World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                       Allan Bailey 

My Father's War Service with the Royal Tank Corps

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: George Robert Bailey
Location of story: France; Dunkirk; Tobruk; El Alamein; Alexandria; Italy; Normandy; Germany
Unit name: Royal Tank Corps
Background to story: Army


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Norman Wigley of the BBC Radio Sheffield Action Desk on behalf of Mr Allan Bailey.

My father, George Robert Bailey, served with the Royal Tank Corps as a sergeant in WW2. He went to France with the BEF and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940; he was uninjured.

He then served in North Africa, attached to the Eighth Army. He was with a Churchill heavy tank unit. He served at Tobruk and El Alamein.

At El Alamein, he was in charge of a tank as part of a troop. His tank was hit and caught fire and the gunner was trapped. My father was ordered out, but went back in to rescue the gunner. He then got carpeted for disobeying the order and lost his stripes. However he was told by the Captain that he would be OK – but the Lieutenant who reported him would go no further. At the hearing, his rank was reinstated and he was even mentioned in despatches. The Captain was later proved right about the lieutenant.

After El Alamein he was in the victory parade at Alexandria and came within feet of Churchill and Montgomery. He came home on leave and then served in Italy until they surrendered. He returned to the UK in time to go with the Normandy landings on 6th June 1944. He went through France, Paris, and across the Rhine, finishing at the Brandenberg Gate where he met the Russians.

My father was awarded the North Africa Star with 8th Army bar and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Italy Star, the France and Germany Stars, the Victory Medal, and the Service Medal.