Good on you for starting this thread off.
Really looking forward to reading your Veteran's stories.
I will try and add anything I find to get things going.
(Most of my books are packed away waiting for house move.)
Good little story here.http://www.bbc.co.uk.../a2766684.shtml
Being in the 1st Fife & Forfar Yeomanry Tank Regiment our uniform was the same as everyone elses but with a few embellishments.
Khaki battledress comprising of khaki trousers and blouse, I had a belt for my waist as it was home to my weapon which was a revolver. The belt was actually optional in our squadron. The driver and co driver had a sten gun (small machine gun) which was quite dangerous because if you dropped or banged it accidentally it would fire a round of ammunition. There were a few near misses! The radio operator who was also the gun loader also had a Sten gun.
On our heads we wore a black beret, this originated from the first world war when the French gave the Royal Tank Regiment the honour of wearing their black beret.
Towards the end of the war whilst we were in Germany, we stayed at Geillenkirken. On arriving at the town, a unit of the Guards, (I don't know which regiment) saw the regimental badges on our shoulders and assumed that we were officers, they walked by and saluted us. We of course saluted back. It was a short while after when they got closer they realised that we were the same as them!
Our berets, collar badges and shoulder badges also had an adverse reaction from the native German people as they were very similar to a German SS Regiment who had treated their own people very badly. On entering the town, the German people gave us a very wide berth
Another story.Give a feel of their involvement in Operation Goodwood.http://www.sundayherald.com/37822
2nd Fife & Forfar Yeo, 11th Armd Div.
In the early morning July mist the Sherman tanks of the 2nd Fife and Forfar
Yeomanry waddled up to the start line, their engines throbbing insistently
across the still Normandy countryside. Ahead lay the shock of battle, but
whatever fears their crews had they kept to themselves as they went through
the pre-combat checks. Radios crackled with last minute orders as the regiment's
squadron commanders went through the familiar routine of checking and rechecking
equipment. Inside the steel hulls, the troopers felt the familiar gut-wrenching
anticipation of battle, the sinking feeling in the stomach, the cold sweat
and the sudden need to defecate. The tankers of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry
had good reason to feel anxious. They were about to take part in Operation
Goodwood, a huge armoured assault to break out from the bridgehead of the
D-Day landings and that meant engaging German tanks which were superior to
theirs in every way. With their heavy steel armour plating and their high-velocity
88mm flak gun, the German Mark VI Tiger was a formidable opponent. The only
hope for a Sherman crew was to get in close and hope that a lucky shot from
their 75mm gun would hit the achilles heel of the Tiger's side and rear armour-plating.
Otherwise they knew what lay in store: a direct hit and their petrol engine
would blaze with an intensity which would frazzle them in seconds. It was
called "brewing up" and, by the early afternoon, 13 of the Yeomanry's Shermans
had met that fate even before they had reached their first objective. Nobody
who took part in that bloody battle ever forgot the carnage.
I could see palls of smoke and tanks brewing up with flames belching forth
from their turrets. I could see men climbing out on fire like torches, rolling
on the ground to try and douse the flames, but we were in ripe corn and the
straw catches fire ...
Today the Normandy countryside is neat and well-manicured and the scars of
the failed breakout attempt have long since disappeared. War has been sanitised
and the battlefields are sold as a tourist attraction. Even the dead play
their part. In lovingly kept cemeteries at Bayeux, Banneville-la- Campagne
and Hottot-les-Bagues the white gravestones stand in serried ranks and at
this time of year the wreaths of red poppies commemorate a generation of
young men, like those of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, who did not go home.