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1944 was an important year for the Regiment.  After the set-back of being informed they  were no longer to be mobilized they were detailed to become part of the Marshalling party for the thousands of Allied troops being sent off to the Normandy beaches and the invasion of Europe – Operation Overlord.
In August the Regiment was told to mobilize for service overseas again, shipping out to France in October.  Then later, in December, the 63rd (OY) A/Tank Regt was merged with the 91st (A&SH) A/Tank Regt, forming a new 63rd A/Tank Regt (with the “Oxfordshire Yeomanry” dropped from its title).

     The following text has been taken from the War Diaries.  Italicised text enclosed in ‘square’ brackets – [text] – is usually text added by myself, for clarity and extra information.


     More officer postings, both in and out of the Regiment, happened throughout January.
     On 3rd February, Lt-Col J Thomson, Maj WG Bryan (2i/c), Capt ATM Beaven (Adjt), Lt(QM) FM Lewis, RSM Allison and 80 OR’s from 251 Bty were inspected by Gen Sir Bernard L Montgomery, KCB, DSO.
     Again, more officer postings happened during February and March with many going to and from the Depot RA at Woolwich. (There was no mention of why this many postings to the Depot RA, but it may have been for extra training courses.)  At the end of March, 31 gunners were posted out to the 68th AT Regt RA.
     Towards the end of March 1944, the CO, Lt-Col J Thomson TD, was Informed by the CRA, 61st Inf Div, Brig MWW Selby-Lowndes, DSO, that the Regiment would perform a special task in connection with the marshalling of units of the 21 Army Group, before and during the attack upon Europe.  The CO subsequently attended a conference at HQs, Eastern Command.  The instructions he received were classed ‘TOP SECRET’, but he later informed selected officers of the Regt, that the plan was as follows :-
          The Regt, less 252 Bty, would come under command HQ, 183 Inf Bde and would move to the Southend              area.  Their task would be to accommodate, feed, and provide a complete “hotel service” for “residues” from          units of 21 Army Group, which would be cast off before marshalling.  Later, these residues would follow their        units overseas.  Large blocks of accommodation would be taken over, and as all ranks would be needed for          the job, normal training would virtually cease.   252 Bty would come under command 120 Fd Regt RA, and              would move to the Ipswich area, where it would staff and provide hotel services for a Sub-Area of                            Marshalling Area R.
     On 12th April, the Regt (less 252 Bty) moved from Folkestone to Eastwood, nr Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and occupied requisitioned billets.  Blocks of empty houses were allocated to each Bty.  RHQ Office was established at 20 The Fairway, Eastwood.  252 Bty remain in its present location at Wootton, Kent.  But on 20th April the plan was changed.  The CO received orders from Eastern Command, that the Regt, less 252 Bty, would change places and roles with 6 Bn, The Royal Sussex Regt, and would move into Marshalling Area S and provide the staff for Camp S2.  The Royal Sussex would move from Camp S2 to Eastwood.  Both moves took place on 23 April 44.

On 21st April, 252 Bty moved from Wootton to Bramford Hall, nr Ipswich.  The Advance Party, RHQ, 249, 250, and 251 Bty’s left Eastwood for the Tilbury area.  A maintenance Party was left behind at Eastwood to look after the guns and tracked vehicles.

The role of Marshalling Area S was to marshal troops before embarking at Tilbury and Purfleet.  It is split up into eight Sub-Areas, numbered 1 to 8.  Each Sub-Area is split up into eight camps and, except for Sub-Area 2, has the role of marshalling, ie sorting units into craft loads.

Sub-Area 2, staffed by this Regt, is the reserve Sub-Area and also administers the large static staff.  It is divided into eight camps, Letters A to I, and consists entirely of tented camps.  It is situated in Tilbury.  Camp A is occupied by two Companies of Stevedores and is entirely self-contained.  Camp B is the overflow camp for the static staff.  Camp C contains Sub-Area HQ and houses RHQ of this Regt and the greater proportion of the static staff.  Camps D and E are commanded by Maj BG Barnett, 249 Bty, staffed by his Bty and can accommodate 1,000 men in all.  Camps F and G are commanded by Maj CH Priestley (250 Bty) and can accommodate the same number.  Camps H and I are commanded by Maj RAP Butler (251 Bty) and can also accommodate 500 men each.  As stated above, Camps D to I are reserve camps.  It is not intended at present that they shall be used for marshalling.  But they will be used for troops who have embarked and then for some reason have to be disembarked again, and for drivers who are waiting for their vehicles to be loaded and need accommodation for the night, and for casualties, etc.

     At the end of Apr and beginning of May several short exercises were carried out to practice the various duties of the sub-area, culminating on 1st May in Exercise FABIUS, lasting four days, when marshalling and embarkation of units of 21 Army Group were practiced, the units afterwards disembarking and returning to their concentration areas – it now known that this was for OPERATION OVERLORD, the invasion of Europe.
     The numerous junior officer movements still continued through May, June, July and August.  In July and August, the number of men passing through the ‘S’ marshalling areas decreased considerably, and it was possible to return to their units a large number of the attached infantry.  In Aug, the ‘S’ marshalling area gradually begun to close down, and on 24th Aug, 141 Fd Regt took over the duties of 63rd AT Regt RA, and the Regt moved to Easthampstead Park Camp, near Wokingham.
     On 25 August, instructions were received for the Regt, including the LAD, to mobilize for service overseas.  This prompted the posting of certain officers and ORs to ‘Home Details’ [a phrase used when troops are returned to Britain from overseas, or are to remain in Britain], followed by an increase of more officers and ORs to bring the Regt up to its WE strength throughout the month of September.  The Regt had to return all their guns, vehicles and equipment, travelling with just their personal equipment and weapons.
     What had happened to prompt this this re-think ?  There is no mention in the War Diary which explains this ‘change of heart’, but researching through some pages of John Thomson’s personal War Dairy and other documents, I found the following – At the end of June 44, the CO, Lt-Col John Thomson gave an address to the Regiment stating that he was well aware how they all felt – “not being in France and playing our part in the ultimate defeat of the enemy, etc”.  Therefore, he would be contacting our Colonel-in-Chief, none other than the PM, the Rt Hon Winston Churchill, whom he hoped would authorise the necessary instructions to proceed to France.  Through June and July, he made strenuous efforts, with the aid of Birkenhead to get them transferred “into the war”.  Birkenhead went down to Tilbury (where the Regiment was aiding the Allied Invasion) to prepare a petition to present to Churchill.  Freddy Birkenhead had been in the Oxfordshire Yeomanry until 1941 when he went off to join the Foreign Office’s Political Intelligence Department.  It’s not known what the terms of the ‘petition’ he’d prepared with John Thomson, but he was the ideal person to deliver it, as he was the son of one of Churchill’s oldest friends, and also Churchill’s godson !
     Whatever the wording of the petition, it worked, and Churchill backed it and the War Office capitulated – the Oxfordshire Yeomanry were to go to war, again.  However, there was one considerable problem:  there was no requirement for a Divisional A/Tank regiment, the role for which the OY had been equipped and trained for, though there might just be one for a Corps A/Tank regiment.  This decision was not easily accepted by the Army hierarchy.  [Reading ‘between the lines’ of the resulting outcome, I’m of the opinion that the Regiment was made to suffer as a result of this decision made by Churchill.]
     On 6th September, 69 ORs were posted to the Regiment from 96th AT Regt RA, with another 37 OR’s posted to the Regiment from 94th AT Regt RA.  On 7th September, 15 Officers and 47 OR’s were posted from this unit to ‘Home Details’[remaining in Britain].  On 11th September, a further 20 OR’s were posted to the Regiment from 94th AT Regt RA, 3 OR’s posted to the Regiment from 51 RA Training Regt (SP), and 31 OR’s posted to the Regiment from 117 Fd Regt RA.  On 18th Sep, 6 OR’s posted to the Regiment from 51 RA Training Regt (SP).
     On 2nd October the Regiment was placed on 6 hrs-notice from 23.59 that night.  On 4th October, the Regt was moved by two special trains from Bracknell station to Newhaven, East Sussex.  The first train, comprised of RHQ, 250 and 252 Btys, and left about 07.00; with the remainder of the Regt on the second train leaving about 10.00.  They arrived at Newhaven approximately 12.00 and 15.00 respectively.  They stayed at the Transit Camp, Newhaven overnight.
     On 5th October, at 15.00, the first party (less Maj CH Priestley [BC 250 Bty] and Lt AHI Swift [Intl Offr]) embarked onto 4 LCI’s [Landing Craft Infantry].  On 6th October, the above party sailed at 07.00 (a rough crossing).  Arrived at 14.00 at Dieppe, Normandy, France.  At 15.00 hrs, 249 and 251 Bty’s (plus Maj Priestley and Lt AHI Swift) embarked at Newhaven and was due to sail the following morning, but postponed until early on the 8th, due to the bad weather.  At 17.00, the first party (RHQ, 250 and 252 Btys) were conveyed by transport from Dieppe to 51 RHU [Reinforcement Holding Unit] at Intraville, Normandy, France.
     On 7th October, the CO (Lt-Col J Thomson) and QM (Capt FM Lewis) left by car for Brussels.  The CO to see BRA [Brig RA], 2nd Army.  The QM to see Q, 2nd Army.  On the same afternoon, the Adjutant (Capt ATM Beaven) attended a conference at 6 LofC Sub-Area [Lines of Communication – a route that connects an operating military force with a base of operations and along which supplies and military forces move], and was told the Regt would be moved to Louvain (Walloon Region, Belgium), on 9th October.  Transport and movement would be arranged by Q (Mov) [Movement Control] 2nd Army and 11 LofC Area.  Meanwhile, the remainder of the Regt arrived at Dieppe (having had a good crossing) at 16.00 on the 8th Oct and were conveyed to Intraville.
     An advance party left in the afternoon of the 9th October, heading for Louvain, Belgium, with the main body of the Regiment leaving on the 10th October, with two RASC platoons providing the transport.  The route taken to Louvain was via Abbeville, Doullens, Arras, Doui, Tournai, and Brussels (approx 230 miles), with an overnight stay at Flines (nr Doui), arriving mid-day on the 11th October.  The accommodation which had been allotted was the College Philosophique, Louvain (a very large Jesuit establishment which had been completely gutted by fire in 1940.  Very cold and draughty – no doors or windows).  At a conference later in the day, the CO informed the BC’s [Battery Cmdrs] that the Regt was to take over, in due course, from a Corps AT Regt which at present was in the line.  In the meantime, a large number of officers and gun No’s 1 would be attached to Corps AT Regts to gain experience.  Also, a certain number of SP M10’s and 17-pdrs would be supplied for training.  On 12th October, approx half of the Regt’s officers and gun No’s 1 were attached to the Corps AT regiments of 1, 8, 12 and 30 Corps (the CO went to 8 Corps).
     In view of the bad accommodation at the College Philosophique, new billets were recced in Louvain.  Eventually deciding to move 249 and 250 Batteries to the College of Anatomy, and RHQ and LAD to the School of Physical Culture.  Both these billets provided good accommodation.  HQ 63rd (Oxf Yeo) AT Regt RA and LAD moved to the School of Physical Culture on the 14th October.  It had been decided it was essential to move all troops from College Philosophique, so hunted for further accommodation for 251 and 252 Batteries.  Accommodation was found in a factory in the north part of Louvain, not too good, but will probably do.  On 16th October, 249 and 250 Batteries move to School of Anatomy.  Requisitioned Moulin de La Dyle (factory mentioned above) for 251 and 252 Batteries, who moved on 20th October.  During these past few days several M10’s [Self-propelled (SP) guns] and 17 pdr guns were received providing limited training facilities.
     The Brig RA and GSO1 RA [General Staff Officer Class 1] of the 2nd Army arrived on 21st October to discuss the tradesman situation in the 63rd AT Regt and said that 21 Army Group were trying to arrange special courses for the tradesmen.  They also said that they would try and fix a date for when the take over from 91st (A&SH) AT Regt must be completed – this would not be early due the tradesman situation.  Officers and NCOs of the first party returned from their attachment to 1, 8, 12, and 30 Corps on 22nd October, with Officers and NCO’s of a second party leaving for attachment to 8, 12 and 30 Corps on the 23rd.
     Further training had been arranged and on 28th Oct, 92 officers and OR’s (Tp Cmdrs, Veh-Mechs and Dvr-Mechs) went by road to Ostend for embarkation to Folkestone, en route to RAMT School at Rhyl, N Wales on M10 and Crusader courses, the courses lasting from 2nd Nov to 4th Dec.  Officers included Capt J Sutcliffe (Technical Adjt), Capt NR Walls (Q Capt 250 Bty), Lt HV Gibson (Lsn Offr 252 Bty), and all Troop Cmdrs.
     The Regt moved, on 29th October, in TCV’s [Troop Carrying Vehicle], to a new location at Waterscheide, Belgium.  This is the first British unit to be stationed here, and the inhabitants were most kind and helpful and gave a great welcome.  In November it had been reported that Sgt Greenaway (252 Bty), one of the NCO’s attached to 12 Corps, had become a battle casualty, being in an M10 hit by an 88mm gun during the attack on ‘s-Hertogenboch, North Brabant, the Netherlands.
     On 4th November, the SCRA [Staff Captain, RA], 8 Corps visited to tell the Regt it had been ordered by the 2nd Army, to move up to Mill, North Brabant, the Netherlands.  The Regt was to move the following day and that 2nd Army was to provide transport to move 800 men.  The CO was to return with the SCRA to see CCRA [Commander Corps Royal Artillery] 8 Corps (Brig AG Matthew, DSO).  In the early hours of 5th November, the CO returned and BC’s sent for.  He told them the whole Regt must be moved today and was to come under command 8 Corps on arrival in the new location and would be employed partly operationally and partly on training.  In the evening of 5th November, a message was received that the Army Cmdr would see the CO at 10.00 tomorrow, and that the Regt would remain concentrated with no operational duties until more equipment supplied.  The Regt remains under command 8 Corps, but is administered by 3rd British Inf Div.  On 7th November they were informed that the Regt would come under command of 2 HCR [Household Cavalry Regiment] for operations.  The Regt were to be used as infantry and come under command of the 2 HCR, and subsequently the Royal Dragoons, as the 2 HCR were leaving the area on 12th Nov.  The front on which they were to operate was from, including Sambeek on the right, to including St Agatha on the left.  249 Battery was allotted Sambeek area, 250 Battery-Boxmeer area, 251 Battery-Beugen area, and 252 Battery-Ceffelt and St Agatha area.  Each Battery was to dig three strong points in their areas.  These were to be occupied each evening at dusk and remain manned until first light next morning.  The situation when they arrived was that although the River Maas formed the front line between the Allies and the enemy, the Germans has been sending patrols across the river each night and had been entering the above-named Villages.  The Regt’s task was to stop this patrolling and to kill or capture the German patrols.
     On 9th November, the Batteries moved out of the Mill area to take up their positions on the line of the River Maas.  For a period, their nights were quiet with little to report, then on 16th November a post of 250 Bty engaged an enemy patrol at 03.15 in the morning.  They suffered no casualties but the post is certain the enemy suffered some casualties.  The ground was examined after daybreak and German small arms, ammunition and other equipment was found.  During the day the area around RHQ came under shelling from German 88mm guns.  At 21.00, a post of 252 Bty had encountered an enemy patrol of 6 at Boxmeer at 18.30 and killed three of them and captured three.  These were sent to 3 British Inf Div for questioning.  They turned out to be from an Intel Coy of 202 Luftwaffe Regt who had been sent on patrol to locate our positions.  On 17th November, at 08.30, 250 Bty’s location at Boxmeer was heavily shelled.  A direct hit on a trench where a number has taken shelter had caused the following casualties, killed:- Sgt Dyason, L/Sgt Painting, L/Bdr Hankin, L/Bdr Quainton, Gnr Bland, Gnr Cleall, Gnr Wisker.  Wounded:- L/Sgt Coggins, Gnr Butler, Gnr Dowling, Gnr Johnson, Gnr Kilby, and Cpl Bailey (REME).  At 18.00, one of 250 Bty’s posts was heavily mortared, two men slightly wounded.  More shelling at RHQ at various times during day.  On 18th November, there was nothing to report from any posts during night of 17/18th, except increased shelling and mortaring.  RHQ also received further attention during the day, but most shells fell about 600/800 yds to the West.  On 20th November, J Troop post of 252 Bty again encountered a German patrol on the night of 19/20th Nov.  They opened fire and wounded at least one man.  Next morning, they found three machine carbines on the scene of the action, and a little later a wounded German Sgt surrendered himself.  He said that two of the patrol had been killed and thought the other two had escaped.  On 22nd November, a post of 250 Bty (F Troop) fought an action with an enemy patrol of 6 during the night of 21st/22nd.  One German was killed and body recovered in the morning.  The following of F Tp sustained slight wounds – Gnr Cottrill, Gnr Payne, and Gnr Spillier.  There had been very heavy rain the last three days and the River Maas is rapidly flooding.  It was worst in the Sambeek (249 Bty) area.  If the flooding gets any worse it may be necessary for 249 Bty to abandon their positions.  It is thought the situation has been aggravated by the Germans tampering with the flood banks.  On 26th November, the weather improved – sun shining in the morning.  There was more shelling of Oeffelt in the morning of 27th November.  During the afternoon L/Sgt Owens of 251 Bty was wounded by a mortar bomb in Beugen.
     Orders were received on 29th November for the Regt to move from their present location to the area of Nuenen on 30th November.  A RASC Platoon with 30 vehicles is to report to RHQ at 10.00 on 30th to lift personnel.  In the Orders it was stated that there is a prodigious movement programme on tomorrow and keeping to time is of the utmost importance.  Movement on the roads will probably be extremely difficult as it is likely a whole Bde will be moving into the Mill area during the morning.  It is therefore important that ‘B’ Echs make an early start.  It had been feared that 249, 250, and 251 Batteries would get shelled as their convoys moved out of their locations which were under observation from the enemy.  This, however, did not happen although they received some mortar fire during the morning.

     On 1st December, was spent in settling into our new accommodation.   At 10.00 the CO went to Corps Commander again.  Subject discussed was reorganisation of the Regt.  The policy laid down by the Army Commander looks pretty bad for the Oxfordshire Hussars.  The attached extract of a letter of 8 Corps outlines this policy :-

1      Second Army have ordered that 63rd (Oxf Yeo) AT Regt RA will be composed as follows :-
RHQ, 63 AT Regt              Personnel from 63rd AT Regt, except that a minimum number of essential specialists may be cross posted from HQ 91st AT Regt.
250 (SP) Bty                     The complete personnel will be cross posted from one SP Bty 91st AT Regt as at present constituted.
252 (SP) Bty                     The complete personnel will be cross posted from one SP Bty 91st AT Regt as at present constituted.
249 (towed) Bty               Personnel of 63rd AT Regt.
251 (towed) Bty               Personnel of 63rd AT Regt.

2      Detailed programme of hand over will be as follows (Btys referred to are numbered as at present).
6 Dec                    Taking over parties from HQ 63rd AT Regt, 249 AT Bty and 251 AT Bty will report at Geldrop at 1000 hrs to take over all stores and eqpt of HQ 91st AT Regt, 145 AT Bty and 344 AT Bty.
7, 8, and 9 Dec   Take over continues and will be completed by 1200 hrs 9 Dec.
9 Dec                    Personnel of 250 AT Bty and 252 AT Bty will leave by TCVs at 0900 and will go to an area allotted by Second Army (to be notified later).  This will involve approx four hundred personnel.  91st AT Regt will take over vehs from 63rd AT Regt for Adm in Army Area.
10 Dec                  Personnel of 91st AT Regt (HQ, 145 Bty, and 344 Bty) going under Army control, will take over cooking utensils from 63rd AT Regt and depart 1300 by TCV for an area allotted by Second Army.
                               Personnel of HQ 63rd AT Regt, 249 and 251 AT Btys will move in the afternoon from Stiphout to accommodation vacated by HQ 91st AT Regt, 145 and 344 AT Btys.
                               146 SP Bty and 144 SP Bty, at present under command 11 Armd Div and 3 Brit Div respectively, will come under command 63rd AT Regt and report to Stiphout area at 1500.

     At 20.15 on 1st December, a BC’s Conference was held to discuss reorganisation as detailed above.  The two Batteries of the Oxfordshire Hussars to be disbanded are 250 Bty (Maj EM Cornforth) and 252 Bty (Maj CE Brackenbury).  249 and 251 Batteries remain.  It was agreed that certain cross-postings of officers and OR’s should be carried out in order to preserve the ‘Yeomen’ in 250 and 252 Batteries.
     On 3rd December at 10.30, the CO, 2i/c, Adj, and QM went to a conference at RA 8 Corps presided over by CCRA.  The composition of the RHQ of the new 63rd AT Regt was also discussed at the conference and the following was decided upon :-
            2IC                 Maj CH Priestley, 63 AT Regt.
            Adt                Capt ATM Beaven, 63 AT Regt.
            Intel Offr       Lt AHI Swift, 63 AT Regt.
            Tech Adj        Capt P Maxwell, 91 AT Regt.
            Sigs Offr        Lt WP Carpenter, 63 AT Regt.
            QM                Capt FM Lewis, 63 AT Regt.
     On 4th December, the news was released that LT-Col J Thomson TD, RA would not command the new Regt.  He had been with the Regt for 17 yrs and had commanded it since May 1942.  This was a very great shock to the Regt.  On the 5th December he was told by the Army Commander that he was going to 21st AT Regt as 2i/c.  He left the Regt for 21st AT Regt on 7th December 1944.
     On 5th December, the cross-postings the Regiment had arranged between 249 and 250 Batteries and 251 and 252 Batteries were agreed to.  At 13.30, the 2i/c and Adj went to RA 8 Corps to see representative of Reforsec 2nd Army to see what could be done to find jobs quickly for displaced NCO’s.  Nothing very concrete was obtained.  On 8th December, the hand-over between Batteries continues, and Advance parties from RHQ started to take over RHQ stores and equipment.
     On 9th December, personnel of 250 and 252 Batteries plus the LAD left for the Army area allocated, which was at Renaix [French pronunciation of Ronse, a Belgium city in the Flemish province of East Flanders], about 180 km south west of Geldrop.  An unfortunate situation arose on the afternoon, at 15.00. – Two officers reported to RHQ, from their course at Rhyl, and said that there were several more officers and some 50 ORs at 31 RHU at Bourg Leopold waiting to come back (these were the personnel which had been sent on M10 and Crusader Courses at the end of October).  Many of these officers and men are now displaced from the Regt on account of the reorganisation and this news had to be broken to them.
     On 10th December, RHQ and 249 Bty moved to Geldrop, with 251 Bty moving to Heeze occupying accommodation vacated by RHQ, 145 and 344 Btys of 91st AT Regt, who also moved back to Renaix.  In the afternoon, 144 Bty (ex 91st AT Regt) moved from under command 3 Br Inf Div to Stiphout, and 146 Bty (ex 91st AT Regt) moved from under command 11 Armd Div to Eeneind, both batteries now under command 63rd AT Regt.  All these locations are in North Brabant, the Netherlands.  At 17.30, Lt-Col RIG Taylor, DSO, MC arrived from 21st AT Regt (where he had been 2i/c) to take over command of the new Regiment.
     On 11th December, at 09.30, the new CO held a BCs Conference to discuss future policy of the Regt,  It was agreed that the Regt would be known as 63rd AT Regt (without the ‘Oxfordshire Yeomanry’ inserted in brackets), and that 249 and 251 Btys should continue to call themselves ‘Oxfordshire Yeomanry’ and that 144 and 146 Btys should call themselves ‘Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders’.  Also, it was agreed that all members of the Regt should continue to wear the dress and cap badges they had worn prior to the reorganisation.  The CCRA visited the Regt, on the 12th and spoke to all ranks.
     On 15th December, the Regt was put at 4 hours’ notice to move, wef 10.00 hrs 16th December.  On the 16th the Regt came under command of 11 Armd Div and were told they were taking over responsibility of a sector of the River Maas in the Ophoven (Limburg, the Netherlands) area.  After, the CO had met with Cmdr 4 Armd Bde, and it was decided this task would be done with one Battery (251 Bty).  Remainder of Regt would concentrate in Weert, Limburg, the Netherlands.  On the 17th the Regt came under command 4 Armd Bde.  At 09.00, 251 Bty left Heeze for Ophoven.  On the 18th the Regt (less 251 Bty) reverted to command 8 Corps.  The Regt now at 2 hrs notice in view of German offensive to the South on the American sector.  On the 19th the Regt (less 251 Bty) moved from Geldrop to Weert.  On the 20th reports received that on the American Sector, the Germans are dropping parachute troops to disrupt communications.  The Regt have been warned to expect the same.  For this reason, the Regt has been made responsible for the protection of 3 bridges in the Weert area.  On the 22nd the CO attended a conference at 100th AA Bde HQ in Weert.  Comdr of 100th AA Bde had been made responsible for the co-ordination of defence of Weert.  The CO was appointed Defence Commander of Weert.  Certain posts were selected in each sector which would be manned by standing patrols every night.  On 23rd December, at 23.00, warning received by telephone from 100th AA Bde that German parachutists had been dropped about 10 miles West of Weert.  The SP battery on duty was turned out immediately and proceeded to take up their positions in defence of the Weert bridges.  It was later discovered that parachutists had NOT in fact been dropped, but that some escaped POWs who were thought to be parachutists had been found.
     On 25th December, a very successful Christmas was had by all Batteries, less 251 Bty who were in the line under command 4 Armd Bde.  They were, however, being relieved on 27 Dec, when they will return to barracks and celebrate their Christmas.  On the 27th 251 Bty was relieved by a Battery of 75th AT Regt and returned to barracks at Weert and celebrated their Christmas.  On the 29th information was received from RA 8 Corps, that the Regt would relieve a Battalion of 11th Armd Div on the R Maas, probably on 8th January.  This will be an infantry role once again and we may have to do some patrolling.  On 31st December, the Regt had a very successful New year’s Eve party.

Please also look at the further pages which depict :

19391940;     19411942;     1943;     1944;     1945;     1946.

     The 1944 page also details the merger with the 91st (A&SH) AT Regt.
     In the 1946 page can be found more information as to what happened to 250 and 252 Bty’s post the merger.  There is also a list of the Commanding Officers of the 63rd AT Regt.

     One part of the Regiment’s history in WW2, covering the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and its liberation, involving 249 Bty, 63rd A/Tank Regt, RA, has been covered more fully on the pages of the QOOH/OY website – Liberation of Belsen – qooh.org.uk

     A further page will cover the outcome of the 85th AT Regt RA at the hands of the Japanese when Japan  entered WW2 on 7th December 1941 with the attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbour, and the invasion of Malaya on the 8th December.  Then with the fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942, and Japanese forces capturing all the Allied Forces there.  251 Bty, 63rd A/Tank Regt, RA had been transferred into the new 85th A/Tank Regt RA in September 1941, being formed (along with batteries from three other regiments) at Clacton-on-Sea.  The 85th AT Regt had been in a sea convoy heading for Basra, Iraq, then re-directed to Singapore to reinforce the Garrison there.

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