In Memoriam  - John Arthur Paul Loake                                                                                 Home


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Frederick Furr

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Edwin Hudson John Arthur Paul Loake
Richard Saxby Mutimer Raymond Reginald Norman Raymond George Osborne Brian Terence Peck
Colin Roderick Penness Douglas Arthur Prigmore John Harry Sharp Norman Perkins Sharpe
Robert Troath Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters


JOHN ARTHUR PAUL LOAKE, born 8.4.1924, entered the School in September 1935.  In July 1938, he left to join the Staff of the Rushden Co-operative Society as Salesman. 

He joined the Royal Lancers in November 1942 and served as a driver in the armoured section until he was killed in May 1944.  He was buried in Naples Military Cemetery. 

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Loake, 23 Church Street, Rushden.

 'In Memoriam Book'. 


Two other Old Grammarians who served in the 8th army also died in Italian battles

John Loake      died on the 28th April 1944;  buried at Naples.

Colin Roderick Penness     3rd September 1944 at the Gothic Line

William Berrill died on the 24th April 1945, in the battle at Argenta Gap

The memorial book doesn't refer to the fact that it was the Reconnaissance Regiment for the 1st Armoured Division. Just before John joined the regiment, the 12th Royal Lancers was part of 4th (Light) Armoured Brigade, taking part in the fight after the retreat from Gazala to the El Alamein line and the Battle of Alam Halfa, before rejoining 1st Armoured Division for the Battle of El Alamein itself.


Thereafter, the web does not separately identify the 12th Lancers.  But the regiments web site specifies that it rejoined 1st Armoured Division again for the Battle of El Alamein. The regiment then remained as part of 1st Armoured Division for the rest of the North African campaign, though sometimes it was attached to other units as necessary and were he first British troops to link up with the Americans in Tunisia in April 1943. It went to Italy in September 1943 still as part of 1st Armoured Division.  Source

The picture on the right shows the Humber Armoured Car which the Royal Lancers used at the first fight at El Alamein in July 1942, before John joined them, it is likely that whiulst they were subsequently replaced with the Dingo and the Daimler armoured cars, some would still have been in use by the end of 1942.

Italian Campaign   

The Eighth Army then participated in the Italian Campaign which began with Operation Husky, the invasion of the island of Sicily by Eighth Army and U.S. Seventh Army. When the Allies subsequently invaded mainland Italy elements of Eighth Army landed in the 'toe' of Italy in Operation Baytown and at Taranto in Operation Slapstick. After linking its left flank with the US Fifth Army which had landed at Salerno on the west coast of Italy south of Naples, Eighth Army continued fighting its way up Italy on the eastern flank of the Allied forces. At the end of 1943 General Montgomery was transferred to Britain to begin preparations for the Normandy invasion. Command of the Eighth Army was given to Lieutenant General Oliver Leese. Following three unsuccessful attempts in early 1944 by US Fifth Army to break through the German Winter Line, the Eighth Army was covertly switched from the Adriatic coast in April 1944 to concentrate all forces, except the V Corps, on the western side of the Apennine Mountains alongside US Fifth Army in order to mount a major offensive with them and punch through to Rome.


John Loake died according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the 28th April 1944 and buried at Naples War Cemetery:

"The site for the war cemetery was chosen in November 1943 and burials were made in it from the hospitals and garrison. Later graves were brought in from a number of small cemeteries in the immediate vicinity."

Indicating that John's Lancers had transferred from the Adriatic to the Western coast, near Naples, before he was killed.  From January 17 to May 18, the Gustav defenses were assaulted four times by Allied troops. These operations resulted in casualties of over 54,000 Allied and 20,000 German soldiers.



 Armoured Car Reconnaissance

Changes in doctrine made the armoured car regiment an organic asset of the armoured divisions, in which role the regiments typically fielded between 50 and 60 armoured cars.  In 1943, the armoured car regiments were removed from the armoured divisions and used as corps-level reconnaissance assets with one regiment assigned per corps.


In this role, they achieved their final organisation of a headquarters and four squadrons with 767 men. Each squadron had five troops of two Dingo scout cars and two Daimler Armoured Cars. The heaviest armoured cars in the regiments, the AEC Armoured Cars, now mounted 75-mm cannon, a far cry from the original armoured car armament of one machine gun and one antitank rifle of 1940.

Dingo (Right)

Arguably one of the finest armoured fighting vehicles built in Britain during the war, the Dingo was a small two-man armoured car. It was well protected for its size with 30 mm of armour at the front. The engine was located at the rear of the vehicle. One of the ingenious features of Dingo was the transmission; a pre-selector gearbox and fluid flywheel that gave five speeds in both directions. Original version had four-wheel steering; however this feature was dropped in Mk II because inexperienced drivers found the vehicle hard to control. Although the Dingo featured a flat plate beneath the chassis to slide across uneven ground, it was extremely vulnerable to mines. No spare wheel was carried, but it was not really necessary because of the use of run-flat (nearly solid) rubber tyres instead of pneumatic. Despite the hard tyres, the independent suspension gave it a very comfortable ride. A swivelling seat next to the driver allowed the other crew member to attend to the No. 19 wireless set or Bren gun when required.  





The Daimler Armoured Car (left) was a development of the Daimler Scout car known  "Dingo" (see above), a small armoured vehicle for scouting and liaison roles. A larger version fitted with the turret of the Tetrarch Light Tank became the Daimler Armoured Car. Like the scout car, it incorporated some of the most advanced design concepts of the time and is considered one of the best British AFVs of the Second World War. The prototypes had been produced in 1939, but problems with the transmission caused by the weight of the vehicle delayed service entry until mid-1941. 2,694 armoured cars were built by Daimler.



12th Royal Lancers

WW2 1939 - 1945 (Royal Armoured Corps)


France and Belgium 1940

North Africa


WW2 campaign stars:





Corps Troops British Expeditionary Force 16/10/39 - evacuated 6/40. Regiment performed critical rearguard roll during the retreat to Dunkirk.

8th Army, 1st Armoured Division, Divisional Troops Battle of El Alamein. in 55 Armoured Cars.

Corps Armoured Car Regiment.

Most also entitled to the 39-45 Star & 1939-45 War Medal

Note: a detachment of the 12th Lancers was used as the nucleus for the formation of the 27th Lancers.

Battle Honours:  Dyle; Dunkirk 1940; North-West Europe 1940; Chor es Sufan; Gazala; El Alamein; Tunis; North Africa 1941-3; Bologna; Italy 1944-5. Defence of Arras; Arras Counter-attack; Alam el Haifa; Advance on Tripoli; Tebaga Gap; El Hamma; Akarit; El Kourzia; Djebel Kournine; Creteville Pass; Citerna; Gothic Line; Capture of Forli; Conventello-Comacchio; Sillaro Crossing; Idice Bridgehead.

“the 12th being a reconnaissance unit were the first in with their armoured cars and scout vehicles.”








United Kingdom




Royal Armoured Corps

Unit Text:

12th Royal Lancers



Date of Death:


Service No:


Additional information:

Son of Arthur and Charlotte Ellen Loake, of Rushden, Northamptonshire.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

II. F. 4.