THE commemoration of the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai began with members of the Royal Tank Regiment, both serving and retired, attending the annual parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall to honour the fallen.

On the eve of Cambrai Day, the regiment held the annual sports event, the Cambrai Cup 2018, which saw Cyclops Squadron defeat Falcon Squadron 38-0 in the rugby and cruised to a 6-4 victory against Egypt Squadron in the football to win the Trophy, this was followed by a fancy-dress disco held in the evening.

Cambrai Day began at 0620am when the soldiers were woken by officers and senior non-commissioned officers who served them with “Gunfire” tea laced with rum.

This was followed by a parade and Drumhead Service to commemorate the Battle of Cambrai.

The Battle of Cambrai saw the first use of mass tank formations to break the deadlock of trench warfare, taking the enemy by surprise and breaching the “impregnable” Hindenburg line. On the eve of the battle, Major General Hugh Jamieson Elles CB DSO issued his hand written “Special Order No 6” which is still read on Cambrai Day each year.

In 476 tanks, the men of the newly formed Tank Corps advanced into battle under the brown, red and green colours of the Corps’ new flag and General Elles was to inspire his men by leading the great tank attack from the front, something unheard of in modern warfare.

As is the tradition of the day this order is read out by the youngest officer in the Regiment and this privilege fell to 2nd Lieutenant Hugo Catmur, who said: “It was honour and a pleasure to be able to read Special Order No 6 in front of the whole regiment.”

Similar thoughts were expressed by Trooper Connor Owen who said: “I have family members who have served in the Regiment and have been brought up since a child to understand the significance of Cambrai Day. It is 101 years since the Battle of Cambrai so today means a lot to me, and obviously the Regiment, and it was an honour to read The Royal Tank Regiment Collect at the service.”