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  • Mark Forsdike

Suffolk ‘Tankies’

This week has so far, been an interesting one exploring different avenues of Suffolk Regimental History.

First I had a call from a fellow author up in Norfolk about Major Ellis, an officer of 7th Royal Norfolk’s who was killed at Overloon in October 1944 whilst commanding a company of 1st Suffolk. Ellis came to 1/Suffolk in late August 1944 when the 59th (Staffordshire) Division was disbanded and its ranks (of which 7/Royal Norfolk were part) were redistributed to under-strength units.

Then yesterday, I was corresponding with a new member to the ‘Friends of the Suffolk Regiment’ who has an interest in 142 Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps and this has rekindled my interest in the only armoured unit of the Suffolk Regiment.

142 RAC were originally the 7th Battalion, who in 1941 converted from an infantry Battalion to an Armoured Corps. They served in Tunisia, North Africa and then in Italy, where they were disbanded in January 1945. I’ve always been interested in our Suffolk ‘Tankies’ but it’s never really been an area that I have devoted much focus, but now I feel an urge to find out more about them.

Our correspondence delved further into other war-raised armoured units including 141 RAC (the Buffs) who supported 1/South Lancs during their attack on the Chateau de la Londe on 27th June 1944 and an in-depth discussion into the places where their tanks broke through the Chateau’s wall into the orchard beyond.

We have published several little pieces on 142 in the Friends magazines over the years, some from relatives, but now maybe it’s time to look into their war a little more deeper and make their service known to a wider audience...


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