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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

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Page 1 of 2
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Betts Covert 1 2 Cromwell Command Tanks arrive
2 CO goes on leave. Major R.B.Fleming
assumes command of the regt.
3 Capt Bellamy-Brown posted to RAC Depot,
Catterick
18 Cromwell tanks arrive
4 No events
5 No events
6 0830 Party leaves Betts Covert under Lt Butler
to collect 11 HONEY tanks from Slough
7 1700 Lt. BUTLER returns from Slough with 11
HONEY tanks
8 2/Lt HARGREAVES posted to this unit.
9 Lt.Col. WILSON returns and re-assumes
command of the regt.
10 CO's order re Exercise *SPRINGBOK"
11 2/Lts CROCKER, ALLEN, ABRAM, and CLARKE
posted to this unit from OCTU.
2/Lt SABATINI leaves to collect "B" vehs
from OXFORD
1640 Regt leave to take part in Exercise *SPRINGBOK" and harbour for night at
MR 2322 Sheet 66
12 0800 Regt leave harbour and Exercise "SPRINGBOK"
begins.
1020 Cpl WHITEHEAD, "C" Sqn, killed by smoke
shell
1620 "SPRINGBOK" ends Regt harboured for night
in FROGSHILL area (Sheet 76)
1700 co's conference re Exercise "KANGAROO"
13 0745 Exercise "KANGAROO" starts.
1525 "KANGAROO" ends, Regt returns to BETTS
COVERT.
Visit of Lt. Col.DENHAM-DREW to Regt.
2/Lt SABATINI returns to Regt with 6 "B"
vehs.
14 CO 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"
Sqn
Transport holidays discontinue.
16 1100 Talk 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Betts Covert 17 0400 "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
WHITEHEAD.
19 "A" Sqn fire HE also Troop shoot on
TITCHWELL Range
"C" Sqn and RHQ fire T & A practice on
BOYTON Ranges
1700 Bde Comd addresses all offrs in the
DESERT RAT Theatre on Exercises, "SPRINGBOX"
and "KANGAROO*
20 0400 "B" Sqn leave by train for DOCKING
Major PATON takes over duties of Offr i
Sgts Mess Accounts.
21 0800 "C" Sqn plus 2 HQ Tanks leave WICKHAM
MARKET for DOCKING
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
shoot
"B" Sqn returns by train to BRANDON
22 0900 "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
23 1400 Visitation by Maj Gen Sir Chas Broad, KCB,
DSO; Col Comd of RTR
24 )
25 ) No event
26 )
27 1430 Regt visited by the Div Comd who addressed
the Regt formed up at Betts Covert
28 Officers inter Sqn postings: Lt Babbage,
B Sqn, to HQ. Lt SABATINI, HQ Sqn to
B Sqn.
Betts Covert 29 Awards: MID Sgt CAMPBELL, B Sqn, and
APLC HAY, HQ Sqn
30 1030 Regt Church Parade Service in DESERT RAT
Theatre conducted by Rev A.H. DICKSON

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