1st Royal Tank Regiment Historical & Interest Notes
Of A More Topical Nature Than The Official History

created: 24 Jan 2003 Updated & Closed: 5 September 2003 Page 2 - Click Here


1. Lord Carver
2. Death on Salisbury Plain
3. Lord Carver met C Sqn
4. Newspaper item on 1 RTR
5. Tank Museum Bovington - RTR Shop
6. 1 RTR come last in Band competition
7. Last Challenger 2 delivered to 1 RTR
8. Advert for Chieftain for sale
9. My service history
10. Tony Hart with Lord Mountbatten
11. Meet The Troopers! Newspaper Articles
12. Soltau For Nigs!
13. You Might be a Tankie If.....
14. Warminster & 1 RTR
15. Maxwell Address to the Lads in First Edition - Nov 74.
16. Aerial Image of St Georges Barracks, Sutton Coldfield
17. Victoria Cross - Royal Tank Regiment - Capt Gardner
18. German's Play Cricket - Yes Honest!
19. Lots of links to sites I have found whilst researching the Regiment.

Field Marshall Lord Carver

Field Marshal Lord Carver, who died in December 2001, was the highest ranking Royal Tank Regiment officer of all time - the only one to reach the exalted rank of Field Marshal. At 27 he was commanding the First Royal Tank Regiment in North Africa, two years later, in 1944, he was promoted brigadier and given command of 4th Armoured Brigade which fought its way across north west Europe. The photograph (below) from Lord Carver's personal album shows the Sherman II (M4A1) command tank that he used when commanding the brigade. Lord Carver's post-war career was every bit as illustrious and he will also be remembered as a significant military historian. It is probably significant that his great, great, great uncle was another famous soldier, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington.



4th Armd Bde          7th Armd Division (Click the Badges)


News Item from the BBC (Thanks to James Barclay) Jan 21 2003.

Calls have been made for better training for soldiers after an inquest heard how two men died when they were crushed by a tank during a routine military exercise. Coroner David Masters made the recommendation after an inquest jury returned a verdict of misadventure on commander Lieutenant Paul Syred, 25, and 28-year-old operator Corporal Michael Paterson. The soldiers were trapped beneath their 70-tonne Challenger tank while taking part in a battle simulation on Salisbury Plain last July.  Mr Masters accepted the jury's recommendations for more cross-country terrain training for drivers and a better mix of experienced and inexperienced staff on tank crews. Lt Syred and Cpl Paterson were part of a crew of four from The 1st Royal Tank Regiment playing the role of enemy forces in the training exercise with the King's Royal Hussars. The vehicle was reversing on a steep bank when it toppled over the edge, landing upside down in a mud-filled tank track, the jury at Salisbury Crown Court were told. The two men were standing with their heads out of the tank so they could direct the vehicle. Jurors heard how the pair would have had less than a second to duck back within the hull before it tipped over.  Lt Syred had only recently completed his troop leader's course and was taking command of a tank for the first time. The lieutenant, from Sedbergh, Cumbria, died from multiple injuries.  Cpl Paterson, from Bankfoot, Perthshire, died from head injuries. 

Trapped inside

Driver Scott Christie had only recently completed his driver training. He hauled himself out of the vehicle after the accident and ran to raise the alarm. The fourth crew member, trooper Simon Hampton, 20, was trapped in the vehicle until rescue crews reached him. Military and police crash investigators could not discover exactly how the tank had veered off the track. The driver's vision is severely restricted and relies entirely on directions from his commander or operator in the turrets above. 

Two Troop C Sqn 1975

By a strange coincidence, considering the opening article on this page, here we see Chief of the Defence Staff, Field Marshall Sir Michael
Carver talking to Tpr Woolley; Cpl Dixon and Sgt Westwood in March 1975.


Lancashire Evening Telegraph Nov 26th 1984

Look What I Found in The Tank Museum

Click on this image:

Tank Museum: This is the M24 Chaffee, painted up as TRIGGER HAPPY of Headquarters Squadron,
1st Royal Tank Regiment, 22nd Armoured Brigade,
7th Armoured Division as seen at the Berlin Victory Parade of 1945.
They even took the opportunity to open up the engine covers and take a peek at those twin Cadillac engines.

Lawrence of Arabia at Bovington and his grave in Moreton, Dorset
(Copies of these can be purchased at The Tank Museum)

2002: Apparently the Band of The 1st Royal Tank Regiment has been regraded from a 3a Band to a 3b Band, whatever that means?
In the World Championships they came last of 27 Bands Competing in Grade 3a!!

First published on Friday 19 April 2002: Army's fire power is finally complete.

THE last of the Army's 386 Challenger 2 battle tanks has entered service following its official handover near Warminster this week. Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach was on hand on Salisbury Plain to witness the delivery of the £5m tank on Wednesday to A Squadron, the 1st Royal Tank Regiment ­ based at Warminster ­ from manufacturer Vickers Defence Systems. Lord Bach said: "Challenger 2 is an impressive, battle-winning tank that will offer a significant capability enhancement to the Royal Armoured Corps for many years to come." The first Challenger 2s entered service in 1998 and have already seen active service in the Balkans as well as being taken to Canada, Germany, Poland and Oman on training exercises. They will remain on front-line duties for the next 25 years. The regiment is one of six to be operating the new weapon, continuing a link dating back to 1917 when A Squadron became the first unit in the Army to be armed with tanks. Each of its Challenger 2s has a 120mm main gun and two machine guns and is powered by a 1,200bhp diesel engine. Archie Hughes, Vickers chief executive, said: "Challenger 2 has demonstrably proven to be the most reliable main battle tank in the world."

Thanks to James Barclay for this one:

CHIEFTAIN TANK (demo sale)

British Army Chieftain Gun Tank.
No Dents, New Tracks,750Bhp Diesel Very economical at 5 Gallons to a mile, 0 to 100 metres in 7 sec. Weight 52 tonnes (metric). A massive fuel tank of 776 ltrs will only cost you £ 450.00 and will give you a range of 137 miles.

PARKING CAN BE A LITTLE TRICKY AND EXPENSIVE. (has a tendency to occupy the double yellow lines on both sides of the street)

Price: £ 300,000.00

The Webmasters Service History

April 1st 1971 - Arrived at RAC Trg Regt Catterick (Strangely enough I enjoyed the training - good fun!) Clerical Training at Camberley. Whilst at Camberley, the Police arrived and got all the lads searching the woods for a murderer; it was me and one other who found his campsite.

Aug 1971 - Arrived at 1 RTR Osnabruck as a RAC Clk 3 Started off with the inevitable post and filing desk, don't remember much else except I screwed up on my Cadre Course - sods law etc; the presentation I could not get my head around especially as we were busy and sleepless! No excuse really. I remember Tony Lane doing Movements - whatever happened to him after getting "thrown out"?

Jan 1972 - Went to Long Kesh Internment Camp for 3 months with 13/18H Gp (2 x 1 RTR Sqns and 2 x 13/18H  Sqns) They were a good bunch of lads in the 13/18H - I worked in the Int Cell and enjoyed it.

May 1972 - Returned to Osnabruck - Sqn Clk, Command & Support, Jock Cross, a brilliant SSM and Major Rowlands the OC.

1973 - Regt Moved to Omagh, Co Tyrone Worked in the Ops Room with Capt Seymour and Dave Flett and A Sqn Clk - Tex Metson SSM in Omagh & St Angelo.

Sept 1974 - Left Army for Civvy Street (Cheesed off with Ireland!) Between here and 1981, met wife, 2 months later married, bought house, had 3 kids - one of each. A boy Stuart, a girl, Lorna and a Liverpool supporter, Vicki. Worked in Lever Brothers Port Sunlight, recession arrived, first appearance of shuttered shops and decided to leg it back to Army after selling my house and motor bike.

June 1981 Arrived back with Regiment in Herford after re-enlisting (older and wiser!) Connelly (4 RTR) was the CC; diminutive! Mike Seymour CO. Mike gave me 2 weeks holiday in Guardroom here, nice one Mike! Something to do with HM Customs, not sure what? Yeah right!! Did Post NCO, Courses, Movements, maybe others. Don't forget Mike, a third of that MBE is mine!!

1982 - Regiment moved to Bovington to become RAC Centre Regiment. Here I was Courses Clerk and the 2IC and me got whole Regt through Conversion from Scimitar/Scorpion to Chieftain. I loved this posting, wished we could have stayed there. Dorset is one of the best counties in England - after Yorkshire!
1984 - Chieftain equipped 1 RTR returned to Germany, to Hildesheim. It was during this tour I got my RAC Sldr 1 Grade "B+" and Clk Class 1 also Grade "A") I really enjoyed my Sldr 1 Course - it was good fun with some good lads I think the score reflects that, they don't give out A passes hence the B+

1988 - Left 1 RTR for RAOC (bad choice) and Verden HQ 1 Div (temp posting) Verden, worked with Brig and staff, good lads, friendly place, sorry to leave it.

1988 - Moved on to HQ 12 Mech Bde in Osnabruck. War Room & COS Driver - naff workmates! idiot officers, good Brig and crap signals Sqn with another poison dwarf of an SSM - why is the Army jinxed with diminutive Hitlers?

1989 - Posted to ORDEP Kinnegar (Ulster) (Lt Col Richard Rook, complete and total idiot who had come into the field from being a desk promoted MOD  officer and he ruined some good lads Army lives. Maj Atherton and his publicly funded golf course conferences) The very first thing Rook said on his arrival as he walked into the Orderly Room - "I hate clerks" and walked out!!

1991 - Posted to Army School of Recruiting Sutton Coldfield, excellent posting, interviewing recruits in the main, enjoyed it and the travelling around. Would loved to stay on as civvie doing this.

1994 Took Ph 2 Redundancy due to kids exams (GCSE'S & A Levels). 3 months off with pay then got  job with Business Post. First night who drives in, in an artic,  but Bryan Johnson!

Biggest Regret: Not getting third tape or more. I wish things had worked out differently with 1 RTR. Overall: I would recommend army life to anyone - 1 RTR was a superb mob with some real characters! One or two bastards, but a great mob!!

A Very Young Tony Hart With Lord Mountbatten of Burma

Meet the Trooper!

TROOPER Michael O'Connor, of Bramble Way, Moreton, has completed full military training and is now a serving member of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment. To achieve this, Michael endured 11 weeks' rigorous work at the Army Training Regiment in Winchester, followed by a spell at Bovington, Dorset, where he specialised in communications, driving and maintaining Armoured Fighting Vehicles. You can meet Michael and find out about his Army experiences first hand at the Army Careers Office in Birkenhead from May 12-21.

Where are you now Michael? I was from Moreton too.

First published on Wednesday 16 April 1997: http://www.thisiswirral.co.uk/wirral/archive/1997/04/16/11823ZM.html 

TROOPER Mark Smith, from Noctorum, is now a serving member of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment after completing full military training. To achieve this, Mark endured 11 weeks' arduous work at the Army Training Regiment in Winchester, before moving on to Bovington, Dorset, where he tackled the more demanding topics of communications, driving and maintaining armoured fighting vehicles. Local lads interested in finding out more about the Army, can meet Mark from May 12-21 at the Army Careers Information Office in Grange Road West, Birkenhead, where he first enquired about joining the Armed Forces after leaving Ridgeway High School.

First published on Thursday 24 April 1997 http://www.thisiswirral.co.uk/wirral/archive/1997/04/24/12150ZM.html

The following article nearly found its way into ATO's hands as an undesirable package! I recently spent 15 hours rebuilding and reinstalling my entire pc. When I had sorted out all my old files, I found this in a zip file, thanks to Pete Corrigan for this article.

These articles are taken from the Red Lanyard which covered the years from '89 to '93 and appeared under the heading of Excercises. We start with Maj Caraffi's references to Soltau terminology for the "NIG" .

Colloquial Soltau

(Or how to hold your own at any RAC event 5 years from now)

It struck me, as we loaded the tanks onto the flats at Hildesheim sidings to go to the Soltau Luneburg Training Area for the last time ever, that in a few years' time there will be a complete strata within the Regiment who will have never have experienced the thrill of excercising there. Imagine never to have gazed upon the majestic beauty of Schneverdingen at night from the turret, never to have been awestruck by the thundering magnificence of the Schwinderbeck in full flow and never to have wondered open-mouthed at the glory of the forestry and the wealth of flora and fauna. Well, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but future generations won't know will they? So as we adjusted the tank to the nearest micron on the flat and tried to ignore the 'helpful advice' from an RCT movements female private, it struck me as sensible to compile a vocabulary for would-be ' colloquial Soltau speakers'. Armed with this, any future member of 1 RTR will be able to bluff his way for at least 4 cans of McEwans Blue after which, who cares anyway.

Those who wish to be considered natural Soltau speakers or progress to Soltau Linguist level must cultivate a nonchalance when using the language, and above all, a weary resignation concerning the place implying that they have spent at least half their career on Soltau (the other half obviously either at BATUS or Hohne).

Here, therefore, is a travellers' Soltau speak. One final word of advice before you immerse yourself in this intellectual splashpool; don't forget to pronounce every German word in as English a manner as possible. Any resemblance to german pronunciation will only be met with uncomprehending stares by the Soltau aficionados:

Built as a film set by Pinewood studios to make black and white films in the 1950s about National Service, usually starring John Mills, Jack Hawkins and Kenneth More. Now used by A1 and A2 echelons supposedly because it is so difficult to exercise them on the area but actually because showers, fresh rations, telephone and beds are relatively scarce on the training area.

The Rheinsehlen branch of the Star and Garter Home.

The Viaduct:
A crucial word in the lingo. It is a landmark which marks the transition from Echeleon in Rheinsehlen to sabre-land on the area. Possesses magical qualities which make it impossible for troop leaders to find at Endex.

Sabre-tooth lake:
A pond on Area 1 (qv) which as acted as unofficial ammunition compound for 40 years. The Imperial War Museum are believed to be interested in moving it complete to London.

The Tank Bridge:
Another landmark with magical qualities since it exerts irresistible magnetic attraction on any tank within 2km. Often referred to as "the obvious".

Strip Wood:
Site of historical interest. There is a compulsory requirement on every battle group exercise for the infantry to site a defensive position here. Copies of one and two company defensive layouts can be obtained at HQ Infantry and all good booksellers.

Triangle Wood:
Modelled on the woods found at the battle of the Somme, also known as Apex Wood. Certain bogging for Land Rovers and Ferrets. CVR(T) only if you're a gambling man.

Scene of the heroic battle honours, mainly won by cavalry regiments. A pleasant spot to visit in your tank but only if you have your cheque book with you for the subsequent interview with Comd 7 Armd Bde.

The Jerry Can:
Part of Area 2 (qv). Another embarrassment for non - MBT commanders as each furrow neatly accommodates a ferret.

Offload point for tanks from transporters. Some never got any further. Scharrl often did a passable imitation of "the day after the Battle of Kursk".

Northern and Southern Crossing:
More landmarks with the uncanny ability to evade troop leaders.

Bivvy Areas:
Areas of outstanding natural ugliness. Entomologists' dream and environmental health inspectors nightmare. Obviously therefore the only places to lay your weary head.

Red Areas:
Areas set aside for free tactical manoeuvre as long as there's no letter Y in the day of the week, the moon is in full cusp, the Heber crossroads Amateur Dramatics Society is not meeting and no German in a suit is walking across them.

The process by which the German authorities have persuaded the British Army to feel guilty about ruining a few acres of boring German heide.

What 1 RTR paints on the side of all it's cans (I think it must stand for Lubricants and Grease).

Orange Flashing Lights:
To be put on top of the tank so that civilian road users can see that this 60 ton tracked vehicle is a large, slow moving vehicle. Usually invisible through the smoke.

Ex Cold Start:
A very cold 1 RTR exercise on Soltau. Stories should be liberally laced with "I had toes before that one!" etc, etc.

A very hot 1 RTR exercise on Soltau.

Red Shield:
A hut in Rheinsehlen used as the cookhouse by tank troops and owned by a cartel; of BAOR Quartermasters. Look out for John Mills in Battle Dress.

Limit of Red Areas:
Signs erected to compensate for the lack of SATNAV. When all else fails find these and follow them to a known point. Go on you seasoned Soltau warriors, try denying it !

A highly dangerous vegetable known to have ended at least one promising career. Grown just outside the limit of the Red Areas.

Heber Crossroads:
Where squadron Leaders and SSMs go in the landrovers when "on recce". Reason: the currywurst at the Schnelly.

Soltau Lil:
Purported to be a lady of easy virtue who plied her trade from a Mercedes under the Tank Bridge. Story should go along the lines of "Cpl X (your first tank commander) used to stop, in the middle of a squadron attack, visit Soltau Lil then climb back into turret uttering immortal words "That's better".

Purveyor of chicken and chips, by appointment to all BAOR armoured regiments. Gets everywhere the tanks do, and some places they don't (Rheinsehlen). Suitable story: How we pulled Wolfgang out of a bogging on the Jerry Can and he gave us all bratty and chips. (See Image below).

Soltau Luneburg Training Area. This is what SLA was known as until, under the Trades Description Act, it had to be changed to due to the complete absence of training opportunity.

Total Incomprehension:
The reaction of every member of BAOR armoured regiments when being told that the Germans want the Red Areas back so that they can walk across such beautiful heathland.

Soltau. The end of a love affair - Lt Woodstock.

On the morning of 17 April the tank crews mounted for their 0630 H hr. They had spent a quiet night, apart from the inevitable stags. All had had a hearty breakfast of corned dog, tea and egg banjoes. Although they had been through this many times before they were still nervous and many worried faces could be seen, especially from the Troop Leaders who were fearful that they might make a mistake and ruin the plan. When the H hr arrived, the tanks rolled north to begin their advance on the town of Schneverdingen. "North to Schneverdingen, you can't do that, it's a restricted area," I hear you say, well you are right, but this is not the present day, this is 1945 and the whole of Germany was open to the tanks. This is the time and place where The First Royal Tank regiment claimed the dubious honour of being the first tank regiment to excercise on the Soltau- Luneburg area. Well to be honest, we did more than excercise on it, we discovered it and we liberated it, which shows that we have no one to blame but ourselves. Since that fateful morning many other regiments have had the pleasure of testing themselves on the Soltau area, so maybe the fact that we didn't just leave it to the Wehrmacht to keep, is a secret best kept very quiet indeed.

Unfortunately, Soltau can no longer be used in the same carefree manner that our predecessors did, I bet that they did not have to contend with the the constant fear of accidentally dropping a few hundred litres of oil. I think it is safe to assume that they did not lose sleep at night worrying about the amount of scratch marks that they had left on the road or the fact that they may have left some mud on a junction. Restrictions have been getting tighter, not just after the war, but even in the last few years.Forty-eight years ago, the British Army had a huge area, millions of square kilometres. Well I'm glad we won the war, I would have hated to see what would have happened if we had lost, especially as Soltau appears to be the prize for coming first.

About three years ago there were still the restrictions that we have today, but they were not quite so tight. If you ran over some asparagus, well a silly thing to do, but it's OK, just remember to report it. The same thing with running over some fencing or damaging a few trees, no real problem it could be sorted out without taking a pound of flesh from the person who commited the act. The Squadron smoker, that thing surrounded in myth and legend, You know what I mean, the fact that there was always a better one that happened just before you arrived in the Regiment. Well what has happened to them? Remember when it was possible to pour a dollop of oil or grease on the fire to get it going, or , heaven forbid, accidentally drop the odd boundary marker into the flames. Well, no longer I'm afraid, we are lucky if we can huddle around a frozen pastie.

Today it is impossible to move without encountering those friendly little signs that tell us that it is "Time to go home". If we encounter any local Germans we have to be polite and inoffensive, no matter how much they shout and complain. We will not be seeing the days of rape and pillage again, no we have to be environmentally aware, public spirited, kind, polite and we always have to clean up our mess afterwards. Well they won't want to tangle with us again. Not only do we have to contend with the stigma of environmental pollution, but now we have to worry about noise pollution as well. So how do we do this: by having a noise ban over the weekend. For the whole week you have the squadron racing around the area destroying all the Fantasian forces to our front and then come twelve o'clock Saturday afternoon, we are all running into the woods and spending the next thirty-six hours tiptoeing around and speaking in whispers. All of a sudden it's 0001 hrs on Monday morning and we come charging out to continue the battle where we left off. If we went to war, we would have to explain that we don't know how to fight over the weekend.

If we did have to go to war, the enemy would have no problem finding us. All he would have to do is send out a fleet of blue Mercedes vans and we would all come out of our hides in order to get some currywurst and pommes. The situation is this, the squadron is in it's hide, the sentries are all out, routine is established and everything is thoroughly professional. Then out of the blue comes that ringing sound and there is Wolfgang's van. So much for the tactical scenario, everything stops, and the position has been given away by a bright blue van and large amounts of wrapping paper. Oh well, at least we have had something to eat.

The local Germans have been at us for years to leave and they have been doing this by allowing us to do less and less damage to the area. So what are they going to do with the place once we have left? I mean, it is hardly a beauty spot. They will probably build a nuclear power plant or chemical factory on the area as soon as we go. When the Regiment finished "Exercise Frozen Fun" it was the end of an era. We will never be on Soltau again, and you know, I don't think I saw one person shed a tear, besides Wolfgang.


the only ashtrays at home are 105mm shell casings.
you're always accusing your wife of turning the volume down on the TV, telephone, doorbell, etc.
you cannot pass gas without saying "Bore Clear!"
you wish it wasn't illegal to stick your head out of the sunroof while driving.
you refer to the Tank Park as home.
you refer to George S. Patton as "Him".
you consider four as the right number of people to have in a family.
the only kind of scouts you are aware of are Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
you laugh whenever someone mentions the thrill of firing a big bore gun such as a .308.
"up" is no longer a direction to you.
you believe a hammer can fix anything.
you invite all your friends to a barbecue and all three show up.
you drive everywhere, even if it's two houses down.
you believe Bradley is one of the Brady Bunch.
your wife is always reminding you to bring the lounge chairs and cooler home.
you sleep better sitting in your chair than you do in your bed.
you can sleep through the worst thunderstorm but wake up immediately when your clock radio goes off.
you believe radial tyres are overrated.
your hunting dog obeys such commands as; "halt", "traverse left/right", "forward" and "identified".
you were doing drive-by shootings before they were a fad.
you'd respect the Israeli Army, if only they didn't allow females in tanks.
you think nothing of your kids peeing off the porch instead of using the bathroom.
you use old track to surround your wife's small garden.
you replace all your wife's flower vases with shinier ones after each range period.
there's only one type of "lay" your interested in.
you get mad whenever your wife puts anything away and it's not by the load plan.
you can't throw a football unless you check it's weight, the wind, and your cant.
it takes you a few extra minutes in the morning to remember that you steer with the whell and not sticks.
you use your child's telescope to track passing cars.
your child's first words are "Not my echelon".
you believe that a combat load should not interfere with the amount of coffee and propane you pack.
you're always getting into accidents because you recline your seat back whenever you drive your POV.
you get goose bumps whenever they show Challenger on Army commercials.
you like Harley Davidson's because they're the only things loud enough.
whenever your wife talks to you, you thank God that you lost your earplugs as a trooper.
you would help your kids with maths if only you had all your fingers.
whenever you climb into bed you always maintain three points of contact.

Thanks Pete Corrigan!

British Army demonstrates its combined firepower - Warminster Gallery

By Peter Felstead, Jane’s Web Editor

The British Army’s Land Warfare Training Centre (LWTC) staged the first of its tri-annual Combined Arms Firepower Demonstrations (CAFDs) on 16 and 17 January at the Warminster Training Centre on the edge of Salisbury Plain, England.

Staged primarily for the benefit of the Army Junior Division and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, these events demonstrate through a live-fire exercise the interlocking use of all the British Army’s main firepower assets, from main battle tanks (MBTs) to individual weapons, in conjunction with airborne elements from the Army Air Corps (AAC) and air force.

The troops involved in the demonstration were mostly drawn from the LWTC Battlegroup, which consists of the 1st Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment along with A Squadron 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1 RTR) and the LWTC’s own engineer troop.

Opening this latest CAFD was a demonstration of mine warfare assets, including a Barmine layer, the Shielder Vehicle-Launched Scatterable Mine System and the Python (Improved Giant Viper) minefield breaching system. LWTC engineers then demonstrated the deployment of a Chieftain armoured vehicle-launched bridge and the preparation of an anti-tank ditch using an FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor and JCB.

The British Army’s range of armoured assets were then put through their paces. 1 RTR provided a troop of Challenger 2 MBTs while 1 Staffords provided a platoon of three Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, a section of three 81mm mortar-carrying FV432 armoured personnel carriers along with a reconnaissance section comprising two Sabre CVR(T) reconnaissance vehicles. From 14th Regiment Royal Artillery (14 Regt RA) came a battery of four AS90 155mm self-propelled howitzers and a Warrior artillery observation post vehicle that forward-deployed with the Sabres.

A Multiple Launch Rocket System and Stormer High Velocity Missile Carrier from 14 Regt RA also put in an appearance, although these units could not fire due to the confines of the range.

Infantry sections deploying from the Warriors, meanwhile, were able to demonstrate their inherent firepower with individual weapons, grenades and L10A1 51mm mortars as well as their anti-armour capabilities with firings of MILAN and 94mm LAW anti-tank weapons. The 1st Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers also contributed with a demonstration of sustained fire support using general-purpose machine guns.

Airborne anti-armour and observation/scout assets involved in the CAFD came in the form of a Westland Lynx AH.7 and Westland Gazelle AH.1 from 3 Regiment AAC, while a Chinook HC.2 from 27 Squadron at RAF Odiham demonstrated its ability to carry an underslung L118 105mm Light Gun into the battle area.

The finale of the CAFD comprised a battle scenario that also involved RAF assets. Two Tornado GR.4s from 12 Squadron (RAF Lossiemouth) provided strike support and two Harrier GR.7s from 3 Squadron (RAF Cottesmore) clearly demonstrated their close air support role with a rocket attack on the target area.


Thanks again to Pete Corrigan.

Lt Col Maxwell had many attributes but sadly one was not football (FOOTBALL Sir, NOT SOCCER!). Soccer is am Americanisation of the game. As this was the Col's final address in the First Edition prior to the Regiment leaving Omagh, I find it pretty naff to say the least. All the work that the Regiment had put into those 2 years looking after approximately half of the Northern Ireland/Eire border; all that which lay in between. The bombs, shootings, landmines, deaths to those supporting the Regiment, the own goals, the scares, the attack on the quarters (an attack against women and children), the car bombs, stress and strain. All the lads who were involved in this deserved a medal, and not just a GSM either. To fight in a war, you know who your enemy is; he wears a uniform and is "generally" where he is supposed to be but, in this conflict, the Regiment were up against cowards and misguided "fanatics" who were in the main trigger happy people in it only for the "kick".

Sorry Sir - you analogy is out of tune with the lads and insulting to those of us who do not even like Liverpool FC!!

An aerial image of what was St Georges Barracks, Sutton Coldfield, in this image demolished, and now all a brand new housing estate. The large white buildings are MOD Defence Estates - now surrounded by housing. The large demolished building was the Army School of Recruiting where I worked very happily until I left in August 1994.

A drawing by Tpr D Wayne which appeared on the front page of the
First Edition - Nov 74

Royal Tank Regiment Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross.  The Victoria Cross is by far the world's most coveted medal for bravery. Although instituted more than a century ago and spanning the four most terrible wars in Britain's history, it has been awarded to only 1,350 men, three of whom have won it twice, plus one more for the American Unknown Warrior, who lies buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, as a symbol for all those who died in the Allied cause. The British Unknown Warrior, who was buried in Westminster Abbey, received the Congressional Medal of Honor from the United States Government. He was not awarded the Victoria Cross. The deeds for which the VC has been won are as varied as the backgrounds from which the winners have come. For it is the most democratic of all medals, open to the private soldier no less than his commanding officer - "every rank and grade of all branches of Her Majesty's forces".  Cast in bronze from the cannons captured at Sevastopol in the Crimean War, the Victoria Cross retains a mystique that no other decoration has ever achieved. It takes precedence over all others, and the merest glimpse of that distinctive crimson ribbon on the brest of a veteran is sufficient to establish him as a military monarch in the minds of his fellow men, and nothing short of a god in the eyes of schoolboys throughout the world. The VC has never been won by a woman, although the rules do not preclude that possibility, yet it has been awarded to four civilians, contrary to popular belief. Two Germans have won it, as well as a Russian and five Americans.

On August 27th 2003 I watched a short insight into this episode on Discovery TV in which Captain Gardner himself described the events. Sadly it appears that he died in February 2003, as listed in the Daily Telegraph, his obituary is below. There were 5 other RTR recipients of the VC according to the Tank Museum, Bovington.

Captain Philip John Gardner, Royal Tank Regiment.

On 23 November 1941 at Tobruk, Libya, Captain Gardner, aged 26, took two tanks to the rescue of two armoured cars of the King's Dragoon Guards, which were out of action and under heavy attack. Whilst one tank gave covering fire the captain dismounted from the other, hitched a tow rope to one of the cars, then lifted into it an officer, both of whose legs had been blown off. The tow rope broke, so Captain Gardner returned to the armoured car, but was immediately wounded in the arm and leg. Despite this he managed to transfer the wounded man to the second tank and returned to British lines through intense shell-fire.

Obituary: Captain Pip Gardner, VC
Captain Pip Gardner, who died on Thursday aged 88, won the Victoria Cross while serving with the Royal Tank Regiment at Tobruk, in Libya, in 1941.

On November 23 of that year, Gardner was ordered to take two tanks to the rescue of a pair of armoured cars of the King's Dragoon Guards which were out of action and under heavy fire. Gardner set off in what he called his "battle buggy", and found the two cars halted 200 yards apart. They were being smashed to pieces by the weight of enemy fire. Ordering the other tank to give him covering fire, Gardner manoeuvred his own close to the nearest car, dismounted under heavy anti-tank and machine-gun fire, and secured a tow-rope to the car. Then, seeing an officer lying beside it with both legs blown off, Gardner lifted him into the car. "As luck would have it," Gardner later wrote to his parents, "the rope broke, and before I could stop the driver we had gone some distance. So I went back again and got the poor chap out of the car and on to the tank and set off again." Despite being hit in the arm and leg, Gardner had carried the wounded officer back to his tank, placed him on the rear engine louvres and climbed alongside to hold him on. While the tank was being driven back to the British lines, it came under intense fire; the loader was killed. In a letter to his father from a field hospital Gardner wrote, "Don't get alarmed and think I am badly wounded. Just a few odd bits and pieces in my leg, neck and arm, nothing serious." After describing how he had collected "this little packet," he added: "I was spared by a miracle and have to thank God for a mighty deliverance." The citation for his VC declared: "The courage, determination and complete disregard for his own safety displayed by Captain Gardner enabled him, despite his wounds and in the face of intense fire at close range, to save the life of his fellow officer in circumstances fraught with great difficulty and danger." Gardner was invested with the VC by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on May 18 1945.

Philip John Gardner, always known as "Pip", was born on Christmas Day 1914 at Sydenham, south London. He was educated at Dulwich, where he played rugby for the school and blew the bugle on Armistice Day. He chose rifle-shooting in preference to cricket and practised on the ranges at Bisley. At 17 he joined J Gardner and Co, the family engineering firm. When he was 19 the company sent him to Hong Kong for two years, entrusting him with the drawing work for the installation of heating and ventilating equipment at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.

In 1938 Gardner joined the Westminster Dragoons, TA, confiding to a friend in a letter: "I must do my duty, but I'm no soldier." In March 1940 Gardner was commissioned as a subaltern into the Royal Tank Regiment. In September he spent four weeks at the Irregular Warfare School at Lochailort on the west coast of Scotland, where Lord Lovat was in charge of the fieldcraft course. In January 1941, Gardner embarked on the troopship Highland Princess, bound for the Middle East. In April he was posted to 4 RTR at El Tahag, near Ismailia, and served with them in the Western Desert. Gardner was awarded the MC in June 1941 for an action near Halfaya Pass, in Libya. His tank and several others, including that of Lieutenant Rowe, the senior troop leader, had run on to a minefield. Their tracks had been blown off and they were immobilised. Rowe had left his tank to inspect the damage to the others when he stepped on a mine. Immediately jumping from his own tank, Gardner walked through enemy shelling and machine-gun fire to where Rowe was lying. On finding that the officer was severely wounded, Gardner attended to him as best he could. He then went back across the minefield to his own tank to get morphia, before returning once more to administer it. For the fourth time he crossed the minefield to get help from the infantry to carry the wounded man. But Rowe was dying, and Gardner remained with him, under heavy machine-gun fire, until the end. Then he led the crews back along the line of the tank-tracks to headquarters.

In June 1942, after the encirclement and surrender of Tobruk, Gardner was interned at Chieti PoW Camp in Italy. In April 1943 he was moved to Fontanellato, near Parma. He and two comrades got away when the Italians capitulated in July, aiming to get to the Allied lines several hundred miles to the south. With the help of the partisans, they had been on the run for four months when they were arrested by the Gestapo in a flat near the Vatican. Gardner was sent to Oflag 79, near Brunswick, where he remained until the end of the war in 1945. Here he was a prime mover in helping to raise £13,000 by pledges from fellow PoWs to start a boys' club. A site was purchased at Fulham and building work completed in 1948. The Duke of Edinburgh opened the Brunswick Boys' Club the following year. After the war, Gardner was appointed joint managing director of the family firm; he became chairman in 1955. Fifteen years ago he sold the air-conditioning side of the business, but remained chairman of J Gardner Holdings, the property management company, until only two years ago.

Pip Gardner was a private man, of genuine modesty, who never sought the limelight. He gave much of his spare time to charity work, and was a strong supporter of the Brunswick Boys' Club. He married, in 1939, Rene Sherburn, who survives him with their son.


German Cricket -  Yes Honestly!

Cricket in Göttingen started following a bet in an Italian restaurant. A profound discussion over several glasses of red wine concerning the differences between the English and the Germans led to the conclusion that there exists only one difference: the english play cricket, the Germans don't. A German colleague, clearly wishing to find out about the game, posed a series of questions about the sport and became so interested that he wished not only to learn the elements of the game, but also have a chance to play. The bet was made that it would be possible within six weeks to obtain equipment, form a team and set a date for a game: the bet was for a three course meal in the same restaurant, including aperetif, wine, coffee and cognac. With the help of the British Tourist Board in Frankfurt, we contacted the British Army and the 1st Royal Tank Regiment Hildesheim supplied us with enough equipment to furnish our needs and offered a date for a game on their base. Our first team comprised a mixture of people who had played cricket before and some who psychologists would describe as having fast learning curves. All came from the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, most from the Department of Neurobiology. Our game against the Army in Hildesheim was enjoyable, though we came second. Some have attributed this to their having a better team, but account should be taken of the fact that large quantities of Pims were served between innings and most of our team were not used to helicopters flying over the pitch during the game. We are greatly in debt to several teams of the British Army for not only offering games but, also, access to their pitches. In particular, we have pleasant memories of matches against the BMH Hanover and the British Army in Münster. Sadly, for cricket, most of these bases no longer exist. A major milestone in Göttingen cricket was gaining permission from the University of Göttingen to make a pitch at the University Sports Ground. Our special thanks are due to Mr. Müller-Gürtler for this. having a pitch provided the opportunity for extending our activities. By chance, through contacts at the MPI and a research institute in Heidelberg, we came to learn that there were, indeed, a significant number of cricket teams in Germany (and probably a corresponding number of Italian restaurants). At this stage, we made contact with the circketers in Hanau, who also introduced us to the game of indoor cricket. We would like to thank Frank Fletcher for his help and friendship from this time on. The CricketTeam of the University of Göttingen is a founder-member of the German Cricket Association (DCB) and cricket has flourished since then (1988). Our cooperation with the University of Göttingen has expanded, so that we hosted several national indoor championships, with greatly increasing numbers of teams. Moreover, we were able to erect training nets for practise. A priority in the coming years will be to introduce more students to the game.

Cricket in Göttingen has now entered its second decade. We hope that it will survive many more decades. We are optimistic that further developments will take place. Of course, we already have ideas. Should anyone wish to discuss these, we suggest a meeting in the pub Dorfkrug, in the Gutenbergstraße - bets will be taken, subject to our usual conditions...

From University of Gottigen via Pete Corrigan!

19. Lots of Links to Sites I have found whilst researching the Regiment


http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/ - hilarious spoof site!!





















1/35th scale Chieftain