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13th Battalion, the Tank Corps


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I am currently researching the military career of Sgt Frederick Rogers, who won a MM for his actions with the 13th Battalion, the Tank Corps in attacking at Beaurevoir in October 1918. Unfortunately Fred's papers have not survived.

I have copies of the war diary (and the splendid history of this unit which is attached to the diary in the box at the PRO, along with some maps). I see too that David Fletcher used the history in compiling his book "Tanks and Trenches".

I would be very much obliged if anyone with a copy of the Honours and Awards to the Tank Corps could look him up for me.

Also any Tank Corps or even 13th Battalion fans who may have extra info; all would be very valuable.

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Chris,

Near Estrees Oct. 3 1918 - 300407 Sergt. Rogers, Frederick Charles

This NCO acted as a tank commader druing an attack and engaged an enemy strong point held by machine guns and an anti tank gun. His tank received four direct hits from the anti tank gun, killing two of the crew and wounding all of the others . Sgt Rogers although the only unwounded member of the crew continued to engage the strong point until his guns were put out of action . The gallant conduct and determination shown by Sgt Rogers under difficult circumstances are worthy of the highest praise.

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Chris,

25th Division were responsible for the capture and their divisional history is excellent. I have the war diary of one unit involved in the fight.

Rob

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5TH TANK BRIGADE REPORT on Operations with Australian Corps from 29th Sept. to 5th Octr. 1918

1. GENERAL PLAN.

On the morning of the 2nd October Orders were received for 16 Heavy Tanks and 8 Whippet Tanks to operate with the 2nd Australian Division on the next day in an attack on the BEAUREVOIR Trench System, and to capture the Villages of BEAUREVOIR, PONCHAUX and WIANCOURT, and the high ground close to PROSPECT HILL.

2. ALLOTMENT OF TANKS.

8 Mark V Tanks of 13th Tank Battalion and 8 Whippet Tanks of the 3rd (Light) Tank Battalion, were allotted to the 5th Australian Infantry Brigade. 8 Mark V and Mark V* Tanks of the 8th and 16th Tank Battalions to the 7th Australian Infantry Brigade. All Heavy Tanks to be under the Command of Lt.Col. P. LYON, O.C. 13th Tank Battalion.

3. LIAISON.

The necessary liaison was able to be carried out as there was sufficient time in this Operation.

4. APPROACH MARCH.

(a) Heavy Tanks.

On the night of the 2nd October all Tanks were assembled in QUARRY just East of HARGICOURT. Owing to the traffic congested on the roads the Approach March to the Starting Point took much longer than usual, as Tanks were compelled to cross the Outpost and Main HINDENBURG Trench Systems. Considerable difficulty was experienced and some Tanks became temporarily ditched. Four Tanks of the 8th Tank Battalion developed mechanical trouble, and one Tank was ditched. Two Tanks of 13th Tank Battalion failed to reach the Starting Point, one having mechanical trouble and the other becoming ditched.

The distance of the Approach March was 8500 yards, and it was one of the most difficult Approach Marches that Tanks have been called upon to undertake, owing to darkness and the badly shelled HINDENBURG System of Trenches, which had to be crossed.

(B) Whippet tanks.

All Whippet Tanks successfully reached their Starting Point West of ESTREES.

5. SHORT ACCOUNT OF ACTION.

(a) Heavy tanks.

Nine Tanks started from Starting Point. Six out of 8 of the 13th Tank Battalion, and 3 out of 8 of the 8th and 16th Tank Battalions.

The 6 Tanks of the 13th Tank Battalion operating with the 5th Australian Infantry Brigade, caught up with their Infantry before the barrage lifted. Trouble was experienced at the commencement of the advance from the North Eastern end of ESTREES, which had previously been reported captured by the Australians. Heavy machine gun fire from concealed machine gun posts in this Village harassed the Infantry and held them up.

One of the Right Section Tanks was directed to deal with the opposition at this point. This was done and the Infantry were eventually enabled to advance. The remaining 5 Tanks pushed on through the BEAUREVOIR Trench System, dealing with enemy machine guns, and enabling the Infantry to capture the System in this Sector. After the Infantry had gained the BEAUREVOIR System, one Tank engaged and silenced an enemy Strong Point at WHITE HOUSE. Another Tank pushed forward and silenced machine guns from WIANCOURT, which were harassing the Infantry from the upper storeys of the house, firing at the upper windows with 6-Pdr Case Shot and Hotchkiss Guns. Two more Tanks proceeded to LA MOTTE FARM and dealt with machine guns there. One Tank, after leaving LA MOTTE FARM, and proceeding North towards the TORRENS CANAL, was bombed from a trench along the bank with phosphorous bombs, which caused the Tank to catch fire. The crew got out and succeeded in capturing a number of the enemy and machine guns. The other Tank, passing West of LA MOTTE FARM, dealt with machine guns from that direction until the whole crew became insensible from fumes inside the Tank. 2/Lt. R.T. MARTIN, who commanded this Tank, drove it back to a place of safety himself, and evacuated his unconscious crew with the exception of one 6-Pdr. gunner who had meanwhile recovered. With this man and two Australian Infantry Lewis Gunners, he set off again, continuing to drive the Tank himself until released by the Infantry Commander.

As only 3 Tanks of the 8th and 13th tank Battalions Composite Company under Major R. CLIVELY succeeded in reaching the Starting Point, they were employed as follows:-

One Tank to proceed to MUSHROOM QUARRY, one to LORMISSET, and one to assist the Infantry in mopping up the Left Flank. One additional Tank which had been ditched arrived subsequently, and did excellent work round LORMISSET. The Tank on the Right Flank fell into a Sunken Road and broke a track at MINT COPSE. The centre Tank proceeded ahead of the Infantry, crossed the BEAUREVOIR Line and proceeded to LORMISSET. This Tank remained for a quarter of an hour on the Eastern slope of PROSPECT HILL, until the Infantry had established their position, then returned to Rallying Point. The left Tank silenced several machine guns in GRANDCOURT WOOD, and eventually became ditched in the TORRENS CANAL.

(B) Whippet Tanks.

The Tanks left their Lying Up Point East of BELLICOURT at 7.30.a.m. the road to be followed being along the North side of the main ESTREES - LE CATEAU Road, thence round North of ESTREES to crossings to be made over the BEAUREVOIR Trench System by Heavy Tanks and completed by Pioneers.

While endeavouring to negotiate this trench, one Whippet Tank got ditched, and another developed mechanical trouble. Another Tank being put out of action by anti-tank rifle fire. The remaining 5 Whippets crossed the BEAUREVOIR Line East of ESTREES where heavy artillery and machine gun fire was encountered. Several machine gun nests were cleared up in this Area by the Whippets, but eventually all were put out of action by artillery and anti-tank rifle fire, just East of the BEAUREVOIR Line, roughly 3000 yards from their Final Objective on the Eastern side of BEAUREVOIR. Three of the Whippets eventually rallied, having been got fit for action again.

...

Any help?

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Ey up! What's going on here? I disabled the silly emoticons for my message and stupid smiley faces STILL got in - ignore the little b*****s ... they should each be a 'b' in brackets...

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Chris,

May I take the liberty of using your current posting to seek information surrounding the death of Private 307475 E(Edward) Waters, native of St. Pancras, London who died in action whilst serving with the (from recollection) 13th Battalion of the Tank Corps on the 29th September 1918.

Edward Waters is my grandmother's brother. He is buried at Unicorn Cemetery amidst seven Tank Corps comrades most of whom were killed on the same day. According to the various sources I have viewed, the 13th saw no action on the 29th September 1918 (this could well be incorrect). However, without the details to hand I do have one account to the effect that a Major? Hotblack (survived the war having been wounded six times including being blinded in one eye) commandeered two tanks of the 13th on the 29th September and led them into action whence both tanks were destroyed. The surviving crewman thence aided the Major to repel a German counter-attack with of captured machine guns until relieved.

I apologise in advance if any of the above information is inaccurate and do not wish to put anybody to any great trouble.

David

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CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS POSTING REGARDING PRIVATE E WATERS

Edward served with the 16th Battalion, not the 13th as previously assumed by me. Hotblack was indeed a Major and was Head of Tank Corps Intelligence according to the account in my possession. The action as described occurred in the vicinity of Quennemont Ridge.

Apologies to all for any inconvenience caused (particularly Chris)

David

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Ther's no inconvenience, my friend. But would you like to post your message again as a new topic? I fear that it may not get the exposure it deserves buried away under 13th Tank Corps.

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  • 5 years later...
5TH TANK BRIGADE REPORT on Operations with Australian Corps from 29th Sept. to 5th Octr. 1918

1. GENERAL PLAN.

On the morning of the 2nd October Orders were received for 16 Heavy Tanks and 8 Whippet Tanks to operate with the 2nd Australian Division on the next day in an attack on the BEAUREVOIR Trench System, and to capture the Villages of BEAUREVOIR, PONCHAUX and WIANCOURT, and the high ground close to PROSPECT HILL.

2. ALLOTMENT OF TANKS.

8 Mark V Tanks of 13th Tank Battalion and 8 Whippet Tanks of the 3rd (Light) Tank Battalion, were allotted to the 5th Australian Infantry Brigade. 8 Mark V and Mark V* Tanks of the 8th and 16th Tank Battalions to the 7th Australian Infantry Brigade. All Heavy Tanks to be under the Command of Lt.Col. P. LYON, O.C. 13th Tank Battalion.

3. LIAISON.

The necessary liaison was able to be carried out as there was sufficient time in this Operation.

4. APPROACH MARCH.

(a) Heavy Tanks.

On the night of the 2nd October all Tanks were assembled in QUARRY just East of HARGICOURT. Owing to the traffic congested on the roads the Approach March to the Starting Point took much longer than usual, as Tanks were compelled to cross the Outpost and Main HINDENBURG Trench Systems. Considerable difficulty was experienced and some Tanks became temporarily ditched. Four Tanks of the 8th Tank Battalion developed mechanical trouble, and one Tank was ditched. Two Tanks of 13th Tank Battalion failed to reach the Starting Point, one having mechanical trouble and the other becoming ditched.

The distance of the Approach March was 8500 yards, and it was one of the most difficult Approach Marches that Tanks have been called upon to undertake, owing to darkness and the badly shelled HINDENBURG System of Trenches, which had to be crossed.

(B) Whippet tanks.

All Whippet Tanks successfully reached their Starting Point West of ESTREES.

5. SHORT ACCOUNT OF ACTION.

(a) Heavy tanks.

Nine Tanks started from Starting Point. Six out of 8 of the 13th Tank Battalion, and 3 out of 8 of the 8th and 16th Tank Battalions.

The 6 Tanks of the 13th Tank Battalion operating with the 5th Australian Infantry Brigade, caught up with their Infantry before the barrage lifted. Trouble was experienced at the commencement of the advance from the North Eastern end of ESTREES, which had previously been reported captured by the Australians. Heavy machine gun fire from concealed machine gun posts in this Village harassed the Infantry and held them up.

One of the Right Section Tanks was directed to deal with the opposition at this point. This was done and the Infantry were eventually enabled to advance. The remaining 5 Tanks pushed on through the BEAUREVOIR Trench System, dealing with enemy machine guns, and enabling the Infantry to capture the System in this Sector. After the Infantry had gained the BEAUREVOIR System, one Tank engaged and silenced an enemy Strong Point at WHITE HOUSE. Another Tank pushed forward and silenced machine guns from WIANCOURT, which were harassing the Infantry from the upper storeys of the house, firing at the upper windows with 6-Pdr Case Shot and Hotchkiss Guns. Two more Tanks proceeded to LA MOTTE FARM and dealt with machine guns there. One Tank, after leaving LA MOTTE FARM, and proceeding North towards the TORRENS CANAL, was bombed from a trench along the bank with phosphorous bombs, which caused the Tank to catch fire. The crew got out and succeeded in capturing a number of the enemy and machine guns. The other Tank, passing West of LA MOTTE FARM, dealt with machine guns from that direction until the whole crew became insensible from fumes inside the Tank. 2/Lt. R.T. MARTIN, who commanded this Tank, drove it back to a place of safety himself, and evacuated his unconscious crew with the exception of one 6-Pdr. gunner who had meanwhile recovered. With this man and two Australian Infantry Lewis Gunners, he set off again, continuing to drive the Tank himself until released by the Infantry Commander.

As only 3 Tanks of the 8th and 13th tank Battalions Composite Company under Major R. CLIVELY succeeded in reaching the Starting Point, they were employed as follows:-

One Tank to proceed to MUSHROOM QUARRY, one to LORMISSET, and one to assist the Infantry in mopping up the Left Flank. One additional Tank which had been ditched arrived subsequently, and did excellent work round LORMISSET. The Tank on the Right Flank fell into a Sunken Road and broke a track at MINT COPSE. The centre Tank proceeded ahead of the Infantry, crossed the BEAUREVOIR Line and proceeded to LORMISSET. This Tank remained for a quarter of an hour on the Eastern slope of PROSPECT HILL, until the Infantry had established their position, then returned to Rallying Point. The left Tank silenced several machine guns in GRANDCOURT WOOD, and eventually became ditched in the TORRENS CANAL.

(B) Whippet Tanks.

The Tanks left their Lying Up Point East of BELLICOURT at 7.30.a.m. the road to be followed being along the North side of the main ESTREES - LE CATEAU Road, thence round North of ESTREES to crossings to be made over the BEAUREVOIR Trench System by Heavy Tanks and completed by Pioneers.

While endeavouring to negotiate this trench, one Whippet Tank got ditched, and another developed mechanical trouble. Another Tank being put out of action by anti-tank rifle fire. The remaining 5 Whippets crossed the BEAUREVOIR Line East of ESTREES where heavy artillery and machine gun fire was encountered. Several machine gun nests were cleared up in this Area by the Whippets, but eventually all were put out of action by artillery and anti-tank rifle fire, just East of the BEAUREVOIR Line, roughly 3000 yards from their Final Objective on the Eastern side of BEAUREVOIR. Three of the Whippets eventually rallied, having been got fit for action again.

...

Any help?

FYI - Major R.C.Clively. MC. commanded "A" company of the 16th battalion tank corps.

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Hi Chris.

Sergt Rogers,Frederick,Charles seervice number 300407 13th Bn awarded the M.M.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty near Estrees on October 3rd 1918.This N.C.O. acted as a tank commander during an attack and engaged an enemy strong point held by machine guns and an anti tank gun.His tank recieved four direct hits from the anti tank gun killing two of the crew and wounding all of the others.

Sergt Rogers, although the only unwounded member of the crew, continued to engage the enemy strong point until all his guns were put out of action.The gallant conduct and determination shown by Sgt Rogers under difficult circumstances are worthy of the highest praise.

Hope this helps

Regards Andy

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Hi David

Your fella Waters ,E,H. Private 307475 Town of residence Tufnell Park London according to the Roll of Honour.

Regards Andy

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  • 2 years later...

Hi all!

I've been reading this thread with interest as it refers to the battalion my grandfather 2nd Lieut William Arnold Young joined at the end of August 1918. I managed to track this down with the help of others in separate threads and have since been able to get hold of the relevant sections of the battalion history and the war diaries which give a good picture of the work of the battalion in the last 2 - 3 months of the war. I am trying to find out if it is possible to pinpoint what action(s) my grandfather might have beeen involved in ... is there any way of finding out which company and/or section he was in?

Look forward to hearing any thoughts on this,

albert

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  • 1 year later...

Hello,

Another question about the 13th Tank Corps.

My wife's great uncle was a Serjent, killed on the 25th April 1918 and listed on Tyne Cot in Belgium. Looking at http://www.cwgc.org/search-for-war-dead.aspx?cpage=2&sort=name&order=asc 30 of them were killed on that day.

Does anyone know what was happening in this action - where would I find the war dairies ?

Thanks !

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Hello,

Another question about the 13th Tank Corps.

My wife's great uncle was a Serjent, killed on the 25th April 1918 and listed on Tyne Cot in Belgium. Looking at http://www.cwgc.org/...=name&order=asc 30 of them were killed on that day.

Does anyone know what was happening in this action - where would I find the war dairies ?

Thanks !

post-357-0-61428100-1341930228_thumb.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 weeks later...
Guest jacquelineparkin

I am researching my gt grandfather Walter Albert palmer who served in the 13th batalion tank corps. I would liketo know how to find out anything about his time fighting in ww1 thanks.

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I am currently researching the military career of Sgt Frederick Rogers, who won a MM for his actions with the 13th Battalion, the Tank Corps in attacking at Beaurevoir in October 1918. Unfortunately Fred's papers have not survived.

I have copies of the war diary (and the splendid history of this unit which is attached to the diary in the box at the PRO, along with some maps). I see too that David Fletcher used the history in compiling his book "Tanks and Trenches".

I would be very much obliged if anyone with a copy of the Honours and Awards to the Tank Corps could look him up for me.

Also any Tank Corps or even 13th Battalion fans who may have extra info; all would be very valuable.

I also believe that your relative was wounded in action on the 10th August 1918 some months before he won the MM

17tankman

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I am researching my gt grandfather Walter Albert palmer who served in the 13th batalion tank corps. I would liketo know how to find out anything about his time fighting in ww1 thanks.

Could you provide his tank service number as lots of W Palmer

Thks

17tankman

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  • 2 years later...

I am also interested in the 13th Btn, Tank Corps as one of my family 301416 Private Percy Crocker was killed on 19 Apr 1918 whilst serving with them and wonder if anyone can advise where his battalion was when he lost his life?

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Dee

Early In Apr 18 the 13th were part of the newly formed 5th Tank Brigade (along with the 2nd and 8th Bns) but they were moved to 4th Tank Brigade on 13 Apr. It left its tanks behind when it moved to 4th Bde and it became a Lewis Gun Bn. Each Coy was given 15 Lewis Guns.

On 17 Apr the Coys moved into lines south of Mont Noir for co-operation with the 34th Division, “A” Company being attached to the 147th Brigade, “B” Company to the 89th and 102nd, and “C” to the 88th Brigade. On 18 Apr one gun of A Coy at St. Jean Chapel was knocked out by a direct hit with the loss of four men killed and three wounded, including 2/Lieut A.G. March, who was thus the first officer casualty in action. B Coy at Wolfhoek had two men wounded by shrapnel, and C Coy, who were with the 2nd Hampshires, lost six wounded during the period.

On the night of the 20th of April the line was taken over by the French, and the 13th Battalion was withdrawn with the 34th Division, and again went into billets near Boeschepe.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am also interested in the 13th Btn, Tank Corps as one of my family 301416 Private Percy Crocker was killed on 19 Apr 1918 whilst serving with them and wonder if anyone can advise where his battalion was when he lost his life?

Hi Pte Crocker is listed in the Battalions war diary as wounded and missing on 25th April 1918!! He is also listed on CWGC site as died on 25/4/1918.

So I think you have the wrong date.

17tankman

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  • 11 months later...

Three of the men killed in action with the 13th Battalion on 25th April 1918 were transfers in from the Cyclist Corps: 301416 Crocker; 301420 Pensom and 301425 Turner. They had all transferred from IX Corps Cyclist Battalion on 28th November 1917. They were part of a draft of 13 men numbered 301416-301428 who transferred on that date. I'd be very interested to know if any others in this draft were casualties on 25th April. One of the draft, 301419 B E Barber, was awarded the MM ( LG 13.3.19) I'd be very interested to learn if this award related to the action on the 25th April. I don't know if crew details would be available but I'd be curious to know if any of the Cyclist draft were in the same crews. Regards Clive

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