11th Armoured Division in 1941

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by Ramiles, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Saw this recently on flickr:

    6th November 1941 - Helmsley, Duncombe Park, Yorkshire, England.


    With the caption: "6th November 1941 - Helmsley, Duncombe Park, Yorkshire, England. Prime Minister, Winston Churchill standing in a Scout Car inspects Valentine tanks and crews of 11th Armoured Division at Helmsley in Yorkshire, 6 November 1941.
    Completed in 1713, Duncombe Park House is the Family Seat of Baron Feversham. In 1774, Anne Duncombe of Duncombe Park was married to Robert Shafto, of Whitworth Hall, near Spennymoor, County Durham:- "Bonny Bobby Shaftoe" of the folk song.
    Between 1914-1980 apart from War use, the house served as a school. The estate still has visible signs of the WW2 use with concrete tracks, and a 'tank bath'.



    Re. "T-16385" - No further info (as yet ;-)
    New Resource - British Vehicle Names and Census Numbers

    11th Armoured Division (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    Also has this: Valentine tanks of the 11th Armoured Division gather near a church during an exercise in Northern Command, 16 October 1941. i.e. http://media.iwm.org.uk/ciim5/40/721/large_000000.jpg

    H14738 - Object description - Valentine tanks of 11th Armoured Division gather near a church during an exercise in Northern Command, 16 October 1941.

    51 = 23rd Hussars...

    Incidentally - the location of the Church in H14738 has possibly been answered here...

    Duncombe Park Army Camp


    "Your church challenge required some serious detective work and lateral thinking involving 23rd Hussars, churchyard yews and background limekilns. All of which eventually led me to All Saints Church at Ryal in Northumberland.
    Following the 23rd Hussars link led me to some interesting images on the IWM site (H13032, H13033 & H13037 in particular). I think these may have been taken on Wheeldale Moor and the beck in the photos is possibly Rutmoor Beck. Which leads me to ask are the remains at SE7855996100 related to the military training activities on the moor in WW2?

    See - for further information on the Church itself... Ryal – All Saints


    With (Order of Battle): 11th Armoured Division (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    Albeit with the 24th Lancers (52) - in the position later held by the 3RTR - see below...

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2022
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  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Slightly off topic ;-) (as this one's late May'1942 ;-)

    Painting The Past - Colourisations by Joshua Barrett

    "A Valentine tank of 11th Armoured Division partakes in training exercises in the English countryside. For the purpose of the exercise the Valentine has been marked with crosses to identify it as an 'enemy' vehicle. The Valentine tank is followed closely by a Universal Carrier. Kent, 30th May, 1942."



    IWM (H 20265)


    Incidentally 24th L War diary for late May'42 has...19/5/42 to 1/6/42 The Regiment took part in the 12 Corps South Eastern Command Exercise “Tiger”. (And there is quite a long section in the 24th L WD Appendix on the exercise)

    For Exercise Tiger wiki currently has e.g. Exercise Tiger (1942) - Wikipedia

    And - for example too - : Alfred Dudley Ward - Wikipedia
    Has... "By the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Ward was serving as a GSO2 in the Directorate of Military Intelligence at the War Office in London.[17] In May 1940 Ward was appointed as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley, before returning to the War Office a year later. In late 1941 he was selected for command and was posted to lead the 43rd (Wessex) Reconnaissance Regiment (43 Recce), previously the 5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, initially the reconnaissance unit of the 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division, a Territorial Army (TA) formation, and then, from November 1941, of the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division, another TA unit. The division, then commanded by Major General Charles Allfrey succeeded in March 1942 by Major General Ivor Thomas, was serving in Kent under XII Corps, then commanded by Lieutenant General James Gammell, itself serving under South-Eastern Command, under Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery. Under Montgomery numerous large-scale exercises became the order of the day, most notable among them Exercise Tiger in May 1942"
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    "In Tank Chats #45 David begins a series on one of his personal interests, the Funnies of the 79th Armoured Division. However the 79th and its Funnies would have been nothing without it’s inspirational leader Major General Percy Hobart, so David starts with the man and we promise will follow very shortly with his machines."

    About 30 seconds on 11th Armoured from about 3mins30secs. Including...


    Edit: They Called Him 'Hobo': The Little-Known Story of Percy Hobart

    With i.e. With a "push from Churchill, Hobart's star went into the ascendant. He raised and trained the 11th Armoured Division, earmarked to fight in North Africa. While he set his indelible personal stamp on the 11th, Hobart chafed at the disasters inflicted on the British in North Africa by Rommel. He felt certain that he could defeat the Desert Fox if given the chance, but on the eve of the 11th Armoured's departure for Africa, Britain's military reactionaries took one last ignominious cut at the brilliant tank leader.

    Because his military views could no longer be gainsaid, the final effort to oust Hobart was made on medical grounds, and mainly because he was now 56. His opponents were unfortunate in that they made their last effort to ruin and remove Hobart in September of 1942, a black month for the British Army. Only three months earlier, Rommel had sent the powerful British 8th Army reeling back in a rabble from Tobruk. The Desert Fox stood now at El Alamein, readying his final thrust at Alexandria. This reverse had been inflicted by dynamically directed armored forces on the superior British Army and had left Churchill furious. The prime minister had also personally visited and inspected Hobart's new 11th Armoured Division only a few months previously, and had found Hobo in full vigor. Churchill's reaction to the final attempt to oust Hobart was this second historic minute on the tank leader, filed on September 4, 1942:

    Prime Minister to Secretary of State for War:

    I see nothing in these reports [of the Medical Board report on General Hobart] which would justify removing this officer from command of his division on its proceeding on active service.

    General Hobart bears a very high reputation, not only in the service, but in wide circles outside. He is a man of quite exceptional mental attainments, with great strength of character, and although he does not work easily with others, it is a great pity we do not have more of his like in the service. I have been shocked at the persecution to which he has been subjected. I am quite sure that if, when I had him transferred from a corporal in the Home Guard to the command of one of the new armored divisions, I had insisted instead on his controlling the whole of the tank developments, with a seat on the Army Council, many of the grievous errors from which we have suffered would not have been committed.

    The high commands of the Army are not a club. It is my duty ... to make sure that exceptionally able men, even though not popular with their military contemporaries, are not prevented from giving their services to the Crown.

    As it happened, the assignment of Hobart's 11th Armoured Division to North Africa was cancelled at the last minute. Under Major-General G. P. B. "Pip" Roberts, a Hobart-trained tank leader of great skill, the 11th later became Britain's finest armored division in the whole of the European campaign. Hobart raised and trained the two finest British armored divisions of the war, but a more massive challenge awaited him now, beside which an ordinary divisional command would have been misuse of his unique talents.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    badge, formation, 11th Armoured Division


    Physical description
    badge A charging bull in black, with red horns, eyes and front hooves, on a yellow rectangular ground. Looks left.

    History note
    This item accompanied by a ms label, provenance unknown, stating "CB. 5899. Badges. Formation. 11th Arm'd. Div." The badge was derived from the arms of its first commander*, Maj. Gen. Sir Percy Hobart (see also 79th Armoured Division). 11th Armoured Division was formed in the UK on 9 March 1941. It remained in Home Forces until assigned to 21 Army Group for the invasion of North West Europe. It formed part of 8 Corps for the Normandy invasion and took part in the bridgehead battles and was in the forefront of the sweep across France and Belgium into Holland in the autumn of 1944. Following the invasion of Germany it ended the war on the Elbe. Principal commanders of the Division were Maj. Gen. Sir P. C. S. (Percy) Hobart, affectionately nicknamed'Hobo', (March 1941 to October 1942); Maj. Gen. Burrows (October 1942 to December 1943), Maj. Gen. G.P.B. ('Pip') Roberts (from December 1943.) Roberts was one of the youngest British Divisional commanders and acknowleged as perhaps the best British armoured commander. The Division was disbanded in 1946-47 and re-formed in BAOR in January 1951. It was finally disbanded as an armoured formation and re-designated 4 Infantry Division (BAOR) on 1 April 1956."

    * A bull passant perpale black and red bezant, with a gold ring in the nose.
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  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The 24th L - War Diary - has...

    10-15/10/41 The Regiment operated in Northern Command Training Exercise “Percy”.

    And there are a series of IWM photos - H 14733 etc. Although these seem to be dated 16d10m1944. Possibly the same exercise as they show 23rd Hussars.

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  6. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    23H War Diary, Oct 1941:

    9-16 Exercise "PERCY"
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There's also this too...

    24th L - War Diary -
    23/10/41 GOC 11th Armd Div, Major General Hobart, addressed Officers & NCO’s.

    The reference is to Whitby and there's a bit about this in "None Had Lances"... p21...

  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY


    "A" Squadron (very distant top left), "B" Squadron (foreground) and "C" Squadron - 24th Lancers (top right, and across the road)


    H15377 - The zoom (+) affords a slightly better view of some of the individuals (in the foreground particularly). It's a pity that their backs are turned so that their faces can't be seen.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

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