Arras Preparations

C Bn’s tanks entrained from the siding at Erin.  The tanks and personnel moved on 3 trains. The first train carrying ten Tanks of No. 8 and 9 Companies left on the 24th March and arrived at Montenescourt on the morning of the 25th.  The second train left Erin on the 26th; this train contained No.7 Company with eight Tanks.  They arrived at Mont St. Eloi on the night of the 27th. The third train left on the morning of the 28th and arrived at Montenescourt on the morning of the 29th. This train contained four tanks of No.7 Company, two tanks of No.9 Company and four Tanks belonging to D Battalion.  Advance parties of No.7 Company went to the Bois de Maroeuil, and parties from Nos. 8 and 9 Companies went to the town of Arras, and were billeted at the Beaudemont Barracks.  These parties contained the Company and assistant Reconnaissance Officers, who carried out reconnaissance work in connection with the coming battle.

D Bn received orders to draw tanks from Central Workshops. Nos 10 and 11 Coys each drew 12 tanks, 12 Coy only 8.  These tanks were drawn on 28 March and entrained by Coys on successive days for movement to the forward area.  No 10 Coy detrained at Montenescourt, camouflaged the tanks and commenced preparations for action.  No 11 Coy detrained at Achiet-le-Grand and then trekked to Behagnies where they encamped.  No 12 Coy detrained at Mont-St-Eloi and encamped at the ramp.  On the following night the tanks were moved to the Bois de Moreil.

The First Tank Brigade

On 8 March 1917 the tank Battalions came under control of Tank Brigades. C and D Bns became part of 1st Tank Brigade under Colonel Baker-Carr DSO. His HQ staff were Capt LH Cox (Brigade Major), Capt MJ Tapper (Staff Capt), and Lt C Williams-Ellis (Intelligence Officer).