HISTORY




SEARCHLIGHTS (43 K)

Searchlight Sites in the Newcastle/Sunderland Area

    With the help of David Anderson, a resident of Seaton Sluice, England, we are able to show what some of the battalion's 1944 searchlight positions look like today (for extensive street map coverage of the Newcastle area, visit Proviser's Map Service, which features links to maps and aerial photography from multimap.com. Please follow any active links further below to view a page devoted to each "TT" site.

   The 225th's searchlight sites in the Tyneside area were originally manned by men of the Royal Artillery attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers (we are in touch with representatives of the Defence of Britain Project about detailing the history of these sites). According to Brian Pears, who maintains the original source of this information at his web site North-East Diary 1939 -1945 (from which the above animation is reproduced), "the sites were under the control of Fighter Command. Early in 1944, these experienced men were moved to the south coast to assist with the air defences protecting the troops assembling for the D-Day invasion. The local sites were then taken over by U. S. troops from the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion."

   Brian writes further (10/4/2000):

"Despite their brief visit to the North East, the U. S. troops are certainly remembered by the locals, especially the women — one of the sites (High Spen) was near my childhood home and the Americans were frequently mentioned in the village many years after the war. In fact, they were better remembered than the British troops who manned the site for nearly five years.

The last time I heard the 225th SL Battalion mentioned was only about eight years ago in a coffee shop here in Low Fell. An elderly lady, Mary Gallant, who had lived at Lobley Hill (near here) since the 1930s recalled taking food to the U. S. troops based at the searchlight site in Ravensworth Estate. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this lady had photographs of the men — she certainly talked of them with affection — but I haven't seen her around for quite some time and I fear she will be dead by now.

Incidentally many of these searchlight sites had a change of use very shortly after the U. S. troops left — they became POW Camps — technically "Satellite POW Camps" — and accommodated the huge number of prisoners who were working on local farms. There was little, if any, security, of course, but these were "low-risk" prisoners and any security would have been pointless anyway since the prisoners generally travelled to and from the farms where they worked using public transport and without any escort."
   The following Tyneside Searchlight Site Locator Map is reprinted with Brian's permission, and there is general correlation with the listing below (there are some differences), which is culled from official U. S. Army records:

TYNESIDE SEARCHLIGHT SITES (8 K)

Battery Site Location Map Reference
A Drill Hall, Debdon Gardens, Heaton Z 767868
A TT114 Link House, Blyth Z 807000
A TT121 New Delaval Z 765000
A TT122 Crag Point/Seaton Sluice Z 829963
A TT123 Seghill Colliery Z 784949
A TT124 Seaton Burn Z 728040
A TT125 Brenkley Z 704955
A TT126 Plessey Mill Z 723999
A TT131 Palmersville Z 777903
A TT133 Sharpness (Point) Z 859901
A TT134 Billy Mill Z 826898
A TT135 Armstrong Park Z 752863
A TT136 Gosforth Z 723896
A, Ops; C, Admin TT141 Benwell Z 706853
A, Ops; C, Admin TT142 Ryton Z 644848
A, Ops; C, Admin TT146 Wolsington Z 682903
A, Ops; C, Admin TT132 Smuggler's Cave (Cullercoats) Z 854913
C Urpeth Lodge, Birthley Z 725744
C TT231 Springwell Z 775799
C TT233 Biddick Hall Z 796755
C TT235 Waldridge Drift Z 728700
C TT236 Ouston Z 751745
C TT237 Usworth RAF Z 831794
C TT241 Beamish Park Z 698746
C TT244 High Spen Z 627812
C TT245 Tyne "G" (HAA) Z 688811
C TT246 Ravensworth Z 723798
C TT234 Great Lumley Z 775702
B Marsden Hall Z 887856
B TT211 Harton Z 853852
B TT213 Frenchman's Bay Z 875863
B TT214 Whitburn Z 896826
B TT215 Fulwell Z 892800
B TT216 Cleadon Z 871826
B TT217 Hebburn Z 804844
B TT221 Seaham Harbour Z 897704
B TT222 Hawthorn Z 908663
B TT223 Easington Lane Z 851658
B TT224 Houghton-le-Spring Z 824700
B TT225 North Moor Z 855744
B TT226 Ryhope Road Z 887755
C TT243 Tanfield Z 663757


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