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Both Germany and Japan have capitulated; the 21 Army Group have become the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR) and is now re-rolled to an Army of Occupation.
The Regiment is now in the area around Kiel, N Germany keeping the peace and to limit infiltration by the Soviet Union, seeking to restrict their looting activities.
With a great many of the Regiment’s officers and men having been released for demobilization, it is difficult to know just how many of the original ‘Yeomanry’ men were still in the unit.

     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 5th January, the Regt came under command of 11th Armd Div.
     On 14th Jan, Lt SB Brown proceeded on operation ‘SCRAM’ guarding ships on voyage to Russia.
     On 25th Jan, a Troop from 144 Bty proceeded to Rendsburg for COSD (Combined Operations Stores Depot) Guard.
     On 29th Jan, the Regt had a CRA’s Inspection.  30 men of 251 Bty standing by as Russian boats go through lock.
     On 10th February, RHQ and Batteries moved to new locations at Pries [this is north of Kiel and on the opposite bank of the Kieler Forde to Laboe].
     On 10th March, the Regt came under command of 5 Gds Brigade.
     The officers and men of the Regiment continued being released for Demob through the months of January, February and March

     25th March 1946 was the last entry in the War Diary, with no further monthly entries.  What happened after this date is not known, plus I have no official date for when the Regt returned to Britain or disbanded.   Though in a document I have read, which claims to list the Chain of Command and their locations in Germany from 8th May 1945 onwards, it seems the Regiment and its four batteries went into suspended animation on 15th June 1946.

The following paragraphs gives a little more information about the demise of the two batteries [250 and 252 Bty’s] which had been cast aside, along with the remnants of the 91st (A&SH) AT Regt, after the merger of these two regiments in December 1944.  The war was still very much active.  But as they were no longer part of the 63rd AT Regt their activities ceased to be recorded in the unit’s War Diaries.  Much of the following information has come from the history of the 91st (A&SH) AT Regt, plus data retrieved from the soldiers ‘RA Tracer cards’ which recorded their inter-postings to other RA units.


     It had been agreed that certain cross-postings of officers and OR’s would be carried out in order to preserve the ‘Yeomen’ in 250 and 252 Batteries, transferring them into 249 and 251 Bty’s.  Likewise, there were an equal number of men (who had recently joined the 63rd AT Regt) transferring from 249 and 251 Bty’s into the 250 and 252 Bty’s.
     On the 9th December 1944 the personnel of both the 250 and 252 Batteries left the area in TCV’s [Troop Carrying Vehicles] for the 2nd Army area at Renaix, a Belgium city of East Flanders, about 180 km south west of Geldrop.  The personnel of the 91st (A&SH) AT Regt (RHQ, 145 and 344 Bty’s) left the area on the 10th December for the same location to which the 250 and 252 Batteries had been sent.
     To add to the confusion of the merger, the War Office had decreed that the two Argyll’s batteries [moved from 91st (A&SH) into the 63rd AT Regt] be re-numbered to 250 Bty and 252 Bty.  But the new 63rd AT Regt CO [Lt-Col Taylor] wished them to retain their identity, and therefore within the confines of the 2nd Army they would remain to be called 144 (A&SH) Bty, and 146 (A&SH) Bty.  However, the CO of the 91st (A&SH) AT Regt [Lt-Col Tweedie] followed the War Office instructions, naming the two incoming batteries from the Oxfordshire Yeomanry, to 144 (Oxford Hussars) Bty and 146 (Oxford Hussars) Bty, instead of keeping their original titles of 250 Bty and 252 Bty, almost removing their previous identity.

     The detail of the next four paragraphs is a summary of a few pages taken from a book about the “5 Argylls” [the Battalion from which the 91st (A&SH) AT Regt had been formed in November 1941].  In September 1939, the 5th Bn of the Argyll & Southerland Highlanders (also known as Princess Louise’s from 1881) had gone off with the BEF in France and Belgium, then rescued at Dunkirk in June 1940 – a unit not unsimilar to the QOOH, with its proud military history and traditions.  The copied pages had been sent to me by their Regimental Museum.

     The 91st AT Regt arrived on the night of the 10th December coming under command of HQ 13 Garrison, Renaix.  Everyone was lodged in private billets, but there was nothing to do.  Some went to visit nearby scenes of the 1914-18 War.  This phase of involuntary idleness was brought to a sudden end by the German offensive in the Ardennes, which opened up on the 16th December.  Within 48 hours the Germans had deployed nineteen divisions and advanced 30-40 miles.  Adjustments on the British side were made, 1st and 9th US Armies, located on the north side of the ‘Bulge’, came under command of 21 Army Group [21AG], and 30 Corps formed a stop-line on the River Meuse.
     It was a case of every man to the front, and on 20th December 91st AT Regt came under command of 29 Armd Bde, and were ordered immediately to draw thirty-two 17pdrs and Quads.  On the 21st, parties from all four batteries went to fetch this equipment while an advance party left for the area of Braine L’Alleud, south of Brussels near the field of Waterloo.  The guns did not arrive until 15.00hrs on the 22nd, and a furious burst of energy was spent preparing them for action – marine jelly cleaned off, sights tested, etc.  There were not sufficient guns for all the available men, with 300 remaining at Avelghem.  The hastily re-organised Regiment moved off at 10.00 on the 23rd and reached Briane L’Alleud early afternoon, now under command of 53rd Welsh Div.  The 24th was spent carrying out recces about the field of Waterloo, but in the evening, plans were changed and only 344 (A&SH) and 146 (252 OY) Batteries continued to dig their gun-pits.  The CO (Lt-Col Tweedie) with the BC’s of 145 (A&SH) and 144 (250 OY) Batteries went off on Christmas morning to look at fresh areas.  All men were assembled for Christmas dinner in Breina L’Alleud.  On 27th December two batteries moved to new locations; 144 (250 OY) Bty to Chapelle St Lambert, just across the River Lasne;  145 (A&SH) Bty went considerably further north-east to Huldenburg.  Both batteries remained in these positions until the New Year.
     On New Year’s Eve, the Regt, less 344 (A&SH) Bty, was placed under command of 30 Corps and moved on 1st January 1945 to Fosse, between Charleroi and Namur.  344 Bty went to 6th Airborne Div.  This Airborne formation had hurriedly arrived from England on Boxing Day and took over from 43 Div in the area of Juit, north of Namur.  The whole of the enemy’s armour had been drawn off in an unsuccessful attempt to overwhelm the American 101st Airborne Div at Bastogne, leaving the northern perimeter of the ‘Bulge’ to just infantry and the impetus had dwindled away.  On the morning of 31st December 1944, 344 Bty left the Waterloo area for their new location at Givet on the Meuse, their task was to defend the bridge over the river.  They were joined on 3rd January 1945 by 144 (250 OY) Bty which also came under command of 6 Airborne, and in heavy snow took up positions at Bouvignes.  On the 4th January counter-attacks on the ‘Bulge’ began;  the 6th Airborne cleared the Panzer Lehr Div out of Bure;  the 53rd Div, to their north, pushed the 116 Panzer Div back 2 miles.  On the 6th January the whole Regiment was placed under command of 6th Airborne Div, and the 2 remaining batteries moved south from Fosse;  145 (A&SH) supported 5 Para Bde at Eprave and Buissonville;  146 (252 OY) supported 3 Para Bde at Aye.  The heavy snow continued to fall, and in these miserable conditions further moves had to be made on the 8th January in order to tighten up the Divisional anti-tank layout, and again on the 9th, when the whole Regiment side-stepped to the north-west to conform with other units in the Marche area.
     By the 10th January, the role of the Regiment in the Ardennes battle was concluded, and on the 11th all batteries concentrated to the RHQ’s location.  Now that the Germans were in retreat the final disbandment, so abruptly postponed, was once more in sight.  On the 13th January the guns and vehicles were sent back to Antwerp and Brussels, and the Regiment returned to Avelghem.  Within 48 hours postings out had begun.  By the 30th January, there was no-one left but the CO, the Adjutant, and a rear-party of 16 men – and on that day they too departed.                                                                 Many thanks to the Argylls Regimental Museum.

     The final part of this story is what happened to the men (of 250 and 252 Btys) next, after returning to Renaix, Belgium.  Most of these men had been sent to one or more of the numerous RHU’s [Reinforcement Handling Unit] scattered around NW Europe.  Following this, a number of them had been drafted to other theatres of war – India; Burma; Italy; the Middle East; Greece; South East Asia; and Libya.  A further tranche was posted into the Airborne forces – Norway; Palestine; India; and NW Europe Airborne units.  The remainder went to other Artillery units in NW Europe.

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.

Commanding Officers of the 63rd (OY) Anti-Tank Regt RA TA

     Over the nearly 8 years of the Regiment’s life there had been 8 Commanding Officers.  Below is a list of these Officers, who they were and where they had served before and after their term in office in the Regiment (when known).

Lt-Col Anthony John Muirhead, MC & Bar, TD, MPSeptember 1939 to 29 October 1939
     Born: 4/11/1890      Died: 29/10/1939                    Service No: 33938
     Served with QOOH in WW1, reaching the rank of Capt, being awarded the Military Cross in 1917 and a Bar while serving as Brigade Major of the 119th Infantry Brigade at Armentières in the closing days of the war in 1918.  He was promoted to Brevet Major in 1919.  In 1924 he transferred to the 100th (Worcestershire and Oxfordshire Yeomanry) Field Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (TA) and was granted the full rank of Major.  In 1933 he was promoted Brevet Lt-Col.  In 1936 he was promoted to full Lt-Col commanding the Brigade.  In November 1938, the 100th (Worcester and Oxford Yeomanry) Field Brigade, RFA (TA) became the 53rd (Worcester and Oxford Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment, RA and appointed their Commanding Officer.
     He was elected at the 1929 general election as MP (Member of Parliament) for Wells in Somerset, and held the seat until his death in 1939, aged 48.  In the National Government of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, he held ministerial office as Under-Secretary of State for Air from 1937 to 1938, and as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for India and Burma from 1938 to 1939.
     Muirhead committed suicide in 1939, purportedly out of fear that his leg injury would prevent him from seeing active service during the Second World War.

Lt-Col Alan Threave Coltart, MCDecember 1939 to April 1940 (?)
     Born: 15/6/1890       Died: 11/2/1972                      Service No: 58583(?)
     He had a distinguished career in WW1; served as a Sgt (No: 6024) in 5th Scottish Rifles in 1914, serving in France and Belgium.  Then commissioned as 2/Lt in 2/7th Scottish Rifles on 10/6/1915.  Mentioned-in-Despatches on 16/1/1918.  Relinquished the appointment of Bde Major in the Cameronians on 12/6/1939.  On joining the Royal Artillery on 15/6/1939, promoted Lt-Col from Major.
     Awarded the Military Cross [MC] on 24/8/1918.
     Awarded a clasp for ‘Kurdistan’ to his General Service Medal on 1/9/1925 (Capt in 2nd Cameronians [Scottish rifles] at this time).
     Sir John Thomson found few words to described him – “He was an efficient and pleasant person to work with, but rather shy and retiring”.

Lt-Col MacDonald20 April 1940 (?) to 9 September 1940
     Born:                         Died:                                       Service No:
     I was at a loss to find on the internet anymore about this officers activities, of where he had served before and after his short term with the Regiment.  What had been written in the Yeomanry Memories book about him was not very complimentary, and generally unliked.
     Sir John Thomson, in his memoirs in the Yeomanry Memories book, had the following to say about Lt-Col MacDonald – “As recorded, was ‘prickly’, eccentric and unpopular with all ranks.  None of us could get on with him.  The ‘Authorities’ – thought it was our fault – so sent us an efficient Regular, Capt Rowland Symonds, to serve as his adjutant and to report to them.  As a result of his assessment, MacDonald was posted away to 88 Fd Regt RA in September 1940.

Lt-Col Arthur Charles Brooke, DSO18 September 1940 to 28 July 1941
     Born: 26/9/1886        Died: 27/4/1954                      Service No:
     Fought in WWI where he was Mentioned in Despatches 3 times.  Recorded as Lieutenant in Oct 1912.  Recorded as Captain in Oct 1916 and Oct 1917.  Recorded as Major in Oct 1918 and July 1922.  Gained the rank of Brevet Lt-Col.
     Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) on 28/8/1917.
     Awarded the Chevalier, Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur.
     Sir John Thomson had the following to say about Lt-Col Arthur Brooke, DSO – “A Senior Gunner, succeeded MacDonald.  He was much liked and respected by us all and was an efficient and knowledgeable Gunner, whose departure was greatly regretted.”

Lt-Col John Anthony Edwards Hirst, CBE, DSO29 July 1941 to 7 April 1942
     Born: 13/12/1898      Died: 10/10/1958                    Service No: 15152
     Selected for appointment as GSO I [General Staff Officer (Gde 1)], HQ Nigerian Division retaining his T/Rank (T/Lt-Col) on 7th April 1942.
     Promoted from Major (W/Subs Lt-Col) to Lt-Col on 15th June 1945.
     Awarded the DSO on 28th June 1945 whilst serving in Burma as Lt-Col with HQ’s 20th Indian Div.
     Awarded the CBE on 6th June 1946 whilst serving in Burma as T/Brigadier.
     Received the General Service Medal (with clasp Sth E Asia 1945-6) on 16th October 1948 as CRA, T/Brigadier with HQ RA 20th India Div.
     Sir John Thomson had the following comments about Lt-Col JAE Hirst, DSO – “Succeeded in August 1941, and we could not have had a better CO.  He was with us until April 1942 when he was appointed GI of the Nigerian Division, and proceeded to a successful career for the rest of his service.  I took over from him, having learned a lot through having been his Second-in-Command.”

Lt Col Sir John Thomson, KBE, TD, LL (1963-80)9 April 1942 to 7 December 1944
     Born: 3/4/1908          Died: 2/1/1998                        Service No: 38929
     Commissioned 2/Lt on 10/12/1927 into 100th (Worcs & Oxf Yeo) Fd Bde RA TA.  Lt in 399 (Oxford) Bty, 100th (Worcs & Oxf Yeo) Fd Bde RA TA.  Captain in 53rd (Worcs & Oxf Yeo) RA TA.  Bty Cmdr, 249 Bty, 63rd (Oxf Yeo) AT Regt RA in Sept 1939.  Apptd 2i/c 63rd (Oxf Yeo) AT Regt RA on 1/10/1941.  Promoted A/Lt-Col on 9/4/1942, relinquished appt 2i/c and assumed command of 63rd AT Regt.  Promoted T/Lt-Col on 9/7/1942.  Lost command of the 63rd AT Regt RA on 7/12/1944, due to the merger with the 91st (A&SH) AT Regt RA.  Left the Regt to join 21st AT Regt RA as 2i/c.  Left 21st AT Regt on 7/5/1945 to command 71st AT Regt RA at Hamburg.  Left Germany on 29/9/1945 for Demobilization.
     Awarded the Territorial Efficiency Decoration (TD) in April 1944.
     Appointed to Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire (LL) on 28/5/1963 (to 2/1/1980)
     Awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on 31/12/1971

Lt-Col Richard Ian Griffith (Dick) Taylor, DSO, MC10 December 1944 to 27 September 1945
     Born: 5/6/1911          Died: 20/8/1984                        Service No: 57261
     Recorded as Lt, Northumberland Hussars in Nov 1939.  Recorded as Lt, RA TA in Oct 1940.
     Awarded the Distinguished Service Order [DSO] (for services in Middle East) on 15/10/1942, as Captain (T/Maj) in the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) at Wark-on-Tyne, Northumberland.
     Awarded the Military Cross [MC] (for services in N W Europe) on 21/12/1944, as Captain (T/Maj) DSO in the Royal Regiment of Artillery at Wooler, Northumberland.

Lt-Col Gerald Vigors De Courcy O’Grady, MC27 September 1945 to 1946
     Born: 5/9/1912         Died: 7/6/1993                           Service No: 53621
     Recorded as 2/Lt RA in Nov 1932.  Recorded as Lt RA in Nov 1939.  Promoted Captain on 1/9/1940.  Recorded as Captain RA in Oct 1940, Oct 1941, Oct 1942, Oct 1943, Oct 1944.
     Awarded the Military Cross [MC] (for services in N W Europe) on 11/10/1945, as T/Maj in the Royal Regiment of Artillery at Northampton.

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