Thursday, November 23rd, 2006
The photograph was taken in August 1944 and shows a 3.7 Ack-Ack Gun firing air bursts on targets south of Condé-sur-Noireau in Northern France. They were used to fire over German positions in support of attacks by the Allied infantry (which included my father Kenneth Taylor, in the 6th Battalion of Green Howards).
On the right of the picture, below the barrel, is George Jackson from Leeds, who was in the Middlesex Regiment stationed at Dover Castle and part of the Allied Advance that began on D-Day on 6th June, 1944. The gun crew were accompanied along the way by a pet cockerell called "Billy". George Jackson survived the war but the rest of the crew were killed by a shell while standing in a food queue at Nijmegen.
Many thanks to Debbie, George's granddaughter, for the picture and the information.
The 3.7 inch Ack-Ack Gun was actually an anti-aircraft gun. When fired, it jumped right off the ground, creating a cloud of dust that obscured everything. As the picture shows, the gun crew wore no helmets, or flash guards, or ear defenders. In the absence of enemy aircraft the gun was given this new supporting role. Later in 1944 it was fully adapted to anti-tank use and was used in the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945.