Operational Accounts of the 41/47RTR

El Alamein to Tunis

On the 30th October 1942 the 41st were ordered to hand over its remaining tanks to the Bays and the Regiment moved back to Mariopolis, and then on to Sidi-Beshr near Alexandria a week later, shortly after, "A" Sqn was attached to the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry for ten days after which they rejoined the Regiment.

In December 1942 The 41st & 47th RTR were listed amongst other units for disbandment, its men to be dispersed to other units. The 41st however were saved and re-equipped with scorpion mine flails, the 47th however was sadly disbanded on the 15th January 1943, never to reform.

The Regiment then began conversion training to a new piece of equipment called the Scorpion. The Scorpion was a Matilda Tank modified for mine clearing by attaching a revolving flail to the front.

On the 4th December "A" Sqn moved west to catch up with the advancing "8th" Army, arriving at Capuzzo the following day. They were joined soon after by the rest of the Regiment which had been collecting Scorpions from the railhead at Tobruk.

On the 8th December the Regiment sadly said farewell to the CO, Lt Col Whitehead who had commanded them through thick and thin since March 1941. Col Whitehead was to take up a temporary appointment as CO of The Yorkshire Hussars.

Maj R E H Drury, MC now assumed command of the Regiment, and was promoted to Lt Colonel on the 18th February 1943.

At El Agheila the Regiment, as Corps Troops came under command of "30" Corps and training exercises were carried out with "8th" Army formations.

It was here the Regiment spent Christmas Day of 1942, and they made the most of the extra food and drink which soldiers always manage to acquire on these occasions.

January 1943

In early January the Regiment was in the Buerat area and a composite squadron was formed to assist with attacks on enemy positions in that area.

The Regiment kept pace as the 8th Army advanced but on reaching Tripoli the advance was delayed for a period of time. The 41st however were kept busy with demolitions and training exercises, and when Winston Churchill visited Tripoli they formed a Guard of Honour consisting of men and vehicles to line the route as a welcome.

By mid February the advance was on again and the 41st took part in the assaults on the Mareth line, the Wadi Akarit and in March was in the area of Sousse-Enfidaville.

From here the Regiment and other 8th Army formations were switched over to the 1st Army front in the Medjes-El-Bab area and the preparations for the assault on Tunis began.

Tunis was reached by the Desert Rats on the 7th of May 1943, and fittingly two regiments of the RTR the 1st & 50th were poised to enter the city first.

From Tunis the 1st & 48th RTR advanced up the Cap Bon Peninsular, mopping up the remnants of the Axis Forces, and on the 12th May 1943 the Africa Corps surrendered, thus ending hostilities in North Africa.