4th Battalion Coldstream Guards, 6th Guards Tank Brigade - tank ID

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Antony Thole, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. Antony Thole

    Antony Thole Member

    Hi Michel
    Thanks for the reply. Wasn't sure which photo you were referring to as the "first photo" or "left hand side" so I have uploaded all I have
    'Eagle1'. We have a letter from the army confirming this lead tank is my grandfathers. Battalion HQ had two Churchills with 75mm tanks - Eagle and Seagull with Eagle being the CO tank therefore stands to reason why it would be the lead of the two.
    'Eagle2'. No writing on the back of this. My mother is 99% sure her father (my grandfather) referred to this as being 'his' tank....it such a long time ago that she cannot recall but over the last has always assumed this to be his tank given what he had said when she was growing up
    'Eagle3'. This is a very personal photo. Has written on the back, "The lads. The Comie is third from left, he's a Brummie"
    'Eagle4'. that is my Grandad in the turret and, For the same reason as 'Eagle 1', it stands to reason that Eagle would be the lead.

    Thanks a lot for any assistance

    Antony Eagle1.JPG Eagle2.JPG Eagle3.JPG Eagle4.jpg Eagle1.JPG Eagle2.JPG Eagle1.JPG Eagle3.JPG Eagle4.jpg
  2. Antony,

    Thank you for posting these photos. Your Eagle1 is IWM B10821, shot by Sgt Morris on 14 Oct 44, Eagle2 is BU2742 (Sgt Midgley, 28 Mar 45) and Eagle4 is B12186 (Sgt Laing, 29 Nov 44).

    Eagle1/B10821 might indeed show EAGLE, as shown by the comparison below of the spare track links arrangements, although the track links on the side seem to be at a slight angle on B2742 (EAGLE) but not on B10821:

    However, Eagle4/B12186 has a very different spare track link arrangement, with Sherman track links on the front of the turret, so it is most probably not the same tank as in B10821:

    Additionally, the dark background under the tank's name seems longer on B12186 (extending laterally to the outer wading trunk attachments) than on B2742 or on Eagle3 (remaining well within the outer attachements), which suggests a longer name than EAGLE. A large analogue print (or a high contrast, high resolution scan) of B12186 might reveal the name, which I believe could be SEAGULL. It might also allow identification of the crew with a higher degree of certainty:

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
  3. Antony Thole

    Antony Thole Member

    Hi Michel

    Many Thanks for you analysis, that is great!

    Although obvious now, I had not noticed the turret track difference between B10821 and B12186 however, just a word of caution....my father recollects my grandfather saying the tanks needed constant maintenance and mentioned the welding of the 'extra' protection. Its likely the welds would have fatigued so it might well be its the same tank just with a different track on it. Maybe.

    But, I note your point about the length of the name therefore you could well be right that they are different tanks.

    Since posting my original note, I have liaised with other 6th Guards Tank descendants and I think we are all of the opinion that - given these were 20 yr old men - its probable they swapped and changed almost as they pleased. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that my grandad spent much of his time in the Eagle tank crew, but possibly not all. I am not sure we will ever know.

    However, your insight and research makes very interesting reading so many many thanks in taking the time. Really appreciated.

    Best Regards
  4. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    As an aside, fixing track links to gain extra protection was something of an urban myth as the weight placed additional strain on the turret traverse ball-bearings, slowed the traverse and was of doubtful efficacy against anti-armour weapons. That said, it probably improved crew morale so who is to say it wasn't a good idea!
  5. Geraint Rowlands

    Geraint Rowlands New Member

    Hi Anthony,
    I’m very early in my research but I believe my Grandfather, John Owen Donald Davies, served with the Royal Signal Corp and was attached to HQ squadron 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards. We have found radio books of his noting his attachment to this squadron and he told stories of fighting from France to Holland and Rhineland. It then appears he was reassigned to Austria and finally Italy.
    From what I can tell, he would have been in a Churchill named “Seagull”, which I presume is one of the four shown in a row in your photo that shows the Cuckoo tank.
    Any other photos you may have of HQ Sqdn would be very much appreciated.
  6. Nick Frost

    Nick Frost Member

    Hia Geraint I'm Nick Frost I would be interested in contacting you as I think my father is driving Seagull
  7. Nick Frost

    Nick Frost Member

    Hia Geraint I'm Nick Frost I would be very grateful if you could make contact as I think my father is driving Seagull on the photo
  8. Nick Frost

    Nick Frost Member

  9. Nick Frost

    Nick Frost Member

    Hia Michel my name is Nick Frost the lead tank on B 12186 I think that's my father's face at the drivers port hole as my father was a driver operator of a churchill tank we know it's GDSM Hawkins on Top but I think the tank commander is squadron sargent major v c Duffield as he and my father were together throughout the campaign hope to hear from you soon many thanks nick frost
  10. Antony Thole

    Antony Thole Member

    Hi Geraint, Apologies for the very very late response......wasn't aware of the reply. Yes we have lots of photos....some 20 or 30 but mainly of the tank crew he served with. We have a handful of photos of the Battalion football and there are faces in these photos we don't recognise. Are you on Facebook? If so, maybe I can suggest you join the 6th Guards group......its quite easy to share photos there.

    Best Regards

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