Help ID the Regt of Covenanter Tank - Photo (1943?)

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by ecalpald, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    Can anyone Identify this tank's Regiment from it's name and number?
    Written on the photo back is : "Fred Beckholt, Chick at Littlehampton."
    In the photo, Chick is left, Unknown is central, Fred is right. Chick & Fred are stretcher bearers with the 11 Cdn Field Ambulance.

    Attached Files:

  2. Sorry I cannot ID the unit, but just give a few comments:

    A marking seems to be present between the boxes on the turret side. This might be the "enemy" cross painted on tanks during exercises. See this tank with AoS 52 which has the same boxes on the turret side as 'CORSAIR', but with the cross painted on one of the boxes rather that between them, and in white (?) colour rather than in the same colour as the 'C' Sqn circle (Red or Blue?) on 'CORSAIR':

    The location and style of the various markings on 'CORSAIR' are also very close to those seen on 27 Armd Bde tanks on the following photos, although the Tp number and Tank name are of the same colour as the Sqn symbol, whereas '4' and 'CORSAIR' appear to be White:


  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    There is a vehicle name spreadsheet in Resources. With the name and T number if someone has identified the unit of Corsair it may be there.
  4. Unfortunately, AFAIK this tank is not (yet) in KevinT's spreadsheet.

  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Hm, interesting.

    ecalpald, do you have a date associated with the photo?
  6. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Putting the troop number within the squadron marking was an affectation of 15/19 Hussars, so I would say there's a very strong chance that this is who the tank belonged to.

    I've got their war diary for 1943, so I'll see if I can make a positive ID.
    Chris C likes this.
  7. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    'Hubert' (got to make reference to your brilliant avatar!).

    Unfortunately it's not as clear cut as that: 3RTR used the Troop number within the TAC sign approach as did others as per, for example, the Units described in previous posts. Note: the tank can't be 3RTR anyway because they were elsewhere when the photo was taken.
    Don Juan likes this.
  8. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Fair 'nuff.

    Anyway, the only Home Forces Covenanter-equipped armoured regiments that kept a tally of their tank issues were 2 Welsh Guards and 1 Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, and they have no record of receiving this particular tank.
    SDP and Tricky Dicky like this.
  9. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    Chris C, there is no date mentioned on the back of the photo. There is just a red numerical stamping. 47 59.
    Hold on. I looked closer at the back of the photo that I had previously posted of the Littlehampton Poster Board. In faint letters I can make out (partial 7) 90 in red stamping. This photo had a written date of 1943. So the tank picture was likely developed in the same batch. A date of 1943 is probable.
  10. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    The location of Littlehampton is a very odd place for a Covenanter to be, because most of the pertinent Home Forces armoured divisions during 1943 would have been located around Yorkshire, Norfolk or Salisbury Plain. 9 AD were Yorkshire then Norfolk, 11 AD and 42 AD were Yorkshire then Salisbury Plain, 79 AD were Yorkshire then Suffolk, Guards AD were Salisbury Plain then Norfolk, and the Polish Armoured Division were up in Scotland. The mysterious 137th Armoured Brigade were Northants then Norfolk. I haven't seen anything to suggest that any of these formations conducted exercises on the south coast during 1943.

    However there were still Covenanters in the HQ's of various tank brigades, and also in some RHA field regiments as OP's. So if any of these were based on the south coast, or ventured down there for exercises, they might be in the frame.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    This is a very speculative long shot, but given the Canadian Field Ambulance unit mentioned I wondered if any Canadian units had Covenanters. This article says that in Feb '42 - so a whole year earlier - 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade had 4 Covenanters in its brigade HQ squadron.
  12. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Yes, there's an article on the Canadian Covenanters here, but T81916 does not appear to have been one of them.

    I vaguely remember that there was an exercise on the south coast, using Churchill tanks, in September 1943, but I can't seem to find anything about it, so I'm not sure that I wasn't imagining it. But other than that, I can't think why a Covenanter would be at Littlehampton.
    Chris C likes this.
  13. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    I scanned through the 11 Cdn Fd Amb, War Diaries and they were involved in an Exercise in almost every month of 1943. Because the Exercise "Spartan" was a major Canadian-British Exercise, I googled "exercise spartan 1943" and selected the first item in the return which led me to this site:
    9th March 1943: Exercise Spartan tests D-Day forces in Britain

    By God if a picture of "a troop of Covenantors" didn't jump out at me, complete with the crosses that member "Michel Sabarly" had noticed on my Dad's photo.

    Attached Files:

  14. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    The Covenanter dug up recently in Dorking and now being restored was buried by the Canadians
  15. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    I just checked out the Canadian Heritage site and it appears that the complete documentation for "Spartan" may reside there starting at image 952 of T-7111.
    War diaries : T-7111 - Héritage
    Haven't the time to look in detail at it, but there are "orders of battle" and maps in the first few pages that I scanned through.
  16. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    True, but I gather it had been used for anti-tank target practice, so I would presume it was later.
  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Last year I researched Operation Spartan, partly because it was a major exercise to test organisation, tactics and command for the campaign in NW Europe and partly to find possible colours and markings for models in my collection.

    I cannot identify the precise unit but the yellow cross was used by the offensive army, Southland. This was a largely Canadian force built around Canadian 1 Army, confusingly called 2 Army for this exercise. However 4 Canadian Armoured Division was still equipping and training so Guards Armoured Division was assigned to the Canadian 2 Corps. Guards Armoured Division was equipped with Crusaders so this seems the most likely 'owner' of the tank with Canadian medics.

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  18. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    The route for Guards Armoured Division during Exercise Spartan, at least according to the Welsh Guards, was Fonthill Camp > Braemore House > Porton > Marlborough > Ogbourne > Cirencester > Stow-on-the-Wold > Chipping Norton > Wormleighton > Whittlebury > Slapton (Northants).

    The Guards Armoured Division was supposed to meet up with the Canadians in the Marlborough area, but I'm not sure this happened, and the main liaison with the Canadian 5th Infantry Brigade was on 11th-12th March during the climactic "battle" in the Whittlebury area, so really the most likely place for the above photo to have been taken was Northamptonshire!

    Also worth noting that 22 Dragoons on the opposing "German" side seem to have enjoyed themselves:

    22 Dragoons.jpg
  19. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    Sounds like they enjoyed a "good tussle" as much as the Canuks.
    But after it was all said and done they fought together and some died together in NW Europe.

    Attached is the General Summary - July 1944 for the 11 Cdn Fd Amb. They moved into the Line on 13 July after landing on Juno on 6 July. So the casualty figures are for about 2 weeks only. I am printing it as is, otherwise it would not convey the impact of what they went through. Hopefully Library Archives Canada will forgiving.

    Attached Files:

    Tolbooth likes this.

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