By July 1982 the Regiment had completed the direct swap with the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, moving to Tidworth, less A squadron at the School of Infantry at Warminster. The Regiment then went on block leave before starting as the UK Armoured Regiment and the Demonstration Squadron respectively. Any thought that life away from BAOR might be less frenetic would be quickly dispelled.
In September there was a welcome visit by some of the crew of our newly affiliated conventional submarine HMS Oberon.
In December 1982 Lt Horne continued his winter-sports successes with Tpr Hynds in the 2-man Bobsleigh coming 20th in the Senior British Championships at Innsbruck.
Lt Horne and Tpr Hynds in GB 3 who came 20th in the Junior European Championships out of 36 teams, beating GB 2.
In the 1983 New Year Honours List Major Wheatley was made an MBE and Pipe Major Harden was awarded the British Empire Medal. The Regiment said farewell to three squadron commanders – Major Mike Gudgin, Major Roger Powell back to Australia, and Major Rupert Hartley to Canada. This sadness was only slightly off-set by a visit to the Regiment of Judy Beba, star of Octopussy
In February members of the Regiment had the opportunity to visit HMS Fife, our affiliated County Class Cruiser, and to make a return visit to HMS Oberon, the conventional submarine. The latter took Lt McNaughton and his small team from the Clyde Base to Gibraltar.
The Regimental Gunnery Officer and the Sqn Gunnery NCOs receive the 13 Lancers Shield in recognition that the Regiment achieved the highest gradings in the RAC in the 1982 range firing.
In March 1983 Lt Col Philip Sanders handed over the Regiment to Lt Col Hedley Duncan MBE who came back to the Regiment in which he had spent all his regimental service.
In the same month RSM MacDonald handed over to RSM Lyall. A further departure was Cpl Crofts after 24 years of continuous service in the regiment, towed away in the only vehicle that had been in the Regiment longer!
General Sir Dickie Lawson as Colonel Commandant visits B Sqn in 1983. Partly obscured Major Roger Powell (RAAC), Lt (later Brigadier) David Eccles and Sgt (later RSM and Major) King.
Often the reality of command of one's regiment is different from the dream. 4 RTR scarcely existed as a corporate body at this time. A Sqn was at the School of Infantry, B Sqn was about to depart for a four month tour with the UN in Cyprus; C Sqn was involved in a series of exercises, including one in Lahore and one in Canada, only occasionally under command; D Sqn was continually away with troops in Kenya and Norway, and moving to Castle Martin Ranges by Sir Bedivere; the Pipes and Drums were helping HMS Fife to be re-commissioned.
The Regiment still found time to host the 1983 4/7th Reunion weekend. The Regiment's view of this event and the photograph of our two VC's is fitting tribute to our predecessors.
In addition to all these commitments the Fourth demonstrated their flexibility by providing an Honour Guard for the 1983 Anniversary of the 4th/7th Battle at Beaurains (Arras). Sadly we have no photographs of the occasion.
In July 1983 B Sqn (Major Mark Goodson) took over the role of UN Armoured Car Squadron in Cyprus. The Squadron Base was adjacent to HQ UNFICYP at the disused International Airport bisected by the Greek/Turkish disengagement line. The VCGS, Lt Gen Sir James Glover, had a very successful visit to the Squadron, despite the evident apprehension of SSM Deighan!
CBF Cyprus, General Sir Desmond Langley helps Lt Pablo Miller not to lose his way near the Green (Disengagement) Line. B Sqn handed over their Cyprus Role to the 16/5 on 19 January 1984.
Regimental Range Firing took place at Castle Martin and Lulworth in March.
The Regiment obtained a creditable B Grade. Here Capt Fyfe of D Sqn and Capt Eccles of C Sqn at Castle Martin.
In March and April 1984 the Regiment was involved in Op Roust, the Greenham Common Guard. The “enemy” were almost entirely women, who came in three categories. First there were the “Committed” (some thirty of them, many bright and convinced, who had been there for two years or more and some of whom had given birth in the “bashers” near the main gate.
Secondly there were the “hangers-on” who didn't stay but came at weekends etc; this group would normally be about 1,000 strong but rose to 30,000 one weekend.
The third group lived around the perimeter because they had no home.
On 4 April a well planned and co-ordinated eviction of those near the main gate took place and thereafter public interest declined.
In between Op Roust and Range Firing the Commanding Officer set Ex “Tartan Driver”.
The team posing in front of an M 48
The 1984 Cadre course produced two prize-winning aspirants here seen with the hierarchy RSM Lyall, Capt Moseley, Tpr Clarke, CO, Tpr Milligan, Capt Warner and WO2 Jourdon.
The 1984 KAPE Tour began in Edinburgh on 31 May. 40 members of the Regiment, the Pipes and Drums and two Scorpions were involved. The team, led by Capt Jonathan Polin, visited St Andrews, Perth, Glasgow, Galashiels and Castle Douglas.
In July 1984 the Regiment hosted a Dinner Night at which the Regiments two VC paintings were unveiled by Pip Gardner VC MC and Major General General Bob Foote VC, CB, DSO.
Ex Lionheart was a fitting climax to the Fourth's time as the UK Armoured Regiment. Now Osnabruck beckoned.
The Regiment was complete in Imphal Barracks Osnabruck by December and operational by 25 January 1985. The skiers slipped away before they could be otherwise employed. The Alpine and Nordic teams came 4th,5th and 7th in their respective Div Championships. Captain Pablo Miller here being “set-off” by HRH Princess Anne.
In January 1985 the Regiment was visited by the Rep Colonel Commandant, Maj Gen Richard Jerram, whose father had commanded the Seventh so brilliantly in North Africa in 1941. Maj Gen Jerram had served in the Fourth several times, most recently as 2i/c before commanding 3 RTR and eventually becoming Director Royal Armoured Corps.
Individual training was a high priority as was commissioning of all Chieftains to APFDS. Once that was completed the Regiment took to the field, together at last after a gap of over two years. Such had been the turnover in the Regiment that many encountered Soltau for the first time. It was bitterly cold but good value. The next major event on the Regiment's calendar was the Standards Parade.
The Consecration of new Standards was a memorable occasion. It took place at Sennelager on 12 July 1985.
Her Majesty, our Colonel-in-Chief arrives for the Standards Parade 12 July 1985 at Sennelage. Major General Richard Jerram introduces Majors General Antony Walker and Ian Baker.
Our Colonel-in-Chief, HM the Queen, accompanied by the Representative Colonel Commandant, Major General Richard Jerram CB MBE reviews the Fourth Royal Tank Regiment Contingent.
The Standard Party moved forward to collect the Standard – RSM Robinson, RQMS Finlay, SSgt Hill and SSgt Smee.
Lt Col Blair Stewart-Wilson hands the Queen her speech to the Regiments. Maj Gen Richard Jerram in characteristic pose.
After the Standards Parade the Regiment undertook two weeks BG training and then on 3 September flew to Suffield for Medicine Man. The BG consisted of RHQ 4 RTR, B, D and G Sqns, two coys 1 R Irish, a battery, an Armd Engr and a Fd tp and sp elements. The final exercise “Alamein” was a severe test involving every phase of battle. The BG performed excellently and, incidentally, reinforced the view that Suffield is the most cost-effective training instrument available to any Army, particularly because it is complemented by un-paralleled adventure training in the Rockies...