Street!"

Not Arrested

" The story doesn't end there!

About three weeks later, we found the Patrol truck parked, unattended in Rutland Square on our way back from a Drill night.

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!

I wonder what the Corporal put in his report that night.  We were never under suspicion for its removal."

Edinburgh Tattoo

"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 1949.

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 site."

Operational Service

"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




More Pages

TA Unit    -    519 Regiment


   West Pilton Camp  -  The 519 LAA/SL Regt R.A. TA unit prepares for its annual camp in Norfolk

West Pilton Camp  -  1949

   The 519 LAA/SL Regt R.A. TA unit prepares for its annual camp in Norfolk  -  RAF Turnhouse, 1949

RAF Turnhouse  -  1949

  West Pilton TA Unit  -  at Newquay

Bogged-down on the beach
Newquay Camp  -  1951

Pilton and Granton REME boys at Newquay TA Camp July 1951

Pilton + Granton REME boys
Newquay Camp  -  1951


Life in the 519 Regiment

Annual Camps

Edinburgh Tattoo



Pilton and Crewe Toll

Crewe Toll

Pilton   1940 bomb