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1943 Part 3 - Scotland

In August the rumours became official as notice was received that the Regiment would play a leading role in the coming invasion. Thus began its association with the 3rd Infantry Division specifically the 7th Infantry Brigade which would last throughout most of the rest of the war. Most of the month was spent at the Combined Operations Training Facility at Inverary, Scotland. Here the regiment received lectures, demonstrations, and practice on “Amphibious Operations”, waterproofing vehicles and equipment, loading and unloading various types of landing craft and landing ships, and coordinated beach assaults. These drills were practiced both day and night. Of particular interest to the 1st Hussars was learning to waterproof their tanks. This process involved sealing all openings with a special waterproof material and erecting large sheet metal trunks over the air inlets and exhaust. Removing the waterproofing material once ashore was rather spectacular and a crew favourite as it involved blowing it off with explosives that had been placed beneath the material when it was applied. Another interesting experience for the crews, particularly the drivers, was the fact that the entire hull could be under water as the tanks waded ashore. The training at Inverary culminated in a live fire beach landing exercise with C Squadron working with the 7th Infantry Brigade. Demonstrating the dark humour often found in soldiers the exercise was given the somewhat dubious name of exercise “Bloodbath”. One of the highlights of the exercise was a tank waterproofed by our own men leaving a landing craft in 8 feet of water and making its way to shore where the waterproofing was “blown off” rather spectacularly as the tank continued forward.

While much of the Regiment was still in Scotland Squadron Sergeant Major Smith and Sergeant Streib of C Squadron bravely rushed into a burning house near the Regimental lines in Worthing to rescue an elderly civilian lady, a deed for which they would later receive a commendation for gallantry from the Army commander Lieutenant General McNaughton.

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