Message from Colonel William English, Chairman RLOCA

16th December 2020

A crew from the 16/5 Lancers, 6th Armoured Division, clear the 6-pounder gun barrel of their Crusader tank at El Aroussa (Tunisia, May 1943). The men are Sergeant Elms, Trooper Bates, Trooper Goddard and Signalman Bower, (Royal Corps of Signals).


15 Dec 2020

Dear Old Comrades and Veteran Lancers,
Tank Tea – Thu 17 Dec 2020 at 1600 hrs, remembering, on this occasion the 16/5L, 17/21L and 27L.
On 17 Dec 1942, the 16/5L, 17/21L and 27L were racing East across North Africa, having landed as a part of 1st Army in Operation TORCH (Nov 42).  They were heading East to link up with the 8th Army which included 9L and 12L coming from Alamein (Oct 42) – this was when we last took ‘Tank Tea’.  Link up was completed in Apr/May 43; Axis Forces surrender on 13 May 43.  Having all our antecedent Lancer Regiments (complete) deployed in the same theatre on the same mission at the same time is rare; at this point you may be asking what about the 24L – they were not yet formed, as they were created for D-Day.  However, we will remember them next year in Jun 21. 
This historic union of Lancer Regiments in a single theatre of battle together, makes for an ideal time for a modern-day union of our Old Comrades and Veteran Lancers connecting with our Serving Lancers. As Old Comrades and Veteran Lancers we can take a moment to recall exploits of Lancers past, speak to each other as Lancers now and wish those Lancers serving all the best for the future.  
Readers will be delighted to know that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall has become aware of ‘Tank Tea’ – her father was a tank commander in the 12L at Alamein.   She took ‘Tank Tea’ with the Colonel of the Regiment and 5 invitees (Serving, Retired, Dependants’ Liaison and Home Headquarters) by Zoom at the last ‘Tank Tea’ in Oct 2020 for 30 minutes.  She has written to say how much she enjoyed the experience; we look forward to inviting her again.
So, let us pause for ‘Tank Tea’; give thanks to our 16/5L, 17/21L and 27L forebears past.  Let us give thanks to the leadership of the RL Association, to the Serving Regiment for their service now and in the coming years ahead, to our RL Museums, our Charitable Trust and Home Headquarters who support us in delivery of Benevolence, Networking and Remembrance, and begin to look forward to a much hoped for better year to come. 
So, ‘Tank Tea’, you know the drill.   However, if you are perhaps joining for the first time – here are the key facts:  1600 -1700 hrs, Thu 17 Dec 2020; make a brew, call a mate and check that they are well.  If someone is not well, either physically, struggling mentally or lonely, particularly during this COVID time, then please give them advice and assistance.  If you feel the Association can help, then please connect with Branch Chairs who will work with Vice Chairs of antecedents to bring assistance to bear.  I am aware that a number of you are unable to make this hour due to work engagements.  In such cases I would encourage you to make ‘Tank Tea’ calls at your convenience on the 17 Dec, if possible.
On behalf of your Royal Lancers Old Comrades’ Association Committee, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2021.
We will invite you to join us for ‘Tank Tea’ in the New Year. 
Please continue to follow government advice on staying safe during COVID.
William English CBE
Chairman RL OCA