Orchard Dump
Webmatters : Arras - The Royal Tank Regiment, The Battle of Arras 1940
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Remembering 1940

The majority of Commonwealth visitors to Arras are there because of its connections to the First World War. The fact that it remains a symbol of vigorous rebirth is a bonus with its fine buildings, open squares and bustling streets.

Many will visit the Musée de Beaux Arts or the Cathedral without realising that the former Abbey served as the British Headquarters at the beginning of the Second World War.

By the garden’s gates (near the museum’s entrance) is a monument to the 4th and 7th Royal Tank Regiments who were solidly engaged in the Battle of Arras between the 21st and 23rd May 1940.

The Royal Tank Regiment Memorial in the Abbey grounds

The Royal Tank Regiment Memorial

On the weekend of the 22nd May 2010 soldiers of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, who have inherited the traditions of their predecessors, gathered with veterans of the Regiment to pay tribute to those who fought and to remember their fallen at a Drumhead Service within the Abbey Gardens.

Royal Tank Regiment Piper

Ready for the Flowers of the forest

The Regimental Standard of the 1st Bn RTR

The Regimental Standard of the 1st Bn RTR

The parade through the town

The Royal Tank Regiment in Arras May 2010

Following the Drumhead Service and the laying of a wreath at the Royal Tank Regiment’s memorial, soldiers and veterans marched behind the regimental pipers through the streets of Arras to the Place des Héros and a reception at the Hôtel de Ville.

94 year old veteran Raymond Atkinson

Amongst the veterans was 94 year old Raymond Atkinson. He had been a trooper with the 7th Battalion RTR during the battle and was almost killed by a Stuka bomber near Vimy Ridge.

During the reception at the Hôtel de Ville M Thierry Spas on behalf of the Maire thanked Mr Atkinson and all those who had fought alongside him for having come to fight for : the values, liberty and the defence of France.

Some photos from the commemoration

Click on the thumbnail for a larger version

RTC/RTR monuments