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Trooper H. W. Jolley, 13th/18th Hussars.

Tank Museum photo No. 2191/E/1We 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 water tank.


Tank Museum photo No. 2200/B/6 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 allowed to:-
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.

Tank Museum photo No. 2198/B/3After 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.


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