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(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 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
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 tanks.

Tank Museum photo No. 0014/D/2 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.

Tank Museum photo No. 2196/E/6

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 [2] 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 this training.

Tank Museum photo No. 2196/E/6

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.

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