1st Royal Tank Regiment

The 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1 RTR) was an armoured regiment of the British Army. It is part of the Royal Tank Regiment, itself part of the Royal Armoured Corps and operationally under 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade.

1st Royal Tank Regiment
Cap badge of the Royal Tank Regiment.
Active28 July 1917–August 2014
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
RoleDiv Troops/Land Warfare training
SizeOne regiment
Part ofRoyal Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQWarminster, Wiltshire.
RAF Honington
Motto(s)Fear Naught
MarchLippe Detmold
Quick: My Boy Willie
Slow: The Royal Tank Regiment Slow March
AnniversariesCambrai, 20 November
Battle honourssee Battle Honours
Colonel-in-ChiefHM The Queen
Hugh Elles
Michael Carver, Baron Carver
Tactical Recognition Flash
Royal Tank Regiment (tactical recognition flash)
TartanHunting Rose (Pipers kilts and plaids)


Cruiser tank Mk I Egypt May 1940 IWM E 101
Cruiser tank Mk I of 1 RTR at Abbasia, Egypt, 30 May 1940.

The regiment was originally formed as A Company, Heavy Section, Heavy Machine Gun Corps in May 1916 during the First World War (1914–1918). It took part in the first ever tank offensive in 1916 and saw action on the Western Front again in the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917 and later in the Hundred Days Offensive. Remaining active in the army during the interwar period, in 1939 it was renamed the 1st Royal Tank Regiment.

During the Second World War (1939–1945) the regiment took part in the Siege of Tobruk in the summer of 1941 and the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, the advance up Italy in late 1943, the Normandy landings in June 1944 and the Western Allied invasion of Germany in 1945.[1] From the Battle of El Alamein the regiment was part of the 22nd Armoured Brigade, itself part of the 7th Armoured Division, for the rest of the war.

After a period based in Germany, 1 RTR helped repelled Communist forces during the Korean War. In 1993, it amalgamated with the 4th Royal Tank Regiment without change of title.[1] It incorporated both the original regiments' traditional recruiting areas of Merseyside and Scotland.[2]

In 1999, two squadrons were split off as part of the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear Regiment (CBRN) amalgamating with No. 27 Squadron, RAF Regiment.[1] In December 2011 the Regiment handed over its responsibility for CBRN to the RAF Regiment.[3] On 25 June 2008 at Buckingham Palace, both 1RTR and 2 RTR were presented with their new Standard by The Queen, which included the new Battle Honour of Al Basrah 2003.[4]

On 2 August 2014 the regiment merged with 2RTR to form "The Royal Tank Regiment" (RTR). The new (single battalion) regiment is based at Aliwal Barracks, Tidworth and is one of three armoured regiments equipped with the Challenger II tank.[5]

The history and traditions of 1 RTR will be kept alive in the new regiment by 'Ajax" Squadron.

Associated Cadet Forces

  • Mildenhall Detachment of the Suffolk Army Cadet Force.
  • Cadbury Heath Detachment of the Bristol Army Cadet Force.
  • Merseyside ACF
  • Westbury Detachment of Wiltshire Army Cadet Force.


  1. ^ a b c "1st Royal Tank Regiment: History". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  2. ^ "1st Royal Tank Regiment takes part in homecoming parade in Glasgow". Ministry of Defence. 11 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Future of 1 RTR". 5 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Battle Honour Awards (Operation Telic)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 10 November 2005. col. 21WS–22WS.
  5. ^ "Regular Army Basing Matrix by Formation and Unit" (PDF). Army Families Federation (AFF). 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2015.

External links

1st Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 1st Armoured Brigade was a regular British Army unit formed on 3 September 1939, by the redesignation of the 1st Light Armoured Brigade.

22nd Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 22nd Armoured Brigade was an armoured brigade of the British Army that saw service during World War II. The brigade was formed as the 22nd Heavy Armoured Brigade on 3 September 1939 with three Yeomanry (Territorial Army) mechanised cavalry regiments – 2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) and 4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters).

3rd Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 3rd Armoured Brigade, previously the 1st Heavy Armoured Brigade, was an armoured brigade of the British Army that saw service in World War II with both the 1st and the 2nd Armoured Divisions in the North African Campaign. The brigade headquarters was disbanded on 11 January 1943.

4th Royal Tank Regiment

The 4th Royal Tank Regiment (4 RTR) was an armoured regiment of the British Army from its creation in 1917, during World War I, until 1993. It was part of the Royal Tank Regiment, itself part of the Royal Armoured Corps.

7th Royal Tank Regiment

The 7th Royal Tank Regiment (7th RTR) was an armoured regiment of the British Army from 1917 until disbandment in 1959.

Armoured regiment (United Kingdom)

Armoured regiments are units provided by the Royal Armoured Corps of the British Army.

Currently, they are battalion-sized formations equipped with Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

There are three Armoured Regiments, each equipped with 56 Challenger 2 tanks.

Armoured Regiments (Type 56)Royal Tank Regiment (1st Armoured Infantry Brigade)

King's Royal Hussars (12th Armoured Infantry Brigade)

Queen's Royal Hussars (20th Armoured Infantry Brigade)The organisation of a Type 56 Armoured Regiment is:

3 sabre squadrons, each of 18 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank;

1 command and reconnaissance squadron.

Headquarters Squadron

Fort Capuzzo

Fort Capuzzo (Ridotta Capuzzo) was a fort in the colony of Italian Libya, near the Libyan-Egyptian border, next to the Italian Frontier Wire. The Litoranea Balbo (Via Balbia) ran south from Bardia to Fort Capuzzo, 13 km (8 mi) inland, west of Sollum, then east across the Egyptian frontier to the port, over the coastal escarpment. The fort was built during Italian colonial repression of Senussi resistance in the Second Italo-Senussi War (1923–1931), as part of a barrier on the Libya-Egypt and Libya-Sudan borders.

The Frontier Wire and a series of forts including Fort Capuzzo, were used to stop the Senussi from moving freely across the border. The fort had four crenellated walls enclosing a yard. Living quarters had been built around the edges and provided the base for border guards and Italian army armoured car patrols. A track ran south from the fort, just west of the frontier wire and the border, to Sidi Omar, Fort Maddalena and Giarabub. The fort changed hands several times during the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943) of the Second World War.

Fox armoured reconnaissance vehicle

The FV721 Fox Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Wheeled) (CVR(W)) was a 4 × 4 armoured car manufactured by Royal Ordnance Leeds, deployed by the British Army as a replacement for the Ferret scout car and the Saladin armoured car. The Fox was introduced into service with B Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment (Aliwal Barracks, Tidworth) in 1975 and withdrawn from service 1993–94.

Development of the Fox began in 1965 and the following year the Daimler company of Coventry, which was building the Ferret scout car at the time, was awarded a contract to build 15 prototype vehicles. The first was completed in November 1967 and the last in April 1969. User trials began in 1968 and the first official announcement concerning the Fox was made in October 1969.

The following year the Fox was accepted for service with the British Army and a production order was placed with Royal Ordnance Leeds.

Production began in 1972 and the first vehicle was completed in May 1973. Production of the Fox has been completed at Royal Ordnance Leeds.

George Forty

George Forty OBE (10 September 1927 – 19 May 2016) was a British Army officer who was chief of staff of the Royal Armoured Corps gunnery school and later director of the Tank Museum, and also author of many books on warfare.

Gerald Hopkinson

Major-General Gerald Charles Hopkinson CB DSO OBE MC was a British Army officer who commanded 4th Division.

Ian Baker (British Army officer)

Major-General Ian Helstrip Baker CBE (26 November 1927 – 28 July 2005) was a British Army officer who became Assistant Chief of the General Staff.

Jeremy Blacker

General Sir Anthony Stephen Jeremy Blacker KCB CBE (6 May 1939 – 17 March 2005) was a Master-General of the Ordnance.

Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment

The Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment was a specialist expeditionary unit of the British armed forces. Personnel of the Joint CBRN Regiment were trained in the detection, identification and monitoring of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

It was formed on 1 April 1999 as the Joint NBC Regiment, from a stated recommendation in the Strategic Defence Review for an operational unit to support deployed forces of the British military in NBC defence and assistance. In 2005, the name of the regiment was changed following the addition of radiological weapons to its remit, and the NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) designation changed to CBRN.

There were five regular squadrons; four from the 1st Royal Tank Regiment and one (No. 27 Squadron) from the RAF Regiment. Two squadrons (A and W) from the Royal Yeomanry and, from March 2004, 2623 Squadron RAF Regiment provided a reserve capability.Elements of the Joint CBRN Regiment have since operated in this role in Kuwait and Iraq (on Operation Telic, in which the Royal Yeomanry squadrons combined into a single unit named Y Squadron) and Afghanistan. The regiment contributed to operations world-wide during every year of its formation.

It was disbanded on 16 Dec 2011 as a result of the 2010 UK Strategic Defence and Security Review, with capabilities being transferred into the newly formed Defence CBRN Wing, formed by 26 and 27 Sqns RAF Regiment and 2623 Sqn RAuxAF Regiment. The FUCHS armoured vehicle was retired at this point.The 1st Royal Tank Regiment then became divisional troops within 3rd Mechanised Division. Nevertheless, in 2014, the Royal Tank Regiment formed up with one Squadron, Falcon Squadron, dedicated towards CBRN, and brought the FUCHS vehicles back into service in 2016.

No. 27 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 27 Squadron RAF Regiment is CBRN squadron of the RAF Regiment in the Royal Air Force. The squadron's current HQ is at RAF Honington. The motto of 27 Squadron is Defensores Defendo (I defend the defenders).

North African Campaign

The North African Campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts (Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War) and in Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch), as well as Tunisia (Tunisia Campaign).

The campaign was fought between the Allies, many of whom had colonial interests in Africa dating from the late 19th century, and the Axis Powers. The Allied war effort was dominated by the British Commonwealth and exiles from German-occupied Europe. The United States officially entered the war in December 1941 and began direct military assistance in North Africa on 11 May 1942.

Fighting in North Africa started with the Italian declaration of war on 10 June 1940. On 14 June, the British Army's 11th Hussars (assisted by elements of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 1st RTR) crossed the border from Egypt into Libya and captured the Italian Fort Capuzzo. This was followed by an Italian counter-offensive into Egypt and the capture of Sidi Barrani in September 1940 and again in December 1940 following a British Commonwealth counteroffensive, Operation Compass. During Operation Compass, the Italian 10th Army was destroyed and the German Afrika Korps—commanded by Erwin Rommel, who later became known as "The Desert Fox"—was dispatched to North Africa in February 1941 during Operation Sonnenblume to reinforce Italian forces in order to prevent a complete Axis defeat.

A fluctuating series of battles for control of Libya and regions of Egypt followed, reaching a climax in the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 when British Commonwealth forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery inflicted a decisive defeat on Rommel's Afrika Korps and forced its remnants into Tunisia. After the Anglo-American landings (Operation Torch) in North-West Africa in November 1942, and subsequent battles against Vichy France forces (who then changed sides), the Allies encircled several hundred thousand German and Italian personnel in northern Tunisia and finally forced their surrender in May 1943.

Operation Torch in November 1942 was a compromise operation that met the British objective of securing victory in North Africa while allowing American armed forces the opportunity to engage in the fight against Nazi Germany on a limited scale. In addition, as Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, had long been pleading for a second front to be opened to engage the Wehrmacht and relieve pressure on the Red Army, it provided some degree of relief for the Red Army on the Eastern Front by diverting Axis forces to the North African theatre. Over half the German Ju 52 transport planes that were needed to supply the encircled German and Romanian forces at Stalingrad were tied up supplying Axis forces in North Africa.Information gleaned via British Ultra code-breaking intelligence proved critical to Allied success in North Africa. Victory for the Allies in this campaign immediately led to the Italian Campaign, which culminated in the downfall of the fascist government in Italy and the elimination of Germany's main European ally.

Options for Change

Options for Change was a restructuring of the British Armed Forces in 1990 after the end of the Cold War.Until this point, UK military strategy had been almost entirely focused on defending Western Europe against the Soviet Armed Forces, with the Royal Marines in Scandinavia, the Royal Air Force (RAF) in West Germany and over the North Sea, the Royal Navy in the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic, and the British Army in Germany.With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in 1989, a Soviet invasion of Western Europe no longer seemed likely. While the restructuring was criticised by several British politicians, it was an exercise mirrored by governments in almost every major Western military power: the so-called peace dividend.Total manpower was cut by approximately 18 per cent to around 255,000 (120,000 army; 60,000 navy; 75,000 air force).Other casualties of the restructuring were the UK's nuclear civil defence organisations, the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation, and its field force, the Royal Observer Corps (a part-time volunteer branch of the RAF), both disbanded between September 1991 and December 1995.

Order of battle for 7th Armoured Division (United Kingdom)

This article supplements the 7th Armoured Division article by providing order of battle information for the division through various periods of the Second World War as the organization of an armoured division was changed by the War Office. Due to the experience gained in the Middle East these changes were sometimes present in the armoured divisions there before the War Office mandated organization. Parallel changes were made in the organization in the armoured brigades. The Division frequently did not match any organization scheme due to the lack of units in the Middle East.

Peter Gilchrist

Major General Peter Gilchrist (born 28 February 1952) is a retired senior British Army officer who served as Master-General of the Ordnance from 2000 to 2004.

Richard Gould

Richard Alan Gould (born 1970) is an English sports administrator who is the current chief executive of Surrey County Cricket Club.

A son of a retired football manager Bobby Gould, he was educated at Bristol Grammar School (1981–1988) and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst (SMC, Strategic and Military Leadership 1989–1990), Cranfield University, Milton Keynes (JDSC, Military and Strategic Leadership 1996) and Harvard Business School (AMP, Business/Commerce, General 2006). After serving six years with the 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1990–2001) as a Tank Commander, he entered sports administration.

He served Bristol City as Commercial Director (2001–2005) before joining Somerset County Cricket Club as chief executive (2005-2011). He replaced the long serving Paul Sheldon at the Oval in 2011 as Surrey chief executive.

He and his wife, Rebecca Gould have two children, Libby and Jess Gould.


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