Operational Accounts of the 41/47RTR
 

1947 THE REGIMENT REFORMS

April 1947 saw the rebirth of the Territorial Army; this included the resurrection of nine regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. Among these were Oldham’s Tankie’s who reformed as the 41st (Oldham) Royal Tank Regiment (TA) under the CO, Colonel J B Whitehead MC, TD, JP.

All "TA" regiments were affiliated to a regular army regiment for training and support. The parent regiment of the "41st" was the 3rd RTR, who provided an input of one or two officers and approximately ten other ranks, including the RSM, instructors and storemen.

The "TA" personnel were made up from volunteers many of whom had served with the 41st or 47th RTR and other regiments during World War II, and were demobilised after the war. National Servicemen were also required to serve a further Three and a half years in the "TA" after completing full-time service and made up a large percentage of the regiment.

Training was very thorough and soldiers were expected to attend for training sessions one evening per week and several weekends, but most men were very keen and put in much more than the legal minimum. The training year would culminate in a fourteen-day annual training camp.

The regiments fighting squadrons were equipped with Comet and Cromwell Tanks a number of trucks and a Half-track vehicle used by REME fitters. HQ Sqn was equipped with bulldozer tanks, scout cars, radio vehicles, trucks and motor cycles.

Sport and Social life

It wasn’t all work for the regiment and it was reported in the local newspaper in 1948 that that there was a good sports and social life as well.

There were three messes, one for the Officers, one for the Sergeants and a combined mess for the Corporals and Troopers. The messes were well furnished and had snooker tables, dart boards etc and each mess had a well stocked bar. Following army tradition each mess was managed by a committee drawn from its members, who arranged some very elaborate functions.

There was no shortage of sports equipment with facilities for Rugby, Soccer, Boxing, Badminton and Basketball in which the 41st had a team in the National Basketball Association. It was hoped that the regiment would field a team in the local soccer league the following season.

The local Army Cadet Corps was also affiliated to the regiment, was accommodated within the Drill Hall and was well supported by the 41st, a tradition renewed recently when the RTR Association voted to endeavor to raise funds for the present day Army Cadet Corps.

TERRITORIAL ARMY WEEK

In March 1949 the town held a Territorial Army week, in an effort to increase recruitment and to bring the TA more into the public eye.

The week began with a parade outside the old Town Hall in Yorkshire Street. The inspecting officer was Colonel F Hardman, the Honorary Colonel of the regiment.

He congratulated the 41st on an excellent turnout and said that they were among the best TA Soldiers he had seen.

 
Above: Colonel Hardman with the Mayor and Maj Stevenson inspect the Regiment outside the old town hall.


Above:
A wireless operator in Alexandra Park explains the workings of radio.

 

Following the parade a display took place in Alexandra Park were people could inspect static military vehicles and listen to the bands of the Oldham Branch of the British Legion and the Army Cadet Corps.

During the remainder of the week mobile display teams toured the district visiting local factories and mills in the hope of attracting at least fifty new recruits.

NATIONAL SERVICEMEN

June 1950 and the 41st RTR receives its first batch of National Servicemen, who arrive home after completing their eighteen months full time service.

The priority for any soldier after serving away is to get home and see his friends and family, however for the National Serviceman a short detour to the local TA unit was the order of the day, for document checks and kit inspections.

After a well-earned leave, one day for each month on full time service, the men were required to serve a further four years with the TA.

After the formal checks and an interview with the Colonel the lads were issued with pamphlets on the TA and the history of the 41st RTR, and after a quick brew and a cake, they were given a lift home to start their leave.

 

    
Above, Left. Kit inspection. Center. Brew time. Right. Load up for home.