The History of the

4th and 7th Royal Tank Regiments

 

1961 - 1964


APC/Berlin Role

In early November 1961 The Regiment changed to the APC/Berlin Role. Sqn Comds were Majors Macksey (A), Wilde (B) and Gingell ( C ). Each Sqn had its administrative elements co-located.

20 Armd Bde

A Sqn - Major Ken Macksey MC, who handed over to Maj George Forty in 1962, was deployed to Lemgo as part of 20 Armd Bde and in support of 1 A and SH.

Front S/Sgt Barnes, SSM Chesher, Major Ken Macksey MC, Sgt Ainsley.
Centre Sgts McLeod, Robinson,Hynson and Hibbert
Rear Sgts Benham, Hodges, Bray, Limes,Bassham,

B Sqn - Major Eric Wilde MC deployed to Celle as part of 7 Armd Bde and in support of 1 Gordons. C Sqn – Major Laurie Gingell MBE - deployed to Berlin. The only road access from West Germany through the “Iron Curtain” was by means of this autobahn check point. The task was both operational and representational. “Showing the flag” in front of the Brandenburg Gate. …and on the Olympischer Platz
Sgt (Later RSM) Eric Man and Lt Brian Waghorn right GOC Berlin inspects Crews Front Captain John Maxwell - C Sqn 2i/c On the Olympischer Platz
Sgt (Later RSM) Eric Man and Lt Brian Waghorn right.      
GOC Berlin inspects "Crews Front" Captain John Maxwell - C Sqn 2i/c. The Berlin Squadron joined with the Americans and the French as the following images show. 
C Sqn deployed to Berlin - Major Laurie Gingell MBE handed over to Maj Peter Dey MBE in 1962 Captain John Maxwell - C Sqn 2i/c Allied Tank Demonstration on the British Tank Training Area Grunewald Training on the Grunewald with American and French units.
      The Drive Past by 11 Regiment de Chasseurs à Cheval.
b_0_100_0_00_images_Tanks_4and7rtr_tanks_00035.jpg b_0_100_0_00_images_Tanks_4and7rtr_tanks_00036.jpg b_0_100_0_00_images_Tanks_4and7rtr_tanks_00037.jpg The Drive Past by 11 Regiment de Chasseurs à Cheval
Ten months after C Sqn arrived in Berlin the East Germans began to build the Berlin Wall. This is the view into Potsdamer Platz. C Sqn was immediately reinforced. Driving through the Brandenburg Gate to the East German Opera House was off the menu.
The Berlin Wall. This is the view into Potsdamer Platz C Sqn was immediately reinforced Driving through the Brandenburg Gate to the East German Opera House was off the menu

RHQ troop skiing with the French Army (159th Bn de la Neige)

In January 1962 there was time for the whole of RHQ troop to go skiing for two weeks with the French Army (159th Bn de la Neige). Adjutant Capt New, Asst Adjt Lt Hardman.

But from February 1962 the APC sqns, although remaining deployed in Lemgo and Celle, reverted to under command 4 RTR which once again became a 1 Div unit.

The Officers 4 RTR July 1962
The Officers 4 RTR July 1962

Rear Lts Rose,Wright, Puren, Rawlins, Carver, Galloway
Centre, Capt Bubb, Lts Van Berkel, Izatt, Capts Kan, Norman,Cocking,Lts Hardman, Drake , EMELET,
Front, Capt O Flaherty, Majors Forty, Dey MBE, Wilde MC, Lt Col Craig OBE MC, Capt New, Maj Attoe, Capts Joyce, Maxwell

This is a farewell photograph of B Sqn (Capt J.D.F. Alexander)

March 1963 saw all squadrons leaving their respective bases in Germany. This is a farewell photograph of B Sqn (Capt J.D.F. Alexander)

 

In March 1963 the Regiment, now under command Lt Col H B C Watkins MBE, left BAOR after 9 years and moved to Redford Cavalry Barracks, Edinburgh. Redford Cavalry Barracks, Edinburgh

Intensive armoured car training began.

 

It was good to be together again.

 b_280_0_0_00_images_Tanks_4and7rtr_tanks_00050.jpg

Guarding the Castle

While in Edinburgh the Regiment mounted guard on the Castle for fourteen days, the first time a non-kilted/trewd regiment had done so.

The Officers at Redford Barracks with Maj Gen Bill Liardet, Colonel Commandant

The Officers at Redford Barracks with Maj Gen Bill Liardet, Colonel Commandant.

The WOs and Sgts 4 RTR at Redford Barracks before departure for Aden

The WOs and Sgts 4 RTR at Redford Barracks before departure for Aden.

CGS, General Sir William Jackson

VCGS, General Sir William Jackson, visits the Regiment in Scotland just before departure for Aden, here talking with the CO, Major G.Forty and Sgt Kaczmar.

The Regiment embarking at Turnhouse airport en route to  Aden

The Regiment embarking at Turnhouse airport en route to Aden

Newspaper article following a letter of thanks from Lt Col Watkins praising the warmth, kindness and generosity of Scottish people during a three week training course in Scotland

From the warmth of Scotland to the heat of Aden and Sharjah,
25 September 1963

Newspaper article about the arrival of the 4th RTR to Aden

Aden with Slave Island in the background.

Aden with Slave Island in the background.

Staff List

The Regiment, less C Sqn deployed in Sharjah, was based in the BP Camp in Little Aden, with A and B Sqn rotating between Little Aden and the Radfan. The original Staff List was as shown.

Major T.S.M. Welch C Sqn 4 RTR were soon established in Sharjah

C Sqn 4 RTR (Major T.S.M. Welch left) were soon established in Sharjah in support of the Trucial Oman Scouts.

C Sqn in the UAE desert C Sqn in the UAE desert

C Sqn preparing for patrol deep into the UAE desert.

Sgt Jordan standing next to his vehicle stuck in the desert sand

The roads were not up to much; Sgt Jordan does it again!

17 Tp, in typical Trucial States scenery

17 Tp, in typical Trucial States scenery - turn right at the cross roads!

17  Troop cooling off in a wadi

13 Troop cooling off in a wadi between Sharjah and Muscat. Sgt Ford and Tps Merriman, Leslie, Durno, Dalgliesh and Rowland

4 RTR (-) was based at Little Aden

4 RTR (-) was based at Little Aden. But within days of their arrival they were in action up-country in support of the Federal Regular Army (FRA) against the Egyptian-inspired, National Liberation Front dissidents.

The first month in Little Aden also saw a major repainting and refurbishment of the Camp. RSM L A Smart looks reasonably happy with the result, just in time for the first visit of General Sir Charles Harrington, C in C Middle East.

RSM L A Smart The C.-in-C. speaking to Tpr. Cook, 'B' Squadron

Brigadier Harbottle, seen with Capt Cocking, Maj Mathieson, the CO, Capt Rix, and SSM Saunders

Brigadier Harbottle, (commander Aden Garrison) is another early visitor, seen here with L. to R. Capt Cocking, Maj Mathieson, the CO, Capt Rix, and SSM Saunders.

The other side of the vehicle park at Little Aden was not quite ready for inspection

other side of the vehicle park wasn’t quite ready for inspection!

Maj Gen John Cubbon (GOC MELF) speaks with L/Cpl Clarke as the CO and Capt Linaker watch on.

Maj Gen John Cubbon (GOC MELF) speaks with L/Cpl Clarke as the CO and Capt Linaker watch on.

A and B Sqn were committed from Little Aden to the Radfan and Beihan areas

A and B Sqn were committed from Little Aden to the Radfan and Beihan areas in support of the FRA against the increasingly active Egyptian-backed, Communist-supplied dissidents. The Regiment was very widely dispersed. Communication from RHQ was mostly by HF radio using Morse key.

Map of the Aden Federation and Area of Operations of 4RTR

The first to draw dissident blood from direct fire action was Lt Ian Galloway's troop at Beihan, followed closely by Lt H.B.C Coombes and Sgt Wheatley's troop at Thumeir.

Distances were so great that squadrons relied increasingly on support from the air for re-supply and movement by Scout, Beaver, RAF Beverley and by DC3s of Aden Airways.

Distances were so great that squadrons relied increasingly on support from the air RAF Beverley Blackburn Beverley

Major Mathieson arrives at Ataq Fort with the gelt. Lt Robinson and Capt Weeks are keen attendants

The weekly Pay Day was complicated because the Regiment was so wide-spread. Major Mathieson arrives at Ataq Fort with the gelt. Lt Robinson and Capt Weeks are keen attendants! Capt Goldney the pilot.

Austers

The Regiment had an integral flight of Austers for recce and liaison. One of the Auster pilots, Lt Edward Hardman 4 RTR, lost an eye when a bird struck and fractured his canopy. He subsequently managed to land his Auster and save his passenger. He was awarded a well deserved Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air, (London Gazette 23 October 1964)

Throughout October and November 1963 A and B Sqn were in action from their forward bases at Dhala, Thumeir Airstrip, Beihan and Fort Ataq. But there was time for 9 Tp B Sqn to challenge the Ataq locals.

A and B Sqn Forward Base 9 Tp B Sqn and Ataq locals sports challenge

Tpr Marshall at Fort Ataq standing beside his Ferret which had come to be named "The Beihan Bomb"

Tpr Marshall at Fort Ataq standing beside his Ferret which had come to be named "The Beihan Bomb".

Major George Forty and Lt Davey Hudson enjoy a Fudl in Ataq Fort

Major George Forty and Lt Davey Hudson enjoy a Fudl in Ataq Fort.

Maj Forty (OC A Sqn) present sports strip to local school children at Ataq

Maj Forty (OC A Sqn) present sports strip to local school children at Ataq.

Major George Forty and A Sqn at Ataq.

Major George Forty and A Sqn at Ataq.

L/Cpl Samonjoul

L/Cpl Samonjoul encourages a friend to communicate !

Federal National Guard (FNG) at Mudiyah Fort  near Laudar SW of Beihan

Federal National Guard (FNG) at Mudiyah Fort near Laudar SW of Beihan

Lt Mike Rose's 7 Tp (Two Saladin, two Ferret and a Morris 1 ton water bowser) were responsible for patrolling Wadi Manawa, on the border with North Yemen . Re-supply was weekly by track to Beihan some seven hours each way. The tour in this very basic outpost was for four months.

Lt Mike Rose's 7 Tp Map

The camp at Wadi Manawa

The camp at Wadi Manawa. The main problems apart from the heat were water supply and mines. On one occasion a German Teller mine blew the wheel station from one of the Saladins, it was jury rigged and, fitted with a Saracen wheel station. It was operational again within three days. Not bad some 450 miles distant from the nearest recovery vehicle!

The Squadron fitters were hundreds of miles from the Regimental LAD

The Squadron fitters were hundreds of miles from the Regimental LAD (workshops) and had to improvise repairs.

It was a troop leader's dream location!

Note the steps down to the bunker.

Cpl Richard Nichol on patrol in Beihan – Tp Leader Lt Ian Galloway, Tp Sgt Jordie Santon.

Lt Brian Coombes showing his style by wearing a cardigan in the searing heat.

Troop Note the steps down to the bunker Cpl Richard Nichol on patrol in Beihan >Lt Brian Coombes showing his style by wearing a cardigan in the searing heat
The Ferret was an ideal vehicle for the terrain; enormous distances were covered by the all-wheeled Regiment. The Saladins became almost unbearably hot to the touch at midday. Cpls McLeod and Francis on the Dhala Road. Men at Work!
The Ferret was an ideal vehicle for the terrain The Saladins became almost unbearably hot to the touch at midday Cpls McLeod and Francis on the Dhala Road Men at Work!

Lt Ian Galloway

Lt Ian Galloway with his bearer and driver Ali Hamid pointing the way, and Lt Davy Hudson, emerging from the Queen of Sheba Pass into Wadi Ayn.

A short halt on the long drive from Beihan to Aden.

A short halt on the long drive from Beihan to Aden.

An A sqn convoy returning by road from Beihan to Ade

An A sqn convoy returning by road from Beihan to Aden, Major George Forty (OC A) in the foreground.

Major Rowley Morris

During a long patrol led by Major Rowley Morris (standing centre with Sgt Jim Hynson) down through Wadi Habban towards the Eastern Aden Protectorate, Capt Tony Weeks checks the map.

Cpl Samanjoul , an FNG morse signaller and Sgt Ivor Knapp.

Cpl Samanjoul , an FNG morse signaller and Sgt Ivor Knapp.

Echelon vehicles were especially prone to mine attack

Echelon vehicles were especially prone to mine attack. Note the hastily improvised helipad for casevac.

The Regimental flag flies over Fort Ataq.

The Regimental flag flies over Fort Ataq.

Challenging topography !

Challenging topography !

Sgt T E F Silverson

In February 1964 the Commander of the FRA, Brig James Lunt, ordered a withdrawal from wadis held in the Radfan and it was during this difficult extraction phase that Sgt T E F Silverson distinguished himself, leading his ferret troop with great skill and personal courage; for this action he was awarded the Military Medal.

letter from outgoing Representative Colonel Commandant, Maj Gen HRB Foote

It was a source of very great encouragement at this demanding time to receive this letter from our outgoing Representative Colonel Commandant, Maj Gen HRB Foote, given his exceptional membership of both the 4th and the 7th

By April 1964 there was a clear requirement for three squadrons but only two were available, B and C (A Sqn having taken over from C in Sharjah). Thus it was that D Sqn was formed to carry out the Radfan task, B took over the Beihan area and C became responsible for the Dhala Convoys. Two troops from Sharjah were brought down to add to the deployed Regiment.

RHQ moved up to Thumeir to co-ordinate this activity".

Map Sqaudron

D Sqn formed up at Thumeir

D Sqn formed up at Thumeir on 4 May 1964, prior to moving off for the second phase of the current Radfan Operation.

Lt Gen Sir Charles Harrington visiting Lt Henry Puren's Troop in Dhala

Lt Gen Sir Charles Harrington visiting Lt Henry Puren's Troop in Dhala.

13 Troop at work.

13 Troop at work.Lt Jeremy Rawlins,Sgt Ford, L/Cpl Moore and Tprs Merriman, Durno, Leslie, Dalgliesh, Jack, Rowland, Beck, Bourne, Higginbottom

Tpr Jack reacting to rolling Lt Jeremy Rawlins FSC

Tpr Jack reacting to rolling Lt Jeremy Rawlins FSC who jumped! Sgt Ford inspecting the damage.

Lt Jeremy Rawlins and AQMS Robins examine the damage sustained to a Ferret wheel station in the Thumier area

Mines were a constant threat. Lt Jeremy Rawlins and AQMS Robins examine the damage sustained to a Ferret wheel station in the Thumier area.

Convoys

Next day Lt Rawlins' troop advanced into Wadi Radfan with a Platoon of 1 Royal Anglian under Lt Long. Encountering a mined road-block an attempt to explode the mines with Saladin 76mm Hesh was followed by the platoon pushing forward. They came under heavy fire and the platoon commander, badly injured, was left lying exposed to fire. Lt Rawlins positioned his ferret to shield Lt Long; he then dismounted, lifted the injured officer on to his back decks under fire and, supporting him there, ordered his driver to reverse out of danger. It was reminiscent of Capt Pip Gardner's rescue of a KDG officer at Tobruk on 23 November 1941 and earned Lt Rawlins a well deserved Mention in Despatches.

A scratch brigade under Brig R L Hargrove was now ordered to "end the opposition of the dissidents". C Sqn ( temporarily under Captain David Linnaker) was ordered to escort the convoys that were establishing a stockpile of ammunition, fuel and supplies at Thumeir. In 15 days they ran 9 convoys over the 140 mile route (80 miles of which was unpaved) from Aden to Thumeir, where Major Rowley Morris was base commander.

Lt Jeremy Rawlins - ADC to H.E The High Commissioner, Sir Richard Turnbull

After these experiences Lt Jeremy Rawlins had a spell as ADC to H.E The High Commissioner, Sir Richard Turnbull based at Government House

fire base in Wadi Rabwa

Major Alistair Mathieson now commanding D Sqn was ordered to set up a fire base in Wadi Rabwa. D Sqn was subjected to mines, road blocks and heavy fire from the ample high ground. It became a major fire-fight costing six wounded.

Cpl Richard Nichol Cpl Richard Nichol
Preparation for the on-coming operation included much ammo-bashing. The Saladin 76 mm HESH ammunition was most effective against sangars. Preparation for the on-coming operation included much ammo-bashing
Saladins and Ferrets of D Sqn entering Wadi Taym. 300 rounds of HESH and 60,000 rounds of Browning were fired during the operation. Saladins and Ferrets of D Sqn entering Wadi Taym
  b_280_0_0_00_images_Tanks_4and7rtr_tanks_0053.jpg
HQ 39 Inf Bde (Brig "Monkey" Blacker), extracted from Northern Ireland, now arrived at Thumeir to control operations. It was clear that arms and ammmunition were being smuggled into the Radfan from the South. On 16 May Brig Blacker ordered CO 4 RTR to establish “Watforce”. in the Wadi Nakhalain by 24 May and to mount "Op Stopper“ using a combination of heavy and light armour, infantry and aviation - Lt Col Watkins therefore issued the following orders. Headquarters 39 Infantry Brigade Group

 

Orders by Lt Col Watkins,Op Stopper - Page 1 outlines the situation, mission and execution. Orders by Lt Col Watkins,Op Stopper - Page 2 outlines the tasks, coord instrs and admin and logistics Orders by Lt Col Watkins,Op Stopper - Page 3 outlines Comd and Sig and is signed by Lt Col Watkins Orders by Lt Col Watkins,Op Stopper - This document outlines the movement including grouping, timings and route

Watforce

"Watforce" comprised B Sqn RTR (Mathieson), B Coy East Anglians, and supporting elements. The 40 mile approach march to Wadi Nakhalain was completed in one bound on 24 May. The fire fight began at midday 25 May. Tpr Hefferman (arrowed) received a bullet in his back. It was removed by the RMO using a tool from the Fitters tool box; he subsequently drove throughout the day.

Major Alistair Mathieson and Lt Mike Rose (11 Tp) WAP

Major Alistair Mathieson and Lt Mike Rose (11 Tp) planning an air-strike and tasks for supporting 5.5inch guns on 26 May 1964 as part of the Wadi Nakalain battle. Maj Mathieson was subsequently awarded a Military Cross for his leadership and courage in the WAP. After the battle Mike Rose's two Saladins had only ten wheels between them.

L/cpl Clarke and Tpr Hallam.

Five hundred and fifty 76mm HESH rounds fired by the Saladins and countless MMG rounds had ensured that none of the fortifications or sangars survived. By the evening of 26 May the enemy had gone. But it was vitally important that the door be kept closed to prevent further infiltration. This was achieved by intensive patrolling by the Ferret tps working with the Auster AAC flt. L/cpl Clarke and Tpr Hallam were part of the screen.

C Sqn was operating in Wadi Taym from its Thumeir base

The Regt was thus widely split by late May. CO 4 RTR was controlling ‘Op Stopper’ with B Sqn in the Radfan; A Sqn was operating in the Trucial States from its base in Sharjah; C Sqn was operating in Wadi Taym from its Thumeir base seen here.

Map of Wadi Taym indicating locations of C Sqn in support of 1 KOSB

Two tps of C Sqn were operating in Wadi Taym in support of 1 KOSB

Tac RHQ 4 RTR here complete with Stalwart echelon leaving the Radfan.

Elements of Watforce were released by 30 May 1964, some to the Aden area where more troops were needed to control a worsening situation. It was time for CO 4 RTR to return to RHQ at Little Aden and gather up some of the strings. We see Tac RHQ 4 RTR here complete with Stalwart echelon leaving the Radfan.

2 Troop being transported from the Persian Gulf back to Aden

2 Troop being transported from the Persian Gulf back to Aden to assist in the deteriorating situation.

The Crater district of Aden

The Crater district of Aden with an average daytime temperature of 36 degrees Centigrade, and a population of some 70,000 nationalist Arabs competing for sovereignty , was part of the problem.

C Sqn redeploying to the Danaba Basin.

C Sqn redeploying to the Danaba Basin.

donkey polo match Umpire SSM Saunders

But it wasn't all work. Here a ruthless donkey polo match is played out under the watchful elevated scrutiny of the umpire, SSM Saunders.

Major General D’Avigdor Goldsmith, visits the Regiment

The Director Royal Armoured Corps, Major General D’Avigdor Goldsmith, visits the Regiment and receives a confident briefing, as the RSM Bill Bibby, Lt Jeremy Rawlins, Capt David Linaker and Lt Tim Turner (partly obscured) appear satisfied with the content.

17 Tp escort

17 Tp (Lt Tim Turner) provided the escort for the Standard at the Queen's Birthday Parade at Little Aden. RQMS Poole carries the Standard, the other Ferrets being commanded by Sgts Jacob and Ford.

Dinner for regiment of Aden Base in the Officers Mess.

The Regiment had been away from its Aden Base for most of May so a combined Queen’s Birthday, belated Arras and ‘farewell to Col Bryan Watkins’ dinner was held in late June in the Officers Mess.

L to R Capt Clitherow, Sgt Silverson, Lt Col Watkins and Minister for Defence Ramsden

L to R Capt Clitherow, Sgt Silverson, Lt Col Watkins and Minister for Defence Ramsden.

Major A.A.Mathieson MC SSM White

Although there
would be no promulgation until the Regiment had left Aden (see next chapter), two further operational awards were won at this stage of operations - Major A.A. Mathieson, the Military Cross (left),  and  SSM White the MBE.

Lt Col John Cowgill

We must not overlook the unsung heroes of the Regiment, the fitters. Most of them operated hundreds of miles from the LAD, relying on an intermittent radio link for instructions from the EME, Capt Mark Fillingham. Many of the fitters were "B" Vehicle trained yet were dealing with ageing and therefore unreliable "A" vehicles. Only two of the squadrons had Artificers, the remaining relying upon VMs. Yet, having taken over from a Regiment in Aden and Sharjah, which shall remain nameless, with only 50% serviceability (and only 8% in Sharjah) the Fourth scored 76% in the WAP (some being presented for inspection with their barrels still warm from firing!) and 100% in Sharjah one year later with the same vehicles.

On 28 July 1964 Lt Col Bryan Watkins handed over command to Lt Col John Cowgill, fresh from being 2i/c in the First. It was getting quiet in the Radfan but getting noisy in Malaysia where the Regiment was bound next.

A signal from the 10th Hussars to the Regiment

18 September 1964.
A signal from the 10th Hussars to the Regiment.

“Many thanks for your good wishes and an excellent handover. Hope fire not hotter than frying pan.”

Farewell to Malaysia

And so it was farewell to this.



Site Designed by Manx Telecom