3 RTR HQ Squadron

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Crock, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Hi all,

    After reading ( and thoroughly enjoying ) Franks thread on 3 RTR B Sqdn it gave me inspiration to start this thread, As the title suggests I've started it to try and build a better understanding of 3 RTR HQ Sqdn's role throughout the war.

    One of the main reasons for my interest is my grandad was a tank driver with HQ from 1940-46 and to me there seems little info out there, im always coming across A,B and C actions but not HQ ( maybe im looking in the wrong places? ) it would be nice to build a picture of his life within HQ.

    As with Franks thread we don't have to stay strictly to HQ as obviously all squadrons crossed paths with each other at some point and its always good to see new photos appear :)

    My grandad was Harry James House 7899738, he enlisted 15/9/39 and joined the 3rd on 20/5/40 ( 2 days later he was in Calais! ) He saw action in Calais, Greece and Crete before moving onto the desert wars and of course into Europe finally de mobbing in Jan 1946.

    I have a lot of photos and story's to share and im hoping there's a few of you out there with some hidden gems to share :) ( i have posted various pics and stuff in other places before but will re post here to keep them all in one place, apologies to those that may recognize anything i post )

    So a few questions to throw out there and get things rolling,

    What was HQ's main role?
    Was it always a ' back up ' squadron? ( i tend to see a lot of writings saying Asqdn were sent to 'X' backed up by HQ etc )
    Are there any books written about HQ?

    Heres a few pics of grandad


    26.jpg 09.jpg
     
  2. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Hi Crock,

    Can you confirm the name on the front of his Comet as I can't quite make it out.

    Cheers

    Kevin
     
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  3. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Hi Kevin,

    I wish i could!

    Its been debated by many for some time! someone put it through some software and is pretty sure it says Cavalier but i have no concrete proof at the moment

    Keith
     
  4. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    HQ Sqns's role is mainly admin and logistics, it has a number of Depts/Troops within it ie:- Motor Transport (MT), Quartermaster (QM) who deal with and order clothing, rations, ammo etc, Quartermaster Technical (QM(T)) who deal with all the vehs, tools and spares. Command Troop (RHQ in the field) they would be equipped with a few command vehs, armoured cars and the CO's, Regtl 2/c's tank's. Recce Troop, Main LAD (Light Aid Detachment) where the main bulk of the Fitters would be and last but not least the Chefs! In this day and age the Regimental Admin Office, which included clerks who deal with pay and admin, the Medical Officer (MO) who would run the Regimental Aid Post (RAP) along with medics, Gym Staff, Training Wing, Welfare Office, Regtl Shop (PRI), Officers Mess Staff and WO's & Sgt's Mess Staff would all be included within HQ Sqn. When in the field some Depts form part of the B Echelon and remain far behind the fighting troops. The A2 Echelon normally commanded by the QM(T) you'd see his Dept, some of MT and the Main LAD. They would be lumped together with the other A2 Echs from the other regts within the Brigade. The A1 Ech normally commanded by the Motor Transport Officer (MTO) or even the RSM, manning some sort of command vehicle and they would deal with all the replen requests from the sqns! This would have sat about 5 Kms behind the fighting troops and consists of all the Squadron Quarter Master Sgts (SQMSs) vehicle packets, which consist of trucks carrying water, rations, mail, spare clothing, spare crewman, veh spares, oils, fuel, ammo and anything the 'Q' could get his hand on to make life a little more bearable for the tank crews in his sqn. You might also see the main LAD's recovery assits based with it as well! I hope you now have a better understanding of how it all works!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
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  5. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    There's nothing like not being able to make out a tank's name to get people interested!!! Great photos! You wouldn't happen to have a higher-resolution photo by chance? At first glance, I though it said CRUSADER, which is the tank that appears here: THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45, of Brünen fame, it looks to me like it could end ..DER, but anyone reading my thread will know my unenviable track record at recognising faces, names, etc!
     
  6. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Thanks for that info, great help :)
     
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  7. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Crusader was a favourite for a long time but I think it was Steve that found a reason to rule it out I’m sure he will find this thread soon enough and hopefully remember why
     
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  8. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Well what would we do without modern technology!! Just needed a light bulb moment to work out how to do it!

    Just dug out the original photo... took a picture of it with my mobile phone.. zoomed... cropped and zoomed again!

    Bingo!! Think Cavalier becomes favourite haha

    3B77CAB0-7C03-46E7-9187-1D880B92D2FC.jpeg
     
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  9. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Great pic of your granddad! Good smile. :)

    I was wondering if it might be CAVALIER just from the shape of the letters but I couldn't be sure.
     
  10. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    How if at all does one go about finding the history or a tank?

    Does Cavalier have a history?
     
  11. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    I've just had a gander at the names used by C Bn of the Tank Corps (later 3RTR) at the time of the battle of Cambrai and the name wasn't in use then! However it was used on a Challenger1 tank in 12 Troop C Sqn back in 1992.
     
  12. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    They say the devil is in the detail. :pipe:

    On paper, the laid down organization of an armoured/tank battalion/regiment changed over time so what is true for one date is not necessarily true for another.

    In reality, the actual organization of an armoured/tank battalion/regiment was how the Commanding Officer decided to divvy up whatever resources he had at his disposal.

    HQ Squadron was the non-fighting administrative and support part of the battalion/regiment. Of the 125ish pers, alot were designated drivers, but also included clerks, cooks, bottle washers, servants, and so on and on.

    The official organization of 3RTR at the beginning of the war had no tanks in HQ Squadron. By beginning of the war, l mean through to about 1942/3.

    For example, at the time of the French battle, and 3RTR's excursion to Calais, the proscribed organisation of HQ Squadron noted 125-128 personnel organised into 3 sub-elements.
    - Squadron HQ of 6 pers, 1 lorry & 1 car
    - Intercommunications Troop of 19 pers and 10 scout cars
    - Administration Troop of 103 pers 18 lorries, 2 cars & 12 m/c.

    MarkNote:
    The four tanks often ascribed to HQ Squadron were officially designated as Battalion/Regimental HQ (BHQ / RHQ) and thus came under direct command of the battalion/regiment CO not the OC of HQ Squadron.
     
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  13. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    I see...So what you're saying is that Croc's grandfather, driving a comet, would have been RHQ. Not having any idea of batallion internal workings, what exactly was their role?
     
  14. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    So although attached to HQ chances are my grandad was driving tanks under CO command?, This would make some sense in my grandads history, I have some evidence that suggests he was the driver for Lt C David Silvertop late ‘44

    Which then leads to the question what was their role?

    Thanks for the info by the way!

    Keith
     
  15. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Please bear in mind my two caveats above: different timeframe and CO's discretion.

    In the establishment valid up to about 1942, BHQ/RHQ consisted of 17 pers, 4 Cruiser Tanks and a staff car.

    The tanks were there to transport and protect the command staff around the battlefield - generally not doing the fighting unless required to defend themselves.

    Official organization as follows:
    Cruiser tank 1: CO, Adj, Sgt, Dvr Op
    Cruiser tank 2: 2i/c, RSM, Sigs, Cpl Dvr IC
    Cruiser tank 3: OC tk tp, Sgt, Dvr Op, Dvr IC
    Cruiser tank 4: IO, Cpl Int, Dvr Op, Dvr IC
    Staff Car: Cpl Dvr IC

    Whether the same applied in 1945 when the Comets were around, l cannot say.

    Specifics of reality
    The above is based on 4-man Cruiser tanks. Before and in Calais, there was a shortage of the appropriate Cruiser tanks and the actual set was a bit different.
    However, it would have applied after the return from Calais, when they were sent out to Egypt and the brief foray into Greece. It would also have applied after they received the American Stuart tanks in September 1941.
     
  16. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    If I'm the Steve you mean, I frankly can't remember what if anything was said except that Crusader was the mount of Major Watts and the chap alongside him in the turret on the photo of Crusader is Bill Bourne.
     
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  17. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Haha you are indeed the Steve, I think I remember it being a Facebook post a while ago? anyway we know it’s Cavalier now :)
     
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  18. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    Hi Keith - Lt Col David Silvertop was CO 3RTR, who was tragically KIA on 25 Sep 44. See this link (I can’t vouch for its accuracy but expect it’s there or thereabouts) for an account of the incident during which David Silvertop was killed: David Arthur Henry Silvertop.

    If your grandad was driving for Lt Col Silvertop at the time of his death he could well have been involved in the incident.

    Best

    John
     
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  19. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Thanks for that John, I was already aware of how and when David Silvertop died but to date have no proof my grandad was there at the time, I’ve reason to believe he was driving the tank Silvertop was in when they entered Antwerp 3 weeks earlier but anything before or after that is un confirmed at the moment

    Keith
     
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  20. Crock

    Crock Active Member

    Not really sure where to start with the photos so ill just throw them out there,

    This one doesn't have my grandad in, presumably he's taking it of his crew mates?

    Anyone any ideas on who they are or where they are?

    11.jpg
     
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