The Tank Museum | Recipient

R. Findlay

Ronald McAffer Findlay was born in Forfar, Scotland, on 9th November 1910. Aged 18, and a time served wheelwright, Ron enlisted into the Royal Armoured Corps on Monday, 1st April 1929 wishing to serve in the Royal Tank Corps. This he does on a 6/6 engagement, six years with the colours and 6 on the reserve. By Friday, 6th April he was posted to the Royal Tank Corps Depot. He stayed in the UK with the 4th Battalion Royal Tank Corps until 14th November 1930 when he was posted to Egypt and to A Company, 6th Battalion, RTC who were operating as an armoured car battalion. All six of his annual reports from that time state that Ron was a smart, reliable, trustworthy, keen and sober solder.

On 9th April 1932 Ronald was promoted to Lance Corporal. Ron passes a course (2nd May-25th June 1932) as an Instructor in Physical Training (PTI) in Alexandria. 21st November 1934 he is promoted to Corporal. A report of 11th April 1935 states that Cpl. Findlay "has been a tank commander on manoeuvres", however on 4th May 1935 he returns to the UK and by 17th May has been transferred to the reserves having completed his 6 years with the colours.

Ron then settled in Coventry, and married Helen in October 1937 and has a daugher in 1938 and a son in 1939. There are two large rubber stamps on his service records, the first dated 1st September 1939 stating "Mobilized", the second stating "Posted" on 2nd September 1939. On 4th September Ron had been given his previous substantive rank of Corporal. Rather than sending Ron back to an armoured regiment, for reasons we may never know, it is decided that Ron would be better served if he trains new soldiers. With that in mind in November 1939 Ron completes the 'wireless' instructors course at the signals school in Bovington and on 25th April 1940 Ron is then promoted to Sergeant and posted to the 57th Training Regiment spending his time between Catterick and Warminster as a wireless instructor and also teaching some tank gunnery.

On 13th February 1944 Ronald is posted to 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeomanry who were part of the 11th Armoured Division (Black Bull). Ron is then sent to join the fray in North West Europe, on 1st July joining the vicious fighting in the French bocage during Operation Goodwood. Ron also fought in Operation Bluecoat and took part in what became the 'Charge of the Bull', as the division closed the Falaise Gap. The fighting continued and Ron fought his way through France, Belgium, Netherlands and on into Germany itself. The Division was part of the allied forces that liberated Belsen concentraion camp; he later mentioned this as confirmation to his youngest son David. Ron also took part in the last battle which saw him finishing up in Lubeck, Germany. Ron finally finished his war on 16th October 1945 and returned to Coventry and Helen and his family grew and he worked his way up to Assistant Production Controller for GEC. Ron died on 31st August 1972.

On completion of his war service Ron was awarded the 1939-45 Star, the France & Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal. However in defiance that these medals were not named to him he didn't claim them after the war. Only after his wife contacted the medal office were the medals finally issued in February 1972. However the medals were not delivered by the postman. Instead they were found in the street by the paperboy who handed them over to the family. These medals are on display at the Tank Museum.

Sgt. Ronald McAffer Findlay is succeeded by his children Gloria, Ronnie, Ian, Lorraine and David. David's son, also David, followed his grandfather in to the Royal Armoured Corps. David served in the Queen's Own Hussars and the Queen's Royal Hussars following the tradition of his grandfather of serving in his local regiment as his grandfather had done in the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry.

1939-45 STAR