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The Alrewas Tank fully restored.

Alrewas Tank
 
 

The Tank looks quite superb after its repaint and I think I have almost reached the end of my search into its history. There are still a number of loopholes and unanswered questions which I would love someone to fill or answer.

 

It was made for Brigadier Hobart when he was sent to North Africa to take command of “The Mobile Force”. This consisted of 11th Hussars in Rolls Royce armoured cars, 1st RTR with Light Tanks Mk V1, 7th Hussars with even earlier Tanks, 8th Hussars with 15cwt. Trucks armed with machine guns and 3rd RHA equipped with WW1 3.7 Howitzers. This force was joined by an infantry force 1st Battalion The Kings Rifle Corps. On arrival in North Africa he was promoted to Major General and started an intensive and effective training programme to ensure all the different elements could work effectively together. The Division was further strengthened with the arrival of 6th RTR. During the winter of 1938-9 the Division pulled together into an efficient fighting force.

 

The Tank before restoration.
 

Sadly not long after the outbreak of war with Germany General Hobart fell out with the new GOC General Wilson and was relieved of his command. As he drove away his men cheered him. As proof of his ideals Mobile Force Egypt survived to become 7th Armoured Division famous as “The Desert Rats”. General Hobart was left to serve his country as best he could as a Corporal in the Home Guard until Winston Churchill reinstated him. He went on to form The 11th Armoured Division and later The 79th Armoured Division

 

“The Tank” was made for General Hobart during his time in North Africa and has connections with 1st RTR and 6th RTR.

There is now a blank period until it re-appeared at Hobart Barracks Detmold opposite the Guardroom on a brick plinth. It is very likely that it was brought there by 1st RTR when they took over the barracks in 1946 but this has not been confirmed.

 

Just before the 13th/18th Hussars took over in 1962 it was moved across the road to outside the Guardroom. It remained there until the amalgamation of 3rd RTR and 2nd RTR at Fallingbostel when it was moved into storage.

 

Side view of the tank with the markings 9199 visable on the left and H41 on the right.

 

When the Alrewas Memorial Plot was created Colonel Longman asked around for a suitable monument within the Regiment. Hobo's (as he was known affectionately) Tank again emerged. It was brought to Bovington by ABRO who had renovated it and formally handed over to Lt. Gen. Ridgway Colonel Comandant RTR on 26th June 2003. Colonel Longman then brought it to Alrewas in his car.

 

The original Mark V H41 which is in The Tank Museum was commanded by a young officer named Whittenbury. It took part in the Battle of Amiens where he was awarded The Military Cross.

 

Major General Sir Percy Cleghorn Stanley Hobart KBE, CB, DSO, MC was a military engineer and a redoubtable Commander of armoured forces. Having transferred from The Royal Engineers to The Royal Tank Corps he became Brigadier of the first armoured brigade in Britain and Inspector Royal Tank Corps.

 

 The gentleman in the centre is the professional painter & signwriter who re-painted the Tank. On the right is Alex, the RTR plot caretaker and Standard Bearer of Nottingham Branch RTR Association, with  Peter Bacon standing on the left.

 

“The Tank” has an impressive RTR history and pedigree and is a worthy tribute to our fallen comrades.

I have enjoyed the project and would like to thank the following for their assistance and input:

 

The Historical Adviser of The Desert Rats Memorial Association (Ian Paterson)

Webmaster BAOR-Locations (Philip Graham)

Major Colin Hepburn

The National Aboretum Alrewas

Malcolm T. Meadows (Painter and Signwriter)

Jonathon Dawes ICI Dulux Decorating Centre for kindly donating the paint

Alex Hamilton caretaker/custodian of The RTR Memorial Plot for his support and

encouragement.


Peter Bacon

 
Please note that that this page may be subject to minor amendment if more imformation emerges.