56 (Olpherts) Battery Royal Artillery
56 (Olpherts) Special Weapons Battery has its origins in India as 5th Company 3rd Battalion Bengal Artillery formed on 2nd June 1786. It was frequently in action, most notably during the siege of Pondichery in 1793, siege of Bhurtpore in 1805, the Nepal war 1814 and the second siege of Bhurtpore in 1825.
The Indian Mutiny of 1857 played a significant part in Battery history. During the first relief of lucknow, Captain Olpherts or “Hellfire Jack” as he was known (later General Sir William Olpherts) won the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry; he charged the enemy on horseback and captured two rebel guns which were pouring fire onto the flanks of the advancing forces. To commemorate this distinction on 19th October 1966, the honour title “OLPHERTS” was awarded to 56 Battery Royal Artillery as the direct descendants of Captain Olpherts Battery.
The First World War saw the Battery in action in places whose names have become famous in the annals of the British Army, Mons - Hooge - Arras - Bethune - Le Cateau - Cambrai
and Le Bassee.
In the Second World War Olpherts was predominantly involved in Malta and Italy as both a field and medium battery equipped with 25pdrs and 5.5in guns. It was reformed on 1st April 1947 as an anti-aircraft battery, which it remained, serving with both guns and guided weapons in 36 Regiment until 28th March 1968. The battery then moved to 50 Missile Regiment Royal Artillery, changing role and taking on towed 8” Howitzers. In April 1972 Olpherts became self - propelled with the introduction of M110 and moved to 27 Regiment Royal Artillery in Lippstadt on 2nd November 1972.
On the formation of 39 Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery in April 1982 Olpherts moved to Paderborn to support 4th Armoured Division. On 1st November 1987 the Battery was re-designated 56 (Olpherts) Special weapons Battery and assumed its operational role of nuclear support to 1st British Corps M109 regiments on 1st July 1988. The Battery lost its role on 31 July 1992. It then amalgamates with Headquarter Battery, 39 Heavy Regiment to form 56 (Olpherts) Headquarter battery.
1857- 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, Bengal Artillery
1889- 23 Field Battery formed from A Battery, 3rd Field Brigade.
1901- 23 Battery became part of 40 Brigade RFA and served on the Western Front 1914 - 1918 with the 3rd Division.
1920 -23 Battery in 12 Brigade RFA.
1938 -23 Field Battery in 12th Field Regiment. Served in Malta from April 1941, and Eygpt March 1942.
Nov 1943- Converted to 252 Medium Battery and served in Italy.
1.1.1947- Converted to 56 HAA Battery, 36 HAA Regiment.
1.4.1968- Left 36 Regiment for 50 Missile Regiment.
2.11.1972- Moves to 27 Medium Regiment.
Feb 1993- Moves to 39 Regiment.