Army

Royal Armoured Corps Celebrate 80th Anniversary

The RACs have visited 30 locations across the country to celebrate their anniversary.

Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps have taken their vehicles on tour and visited over 30 locations across the country to celebrate their anniversary.

On Thursday, residents of York were visited by the Royal Dragoon Guards with a Scimitar, a Land Rover Wolf (WMIK) and a Jackal.

York, explained Captain Guy Hennings Haahr, is the historical home of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

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A Scimitar armoured fighting vehicle parks in the historical centre of York.

It was not easy to get the armoured reconnaissance vehicle across the historical centre.

"The Scimitar actually has a ban on driving on public roads at the moment," said Captian Hennings Haahr.

"It's effectively a sort of roadblock waiting to deploy, so we've had to minimise as much time as possible it spends on the roads."

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It was easier to drive the WMIK than the Scimitar in York.

The WMIK and the Jackal, instead, are slightly more accustomed to British roads, but they still attracted curious looks by locals.

"It's very unusual for armoured vehicles to be in public places - people don't see them in their day to day lives," explained Rhys O’Rourke from Army Media North.

"It's good for people to see that you can be a civilian, have a full-time job, but also do 27 days plus a year in the Army."

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The WMIK and the Jackal were parked outside the York Minster.

During their celebratory tour, the Royal Dragoon Guards stopped at the York Minster and had the opportunity to take photos with the public and perhaps inspire some future members.

"It's nice to give them a bit of an insight as to who we are, remind them that we are here and we are part of the city," said Staff Sergeant Claire Norton, from the Queen's Own Yeomanry. 

"As reservists, we are part of this community. We live and work in the city of York." 

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People of all ages were fascinated with the armoured vehicles.

The Royal Armoured Corps comprises the Royal Tank Regiment and those converted from old horse cavalry regiments, 14 in total, which have been involved in 20 conflicts over the years. 

Among the other venues visited by the RAC while on tour, there is the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset.

Veterans of the Corps witnessed a new exhibition being opened which tells the story of their service.

People like D-Day veteran Laurie Burn, who landed on the Normandy Beaches in a floating tank, were at the event.

"When we landed, we were submerged by the tide coming in," said Mr Burn.

The exhibition at the Tank Museum in Bovington was designed to remember the past and inform the future.

Mr Burn's story and many others are now captured on video and display boards and form this display, inspiring the younger generations.

"It is somewhat inspiring to see all the brave people who have been there and the action and environment they were working in," said Trooper Jonathan Walsh.

"It is something that you can't imagine."

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Second World War Veteran shared anecdotes from his time seving with the younger generation.

Second World War veteran Ken Tout saw plenty of old comrades in the display and thought it was a fantastic experience:

"You may not have met somebody for say 70 years, and yet suddenly their face appears."

Asked about the role for the main battle tank in the modern warfighting environment, General Sir Christopher Deverell, Colonel Commandant said:

"You can see the investment by the Army and defence and the nation in this capability."

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One of the venues visited during the birthday tour included the Angel of the North (Picture: Cpl Sam Jenkins, RLC).

A special sculpture was unveiled outside Allenby Barracks - a gauntlet, the symbol of the corps.

Other venues visited on the birthday tour include the Angel of the North, Alnwick Castle and even two football stadiums.