The IWM Photo Mystery

I’ve been meaning to tackle this for a while. The Imperial War Museum (IWM) photo library contains two images that purport to show 269 Battery, 87th Anti-Tank Regiment in Italy at the Foglia River.

The photos are below. 87th Anti-Tank did not deploy to Italy as a combat unit. The band stayed together on disbandment and did go to Italy but these photos, showing 17-Pdr guns under tow, are not of 87th Anti-Tank Regiment.

87th Anti-Tank disbanded in Constantine, Algeria in July 1944. The disbandment date is supported by the service records of at least three personnel and the book “The Devons” by Jeremy Taylor. Freddie Friend stated the disbandment occurred in June 1944.

Other sources state the regiment disbanded in July 43 but this is incorrect. This site records Christmas cards sent by members of the unit in December 1943 from North Africa.

Update: WW2Talk forum member Michel Sabarly has identified the unit as 268 Battery, 67th Anti-Tank Regiment of 56 Division. There appear to be errors in the IWM caption (269 Battery from 268 Battery on the record card) and an error made when the record card was created (87th ATR written instead of 67th ATR). I have inserted Michel’s annotated ID graphic below. The cat is the 56 Division formation sign.

WW2Talk is an excellent forum with lots of helpful members.



6 thoughts on “The IWM Photo Mystery

  1. Hi Steve,

    Hope all is well with you.

    Just seen your comments on this photo. I wonder if this is my grandfather, John Green’s, unit? He transferred from the 87th ATR to 60th ATR in March 1944 and the 60th was deployed to Italy in June 1944. The war dairy of the 60th mentions travelling in this area on 30/08/44 – 01/09/44 and being engaged in the Gothic Line battles (attached to the 1st Armoured Division) for the whole of September.

    THe 60th ATR was made up of four batteries: 237,199, 310 & 22 equipped with a mix of 6 pdr & 17 pdr ATGs, M10s and Sherman tanks.

    Just a thought?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stephen. It’s possible but surely the photographer didn’t get the battery number (269) wrong as well? I might post a question on WW2 Talk and see if there’s an AT unit with a 269 battery. Could well be your grandfather’s though.


    2. Hi Stephen, just as a side note, isn’t it ZZ battery rather than 22? If I remember correctly this was a battery first deployed to Egypt with the Deacon armoured portee.


      1. Yes you are correct, just checked my notes and it should be zz battery – looked like 22 on my scribbling writing


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