13TH/18TH ROYAL HUSSARS
(Queen Mary's Own)
The story of this famous regiment is a close parallel to
that of the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards. Like them it was formed
by a 1922 amalgamation between the 13th Hussars and the
18th Royal Hussars. However it spent many of the pre-war
years in India and did not begin the process of mechanisation
until January 1939, when it was based at Shorncliffe.
It went to France as a divisional reconnaissance regiment
in September 1939, serving with the 1st Division which was
then commanded by the future Field Marshal Lord Alexander.
Here it suffered a similar fate to the 4th/7th, eventually
losing all of its tanks and coming home via Dunkirk.
Tank Museum photo No. 2334/E/2
Standard Beaverettes, or Ironsides typical
of those used by the 13th/18th on their return to Britain.
Hastily formed into a home defence regiment, equipped with
the dreadful Standard Beaverette vehicles, the 13th/18th
was based in Essex while the Battle of Britain raged overhead.
Tank Museum photo No. 5359/B/1
Covenanter tanks at rest during an exercise in Britain.
Deemed too unreliable for combat service they taught crews
a lot about preventive maintenance, if not about the quality
of British tanks.
Re-equipped as an armoured regiment it joined the 4th/7th
in 27th Armoured Brigade and, when that brigade moved from
9th Armoured Division to the new 79th it learned, in April
1943, that it, too would be training to operate DD amphibious
Tank Museum photo No. 0014/D/2
On the deck of a landing craft a soldier demonstrates one
type of underwater escape apparatus issued to DD Tank crews.
The regimental history makes particular mention of the
special training required by crews in the use of underwater
escape apparatus. This took the form of a special life jacket
which, in an emergency, could be inflated to lift the man
to the surface and keep him supplied with air on the way.
Taken on Loch Fyne, on the west coast of Scotland, this
picture nevertheless gives some idea of the bleak conditions
DD crews had to put up with in the winter of 1943/44. Interesting
to see that the Valentine DD is launching from a Landing
Ship Tank (LST  number 305) rather than the smaller LCT,
or Landing Craft Tank that was normally employed.
The regiment did much of its training in Scotland, in the
Moray Firth where it was based at Fort George. Over this
period they lost five tanks to various accidents but fortunately
only one man was drowned, which may indicate the value of
Tank Museum photo
The 13th/18th Hussars landed on Queen Beach on D-Day, in
Sword Sector in support of 3rd Infantry Division. Today
the 13th/18th forms part of the Light Dragoons. Their regimental
museum is at Cannon Hall in Barnsley.