Comet Tanks 1957-58 Sek Kong.

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 21:51
Date picture taken


Brilliant to see this photograph. My father was Driver of this tank during World War 2 when it was serving with 3RTR and named Celerity. I've been researching this tank for many years and consequently know a lot about it! Google T335335 20ZR65 Celerity to learn more. 

Questions to Bryan:

1. Do you have any particular connection to this actual tank?

2. Do you know the names of any of the crew members?

3. Would it be possible to upload and/or send me a high resolution copy of this photo? (the numbers aren't visible on the current version of the photo and it would be nice to see the other markings). 

Hi SDP. I will be pleased to help you in your ongoing research of this tank, having had a view of the google site you mentioned.
From aug 1957 to may 1958 I was one of some 20 men of a REME L.A.D. attached to B squadron 1st. R.T.R. at Sek Kong, this tank was a B. squadron. tank and would have been serviced/repaired by the L.A.D. Looking again at my photos there are 3 of this tank. If you move along to the photo titled- a comet tank and the crew of 7 troop B sqn. I can clearly read the number 20ZR65. Very sorry to say do not remember any of their names. Have you had any contact with Fred Evans over his photos on this site, I made contact with him in Apr. this year on this brilliant site and know he was a Driver/Wireless operator with 8 troop B sqn. If his memory is ok he may be able with names .[neither of us remember one another after 60 yrs.]

The third photo is of the Queens Birthday Parade in my collection. dated 21st. Apr 1958 the lead tank in this parade is 20ZR65.
My daughter is going to scan these old 3 photos to see if we hopefully can get clearer pictures
This brilliant website continues to surprise me with interest in, and help with, my old photos. There is always someone on this forum recognising or helping me with places, names etc.
I live in Leicestershire if by any chance you live nearby.
Bryan Panter.




Thanks for this brilliant information. I had spotted the other two photos in your collection but it's nevertheless good to see you confirming this. Comet T335335 aka Celerity aka Calais aka 20ZR65 (7RTR then with 7QOH: I have details, know the crew names and met the Driver!....and finally with 1RTR before being scrapped in Hong Kong in 1959) certainly had a good history. Probably the tanks finest phase - I'm totally biased of course - was in the final phases of WW2 in North West Europe when it was also involved in a skirmish with Fehrmann Tiger F01 (Google will again provide details). The Tank was sent to Hong Kong in 1949, still marked up as T335335 and now named Calais: several photos exist and even some Pathe film footage (Google Reds Stand at City Gates). The next phase (of which I'm aware) was when it was with 7QOH and again photos were taken during the Queens Birthday Parade. 

All for now

Steve Pannell

Hi Steve. Have reloaded the 3 photos of 20zr65 on this site-see-Comet Tank20zr65 Sek Kong 1957-58-on -what’s new. Not happy with 2 of the photos as they do not seem to be any better than those I loaded in April,sorry it’s the best I can do. These photos must mean more to you,especially after viewing your 8+ years search for details,photos etc, they are only of general interest to me so i would like to post the originals to you - I have already had copies printed. I remember that all the Comets of B squ. were given the names of Western Desert tank battles 1941-43 Torbruk-Mera Matruh-Sidi Barrani etc. There is only one name I can clearly read among my photos-Gazala, hopefully you will be able to tease out the name of 20zr65, the names were on the side of the oil filler box? on the track cover plates. If you would like to accept this offer we can find a way of doing it privately?. Do you know yet what happened to the Comets when they were scrapped in 1959 as the Churchill A.R.V. I was Driver/Wireless operator in (mostly wireless/operator) probably went at the same time? Regards Bryan Panter.


I would obviously like to accept your very kind offer re the photos. I will contact you via David(?who runs this site) in the next few days as I'm currently away and pressed for time. As for your Churchill, hopefully you know it's Census number (the two numbers, two letters, two numbers): if you know that, I have good contacts at the Bovington Tank Museum who could look up the tanks Key Card. Hopefully the Key Card still exists, in which case it will state the original 'T' Census Number and what eventually happened to the tank: most, but not all, were scrapped or sold off. It was partly the Comet set of Key Cards that indicated that 20ZR65 was moved to and eventually scrapped in Hong Kong. My understanding is that the tanks scrapped in Hong Kong were split into 'non recoverable' chunks and then sold off to local scrap metal merchants. 

Looking at the photo of the above tank in the tank park, I remember there two types of Comet (I think) on the regiment's equipment roll: there was the one (65) with protruding exhaust cowlings at the rear and there were those that did not. As I remember the tanks in A squadron mostly appeared to have them,  while B Sqn didn't. C sqn. I 'm not sure of.

Also of interest I could see there were no tanks parked in the photo above. Why was that? There were appx. fifty tanks there usually, apart from winter 'schemes' with individual troop or sqn. being absent . The only thing I can think of is it may have been when the whole Regiment were at Kai Tak (RAF base) for the AOC s parade...but it was a long time ago!! Hope this all helps? 

Thanks to this amazing Forum, I met Bryan and his wife yesterday when we had a very pleasant pub lunch and,  of course, talked about his time in Hong Kong and the photos of which I'm now the proud custodian. I will research the photos in detail and, of course, post any findings on this Forum. Thanks again to all. Steve. 

Hi Steve, during our most enjoyable leisurely lunch yesterday(3hours!) you expressed an interest in the shoulder flashes from my uniform in one of the albums(they fell off when handing my kit into the stores on demob in 1958) as this was also the emblem on the front of all the 1RTR Comet Tanks. Have uploaded photo on this site under the heading —Prancing Dragon-Comet Tanks. Bryan.