Trooper H. W. Jolley, 13th/18th Hussars.
moved down from Skipton in Yorkshire to Wickham Market in
Suffolk in 1943. It was here we were told that A and B Squadrons
would be trained ready for DD tanks. Fritton Park was selected
for the training as it had a large lake for the purpose
of launching the tanks. So each Squadron went to Great Yarmouth
for a fortnight.
Tank Museum photo No. 2191/E/1
Training involved using the Davis submarine escape apparatus
which was used by the Royal Navy in submarines for the crew
to escape should the submarine sink.
The hull of a DD tank was situated at the bottom of a deep
Tank Museum photo No. 2200/B/6
First we had to go down into the front half of the tank
which consisted of the driver's and turret compartments.
Having taken our positions in the tank we than had 2,000
gallons of water poured down on us. We had to sit in the
tank until the water rose up to our chins before we were
1. Inflate the oxygen bag.
2. Put the mouthpiece in and the nose clip on.
Then we had to wait until we were instructed to climb out
and surface. If we had too much oxygen in the bag we would
shoot to the surface too quickly. Then we would have to
repeat the instruction all over again.
repeating the course we returned to Wickham Market for further
tank training as we had now taken charge of our first Sherman
tanks. We then moved to Ecclefechan, near Lockerbie in Scotland,
then on to Fort George where for the first time we launched
the tanks into the sea and swam them around the coast to
practise landing on the shore at Elgan, where we were inspected
by General Montgomery.
Tank Museum photo No. 2198/B/3
Having completed this training we moved down to Gosport
because different training was required for swimming the
tanks and landing them on the Isle of Wight.