Chippenham Park Camp

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Ramiles, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    A place for some links, and associations with Chippenham Park Camp, near Newmarket, especially, but not only, during WW2.

    Rm.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Links

    Chippenham Park - Wikipedia

    Chippenham, Cambridgeshire - Wikipedia

    History | Chippenham Park Gardens

    Chippenham - on the site - Cambridgeshire History - Cambridgeshire

    CHIPPENHAM HALL, Chippenham - 1000615 | Historic England
    With: "During the Second World War there were three military camps in the park* and the Hall was partly used as a hospital. "

    * NB: The Wardiary for the SRY has: "POSTAL." - "Chippenham Park, North Camp,Ely, Cambs" - so of the "three military camps in the park", the SRY one was the "North Camp"

    Chippenham | British History Online
    Has, for example: "Between 1940 and 1946 the Park was used as a camp for the army, and also for Polish refugees, while the west wing of Chippenham Hall was a maternity hospital 1940 × 1941.( Newmarket Jnl. 13 May 1979.) A concrete track was built along the southern section of the Park wall during the Second World War, almost creating a ring road around the Park."

    Bert Jenkins (British) – James Holland's Griffon Merlin
    With: "And got on the lorries, we went to Chippenham Park. That’s a big estate 3 miles out of Newmarket" & "when we got to Chippenham, we was under canvas and that, and I dumped my stuff in one of the tents and I went to the entrance of the camp, the Chippenham Park, and I hitchhiked a lift into Newmarket."

    IWM Search: Search | Imperial War Museums

    Audio

    CHAMBERS, JAMES THOMAS (ORAL HISTORY), (with "Period with 23rd Hussars in GB, 1942- 1943: posting to Chippenham near Newmarket, autumn 1942 character of training with unit") : Chambers, James Thomas (Oral history)

    HARKINS, LEONARD "LEN" (ORAL HISTORY), (with "Aspects of period as trooper with 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry in GB, 12/1942-6/1944: joining of unit at Chippenham Park in Newmarket; reaction to posting; story of first charges received from unit. REEL 2 Continues: accommodation; story of Tommy Rumnell driving a wagon through a tent; officers in unit; driving training; role in tank crew; memories of Tank Sergeant Bobby Wan; details of Crusader Tank driven; gunnery training; leisure activities at Chippenham Park; details of Sherman tanks" & "story of fire in officers mess at Chippenham Park"
    : Harkins, Leonard "Len" (Oral history)

    (Nb. Content described, but audio not currently available online) GARAI, BERTRAM HENRY (ORAL HISTORY), (with "joining unit at Chippenham Park near Newmarket; reception on joining unit." : Garai, Bertram Henry (Oral history)

    Some online book refs.

    Chippenham Park in: Englishman at War (The "The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson" SRY - Ed. James Holland

    Chippenham in "Hard Fighting: A History of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1900-1946
    By Jonathan Hunt" - Hard Fighting

    WW2talk threads

    http://ww2talk.com/index.php?search/2849482/&q=Chippenham+Park&o=relevance

    29 Armoured Brigade location 1943/44

    Maps

    Ref: Chippenham | British History Online
    [​IMG]

    Miscellaneous (pre WW2)

    Description: Cambridgeshire – Chippenham Park 1912 Shooting Cards dated 1st and 2nd November 1912, party listed King George V, also identifies the collective total of game shot over the days: Mullock's Auctions - Cambridgeshire – Chippenham Park 1912 Shooting Cards dated...

    Chippenham_park_Shooting_Cards_1912.JPG
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Events Associated with Chippenham Park and the 24th L etc during WW2

    Autumn 1942 : None Had Lances - The Story of the 24th Lancers p32 "After a month under canvas, we moved a few miles down the road to a very large Nissen-hutted camp in the grounds of Chippenham Park, some four miles north of Newmarket, where there was space to accommodate all four regiments of the 29th Armoured Brigade"

    14/10/42 - Ref'd as "Chippenham" in the Wardiary of the 24th L

    29 Armoured Brigade location 1943/44 - Quote: "On October 17th, 1942 the 24th L regiment moved to Chippenham Park, near Newmarket in Cambridgeshire, where the Crusader Mk III began to replace the Crusader Mk Is. From February 4th to 8th, the 24th Lancers were warned for service in North Africa, moved to the embarkation port, and loaded the tanks before the move was cancelled. It then returned back to Chippenham Park. On April 15th, 1943 the regiment began to equip with Sherman Mk V Tanks (M4A1) with the first arriving in early April. The regiment moved to Bridlington, Yorkshire on June 10th, where more Shermans arrived including Sherman Mk IIIs (M4A2) that were taken on in early June. Gradually the 24th had all Sherman IIIs when they were handed over to the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, when the 24th left the brigade on February 6th, 1944."

    11/11/42 - 17/11/42 - 24th L regimental training and exercises

    15/12/42 - A 24th L regimental TEWT was held.

    8/1/43 No.7927997, L/Cpl.Jordan.S.H. (24th L) was killed in an accident with a Scout Car.

    11/1/43 L/Cpl.Jordan.S.H. (24th L) was buried with full military honours at Chippenham Parish Church. (see post further below and: http://www.undyingmemory.net/Chippenham/jordan sidney.html }

    3/6/43 The 24th L Regiment took part in 29 Armd Bde. Exercise “Crusader”.

    7-10/6/43 The 24th L Regiment moved to its new permanent location at Bridlington, Yorks.Bridlington

    6/2/44 Approx 50% of the 24th L Regiment left Bridlington for the new location at Chippenham Park near Newmarket and came under Command 8th Armoured Brigade.

    8/2/44 The remainder of the 24th L Regiment arrived at Chippenham Park.

    25/2/44 The 24th L regiment was visited at Chippenham by the Corps Commander.

    6/3/44 The Commanding Officer and Officers of the 24th L regiment entertained the Commanding Officer and Officers of the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards in the Officers Mess.

    10/3/44 The 24th L regiment took part in a Brigade W/T exercise

    15/3/44 The General Officer Commanding 7th Armoured Division lectured all Officers of the 24th L regiment.

    24-25/3/44 The 24th L regiment took part in an 8th Armoured Brigade Exercise “Kellys Eye I”

    29/3/44 The 24th L AA Troop left for two weeks training and firing at Lulworth and Netherton. During this month firing of the Sherman V (C) armament was carried out.

    10/4/1944 - Despatch by rail of the 8th Armoured Brigade from Newmarket to Winchester e.g.
    THE 8TH ARMOURED BRIGADE ENTRAINS AT NEWMARKET TO TRANSFER TO ITS PRE-INVASION ASSEMBLY AREA IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND (PART 1) [Allocated Title]

    THE 8TH ARMOURED BRIGADE ENTRAINS AT NEWMARKET TO TRANSFER TO ITS PRE-INVASION ASSEMBLY AREA IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND (PART 3) [Allocated Title]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    That date for firing the ShermanV(C) is, I believe, the earliest date that particular tank type was fired on Ranges. Quite a nice 'first' for the 24th Lancers. Why is that significant?....well, the Sherman was known as the Mayfly.....soon to be rebadged the Firefly. The rest is history.
     
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

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  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    With a search here: England's Army Camps

    In the “East Anglia District”

    The names of the three Chippenham camps are given as: "Chippenham North, South and Centre Camps",Chippenham (Cambs)

    North - according to the SRY Wardiary - was where the SRY were based.

    Additionally

    Refs to "Chippenham South Camp" : BBC - WW2 People's War - ROYAL TANK REGIMENT

    With: "27 September 1945. Thursday. B Squad, Hut 44., 152 Regt RAC,
    Chippenham Camp South, Newmarket, Suffolk.
    "

    Refs' to:"Chippenham South Camp, Cambridgeshire", "Chippenham North Camp, Cambridgeshire" in "ARMY UNITS IN POLISH RESETTLEMENT CORPS CAMPS IN THE UK 1946-1948" nb. the link here: 2 (only appears as a "2" )
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    As an example, incidentally this map (below) from the war diary of the SRY - shows the intended concentration areas for the 8th Armoured Brigade regiments in Normandy.

    Though it looks to me to be to be similar in over-all "shape" to the map above for Chippenham, in detail, I guess it was unlike the layout used at Chippenham (which had North, South and Centre camps)


    Concentration_Area.JPG
     
  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1939-1945

    "15th February 1944
    Chippenham Park
    Lt.General Bernard Montgomery visits the 8th Armoured Brigade, including the Sherwood Rangers, at Chippenham Park where they are preparing for DDay.
    B and C Squadrons have already left to carry out amphibious tank training.
    Montgomery is seen here inspecting the ranks of A and HQ Squadrons with Col.Ian Spence, officer commanding Sherwood Rangers.
    Between them at rear is Brigadier John Anstice, officer commanding the 8th Armoured Brigade.
    "
     
  9. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    23rd Hussars at Chippenham

    October 1942

    10 Regiment moved to Chippenham Camp. 57 x Other Ranks posted to 2 Corps Delivery Squadron. Received 6 x tanks.
    13 Major General P.C.S. Hobart, C.B., D.S.M., O.B.E., M.C., paid a farewell visit to the Regiment.
    13-14 "B" Squadron combined exercise, all arms. Received 3 x tanks. 2 x tanks off strength.
    17 Major General M.B. Burrows, D.S.O., M.C. inspected the Regiment on a Brigade Parade. "A" squadron moved to Thetford for squadron training and "B" Squadron returned to Chippenham.
    19 2/Lieuts. Payne and Pratt joined the Regiment.
    20 4 x Other Ranks posted to the Pioneer Corps, 1 posted to R.E..
    22 "C" Squadron Smoking Concert held in the Regimental Theatre.
    25 Sergeants' Mess Social held in Sergeants' Mess. A.T.S. and W.A.A.F.S. attended.
    26 "C" Squadron moved to Thetford for squadron training and "A" squadron returned. 1 x 3-ton lorry received.
    28 A Divisional Intelligence Day held at the Doric Theatre, Newmarket. 1 x Officer & 4 x Other Ranks attended.
    29 A and B Echelons firing rifles on Thetford Ranges. Film show "Hellzapoppin" shown in the Regimental Theatre. Lecture on "The Nazis in Belgium" by Captain Le Borchgrave, Belgian Army. Exercise TAURUS.
    30 1 x tank, 7 x trucks and 1 x 3-ton lorry received.
    31-1 Nov "C" Squadron combined exercise, all arms.

    November 1942
    1 "C" squadron returned from Squadron training at Rushford Belts. Film, "Hi Gang" shown in Regimental Theatre.
    2 10 personnel of 13th R.H.A. came to the Regiment for training on Cruiser Tanks. 2 x 15cwt trucks off strength.
    4 Took training tanks over from 24th Lancers and 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry.
    5 Regimental training commenced (DRILL).
    6 Regimental training (FLANK GUARD).
    7-8 Regimental exercise "GREENBURY" with H Company 8th R.B., G Battery 13th R.H.A. and Q Battery 75th Anti/tank Regiment under command.
    9 Regimental training terminated.
    11 Handed training tanks over to 24th Lancers.
    12 Brigade Boxing Competition - 23rd Hussars were second.
    16 10 personnel of 13th R.H.A. returned to Unit on completion of course.
    18 Echelons firing on Swaffham ranges.
    20 Brigade Drill Competition. Regiment won collective honours. 2nd in Inter/troop competition. Cambrai Day celebrated by R.T.R. members of the Regiment.
    23 Echelons firing on Swaffham ranges.
    24 B vehicle inspection by Commanding Officer.
    25 F.G.C.M. - Sergeant Collins. Guilty on two charges out of three. Sentence to be reduced to the ranks.
    26 284 men proceeded on 14 days' leave.
    27 Skeleton exercise "OBUS".
    30 Echelons firing on Swaffham ranges.

    December 1942
    1 Regiment two years of age. Modifications to all tanks completed and inspected by Commanding Officer.
    2 G.O.C. visited the Regiment to inspect individual training. Second leave party went on 14 days' leave. 3 x 3-tonners and 1 x 15-cwt off strength.
    4 Play by ENSA. "Hobson's Choice" in the Regimental Theatre.
    5 6-seater Humber Utility off strength.
    6 Divisional Church Parade at Ely Cathedral - 100 attended.
    10 Third leave party went on 14 days' leave. 1st party returned.
    14 4-seater Humber Utility received.
    15-16 Exercise "FREDERICK UNCLE".
    17 Fourth leave party went on 7 days' leave. Second party returned.
    25 Christmas Day celebrations by the Regiment.
    26 Officers versus Sergeants football match - Sergeants won 2 - 0.
    27 Sergeants visited the Officers' Mess in the evening.
    29 Regiment moved to Linney Head for firing on the ranges.

    January 1943
    3 Regiment returned from Linney Head after firing on ranges.
    4 2 x 3-ton Leylands, 6 x Crusaders III, 4 x Covenanters III and 2 x Covenanters IIIC received.
    5 Exercise "LANCER" attended by 1 Staff of the Regiment.
    6 1 x Other Rank posted to Y List.
    7 Squadron aircraft recognition competition won by "A" Squadron.
    8 Film "Next of Kin" shown to all personnel of the Regiment in the Regimental Theatre.
    9 36 x Other Ranks posted to the Regiment from 54th Training Regiment. 1 x Covenanter transferred to 29th Armoured Brigade.
    10 2 x Other Ranks posted to the Regiment from 54th Training Regiment and 10 from East Riding Yeomanry.
    12 Brigade aircraft recognition competition - 2nd in Brigade. "A" Squadron highest mark of all squadrons. 6 x Crusaders III received. 4 Tank Troop rehearsal for demonstration.
    13 ENSA Concert "Dazzle" shown in Regimental Theatre. 3 x Bedford 3-tonners received.
    14 1 x 3-tonne Leyland lorry received.
    15 4 Tank Troop demonstration given by 2nd Troop of "C" Squadron.
    16 1 x Other Rank posted to the Regiment from 54th Training Regiment.
    18 18 x Other Ranks plus 1 x Other Rank of A.C.C. proceeded to port of embarkation for overseas service as 1st reinforcements for the Regiment.
    19 10 x Other Ranks posted to the Regiment from 56th Training Regiment. 2 x Crusader III received.
    20 1 x Sergeant posted to the Regiment from E.R.Y..
    21 13.30 hours. Received orders from W.O. (Letter AG 5 Mob) to remobilise for service overseas by 00.01 hours, 15th February, 1943. Drivers, vehicles and stores to be available from 00.01 hours, 15th February, 1943.
    23 "A" Squadron dance held in the Drill Hall, Newmarket.
    27 2 x Daimler Scout Cars received.
    28 Corps Commander inspected one troop of "A" squadron tanks. 1 x Other Rank posted to 9th Armoured Brigade H.Q. Squadron.
    29 1 x Other Rank posted from No. 1 Young Soldiers Training Unit. 1 x Crusader II transferrred to Guards Armoured Training and 1 x Morris Utility transferred.
    30 1 x Corporal from 15th/19th RH and 1 x Corporal from C.O.S. posted to the Regiment. 2 x Scout Cars transferrred to C.O.O., Chilwell.
    31 Divisional Cross Country Run - Regiment 5th.

    February 1943
    1 4 x Other Ranks posted to the Regiment from 56th Training Regiment. Brigadier Napier gave a lecture at Divisional HQ. 15-cwt Bedford Truck transferred to H Gp., Slough.
    2 Commanding Officer attended Divisional Commanders' Conference.
    3 "C" Squadron concert in Regimental Theatre. 1 x Daimler Scout Car III received. Scammel tractor 6-ton for L.A.D. received.
    5 Vehicles, drivers and stores proceeded by road to port of embarkation. 2 x Officers, 4 x Other Ranks and 4 x tanks of "B" Squadron proceeded by rail to port of embarkation. 2 x Officers, 6 x Other Ranks and 6 x tanks of "A" Squadron proceeded by rail to port of embarkation.
    6 FGCM of S/S Hamblin, R.A.M.C., and Trooper Mills assembled. S/S Hamblin found guilty of all three charges. Trooper Mills found guilty of absence without leave.
    7 All movement to port of embarkation stopped by War Office.
    8 2 x Other Ranks relegated to Class W, Army Reserve. 1 x Other Rank transferred to A.C.C.. Division study day attended by C.O. and 2nd I/C. Road party of vehicles, etc., returned to camp. No casualties to any vehicles whilst on the move were sustained. Spent night 5th/6th at Doncaster; night 6th/7th at Catterick, returned to Doncaster on 7th February, stayed there the night of 7th/8th and all day 8th February, 1943. Returned to camp on the 9th February.
    10 Rail parties returned to camp. 1 x Sergeant and 1 x Corporal posted to the Regiment from 2nd N. Yeomanry. 2nd Northants Yeomanry - the Divisional Recce Regiment.
    11 3-ton G.M.C. received.
    14 1 x Corporal posted to the Regiment from 2nd N. Yeomanry. 2nd Northants Yeomanry.
    17 1 x Corporal posted from R.A.C. OCTU.
    18 R.H.Q. concert in Regimental Theatre.
    20 1 x Sergeant posted to the Regiment from A.F.V. School. 2 x Other Ranks transferred to A.C.C..
    21 Instructions received from Brigade that all troops will make route marches by 10th March, 1943.
    22 Daimler Scout Car II transferred to C.O.O., Chilwell.

    March 1943
    2-3 Echelon firing on Elvedon Range.
    4 B.S.A. Motor cycle received. "A" Squadron concert in Regimental Theatre.
    7 B.S.A. Motor cycle written off. To Kentford workshops.
    10 Echelon firing on Thetford Range. Squadron Leaders out on SPARTAN as spectators.
    11 Echelon firing on Thetford Range.
    12 Squadron Leaders out on SPARTAN as spectators.
    13 Lecture by paratroop N.C.O.
    16 Echelon firing on Elvedon Range. Ford 4-seater written off to Ministry of Supply, Cambridge
    19-20 Exercise "REPLAY".
    21-22 Exercise "LUNAR". 4 x Training tanks to No. 6 A.F.V. Depot, Slough.
    24 Inspection by C. - in - C.
    25 Special showing of "Desert Victory" in the Doric Theatre, Newmarket.
    27 Administration demonstration by REME. 27 x Other Ranks posted from 60th Training Regiment.
    30 Administration demonstration by R.A.M.C.. Conference on SPARTAN at Cambridge..
    31 Administration demonstration by R.A.S.C.. Visit by Corps Commander..

    April 1943
    4 Captain Knight, REME, (C.I.M.) arrived to inspect tanks. 6 x N.C.O. Instructors attached to 2nd Northants Yeomanry.
    5 Films in Regimental Theatre.
    6 CSM I. Coleman replaced by S.I. Wright. C.O. to SPARTAN conference.
    7 Echelon firing on Thetford Range. 6 x Medical Category Other Ranks posted away.
    8-9 Visit by officers and N.C.O.s to Royal Military College. 31 x Other Ranks posted from Training Regiment. Appointments made to complete W.E. (II/151/2). Crusader Mark III to 2nd Northants Yeomanry.
    11 Scout Car to Burry Point for "Wading Trials".
    13 A.A. Troop to 58th Light A.A. Regiment for demonstration.
    14 Troop Training. Crusader Mark III to 2nd Northants Yeomanry.
    15 Echelon firing on Elvedon Range.
    16-17 3 x Officers as Umpires on Exercise "WHITE KNIGHT".
    18 16 x Other Ranks posted from 54th Training Regiment. [my Dad was one of the 16]
    19 Exercise "UBIQUE" starts.
    20 Lecture by Corps Commander in Doric Cinema. Three ton lorry, Morris Utility and B.S.A. Motor cycle to "H" Vehicle group, Slough.
    21 8 x Other Ranks posted from 53th Training Regiment.
    24 Discussion "Brigade in the Attack".
    27 2/Lieuts. Barrett and Evans arrive on posting from R.A.C. OCTU. 9 x R.A.F. personnel attached. "Stars in Battledress" show at Icklingham for squadrons out on camp.
    19 Exercise "CHARGER" starts. 2 x Other Ranks to Parkeston Quay for 3¾ days (or more) on a destroyer.

    May 1943
    1-6 Regiment in camp on Stanford Battle Area.
    7 Demonstration for Under Secetary of State for War.
    8-15 Normal training.
    16-20 Exercise "SABRE".
    21-23 Normal training.
    24 Brigade Training.
    25 Brigade Athletic Sports held at Fenners Sports Ground, Cambridge.
    26 Brigade Training.
    27-31 Normal training.

    June 1943
    1-6 Normal training and preparation for move.
    7 Regiment moved by road to Doncaster Staging Camp.
    8 Regiment moved to Bridlington.
     
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  10. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Doric Cinema, Newmarket:
    Newmarket_Doric_05.jpg

    Modern day:
    Newmarket_Doric_03.jpg

    Interior:
    Newmarket_Doric_04.jpg

    Drill Hall, Newmarket:
    Newmarket_Drill_Hall_01.jpg
     
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  11. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Extract from the (unpublished) memoirs of Sgt Bertie McCully, A Squadron, 23rd Hussars (Tank Commander):

    "In October we had moved to winter quarters at Chippenham camp, a vast collection of Nissan huts, a few miles from Newmarket. The site was a large estate with an enormous arched entrance, the top of the arch including a coat of arms bearing a Latin motto 'In Spe Spiro' which I understood translated as 'We live in Hope'. This appeared to be totally appropriate to the troops now living within its walls. The particular hut that I occupied with members of Third Troop was adjacent to the Brigade Coal Dump. This was surrounded by barbed wire, but this did not prevent our nocturnal visits to negotiate the wire to supplement our meagre coal ration. Consequently, at night, the round cast iron stove in the centre of the hut was fed with coal until it, and the stovepipe, were glowing red-hot.

    It was in October that the Duke of Gloucester came to inspect the Brigade and RSM 'Charlie' Wass lined up the Regiment in perfect ranks. It started to rain, but HRH, protected by a huge umbrella walked quickly along the front rank, obviously anxious not to stay out in such inclement weather any longer than necessary, and oblivious of the fact that we had been standing at attention for some considerable time in those conditions. As we were ordered to break ranks and line the road to "Off caps" and cheer him on the way in his limousine, it was with relief on the part of the troops, and from his disinterested look, he was also glad it was all over.

    Over this winter period, with frequent snow, we did not often venture out of camp. With pay of two shillings a day for a trooper, one could not expect a grand social life. Most evenings, after preparing for the following day's parade, blancoing equipment and polishing brasses would be spent sitting around the glowing stove telling yarns. As a consequence, over a period, everyone's family history would be recounted so that all became familiar and could understand the upbringing of the other members of the troop. For instance, I could not understand the first time Harold Lockwood, a 'Yorkie' from Leeds said, "Mend the fire" that he meant "Put more coal on the fire", and when he referred to the 'buffet' he meant the wooden form that we sat on. Jack Marwood, a 'Geordie', used words from his native Tyneside I had not previously heard, but after a time one became familiar with them and understood what he was saying. One story related by 'Chalkie' White, referred to an occurrence in the 1930s when he drove a horse and cart, making deliveries to the London docks. In one dock was a crane with a huge metal ball at the end of the wire rope used to lift loads. This crane did not appear to be used and 'Chalkie' decided that the metal ball would 'fetch a few bob' as scrap metal. Each time he visited this spot, he took his hacksaw and sawed through a few more strands of the rope. Came the day when the sawing would be finished and he would 'acquire' his prize. He backed his cart under the object, sawed through the last strands; the ball fell with a clatter - right through the bottom of the cart. Before the dock police could arrive on the scene, he yelled, "Gee up" to the horse and encouraging it to a gallop with a touch of the whip, left the scene of the crime as fast as he could go.

    At this time there was an emphasis on fitness. On a number of occasions the whole squadron would turn out for a run around the outside of the estate, a distance of about three miles. On one such run I hitched a lift on the back of a lorry, but as this had overtaken Sergeant Stan Wheldon, the leading runner, I was obliged to hide in the hedge bottom until I could resume a suitable position in the order more in keeping with my athletic capabilities.

    Just before Christmas it was decided that there would be a Troop outing to Newmarket. A 'passion wagon' was organised and took us into Newmarket where we entered a pub in the High Street and had a few drinks. There were some American airmen in the pub, spending their money quite lavishly. At the time there was a saying that the Yanks were over here, over paid and over sexed. There was a certain brashness about them that did not endear them to the much more modestly paid British soldier. After a while, one of the Yanks, rolled up one sleeve and addressing the barmaid said, "Say babe, what d'ya think of this tattoo?" "Very nice", said the barmaid. Troop Sergeant, Jock Munro, a regular soldier who had served in India and had extensive tattoos on his body, was standing close by, "Och! Yon's no a tattoo; here's a tattoo", at the same time rolling up his sleeve. The Yank then rolled up his other sleeve and the 'contest' proceeded in this fashion until they both stood, stripped to the waist. There was little to choose between their artistic chests, but when Jock displayed the 'masterpieces ' on his back, our American friend, for that is what he had become, conceded defeat and insisted on buying drinks all round. There, for all the pub clientele to marvel at, was a full hunting scene on his lower back with the pack of hounds chasing the fox, whose brush only was visible as he disappeared out of sight. Across the full width of his shoulders were the flags of all nations in full colour, a wondrous sight to behold.

    In the New Year 1943, the Regiment visited the Linney Head Tank Ranges at Castle Martin, south Wales. As on previous occasions, we were issued with Wellington boots, but as everywhere in the ranges area there was 'mud up to the eyebrows', one had great difficulty in not leaving a boot behind in the squelching morass. The tanks would progress around the range and fire at targets that would pop up in the shape of a triangle to represent a machine gun, or a silhouette of a 'head-on' tank, or a side view of a tank running on rails, to get practice at engaging a moving target. I had top score in the firing, so when in March 1943 there was a change in the organisation of troops in the Squadron, from four troops each of four tanks plus three in HQ Troop, to five troops of three tanks each plus four in HQ Troop, I became Lieutenant 'Dickie' Payne's gunner in 5 Troop.

    In June, the Regiment moved to the Bridlington area of Yorkshire."
     
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