In pictures: British tank soldiers’ final year in Germany

Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Tank Commander Corporal Matty Hall, of D Squadron the Queen's Royal Hussars, lines up tanks before loading on to flat wagons at Germany's Sennelager railway station in January 2019

Nearly 75 years after the end of World War Two, the UK's last tank regiment in Germany, the Queen's Royal Hussars, returned home.

British photographer Tobias Wilkinson spent a year documenting the daily life of the soldiers in their barracks and on manoeuvres, before they came back to the UK in 2019.

Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, The C Squadron leader supervises the loading of tanks on to the railway flat wagons in Sennelager

Nicknamed "Churchill's Own", the Queen's Royal Hussars is the most senior armoured regiment in the British Army and is equipped with dozens of main battle tanks.

Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Corporal Aaron Drury of D Squadron removes equipment from a tank driving compartment to use on other vehicles to keep them battleworthy, at Athlone Barracks, Sennelager, in November 2018

The regiment was formed in 1993 from the Queen's Own Hussars and the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, which both stemmed from the 1958 mergers of the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th Hussars, which were established in the late 17th Century.

Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Challenger 2 tanks get into position for a final training exercise at Bergen-Hohne training area in northern Germany

Before relocating to Tidworth, Wiltshire, the regiment had largely been based at Athlone Barracks in Sennelager, North Rhine-Westphalia, since 1998.

The barracks were first used by the Prussian army in 1851 and have been mainly occupied by a series of British tank regiments since the end of World War Two.

Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Lance Corporal Lloyd Fabri, Lance Corporal Bill Wright and Corporal Robert Bulmer on their last formal parade in Athlone Barracks

"I have a home in Germany and became interested in the subject of the British Army's departure because it coincided with Brexit and increased Russian military posturing in Eastern Europe," says Mr Wilkinson, who is also a former soldier.

Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Officers meet for coffee after lunch at Athlone Barracks in 2018Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Tank crew from C Squadron take a break from maintaining their vehicles in Athlone Barracks

"Of the soldiers I photographed, there was a poignancy and nostalgia about being in the British Army in its closing moments in Germany," he adds.

"Many had enjoyed their experience of living in Europe, and whilst many were glad to be nearer their families in the UK, many who were more established were sad to be leaving."

Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Captain Alex Field, the reconnaissance troop leader, has breakfast in the officers' mess dining room at Athlone Barracks, in January 2019Image source, Tobias WilkinsonImage caption, Armoured recovery vehicle driver Craftsman Carla Knight stands beside the railway in Belsen

The Last Hussar exhibition is on at the National Army Museum in London until 28 January 2022.

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