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And so, we move into the closing stages of WW2 – the Regiment now a Corps A/Tank Regt in VIII Corps and lining up against the German Army in NW Europe.  There was the added situation of crossing the rivers Maas, Rhine, Wesser, Leine, Aller and Elbe, all of which the retreating German military made attempts to destroy any bridges which crossed them.
In April 1945, one of the most traumatic events in the history of the OY occurred – the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp – 249 Bty, under command of Maj Ben Barnett, had been selected to represent the Allies and the dubious task of being the first Allied unit to enter the camp and take command of the German guards – a more detailed account of this action can be found in other pages on this website.

     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.


     On 1st January, the SCRA 8 Corps visited the Regt and told them that they would have to move out of Weert Barracks at the end of the week as the accommodation was required for the infantry of the 11th Armd Div who have been in the line for six weeks.  The Regt had been allotted an area just South of Zomeren, the Netherlands.  On 3rd January, 144 and 146 SP Batteries carried out firing practice on Lommel artillery range.  The 2i/c went to see CCRA 2nd Canadian Corps.  Object of the visit was to find out what is required of the Regt in the event of a German break-through on the 2nd Canadian Corps front.  Result was that he wants the Regt to recce areas to the rear of 3rd Br Inf Div Recce Regt.  This was approved by CCRA 8 Corps and recce will be carried out on 5th January.
     On 8th January, the Regiment moved from Weert Barracks to the Zomeren area.  Weather very bad, heavy snow storm all day and on the 9th.  Over the days from 12th to 22nd January the weather was a mixture of snow with severe overnight frost – in fact on the 22nd they got a warning of -15c !
     On 26th a message from RA 8 Corps was received, saying that one SP Battery would be detailed to come under command 30 Corps for operations with 51(Highland) Div.  146 (A&SH) Battery was detailed for this operation.  The Battery to move tomorrow to Oirschot, and came under command 51(H) Div, who put them under command 107 Regt, RAC (Armd Regt with Churchill Tanks – King’s Own) [from documents passed on from the Argyll’s Museum, this was in preparation of Operation ‘Veritable’, the Battle for Reichswald Forest].  On 31st January, there was a considerable thaw in the night of 30/31st and most of the snow had gone by the morning.
     On 3rd February, 146 (A&SH) Bty (under command 51(H) Div) had moved from Oirschot to Heumen.  On 5th the CO went to a Conference at RA 8 Corps.  The 3-tonners for dumping ammunition will probably be required in a few days, in the meantime they may be required for hauling road mending material.  At 16.00 on the 6th a message was received from RA 8 Corps to say they would require two towed-Troops from the Regt for operations in near future.  These Troops would be equipped with 6-pdr guns (instead of the 17pdrs the Regt was now equipped with).  On 7th all available men from the Regt were sent on road repairing in the morning, in response to an urgent message from RA 8 Corps, and again on the 8th.  The section of road to be repaired was the Deurne – Venray road.
     On 10th, ‘C’ Troop of 249 Bty, now temporarily equipped with 6-pdrs, is standing by to move with 10 AGRE [Army Group, Royal Engineers] to the Oeffelt area.  10 AGRE are expecting to bridge the R Maas in this area and ‘C’ Troop are to provide anti-mine and one-man submarine protection by deploying the 6-pdrs up-river of the bridge so that they can fire at mines etc, floating down the river.  On the 12th, ‘C’ Troop, 249 Bty, left for Boxmeer area and came under command 10 AGRE.  On 13th, ‘C’ Troop, 249 Bty, moved from Boxmeer area to Gennup area by way of the bridge at Mook.  During night of 13/14th, ‘C’ Troop was flooded out of their positions by the R Maas rising very rapidly.  They moved to other positions on rather higher ground.
     On 16th February, the Regt heard from 146 Bty that they would not now be returning as they have now been put under command 52(Lowland) Div for an attack on Afferden.  On the 19th, their leading troops (J and K Tp’s) were in Afferden.  This village had been captured the previous day by 1 Glasgow Highlanders supported by J and K Tp’s.  K Troop were actually the first troops into the village, having outflanked it to the East.  They took a number of prisoners.  On 26th, 146 Bty left Gennep area at 20.00, arriving Zomeren 02.30, 27th February, returning from under comd 1st Canadian Army and participating in Operation ‘VERITABLE’.
     On 3rd March, at 15.00, Orders received that one 6-pdr troop (251 Bty) would be required tomorrow to act in same role as C Tp 249 Bty.  Later heard they were to come under comd 108 Heavy AA Regt at 15.00 tomorrow.  On the 4th, H Tp of 251 Bty left for the Venlo area.
     On 6th March, at 13.00, the Regt moved from Zomeren to Mierloo.  On 8th March, C Tp, 249 Bty and H Tp, 251 Bty reverted from under comd 10 AGRE and 108 HAA Regt respectively and returned to Mierloo.
     On 11th March, a telephone message from RA 8 Corps to say one 17-pdr towed Tp would be required to move with Corps tomorrow for local protection in their new location which will be somewhere near the R Rhine.  Rest of the 17-pdr Bty will join them the following day.  249 Bty had been detailed for this task.  On 12th, ‘A’ Tp 249 Bty left for Issum and came under comd HQ Sqn, 8 Corps Main.  At 19.15 the CCRA rang up to say an SP Bty Commander was to report forthwith to RA 8 Corps.  On 13th, the remainder of 249 Bty left for Issum but would remain under Regtl control.  At 12.15, a Warning Order received that 146 Bty would move at first light tomorrow.  On 14th, at 06.30, 146 Bty left to go under comd 52(Lowland) Div.  On 15th March, at 11.15, a telephone message from RA 8 Corps to say 144 Bty would be required to move up tomorrow.
     On 16th March, 144 Bty left and established its HQ at Vossum, and passed under comd 6th Guards Tank Brigade.  The Regt were told to recce Maasbree as probable place for RHQ and 251 Bty to move to.  This was done today.  On the 19th, RHQ and 251 Bty moved to Maasbree.  The LAD moved to 144 Bty area (Straelen), so that they will be more central for the forward Btys.  On 22nd Mar, RHQ and 251 Bty moved from Maasbree to Issum area.
     On 24th March, 144 and 146 Btys left their present locations and moved up to the R Rhine in preparation to cross on rafts.  15(Scottish) Div had made an assault crossing of the Rhine in this area at 02.00.  As soon as 146 Bty were across they were to link up with 6 Airborne Div who were being dropped at 10.00 that morning.  They are under comd 6 A/B Div.  144 Bty are to do the same thing with 17 US Airborne Div and come under their comd.  Owing to the long time it took to construct the rafts 146 Bty did not cross till late at night and 144 Bty did not cross at all that day.  Lt McKie (144 Bty) was accidently shot and killed while waiting to cross the Rhine.  On the 25th, 144 Bty eventually completed crossing the Rhine during the morning.  Both 146 and 144 Bty’s had joined up with their respective Airborne Divs by evening.
     On 26th March, HQ 8 Corps (with Tac HQ 63rd AT Regt) crossed the Rhine during the day and took over command of 6 Airborne Div.  249 Bty crossed during the night.  17 US Airborne Div came under command 9 US Army and 144 Bty remained under comd 17 US Airborne Div.  On the 28th, the Regt (less 144 Bty) now under command 6 Airborne Div.  On the 29th, after considerable progress being made, RHQ moved with 6 Airborne Div HQ to Rhade.  On 30th March, a message received from 8 Corps, that 146 Bty would remain under command 6 Airborne Div but the remainder of the Regt would concentrate and come under comd OC 121 LAA Regt and would carry out administrative duties in the rear.  The Adjt visited rear Corps and saw the AA & QMG [Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General] who said the Regt would have to leave Rhade tonight, as this was now in the American Sector, and would concentrate in the Wesel Sector.  At 2200, main RHQ and 249 and 251 Btys left Rhade and proceeded to Hamminkeln, arriving there about 02.30 on 31st March.
     On 31st March, the 2i/c visited OC 121 LAA Regt who had received a message from RA 8 Corps saying the Regt were no longer under his command.  During the day RHQ moved to Dingden.  At 22.00 a SDR [Signal Despatch Rider] arrived from 8 Corps with a message dated and timed 31.1000 hrs saying the Regt were to come under comd 1st Commando Bde in area Gescher and were to contact them immediately.  Btys were told to be ready to move at once and 2i/c left to contact 1 Cdo Bde.  RHQ and 249 and 251 Btys moved to Gescher during the night.  On 1st April, owing to the 12-hour lapse in receiving the message from Corps telling the Regt to come under command 1 Cdo Bde, when they arrived in the Bde area at about 06.00, the Bde were moving out and that the Regt were no longer required.  Corps therefore told the Regt to concentrate in Gescher and to supply all the transport we could for lifting ammunition and stores.  Ten 3-tonners were sent (having dumped all our stores) under comd Capt Ashton (249 Bty), to 60 FMC [Field Maintenance Centre].
     On 2nd April, Orders received, from RA 8 Corps that the Regt were to get their 3-tonners back from Admin duties and to move up to Greven for flank protection of the Corps Axis.  Considerable difficulty was experienced in getting back the 3-tonners which had been sent back to the Road Head on the River Maas.  On the 3rd, the 3-tonners had not arrived by midnight so the Regt had to move without them, leaving a rear party to look after the dumped stores.  251 Bty left at 03.30, 249 Bty at 04.30, and RHQ at 06.30.  Both Btys doing flank guards on the Southern flank.  On the 4th, RHQ moved, from Greven to Altenhagen.  249 and 251 Btys moved to the North flank in support of 11 Armd Div.  On the 5th, RHQ moved to Offfelton, then on the 6th, RHQ moved to Butting, with 249 and 251 Btys concentrated in this area also.  On the 7th and 8th March, the Regt were static – advance delayed by River Wesser.  On the 9th, RHQ moved to Munchenhagen.  249 and 251 Btys remained West of the R Wesser on the Northern flank.  The 10th was also a static day – advance delayed by River Leine.
     On 11th April, RHQ moved to Abbensen.  249 and 251 Btys remained West of River Leine on the Northern flank.  Note : Up to this date 146 Bty had been under comd 6 Airborne Div.  144 Bty had reverted from under comd 9 US Army on 4th April and had come into Corps Reserve.  6 Airborne Div were today relieved by 15(S) Div with 6 Gds Tk Bde under comd.  144 Bty were put under comd 6 Gds Tk Bde and 146 Bty reverted to Regtl comd in Corps Reserve.
     The 12th and 13th April were static days – advance delayed by River Aller.  [what follows has been copied from Maj Ben Barnett’s memoirs in the ‘Yeomanry Memories’ book] “We then came to 13th April; there then happened one of the most extraordinary, and in the event, traumatic events that can ever have happened in the history of the Oxfordshire Yeomanry.  I was sent for by our Colonel.  I was told that the Germans had approached our leading troops under a flag of truce, where they said that there was a concentration camp a few miles in front of our line of attack.  The camp was called Belsen and contained a lot of internees.  The camp was reported to be guarded around the perimeter by 600 Hungarian troops who were outside the camp.  There were reported to be some German SS and also German Wehrmacht troops, the SS inside the camp and the Wehrmacht outside.  An agreement was reached between 8 Corps HQ and the commander of the German 1st Parachute Brigade, that the area would be declared a neutral zone.  Dick Taylor told me that he had selected my battery, 249, for the task of going into the camp to represent the Allied Army and to take command of the German guard.  The party would consist of my 200 or so men, the CO, the regimental interpreter (a Dutchman), a section of CMP’s [Military Police] and a mobile broadcasting van together with a high-powered wireless set, in touch with Corps HQ.  We spent 14th April hanging about waiting to cross the river Aller, as the Germans were putting up a stiff fight at the Celle bridge.  Later that afternoon, the 11th Armd Div called for us to cross the bridge and of course, inevitably, while we were doing so with our vehicles nose to tail on the bridge, German planes appeared.  But luckily, they did not bomb us.  We spent the night of 14/15th in some woods across the river Aller, which was a very noisy evening as the Germans continued to try and destroy the bridge.  Next day, after hanging about all morning, I sent off my Battery Captain, Pat Ashton, to liaise with the Germans at the camp entrance.  Our party moved off about midday but found that some German marines were putting up a stiff fight in front of the neutral zone, and the 23rd Hussars (who were trying to shift them) reported that all the roads were mined.  We were then held up for a bit as the Sappers eventually cleared these mines.  The main body of my battery halted inside the neutral zone while the CO and I, and the interpreter, with a small bodyguard of 8 specially selected men, went forward to meet Pat Ashton and some Germans.  The Germans we met consisted of the Cmdr of the Wehrmacht Training Area, Oberst Harries, together with his 2i/c, Schmidt, also Kramer the SS Commander.  Pat Ashton had established that there was a very large German Panzer training school barracks about 2 miles away.  My battery was sent off to establish themselves in these barracks.  Whilst my battery was moving in to the German barracks, the CO and I, our bodyguard and the Germans prepared to go into the camp, which covered an area of some 10-12 acres; it was surrounded by a 10’ high barbed-wire fence and the Hungarian troops were on the outside.”  [The above is an edited version of Maj Barnett’s account, and the rest of this account and the full details of this task can be found on other pages in this website]
     On 14th April, RHQ moved to Eschede.  Lt MHL Mather, MC (144 Bty) was killed when the M10 in which he was travelling was hit by a Panzerfaust [similar to a bazooka].  The 15th Apr was another static day.
     On 16th April, Sgt Baxter, commanding a troop of 144 Bty had a very successful action at first light when he broke up an enemy counter attack in the area Stadensen, knocking out 9 SP guns and 6 half-tracks, and killing many German infantry.  This was achieved with 2 M10s, being the only two in his troop at that time.  251 Bty were now under comd 6 Airborne Div.
     On 17th April, RHQ moved to Suderburg.  The 18th and 19th were another two static days.  On the 20th, RHQ moved to Luneberg.  144 and 251 Btys reverted to Regimental Command.  249 Bty, who had been at Bergen-Belsen, were relieved by an Army LAA Regt and moved to Celle to set up a Camp for released Russian POWs.  On the 21st, 8 Corps had now reached the River Elbe and it is not thought there will be any further advance for a few days.  On the 24th, 251 Bty moved up to Deutsch Evern.  On the 28th, 249 Bty were relieved in Celle, and moved up to Luneberg where they are to take over Garrison Duties in the town.  146 Bty come under command 6 Gds Tk Bde.
     On 29th April, Operation ‘ENTERPRISE’ [the Allied crossing of the river Elbe and advance to the south coast of the Baltic Sea between Lübeck and Wismar] commenced at 02.00 this morning.  251 Bty moved to Luneberg.  They are to establish control points on bridges over River Elbe which will be constructed by tomorrow.  144 Bty moved to Butlingen.  They will provide defence on the River Elbe against E Boat attacks on the bridges.  It is thought possible that E Boats and submarines may come up the river from Hamburg.  J Tp (146 Bty) crossed River Elbe under comd 15(S) Div.  On 30th, 146 Bty (less J Tp) crossed River Elbe under comd 6 Gds Tk Bde.
     The 1st May, sees 249 Bty doing Garrison duties in Luneburg;  251 Bty in support of MIL GOV for barrier control on bridges over R Elbe;  144 Bty under comd 100 AA Bde for river defence on the Elbe;  and 146 Bty under comd 6 Gds Tk Bde.  On 2nd May, Corps HQ moved across River Elbe but HQ 63rd AT Regt remains in Luneburg.  On 3rd May, 144 Bty relieved of river defence on Elbe by 86th AT Regt, then moved across R Elbe and joined Corps HQ for local defence.
     On 4th May, Information received that all German forces facing the Second Army had surrendered unconditionally.
     On 5th May, HQ 63rd AT Regt moved up to Lubeck.  On 6th May, 251 Bty relieved of barrier control duties on R Elbe by 92 Fd Regt.  On 7th May, 251 Bty moved up to Lubeck and took over control of 4 DP [Displaced Persons] camps in Lubeck area.  144 Bty moved up to Kiel area and took up duties of coastal defence.  HQ at Laboe.  On 10th May, RHQ moved into Laboe and established their HQ in the school.  LAD centred on the quayside.  On 12th May, 146 and 249 Btys moved into Laboe.  251 Bty still in Lubeck.
     On 13th May, 249 Bty took over responsibility of receiving PoW’s at Monkeberg Oil Jetty and marching them to Area F (area of Probsteierhagen – Schonberg).  During this and subsequent days many thousand PoW’s were disembarked at the Oil Jetty, having one group from Denmark, the Flensburg area, the East Baltic Coast, and Scwinemunde.  On 16th May, 251 moved from Lubeck to Stein, near Laboe, into hotels on the sea-front.  146 SP Bty in Corps mobile reserve.
     On 17th May, notification received that Lt Williams (146 Bty) and Sgt Baxter (144 Bty) have been awarded the MC and MM respectively.
     On 21st May, 249 and 251 Btys moved into Kiel, and took over the responsibility of guarding military installations from Bns of 46 Bde.  249 Bty on board ship near Kiel railway station; 251 Bty in area of German Naval Arsenal, Kiel.  On 22nd May, RHQ and 146 Bty moved to Luftwaffe Barracks, Holtenau, North of Kiel Canal.  146 Bty took over responsibilities of PoW’s at the Monkeberg Oil Jetty from 249 Bty.
     On 28th May, a Troop of 146 Bty moved to Wik Barracks and came under comd 9 Cameronians in expectation of unrest among German PoW’s on the arrest of the Doenitz Government.  Troop 144 Bty relieved of estuary defence task at Friedrichsort and returned to Laboe.  On 29th May, 144 Bty took over 146 Btys duties at Monkeberg Oil Jetty.  On 30th May, a rehearsal is held for King’s Birthday Parade on 2nd June.  Troop 144 Bty relieved of Coast Defence task at Travemunde and moved to Laboe.
     On 2nd June, a parade is held in honour of the King’s Birthday on the Hindenburger Strasse, Kiel [There is no street of this name in today’s Kiel].  SP M10’s of 146 (A&SH) Battery took part in the march past.  The Corps Commander (Lt-Gen EH Barker, CB, CBE, DSO, MC) took the salute, accompanied by the Flag Officer in Charge (Rear-Admiral HT Baillie-Grohman).  249 (Oxf Yeo) Battery supplied a scout car for the use of the Commander, Kiel Brigade Area (Brig AG Matthew, CBE, DSO).  The parade was watched by a large number of officers and men on landing craft and other boats in Kiel Estuary.  Three RAF Squadrons and aircraft from 659 AOP Squadron took part.  144 (A&SH) Battery fired a salute from German guns situated by the German memorial on Moltenort Point.
     On 3rd June, 146 (A&SH) Battery moved from the Luftwaffe Barracks, Holtenau, to billets in the centre of Kiel.  249 (OY) Battery relinquished of guards on installations near Kiel Railway Station and moved into the Luftwaffe Barracks, Holtenau.
     Over the period of 4th to 21st June, the Regt was employed as follows :-
              144 Bty – HQ Laboe – Coast Defence duties.
              146 Bty – HQ Kiel – Kiel Garrison Mobile Reserve.
              249 Bty – HQ Holtenau Barracks – supplying various guards on Naval and Military Government                                  establishments in Kiel.
              251 Bty – HQ in Kiel Docks – supplying various guards on Naval and Military Government establishments                in Kiel.
     On 21st June, all guards being found by 249 and 251 Btys in Kiel handed over to 147 Fd Regt RA and 4 RHA.  In place of these guards 249 and 251 Btys took over from 121 LAA Regt RA commitments in Friedrichsort.  HQ  Bty moved from Dock Area to Holtenau Barracks.  On 25th June, 249 Bty moved to Laboe and took over coast defence duties from 144 Bty.  144 Bty moved from Laboe to Holtenau Barracks and took over guard duties in Friedrichsort.  On 29th June, 146 Bty moved into Cambridge Barracks, Kiel.  Operational role remains unchanged, ie Kiel Garrison Mobile Reserve.  Cambridge Barracks also house Kiel Brigade Area HQ.  146 Bty are providing the Guard for this HQ.
     On 8th July, Capt ATM Beaven relinquishes the post of Adjutant and joined 251 Bty as G Captain.  Capt AHR Butcher, G Captain 251 Bty, went to 249 Bty as G Captain, in place of Capt PT Ashton, who had previously joined 8 Corps’ Church House at Preetz and for whom posting orders are awaited.  Lt AHI Swift, IO, assumed the post of Adjutant, and Lt JPD Wild was inter-posted from 249 Bty to RHQ as IO.  Lt CH Grist was inter-posted from RHQ to 249 Bty.
     On 10th July, QMS Hutchins was despatched to 34 RHU, Hamburg, en route for England for demobilization.  [this was the first man in the Regiment recorded as being sent back to England for demob]
     On 11th and 12th July, Operation ‘ROB ROY’ happened – patrols from 144 and 251 Btys patrolled the banks of the Kiel estuary from Kiel Canal to the Lighthouse, in order to arrest smugglers and curfew-breakers.  251 Bty reported a quiet night.  144 Bty arrested 4 German marines and 2 civilians for breaking the curfew.
     On 12th July, RQMS Edwards was despatched to 34 RHU, Hamburg, en route for England for demobilization.  [there were to be many more following these two men for demob]  BQMS Trafford, 249 Bty, was promoted to RQMS.  144 Bty provided an escort for a convoy of SS men being taken from Kiel to Neuengamme Concentration Camp, near Hamburg.  Operation ‘MACGREGOR’ began – 249 Bty established two posts at the ferry terminal in Kiel basin to check the identity of all Germans using the ferry.  The purpose of the check was to arrest wanted persons and members of the Wehrmacht in civilian clothes.
     On 24th July, Lt-Gen EH Barker, KBE, DSO, MC, Commander 8 Corps District, inspected the Regt (less 249 (OY) Bty).  The inspection began with 146 (A&SH) Bty at Essex Barracks.  He then inspected the Btys, RHQ and LAD at Hendon Barracks, and ended by visiting the Troops of 144 (A&SH) Bty and 251 (OY) Bty at Friedrichsort.
     On 26th July, the Regimental Athletic Meeting was held at the Holtenau Airfield Athletic Track.  Brig AG Matthew, CBE, DSO, presented the prizes.
     On 30th July, the Troop of 251 (OY) Bty at Friedrichsort returned to Hendon Barracks.
     During the summer months various sporting activities were organised.  The Regimental Soccer Team suffered a setback when it was knocked out in the first round of the Kiel Brigade Area Cup by 224 Fd Coy RE.  Frequent inter-Bty and inter-Tp cricket matches were played.  The Officers beat the Sergeants in a two-innings game.  The Regimental team won their first match by beating 147 (Essex Yeomanry) Fd Regt RA.  Dances were held in Hendon Barracks, to which girls from the surrounding Displaced Persons Camps were invited.
     At the end of the month the Regt was still organised on an operational basis and appears likely to remain so.  The commitments of the Regt are as follows :-
            146 Bty are stationed in Essex Barracks, Kiel, with responsibility of guarding Kiel Bde HQ and of providing              a mobile column to deal with disturbances in Kiel.
            249 Bty are stationed at Laboe with responsibility of estuary defence from Laboe and Moltenort Point.
            RHQ, LAD, 144 and 251 Btys are stationed in Hendon Barracks, Holtenau.  251 Bty maintain a picquet at              night time to deal with disturbances in the area North of the Kiel Canal.  144 Bty have two troops in the                  Scheer and Hipper Barracks at Friedrichsort to garrison the Barracks and maintain order in Friedrichsort.
      On 6th August 1945, the first atomic bomb, ‘Little Boy’, was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, followed by the second atomic bomb, ‘Fat Man’, dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on 9th August.
     On 10th August, Maj RP Butler (251 Bty), BSM Smith and Sgt Appleby (249 Bty) were despatched to 34 RHU, Hamburg, en route for England for demobilization (A&S Gp 12).  Applications were submitted for the promotion of Capt ATM Beaven to Maj, and Lt AHI Swift to Capt.
     On 10th August, at the direction of the Emperor, the Japanese Foreign Ministry notifies the Allies (via Swiss diplomatic channels) of Japan’s intention to surrender unconditionally in accordance with the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.  The Allies, on 11th, notify the Japanese government (again via Swiss diplomats) of their willingness to accept Japan’s surrender as offered.  On the 14th August 1945, the Allied governments announce the surrender of Japan.
     On 15th and 16th Aug, VJ Day was celebrated, and two days’ holiday were granted to all ranks.
     On 19th Aug, 251 Bty supplied one Officer (Lt CF Martin) and 34 OR’s, who set off for Copenhagen to provide a guard for military installations there.
     On 21st Aug, a Victory Dinner was held in Hendon Barracks for the OR’s of RHQ, LAD, 144 and 251 Btys.   A German dance band and a Polish cabaret provided the entertainment.
     On 25th Aug, two Troops of 144 Bty stationed at Friedrichsort were replaced by one Troop of 251 Bty, and returned to Hendon Barracks.
     On 25th August 1945, 21 Army Group was renamed the British Army on the Rhine [BAOR] and re-rolled to an army of occupation.
     On 27th Aug, Lt DG Hackston, BSM Chapman (both 146 Bty) and Bdr Gartside (249 Bty) were posted to 20th AT Regt RA for service in the Far East.
     On 30th Aug, Kiel Week began.  The Athletic Meeting, organised by this Regt, passed off very successfully.  The regimental team won the championship by a margin of 6 points.  Individual events were won by Capt D Dickson, 144 Bty (440 yds); Gnr King, 249 Bty (high jump); the tug-of-war team; and the mile relay team.
     On 2nd September 1945, the official Japanese surrender ceremony is held aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay bringing the end of World War Two.
     On 10th September, Capt PT Ashton was posted to 8 Corps’ Church House, Preetz.
     On 27th Sep, Lt-Col RIG Taylor, DSO, MC, set off on Compassionate leave prior to Class ‘A’ Release, and relinquished command.  Maj CH Priestley, TD, and Capt J Greenwood were released under Class ‘A’.  Lt-Col Gerald Vigors De Courcy O’Grady, MC (The O’Grady) assumed command of the Regt, and Maj TL Geddes assumed the appointment of Second-in-Command.  Capt VA Allen promoted Major in command of 144 Bty.  Lt CF Martin, 251 Bty, promoted Captain.  Lt FCE Stone promoted Captain (Unit Education Instructor).
     On 30th Sep, Lt GRS Bolster was posted to the Regt from 51 RHU, and promoted Captain.
     During August and September there were small numbers of officers and OR’s being released for demobilization, with similar numbers being posted to the Regiment as replacements.
     On 7th October, Capt AHR Butcher, Capt CH Grist, and Capt RA Butcher (REME) proceeded on Class ‘A’ Release.  Lt D Ginger promoted Captain.
     On 9th Oct, 249 Bty moved from Laboe to Hendon Barracks, Holtenau.
     On 15th Oct, Capt AHI Swift proceeded on Class ‘A’ Release.  Capt P Maxwell was appointed Adjutant.
     On 16th Oct, 144 Bty moved from Hendon Barracks to Cambridge Barracks, Kiel, taking over the Mobile Column commitment from 146 Bty;  146 Bty moved from Cambridge Barracks, Kiel to Hendon Barracks.
     On 21st Oct, 144 Bty moved to the Anti-Tank Range at Putlos.  On 22nd Oct, 144 Bty fired a practice of 244 rds APCBC [Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic Cap] and 96 rds HE.  Experienced layers and novices were practiced.  Laying was satisfactory in spite of bad weather.  Targets were stationary.  1500 rds Browning were also fired.  Shooting with Browning was erratic, but practice was useful.  Then 144 Bty returned from AT  Range Putlos, and 251 Bty moved to AT Range Putlos.
     On 22nd Oct, at 12.00, 146 Bty and 2 troops of 249 Bty were placed at immediate notice in case of trouble at Friedrichsort with German Minesweeper crews, following an order for the move of certain minesweepers to Russia.  These were relaxed to 1 hours’ notice at 14.00.
     On 23rd Oct, 251 Bty at Putlos AT Range, zeroed all guns and then fired a practice of 245 rds.  Novices, 1st and 2nd line layers were practiced.  Shooting was good, but target indication required improvement.  Targets were stationary.  251 Bty returned from AT Range Putlos.  146 Bty and 249 Bty, which were at one hours’ notice in case of trouble at Friedrichsort, were stood down.
     On 25th Oct, 249 Bty at Putlos AT Range, where all guns were zeroed.  A practice of 470 rds was fired at moving and stationary targets.  Experienced layers and novices were practiced.  Standard of shooting was satisfactory.  Each troop also did an indirect shoot which went well.  249 Bty returned from Putlos AT Range, with 146 Bty moving to Putlos AT Range.
     On 26th Oct, 146 Bty zeroed four guns.  A practice of 490 rds was fired exercising both experienced layers and novices.  The targets were all stationary.  The standard of laying was satisfactory.  Browning and AT Mortars firing smoke were also practiced.  146 Bty returned from Putlos AT Range.
     On 1st December, Lt BE Shaw (144 Bty), and 12 OR’s proceeded on Operation ‘SCRAM’, guarding Mine Sweepers going to Russian Zone.
     On 6th Dec, a practice of the Internal Security Scheme was held by the Regt.  On 11th Dec, a further practice of the Internal Security Scheme was held by the Kiel Bde Area.
     All batteries returned to Putlos Range for firing practice over 16th to 19th December.  Many more were being released for demob, with replacements continuing to be found.
     Again, during October, November, and December there were larger numbers of officers and OR’s being released for demobilization, with similar numbers being posted to the Regiment as replacements, as well as some promotions.

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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