In October 1966, after extended leave, the Regiment re-assembled in Harewood Barracks, Herford, Germany as an Armd Recce Regiment, part of the 1 (Br) Corps Covering Force.
The Squadrons spent much time out in their areas establishing liaison with neighbouring units in the Covering Force including our German colleagues, both Bundeswehr and Bundesgrenzchutz.
4 RTR's task was to provide the Screen Force from the Inner German Border in the area Uelzen - Braunschweig. This involved squadrons working closely with Bundeswehr, in this case Oberst Abel, CO of 7 Panzeraufklaerungsregiment with OC A Squadron.
|'A' Squadron training with 18 (Wessex) Sqn commanded by Sqn Ldr Peter Harding
(later de-frocked as Chief of Defence Staff).
|Members of 2 Tp abseiling from a Wessex|
4 RTR, along with A Sqn 1 RTR, 2 RTR, 3 RTR and H Sqn 5 RTR moved to Reinsehlen Camp near Schneverdingen in Lower Saxony in July 1967 to prepare and rehearse for the Queen’s Fiftieth Anniversary Parade and March Past. It was to have an ambitious format which inter alia involved the entire parade reversing on tracks and wheels some 40 yards, a drive past and an advance in Review Order before dismounting and hearing the Colonel-in-Chief Royal Tank Regiment, Her Majesty The Queen’s address. The reverse in close order proved especially difficult over rough ground for the entirely wheeled 4RTR.
Cock Troop 1967 2 Tp A Sqn Back Row. Tprs Monro,Masson,Lakin, Adams, Duncan LeathwoodFront Row. L/Cpls Tye and Logan, Sgt Barratt, 2/Lt Spurrier, Cpl Hawthorn, L/Cpl Boland
The Parade itself took place in fine weather before a large crowd which included the Commander-in-Chief Rhine Army, General Sir John Hackett GCB, CBE, DSO, MC and our three RTR Colonels Commandant,
General Sir John Jolly KCB CBE DSO (A former Commanding Officer of 4RTR),
Major General H M Liardet CB CBE DSO,
and Major General J R Holden CB CBE DSO.
Her Majesty our Colonel-in-Chief arrives at Reinsehlen Camp for the Mounted Parade involving 2,3,4, RTR and one squadron each from 1 and 5 RTR.
Lt Tim Turner, (RSO) Lt Col Roger Plowden (CO)and Capt Mike Rose(Adjt) with the RHQ Team before the Parade.
The Commanding Officer and Ruth introduce Her Majesty to members of the Fourth, in this case to the author and his family; it is all too much for daughter Amanda. Major Dick Murrell QM, and Major Richard Jerram (behind him) having been presented.
The Officers and Sergeants of A Squadron 4 RTR 14 July 1967.
Sgts Moore, Barrett, SQMS Jordan, SSM Morris, S/Sgt Hicks,Sgts Hills, Kew and Sgt Reid
Lts Bowen, Whitfield, Major New, Capt Mallam, Lts Duncan, Spurrier
Being wheeled, much of our training was possible in 443 areas (i.e. not designated training areas) which were entirely new to us.
Border patrols in the Harz Mountainsnear Braunlage with Mr Bland, a member of the British Frontier Service, early1968
Being close to the Harz Mountains also provided excellent opportunities for cross-country skiing – Tpr Richmond left and Cpl Robinson
Quadrant Ski Club Lermoos Jan 1968 4 RTR came 2nd out of 26 teams in the 4x10 km relay. Cpl Robinso takes over from Lt Spurrier.
Just before a hectic last training season in armoured cars we celebrated Arras at Herford. General Sir Alan Jolly, lately CO 4 RTR and now Quarter Master General was the Inspecting Officer
General Sir Alan Jolly talks with Cpl Knowles while inspecting the crews. Lt Col R.B.C Plowden and the Regimental Colonel RTR accompany him.
The 1968 Winter skiing season was one of the best the Regiment had ever enjoyed. In the Slalom 2 /Lt Prince Alexander beat the Captain of the Army Team to win the Army Championships. The A Team came 2nd in the 15 km Relay, Tpr Bourne was the individual winner of the 15 km Cross-country race,and Tpr Reid won the novices Langlauf Cup.
The Regimental Ski Team was the best RAC team in the Army Championships. At the top of the table Lt Martin Spurrier, Lt Col Roger Plowden, Captain Brian Coombes and Mrs Ruth Plowden.
In January 1969 the Fourth returned to 7 Armd Bde as a Chieftain Regiment and was stationed in Haig Barracks, Hohne.
(The technically-minded will note the Stillbrew additional turret armour)
It was good to be back, but it seemed a little deliberate after the élan of the Armoured Recce Regiment.
The Soltau trainig area in 1969 was full of pitfalls especially when moving at night. Ice on a river such as this – the River Swinderbeck – when seen through infra red driving lights looks exactly like grass. Chieftain 13 Alpha was clearly not going to arrive on time !
But there were new skills to acquire including the Swingfire anti-tank missiles mounted on FV 438s. Oops!
In July 1969 Lt Col Roger Plowden left to become Col GS at Div HQ. Lt Col Martin Sinnatt assumed Command. He had served in Korea, Hong Kong and Aden. Immediately before coming to the Fourth he had been MA to C-in-C Allied Forces Northern Europe.
In May 1970 the Regimental Judo Squad were Army Champions. Cpl Cairns,(top right) became Lt Heavyweight Army Champion.
The Commanding Officer, Lt Col Martin Sinnatt, RSM Mann and Band Sergeant Major Pierce outside RHQ in Haig Barracks.
Captain Colin Cheshire with the Loder Cup – Bisley 1969. His other achievements included captaining the Great Britain Rifle Team four times between 1991 and 1995, Captain of the GB World Championship Team in 1992 (awarded OBE) and 1995, and winner of 24 trophies at Bisley. As recently as 2005 he was the Winner Open Veteran' Aggregate at Bisley. His success continues in that he and his team retained the 2007 World Veterans Championship in Canada
With our higher establishment as a tank regiment, and the man-power situation much tighter in Scotland, we had to give priority to recruiting.
The Regiment was obliged to spend much time, effort and manpower ensuring that it was fully manned. That included KAPE Tours and...
...posing for "come and join us" photographs. Here Major Brian Coombes, Captain Andrew Whitfield, Sgt McMinn, Tpr Chalky White and friends look inviting.
The Regimental Langlauf team achieved the best results recorded hitherto in RTR annals. Led by Lts Goodson and Pickering they came eleventh in the National Races, the highest of eight RAC regiments.
January 1971 saw the Regiment on the Hohne Ranges. It was an exceptionally cold month but an outstanding set of gradings was achieved – thirteen "A"s and one "B".
Judith Hand was with the Regiment for five years as our tame WRVS Lady. She endeared herself to all ranks and the families.
In March 1971 the Regiment was ordered to prepare two composite Rifle Squadrons for a four-month emergency tour in Northern Ireland from August. Here the CO is flanked by Majors Hammond (left) and Slade and the officers concerned.
An undeniable disappointment was that the squadrons would be under command 15/19 H and not 4 RTR. The Cavalry made every effort to reduce the chagrin, referring to the combined unit as the "Black Hussars."
The Squadrons deployed in August 1971, B (Rifle) Sqn to Lurgan and D (Rifle) Sqn to Newry, both renowned trouble-spots.
For those involved there was much professional satisfaction. It was a lively scene – in both Lurgan and Newry.
On 4 September 1971 near Newry, Tpr John Warnock was killed and L/Cpl Allan and Tpr Smart were injured when a claymore mine exploded against their landrover. The funeral was organised superbly by 2 RTR at Tidworth and attended by John Warnock's Father, a serving member of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, and by many members of 2 and 4 RTR including CO Designate 4 RTR.
In Chapter Eleven we see 4 RTR as the first Battle Group to train at Suffield, Canada.