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    War Diary: 5th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: April 1944

    The 5th Royal Tank Regiment (5 RTR) april 1944 War Diary mentions the units time in Betts Covert and the death of Cpl Whitehead who was killed by a smoke shell

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/867

    The "References to Appendices" column for this document was empty so has been omitted.

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    Page 1 of 2
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Betts Covert12 Cromwell Command Tanks arrive
    2CO goes on leave. Major R.B.Fleming
    assumes command of the regt.
    3Capt Bellamy-Brown posted to RAC Depot,
    18 Cromwell tanks arrive
    4No events
    5No events
    60830Party leaves Betts Covert under Lt Butler
    to collect 11 HONEY tanks from Slough
    71700Lt. BUTLER returns from Slough with 11
    HONEY tanks
    82/Lt HARGREAVES posted to this unit.
    9Lt.Col. WILSON returns and re-assumes
    command of the regt.
    10CO's order re Exercise *SPRINGBOK"
    posted to this unit from OCTU.
    2/Lt SABATINI leaves to collect "B" vehs
    from OXFORD
    1640Regt leave to take part in Exercise *SPRINGBOK" and harbour for night at
    MR 2322 Sheet 66
    120800Regt leave harbour and Exercise "SPRINGBOK"
    1020Cpl WHITEHEAD, "C" Sqn, killed by smoke
    1620"SPRINGBOK" ends Regt harboured for night
    in FROGSHILL area (Sheet 76)
    1700co's conference re Exercise "KANGAROO"
    130745Exercise "KANGAROO" starts.
    1525"KANGAROO" ends, Regt returns to BETTS
    Visit of Lt. Col.DENHAM-DREW to Regt.
    2/Lt SABATINI returns to Regt with 6 "B"
    14CO on Div TEWT
    2/Lt HARGREAVES and 2/Lt HEYNES posted to
    "A" Sqn. 2/Lt CROCKER posted to "C" Sqn.
    2/Lt ALLEN posted to "B" Sqn.
    Future address of regt- 5th Royal Tank Regt
    A.P.O., England.
    CO attends Div TEWT
    7882672 AULC DOLBY posted to HQ Sqn from "A"
    Transport holidays discontinue.
    161100Talk by CO to all offrs in RHQ mess,
    Subject:- Future Operations
    1800"A" Sqn plus 2 "B" Sqn tanks leave by Tank
    train for WICKHAM MARKET.
    Page 2 of 2
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Betts Covert170400"B" Sqn leave by Tank train for WICKHAM
    MARKET. One tank fell off war flat
    during loading causing delay.
    2100"C" Sqn plus 2 Tanks RHQ leave by Tank
    train for WICKHAM MARKET
    "A" Sqn fire T & A AP practices at BOYTON Ranges
    Lt.JANSEN posted to "C" Sqn from HQ
    Lt.MEDLAND posted from "C" Sqn to HQ and
    assumes duties of Wireless Offr
    18"B" Sqn fire T & A practice at BOYTON Ranges
    0630"A" Sqn leave for HONEYHILL Camp by road
    C of I regarding the death of Tpr
    19"A" Sqn fire HE also Troop shoot on
    "C" Sqn and RHQ fire T & A practice on
    BOYTON Ranges
    1700Bde Comd addresses all offrs in the
    DESERT RAT Theatre on Exercises, "SPRINGBOX"
    and "KANGAROO*
    200400"B" Sqn leave by train for DOCKING
    Major PATON takes over duties of Offr i
    Sgts Mess Accounts.
    210800"C" Sqn plus 2 HQ Tanks leave WICKHAM
    1400"A" Sqn leave DOCKING by train for BRANDON
    "B" Sqn fire HE and troop shoot.
    "C" Sqn and 2 RHQ tanks fire HE and troop
    "B" Sqn returns by train to BRANDON
    220900"C" Sqn plus 2 tanks RHQ return to BRANDON
    Promotions: 7882977 W/Sgt LYONS "C" Sqn
    promoted to SQMS
    791143 0 AP/L/Sgt LUND, HQ Sq, promoted to
    AP/Sgt. 7884411 AP/L/Sgt FYFFE, C Sqn,
    promoted to AP/Sgt. 7904606 AP/L/Sgt
    ROBINSON, A Sqn, promoted to AP/Sgt.
    786025 W/Cpl COOPER, B Sqn, to AP/L/Sgt
    4200233 W/Cpl GORDON,HQ, to AP/L/Sgt
    558597 W/Cpl ONIONS, B Sqn, to AP/L/Sgt
    231400Visitation by Maj Gen Sir Chas Broad, KCB,
    DSO; Col Comd of RTR
    25) No event
    271430Regt visited by the Div Comd who addressed
    the Regt formed up at Betts Covert
    28Officers inter Sqn postings: Lt Babbage,
    B Sqn, to HQ. Lt SABATINI, HQ Sqn to
    B Sqn.
    Betts Covert29Awards: MID Sgt CAMPBELL, B Sqn, and
    APLC HAY, HQ Sqn
    301030Regt Church Parade Service in DESERT RAT
    Theatre conducted by Rev A.H. DICKSON