The History of the

4th and 7th Royal Tank Regiments

 

1982 - 1985

HMS Oberon

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.

4 RTR as at 1 December 1982 4 RTR as at 1 December 1982 4 RTR as at 1 December 1982
Lt Horne continued his winter-sports successes with Tpr Hynds Inter-Services Cresta Teams 1983

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.

Major Frank Freeman

Major Frank Freeman acting as a marker(?) for Lt Horne and Tpr Hynds, January 1983.

Lt Horne and Tpr Hynds in GB 3

Lt Horne and Tpr Hynds in GB 3 who came 20th in the Junior European Championships out of 36 teams, beating GB 2.

Ssgt Winter and Tpr Kevain with Jydt Beba

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

HMS Fife

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.

WOs and Sgts Mess 1983 - RSM MacDonald

WOs and Sgts Mess 1983 - RSM MacDonald.

The Regimental Gunnery Officer and the Sqn Gunnery NCOs receive the 13 Lancers Shield

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.

Lt Col Philip Sanders

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.

Cpl Crofts towed away

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!

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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.

Pipes and Drums

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.

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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.

Beaurains

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

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!

Sergeant Major

Whatever the reason the Sergeant Major got a right bollicking after the General had left!!

4 RTR road block in Cyprus. 6 Tp B Sqn at the Squadron Base. 7 Tp in similar pose.
4 RTR road block in Cyprus 6 Tp B Sqn at the Squadron Base 7 Tp in similar pose

General Sir Desmond Langley and Lt Pablo Miller Cyprus

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.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo 1983

Meantime in August 1983 the Pipes and Drums had taken part in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

4 RTR Nominal Roll as at March 1984 4 RTR Nominal Roll as at March 1984 4 RTR Nominal Roll as at March 1984

Capt Fyfe of D Sqn and Capt Eccles of C Sqn at Castle Martin

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.

Op Roust

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.

Tartan Driver

In between Op Roust and Range Firing the Commanding Officer set Ex “Tartan Driver”.

The team posing in front of an M 48

The team posing in front of an M 48

The 1984 Cadre course

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.

1984 KAPE Tour 1984 KAPE Tour

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.

1984 Regiment Dinner Night

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.

The Officers

The Officers with Maj Gen H R B Foote VC, CB, DSO and Capt P J Gardner VC, MC July 1984

UK Armoured Regiment

Ex Lionheart was a fitting climax to the Fourth's time as the UK Armoured Regiment. Now Osnabruck beckoned.

Captain Pablo Miller here being 'set-off' by HRH Princess Anne

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.

Regiment was visited by the Rep Colonel Commandant

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 Standard Origin of Standards

The Consecration of new Standards was a memorable occasion. It took place at Sennelager on 12 July 1985.

Her Majesty, our Colonel-in-Chief

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.

The 4 RTR Orbat for the Parade was as shown.

The 4 RTR Orbat for the Parade was as shown.

Soldier Magazine cover 12th August 1985. HM the Queen accompanied by Colonel Commandant, Major General Richard Jerram CB MBE review the 4th RTR

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

The Standard Party moved forward to collect the Standard – RSM Robinson, RQMS Finlay, SSgt Hill and SSgt Smee.

The 4 RTR Standard is trooped

The 4 RTR Standard is trooped.

RTR Staff Bands The Pipes and Drums played before the Queen

In company with the RTR Staff Bands The Pipes and Drums played before the Queen once again.

The Regiments drive past

The Regiments drive past.

Lt Col Blair Stewart-Wilson hands the Queen her speech to the Regiments

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...

The Rockies, September 1985

The Rockies, September 1985

The Drumhead Service, Cambrai 1985

The Drumhead Service, Cambrai 1985

Lt Col Hedley Duncan 1985

On 16 December 1985 Lt Col Hedley Duncan ended his tour in command in a style reminiscent of his youth.

In Chapter Fourteen we see the Regiment in BAOR, in Northern Ireland and in Cyprus.



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