1st Royal Tank Regiment [????- ]

Submitted by David on Wed, 08/14/2019 - 17:18

The 1st Royal Tank Regiment, or 1RTR, were in Hong Kong from 1957 til 1960, based at Sek Kong Camp in the New Territories.

They were initially equipped with Comet tanks, but during their stay in Hong Kong they were upgraded to Centurion tanks.

Two photo galleries on Gwulo show photos of the 1RTR in Hong Kong:

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1st Royal Tank Regiment.   History up to 1957.
1st Royal Tank Regiment. History up to 1957., by Bryan Panter


1ST Royal Tank Regiment

Although the concept of an armoured vehicle is not a new one, the Tank as we know it was born in the first World War. Originally so-named for security reasons, the first tank to be used in action was designed by Major W. G. Wilson and introduced into the British Army at the instigation of Sir Winston Churchill, (then First Lord of the Admiralty), Sir William Tritten and General Sir Ernest Wilson, in the hope of breaking the deadlock on the Western Front which had resulted from the development of the system of trench-warfare.

Tanks were first used in the Battle of the Somme in September, 1916 and despite the appalling going, mechanical breakdowns and the scepticism of the majority of the army, the few tanks which reached their objectives struck terror into the hearts of their opponents and proved that a new and valuable weapon had been found.

By November, 1917 there were 500 tanks in France and a new corps, known as “The Tank Corps”, had been formed. The Corps was divided into nine Tank Battalions, each designated by a letter and recognizable by its own colour or combination of colours. The original name of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment was ‘A’ Battalion and its recognition colour was Red.

The first major tank engagement, in which all nine battalions took part, was at the Battle of Cambrai on the 20th November, 1917. During the next two days, more ground was won then during any comparable period of the war, but the amazing extent of The Tank Corps’ success had been completely unforeseen and the cavalry and infantry were left too far behind to exploit the victory to the full. It was in this battle that Captain Wain of ‘A’ Battalion won the Victoria Cross.

In January, 1918 the Battalion letters of designation were changed to numbers, and ‘A’ Battalion became known as the 1st Battalion, The Tank Corps. In April of the same year the first tank versus tank battle was fought, in which a single tank of the 1st Battalion engaged three German tanks, knocking one out of action and putting the other two to flight. The knocked-out German tank, “Elfriede”, now rests in the Imperial War Museum.

August 1945 found the Regiment in Berlin and in July 1946 it moved to Detmold, where it remained until embarking for Korea in 1952.

The Regiment landed in Korea in December 1952 and became part of the Commonwealth Division. It remained in Korea until December 1953 when it moved to the Suez Canal Zone.

In the summer of 1955 the unit returned to England for a well earned spell of duty at home. This was not to last long, and in November 1956 it sailed once more for Suez. Hostilities ceased while the Regiment was still at sea and it disembarked at Malta, where it remained for two months before returning to England. Four months later the Regiment was again posted overseas and arrived in Hong Kong in June of last year. (1957)