B Sqdn 1 RTR Information required

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Kieron Hill, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Hi Guys and Girls,

    I am after the movements of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment from the Western Desert through to
    NW Europe, maybe a book I can purchase or a link to a good source of information.

    I dropped off the pages of WW2 talk some years ago to concentrate on raising my children on my
    own, happy to say I have managed to steer my daughter in to Uni, my Eldest son has followed me
    in to Plumbing and Heating trade and my youngest has set his dreams on becoming the next British
    Motocross World Champion...Nothing like setting the bar high :)

    One of my last bits of research was on a Lance Corporal Ronald Smith, which at the time I thought
    was with the 7 RTR, due to being thrown a few curve balls at the time, I wish Owen had followed his
    gut hunch, because at the time he did question if this was correct.

    I have been re visiting my Website and have decided to upload it again, with the view of adding more
    material. Whilst doing this I went back over my research material trying to through light on stuff I had
    already done. I cannot believe I had not done this before, but I ran Lance Corporals Ronald Smiths
    details through Forces War Records and too my surprise it came back that he'd been "Killed in Action",
    I then ran his details through CWGC database, well this confirmed it!

    Lance Corporal Ronald Smith 7896132 1st RTR B Sqdn was killed in action on the 2nd August 1944,
    along with Trooper William Leslie Cross 142256498 1st RTR B Sqdn, they were both originally buried
    at Aunay-Sur-Odon Map Ref 1/50000 776515, then on the 21st December 1944 they were both
    re-buried at Bayeux War Cemetery.

    I will correct this on my website in the next week or two, but in the meantime i would like to try and
    piece together as much info as possible and if anyone has any relatives who served in the 1 RTR
    in North Africa I may some pictures that might be of interest to you.

    This has a kind of personal feel, as the 1 RTR were under the command of the 1/6th Queens
    Royal West Surrey Regiment on occasions in NW Europe of which my Granddad served, the
    actions that saw him mortally wounded (25th July 1944) and L/Cpl R Smith, along with Trooper
    Cross killed were two weeks apart :(

    Thanks in advance Kieron

  2. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Adding a watch to this.

    I'm not sure which Squadron he served, but I'm in contact with a 1RTR casualities son, transferred to 1RTR May 43 in North Africa, believed reported missing on 25th July 44 NWE, confirmed KIA August 44.
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  3. Wessex_Warrior

    Wessex_Warrior Junior Member

    Hello Kieren,

    If you look at the pictures in the auction for the 1946 volume of the Red Lanyard (link below) you will see some of their movements described in NWE. During this time the 1 RTR were issued with Cromwells and landed on D+1 as part of 22nd Armoured Brigade of 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats). They stayed 22nd throughout the rest of the war.

    1946 Vol. 2 Complete 'Red Lanyard. Magazine of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment' RTR | eBay

    Also just received the Tracklink magazine from the Tank Museum Issue 105 today and on Page 14 there is an article about a veteran or 1RTR George Kemp and he served in Cromwells in NWE and his grandson Harry Kemp is an Apprentice Workshop Technician at the museum today. I have never seen a book about the 1st RTR exclusively but any book about the Desert Rats in NWE will include something about them.

    Kind regards,

  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    For a potted history of 1 R Tks, there is Patrick Delaforce's Battles With Panzers.
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  5. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Thank you Will I'll see if i can win it
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Just dug out my Battles with Panzers and there's no mention of B Sqn on 2 Aug, just a bit about C Sqn.

    From Liddell-Hart's The Tanks Vol II:
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  7. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Hello Nina! :lol:
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  8. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Thank you Idler
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  9. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    Off the top of my head.

    1RTR sent out to Egypt 1938 as a light tank regiment based in the Delta but spending most of the time in the Western Desert training.

    When war kicks off, Western Desert becomes more of a home with the Delta as R&R.

    When Italians declare war, elements of 1RTR rotate with the other tank regiments to man the border and skirmish across the wire.

    When Italians attack, fall back. When Operation COMPASS began, drive forward.

    1RTR was one of the units going all the way to the Beda Fomm battle in early February 1941. Or what was left of it after the drive through Cyrenaica. Not actually at Beda Fomm itself but part of the force attacking the Italian forces in the Beda Fomm to Benghazi pocket.

    After Beda Fomm, sent back to the Delta to have a break, reform and rebuild.

    When Rommel attacked at end of March, 1RTR was first of the 4 tank regiments holidaying in the Delta to be called back to action. RHQ and 2 squadrons were sent into Tobruk with old Cruiser and Light tanks and the 3rd squadron was sent to Mersa Matruh to man some old Vickers Mediums.

    1RTR remained in Tobruk throughout the siege and were in the vanguard of the breakout in November during Operation CRUSADER. Still with the same tired Cruiser and Light tanks.

    At this point, my reading of the files ends and thus l have no more to offer....
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  10. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    Just had a quick peek into the war diary.

    It was RHQ, B and C Squadrons in Tobruk April to August.

    A Squadron spending about a month in Mersa Matruh as an independant unit before being attached to 7RTR in May. It remained attached to 7RTR until August when the personnel of A Squadron were shipped into Tobruk to rejoin the Battalion.

    After the breakout from Tobruk, and the siege lifted, the whole Regiment was sent back in the latter half of December to the Delta on leave.

    At which point the 1941 WD ends.
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  11. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Mark thank you so much, really appreciate you help thank you
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Re. The "Red Lanyard"....

    Leonard "Len" Bolden - 7948692
    Was a Gunner/ Wireless operator in "B" Squadron, 4th troop, 2nd (Sergeant's tank) of the 24th Lancers.

    He was wounded in Normandy and so therefore not on the Nominal roll at the disbandment of the 24th Lancers.

    He was in England when the 24th Lancers was disbanded, however upon recovery from his wounds he joined the 23rd Hussars in the Netherlands.

    After the war he was posted to 1 RTR where he apparently became the/an (?) editor of their magazine "The Red Lanyard".

    (Nb. Incidentally, would anyone happen to have a better picture of the former 24th L Trooper Leonard Bolden than this... ? This one / version is rather "grainy") - perhaps he is for instance pictured somewhere in the "Red Lanyard" ?

    All the best,




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  13. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    1 RTR was one of the last units to get into Tobruk before the siege ring closed, with its road party coming in on 9 April 41. The tanks came on the Thorland Castle and arrived two days before.

    So they spent a lot of time there, and were rewarded for that by having what was probably the shoddiest assortment of cruiser tanks in the Middle East anywhere outside Amyria workshops by the time of CRUSADER.

    For the gamers: Tank Variants Available during CRUSADER

    They were involved in the Easter Battle in April 1941:

    First Attempts on Tobruk – April 1941

    They also were supposed to have an important role in the breakout operation in November 1941, but that didn't quite go as planned.

    Not a good day at the office – 1 RTR and the first day of the Tobruk breakout

    All the best

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  14. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Len Bolden's father:

    Rank: Captain
    Service No: 168432
    Date of Death: 01/05/1946
    Age: 52
    Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery 13 Lt. A.A. Regt.
    Grave Reference: Sec. 18. Grave 839.
    Additional Information:
    Son of Fred and Clara Annie Bolden;
    husband of Elsie May Bolden, of Church End, Finchley Middlesex.
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  15. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Bolden_LW_photo_01 (2).jpg
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