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50th Royal Tank Regiment:

The Complete History

By Stephen D. Hamilton

50th Royal Tank Regiment

50th Royal Tank Regiment:

The Complete History

By Stephen D. Hamilton

A comprehensive history of one of the most reputed and active tank regiments of the Second World War, from their formation in 1939 through their actions with the Eighth Army in North Africa and Italy, to their disbandment in 1946.

Trade Information: LGEN
Published as: Hardback

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... a fine tribute to a great regiment and I can commend it to prospective readers, specially military historians. I doubt whether there has ever been such a through and detailed record of any Territorial Regiment. From the Foreword by Colonel V.J. Senior, MC

Inspired by the research that he carried out into the death of his grandfather whilst serving in the 50RTR, and the conversations with the old soldiers who had served with him, the author set about collecting the memories of those veterans. This book, the result of his research, takes the form of personal accounts, details from the regimental war diary and descriptions of the many battles in which they partook.

50RTR was formed in Bristol in April 1939 and disbanded only seven years later. In that short period, the regiment gained itself a reputation and a record that has not been equalled: 50RTR were in contact with enemy for 95% of their overseas service, for instance. They saw action in the Western Desert and North Africa, including El Alamein, Mareth and Sfax, and then Sicily, Italy and Athens.

A moving introduction is provided by Brigadier H.B.C. Watkins, MBE, himself an officer in the RTR for 34 years. He describes the book as 'most remarkable' and the battle descriptions as being 'excellent and must be of the greatest interest of students of the Second World War and will delight the survivors of the Regiment'.

The book includes a Roll of Honour and List of Awards, and is naturally dedicated to all the Officers, NCOs and Troops who served in the 50th Royal Tank Regiment.

Foreword by Colonel V.J. Senior MC
Introduction by Brigadier H.B.C. Watkins MBE

1. 'King's Regulations' – Early days of the regiment
2. Into the Blue – First Alamein
3. 'Now You Can See What to Fire At, Bloody Great Jerry Tanks' – Battle of Alam Halfa
4. 'O God of Battles, Steel My Soldiers' Hearts' – Battle of Alamein
5. Through the Tagura Gate – To Tripoli and beyond
6. 'John Has Gone' – Battle of Mareth
7. Battle for the Gabes Gap – Wadi Akarit and Sfax
8. 'We Must All Be Tank Minded' – The end in North Africa
9. 'Bloody Rough' – The fight for Sicily
10. 'Stuck in the Middle of Mabel' – The Italian Campaign
11. 'The Thin Red Line of Black Hats' – Action in Greece
12. Homeward Bound – Victory and disbandment

Annex A: Roll of Honour
Annex B: Honours and Awards
Annex C: Officers of 50 RTR
Annex D: Wounded in action
Annex E: Missing in action
Annex F: Those who served – nominal Role of 50 RTR
Annex G: C Squadron men's mess


Steven Hamilton has for many years studied military history as a hobby. A visit to his grandfather's grave focussed his attention on the regiment in whose service Lieutenant Corporal 'Paddy' Clifford was killed. Since then the author has written a number of articles for the Royal Tank Regiments quarterly journal TANK, and assisted other authors in their works of military history. At present he is undertaking a revision the whole of the World War II Roll of Honour for the Royal Armoured Corps, involving over seventy regiments; many will for the first time have their own Roll of Honour. As an unofficial archivist he gets a great deal of satisfaction from helping 'next of kin' and old comrades enquiring about family members and friends.

Meanwhile he is employed as a carpenter in Germany. In his spare time he enjoys life in the fast lane, often literally so on his 1000cc motorcycle, frequently making the long journey to England on it. His home town is Derby, where his two children Dean and Stephanie live.

Stephen Hamilton has produced a fine tribute to men whose resilience and ability earns them an honoured place in the annals of the RTR. Forces News
The author is to be congratulated on having produced a most readable and well-researched history which I can recommend not only to former members of the 50th Battalion but also to all those who have served or are still serving in the RTR. Peter Gudgin, in Royal Tank Regiment Journal