The History of the

4th and 7th Royal Tank Regiments


1986 – 1989

Lt Col Doug Cantley

Lt Col Doug Cantley assumed command of 4 RTR on 16 December 1985. He came to the Regiment from 2 RTR.

Osnabruck training cycle

The Osnabruck training cycle was about to experience a rude interruption.

A distraction from the training cycle was the preparation of the Maze Prison Guard Force (PGF)

The PGF Orbat

The PGF Orbat.
OC Major Stephen White

GOC NI, Maj Gen A S Jeapes (late SAS)

Once in place the PGF had little time to be bored, if only because of a steady stream of visitors. Here the GOC NI, Maj Gen A S Jeapes (late SAS).

Maze Prison

Guarding the Maze near Belfast was no sinecure. At one time in the late seventies there were so many break-outs that a wag placed a road sign near the entrance “Drive with care, escaped prisoners crossing”!!

4 RTR PGF were taking no chances

4 RTR PGF were taking no chances, and no one escaped during their tour 19 June – 30 August 1986.

adventure training

In June 1986 a burst of adventure training took elements of the Regiment to Sardinia, India and a retracing of Hannibal’s Route.

CO showing a measure of control

Adventure training was for all – the CO showing a measure of control.

Scenes from Hohne and Soltau 1986.

Scenes from Hohne and Soltau 1986 Scenes from Hohne and Soltau 1986 Scenes from Hohne and Soltau 1986
D Sqn 1986. The Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess 1986.
RSM Jourdon.
D Sqn 1986 The Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess 1986
Commanding Officer article Commanding Officer article

By December 1986 the Commanding Officer could write..

…a happy Christmas. And so another year passes.

Winter Sports Day

1987 Saw the usual round of troop and squadron training and range firing broken into by a novel Winter Sports Day.

Tartan Wanderer

The Continued restrictions on track mileage emphasised alternative training. Such was Ex “Tartan Wanderer”.

Vimy Ridge Memorial Pozieres Memorial

During the Battlefield phase of Tartan Wanderer visits were made to the Vimy Ridge and Pozieres Memorials.

One of the techniques to be mastered by 4 RTR tank crews in 1987 was TOGS, the Thermal Image Gun Sight. Until the mid-80s night vision equipment in the Army was confined to Image Intensifiers, an unpredictable aid that depended upon there being ample ambient light. A decision was taken by DRAC one Summer evening in 1978 at Bovington to throw all our weight behind the experimental work of a retired RTR Major, (Ralph Bagnall-Wild, then working for Barr and Stroud) to harness thermal-image technology for the battle tank gun site. It would be expensive and would face determined opposition from vested interests. It was a courageous technical decision, one that today we take for granted.


In 1987 the Regiment became involved in the annual US reinforcement Ex REFORGER, designed to demonstrate that the US could return quickly to Europe both with their own equipment and where appropriate using NATO Armies’ equipments. The observations of a subaltern who in the future would command 1 RTR are worth noting.

Lt Col Charles McBean

In May 1988 command passed from Lt Col Doug Cantley to Lt Col Charles McBean, whose regimental service had been entirely with the Fourth, most recently as OC A Sqn in 1984.

In the Winter of 1987/88 the Regiment competed well in a variety of sports.

Rugby Skiing

Medicine Man 7 finished in November 1988 and the Regiment was together again in Osnabruck for the Winter.

In 1989 Cyprus beckoned.

In Chapter Fifteen we see the Regiment deploy to Cyprus.