England 1942 Part 5 Crowborough-1

On the 12th of October the Regiment was inspected by the General Officer Commanding the 5th Armoured Division, Major General E.W. Sansom. This event would not be particularly notable except for the fact the German air force decided to take the opportunity to strafe and bomb the parade, fortunately to no effect. Two days later when the Brigade was inspected by the Canadian Minister of National Defence Colonel the Honorable J.L. Ralston the Brigade anti-aircraft battery and a squadron of Royal Canadian Air force Spitfire fighters were in attendance.

Minister of National Defence J.L. Ralston Inspects the 1st Hussars

J.L. Ralston inspects a Canadian built Ram Tank

On 21 October the 1st Hussars completed their 4th move for the year this time to Warren Camp at Crowborough in Sussex. The stay here was somewhat less pleasant and more strenuous than their time in Hove. While the accommodations here were better than those in Aldershot the climate was typical for England at this time of the year cold, cloudy, foggy, and wet. On average it rained every third day. The local training area proved to be less than ideal and quickly became very boggy due to the constant rain and vehicle traffic. As a result, tank training was limited. This may have been prompted by one young lieutenant leading his troop over a ten-foot embankment. (fortunately, both tanks and crews survived if a little shaken). Vehicle training in general consisted mainly of day and night convoy driving. When one three-day brigade level exercise was attempted, the Hussars spent two of them recovering bogged vehicles. Although extremely frustrating and not the original intent of the exercise this experience proved very useful 3 years later when the battles for the Hochwald were carried out under very similar conditions.

The highlight of this period came when Captain H.L. Smuck and his gunner demonstrated their complete command of the gun laying controls of the Grant tank. After watching several smoke rounds auger into the dirt only yards in front of his tank a frustrated Captain Smuck ordered his gunner to elevate the gun to its maximum and fired again. This time the assembled crews watched as the shell flew well beyond the target and the training area landing in a farm yard near two ladies working in their garden. When last seen before the smoke enveloped the farm the ladies were rushing towards the house. When the first jeep arrived on the scene the ladies were quite composed and willing to admit that accidents can happen even in the best of regiments.



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