Farewell To Armour Parade - June 1945

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Roddy1011, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Roddy1011

    Roddy1011 Senior Member

    Good Evening to All -

    Can anyone point me in the right direction for film or stills from the Guards Armoured Division's 'Farewell to Armour Parade' in June 1945. I have looked very very hard bust just can not seem able to find anything - so many ehicles, so many men but nothing showing it...

    Many thanks in anticiption

    Roddy de Normann
     
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Just a quick search: found a couple, one of which is of 2Armd IG tanks.

    Picture 29.png

    Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 20.10.19.png Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 20.13.26.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  3. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    All I could find after an extensive trawl was this one image

    [​IMG]

    From a 1946 pamphlet "The Grenadier Guards 1939-1945"
     
    dbf likes this.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for adding that.
     
  5. CL1

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

  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    The inner hatch sides painted light colour (white?)? I am surprised!

    But a nice occasion, and I liked reading Monty's words :)
     
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Grenadier Guards in the War of 1939 - 1945, Nicholson & Forbes, page 252-4:

    Soon after the war it became know that the Guards Armoured Division and the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade would lose their tanks sooner or later and once again become infantry. Infantry was the crying need of the army of occupation, and it was as such that the Brigade of Guards had established its tradition. Towards the end of May a definite date was set for the change-over, and it was announced that in the middle of June the Guards Armoured Division and the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade would amalgamate into one body - to be known as the Guards Division - and move to a joint occupation area in the Rhineland.

    Major-General Allan Adair at once decided to hold a "farewell to armour" parade to signal the end of the Guards Armoured Division and to herald the era of the new Division. The aerodrome at Rotenburg, a town midway between Bremen and Hamburg, was chosen for the parade, and as it was too far away from Kiel for the Churchills of the 4th Battalion to take part, a small detachment of men were sent instead.

    The General let it be known that no trouble was to be spared in the making of the parade one that would long be remembered, and, from the 1st of June onwards, bodies of men and tanks from each of the Battalions in the Division lived in temporary billets near the aerodrome. Battleship paint from German naval stocks was procured to repaint the tanks, emery paper was produced to burnish the guns: everything that could make iron and steel gloss and glisten was at hand. There was one dress rehearsal and the day of the great parade came.

    Early in the morning the crews drove out to the tanks, which had been parked the night before in their positions on the parade ground. From the grandstand at the eastern end of the aerodrome to the slight ridge opposite, there were row upon row of Shermans and Cromwells glinting battleship grey in the fresh sunlight. The gun muzzles, bright after hours of hard work, caught the light and reflected back a million suns across the turf. Between two facing phalanxes of tanks stood, at the western end of the ground, vehicles of the Division's other mobile regiments: armoured cars of the Household Cavalry, Bofors guns from the 94th Light Anti-Aircraft, and self-propelled artillery from the 153rd Regiment and 21st Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery.

    As time moved on to mid-morning the distinguished spectators started to arrive, some by road, some by air. At length Field-Marshal Montgomery's aeroplane landed and the Field-Marshal was driven to the grandstand. A moment later Brigadier G.W. Gwatkin, commanding the 5th Brigade, gave the order to the tank crews to mount. There was a quick scurrying as drivers tumbled into their hatches and commanders and operators scrambled into their turrets. The order was given to start up, and with one sound two hundred and fifty engines rumbled into life. Then each Battalion led off in one long column, so that there were four columns of tanks criss-crossing over the parade ground. As each tank passed the saluting base, the turret swung outwards and the commander saluted. On led the columns until they reached the ridge at the far side of the area, where they wheeled away out of sight, to the strains of "Auld Lang Syne." Finally, the massed bands broke into the first of the regimental marches to welcome the black-bereted infantry who came marching back over the ridge.

    Thus, four years almost to the day after the entry of the Brigade of Guards into the field of armoured warfare, the Guards Armoured Division and the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade passed into history.
     
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Coldstream Guards, 1920 - 1946, Howard & Sparrow, page 376:

    There were two major changes to be carried out immediately: the return of the armoured battalions of the Brigade of Guards to an infantry establishment, and the absorption of 6th Guards Brigade into the Guards Division. Beyond these loomed the larger problems of demobilisation, and the restoration of the Regiment to a peace-time footing. The first two changes were symbolised on 9 June by the 'Farewell to Armour' Parade at Rotenburg, to which the Battalions of 6th Guards Brigade sent contingents. Once more the tanks were freshly painted and gleaming as they drove past the base where Field Marshal Lord Montgomery took the salute; then the men of the First and Fourth Battalions, infantrymen once more, marched back on to parade to take their places by the side of the Fifth Battalion which was drawn up to watch them. 'We need you in the infantry', said Lord Montgomery in his address. 'We need your high standards, your great efficiency in all matters and your old traditions of duty and service.' So the Guards Armoured Division, that triumphantly successful experiment, came to an end.
     
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Scots Guards 1919 - 1955, Erskine
    page 463:
    The Battalion sent a detachment to take part in the "Farewell to Armour" parade on the nearby aerodrome, and then, on the 17th June, moved away to the south-west and back to the Rhine, to take up billets in the pleasant little country town of Wipperfuerth, twenty miles north-east of Cologne.

    page 464:
    June saw the end of the Battalion's armoured life. On the 2nd a Troop of highly burnished Churchills took part in a parade through Kiel in honour of His Majesty's Birthday; within a week, in operation Swan-Song, the Honey and Chuchill tanks had rumbled away for the last time to an ignoble tank-park on the autobahn near Hamburg, where they were left to rust - before being beaten, it must be supposed, into tractors. In consequence it was a dismounted detachment which took part in the memorable "Farewell to Armour" Parade on Rotenburg airfield, at which Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery gave sound reasons for the return of the Foot Guards to their traditional roll. "We need you in the infantry; we need your high standards, your great efficiency in all matters, and your old traditions of duty and service. All these are needed to help weld the infantry arm into a firm and solid basis on which to build." The Regimental Band, with that of the Welsh Guards, provided the music for the parade. Later Field Marshal paid a special visit to the 6th Brigade, and presented to many officers and men the ribbons of the decorations they had won. The same night the officers entrained to dinner ten of their opposite numbers of the 227th Highland Brigade, in support of which most of their triumphs had been achieved.

    page 466:
    Let another extract from Field Marshal Montgomery's Rotenburg speech serve as the epitaph of this Battalion [3rd SG] - and all of the Battalions which fought in the Guards Armoured Division and in the 6th Guards Tank Brigade.

    "I want to say, here and now, that in the sphere of armoured warfare the Guards have set a standard that it will be difficult for those that come after to reach.

    In modern war it is the co-operation of all arms, armoured and unarmoured, that wins the battle, and in this respect you have achieved good results. In fact, the Guards have shown that whatever they are asked to do - whatever they take on - they do well: maintaining always the highest standards and giving a lead to all others. You will long be remembered for your prowess in armoured war."
     
  10. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    The inner hatch sides painted light colour (white?)? I am surprised!

    But a nice occasion, and I liked reading Monty's words :)

    They must have been quite a sight.. Painted overall German gloss battleship grey with white interior hatches, red tow cables, striped aerials and black 'knobs'.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    So that's who gave the Russkies those ideas! :p

    cu-t62a_002.jpg

    (or the Cubasn in this instance )
     
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Welsh Guards at War, Ellis, p372
    "From Alamein to the Baltic I have had many formations and units under my command. I want to say, here and now, that in the sphere of armoured warfare the Guards have set a standard that it will be difficult for those that come after to reach.... The Guards have shown that whatever they are asked to do - whatever they take on - they do well; maintaining always the highest standards and giving a lead to all others." Speaking as an infantry soldier, he welcomed the Guards' return to their traditional role. "We need you in the infantry; we need your high standards, your great efficiency in all matters and your old traditions of duty and service." He also paid high tribute to Major-General Alan Adair, who trained the Division and led it from Normandy to Cuxhaven. All in the Division, not least the Welsh Guards Batalions, realise their debt to "General Alan."
     
  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    6th Guards Tank Brigade, Forbes p189-190
    Towards the end of May, the Brigade sent a Squadron of tanks to Kiel to take part in a parade in honour of the King's birthday. The Churchills looked brand new; the track plates on the turrets had been torn off and the outsides had been covered with a fresh coat of olive paint. As it turned out this was their last public appearance, because a few days later the Commander of 8th Corps came to visit all the Battalions, and he brought with him confirmation of a rumour which had been circulating for some time: by direct command of the King, the Brigade was to lose its Churchills and revert to its traditional role of Infantry. And so, at the beginning of June, not without a good deal of sentimental regret, the Brigade said good-bye to its faithful steeds of war, and handed them in to a vehicle park on the Autobahn north-east of Hamburg.
    On June 12th, the Commander-in-Chief, Field-Marshal Montgomery, came to present decorations at the Naval Barracks at Plon. A few days later the Brigade left Schleswig Holstein and moved to the Rhineland to join the ranks of the Guards Division.
    There, on an airstrip twenty miles from Cologne, the Brigade held its last parade as an independent formation. Formed up under the full glare of the summer sun, it awaited the arrival of General Dempsey, who had been its Army Commander throughout the campaign. Punctually at 11 o'clock General Dempsey's silver Dakota landed gracefully on the airstrip and he was greeted by Brigadier Greenacre. An inspection followed and then he mounted a platform to address the Brigade. His speech delved into the past and awoke memories of the momentous months of the North-West European campaign. At the same time it set the final seal on the story of Guardsmen in Churchill Tanks.
     
    dbf likes this.
  14. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    The Grenadier Guards 1939-1945, Anon p.78

    Soon after the end of the war it became known that the Guards Armoured Division and the 6th Guards Tank Brigade would lose their tanks and resume their traditional role as infantry. A massed farewell parade was arranged on Rotenburg aerodrome, but the Churchills of the 4th Battalion were too far away to take part, and were quietly and sadly handed in at a vast dump near Hamburg. The Shermans of the 2nd Battalion were polished and painted for a fortnight, and on June 9th made their final appearance when the whole of the 5th Guards Armoured Brigade drove slowly across the arena. The sun glinted on the barrels as the turrets swung in their last salute to the Commander-in-Chief, and then the long columns wheeled away, over the hill and out of sight. Thus four years almost to the day after the entry of the Brigade of Guards into the field of armoured warfare, the Guards Armoured Division and the 6th Guards Tank Brigade passed into history.
     
    dbf likes this.
  15. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  16. JohnD

    JohnD Junior Member

    Hi guys, Im glad I found this thread (came up on google), My father was part of this parade ,2nd batallion Guards Armoured Division.He loved seeing the pic posted earlier in the thread :)
     
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi John
    Welcome to the forum.
    With which regiment did your father see service?
     
  18. JohnD

    JohnD Junior Member

    Hiya he was a Grenadier Guard
     
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  20. JohnD

    JohnD Junior Member

    Thats great Ill get his service number etc from him and add him to it :) his service record would be very interesting
     

Share This Page