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Disbandment Parade – 16 Tank Transporter Squadron, 7 Regiment RLC

by Lt M L Abbott

On the afternoon of Friday 25 July 2014, 16 Tank Transporter Squadron of 7 Regiment RLC conducted its ceremonial Disbandment Parade at St Barbara’s Barracks, Bad Fallingbostel, Germany.  It had ceased taskings in British Forces Germany on 2 April 2014.  The last remaining troop of the Squadron integrates within 19 Tank Transporter Squadron, Bulford in September 2014, which has become the remaining Tank Transporter Squadron in the British Army.

Seventy-four members of the Squadron were on parade on a sunny afternoon, with a former CO, Maj Gen C M Steirn CBE inspecting the parade.  Four hundred and fifty guests were in attendance, reflecting the close relationship with those who have been associated with the Squadron.  Polish members from the Squadron’s founding unit, the Mixed Service Organisation, were also present to say farewell.

Supporting the event was The Band of The Royal Irish Regiment, led by WO1 (BM) Richard Douglas.  To conclude the parade, heavy lift vehicles used throughout the Squadrons history conducted a drive past; these included the Antar Mk3, Scammel Commander and the Oshkosh Heavy Equipment Transporter.  Two CHALLENGER II Main Battle Tanks and an AS90 were also on the parade ground to display the heavy lift capability of the vehicles.

The Squadron held drinks followed by a families lunch after the parade in the Vehicle Hangers, before an Evening Hangar Party involving members of the Squadron and their guests partying until the small hours of the morning. Saturday 26 July 2014 saw further celebrations continue with a Tank Transporters in the Park Party.  Six hundred guests attended, including past and present tank transporter staff, reminisced whilst they enjoyed live music, food and drinks throughout the day and night.

The Future
Upon the closure of 16 Tank Transporter Squadron, the heritage and history passes to 617 HQ Squadron, 7 Regiment, the nominated custodians.  The remaining troop will reposition itself in Bulford as part of 19 Tank Transporter Squadron and retain its designated Warsaw title, continuing to remember and associate itself with its Polish ancestry.