Armoured Train

Initially three armoured trains were located in 11 Corps area, operated by No 1 Armoured Train Group (HQ at Brentwood, Essex) and operational from June 1940. Two of these (Train “C” and “D”) patrolled areas of Suffolk. However by the end of 1940 a redeployment of trains left just “C” Train, stabled at Westerfield, operational in Suffolk.

“C” Train, under the operational control of the Division defending Suffolk, had the role of patrolling the following lines:

• Ipswich – Lowestoft
• Saxmundham – Aldeburgh
• Wickham Market – Framlingham
• Ipswich – Felixstowe
• Lowestoft – Beccles – Bungay – Tivetshall St Margaret – Stowmarket – Ipswich
• Ipswich – Bury St Edmunds – Newmarket

The train was also effectively part of the Divisional Reserve as it could be sent to where most needed in the event of invasion.

The train was armed with two 6 pounder guns (with 180˚ arc of fire), two anti-tank rifles, six Bren guns and two .303 Vickers machine guns. These were housed in modified wagons at each end of the train, the armour constructed of four inches of concrete poured into steel skins.

By 1941 the trains were manned by Polish personnel.

  "C" Train, photographed at Saxmundham (IWM)

References:

20th Century Defences in Suffolk, M Osborne, Concrete Publications, 2008
54th Div papers, TNA
9th Lancs Fusiliers papers, TNA

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