Meet "Lt. Col. J.N. Tetley" - he made history!

Lieutenant Colonel J.N. Tetley, Commanding Officer of 45RTR in 1939, was one of many members of the Leeds family of brewers (Joshua Tetley and Son) who served with the Leeds Rifles since formation in 1859. As Brigadier J.N. Tetley he commanded the 25th Armoured Brigade in which the 51st (Leeds Rifles) Royal Tank Regiment served during the Second World War. He enjoyed the distinction of being the only TA officer in the Royal Tank Regiment appointed to command a brigade on active service during the war. Brigadier J.N. Tetley DSO TD became Honorary Colonel of The Leeds Rifles after the war.

Source: "The Fog of War" by A.J.Podmore, M.B.E., T.D.

“Following the conversion in 1938 of the 7th (Leeds Rifles) Battalion to 45 Royal Tank Regiment, in June 1939 a detached Company of 45 RTR formed the basis of the 51st Bn Royal Tank Regiment in Morley, an ancient town to the south of Leeds.
The first years of the Second World War were spent in a combination of training for their new armored role and Home Defense duties. In January 1943, however, they finally set off for overseas duties - disguised as Gunners, so as to confuse any enemy intelligence operations - in North Africa where they were soon in action. After a subsequent period of recuperation and repair, the Battalion took to the sea again, landing at Naples in Italy, 18th April 1944. Moving to Lucera, near Foggia, the Battalion joined 1st Canadian Division. On 12th May, the 51st crossed the River Gari and joined up with 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, prior to their part in the successful attack on the Adolf Hitler Line. In the final attack on the Adolf Hitler Line on 23rd May 1944, the Battalion supported their Canadian partners in an attack on the left of the line. At 0600 hrs on 23rd May, behind a blinding barrage, the tanks and infantry advanced. The tanks quelled all enemy machine gun fire and the infantry reached their objective, but during the fierce battle, the 51st sustained many casualties - both tanks and men. Finally at 1215 hrs the tanks were withdrawn to re-fuel and re-ammunition while the infantry were able to complete the second phase without serious opposition. After this battle, the Battalion reluctantly parted company with its Canadian friends and continued its rolling advance, slowly pushing back the enemy line, for another month before a break from front line action.”

We have found an official report of the events. The report explains why the Leeds Detachment (Leeds Rifles), Imphal (PWO) Company, The East and West Riding Regiment, still wear the Maple Leaf.

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Report of the events following May 23rd 1944

The 51 RTR Churchill tank crew in Italy, 17 May 1944