Units That Served With The 4th Armoured Brigade
During its history the 4th Armoured Brigade many different units served with the Brigade. I have tried to include as many as possible with as much information as possible, but I apologise is I have omitted any.
This will include theArmour, Infantry, Artillery, REME, RAMC, the Royal Corps of Signals (R.Sigs), RASC, RAOC, and Other Units, listed below. Along with this page there are pages dedicated to explaining more of the history of as many of the units shown here as possible. Where information is already available on the main 7th Armoured Division website, this is referenced to and denoted by the symbol.
3rd County of London Yeomanry (The Sharpshooters) later 3rd/4th CLY
|1st Household Cavalry Regiment|
|12th Royal Lancers|
|2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry|
|4th/6th South African Armoured Car Regiment|
44th Royal Tank Regiment
|46th Royal Tank Regiment|
|50th Royal Tank Regiment|
Royal Tank Regimental History
44th RTR: The 44th RTR was formed in 1938 from 6th Bn. The Gloucestershire Regiment at the same time as its duplicate battalion - 50th RTR. When war was declared on 3rd September 1939 44th RTR was in Bristol, attached to 21st Army Tank Brigade at the time. The battalion the went to the Middle East in April 1941 and by the time of Operation Crusader, November 1941, 1st Army Tank Brigade, equipped with Valentine Tanks, along with 8th and 42nd RTR, supporting 2nd New Zealand Division, contributing to the Divisions stand against the German and Italian armoured attacks on 30th November 1942. It was still part of 1st Army Tank Brigade when the Germans and Italians attacked at Gazala in May 1942 and also in the Cauldron battles of that campaign. It then supported the Australians during the withdraw during the 'Gazala Gallop' and again during the Battle of First Alamein.
It was then with drawn from the line for re-equipping although a small number of it troops used minesweeping Matilda (Scorpion) tanks during the battle of El Alamein. In June 1943, the battalion became part of 4th Armoured Brigade for the invasion of Sicily and the also for the Brigades parts in the Italian campaign. It, with the rest of 4th Armoured Brigade, withdrew from Italy in January 1944 to return to the UK ready for the Normandy landings, where it landed on 9th June 1944.
After the fighting in Normandy it took part in the break and eventually reached the River Scheldt by 9th September 1944. On 17th September it came under the command of the 101st Airborne Div as part of Operation Market-Garden, before returning to the 4th Armoured Brigade. In April the battalion was helped 52nd Lowland Division in the capture of Bremen. It then moved via Hamburg to begin its occupational role to Uetersen on 9th May 1945.
The battalion was amalgamated with 50th RTR to form, 44th/50th RTR and on 31st October 1956, the new regiment was further amalgamated with The North Somerset Yeomanry, to form The North Somerset Yeomanry/44th Royal Tank Regiment, which has since become The North Somerset and Bristol Yeomanry.
44th Royal Tank Regiment Role of Honour 1939-1945
46th RTR: The 46th (Liverpool Welsh) Royal Tank Regiment was formed in Liverpool at the outbreak of the Second World War. When the 8th Armoured Division was formed, in November 1940, it became part 23rd Armoured Brigade along with 40th and 50th RTR and then moved to the Middle East in July 1942 and went straight into action. With the rest of the Brigade to then took part in the battle of El Alamein, where it served as part of the 23rd Armoured Brigade Group supporting the 1st South African Division, before being taking tanks from 8th RTR in November 1942, when the former was taken out of the line.
It remained with 23rd Armoured Brigade for the rest of the North African campaign and for the Italian campaign. It the moved to Greece in December 1944 as part of 'Arkforce', where it remained until as the war ended.
50th RTR: The 50th RTR was formed in 1938 from 6th Bn. The Gloucestershire Regiment at the same time as a duplicate battalion to 44th RTR. When war was declared on 3rd September 1939 50th RTR was in Bristol, attached to 23rd Army Tank Brigade at the time. When the 8th Armoured Division was formed, in November 1940, it became part 23rd Armoured Brigade and then moved to the Middle East in July 1942 and went straight into action. With the rest of the Brigade to then took part in the battle of El Alamein, where it served as part of the 23rd Armoured Brigade Group with 44th and 46th RTR. During the pursuit of the Axis forces to Tunis the battalion 50 RTR then became a "Regimental Group" the only one in North Africa. It fought at Medenine and at Mareth where it fought a heroic action against the 15th Panzer Division. Wadi Akarit was the the brigades last battle in the south before it fought at Chaffar, which was the last rearguard action before the entry into Sfax. Its badge, in addition to the normal Royal Tank Regiment one, is shown below.
In July 1943, the battalion served as part of 23rd Armoured Brigade in the Sicily campaign, where it was under command of 51st (Highland) Division. In September 1943, the battalion became part of 4th Armoured Brigade for the Brigades parts in the Italian campaign. When the rest of 4th Armoured Brigade, withdrew from Italy in 1944 to return to the UK ready for the Normandy landings, it remained in Italy (having taken over tanks from 3rd CLY) as part of 23rd Armoured Brigade, and then moved to Greece in December 1944 as part of 'Arkforce', where it remained until as the war ended.
The battalion was amalgamated with 44th RTR to form, 44th/50th RTR and on 31st October 1956, the new regiment was further amalgamated with The North Somerset Yeomanry, to form The North Somerset Yeomanry/44th Royal Tank Regiment, which has since become The North Somerset and Bristol Yeomanry.
The Household Cavalry Museum
1st / 2nd Life Guards. Blues & Royals
(Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) & 1st (Royal) Dragoons)
St Leonard's Road
Tel: 01753 755 112
When war was declared in September 1939, The Royal Dragoons were stationed in the Lydda Area of Palestine. By December 1940 the regiment had been mechanised with Armoured cars, before moving to Syria in mid 1941.
In May 1942, the regiment served as the Reconnaissance Regt for 1st Armoured Division, before joining 10th Armoured Division as its Reconnaissance Regt for El Alamein, with it served for the rest of the North African campaign.
Only 'A' Squadron, too part in the Sicily landing as 8th Army troops and were attached to 4th Armoured Brigade for this campaign and during the early stages of the Italian campaign. Along with the rest of 4th Armoured Brigade withdrew in January 1944, to prepare for the Normandy landings. The rest of the regiment had returned to the UK as XII Corps troops in May 1943. It was with XII Corps that the regiment fought its way across Northern Europe, eventually helping to liberate Copenhagen in 1945. It was attached to 1st Parachute Brigade from May to August 1945
From 1938 to 1940, The Royal Dragoons were in Palestine on Internal Security Duties, stationed in the Lydda Area. In December 1940, they moved to the Royal Armoured Corps School at Abbassia, Cairo, where after only four months training they became an Armoured Car Regiment. 'A' Squadron then went to join the 11th Hussars in the Western Desert, while 'B' Squadron moved to Syria to take part in the campaign against the Vichy French. On conclusion of the armistice in Syria, the Regiment moved north to Aleppo to patrol the Syrian-Turkish border where they were later joined by 'C' Squadron.
In December 1941, The Royal Dragoons joined the Eighth Army in the Western Desert, advancing with it to Benghazi – they were the first troops to enter the city on Christmas Day, 1941 – and on to Agedabia. During Rommel’s counter-offensive of January 1942, the Regiment acted as flank and rear-guard for the withdrawal to the Gazala line and the subsequent retreat from Tobruk. In May 1942, the regiment served as the Reconnaissance Regt for 1st Armoured Division, before joining 4th Light Armoured Brigade during the retreat to El Alamein. After stabilization of the line at El Alamein, apart from a month’s rest in order to refit, the Royals were on constant patrol duty. The regiment then joined 10th Armoured Division as its Reconnaissance Regt for El Alamein.
During the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. 'A' and 'C' Squadrons slipped unobserved at night through the enemy lines and spent two days behind the front, causing chaos amongst the German supply columns and the retreating Italian infantry. In one of these actions on the night of November 1 1942, Major Heathcoat-Amory was in command of 'C' squadron of the Royal Dragoons, broke through the enemy minefields at Alamein. It took until daylight before they were clear of the minefields, but Heathcoat-Amory pushed on to his objective through enemy positions, regardless of the opposition. Under his direction, the squadron was subsequently responsible for the destruction of more than 100 enemy transport vehicles, a tank and several guns; and they also captured of a very large number of prisoners. The citation for his MC commended Heathcoat-Amory’s "conspicuous ability and devotion to duty throughout this hazardous operation covering four days behind the enemy lines".
Thereafter, during the rapid advance that followed the victory at El Alamein, the Royals led the southern flank of the Eight Army as flying column frequently with other arms under command. By the middle of May 1943, the enemy had been driven from North Africa, and the Regiment spent until September resting and training in Tunisia.
In July, 'A' Squadron left Tunisia to take part in the invasion of Sicily, where they saw hard service during this short campaign, landing as 8th Army troops, attached to 4th Armoured Brigade for this campaign and during the early stages of the Italian campaign. In October the remainder of the Regiment joined 'A' Squadron in Italy; but they saw very little of the Italian campaign, as just before Christmas, 1943, The Royal Dragoons were sent home, to Ashford in Kent, to train for Operation “Overlord”, the invasion of France. The main features of this training were the formation of 'D' Squadron, the waterproofing of vehicles, and the arrival of half-tracks mounted with 75mm guns for the heavy Troops. After crossing from East Ham to Normandy at the end of July, 1944 the Squadrons split up, all taking part in the rapid advance north through France into Flanders, where they helped to keep the axis open during the drive to join up with the Airborne forces in Nijmegen and Arnhem. By 27th September, 'D' Squadron was patrolling the German border north of Nijmegen. Then for three months the Regiment saw continuous action, being responsible for watching a long sector of the Maas with a number of other units under command, a task that involved much dismounted work and foot patrols. During this period, the gun troops were pooled to form a single and effective battery. Only in January 1945, did the Regiment have a month in reserve, when they were together for the first time since landing in France.
The final phase of the war saw The Royal Dragoons doing bank control for the Rhine crossing from 23rd to 28th March, and thereafter advancing to the Elbe, where 'B' and 'C' Squadrons controlled the crossing in late April. In the German collapse that followed the Regiment took 10,000 German prisoners and freed 16,000 Allied POWs. On 2nd May and on 3rd May they pushed north to the Baltic, where they captured General Cuentzler near Lubeck. Immediately, following the German surrender on 5th May 1945, The Royal Dragoons had the good fortune to drive through Denmark and, as representatives of the Second Army, to liberate Copenhagen, where they received a tremendous welcome.
The Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons) trace their origins back to a troop of horse raised by King Charles II (from veterans of Parliamentary Army and Monmouth's Horse) in 1661 to form part of the garrison at Tangier, which was part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza. Here they were expanded to four troops and took the name of Tangier Horse, being ranked as 1st Dragoons, in 1674. They became know as The King's Own Royal Regiment of Dragoons (after King Charles II) Dragoons on their return to England in 1683. The term dragoon derived from the 'dragon', a musket suitable for mounted infantry. They received the battle honour Tangier, the oldest battle honour carried on standards, guidons and colours in the British Army. In 1690 the became The Royal Regiment of Dragoons and in 1752 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons.
The Royals, as they were known, then served in the War of Spanish Succession, the War of Austrian Succession and in the Spanish Peninsula before distinguishing itself at the Battle of Waterloo where the regiment captured the French 105th Infantry Regiment's Colours. The eagle that topped the Colour, with the number 105, formed part of the Regiment's crest uniforms. The latter half of the nineteenth century saw them in action in the Crimea, The Boer War (by then called 1st (Royal) Dragoons) and in India before deploying to Flanders in 1914. The regiment fought at Ypres, Loos, Hohenzollern and against the Hindenburg line in 1917. The inter war years saw 1st The Royal Dragoons stationed in Egypt, India and Palestine before the regiment was deployed to the Western Desert in 1941 seeing distinguished service at El Alamein, followed by service in Sicily and Italy. Operation Overlord in 1944 saw the regiment in Normandy from where they went onto liberate Copenhagen in 1945.
The regiment spent the post war years in Egypt, Germany, Aden, Oman, Kenya, Malaya, Singapore and the Trucial States (the old name for the United Arab Emirates) before amalgamation in 1969, with Royal Horse Guards (The Blues), to form The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons).
|Household Cavalry Museum|
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9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum
Derby Museum & Art Gallery
Tel: 01332 716659
Fax: 01332 716670
When war was declared in September 1939, 12th Royal Lancers were based at Aldershot, under the command of the Garrison. The regiment served with the BEF in France as Corps troops, landing in France on 16th October 1939, equipped with armoured cars. On 10th May it was the first regiment to cross the Belgian Frontier and later during the retreat the regiment covered the withdrawal of the BEF, at one time holding a front of forty miles between Ypres and Nieuport, before being evacuated to the UK. By November 1940, the regiment was the Reconnaissance Regiment for 1st Armoured Division. It then moved to the Middle East with the rest of the 1st Armoured Division, in November 1941.
Between July 1942 and September 1942, it was part of 4th (Light) Armoured Brigade, taking part in the fight after the retreat from Gazala to the El Alamein line and the Battle of Alam Halfa, before rejoining 1st Armoured Division again for the Battle of El Alamein. The regiment then remained as part of 1st Armoured Division for the rest of the North African campaign, though sometimes it was attached to other units as necessary and were he first British troops to link up with the Americans in Tunisia in April 1943. It went to Italy in September 1943 still as part of 1st Armoured Division, until the latter's disbandment in April 1944, becoming a Corps Armoured Car Regiment in May 1944 in Italy until the end of the war. In the Spring of 1945, the regiment headed the advance of the 2nd New Zealand Division, with 'B' Squadron being the troops first to enter Venice at the end of April. When the war in Italy ended on 2nd May 1945, it was in contact with the Yugoslavs at Trieste.
The 1715 Jacobite Rebellion
The 12th Royal Lancers can trace their origins back to 1715 when eight new regiments of foot and thirteen of dragoons were raised for the fear of an uprising in Scotland. One of these Dragoon regiments was raised in Berkshire under Colonel Phineas Bowles, being raised at Reading from men in Berkshire, Bucks, and Hampshire. Once the rising in Scotland had been suppressed six of the dragoon regiments were disbanded but Bowles's regiment was spared and became the 12th Dragoons and in 1718 the regiment was posted to Ireland, where it remained for the next seventy-five years. Although ranked as 12th Dragoons it was also known until 1751 by the names of other colonels.
The Prince of Wales's Feathers
In 1768 the regiment was constituted a corps of light cavalry, and the uniform and equipment were changed. The King bestowed the title of "The 12th Prince of Wales's Regiment of Light Dragoons", and the regiment was given the famous badge of the three ostrich feathers, and the motto "Ich Dien". In 1793 the regiment left Ireland to aid Admiral Hood at the siege of Toulon acting as dismounted dragoons. Afterwards, a single squadron was used by General Charles Stuart in Corsica. The remainder of the regiment sailed to Italy where it was blessed by Pope Pius VI and he received some of the officers at the Vatican where they were presented with Gold Medals and the Regimental Hymns, before returning to England in 1795. Upon its return the regiment was used to suppress a food riot in Nottingham and in in 1797 the regiment sailed for Portugal under General Stuart, and was the only cavalry regiment of a force of 2000 men sent to defend Lisbon.
Egypt and Walcheren
By now Britain was now at war with France, and Napoleon was invading Egypt, so Britain sent an army under General Sir Ralph Abercrombie to Egypt in 1801, which included 12th Light Dragoons. Here the regiment saw action at Alexandria, capturing a complete French convoy in the Libyan desert without losing a single man or horse. In 1802 the regiment on its return to England to be honoured with Royal Authority to bear on its Guidons and Appointments the Sphinx with "Egypt" and thereafter were entitled to wear the sphinx badge on their caps. Apart from two years in Ireland from 1803 to 1805, 12th Light Dragoons remained in England until 1809 under Colonel Sir James Stuart, then in July 1809 the regiment joined a force of 40,000 men for the assault the Walcheren Island off the coast of Antwerp. The campaign was designed to relieve the pressure on Britain's allies in the coalition against Napoleon by opening a front close to France. However, it was short lived, as poor leadership led to an inexplicable lack of any real moves to advance out of the low lying landing areas and, as a result, a miasmic fever (malaria) spread through the Corps forcing it to abandon its goal. Fortunately, the regiment did not suffer from the fever, as they were never landed.
The Peninsular Campaign
In the spring of 1811 the 12th Light Dragoons were sent to the Spanish Peninsula to join the Army under the Duke of Wellington. Six troops were embarked at Portsmouth, now under the command of the dashing and extremely popular, Lt. Colonel (The Honourable) Frederick Ponsonby. In the Peninsular War the Regiment shone in all its tasks, from outpost duties to combat, including skirmishes at El Bodon, Aldea da Ponte. Llerena and Villa Garcia. It was awarded battle honours Salamanca, Vittoria, Nivelles and Nive. In 1813 the uniform again changed. The regiment wore Shakos instead of Tarleton helmets and the jacket and belts of the men were modelled on the French/continental style of tailed jacket with 'plastron' fronts. By the winter of 1813, Wellington's Army had fought its way into the South of France and on 12th March 1814, the Regiment was among the first British troops to enter Bordeaux. Lt. Colonel Ponsonby was awarded the honour of carrying the news of Napoleon's abdication to the Duke of Wellington, some 150 miles away in Toulouse, which he did in just nineteen hours. Of the service given by the regiment during the Peninsula Campaign, Sir John Vandeleur, brigade commander of the regiment perhaps sums up the professionalism and absolute reliability characterising the regiment: "The 12th can boast of what no Regiment in the army can, except the ones that came out the other day, that we never lost a single man by surprise, not a piquet or patrol has ever been taken, nor a man deserted or even tried by Court Martial".
After the armistice, the Regiment marched through France to Calais and ferried to England. At Hounslow they were inspected and congratulated by the Prince Regent who awarded the honour of "Peninsular".
The Waterloo Campaign
In early 1815 the Regiment was used in Berkshire to quell a food riot, but soon afterwas, it embarked six troops under Ponsonby at Ramsgate for Ostend. Napoleon had escaped from his prison, the Island of Elba. Upon arrival in Flanders, the regiment was brigaded with the 11th and 16th Light Dragoons under their old Peninsular commander, Major General Vandeleur, at Outenarde . It was here that the Duke of Wellington inspected them and remarked: "He was happy at having again under his orders a corps which had always been distinguished for its gallantry and discipline, and he did not doubt, should occasion offer, it would continue to deserve this good opinion: and he hoped every man would feel pride in endeavouring to maintain the reputation of the Regiment". From here they moved to Denderwinche. On 16th June 1815, Napoleon crossed the Sambre River at Charleroi between the Prussian army under Blucher and the British under Wellington. At five o'clock that morning the regiment with the rest of the brigade were moved to Enghien, from where they were called to Nivelles. Soon after their arrival they were ordered to proceed without delay to Quatre Bras, where sounds of battle could be heard. Unfortunately, they arrived at the very end of the battle and took no active part in it. On 17th June it was learned that the Prussians had retired to Wavre. Wellington retired to a position he had noted some moths previously, south of the village of Waterloo. Vandeleur's Brigade was used, together with the rest of the Allied cavalry, in three rearguard columns, pulling back from the French advance and was engaged in running skirmishes with the pursuing French light cavalry and lancers.
On the night of the 17th it rained continually, turning the battle ground into a quagmire and as dawn broke on the morning of Sunday 18th June 1815, the weather was clear and 12th Light Dragoons of Vandeleur's Brigade on the far left of the British line. In the early afternoon Napoleon's main attack came with four massive columns belonging to D'Erlon's Division, the columns rolling forward towards the centre left of the British line. The columns began to push the line back, but were held by the charge of the Household and Union Brigades of heavy cavalry. The Household Brigade checked and withdrew after defeating two Cuirassier regiments. However, the Union Brigade did not. After smashing its way through two of D'Erlon's columns, the Union Brigade attacked the massed French Battery of guns opposite. Their horses blown and the men scattered, they were caught and set upon by two fresh regiments of Jaquinot's lancers. Realising that there was only one way to extract what remained of the heavy dragoons, 12th and 16th Light Dragoons were ordered to charge, while 11th Light Dragoons were ordered to stay in reserve.
The 12th Light Dragoons lead the charge which Wellington later called "beautiful". The two regiments tore through the rear of the only remaining French column and fell upon the flank of the French, but were then charged by a regiment of lancers. This action although 'beautiful' was costly and the regiment suffered very severely in the withdrawal, losing one third of its strength in just ten minutes . During the attack by French lancers, Lt Col Ponsonby was lost on the field and was badly wounded having been run through at least three times by lance and sword, being left for dead. However, despite being robbed and used as firing cover by a French tirailleur, Ponsonby somehow survived until he was made more comfortable by a major of the Imperatrice Dragoons of the Imperial Guard. Later, having being ridden over by the advancing Prussians late in the day he was eventually found by a private in the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) who stood guard over him all night. Even with all his severe injuries Ponsonby survived, but was left with a useless left arm and severe limitations of movement.
As the Battle of Waterloo began to rise to its climax, the centre of the British line was stretching perilously thin. Wellington sent orders for Vandeleur's Brigade, the regiment among them, to move closer to the centre of the line but the aide sent with the message found Vandeleur already in the process of bringing his men over, as he had seen the dire situation developing to his right. Here they had a grandstand view of the massed French cavalry attacks in the late afternoon and repeatedly helped to see off the French cavalry that made its way past the infantry squares.
At around four o'clock the Prussians could be seen approaching and 12th Light Dragoons moved along in the line behind the right flank of Maitland's Brigade of Foot Guards. Once again they had a prime view of another French assault, this time by the Imperial Guard and as soon as the Imperial Guard were beaten back by Maitland's Guards and the Light Division, the cavalry were on the advance moving forward as best they could, but movement was hampered by the numbers of dead and wounded on the field. They charged the fleeing French capturing groups of French soldiers and guns. Further across the field they came face to face with the "Grenadiers a Cheval" who had been Napoleon's personal escort all day and therefore virtually untouched. The regiment prepared to charge, but badly obstructed by the fleeing French army they had little effect and as night fell, the exhausted British cavalry gratefully handed over the pursuit of the French fugitives to the newly arrived vengeful Prussians. Later the regiment moved into France, and in July entered Paris with the rest of the cavalry. So ended the Napoleonic era of the regiment, with the award of their proudest battle honour "Waterloo".
Dragoons to Lancers
During its time in the Spanish Peninsula the regiment had been practising with lances in the Peninsula, so once it was back in the UK, in 1816 the regiment was converted into lancers and its name was changed in 1817 to "The 12th, Prince of Wales, Royal Lancers". The regiment served with distinction in most theatres of war of the British empire including: South Africa 1852, The Crimea, The Indian Mutiny 1858 - 1860, where it formed part of the Saugur Field Force, which helped pacify Central India. During the Boer War 1899 - 1902 the regiment took part in the Relief of Kimberley, the most brilliant cavalry exploit of the War, and the operations which resulted in Cronje’s surrender at Paardeberg. At Diamond Hill, the last pitched battle of the war, the Earl of Airlie, the Commanding Officer, was killed after leading a charge which saved two guns of 'Q' Battery RHA.
The Great War
In August 1914, the regiment went to France as part of 5th Cavalry Brigade, of 2nd Cavalry Division in the BEF. On 28th August 1914 'C' Squadron of the regiment made a most successful charge against the 1st Guard Dragoons supported by the fire of 'A' and 'B' Squadrons, 'J' Battery RHA and the Scots Greys. As the Western Front became as static position, the regiment lost its horses and fought as infantry in the trenches for the remainder of the War. During the First World War it saw service at Mons and during the retreat from Mons, and later in 1914 at Marne, Aisne,and Messines. It also saw service at Ypres during 1914 and 1915, and at Neuve Chapelle, St. Julien, Bellewaarde. In 1917 the regiment was at Arras, Scarpe and Cambrai, while in 1918, it served at the Somme, St. Quentin, Lys, Hazebrouck, Amiens, Albert, Hindenburg Line, the St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir and Sambre. After the war it briefly served in Curragh, Ireland.
On 1st January 1921 the regiment became 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's). In 1927 the regiment moved to Egypt and in 1928 the regiment was mechanised as the horse had to make way for the tanks and armoured cars to take its place on the battlefield. In 1934 it returned to it was at Tidworth, Hampshire, but in 1935 a composite squadron was in Saar in Germany as part of an International Force supervising a plebiscite. By 1937 the regiment was stationed at Aldershot and in April 1939, the regiment transferred to Royal Armoured Corps.
World War Two
As the war clouds loomed over the world again in 1939 the regiment was equipped with Armoured Cars and based in the UK. On 10th May it was the first regiment to cross the Belgian Frontier and during the retreat they covered the withdrawal of the BEF, at one time holding a front of forty miles between Ypres and Nieuport. In his despatches, Lord Gort wrote,"without the Twelfth Lancers only a small part of the Army would have reached Dunkirk". After evacuation at Dunkirk the regiment assumed the role of an Armoured Division armoured car recce regiment, sailing for Africa with the 1st Armoured Division in September 1941, leaving behind a detachment that shortly after Dunkirk had been sent to act as a mobile guard for the Royal Family and members of the Cabinet. Earlier in June 1941 a cadre from the regiment was detached to form 27th Lancers.
In North Africa the regiment saw service in the Western Desert from 1942 to 1943 and were the first British troops to link up with the Americans in Tunisia in April 1943. Later the regiment served in Italy and were first in action as infantry in the Castel di Sangro area to the East of Cassino in April 1944, as part of 1st Armoured Division. It served in Italy as a Corps Armoured Car Regiment until the end of the war and 'B' Squadron were the troops first to enter Venice at the end of April 1945. When the war in Italy ended on 2nd May 1945, it was in contact with the Yugoslavs at Trieste.
Post War Years
After the Second World War the regiment returned to the UK in 1946 and served as a Royal Armoured Corps training regiment. In 1951, it was in Malaya and between 1955 and 1959 it served in Germany and enjoyed a year in Cyprus before returning to the UK in 1960.
In 1960 with the re-alignment of the British army during the 'cold war' the regiment was amalgamated with the 9th Lancers, to form 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's) on 11th September 1960. Unlike many regiments which later went through further amalgamations with some loss of identity, the 9th/12th Royal Lancers have remained a distinct regiment and still perform much the same tasks for the army of today armed with scimitar tanks, as their predecessors did on horseback. Most recently the 9th/12th have seen active service in the Gulf War of 1991 and the Balkans.
The record of the Regiment has no ending. Its spirit can be seldom expressed in words only articulated in the bearing of officers and men in the fierce competitive brilliance of peace and the discipline and comradeship of war. This spirit has been created by generation after generation of soldiers, by men who fought in the Peninsula and at Waterloo, in South Africa and India, in the Transvaal and the mud of Flanders, in France, North Africa, Italy and Iraq.
|12th (Prince of Wales's) Light Dragoons, living Napoleonic history trail|
|The 9th/12th Royal Lancers Association|
|Army Page for 9th/12th Royal Lancers|
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|111th Field Regiment Royal Artillery|
Royal Artillery Regiments
The 98th FieldRegiment (consisting of 391st and 392nd Batteries) served with the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in France in 1940. After being re-equipped it moved to the Middle East as part of 10th Armoured Division with which it served from El Alamein to the end of the North African campaign. It served with XIII Corps as part of 6th AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery) during the Sicilian campaign, by which time it consisted of 391st, 392nd and 471st Batteries, equipped with US 105mm Priest Self Propelled Guns. It the served with 4th Armoured Brigade during its time in Italy in later 1943, before returning to 8th Army command for 1944. In April 1945 it was under 2nd Army command in Northern Europe where it ended the war.
The 111th Field Regiment, consisting of 211th, 212th (East Lancashire) Batteries, was part of 66th Infantry Division, based at Bolton, Lancashire, when war was declared, in September 1939. By July 1940 it was part of 42nd Infantry Division, still in the UK, where it remained until sometime after October 1941. By October 1942, it had sailed to the Middle East and supported 50th (Northumberland) Division at El Alamein. In November 1942 it came under 8th Army command. although it did support 8th Armoured Brigade at times, during the rest of the North African campaign. It was to remain under 8th Army command for the rest of the war, being part of 6th AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery), XIII Corps for the invasion of Sicily. It was attached to 4th Armoured Brigade for the early stages of the Italian campaign, before returning to 8th Army command again.
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Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
318 Armoured Brigade Workshops REME
4th Armoured Brigade Workshops REME (previously 318 Workshops)
History of Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers
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|4th Armoured Brigade Ordnance Field Park Workshops (RAOC)|
The Royal Logistic Corps Museum
Tel: 01252 340 871
History of Royal Army Service Corps
The Royal Army Service Corps was formed from the historical Board of Ordnance, Commissary General and other organisations such as the Corps of Waggoners. Its familiar organisation really can in 1889, when the Army Service Corps was formed by amalgamation of Commissariat and Transport Staff, and Corps. In 1918, it was named the Royal Army Service Corps
More on the history of Royal Army Service Corps
History of Royal Army Ordnance Corps
The Royal Army Ordnance Corps is one of the oldest corps in the army, it can trace its origins to the Office of Ordnance administered by the crown in the 15th century and the Board of Ordnance established after the restoration in 1683. Formally established as the RAOC in 1918 by the amalgamation of the Army Ordnance Department and Army Ordnance Corps. The Royal Army Service Corps was absorbed in 1965 and in 1993 it united with the Royal Corps of Transport, Royal Pioneer Corps, Army Catering Corps, and the Postal and Courier Service of the Royal Engineers to form the Royal Logistic Corps
More on the history of Royal Army Ordnance Corps
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Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC)
14th Light Field Ambulance
The Army Medical Services Museum
Tel: 01252 340 212
History of Royal Army Medical Corps
The RAMC traces its history back to the foundation of the Regular Army, following the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, but it was not until 1898 that officers and soldiers were incorporated into one body known as the Royal Army Medical Corps. The RAMC motto In Arduis Fidelius is translated as 'Steadfast in Adversity'. The 31 Victoria Crosses won by the Corps, including a double VC and one recipient of both the VC and the Iron Cross, bear testimony to the motto and the character and ideals of the men and women who wear the badge.
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|4th Armoured Brigade Signal Section|
History of Royal Corps of Signals
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TheRoyal Armoured Corps was in 1939 formed to encompass a Cavalry Wing (cavalry regiments which had mechanised), and the Royal Tank Regiment. Other regiments joined later as they mechanised. From 1939 to 1945 also included numbered RAC regiments converted from infantry battalions.
The purpose of the Delivery Squadrons, was to provide battlefield replacements, direct to the front line, sometimes under fire.
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