8 RTR historical details

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by phylo_roadking, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Does anyone know if there's a history of 8RTR, or where I could find details of their activities...I mean easy-access without having to go to Kew???;)

    Also - where I could specifically find details of what the regiment was equiped with at various times?
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    8th RTR were in the 7th Armoured bde in Italy along with 2nd & 6th RTR and fought at Croce and Gemmano at the Gothic Line - as well as other "skirmishes" -- try Bovington for their diary...should be all you want - give them a call !

  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Liddell Hart's official history of the RTR as a whole; 'The Tanks', ought to have something on what they did, and were issued with, Phylo.
    It's got an appendix on who was where year by year as well.
    Got to go to Ikea now, but will have a proper shufti later.
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    There's a lot in the book, with a few mentions of strengths - any chance of being more specific on when you'd like to know what Tanks were held?
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Von Poop / Phylo
    Think I'm right in saying that th 7th Armoured were equipped with Valentines - Crusaders - Grants/Honey's in the desert then when the 6th RTR got back from Burma they had Sherman's as they did in Italy and at the Gothic line - Croce /Gemmano the 8th RTR lost 120 killed in three weeks fighting which was of 22 Officers and 98 Or's - this was 50% of their tank crews - or one crew every day !- That was in the overall of 14,000 casualties for the whole battle in 8th Army.
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Nothing as late as that I'm afraid!

    It's TWO specific dates...

    First is the details for "C" Squadron - that's the only identifier I have! - in or around the 5th of September 1940. Brevetted to "Milforce", working with the NZ division in Kent -

    Tps: "C" Sqn. Div. Cav.
    32 A/Tk Battery
    "C" Coy. 21 Bn.
    M.G. Coy.
    Sig. Dett.
    "C" Sqn. 8 RTR Tanks

    Second is as of 1st May, 1941, PRIOR to the sinking of the Empire Sopng on the 12th.....for I have NOW discovered that...

    Whilst reading the War Diaries of 190 Battery Royal Artillery the name of s.s. Empire Song stared me in the face, for it was the same ship which almost took myself and others to a watery grave in May 1941.

    We were in convoy outward bound to Alexandria, part of the convoy was for Malta but not the s.s. Empire Song. I was a Lance Corporal in the 8th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment and it was on the s.s. Empire Song that the entire battle equipment of the 8th Royal Tank Regiment had been loaded at Glasgow, bound for North Africa. There were seven Royal Tank Regiment N.C.O.'s and one Officer aboard as escort duties.
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    in your initial posting you asked what equipment the 8th RTR Battalion would have had - so it now becomes easier as in the 40/41/42 period the only Infantry Tanks we had in service were the Valentines and Matildas -then came the pursuit Tanks of Covenanter / Crusaders along with the American Grant/Honeys - it was not until the fall of Tobruk - June '42 that we had the 300 New Shermans shipped out from M/Gen.George Patton's Division in time for Alum al Alpha and El Alamein which also saw the introduction of the only six Churchill's which went to four marks with their main issue to 21st and 25th Tank Bdes AFTER the North African landings of Torch Nov '42 -but had been used by the Canadians at Dieppe in Aug '42 - then in 1944 the Cromwell was introduced for the NWE thingi along with the Comet and Sherman Firefly with Hobo's funnies and finally Challenger 1.

    At least this is what I understand of the various units in service in WW2
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Tom, I know it would have been Matildas in September 1940 in Kent - but the question is....Is or IIs in ""C" Squadron"? ;) Apparently 8 RTR had both types at THAT point in time...

    The reason I'm asking about the Empire Song period is that although figures for over all tank losses on the TIGER convoy are given...

    57 tanks and 10 hurricanes sunk when Empire Song hit a mine

    ...what actually ARRIVED in the Delta is far better recorded!!!

    238 tanks and 43 Hurricanes eventually arrived at their destination. These included 135 Inf. Mk.II Matildas, 82 Crusader Mk.I tanks and 21 light tanks, probably Lt.Mk.VIC

    ....and I'm trying to come at what actually made up that "57 tanks" from another direction ;)
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Might help a little on where 8RTR's machines went around May, implies not all were lost to sinking, but were diverted to other uses:
    (from the same book, at least 49 Valentines were still available to 8 RTR in November '41, as that many were despatched to support New Zealanders around Tobruk)

    Attached Files:

  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Vp / Phylo
    while the losses on the Empire Song were 57 tanks - which is equal to one whole Battalion it's not necessarly that they all belonged to the 8th RTR as what landed was the equal of four Battalions - so some were obviously destined for spares for the units which had had losses in the previous Battleaxe operations and beyond as I suspect that both the 4th and 7th Armoured bdes had many Tank losses in that encounter although there is little mention of both 42nd and 44th RTR or the 8th until Crusader- as when they arrived they had to go straight into workshops for new filters etc and so were only ready in time for Crusader.
    It does get a bit twisted and confusing at times
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Phyl just dug out the book on 8th RTR -"Armoured Odessey" by Stu Hamilton M.C. who was sqdn leader for "B" for a while and is a very good account of their actions and equipment - ISBN-1 -871085 - 30 - 6

  13. LondonNik

    LondonNik Senior Member

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  14. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    The following document can be purchased from the Tank Museum at Bovington. A link was provided above. It is entitled "8th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment during the Second World War" compile and written by Richard Smith. It is only 14 pages so it should not be very expensive.
  15. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    David, I forgot to post in reply to that, but unfortunately the shop policy and stock must have been reorganised subsequently, and before I could order it. It's no longer listed in their online shop, looks like I have to go via the Archive/Library....which would mean a rather inconvenient personal visit as I'm in Belfast!!!

    (the online shop seems to be very "light" now...)
  16. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    The 57 tanks lost were all Matilda II as far as I know, and they were the full complement of 8 RTR. The regiment was then re-equipped with Valentines for participation in CRUSADER, and during the operation was again reinforced with some Matilda IIs during the battle I believe, to make up for losses.

    Hope this helps.

    If you email the Tank Museum archives they will probably copy the document for you and mail it to you, for a reasonable cost.

    All the best

    CL1 likes this.
  17. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the page from the 8th RTR history that covers the period:

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  18. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    David, that's brilliant! It leaves out some of the information I'm looking for, hopefully I can source that elsewhere...but very enlightening regarding it only being out on a war footing in JUNE 1940...which is coincidental with it receiving a bulk consignment of Matilda MkIs.
  19. bitoque

    bitoque Junior Member

    Can't remember the source (maybe Jentz TCiNA or Peter Brown's articles in MM), but the tanks lost were 50 matildas and 7 light tanks, they were originally issued to 8 RTR.


  20. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    F.W.I.W. I agree with Andreas 8 R/T/R were re-equipped with 52x Valentines & 6x Matilda c/s in Mid June 1941.

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