US Tank veteran's memories

Discussion in 'Veterans' Histories/Stories' started by Kyt, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Our War: Tank veteran's memories 'all coming back to me'

    http://www.bnd.com/homepage/story/175935.html

     
  2. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    The two chaps below are both WWII veterans from the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR). Maurice on the left, fought in the North African desert winning the Military Medal (MM) for bravery. He was a tank driver and drove both the Matilda and Valentine tanks whilst in the desert. He was at the battle of El Alamein with 44 RTR, he fought in Italy and landed in Normandy (Sherman tanks in both). He was wounded by Artillery shrapnel after only 24 hours in France. He was returned to the UK and subsequently discharged from the Army . In 1946 he was presented with his MM by King George VI at Buckingham Palace. After receiving the medal from the King, he had to hand it back as the same medal was being used for all those awarded the medal that day! He got his own medal through the post a few weeks later.

    Mac, on the right, joined the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars and trained on every type of tank except the Sherman. In Normandy, The Hussars were disbanded and the soldiers sent to other units as battlefield casualty replacements. Mac went to the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment (3 RTR). 3 RTR had Shermans. Mac was a radio operator so of course he was then put into the gunners seat of a Sherman Firefly. 20 minutes later a German Panther tank came into sight and Mac took it out with a first round hit! Not bad for an operator who knew nothing about gunnery. Both are now in their 90's and very frail.
    vets.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  3. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Mac, the chap on the right sadly died on 14th March 2014. RIP my old friend.
     
  4. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Maurice, on the left died on 20th March 2015. Another one bites the dust.
     
  5. Freddie Bean

    Freddie Bean New Member

    Please could you tell me Mac's full name
     
  6. What a story. I could not imagine what those guys went through.
     
  7. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    weymouth vet 2015.jpg weymouth vet 2015.jpg

    Weymouth UK, Armed Forces and Veterans Day, June 2015. Two WWII Tank veterans with a Sherman. 'Best Job I ever had"
     
  8. Nice, thanks for sharing!
     
  9. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    tankfest girls.jpg tankfest girls.jpg tankfest girls.jpg

    It's true, the girls love a Tank Commander, even a veteran Tank Commander. Photo taken at "Tankfest" held at the tank museum, Bovington, 28 June 2015. tankfest girls.jpg
     
  10. Nice pics!!! That must have been pretty fun for sure!
     
  11. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Anthony MacKanny
     
  12. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    ALBERT (BERT) JENKINS 1920-2014

    Bert joined the army in 1937 age 17 as a bandsman in the Royal Tank Corps and learnt to play the Trumpet and French Horn. In 1939 he re-trained as tank crew with the newly named Royal Tank Regiment (RTR). In 1941 he was sent to the Middle East as part of a reinforcement draft and posted not to the RTR but the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry as a tank driver. Bert stayed with the Sherwood Rangers throughout the desert campaign and in Tobruk he met his idol The entertainer George Formby. After North Africa The Sherwood Rangers returned to the UK and began training on what became known as DD (Duplex Drive) amphibious tanks, Bert was a driver with B Squadron. Bert brought his DD Sherman ashore on Gold Beach at 7.30 am on D-Day 6th June 1944 and the tank was hit by enemy fire almost immediately killing two members of the crew. Bert, his commander and one other escaped and crouched behind their tank for cover. Unfortunately the tank then took a second direct hit and Bert looked up to find his two comrades lying dead at his feet. Bert then very sensibly vacated the location and managed to rejoin the Rangers.

    The Rangers fought throughout the North West Europe campaign taking heavy casualties, Bert however was unscathed, but that came to an end during the attack on Geilenkichen. His Sherman struck a mine and the crew were forced to bale out. One of his crew mates then stood on another mine which exploded, killing the soldier and injuring Bert. Bert was evacuated to hospital in Brussels and then sent back to the UK having lost an eye. His participation in WWII came to an end at this point.

    Note: Yeomanry is a name given to reserve/part time cavalry regiments. In the USA they would be called the National Guard.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  13. Davidyzf

    Davidyzf New Member

    Thanks for all the fascinating stories and memories.
     
  14. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    John Howell joined the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry and was due to land with the Regiment on Gold Beach on D Day. He ended up in hospital with appendicitis and missed the Normandy landings. In 2016 he visited Gold Beach for the first time, fell over some seaweed and cut his head. His immediate response was to say "at last" I can say I was on injured on Gold Beach, maybe 72 years late, but I was injured on Gold Beach. Photo shows John at the Royal Tank Regiment memorial in London just before he left for France.
    jh.jpg
     
  15. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Bill, the old chap on the right has been awarded the Legion of Honour medal by the French Government, this medal has been awarded to all surviving veterans who fought in France from D day onward.
     
  16. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Citation: Légion d’honneur Medal Award – Cpl Bill Stebbing late 5 RTR

    On the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, the French President announced that the Légion d’honneur Medal would be awarded to all British D-Day veterans who fought and risked their lives for the liberation of France during the Second World War. Since June 2014, more than 5,000 medals have been awarded. The Légion d’honneur was established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. It is France’s highest distinction and is awarded in recognition of both military and civilian merit.

    We are here to recognise the award to be made to Mr Bill Stebbing, formerly Cpl Stebbing of 5 RTR. Bill Stebbing was born on the 28th Sep 1923 in Bury St Edmunds. Aged 16 when war was declared, he was called up for active service in 1942. Initially trained in Aldershot, he was glad to be joining the RAC, happily thinking that was something to do with cars. After tank driver training on Covenanters and Crusaders at Barnard Castle, he moved to Bovington to complete crew training. He was first posted to the 24th Lancers in Bridlington, to drive a modified Crusader tank in the anti-aircraft role equipped with twin Oerlikon cannons.

    In late May 1944, as part of the 8th Independent Armoured Brigade that included the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, the Sherwood Rangers and the 24th Lancers, Bill’s troop moved to Southampton to prepare for D-Day on the 6th June. The 24th Lancers were scheduled to cross the Channel on D+5. However, storms in the Channel delayed the crossing until D+11 to then arrive on Gold Beach after the loss of four of his best friends. On landing, Bill’s Troop deployed to a field, where in his words “they had a pop at any aircraft in sight”. After the assault on Caen, the Regiment saw heavy fighting in the advance, with significant casualties taken due to Tiger tanks. Bill was then posted to an Armoured Delivery Squadron prior to his posting to 5 RTR in Holland. In the Regimental Waiting Area, Bill was tasked to drive the Squadron Leader’s liberated Citroen car, which resulted in the occasional enjoyable evening in a local town. As 5 RTR finally advanced, Bill was a co-driver on both Shermans and the Cromwell tanks equipped with the 95mm howitzer gun. During the American action, the ‘Battle of the Bulge’, Bill and many others were taken forward to act as infantry. He well remembers digging slit trenches in the frozen ground. Firmly back on a tank, Bill’s troop in 5 RTR were then active in the advance on Hamburg. During these actions, Bill also clearly remembers: being engaged by an 88mm at Rethem; supporting the Monmouthshire Regiment against SS units around Bremerhaven; and the constant attacks from Focke-Wulf 190 fighter-bombers, with one near miss beside his tank. On the 3rd May 1945, 5 RTR entered Hamburg. In the period after the German surrender on 7th May, Bill attended an NCO Cadre course in Hameln to be promoted to Lance Corporal. He then rejoined 5 RTR as a Driving & Maintenance instructor in the rank of Corporal. Finally, in 1947, Bill returned to the UK escorting German POWs from Bielefeld to disembark at Harwich, after which he was demobbed aged 24. Happily, after what Bill describes as a ‘lucky war’, he married Joan Granger on the 2nd September 1948. Bill is a member of the Bournemouth, Poole & District Branch, Royal Tank Regiment Association.
    bill stebbing.jpg
     

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