Between the Wars

At the end of World War 1 with the status of the Tank Corps in the greatest doubt, three small tank detachments were despatched to Russia, to support the White Russians against the Bolsheviks. One British manned tank achieved the capture of Tsaritsin, later called Stalingrad, now known as Volgograd.
After the war, the Tank Corps was trimmed down to a central depot and four battalions; the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions, Tank Corps.

In 1923 it was officially named Royal (making it the Royal Tank Corps) by Colonel-in-Chief King George V. It was at this time that the motto Fear Naught, the black beret and the unit badge were adopted. The word Corps was replaced in 1939 with Regiment to give the unit its current name, the Royal Tank Regiment.

In 1920, twelve Armoured Car Companies were set up as part of the Tank Corps, absorbing units from the Machine Gun Corps; eight were later converted into independent Light Tank Companies. All disbanded before the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1933 the 6th Battalion, Royal Tank Corps, was formed in Egypt by combining the personnel of two of these companies; in 1934, the 1st (Light) Battalion, Royal Tank Corps was formed in England with personnel from three of the existing battalions.

With the preparations for war in the late 1930s a further two regular battalions were formed; the 7th in 1937 and the 8th in 1938. The 40th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th & 45th battalions were raised in 1938, being converted from Territorial Army infantry battalions; the 46th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 50th and 51st were likewise activated and converted in 1939. The twelve Yeomanry Armoured Car Companies of the RTR were all activated and transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps.

Before the Second World War, Royal Tank Corps recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall. They initially enlisted for six years with the colours and a further six years with the reserve. They trained at the Royal Tank Corps Depot at Bovington Camp, Dorset for about eight months.

Image
Medium MK II (1920's)
King George V next to a Carden-Loyd MK V (1927)