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August 2019
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British Army

1st Northampshire Yeomanry Regiment's Monument in La Roche-en- Ardenne

1st Northampshire Yeomanry Regiment's Monument in La Roche-en- Ardenne

La Roche-en-Ardenne was liberated on 11 January 1945 by the Scotsmen of the 51st Highland Division and the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry Armoured Regiment.
 
Approaching midday on January 11th, the "Achilles" Tank Destroyer "Northampton" of Lieutenant Tony Faulkner, Troop Commander of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry, was the first tank to enter the devastated town in support of the Scottish Black Watch Regiment. 
 
It was not the first time however, that the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry fought on Belgian soil. 
 
Founded in 1794 by Earl Spencer, Princess Diana's ancestor, the regiment partook in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and defended the town of Ypres in 1914. 
 
Mobilized in 1939 for the defence of British territory, it will land in June 1944 - a few days after D-Day - to take part in the Normandy Campaign and later in the Holland Campaign always in support of the 51st Highland Division. 
 
In the last days of December 44, during the Battle of the Ardennes, the regiment will occupy a stand-by position north of the Meuse. 
 
On 2nd January 1945, on a freezing morning, on roads covered by snow and ice, the regiment will set out towards Marche-en-Famenne and will partake in the liberation of La Roche-en-Ardenne and the surrounding villages. 
 
On 17th January, having done it's duty, the regiment withdraws from the Battle of the Ardennes and prepares itself for the Campaign of Germany. 
 
It's due to the "Lease-Loan" law, signed in favour of Great Britain by Franklin D. Roosevelt, that the British Army will have the use of American equipment and armament, of which the Sherman tank and the M-10 Tank Destroyer equip the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry Regiment. 
 
However, in order to be able to be used by British units, the American Tank Destroyer will undergo certain modifications to it's turret and canon. In it's British version it will become the MK10 "Achilles" Tank Destroyer. 
 
It's by the unveiling, on Saturday 15th January 2000, of the "Northampton", Lt Tony Faulkner's tank, in the presence of English and Scottish veterans, that the town of La Roche-en-Ardenne wished to show it's gratitude to those who liberated the town. 
 
Unveiling ceremony of the Tank Destroyer Achilles
 
 
 
 
 photos: Guy Blockmans
 
Ceremony, on 8th May 2001with veterans
of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association
 
 Surrounded by the Veterans, Dr Ken TOUT and Mr J-P DARDENNE, Mayor of La Roche-en-Ardenne
 
Guy BLOCKMANS