The Regimental Marches

The Cambrai Band of the Royal Tank Regiment


'My Boy Willie'- The original theme was adapted in 1920 from the Worcestershire folk song 'Billy Boy'. It was authorised in this form as the Regimental March of the Royal Tank Corps in 1923. This piece has associations with the original tanks 'Big Willie' and 'Little Willie' and one assumes these to have sprung from the reference in those days of 'Little Willie' to the Crown Prince of Germany, as well as the surname of one of the designers Major Wilson.

The March was rearranged in August 1944 by Wing Commander NL Wallace LRAM,ARCM with a pianoforte score by Major DJ Plater MBE,LRAM ARCM, to include an adaption of the French Folk song Cadet Roussel, a song originating in the Cambrai area, the scene of the very first major successful use of tanks in force.

Authorised as the Regimental March of the Royal Tank Regiment, and approved by HM King George V1 in November 1946.

There are no official words to the Regimental March 'My Boy Willie' but over the years the following refrain has been adapted:

"It wasn't the tanks that won the War it was My Boy Willie"


This march opens with the trumpet call of the old Royal Tank Corps Depot, followed by an adaption of 2 tunes; 'Billy Boy' (a version of 'My Boy Willie' as far as the words are concerned) and 'Waltzing Matilda'. The first tune refers to the 2 tanks used in WW1 'Big Willie' and 'Little Willie'. The second tune refers to the Matilda tanks used by 4 and 7 RTR during 1940-42.

The original version written by Major WG Lemon ARCM lay in rough manuscript form until 1991, when a new arrangement was made by WO1 (BM) GD Rodger LRAM,ARCM, ALCM who was the last Bandmaster with 3RTR.


'On the Quarterdeck' - This was the official quick march of 3RTR. The adoption of this Kenneth Alford famous nautical march stems from the crushing victory over the Royal Navy by 3RTR in the Portsmouth Command Whaler Sailing Championships in 1948.