The 11th Hussars, (Prince Albert's Own)
September 1939 To March 1946
||CO: Lt Col JFB Combe
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
A Happy New Year to all. At 0630 hours Sgt Lamb proceeded on eastern patrol but was delayed for 15 mins through engine trouble.
At 0815 hours Lamb reported was bad. No movement seen.
There was spasmodic enemy shelling during the day, but believed to be mostly ‘registering’ as there was no target in the area. An enemy Bty of 3 guns located ½° due South of the Watchtower at Pt. 177 511397. Patrol withdrew at 1700 hours.
In reserve NTR. Sgt Hutchinson went “Out of Battle”, 1Tp taken over by Sgt Beedham.
2Lt Cunningham and Cpl Wittaker arrived with RRAC from LAD. Orders were received during the day for the Sqn to move next into a position to observe the battle for BARDIA.
2Lt Crankshaw proceeded on Eastern patrol at 0630 hours.
At 0745 hours the Sqn Ldr proceeded on a recce Xtracks 502401 and liased with CO of the Rifle Bde.
At 1615 hours Sqn moved to area 50054045 where Crankshaw joined SHQ.
In reserve NTR.
The Sqn Ldr did recce in the early afternoon and the Sqn moved to Pt. 217 497402 with 1Tp 2Lt Cunningham at Pt. 225 502399.
The 4 ACs plus the MO and his vehicle and the colonel’s Ford moved forward down the main road towards BARDIA and tucked themselves in under the escarpment at approx Kilo 17. Support Group HQ was just above on the top of the escarpment.
At 0600 hours a heavy bombardment heard in the direction of BARDIA.
At 0630 hours 2Lt Crankshaw 5Tp moved East to observe the movement of the Rifle Bde’s Carrier Platoon and any enemy movement in the area of the road and West of the defences of BARDIA. This patrol worked its way eastwards, crossed the wadi to the West of CARMUS EL MENASTIR 506401 and remained in the area Pt. 158 for the rest of the day withdrawing to SHQ at 1700 hours. The patrol was shelled several times and very heavily on withdrawing.
SHQ with 1Tp and 3Tp moved forward at 0930 hours to area 50524019 and remained there until withdrawing to 50224028 at 1700 hours where the night was spent.
Sqn in reserve NTR.
The Battle of BARDIA commenced at 0530 hours.
At 1200 hours 1Tp 2Lt Cunningham moved forward to Pt. 216 505399 as observation from Pt. 225 was bad. From Pt. 216 it was difficult to see very much or to report anything of any significance as the battle was taking place on the other side of the MENASTIR ridge. A new ??? arrived with the Echelon but as it had to be towed most of the way it was sent back the next morning. Leave having started again, Sgt Matheson went back and was replaced by Sgt Hoyland.
By climbing to the top of the escarpment, shells (15 inch) from the navy could be seen bursting inside the BARDIA defences. Terrific columns of smoke and dirt were thrown up and it made one even feel a little sorry for the Italians.
Heavy MG fire was heard during the night.
At 0930 hours Sgt Lamb 1Tp moved East and took up a position of observation at Pt. 158 508402 and at 0730 hours was heavily shelled and therefore moved South and took up a new position near the road at 50724002 arriving there at approx 0900 hours. From this position the barrier across the main road at the defences could be plainly seen although visibility East of the barrier was bad owing to dust. No MET other than 4 derelict lorries could be seen.
At 0925 hours SHQ were shelled and 3 shells landed within 100 yards of the Ford Utility.
At 1500 hours the patrol on the road reported they could see large parties of men walking NW from the Southern camp and more on the ridge at Pt. 177. This movement went on for 1½ hours and was believed to be prisoners (taken by the Australians) being escorted to various places.
At 1700 hours the patrol withdrew. Sqn withdrew for the night which was spent at 50224028.
Sqn in reserve, NTR.
4Tp Sgt Holland left for Pt. 216 at first light.
At 1030 hours SHQ moved up to Pt. 216 but saw nothing to report except what appeared to be the rounding up of thousands of prisoners. A warning order of a probable move the next day was received from RHQ. Sqn spent the night at 497402.
At 0615 hours Sgt Scrivener 3Tp patrolled down the track running North from Xtracks at 502401. He captured 7 prisoners in area 503413. Patrol then reported that the area was clear of the enemy. The patrol then returned with the prisoners at 1100 hours.
At 0640 hours 2Lt Crankshaw 1Tp patrolled East and at 1000 hours was North of the road, 500 yards to the West of the Landing Ground. The patrol could see prisoners being marched about inside the defences and withdrew to SHQ at 1200 hours.
At 1345 hours Sqn moved Pt. 211 on the TRIGH CAPUZZO, replenished and then moved on to HAQFET NADURA 431382 arriving there at 2000 hours.
Sqn still in reserve and at 1300 hours received orders to move to HAQFET NADURA replenishing on the way. Two Breda AA guns were attached to the Sqn.
At 1815 hours Sqn took over left flank guard to RHQ for night march.
At 1945 hours halted for the night approx 1 mile South of HAQFET NADURA having done 32 miles since 1715 hours.
1Tp 2Lt Cunningham proceeded to Pt. 225 at first light and at 0830 hours were ordered to move forward to Pt. 216. However, after proceeding 400 yards they ran into a field of Thermos bombs and the MRAC ran over one and damaged the offside front, there were no injuries.
Capt Lawson visited RHQ and received orders to move at 1300 hours to replenishing area 480389.
At 1330 hours the Sqn moved, the LAD having taken over 1Tp’s damaged MRAC. The Sqn arrived at replenishing area at 1515 hours and were there joined by the remainder of the Regt.
At 1630 hours Sqn moved with the Regt to area HAQFET NADURA which was reached at approx 1930 hours.
The Regt concentrated at the replenishing area Pt. 211 on the TRIGH CAPUZZO, and after replenishing moved of to area HAQFET NADURA arriving there at approx 1930 hours. During the move to Pt. 211 from the BARDIA area we had fighter protection (Hurricanes) which was reassuring and an unaccustomed luxury.
Sqn remained in the same position.
At 1700 hours moved forward to BIR GUBI and remained there for the night.
The Sqn was ordered to recce BIR GUBI aerodrome and defences and to occupy it if possible.
At 0430 hours 1Tp and 2Tp were sent on this task. 1Tp to approach from the NE and 2Tp from the South.
At 0530 the remainder of the Sqn moved forward towards GUBI.
At 0625 hours 1Tp reported that they were on the landing ground which was deserted, and at 0700 hours 2Tp confirmed this report.
At 0715 hours SHQ and the remainder of the Sqn arrived at GUBI.
At 0720 hours 1Tp was sent to observe the track leading from GUBI to BIR HACHEIM and 2Tp proceeded for 6 miles along the GIARRABUB track and 3Tp took up a position of observation on the GUBI – TOBRUK track. 4Tp remained in reserve with SHQ who took up a position 2 miles to the South of the aerodrome.
At 1115 hours the Colonel visited SHQ and carried out an inspection of the buildings etc, with the Sqn Ldr Capt Robarts. It appeared as though the place had been evacuated for at least a fortnight and no equipment had been left behind.
At 1715 hours the Sqn moved another 2 miles further South and all Troops were withdrawn into SHQ.
Sqn in reserve moved with the Regt to BIR EL GUBI at 1545 hours.
||All Sqns in same position. NTR
||All Sqns same position. NTR.
Capt Lawson and 3Tp B Sqn carried out a recce of area to the North of BIR EL GUBI towards EL ADEM.
||At 1315 hours the Regt moved to MTEIFEL EL CHEBIR arriving at approx 1800 hours and remained there for the night.
Remained in same position. NTR.
The Sqns moved 7 miles to the West along the Trigh ENVER BEY, no patrols were detached as the Sqn was acting as a patrol in observation.
At 1100 hours the Colonel visited SHQ.
At 1605 hours the Sqn was attacked by 6 dive bombers (Bredas) who dropped HE and incendiary bombs from about 300 ft. the bombers were escorted by 9 fighters which flew above them and dropped anti-personnel bombs. The attack lasted for about 10 minutes. Two attacks were made and the second one was mainly machine gunning. LCpl Jones of 4Tp was hit in the left shoulder. The two Breda AA guns attached to the Sqn fired approx 150 rounds and one gun jammed. It was believed that one bomber was hit as he made off with smoke pouring from his tail. LCpl Seaman took LCpl Jones back in a RRAC and met Capt Justice, the MO, on the track about ¾ mile from SHQ.
Lt Turnbull returned and took over from Lt Friend, who took over 3Tp.
Sqn in reserve.
At 1615 hours 4Tp did a recce to the North to U9372 and returned at 1930 hours.
||C Sqn.NTR. Sqn still in same position.
Cpl Harding arrived from Cairo with new fitters 3-ton lorry. He had covered over 800 miles to reach the Regt.
Sqn in same position.
At 1640 hours 1Tp Sgt Beedham proceeded on recce of track running South of BIR ENVER BEY in a westerly direction.
At 1810 hours the Sqn moved West along the track for 17 miles and at 1950 hours halted for the night.
At 2100 hours 1Tp returned from recce.
Same position. NTR.
||C & B Sqns in same position. NTR.
The Sqn moved at 0615 hours and took up a position 2 miles to the South of track.
At 1245 hours the Colonel visited SHQ and at 1400 hours the Colonel and Sqn Ldr carried out a recce of the ground 4 miles West of the present position.
At 1445 hours they returned and the Colonel left for RHQ.
At 1600 hours 3Tp Lt Friend proceeded on a recce of the Trigh ENVER BEY to the West and SW for 10 miles. He reported an enemy recce plane flying East towards SHQ. The plane had machine gunned them without effect. It arrived over SHQ at 1610 hours flying at about 3000 ft. Breda AA and Bren guns opened fire and the plane after circling once flew away to the West. Several bursts from the Breda appeared to hit or be very near and one engine appeared to be out of action. No bombs were dropped.
At 1750 hours the Echelon arrived with 2 more Breda guns. Aircraft were heard overhead during the night, but there were no untoward incidents.
||C & B Sqns in same position. NTR.
Sqn in same position.At 1110 hours Sgt Moore, Royal Signals, arrived to fit a Noll Wireless in the Guy Armd Car.
At 1120 hours enemy recce bomber flew over SHQ at about 3000 ft. he was fired on and flew away to the West apparently undamaged.
At 1600 hours 4Tp Sgt Parry proceeded on a recce of the country SW of Trigh ENVER BEY and at 1630 hours 5Tp proceeded on a recce of Trigh ENVER BEY for a distance of 25 miles to the West and NW.
4Tp returned at 1900 hours and 5Tp at 1930 hours.
The Sqn was rearranged as follows:-
|1Tp Sgt Beedham
||-1 MRAC, 2 RRAC,
|2Tp 2Lt Clarke
||-1 MRAC, 2 RRAC,
|3Tp Lt Friend
||-1 MRAC, 1 RRAC,
|4Tp Sgt Parry
||-1 MRAC, 1 RRAC,
|4Tp Cpl Thomas
||- 2 Guy ACs,
|SHQ Capt Robarts
C.The wireless set fitted in one of the Guy cars worked satisfactorily.
||C & B Sqns in same position. NTR.
At 0700 hours 1Tp proceeded on a recce of ground towards the South and West of the Sqn position to find out what the going was like. At the same time 2Tp went on a similar recce to the West and NW. the latter Tp returned at 0900 hours.
At 1110 hours a twin engined Caproni flew over SHQ at 2000 feet and was heavily fired at. He circled and came back at 5000 feet and dropped six 501b bombs. No damage was done except to the Ford Utility which had the petrol tank punctured by a splinter.
At 1130 hours 1Tp returned.
At 1600 hours Major Leetham accompanied by the colonel 106th Regt AA RHA, (2 sections of which were attached to the Sqn 0 4 guns) and the MO Capt Justice visited SHQ and left again at 1700 hours.
||C & B Sqns in same position. NTR.
At 0630 hours 2Tp proceeded on a recce of the ground to the North of SIGNALI and returned at 0900 hours.
At 2030 hours Lt Friend and Cpl Thomas with 2 Guys, Sgt Parry in a MRAC and 2 Breda AA left to carry out a recce of EL MECHILI.
At 2300 hours W/T comms with this party failed and they were still out of touch at 2400 hours.
||C Sqn NTR.
No patrols. 2Lt Halliday returned from Cairo and took over 1Tp whose MRAC rejoined the Sqn. 2Lt Cunningham left for Cairo. Cpl Cobley with a Guy joined 1Tp.
At 0001 hours still no comms with 2Lt Friend’s party.
At 0520 hours Cpl Thomas, LCpl Burge and Tpr Murphy arrived at SHQ on foot. Cpl Thomas reported that his Guy had broken a side steering arm and that under orders he had walked back with his crew, a distance of 15 miles. They were all in good condition on arrival. Lt Friend and the remainder of the party had continued with the recce. He also reported that all messages had been received from SHQ but they had been unable to put anything back.
At 0830 hours communication was re-established and Lt Friend reported that he was in position 30 miles along the Trigh ENVER BEY and 1 mile to the South of it.
At 1000 hours a report was received to the effect that they had been chased out of their position by the enemy. Following is the chronological sequence of events:-
At 0845 hours an enemy recce plane spotted them and after making a thorough search of the area for other Troops, flew off towards MECHILI.
At 0915 hours two enemy fighters appeared, searched the area but failed to spot this party and returned to MECHILI.
At 1000 hours the recce plane reappeared and machine gunned bushes etc about ¾ of a mile away. At the same time the sentry reported that more or less the party was surrounded by enemy ground troops and a considerable number of M/Cs appeared about 250 yards away and opened fire with light MGs. At the same time the patrol was engaged by arty and A/Tk fire. Lt Friend and Sgt Parry engaged the enemy, thereby enabling our AA gunners to get their guns onto the trucks and to withdraw with their other lorries. This was carried out without casualties and the patrol withdrew to the SE where it remained until 1600 hours.
At 1600 hours 1Tp Sgt Beedham with Cpl Thomas and LCpl Standford left to recover the broken Guy.
At 1900 hours Lt friend and his party returned, followed by 1Tp with the Guy. The Guy was evacuated by LAD at 2100 hours.
||C & B Sqns in same position. NTR.
At 0800 hours the Sqn moved 1 mile to the West so as to be able to observe the Trigh ENVER BEY.
At 1600 hours 2Tp 2Lt Clarke left to carry out a recce of ground and going to the South and SW for a distance of 30 miles.
At 1900 hours 2Tp reported that the MRAC had broken down and that they had done 26 miles of their recce. They were ordered to remain in that position for the night. W/T comms between this Tp and SHQ again failed.
At 1600 hours Sqn moved to a position 3 miles South of SIDI BREGHISE arriving there at 1730 hours and remained there for the night.
At 0530 hours 8cwt truck met D Sqn (RAF) at SEGNALI in order to pass on information regarding the ground to the North of the track.
At 0830 hours 2Tp returned from their recce.
At 1245 hours the Sqn Ldr left for a conference at RHQ.
At 1600 hours 3Tp Lt Friend left to look for a position for the Sqn approx 7 miles to the West along the Trigh ENVER BEY. This Tp returned at 1725 hours.
4Tp, 2Lt Gape who had rejoined the Regt after a long period of illness in Cairo, did a recce to SIDI BREGHISE thence to BIR TEMRAD where the night was spent.
The Sqn moved with C Sqn and spent the night in the SIDI BREGHISE area.
At 1445 hours Sqn moved to SIDI BREGHISE, replenished and at 1645 hours moved West to area GHOT AFRAG 4 miles to the West of BIR ALEIMA and remained there for the night.
At 0700 hours 5Tp Cpl Thomas with 2 Guys left to take up a position of observation on the Trigh ENVER BEY and of the ground to the West and North.
At 0745 hours 2Tp with 2 AA guns left to take up a position of observation approx 12 miles to the West of SEGNALI.
At 0830 hours the remainder of the Sqn with 2 AA guns moved to a position 7 miles to the West along the Trigh ENVER BEY and 1½ miles to the North of it.
At 0900 hours 2Tp and 5 Tp were in position.
At 0945 hours SHQ arrived in new position and at 1100 hours the 8cwt left to go back to the old position to pick up the remainder of the petrol.
At 1245 hours the 8cwt returned (Tprs Anderson and Katz) and reported they had been attacked by 4 enemy fighters firing incendiary bullets, but no damage had been done. These men showed no trace of nerves from this experience.
At 1330 hours the Sqn Ldr accompanied by 2Lt Luya (RHA) and the SSM left to visit patrols, escorted by Sgt Parry in a MRAC.
At 1415 hours Sqn Ldr arrived at 2Lt Clarke who reported that enemy fighters had been over and looked as though they were about to attack his vehicle, but directly the AA guns opened up they flew off without having opened fire. The Sqn Ldr left 2tpm at 1430 hours and went North for 14 miles to visit 5Tp which he failed to find and therefore returned to SHQ arriving back at 1750 hours. No movement seen reported all day from all patrols.
At 0700 hours the Sqn moved to the WADI SCEGGA which was reached at 1130 hours. In the afternoon two recces were made. 4Tp 2Lt Gape due East from SHQ to main BOMBA – TOBRUK road over fairly good going. He then went South on main road to track junction MECHILI – BOMBA where a patrol from support group was seen. They then crossed the BOMBA aerodrome and proceeded SW down the track to SHQ arriving at 1830 hours.
3Tp Sgt Hoyland went in the direction of EL CHAULET but failed to find this place. He reported the country to his North as being impassable and returned to SHQ at 1820 hours.
||C & A Sqns in same position. NTR
Sqn in same position. 1Tp 2Lt Halliday recced ground to P3311 thence due West to P3510 and from there to EL EZZEIDT returning via the MECHILI track to SHQ. He reported the main track running North from MECHILI at P5694. This track was similar to the Trigh ENVER BEY and was probably a main track to MARTUBA and DERNA. 1Tp returned at 1350 hours.
At 1500 hours 4Tp went due North from SHQ and reported that after 8 miles the country became impassable. 4Tp returned at 1735 hours.
A MRAC, a RRAC and a Guy arrived with the Echelon. The RRAC broke down at P6998 and 2Tp Sgt McCarthy stayed with it.
||C Sqn. NTR
Sqn in same position. Two patrols in observation, no movement seen all day.
At 0830 hours Sqn leader left for RHQ with a Guy W/T car as escort. Two Breda AA guns also went as they were to be reallocated.
At 1230 hours 15 German planes, thought to be bombers, flew over SHQ with an escort of 6 fighters. They were flying East.
The Sqn Ldr returned at 1900 hours.
The LAD collected the RRAC which had broken down the previous day and Sgt McCarthy rejoined the Sqn.
Capt Arkwright (2i/c) and 4Tp 2Lt Gape left for RHQ at 0815 hours, 4Tp returned at 1420 hours.
There was some air activity during the day and Thermos bombs were dropped in the area. One plane flying near SHQ was identified as a German.
SSM Kitchen was taken ill during the night and was evacuated to RHQ in the morning from where he was subsequently sent back and operated on for appendicitis at MDS near SOLLUM.
German planes flew over RHQ and were heavily engaged by AA fire. They dropped no bombs and sheared off as soon as fired at.
At 0700 hours the Sqn and one section Breda AA guns moved to U3084.At 1130 hours 3 CR42 flew low over the Sqn and were driven off by AA fire.
At 1630 hours 3Tp Sgt Scrivener moved off to recce area North of MECHILI and at the same time 5Tp 2Lt Crankshaw moved to recce the area to the North of 3Tp area. Both Troops carried out a ground recce and remained for the night in square U09.At 1700 hours the Sqn moved to HAQFET SI EL TAIEB. At 2000 hours 3 &5Tp reported no movement seen.
The Sqn moved to U2764 (Bengasi map).
At 1740 hours 2Tp left to carry out a recce of area U0476 and 4Tp left to recce area U0868.
At 1815 hours 2Tp broke a sump of their MRAC and were towed back to SHQ by the RRAC. The recce was therefore not completed.
At 2000 hours 4Tp reached their objective but could not do anything further owing to bad ground and failing light. They halted for the night and were ordered to complete the recce at first light.
At 1500 hours the Sqn was ordered to join RHQ in the BIR ALEIMA area. On arrival at 1650 hours the Sqn replenished and moved on again behind RHQ to area U3888 where the night was spent.
Moved to area U3888 for the night. News was received that TOBRUK fell at 1300 hours.
At 0400 hours 3 & 5Tp started to move back to SHQ and arrived at 0750 hours.
At 1030 hours 3Tp Sgt Scrivener moved off to patrol to AURIET EL HAMMAMA. 5Tp and SHQ moved behind 3Tp. 3Tp and the Sqn were held up by a very deep wadi running NW & SE at U0394. 2Lt Crankshaw recced this wadi to the North for 7 miles and Sgt Scrivener South for 6 miles. No way over was found and the Sqn less 3Tp moved back to HAQFET SI EL TAIEB. 3Tp remained in observation of MECHILI and the track running North from it. 2Lt Crankshaw recced the track running from MECHILI to DERNA for 15 miles, no movement seen, track good.
3Tp in observation of MECHILI could not see more than 6 MET to the SW and 4 MET to the East of the Fort. He could see an OP on the high hill to the NW of the fort and a DR kept going back and forth from this hill to the fort.
At 1730 hours Scrivener 3Tp withdrew to SHQ and Crankshaw returned from his recce of the track.
At 1735 hours Sgt Beard with 2 RRAC was sent to the track corner at U2680 to meet the Echelon. He reached there just as darkness fell but found no sign of the Echelon so remained there for the night and returned to SHQ in the morning.
At 0830 hours 4Tp returned to SHQ after completing recce.
At 1130 hours 3Tp left to take up observation at BIR EL BETOR T5668, at the same time 1Tp left to take up observation at U2232. These patrols were 50 miles apart.
At 1500 hours orders were received to withdraw 1Tp and to take over area AURIET EL HAMMAMA. 4Tp were given this task.
At 1515 hours Sqn moved to T9565.
At 1630 hours 3Tp who were very near their objective were ordered to proceed to EL HAMAMA at T5080 and 4Tp were ordered to take over area BIR EL BETOR.
At 1715 hours 5Tp left SHQ for RHQ to lead the Echelon to the Sqn.
At 1745 hours Sqn reached T9565 and halted for the night.
At 1930 hours 1Tp halted for the night 4 miles SE of SHQ.
At 1200 hours the Sqn moved off in front of RHQ to BIR EL HAMARIN area which was reached at 1600 hours. 3Tp were sent 7 miles South but returned before dark.
Both vehicles of 1Tp blew cylinder head gaskets and one of them had to be evacuated. Another Guy came up with the Echelon but broke down 4 miles from SHQ and had to be brought in by LAD. The country around the Sqn position was very undulating and rocky.
At 0800 hours a CR42 flew low over the Sqn but was driven off by AA fire. 5 dive bombers with an escort of 4 fighters attacked troops within 2 miles of the Sqn.
At 0825 hours the Sqn moved to join RHQ in area BIR HAMARIN. After difficulty the Sqn reached RHQ at 1315 hours and remained for the rest of the day and that night. NTR.
At 0630 hours 4Tp reported that they had arrived with RHQ and that their MRAC had a badly bent track rod. They were ordered to stay there and repair the damage.
At 0730 hours 1Tp who were trying to join SHQ reported not verify their position.
At 0800 hours 5Tp left with the Echelon for RHQ who were at U0863. 1Tp was still missing.
At 0920 hours 2Tp left to take up a position of observation at the T tracks at T7086.
At 1000 hours ?Tp reported that their MARC had broken a push rod and their RRAC had broken a rear spring shackle and main leaf. This RRAC was left at T6879 with the crew but the MRAC was repaired sufficiently to enable it to return to SHQ.
At 1100 hours 5Tp arrived at SHQ and then left to take up their position at T7865. 1Tp and 3Tp had not rejoined SHQ by 1300 hours.
At 1430 hours the 8cwt and Sqn fitter left to search the area for 1 & 3Tp and at 1600 hours found them at T8570. They eventually arrived at SHQ at 1700 hours.
At 0950 hours 4Tp 2Lt Gape moved 10 miles to the South of BIR HAMARIN where they remained in observation all day and returned to SHQ at 1935 hours. The Sqn was still with RHQ in the BIR EL HAMARIN area.
At 0700 hours 3Tp Sgt Scrivener proceeded on a recce to BIR TENGEDER (U23) arriving there at approx 1300 hours having had mechanical trouble with the front suspension of their MRAC. This patrol contacted B Sqn who were 3 miles to the North of the Bir. The patrol returned at 1530 hours having patrolled 15 miles East, no movement seen.
Sqn still in same position, although not very sure of what the actual position is! The map was known to be very inaccurate and there were no good landmarks from which the position could be checked. No movement seen all day.
The Echelon had to cross very bad going to reach the Sqn and was accordingly kept for the night as the risk of damaging the vehicles over such bad ground at night was not worthwhile.
At 0715 hours the Sqn with one section of Breda AA guns moved to T9141 arriving at 1025 hours. A vehicle of 1Tp punctured his petrol tank and had to be evacuated by the LAD.
At 1600 hours three ‘ground’ recce patrols were sent out all of which returned between 1800 and 1830 hours.
A C Sqn patrol operating to the East of the Sqn spent the night with the Sqn.
Sgt Scrivener 3Tp left to relieve 2Tp at 0645 hours and to take up observation at BIR TENGEDER. No movement seen except an enemy recce plane circled the area at about 0900 hours and again at 1200 hours.
Sgt Beedham 1Tp left to relieve 2Tp at 0645 hours and to take up a position of observation of the track from MECHILI at T7087. At the same time Lt Friend 3Tp left to relieve 4Tp at T7765.
At 0900 hours 4Tp returned to SHQ.
At 1800 hours 2Tp broke down 10 miles to the West of SHQ and were ordered to remain there for the night.
At 0645 hours 1 & 3Tp with 4Tp went out to recce the ground for a distance of 30 miles to the West and 20 miles to the NW.
At 1400 hours the Sqn less 4Tp was ordered to join the Regt but at 1600 hours this order was changed and the Sqn spent the night 7 miles due South of BIR HAMARIN.
At 0700 hours Sgt Scrivener came into SHQ.
At 1100 hours the Sqn moved to area BALTET HAMLA, replenished and then moved North skirting to the East of MECHILI and bivouacked for the night on the track running North at U0595.
At 0645 4Tp left to relieve 1Tp, taking the Sqn fitter with them and dropping him at 2Tp en route.
At 0650 hours the Sqn Ldr and the Echelon left for RHQ escorted by 5Tp.
At 0830 hours 4Tp reported they were in position.
At 0900 hours 1Tp moved North to a position of observation of track at O6908. 3Tp returned to SHQ at 0930 hours.
At 1200 hours the Sqn came under orders of 7th Armd Bde and at 1205 hours moved to T8992.
At 1400 hours 1Tp reached their objective after very rough going and at 1600 hours, reported clouds of dust moving in a NW direction toward them. However no vehicles could be seen.
At 1030 hours 2Tp and 4Tp rejoined SHQ on the march. Sqn halted for the night at T7085 at 1745 hours.
At 1800 hours the Echelon arrived escorted by 5Tp. Lt Friend was given one of RHQ’s MRAC in place of his own. The Sqn was organised as follows:-
|1Tp Sgt Beedham
||1 MRAC, 1 RRAC,
|2Tp 2Lt Clarke
||1 MRAC, 1 RRAC,
|3Tp Lt Friend
||1 MRAC, (the RRAC was still with LAD)
|4Tp Sgt Parry
||1 MRAC, 1 RRAC,
|5Tp Cpl Thomas
||2 Guy ACs,
|SHQ Capt Robarts, Lt Turnbull
At 1900 hours the Sqn came under orders of the Support Group.
At 0800 hours the Sqn moved and joined RHQ at BIR EL HAMARIN. 1Tp MRAC cracked its sump and was handed over to the LAD. 1Tp’s RRAC went to 2Tp.
At 1145 hours the Sqn moved behind RHQ to O9785 where the Sqn replenished.
At 1650 hours the Sqn moved off again behind RHQ in a very bad sandstorm, skirting the enemy position at MECHILI which had been evacuated by them on the night of 26/27th January. The Sqn leaguered with RHQ and C Sqn on the MECHILI – GIOVANNI BERTA track at U0494.
At 0700 hours 2Lt Crankshaw 5Tp moved North to the track junction at O9736 and Sgt Scrivener 3Tp to track junction at )9128. SHQ moved up behind these Troops.
At 0900 hours Crankshaw reported that from his position he could see three M13 tanks and one lorry moving South down the track towards him. The tanks opened fire and he was forced to withdraw to a position ½ mile South of the track junction. SHQ also came under fire and retired to a position 2 miles to the South of Crankshaw.
At 1000 hours Sgt Scrivener reached his position and patrolled to the West and gained touch with a B Sqn patrol and then returned to his position at the track junction. This patrol returned to SHQ at 1700 hours.
2Lt Crankshaw remained in observation of the 3 enemy tanks and later the 3rd Hussars and one Troop of RHA arrived to dislodge the tanks. The tanks had already withdrawn. It is thought that they took advantage of a heavy rain squall when visibility was nil to slip away.
At 1600 hours Crankshaw pushed forward and observed to the North from high ground 3 miles NW of Xtracks at O9736. He could see some movement to his North in the distance but only men walking about. The patrol returned to the Xtracks at O9736 at 1730 hours and remained there for the night.
During the afternoon 2 enemy lorries were seen to be approaching 2 derelict M13 tanks 1 mile SW from track junction O0028. Cpl Macey who was in observation at the track junction saw two men dropped off from the lorries by the tanks and the lorries moved off to the East. Crankshaw captured the two lorries which were then flying RED CROSS flags although there was no First Aid or wounded in the lorries. Crankshaw sent one of his RRAC to capture the two men who had been dropped by the lorries. They turned out to be mechanics who were trying to get the tanks away. The lorries and prisoners were sent back to RHQ. The Sqn remained for the night in the wadi at GABR ALI O0028.
At 0800 hours 4Tp proceeded to a ground recce.
At 0815 hours the Sqn moved to a position 7 miles to the West of T5889. 4Tp returned from their recce at 1700 hours.
At 0645 hours the Sqn moved behind C Sqn due West. From 9619 4Tp and 2Tp were sent out to gain contact with the enemy who appeared to be retiring to the main road SLONTA – GIOVANNI BERTA. 4Tp reached the area 9516 and liased with 2nd RTR who had been ordered to attack enemy concentration of MET in the 8015 area. 4Tp took up a position in the 7924 area and observed the tank attack and withdrawal. 4Tp remained in position all day and was occasionally shelled. They had to move back slightly a little later owing to enemy MCs and light cars with Breda guns. During the whole of the day this Tp reported that the enemy were retiring towards SLONTA, also that there was a certain amount of movement on the track running NE to CHAULAN at 7528. 2Tp who were operating to the North of 4Tp in area 8427 confirmed the information given by 4Tp.
The enemy continued to retire all day but appeared to leave a rear guard along the 76 Grid line.
At 1730 hours SHQ moved up to 9122 with the Echelon, 1Tp and a section of Breda AA guns. 3Tp with the 8cwt bug and the fitters lorry were held up by bad going and remained out all night. 2Tp remained at 8727 during the night and 4Tp rejoined SHQ at 1930 hours.
2Lt Crankshaw reported MG fire to the North during the night and at 0700 hours he moved to Pt. 590 O9339 and observed an enemy camp at Pt. 639 O9345 where he could see approx 40 men and 2 MET.
At 0700 hours Sgt Scrivener moved to Xtracks at O9636 and then moved West to track junction at O8836 which he reached at 0935 hours. There was a small tank obstacle at the Xtracks but the patrol easily got through and turned SW towards CHAULAN. A lot of men were seen in the area between the track junction and CHAULAN. This Tp captured 1 officer and 50 ORs and 2 lorries and 3 miles further on killed one officer and approx 20 ORs who threw hand grenades at the patrol after first having put up their hands. The patrol moved further down the track and 3 miles from the T roads at )8836 came across what appeared to be a repair section. There was a breakdown lorry, 4 other lorries and a staff car. The Fort of CHAULAN was ½ mile further down the track and a lot of men could be seen in the fort and in a deep wadi NW of the fort. The patrol was NOT fired on.
At 0934 hours Crankshaw observed 2 MET moving SW from the northern camp. He could not tell what these MET were but suspected them of mounting Breda guns. A few minutes later these vehicles were followed by 2 MCs and 2 other lorries.
At 0937 hours Sgt Scrivener was recalled from CHAULAN to the T roads at O8836 as CHAULAN appeared to be a dead end. The patrol took up a position at the T roads ready to engage the enemy lorries moving SW towards him. The enemy however did not come on and must have halted in the wadi at O8932 as they never turned up until 1342 hours. Meanwhile Sgt Scrivener on his arrival at the T roads found that Sgt Nash’s RRAC had broken a spring which had to be changed at once. This job took nearly 5 hours owing to difficulty in fitting the spring.
At 1302 hours 2 enemy MCs appeared at the T roads but hastily retreated when fired at.
At 1342 2 enemy lorries mounting Breda guns and another lorry appeared at the T roads. Scrivener engaged this column who returned fire with the Breda and another heavier gun firing HE. The patrol was also engaged by SA fire from the East at the same time. The patrol knocked out and silenced one Breda and killed the entire gun crew as well as scoring a direct hit on the engine of the lorry. The patrol then withdrew eastwards into the cover of a hill. The enemy did not follow and the patrol remained in observation at Pt. 615. From this position the T roads were not visible but the patrol could see for 1½ miles West along the track.
During all this time Sgt Nash’s RRAC was still being repaired at Pt. 617 which prevented the patrol from retiring further. The job was finally completed at 1531 hours.
At 1600 hours Scrivener moved slowly forward to see if the enemy were still at the T roads. As Sgt Nash’s reached the T roads he was shelled and a few minutes later he ran over a mine. The car was badly damaged but the crew unharmed. Cpl Macey who was moving to the left rear of Nash’s car moved over thinking the crew were injured and ran over a mine himself badly damaging his RRAC but again the crew were uninjured. Scrivener managed to collect both crews, guns maps etc and retired eastwards without further damage, although still under shellfire.
At 1745 hours Crankshaw withdrew to Xtracks at O9636 and remained there for the night.
Sgt Scrivener with all the crews returned to SHQ.
At 1805 hours D Sqn arrived at SHQ and remained for that night and the next day.
Sqn still under command Support Grp.
At 1100 hours 2Tp 2Lt Clarke left to carry out recce of track in area T2088 and returned at 1500 hours.
At 1800 hours the Echelon arrived escorted by Lt Friend, who had picked up Cpl Thomas who had been out of W/T touch. 3Tp had to leave one Guy at MECHILI owing to a big knock. Cpl Bailey and a RRAC also rejoined from the LAD and another RRAC driven by Tpr Crosby arrived from AD Workshops.
1Tp and 4Tp (2Lt Halliday and 2Lt Gape) were sent out on patrol at 0700 hours in a NW direction with the main BARDIA – SLONTA road as the objective.
SHQ at 915224 and patrols moved out from that position.
At 0900 hours 3Tp Sgt Hoyland was sent out West towards Pt. 595. This patrol was shelled when only a few miles out and was able to pin prick the guns at 7627. There were 4 guns firing. These guns were kept under observation.1Tp and 4Tp were ordered into the CHAULAN area to observe any movement to the South. However the track junction at 8330 was heavily mined and movement was restricted. 4Tp moved up the track going NW from 9626 and found two enemy light tanks which had broken down and were being repaired by their crews. The crews escaped into a wadi and the patrol destroyed the tanks.
3Tp took up a night position astride the track at 8622 and 1Tp took up a position at 9425.
At 0700 hours Crankshaw moved forward to Pt. 590 and observed the North camp. Sgt Scrivener with one RRAC of 1Tp (Sgt Beard) moved to Pt. 596 and observed to the West. During the day 7 lorries, 3 Breda guns and 4 MCs moved SW from northern camp and appeared to go to area T roads at O8836 or CHAULAN. An enemy OP was established at Pt. 682. A party of approx 30 men with 1 tank as escort were working for 3 hours on what appeared to be an A/Tk obstacle ½ mile South of northern camp at Pt. 639.
Colonel Gairdner and the CO visited Sgt Scrivener’s patrol at Pt. 596 and did a recce of the area.
At 1745 hours Crankshaw withdrew to SHQ and Scrivener to Xtracks at O9636 for the night.
At 2000 hours Sgt Lamb with a MRAC arrived with the Echelon thereby giving the Sqn 3 patrols.
At 1000 hours the Sqn again came under command of the Regt.
At 1045 hours 3Tp left to take up a position of observation of the ground to the South and West of the track at T6387.
At 1200 hours 1Tp left to take up a position of observation at O6607 and at 1215 hours the Sqn moved for new position at T7680 arriving there at 1430 hours.
The Echelon failed to arrive as 4Tp MRAC broke a dumb iron on bad ground.
At 0700 hours 2Tp Sgt McCarthy relieved 3Tp and 4Tp 2Lt Gape relieved 1Tp. The role of these two Troops was to observe enemy positions and movement. Both patrols were shelled at intervals whenever they came in sight of the guns but no damage was done.
During the afternoon Colonel Gairdner and the CO visited the Sqn and went with Sgt Hoyland to see the enemy gun positions. They were shelled when they were out of their car and on foot but no damage was done except a piece of shrapnel punctured Colonel Gairdner’s AC.
At 0700 hours Scrivener moved back to his position from where he could observe to the West and the northern camp. Visibility was bad owing to rain and cloud.
At 1100 hours Sgt Scrivener was relieved by Sgt Nash and returned to SHQ.
At 1600 hours Australian Bren Carriers arrived in the Sqn area.
At 1730 hours Sgt Lamb was suspicious of movement from the East, although it was thought to be Australians. Sgt Beard was sent to investigate and reported them as enemy. Lamb accordingly withdrew to Xtracks at O9636.
At 1830 hours D Sqn (RAF) took over the patrol at the Xtracks for the night and Lamb returned to SHQ.
At 0700 hours the 8cwt was sent off to try and find the Echelon but failed to do so. The Echelon were eventually found at 1100 hours 6 miles to the North of SHQ. The MRAC with the broken dumb iron had to be abandoned.
At 1630 hours a CR42 was shot down by AA fire from 4th Armd Bde who were about 5 miles to the NE.
At 1815 hours 3 enemy bombers circled over SHQ after having bombed the 4th Armd Bde. The attached Breda AA opened fire and the bombers sheared off.
At 0700 hours 3Tp relieved 2Tp and 1Tp relieved 4Tp. The northern patrol reported 3 M13’s and MCs advancing East and the patrol withdrew in front of them while keeping them under observation. The tanks came on as far as Pt. 581 but returned to the West in the evening.
|| CO: Lt Col JFB Combe
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
At 0700 hours 2Lt Crankshaw moved NE to observe the column reported on the previous evening approx 7 miles East of Xtracks at O9636. The patrol contacted the column which turned out to be Australians after all. Crankshaw had an interview with the Australian Brigadier, Brigadier Savage, and returned to SHQ at 1100 hours with the Australian plan and other information.At 0705 hours Sgt Lamb 1Tp moved to Xtracks at O9636 and at 0900 hours moved to Pt. 596 and remained there all day. Very little to report except a little movement in northern camp and at an OP. The camp was ground strafed by 3 Hurricanes at 0830 hours. Sgt Lamb withdrew to Xtracks for the night at 1800 hours.
A very quiet day. Normal patrols but no movement seen. A certain amount of enemy air activity over patrols but no incidents.
At 0700 hours 1Tp and 4Tp relieved 2Tp and 3Tp. 1Tp 2Lt Halliday reported shelling to his North and that he could hear MCs. His position was Pt. 593 and he was relieved at 1200 hours by 2Tp.
At 1330 hours 2Tp reported a long line of dust moving in a NW direction but could not see any vehs. He moved forward 2 miles at 1500 hours and reported some MCs in area Pt. 595.
4Tp Lt Gape was in a position at 8423 and reported shelling to the North and heavy AA fire East of SLONTA at 1135 hours. He also reported enemy position extending from 7728 to Pt. 629 7622.
Sgt Matheson arrived with the Echelon and took over 3Tp from Sgt Hoyland who took over the duties of SSM.
At 0700 hours Sgt Lamb 1Tp took over patrol at Pt. 596.
At 0900 hours the Australians moved up and worked to the NW.
At 1300 hours Sgt Lamb withdrew to SHQ and at 1330 hours the Sqn moved to area 12½ miles South of MECHILI replenishing en route.
At 1800 hours the Sqn arrived at U0367 and remained there for the night.
Normal patrols, no movement seen all day.
During the night 4Tp heard enemy vehicles in what they thought was a NW direction between 0100 and 0300 hours.
3Tp Sgt Matheson and 1Tp 2Lt Halliday relieved the other two Troops at first light.
At 1120 hours patrols reported that the enemy position was unoccupied except for a few MET and MCs who were retiring West. Patrols were ordered to move slowly West and to pay particular attention to tracks on account of mines.
At 1500 hours the Sqn received orders to push on to SLONTA via the Xtracks at 5524 and thence via the TRIGH AZIZA.
At 1530 hours the Sqn moved to the Xtracks at 7724. 3Tp arrived there first and the RRAC struck a mine. The crew were not hurt but the car was badly damaged. 1Tp was at Xtracks 7528 and Sgt Matheson recced from 7724 to the North to try and find a way round the minefield and to contact 1Tp which he succeeded in doing at 1640 hours. He remained with 1Tp in that position for the night. SHQ and the remainder of the Sqn stayed at 7724.
At 1700 hours Major Miller arrived from Cairo and took over the Sqn from Capt Lawson who returned to RHQ prior to going to Cairo. He had been in the field commanding the Sqn for a long time without a break.
Major Miller who returned from Cairo brought with him Major Pepys of the Royals who was attached to the Regt to get an idea how we worked. Major Crossley of the Kings Dragoon Guards also arrived with one Sqn KDG who were in leaguer a few miles to the South.
Major Payne Gallway called at 7th Armd Div HQ for orders and at 1500 hours the Sqn moved to a position at I9342 and remained there for the night.
At 0645 hours 3Tp proceeded on a recce of the TECMIS track the plan being to get into a good concealed position during the day and to carry out the actual recce during the late afternoon and evening.
The 8cwt bug with 10 crates of petrol and a Guy AC belonging to 5Tp left with 2Tp and went as far as ??? where they filled up 2Tp and then set out to return to SHQ.
At 1115 hours 3Tp left to take up a position of observation at GHOT ??? T3386.
At 1130 hours the 8cwt and Guy returned to SHQ and reported that there were thermos bombs along the track.
At 1300 hours the Sqn moved forward to T8067 arriving there at 1515 hours.
At 1530 hours troops were sent forward to clear the track of bombs, which they did by exploding 20 bombs with Bren gun fire, rifle fire would not explode them. They returned to SHQ at 1700 hours and reported the track clear.
At 1715 hours 2Tp commenced recce of tracks.
At 1830 hours 2Tp and 3Tp moved back along the track for 7 miles and halted for the night.
At 0700 hours 3Tp Sgt Matheson was ordered to proceed West down the track from 7429 and 1Tp 2Lt Halliday remained there to await the arrival of the remainder of the Sqn. The LAD and 2Lt Caldwell RE with a sub-section were attached to the Sqn. 4Tp 2Lt Gape remained behind to show the REs the location of the mines and to bring them on when they had cleared the minefield.
SHQ led by 2Tp Sgt McCarthy joined 1Tp and proceeded West down the track.
At 0830 hours 3Tp found another minefield at 7228. Sgt McCarthy moved two mines off the track and the Sqn was able to proceed.
At 1130 hours at 5926 3Tp ran into an A/Tk trench with adjacent minefield. 2Lt Caldwell RE who had by this time cleared the other two minefields and removed over 600 mines was sent up to clear the latest discovered , which he did and led the way over it in his truck followed by Cpl Early in his RRAC. 2Lt Caldwell got over alright but the RRAC struck a mine which badly damaged it but again the crew were unhurt. It was thought that this mine had been buried deeper than the rest and had been missed.
At 1400 hours the Sqn received orders to proceed North to EL FARDIA area and to come under orders of the 8th Australian Div. The Sqn retraced its steps and then proceeded North along the track from 7429, 1Tp in front and 3Tp going back to pick up the Echelon and to escort it to the Sqn.At 1545 hours 1Tp 2Lt Halliday reported another minefield and A/Tk trench at 739817. This was cleared by the REs and the Sqn proceeded until reaching Fort EL RIDATTA 7139 where there was another trench and more mines. The Sqn arrived at the fort at 1800 hours and a detour was made around the trench and the mines. It was raining hard and the going was very bad. On reaching the track again the Sqn pushed on to EL FARDIA arriving at 1910 hours and received a rousing welcome from the local inhabitants. The night was spent there.RHQ.In the early afternoon the Sqn followed by B Sqn moved to a position South of MECHILI and replenished en route.
At 0730 hours the Sqn received orders to move to MSUS and to recce the BIR GERRABI on the way.
At 0745 hours the Sqn moved and arrived at MSUS at 1500 hours. There was a small fort with a garrison of approx 20 native troops. Sgt Scrivener 3Tp engaged the fort from the East while 2Lt Crankshaw 5Tp moved round to the West in an attempt to cut-off the garrison. The enemy opened fire with MG and SA fire which was returned. As 5Tp came up on the West (about 2 miles from the fort) the garrison came out in two lorries and moved NW. the patrol were unable to stop them as a deep wadi was in the way.
At 1700 hours the Sqn moved SW from MSUS for 30 miles, arriving X6184 at 2100 hours and remained there for the night. The Sqn had covered 110 miles during the day and were now 30 miles to the SW of RHQ who had arrived at MSUS just prior to the escape of the garrison.
At 0645 hours 1Tp left to take up a position of observation at S9521.
At 0800 hours the Sqn moved forward to GHOT DERVA.
At 0815 hours 1Tp who were halted with a petrol stoppage were attacked by two CR42. The crews were unhurt but the rear petrol tank of the RRAC was punctured.
At 0845 hours 3Tp was sent forward to take over from 1Tp.
At 0900 hours the Sqn moved forward again.
At 1030 hours Sgt Beedham and a MRAC was sent back to try and find the Echelon which the Sqn Ldr was rather worried about as they had a difficult job to find the Sqn without much data to work on.
At 1130 hours the sound of aircraft was heard, but no planes could be seen. A loud explosion was heard and clouds of smoke could be seen. 3Tp was sent to investigate but could find no craters or any sign of a target.
At 1300 hours the Sqn received orders to rejoin the Regt at MSUS and the Sqn moved at 1430 leaving Sgt Beedham to continue his search for the Echelon.
At 1700 hours the Sqn was still on the move over extremely difficult broken ground and wadis. At this time Sgt Beedham reported that he had not met the Echelon so he was ordered to proceed to BIR BETOR to re-fill at the RASC dump there.
At 1730 hours W/T communication failed with Beedham.
At 2300 hours the Sqn halted for the night having done 34 miles on very tiring country. Still out of touch with Beedham and accordingly without news of the Echelon.
At 0715 hours having contacted the leading Australian patrols coming from the East the Sqn proceeded West down the main road towards SLONTA. 4Tp 2Lt Gape was in front followed by 1Tp 2Lt Halliday and 2Tp Sgt McCarthy. 3Tp Sgt Matheson was sent back to GIOVANNI – BERTA to contact SQMS Dyson and his Echelon.
At 0850 hours 4Tp reported a large road block and mines at 3829. The REs had been temporarily lost in the morning mist, so 4Tp were told to do their best to get round the block.
At 1015 hours Sgt Holland 4Tp was killed by a mine from which he was removing the fuse. The mines were cleared by 1200 hours and 2Tp took the lead.
At 1345 hours 2Tp struck another minefield which 2Lt Caldwell RE cleared by 1415 hours.
At 1500 hours the Sqn reached GARAUA and 4Tp investigated the aerodrome but found nothing except a few burnt out planes. Approx 1 mile West 2Tp captured a Fiat car, 2 lorries, 2 officers and 12 ORs. 2Lt Caldwell and SHQ also captured 1 officer and 18 ORs who were hiding in a culvert.
At 1800 hours at 882174, 2Tp caught a party of enemy laying mines, some of which were already in place across the road. 2Lt Caldwell and his two trucks went forward and when the mines had been cleared 2Tp went on followed by 1Tp. At this moment an enemy ambush party opened fire on the vehicles and Tpr Potter and Tpr Froggatt were killed and Sgt Whittaker wounded. A MRAC and a RRAC were badly damaged also a Guy AC of 1Tp and both the RE trucks. During a lull in the firing 4Tp 2Lt Gape was sent forward to try and give covering fire for the withdrawal of the other vehicles but the firing started again more fiercely than ever and 4Tp were forced to withdraw into cover of bushes by the side of the road. Sgt Whittaker was badly wounded in the leg but Sgt McCarthy, LCpl Stump and Tpr Naylor managed to get him out of his car and carry him out of danger. All this was carried out under very heavy fire. The enemy were firing shells, A/Tk guns and MGs at a range of about 3/400 yards. Major Miller was in his Ford utility amongst the damaged vehicles but managed to get it off the road and retired on foot. The whole action lasted for about 10 minutes. Having collected as many vehicles as possible the Sqn withdrew to 960160 and remained there for the night.
The Sqn moved SW to ANTELAT and from there sent out patrols West and SW. Sgt Lamb 1Tp went to BEDA FOMM and 4 enemy lorries moved East towards him but soon turned around and went back. Sgt Scrivener 3Tp moved to SIDI SALEH but the patrol had mechanical trouble so he was relieved by 2Lt Crankshaw 5Tp who pushed SW to within sight of the BENGHAZI – AGEDABIA road and chose a position for cutting the road. Sgt Lamb 1Tp moved West and was in observation of the road at X1079.
At 1200 hours the Rifle Bde (Col Renton) and RHA (Lt Col Campbell) took up positions and 5Tp was withdrawn and sent to BEDA FOMM to watch for any enemy movement to the SE. 1Tp at X1079 reported enemy moving South on the road. This MET was dealt with by the Rifle Bde.
At 1730 hours the 4th Armd Bde arrived in the BEDA FOMM area so 1Tp and 5Tp withdrew to SHQ at SIDI SALEH for the night.
At 0700 hours the Sqn moved forward towards the track at BIR MELEZ and came under orders of Support Grp.
At 1000 hours the Sqn met the B2 Echelon of RHQ who supplied the Sqn with hard rations and petrol.
At 1200 hours the Sqn moved again with the task of recceing ESC SCELEIDIMA which was believed to be held. 5Tp was given the job and moved forward as advance guard to the Sqn.
At 1330 hours the Sqn halted at S5315 and 5Tp went on to carry out the recce.
At 1500 hours 5Tp reported that their objective was strongly held by guns and Infantry and that they could see a strongly built fort on the top of a hill which commanded all approaches.
At 1530 2Tp 2Lt Clarke was sent forward to recce an enemy position at SIDI BRAMM.
At 1600 hours Support Grp were in position 2 miles South of the Sqn.
At 1615 hours 5Tp Cpl Thomas reported that he had met a patrol of D Sqn (RAF) who were going to be attached to the Sqn and at 1630 hours D Sqn HQ arrived at SHQ.At 1635 hours the B2 Echelon arrived. This Echelon was doing a double job as there was still no news of Sgt Beedham or the B2a Echelon.
At 1645 hours Brigadier Gott of Support Grp arrived at SHQ and escorted by 3Tp left to carry out a recce of ESC SCELEIDIMA.
At 1730 hours a patrol of D Sqn took over from 2Tp.
At 1800 hours 3Tp arrived at SHQ and confirmed 5Tp report. 2Tp also arrived at SHQ.
At 2230 hours 5Tp returned having been delayed by mechanical trouble. ESC SCELEIDIMA was shelled during the night by our artillery.
After having been threatened by the Australians the enemy withdrew during the night and at 0830 hours 4Tp again took the lead towards BARCE followed by 1Tp. At the top of the escarpment at Kilo 8 the road was badly blown and further down the hill the enemy had blown a 120 ft span bridge. No movement seen in BARCE but an explosion was heard. Sometime was spent while the damaged road was surveyed but at 1355 hours the Sqn turned back and with 4Tp leading turned off the main road at 8116 and moved down the track to the station at 6610. There were two A/Tk trenches dug across this track but they were soon filled in. Sqn halted for the night in area 5905.
While at MSUS another “Force” was formed consisting of 11th Hussars, less A & B Sqns, plus one Sqn of the KDGs, the Rifle Bde and guns under Lt Col Campbell, the whole force under command of Lt Col Combe.
RHQ left MSUS at first light in the tracks of C Sqn. The remainder of the Force followed a little later. On reaching ANTELAT, the B vehicles were left there and the 4 ACs plus Col Campbell in an 8cwt truck went on towards the main road. On arrival at SIDI SALEH the Colonel and Colonel Campbell carried out a recce. A suitable position for RHQ was found and the rest of the Sqn sent for. They eventually arrived with the rest of the Force. The guns were positioned and the Rifle Bde took up positions on the road.
At 0800 hours 2Lt Crankshaw 5Tp moved to X1876 to contact 4th Armd Bde and to observe any enemy movement to the SE.
At 1000 hours the Sqn moved to the White Mosque on the road and on the way contacted Cols Renton and Campbell as the Sqn task was to protect the right flank of the Rifle Bde and the guns while they blocked the road. Sgt Lamb captured 1 Italian officer and 13 ORs.
At 1800 hours the Sqn concentrated with SHQ at the Windmill.
At 0645 hours the Sqn Ldr left with Brigadier Gott escorted by 3Tp for ESC SCELEIDIMA.
At 1030 hours the Sqn received orders to move forward to SCELEIDIMA as it had now been evacuated by the enemy.
At 1100 hours 2Tp reached the objective and were ordered to recce SIDI BRAMM.
At 1130 hours the remainder of the Sqn arrived at the fort but were held up by a huge A/Tk trench across which the Sappers had made a temporary bridge but it was not strong enough to hold the fitters lorry. Accordingly the trench had to be filled in to carry the weight across. This work took about an hour and the lorry crossed successfully.
At 1140 hours 3Tp was ordered to recce SOLOCH which was shown on the map as the terminus of the BENGHAZI railway. The patrol entered at 1230 hours and were warmly welcomed by the inhabitants many of whom appeared to be of Turkish origin.
At 1235 hours the Sqn moved off as advance guard to Support Grp the objective being SOLUCH.
At 1300 hours 2Tp reported that SIDI BRAMM was unoccupied and that they had captured 1 Italian officer and 4 ORs.
At 1330 hours 3Tp were pushed on to recce NW towards GARDINA.
At 1430 hours the Sqn arrived at SOLUCH and then moved 1 mile to the West of the town. In the town the fitters lorry broke down and had to be towed. This vehicle was affectionately known as JEMIMA and had be right through the campaign from June to February and had only failed to reach BENGHAZI by 25 miles.
At 1445 hours 3Tp entered GARDINA where they received a civic welcome by the Mayor. One Trooper was given some Italian money by one of the inhabitants and he immediately spent it in a shop on much needed milk and sugar.
At 1500 hours a troop of D Sqn (who were still attached to the Sqn) was sent to recce GHEMINES. In the meantime 3Tp had pushed on another 7 miles and was well on the way to BENGHAZI having met no resistance.
At 1530 3Tp were ordered to return to SHQ and 2Tp were recalled from SIDI BRAMM.
At 1800 hours 2Tp arrived at SHQ with their prisoners who were handed over to Support Grp.
At 1805 hours a Carrier Platoon of the Rifle Bde was sent out to assist D Sqn patrol with their prisoners.
Still no news of Sgt Beedham and the lost B2a Echelon.
The advance continued, 4Tp in the lead and followed by 1Tp and moving towards REGINA and ??? the first obstacle to be encountered was an A/Tk trench at REGINA which was reached at 1330 hours. The weather was very wet and the track very sticky. From REGINA it was possible to see right across to BEMINA and BENGHAZI. The Sqn stayed at REGINA (while the Australians marched into BEMINA) until 1700 hours and then moved down to leaguer position on BEMINA aerodrome.At 1900 hours Sqn received orders to proceed South to ??? at first light as 7th Armd Div required assistance. For the first time for nearly two months the Echelon failed to find the Sqn.
At dawn one diesel lorry with 4 officers and 180 ORs were captured.
At 0730 hours 2Lt Crankshaw and Sgt Lamb patrolled NW to see if the area between the Rifle Bde and 4th Armd Bde was clear of enemy and at 0830 hours reported no movement seen.
At 0900 hours these patrols withdrew and moved South to contact the KDG Sqn who were 14 miles to the South of the White Mosque.
At 1100 hours contact was gained and 2Lt Crankshaw was sent further South to a position of observation 7 miles to the North of AGEDABIA.
At 1700 hours Sgt Lamb joined Crankshaw and both patrols moved South to recce AGEDABIA. Sgt Lamb moved round to the South of the town and blocked the western exits and Crankshaw entered and took possession of the town. There were approx 200 Italians there one of whom was the Colonel of a Light Tank Regt. He spoke very good English and was a friend of Major Carr 12th Royal Lancers.
At 1800 hours the Sqn moved 3 miles to the West of AGEDABIA and leaguered for the night. A Coy of the Rifle Bde took over the town and prisoners.
The Sqn received orders to act as advance guard to Support Grp and D Sqn were ordered to recce along the coast track whilst the Sqn and Support Grp moved along the main road.
At 0700 hours the Sqn moved across country towards ANTELUCH, 2Tp leading.
At 0800 hours the Sqn reached the main road and turned West. From here on Italian soldiers waving white flags were met continuously. For the most part they seemed only too glad to surrender.
At 1400 hours the Sqn came under command of the Regt again. 2Lt Clarke was evacuated to an ADS with an injured hand.
At 1500 hours the Sqn reached Kilo 18 (from AGEDABIA) where the remainder of the Regt, less B Sqn, was. Cpl Thomas and 2Lt Poston rejoined the Sqn.
At 1600 hours the Sqn moved with the Regt towards AGEDABIA, where Lt Friend’s Tp was left to assist in guarding the prisoners. The Sqn leaguered for the night 2 miles to the West of the town.
At 1815 hours the long lost B2a Echelon arrived. Cpl Wood who was in charge of it had put up a very good show as the Regt had moved very fast and whenever he asked for information as to its whereabouts he always received the answer “Oh, the 11th have gone on”. Cpl Wood reported that Sgt Beedham was just SW of the BIR BETOR waiting to be recovered by the RASC as his car had gone into a ditch and bent the front axle as well as damaging the wireless.
At 0700 hours the Sqn left to lead the 4th Btn of the 6th Australian Div southwards to try and catch up with the enemy column and deal it a blow to the rear. 4Tp took the lead until 1015 hours when 1Tp took over.
At 1030 hours the Sqn arrived at GHEMINES and went on to about 3 kilos short of MAGRUM. After halting there for sometime it was discovered that the 7th Armd Div had finished their battle very successfully and that the Sqn was to revert to the Regt who were then in AGEDABIA. The Sqn halted for the night at MAGRUM.
At 0800 hours the Sqn moved West along the road towards AGHEILA , A Sqn leading. AGHEILA was reached at approx 1200 hours and the Sqn remained there for the night.
At 0700 hours the Sqn moved West along the road acting as advance guard for the Regt, 3Tp leading.
At 0800 hours 3Tp reported that they had captured 30 prisoners and at 0830 hours they reported that they had captured and disarmed a Libyan Cavalry patrol consisting of 12 men.
At 0930 hours 3Tp reached the fork road MARSA – BREGA – AGHEILA and reported that there were 50 Italian soldiers on the MARSA – BREGA road. They were ordered to proceed on the main road to AGHEILA and 2Tp moved along the to MERSA BREGA. The 50 Italian soldiers were captured and sent back along the road to SHQ where they were ordered to march East along the main road.
At 1200 hours 3Tp reported that AGHEILA fort and aerodrome were unoccupied. The Sqn occupied the fort at 1230 hours and at 1300 hours moved 2 miles West and halted for the night. The weather during the day had been very rainy and stormy but the Sqn spirits were not dampened.
At 0730 hours the Sqn received orders to rejoin the Regt, which was leaving AGEDABIA and proceeding to AGHEILA. The Sqn left MAGRUM at 0900 hours and joined the Regt at 1530 hours.
The Sqn leaguered in the White House South of the road about 4 kilos from AGHEILA.
The Officers Mess was established in the old Officers Mess of the CARABINERE who had previously occupied the fort. A good fire was lit and clothes and bedding dried.
Later that night two Libyans arrived, one of whom was a Sgt Major. He stated that there were approx 300 men with camels and horses in the sand dunes a few kilos to the East of the fort and that they wanted to give themselves up. The CO did not want them in that night as it would have been difficult to disarm and sort them out in the dark. The Sgt Major was therefore told to bring his men in the next morning and that if they behaved themselves they would be well treated and given food. If however they attempted to escape they would all be shot by our patrols. This seemed to be understood and the Sgt Major rode off back to his men.
The Sqn remained in the same position and the day was spent in drying clothing and bedding and maintenance of the vehicles. NTR.
At 0900 hours the Sqn moved forward to the TRIPOLITANEAN frontier, 3Tp doing advance guard.
At 1000 hours 3Tp were held up by minefields which had been layed along the sides of the road; there was also an Italian lorry blown up, presumably by their own mines.
At 1030 hours a detachment of Sappers arrived and proceeded with 3Tp clearing the mines as they went along.
At 1200 hours the Sqn halted at RAS EL AALI which had been the Italian Cavalry Depot. Many horses had been left and they were very thirsty and hungry and in many cases were suffering from bullet wounds.
At 1210 hours 5Tp moved forward to act as forward patrol 4 miles West of SHQ.
At 1430 hours 2Tp relieved 5Tp. The remainder of the Sqn set to work to water the horses at a well in the Depot.
At 1500 hours 2Tp carried out a patrol for 20 miles West along the main road.
At 1630 hours 2Tp reported that 3 CR42’s flew over them at 100 ft but did not take any action.
At 1730 hours 2Tp returned and took up a position 4 miles West of SHQ.
Sqn in same position. Abandoned enemy vehicles inspected.
At about 1000 hours the Libyans were sighted coming across the dunes towards the fort. They numbered about 400 camels, 20 to 30 horses and approx 340 men. There were also 20 Italians amongst them including an Air Force officer and some sailors. These men were all disarmed and marched to their allotted lines. The Italian prisoners were sent back with the Echelon. Major General Creagh visited the Regt and had luncheon in the officers mess. He inspected the Libyan Camel Corps and the fort. Unfortunately he did not have time to visit the Sqns but he wrote out and sent a long and most complementary signal to HM the King as Colonel in Chief of the Regt.
Still in same position.
At 1515 hours Major General O’Conner visited the Sqn and spoke to the men.
At 1545 hours Sqn moved to T road 8 miles West of AGHEILA. 1Tp Sgt Lamb in observation 3 miles to the West until 1845 hours. No movement seen.
3Tp relived 2Tp at 0645 hours.
At 1100 hours the CO visited the Sqn also Capt AMES RAOC who took away some of the abandoned vehicles.
At 1200 hours the Colonel left and on checking the Sqn position it was found to be 10 miles inside TRIPOLITANIA and not on the frontier!
At 1430 hours the Sqn moved back to AGHEILA.
At 1630 hours the Sqn leaguered 2 miles West of AGHEILA.
The Sqn attended Regtl church parade in the hanger otherwise NTR.
Padre Woodhouse conducted a service in the hanger. There was a good attendance and the singing was excellent and sounded very well in the hanger. The turnout of the men, considering what they had been through, was very good. The KDG Sqn who had not been in the field for long, looked particularly smart. General O’Conner with some of his staff, visited the Regt and was entertained in the Mess.
||C, A & B SqnsNTR.
Capt Wainman, the Adjutant, arrived after a long spell of illness and shooting accident in Cairo. He made a record journey by air to TOBRUK and then by road to AGHEILA.
||C Sqn. NTR
Same position. At 0635 hours two enemy bombers flew over AGHEILA and dropped bombs, no damage done.
At 0655 hours an enemy recce bomber flew over the house in which the Sqn were billeted and dropped 4 bombs which made large craters about 200 yards to the North. The plane then circled and machine gunned the house and dropped 2 more bombs which fell about 200 yards to the East. No damage was done. Later the Sqn evacuated the house and moved 3 miles to the South into the desert.
The same bomber that attacked B Sqn flew over the fort and machine gunned the forward and rear link cars. There was no damage to them. A bullet embedded itself in a wall of the building in which Major Leetham, Lt Roberts, Capt Ames and Capt Justice were sleeping. Another few inches to the left and it would have gone straight through the door. Lt Col “Flash” Kellett MP who spent the night with us was sleeping in the next room. He left after breakfast to return to Cairo.
At 0650 hours Sgt Lamb moved to a position of observation 3 miles to the West of SHQ. Nothing to report during the day except the recapture of 24 camels and 41 Libyans who had escaped from the main party at RHQ and were moving West. Sgt lamb withdrew at 1840 hours.
Still in same position. All hands doing maintenance in readiness for the much looked forward to move back to Cairo.
Sqn in same position. One enemy recce plane flew over during the day and was fired on without visible effect. No British planes seen throughout the day.
Major Baird (chief liaison officer between the British forces and Arabs) who had been sent to deal with the Libyan Camel Corps, made arrangements for these Libyans to be marched back to BENGHAZI. He stated that they were not proper fighting troops but a sort of ASC lifting Coy, and not a very good type of Arab. These men started off under escort of some trucks of the 60th Rifles and 2Lt Goschen. Before leaving, the Sgt Major reported that some of his men with their camels had escaped to the West. These were intercepted and recaptured by C Sqn. However they had apparently joined up with some civilian Arabs as C Sqn sent in more men and camels than were reported missing. Amongst them was also a BINT that we had never seen before. It was impossible to sort the civilians from the soldiers so Lt Roberts who, as OC RHQ, was responsible for them, locked them all in a large room for the night. The Bint was included in this party. It was the intention to march them off the next day to catch up with the main body.
During the night the officers mess area was bombed, luckily without causing any casualties.
No movement seen during the night except that enemy planes flew over SHQ at 2330 hours and dropped 2 bombs. Later 6 bombs were dropped 2 miles West of SHQ astride the road but no damage done.
At 0650 hours 2Lt Crankshaw moved to a position of observation West of SHQ.
At 1200 hours an attack by approx 8 Me 110’s was made from the East. The attack lasted about 3 minutes and there were two casualties. One MARC and the fitters lorry were put out of action (this was the 3rd fitters lorry put out of action since the campaign began). 2Lt Crankshaw saw a Me 110 force land about a mile to the West of his position and captured the crew.
This attack appeared to be launched with much more ferocity and dash than any Italian attack.
At 1615 hours 17 enemy aircraft flew over SHQ which had moved 2 miles to the North, but did not attack. They were returning from an attack on RHQ at the fort.
At 1830 hours the Sqn moved on to the road for the night. 5Tp remained in observation of the enemy plane all night.
The night bombing attack on RHQ was plainly heard and fortunately the Sqn was not spotted.
At 1000 hours 17 Me 110’s flew down the road very low, machine gunning everything in sight. It was miraculous that no damage was done to the Sqn other than a few bullets in 1Tp bedding. They were flying at a altitude of about 50 feet.
At 1615 hours the fort was savagely attacked by Ju 87’s – dive bombing and machine gunning – luckily the Sqn was again unmolested.
At 1200 hours 12 Me 110’s, having approached with engines shut off, suddenly attacked the Sqn heavily machine gunning from a low altitude. They came over more or less in turn, singled out a vehicle, attacked it and then flew off towards the fort and the other Sqns. The attached AA and Bren gunners returned the fire but owing to a sand storm at the time, the guns did not work well. The AA gunners ammunition lorry and the Sqn charging lorry were hit and set on fire. 2Lt Halliday’s MARC was hit through the radiator and was evacuated by the LAD. The 8cwt had both petrol tanks punctured but these were repaired by the Sqn fitter. All personnel were unharmed.
At 1615 hours a number of enemy planes circled over the Sqn and made a heavy attack on AGHEILA fort – dive bombing and machine gunning. One dive bomber was seen to have its tail shot off and to crash. No British planes seen throughout the day.
At 1900 hours Sqn moved another 2 miles South for the night.
For full details of the air attack on RHQ see Appendix.
At 1600 hours the Sqn moved on the way back to Cairo. The night was spent in the area MARSA BREGA 40 miles East of EL AGHEILA.
At 1200 hours another air attack was made on the fort, using very heavy bombs. The fort and buildings were enveloped in clouds of smoke and dust and it seemed impossible that anyone could survive such an attack. It was a most interesting spectacle and it was a relief to know that RHQ had moved out into the desert on the previous evening.
At 1600 hours the Sqn moved with the Regt to MARSA BREGA. On the way the KDG’s were passed going West and given a cheer.
The Sqn moved with the Regt to MARSA BREGA.
The Regt moved off at 1600 hours, b Sqn moved in advance as their position was the most easterly. With reference to the air attack on the fort as described by A Sqn; Capt Ames, three of his men and 2Lt Halliday were in the fort taking the radiator off the burnt out MARC. Luckily no one was hurt and Capt Ames who had been in the raid on the previous day said that he thought the first one was the worst.
At 0605 hours enemy planes bombed and machine gunned an area just to the West (it turned out to be the KDG receiving greetings from the Germans).
At 0800 hours the Sqn moved off with the Regt to ANTELAT covering 80 miles during the day.
At 0915 hours the Sqn moved off a rear guard to the Regt and at 1030 hours the rear link car (Lt Turnbull, LCpl Foord RCS, LCpl Fitzpatrick and LCpl Gullick) ran off the road whilst overtaking another vehicle. The car overturned and the occupants were shaken up and bruised. Capt Ames and his LAD were soon on the job and eventually got the car back on the road.
At 1300 hours the Sqn arrived at Kilo 24 AGEDABIA – GHEMINES – BENGHAZI road where the B2a Echelon was met. The delay caused by the rear link car turning over proved to be fortunate as ½ hour previously 17 Heinkels had bombed and machine gunned an RASC convoy. The Sqn turned East off the road and proceeded for 6 miles, joined up with the rest of the Regt, replenished and had lunch.
At 1630 hours the Sqn moved again as rear guard reaching ANTELAT that evening where the rear link car also rejoined the Sqn.
Sqn moved with the Regt for ANTELAT which was reached at 1900 hours. On the way the fitters lorry and Sgt Matheson’s MARC both ran big ends and were evacuated with only their drivers. During the morning Major Miller had received orders to remain with the KDG for a few days so Capt Arkwright took over the Sqn.
At 0700 hours the Sqn moved with the Regt to GHOT DERNA arriving at 1700 hours. Mileage for the day was 110 miles.
The Sqn moved at 0700 hours as advance guard to the Regt. On the way a Caproni bomber (with a full load of bombs) was passed, apparently been brought down earlier in the day by SA fire. GHOT DERNA was reached at 1700 hours.
Sqn moved with the Regt and arrived at GHOT DERNA without incident except that 4Tp MARC broke a spring when crossing a bad wadi. This Tp eventually arrived at 1830 hours.
The Colonel and Lt Grant Thorold with the Colonel’s Ford and the rear link car (LCpl Dawson and Sigm Smith) left at 0700 hours to visit BENGHAZI and other points of interest. Major Leetham took over command.
Many thermos bombs were seen on the march to GHOT DERNA but luckily none were struck.
The Sqn moved with the Regt to an area 20 miles West of TOBRUK covering 120 miles during the day.
The Sqn moved with the Regt via TIMINI and AIN EL GAZALA aerodromes which were littered with burnt out enemy planes. During the march a MARC broke a steering arm which was the first mechanical trouble in the Sqn since leaving AGHEILA. The night was spent at Kilo 45 from TOBRUK and it was here that we caught one of our few glimpses of a KUMANGETIT van. It was very welcome and a good ‘haul’ was obtained from it including a good supply of eggs.
Moved with the Regt and arrived in night leaguer position without incident.
The KUMANGETIT van produced some very much appreciated “comforts” for the whole Regt. The Colonel and Lt Grant Thorold rejoined soon after we had gone into our leaguer position, after a very interesting trip.
The Sqn moved with the Regt to a position 10 miles South of BARDIA covering 110 miles during the day.
Sqn moved off behind RHQ and arrived in the leaguer area without incident with the possible exception of 4 punctures.
The Sqn moved with the Regt behind A Sqn, nothing to report during the journey.
At 1000 hours the Regt moved – order of march C, RHQ, A &B Sqns. The Echelons which were now amalgamated brought up the rear.
The colonel with Lt HC Roberts moved off before the Regt to make arrangements for handing over the captured Italian vehicles we had been using in the Regt. These arrangements having been made, a personal recce of TOBRUK was made including the docks and Naval Barracks. The Colonel took some interesting photographs and a beautiful piece (about 12 lbs) of fresh beef was ‘scrounged’ from a very charming RASC Sgt Major.
The Regt arrived outside TOBRUK at 1220 hours. The road was almost completely blocked by a convoy of vehicles commanded by a young gunner officer who was waiting for his stragglers to come up. The Colonel asked him to put his vehicles off the road to allow the Regt through. He replied that if he did he might lose his convoy. The Colonel replied that if he didn’t he’d lose his commission! He moved and the Regt passed through and reached BARDIA at 1700 hours, passed through and leaguered 8 miles to the South. It was here that Lt Grant Thorold and Lt Roberts decided that the time had come to drink a bottle of champagne that a friend in Cairo had sent them sometime before. This was duly done at dinner and a toast drunk to out last night in Libya and may we never return.
The Sqn moved with the Regt and covered 160 miles to a position 7 miles East of MERSA MATRUH were the night was spent.
The Sqn acted as advance guard to the Regt and moved off at 0630 hours. A few anxious moments were experienced going down SOLLUM hill as 2 MARCs had no foot brakes. MERSA MATRUH was reached at 1615 hours, where the Regt refilled with petrol and moved on to Kilo 12 where the night was spent.
B Sqn & RHQ. NTR
The Sqn moved at 0630 hours and covered 216 miles during the day and halted for the night at “Halfway House” on the CAIRO – ALEX road, arriving there at 1730 hours.
Sqn arrived at Halfway House without incident. Lt Friend’s Tp remained behind to bring on the LAD.
B Sqn. NTR
The Regt left at 0630 hours and Halfway House was reached at 1730 hours where a halt for the night was made. The Colonel took photographs of the officers and the entire Regt.
The Sqn moved with the Regt at 0700 hours and arrived at Polygon Barracks, ABBASSIA at 1100 hours, mileage for the day was 75 miles.
A Sqn.NTR. The total breakdowns for the Sqn from AGHEILA to ABBASSIA, a distance of 922 miles were as follows:- 6 punctures, 1 RRAC dowel pin, 1 RRAC radiator leak, 1 MARC swivel pin and 1 MARC steering arm.
B Sqn. NTR.
The Regt left for CAIRO at 0700 hours. The journey of approx 920 miles had taken 6 ½ days. The barracks were very comfortable and the whole Regt had the unique experience of once again having a roof over its head. The officers mess was in Woolwich House Rome Gardens. The officers quarters were in married officers quarters (less the married officers and their wives) and were very comfortable. Saffragis were already waiting and all officer’s kits had been taken out of stores and were in their respective rooms. The bath water was boiling and a very good luncheon ready and waiting. It was a glorious homecoming. No leave was granted to ORs that night and none of the officers went out as everyone was very tired and an early night between real sheets was enjoyed by everyone.
||Spent in getting sorted out and general cleaning up etc.
||B Sqn fitters lorry arrived having taken out a piston. Journey from BENGHAZI to ABBASSIA was made on 5 cylinders.
Air Attacks on EL AGHEILA 13/14th Feb 1941.
RHQ had made their HQ in the Carabinieri barracks at El Agheila. These barracks consisted of a long building divided into several rooms (on the North side of the fort proper) and a smaller building still further North which was the old Officers Mess and was used as such by RHQ. The whole was surrounded by a low wall forming a square.
Everything had been quiet since we moved into Agheila and various visitors arrived including the Corps Commander and the Divisional General who were entertained to luncheon in the Officers Mess. On the night of February 13th at approximately 2350 hours, enemy planes were heard flying from East to West and were believed to be S.79’s from the familiar droning noises of the engines. Two bombs were heard to drop about 1 mile East of the fort. The noise of the planes then grew louder and a bomb was dropped in the square about 20 yards from the officers mess. Another stick of 4 bombs was dropped just over the wall to the North of the Mess and a further 3 were dropped in the square. It was thought there were two planes operating.
The noise of the bombs dropping through the air could be plainly heard. The CO, Adjutant and Lt Grant Thorold were sleeping in the Mess and had a narrow escape from the first bomb which dropped outside the Mess. Splinters shattered the door and fetched up in the walls inside the room in which they were sleeping. One fragment went straight through Lt Grant Thorold’s trousers which were hanging on a chair beside his bed. Windows were broken and plaster shaken from the walls and ceiling.
The remainder of the officers and crews of the forward and rear link ACs were sleeping in the building on the South side of the square; which shook in a most alarming manner.
The planes, after having dropped their bombs, continued to fly over the area for some time and did not leave until approx 0040 hours, after having dropped another stick of bombs about 5 miles to the West of the fort, the road presumably being the target. It was not hit.
This night attack was a new and unpleasant experience for us and it was therefore decided that perhaps the desert was the best place after all, despite the unaccustomed comfort oh having a roof over our heads. RHQ was ordered to move out on the afternoon of February 14th so as to be right clear of the fort by night. Accordingly Major WI Leetham and Lt HC Roberts went off the next morning accompanied by Major O’Brien Butler RHA and Capt Temple RHA to reconnoitre a suitable spot in the desert to the South of the road. There was a bad dust storm that morning and visibility was bad.
B Sqn; whose position was 3 miles SE of the fort, were, at about 1200 hours, suddenly dived on and machine gunned by 15 Me 110’s which succeeded in setting two B vehicles on fire – one belonging to B Sqn and one to the section of Breda AA Guns attached to them. However there were no casualties of personnel.
The attack was very sudden and unexpected, especially in view of the bad weather. Owing to the dust it was difficult to see where the planes came from.
After having dealt with B Sqn the planes then flew over the fort and the aerodrome, machine gunning everything in sight including the concrete hanger. The R.MO (Lt Hartnell) and the OME (Capt Ames) were in the hanger at the time and said it was most unpleasant as the bullets not only came through the roof but that the planes were “front gunning” through the open doors of the hanger. At the time there was a lot of Italian SA ammunition stored in the hanger. The planes were flying at an altitude of 150 – 200 feet.
The Sqn of KDG had 4 men wounded when lying under their ACs and the RAF Sqn one man wounded, none of them seriously. A & C Sqns, who were also South of the road were not neglected and several cars of C Sqn were hit and the armour pierced on one car in many places. “Cannon Guns” were used by some of the planes but failed to penetrate the armour plating, only making large dents.
The Officers Mess square also received its share of attention and the rear link received a bullet in the spare tyre and a nasty dent in the back. The Adjutant and Lt Grant Thorold were in the mess at the time (reading the Tatler) and were forced to find some better cover than a very thin plaster roof. These planes were engaged by 4/106 Bty RHA’s Breda guns, SA fire and the three Bofors guns. One plane was shot down and two others reported damaged. The plane shot down forced landed about 12 miles to the West of the fort and about ¾ mile to the West of a patrol of C Sqn commanded by 2Lt Crankshaw. 2Lt Crankshaw’s Troop had not been left out of the fun and some of his tyres were punctured.
He watched the plane on the ground and said that the other planes machine gunned it on their way home. As soon as he was mobile he proceeded to the plane to collect the crew, which consisted of a WO pilot, and a wireless operator LCpl, both of whom were unhurt. The pilot spoke some English and explained his desire to be taken to the Commandant. Lt Crankshaw sent Cpl Chambers to investigate the plane and see if there was anyone else in it and to collect any documents there might be. The pilot showed considerable agitation at this move and by word and gesture intimated that the plane might explode. The plane was not badly damaged, except for a burst petrol tank on the near side and a Breda shell through the near side engine cowling which had severed some oil pipes.
The pilot was carrying various paper, the most interesting of which was a large map on which a course was marked in pencil. The starting point was MUNICH and the finish was a circle on the map at a point South of MISURATA. The route was via VENICE, NAPLES, SICILY and TRIPOLI. He also had some hotel labels of a hotel in NAPLES and various snapshots obviously taken somewhere in Italy as the girls appearing in the various groups were quite definitely not of a pure Nordic type.
Both the pilot and the operator were inclined to be surly and would not talk, the pilot denying any knowledge of English. He asked QMS White (who speaks a little German) how long he was going to be kept at AGHEILA and on being told “about a week” his face dropped quite a long way, which is not surprising in view of subsequent events.
On the afternoon of Feb 14th, at about 1615 hours, the Adjutant was busy in the orderly room writing the report of the previous raids when a message came through from C Sqn over the wireless to the effect that 20 unidentified planes were flying from West to East, South of the road. All guns were manned and everyone possible warned. It was not possible to warn other Sqns as CW was not being kept.
Within a very few minutes of the warning being received the attack on the fort commenced and the fort received their undivided attention, the other Sqns not being favoured. The formation consisted of Ju 87 dive bombers and they attacked from the East. The attack was very heavy and consisted of dive bombing and then machine gunning; and lasted for 10 minutes. One of RHQ’s ACs was hit and set on fire. The crew, consisting of Sgt Lucy, Tpr Buckler and Tpr Vivier being instantly killed.
A RAF officer who witnessed the attack from the South of the road stated that the planes approached in echelon to starboard formation at approx 8,000 feet; taking full advantage of the sun. when over the target the leader broke formation, dived and released his bomb at approx 1,500 feet. He then pulled out and did a steep climbing turn into the sun. this procedure was adopted in turn by the remainder of the formation and when the last plane had pulled out the leader did a shallow dive out of the sun and front gunned the target from 1,000 feet, followed by the remainder of the formation. Our guns did very good work – not only the Breda but the Brens as well. LCpl Dawson and LCpl Lee were manning their guns and firing during the whole attack. The RAF officer also stated that he thought the pilots were forced to carry out their front gunning attack from 1.000 feet because of the hot resistance in the form of AA from the ground. He also stated that the drill was extremely good, well executed and polished, which would seem to indicate that they were first line pilots, probably as good as our own.
During this action one Ju 87 had its tail shot off by a Breda gun and crashed just South of the hanger. The pilot attempted to jump as his parachute was open, but he was too low and was killed. The rear gunner, however, landed safely and was captured. He was a 1st Class WO and had the Iron Cross.
Sgt Moore of X Troop Royal Signals, who was in a good position from which to watch the attack, saw the wings fall off another plane and black smoke pouring from it. It is believed that this plane fell into the sea as the SSM of C Sqn saw the same plane with the smoke coming from it go down over the dunes in the direction of the sea.
The bombs which were dropped appeared to be heavier (judging from the noise) than those dropped the previous night, but on examining the places where they were seen to fall, there was not a sign of any crater and the fragmentation appeared very good. Fragments could be heard and seen kicking up the sand which had drifted against the wall and appeared to travel about 2 feet above the ground.
RHQ moved very shortly after this attack to a position about 1 ½ miles to the SW of the fort. Slit trenches were dug and one of the most willing and enthusiastic workers was the captured German.
On February 15th a further attack was made on the fort at 1200 hours by 12 planes – Messerschmidts and Junkers. They approached from the West, flying much higher than previously, circled the fort and then dive bombed and machine gunned it. They appeared to be using heavier bombs than the previous evening although eye witnesses from other Sqns state that the attack was very similar to the previous one and was, if anything, not quite so savage. However; those who were there on the previous day and who were watching this attack with considerable satisfaction from deep slit trenches could hardly credit that anyone could have lived through such a hellish inferno. There were 3 men from LAD in the fort during this last attack but they were all unhurt. One plane was reported as having been shot down and one damaged during this raid, but they were not found.
||CO: Lt Col JFB Combe
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
||Major K Alexander and Lt HLF Ward arrived as advance party to the draft from England.
||Major AT Smail, Lt H Petch DCM. 2Lt L Jacobson, 2Lt GK Burness, 2Lt AJL Smithers 2Lt RA Rapp and 129 ORs joined the Regt from England. Of the 129 ORs, 43 were 11th Hussars reservists who had been serving with various other regiments since the outbreak of war. Many of them had previously served with the Regt in Egypt.
| Since the return of the Regt on February 22nd, training started with a vengeance on Feb 24th. There were Regtl classes for Diver Mechanics, Driver Operators and Breda Gun, and drill etc. owing to the arrival of 8 extra officers, various changes in organisation were made on the basis of the new War Establishment.
Major Smail took over A Sqn and Capt AVC Robarts became 2i/c.
Major K Alexander took over RHQ Sqn from Lt HC Roberts with Lt DPJ Lloyd MC as 2i/c.
Lt HC Roberts became Intelligence Officer and Lt JEM TRayner was also attached to the Sqn.
Capt HLF Ward took over as 2i/c C Sqn in lieu of Capt HS Cayzer who reverted to the rank of Lt.
Lt JAN Crankshaw MC became Technical Officer in lieu of Capt Grant Thorold.
Training progressed favourably and all ranks enjoyed cricket and football and the amenities of Cairo when on the 31-3-41 orders came through for the Regt to take over a number of guard duties in the Cairo Sub-area from the 1st KRRC who were ordered into the field at short notice. This seriously interfered with training as the various guards and garrison employed personnel was over 200. However, a certain amount was still carried on.
The Regt also had to find a permanent guard consisting of 1 Sgt and 16 ORs for the POW camp at Warren Camp Abbassia where there were approx 120 Italian prisoners. Lt HS Cayzer was Commandant of this camp and an officer commanded the guard which changed ever 24 hours. This officer was permanently on duty and only left the camp for meals. A fatigue party of 20 prisoners worked in barracks every day and did their work cheerfully and well. This guard as well as all the Cairo guards and garrison duties were taken over by the Royals when the Regt received orders to move.
The Regt then received orders to move and left for Cyrenaica on April 5th. Major Smail remained behind as OC “Details” with Capt DPJ Lloyd MC as Adjutant (he was still on light duties owing to his wounds). Lt JEM Trayner (who had a back injury and was graded unfit for the Field) took over RHQ Details. Capt HLF Ward took over C Sqn Details. Capt P Arkwright (awaiting passage to Home Establishment) PMC and A Sqn Details. Lt HC Roberts (awaiting transfer to Trans-Jordan Frontier Force) was employed writing the War Diary.
Capt W Wainman and B Sqn officers – less Lt WVH Gape MC who had been lent to RHQ and 2Lt AJL Smithers C Sqn and 2Lt L Jacobson A Sqn were left out of battle.
||CO: Lt Col WI Leetham
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
||Lt Col Combe DSO was suddenly called to Libya and accompanied Major General Sir Richard O’Conner owing to the easterly advance of a mixed German – Italian force. Lt Col Combe had already been promoted Brigadier (March 3rd) so Major Leetham assumed command as Lt Col. Capt Grant Thorold became Adjutant (he was actually appointed on October 14th 1940 but the appointment was not officially notified to the Regt until March 5th 1941 and since that date Capt Wainman had been carrying on as Adjutant to help Capt Grant Thorold with training etc).
On this date Capt Wainman took over command of B Sqn from Major AG Miller who had been posted to the Home Establishment.
Capt AVC Robarts took over A Sqn from Major Smail who became 2i/c of the Regt. On the same date, about 1400 hours, the Regt was ordered to be ready to move and was placed on 4 hours notice wef midnight.
This came as a great shock to us all. The vehicles had been handed in to Ordnance. A certain number of Marmon Harrington ACs were taken over from the 1st Royal Dragoons (who were being trained as an Armoured Car Regt) and the rest of the ACs sufficient to give the Sqns 4 troops of 3 cars each plus 2 for SHQ and 4 for RHQ. Transport were also drawn up. The work of fitting out the vehicles was carried out at high speed. Fresh orders were received putting the Regt on 4 hours notice from 1400 hours on 4th April.
||The whole day and most of the night was spent in loading and fitting out the vehicles.
||The Regt moved (destination TOBRUK) at 0600 hours (less B Sqn who remained behind) and was organised as follows:-
||Lt Col WI Leetham
||Capt RMHM Grant Thorold
||Major K Alexander – commanding
Lt JAN Crankshaw – Tech Officer
Lt WVH Gape – Int Officer
||Major P Payne Gallwey DSO – commanding
Lt S Cayzer – 2i/c
Sgt Lamb – 1Tp
TSM Scrivener – 2Tp
Lt WV Burdon – 3Tp
Sgt Peacock – 4Tp
||Capt AVC Robarts – Commanding
Lt J Turnbull – 2i/c
Lt H Petch DCM – 1Tp
Lt JA Friend – 3Tp
Lt MMC Clarke – 2Tp
Lt CJ Spickernell – 4Tp
||Lt JW Poston – Commanding
||2Lt RA Rapp – Commanding
||Major AG Miller left by air for England.
||CO: Lt Col WI Leetham
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
TSM Scrivener relieved Lt Burdon an western patrol. 5Tp Sgt Smedley was shelled from BIR SILWAYAT and forced to withdraw. Enemy then stopped shelling and the patrol returned to its original position.
Sqn Ldr and Major Christopher RHA made a recce of ALAM BATTUMA at 1130 hours, but could not locate the guns.
At 1730 hours on of our columns arrived in the ALAM BATTUMA area.
At 2010 hours 3 MET appeared at 522358 and a few minutes later 2 MET appeared at 519358. The 3 MET then moved West and joined the 2 MET. As it got dark the 5 MET were seen moving slowly northwards.
At 2030 hours 5Tp Sgt Smedley was again shelled in the ALAM BATTUMA area.
5Tp Lt Dier was relieved at GHOT OGREIN 548354 by 1Tp Sgt Beard at 1130 hours. 3Tp Lt Halliday was in position at ILWET EL ANSUL 547358, with SHQ at 562364.
Sqn Ldr visited 7th Hussars patrols with Major Younger, as he did not consider the patrol on the Southern Road to be far enough forward to give our patrols warning of any enemy movements. The 7th Hussars patrols were then moved up North and South, level with the Sqn patrols. No movement seen during the day.
RHQ. A quiet day.
At 0610 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock relieved 5Tp Sgt Smedley at ALAM BATTUMA.
At 0831 hours TSM Scrivener at ALAM EL ARAD reported 5 AFVs, 1 gun and 4 ACs at 522352 making West. One large tank was also seen making down the track towards KHREIGAT.
SHQ moved to 538228.
At 0902 hours 4 AFVs and one gun moving down 521 Grid line. Position at 0910 hours 521348. TSM Scrivener forced to withdraw to QUARET REMLIYAT area.At 0912 hours the 4 AFVs and 1 gun reported stationary were due East of KHREIGAT and at 0921 hours they turned and chased 2Tp, making him withdraw further to the SE.
At 0940 hours they were reported stationary at 527345 and some MET at BIR KHREIGAT.
At 1000 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock at ALAM BATTUMA withdrew ALAM MADAN with a column. His position was 536345. He passed all information to Major Goschen and remained with him until the column moved West at approx 1200 hours.
At 1035 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener reported 5 MET at RUWEIBIT with 1 AFV. One mile South of these, 5 MET, which were joined by 6 more MET at 1101 hours.
At 1427 hours the column shelled the enemy in QUARET EL REMLIYAT area and forced them to withdraw. 2Tp pushed North again to QUARET EL RAMLIYAT and at 1709 hours took Major Goschen over to A Sqn patrol. 2Tp then moved to Pt. 207 530347, arriving there at 1810 hours. He reported 6 MET in area 525352, otherwise no movement seen.
At 1730 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock moved to area HAQFET MADAN and took up position of observation at Pt. 200, no movement seen.
At 2000 hours Western patrol remained the night in area Pt. 207 530347 and Eastern patrol at Pt. 200 537350.
At 0749 hours 1Tp reported 5 vehicles moving South from QUARET ABU SAYED. These were joined by 3 AFVs. Later this force was joined by 6 more AFVs. They remained in position a short while and then continued to advance. 1Tp retired, keeping contact, in a southerly direction.
At 0833 hours the vehicles were reported moving in the direction of KHREIGAT and at 0909 hours they were beyond KHREIGAT.
At 0916 hours 4Tp reported 6 MET and trailer in the SHEFERZEN area.
At 0933 hours 1Tp reported 3 AFVs 4 miles South of KHREIGAT, still keeping contact. At this time 5Tp were forced to withdraw, due to the advance of the other column. These vehicles continued to move South until they reached a point short of Pt. 207.
The two troops (5th & 7th) were subjected to a considerable amount of shelling whilst keeping the force under observation.
At 1203 hours 1Tp reported 3 vehicles NE of his position in the SHEFERZEN area, and at 1221 hours this Tp was pursued by 4 large fast vehicles. The 4 vehicles split into 2 groups of 2 and attempted to attack from both flanks, but thanks to the superior speed of our cars this was avoided and after a chase of 10 miles the enemy were left well behind and the Tp returned to SHQ for replenishing.
At 1230 hours SHQ moved 5 miles ESE.
At 1455 hours Troops reported that the enemy were being engaged by our guns and were retiring towards SULEIMAN.
At 1706 hours enemy again shelled 1Tp who were in close contact, and they retired slightly.
At 1930 hours all Troops reported that the enemy had retired to the SULEIMAN area, no movement seen.
SHQ at 562364. 1Tp Sgt Beard at GHOT OGREIN area 548354 and 3Tp Lt Halliday at ILWET EL ANSUL 547358 until he was relieved by 2Tp Sgt Cameron at 1315 hours.
1Tp reported some movement on the HALFAYA track at 0956 hours, otherwise no movement seen by the patrols during the day.
Major Wainman visited both patrols at 1800 hours and returned at 2030 hours.
Lt Burrell returned to Cairo. Major Smail and Lt Crankshaw went down to Echelon. A Lysander dropped a message that we were being advanced on from 3 sides so we moved to a place 3 miles SW of BIR HABATA. A sandstorm during the night.
At 0550 hours SHQ moved to 536333. No movement seen during the night except for the odd Verey lights at KHREIGAT and SULEIMAN.
At 0610 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon relieved 2Tp TSM Scrivener at Pt. 207.
At 0800 hours no movement seen by all patrol area except for 2 MET at V tracks 522357.
At 0905 hours bad sandstorm started which continued all day, visibility limited to 25 yards at times. NTR all day.
At 1800 hours Eastern patrol went forward to ALAM BATTUMA and reported no movement seen. Western patrol moved forward to Pt. 205 and reported no movement seen.
At 2000 hours nothing further to report.
Usual patrols only, no movement seen.
SHQ at 562634. 2Tp Sgt Cameron in ILWET EL ANSUL area. 1Tp Sgt Beard at GHOT OGREIN until relieved at 1750 hours by 5Tp Lt Dier.
Visibility bad all day. 2Tp had moved about 2 miles during the day to conform to the position of the 7th Hussars.
No movement seen by our patrols.
At 0555 hours SHQ moved to 530331. No movement seen during the night. During the day there was little movement to report except for 3 AFVs at Pt. 205 522356 which were forced to withdraw by shellfire from a column.
At 2000 hours nothing further to report.
Usual patrols, no movement seen.
Position as for 6-5-41. 3Tp Lt Halliday relieved 2Tp Sgt Cameron at ILWET EL ANSUL. No movement seen by our patrols.
At 0605 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock attached to Lt Col Campbell’s HQ as communication between our patrols and Lt Col Campbell’s. Sgt peacock remained at QUARET EL RUWEIBIT all day and returned to SHQ which moved to QUARET RAMLIYAT at 2200 hours.
At 0610 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon moved forward to 523359 and remained in observation all day. He reported very little movement all day and at 2200 hours withdrew 2 miles SE on report from A Sqn that there were 7 enemy tanks at SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 1000 hours 5Tp Sgt Smedley in ALAM BATTUMA area was shelled from HALFAYA area.
At 1330 hours OP went up to Sgt Smedley and patrol, and pushed on to BIR SILWEIYAT which was not occupied. The enemy ACs at 528362 withdrew. The patrol remained at BIR SILWEIYAT while the column put a barrage on to HALFAYA and then attacked it with four 2pdrs and 11 Carriers. They suffered 4 casualties and it appeared that HALFAYA was stronger held than previously thought.
At 1200 hours the Sqn Ldr visited Lt Col Campbell and owing to wireless communications being very bad at HQ, Sgt Saunders and the 3rd car of SHQ was attached to a column.
At 1945 hours Lt Col Campbell reported 3 enemy tanks in BIR KHREIGAT area and 7 enemy tanks moving NE along SHEFERZEN – SIDI SULEIMAN track. A confused two hours followed, not improved by Lt Col Campbell’s own wireless set breaking down.
However by 2200 hours the situation was quite normal, and although 3Tp was fired on by some MET, at 2245 hours, at 100 yards range, there were fortunately no casualties. The MET were probably a party of 2pdrs on their way to V track 522358 which had been warned of 3Tp position.
At 2330 hours – nothing further to report.
At 0620 hours SHQ moved to Pt. 203 514344. 1Tp took up a position at SIDI OMAR and 4Tp at BIR SHEFERZEN. 3Tp were co-operating with the Gunners in area SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 1030 hours 1Tp reported 4 vehicles coming through the gap at BP 47 and moving South still keeping contact. These vehicles retired in a northerly direction.
At 1149 hours 1Tp and 3Tp were bombed and machine gunned by two Me 110’s and suffered no casualties.
At 1230 hours 5Tp did a recce West of SHQ and encountered 2 Bofors who opened fire at 300 yards, fortunately they missed and Lt Spickernell retired slightly ruffled by whole.
At 1700 hours 5Tp left to relieve 3Tp. No movement seen.
SHQ as previously. 3Tp Lt Halliday at ILWET EL ANSUL, and 5Tp Lt Dier at GHOT OGREIN until relieved by 1Tp Sgt Beard.
Owing to our activities on top of escarpment, 7th Hussars patrols on the North and South roads were pushed forward to the 532 Grid line. 3Tp conformed and was pushed forward to the ILWET EL SHISH line to watch the left flank while 5Tp were also ordered to pay special attention to the escarpment. No movement seen was seen by out patrols who remained in day positions for the night. 7th Hussars were still on the 532 Grid line on the North and South road. A second Breda car arrived with the Echelon.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock moved to contact Lt Col Campbell’s HQ for wireless comms purposes at BIR KHREIGAT.
At 0605 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener moved to relieve 3Tp at 523356.
A Sqn reported an enemy column had crossed the wire at EGYPTIAN SIDI OMAR consisting of 6 ACs, 11 AFVs, 1 lorry, 1 MC and 1 staff car. This column moved East along the 357 Grid line.
At 0930 hours a bad sandstorm started and orders were received to withdraw and hold a line of observation ALAM BATTUMA – KHREIGAT.
At the same time 4Tp Sgt Peacock came back under command and moved forward to V track 519354. He was relieved at this position at 1100 hours by a patrol of A Sqn and he then returned to SHQ.
Meanwhile 2Tp had been withdrawn to Pt. 205 522357 and picked up a small party of the column who were walking. They informed TSM Scrivener that a 25pdr and its tractor unit were 1 mile West of his position. 2Tp went forward and towed them out and also recovered an ammunition limber which was found abandoned. They towed them away and eventually arrived at SHQ where a RA officer picked them up.
At 1505 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener moved back to ALAM EL ARAD and was relieved by 4Tp at 1820 hours as one of his MHACs was giving trouble.
At 1800 hours visibility still very bad owing to sandstorm, and at 2000 hours nothing further to report.
At 0735 hours 1Tp reported two 8 wheel ACs and two small ACs heading towards him.
At 0737 hours 5Tp reported 2 tanks on track 7 miles North of SULEIMAN.
At 0754 hours 9 tanks were on the East side of the wire, approx position at BP 46. This force was increased by ACs and was kept under observation by 1Tp, who later reported one 8 wheeler at SIDI OMAR and 2 small AFVs at Gap 46. 2Tp went to assist in this area.
At 0929 hours 5Tp reported 2 tanks and 1 AC at 510367.
At 0834 hours 2Tp reported 20 vehicles now at SIDI OMAR. This column came through the wire and came East.
At 0913 hours 5 Tp reported 7 Cruiser tanks in a disorganised formation being engaged by our artillery North of his position.
At 0914 hours 2Tp reported their column 1 mile East of SIDI OMAR. This column consisted of six 8 wheeled ACs, 1 staff car, 1 MC, 1 lorry with gun and 16 smaller AFVs. Head of column 2 ½ miles East of SIDI OMAR.
At 0940 hours a bad sandstorm developed and visibility was reduced to 50 yards. 1 & 2Tp had great difficulty in keeping the column under observation. When the column reached QARET ABU FARIS GHARBIYA, visibility became so bad that both Troops lost touch and had great difficulty in locating themselves.
5Tp was now ordered to withdraw 8 miles South from Xtracks and warned not to be cut off. Visibility remained bad until 1700 hours when 5Tp reported 7 tanks in SIDI SULEIMAN area. All Troops now on a line of observation of the track SIDI SULEIMAN – BIR SHEFERZEN.
Just after dark 5Tp who were still in observation of tanks at SIDI SULEIMAN, reported that they were being fired on by enemy tanks from the North and our own guns from the South. They were withdrawn out of the danger zone with great difficulty.
This had been a very trying day for everyone owing to the sandstorm and a very hot wind.
SHQ at 562364. 1Tp and 3Tp in position as for yesterday.
1Tp reported having heard movement from the West during the night, but nothing was seen.
Sqn Ldr went up to 7th Hussars HQ at 0815 hours and they reported that HALFAYA PASS had been occupied top and bottom by the enemy after the activities on top of the escarpment on 8th May. 7th Hussars therefore moved back to normal position as did our patrols at 1100 hours.
At 1730 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron relieved 3Tp Lt Halliday. 1Tp Sgt Beard reported hearing machine gun fire to his North at 1935 hours, and five minutes later 3Tp reported the same thing. Apparently firing was from the Australians who thought they saw things in the half-light. No movement seen.
No movement seen during the night except for a white Verey light seen in Halfaya area at 0145 hours.
At 0605 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener left to relieve 5Tp Sgt Smedley at ALAM BATTUMA. Sgt Gander had repaired 2Tp’s car during the night.
At 0805 hours 5Tp at ALAM BATTUMA was shelled from HALFAYA for 10 minutes by guns – approx 25pdrs.
Three ACs appeared at SILWEIYAT area and remained there all day.
At 0900 hours Sgt Peacock at ALAM ARAD reported no movement seen.
At 1715 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock patrolled to V tracks North of RUWEIBIT WARRANI to look for any men of the RHA who might be in that area. The patrol encountered 3 enemy ACs and engaged them with Breda, Bren and Boyes guns, driving them away. 4Tp then returned to ALAM EL ARAD at 1905 hours.
At 2000 hours – nothing further to report.
At dawn 5Tp recovered three RHA vehicles in the SIDI SULEIMAN area. 2Tp then escorted a Gunner party up to recover some more of their vehicles. During this operation they were heavily shelled from the North.
A quiet day, but still very hot.
SHQ at 562364. 1Tp at GHOT OGREIN and 2Tp at ILWET EL ANSUL until relieved by 5Tp Lt Dier at 1655 hours.
At 1335 hours 7th Hussars on South road reported 2 AFVs at 540 Grid line. These came South of ALAM BARGHUT 538364 to see what was to their South. They were engaged by our artillery and retired.
At 1630 hours 2Tp and 6Tp mistook each other for the enemy and at 1630 hours 5Tp was being shelled by friends – this was stopped.
Tac R reported large MET concentration at CAPUZZO and on the BARDIA – TOBRUK road. Special orders were given to patrols to keep especial watch for movement but none was seen or heard.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon relieved 4Tp Sgt Peacock at ALAM EL ARAD.At 0800 hours no movement seen by both patrols.
Major Pepys and A Sqn of the Royals arrived at 1200 hours.
At 1330 hours 2Tp of the Royals Sqn went to ALAM BATTUMA and took over from 2Tp. TSM Scrivener himself remained with the Royals Tp and instructed them.
At 2000 hours nothing further to report.
Whilst 1Tp was relieving 3Tp at BIR SHEFERZEN 2 enemy vehicles approached them from the North. These were engaged with small arms fire and the Breda gun which resulted in the capture of a small recce car. The crew escaped on the AC escort which withdrew very fast in a northerly direction.A very quiet day.
2Tp Sgt Cameron at ILWET EL ANSUL and 5Tp at GHOT OGREIN.
3Tp Lt Halliday relieved 2Tp during the afternoon. There was no movement seen throughout the day.
7th Hussars who have been doing the North and South coast road patrols were relived at 0900 hours by the 3rd Hussars who were given the same task. 7th Hussars moved back to Cairo to re-equip.
Movement of tracked vehicles heard during the night by both patrols.
At 0557 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon reported 20 MET at ALAM EL ARAD stationary. This was confirmed by TSM Scrivener at ALAM BATTUMA, who could also see 40 MET in SIDI SULEIMAN area at 0615 hours.
At 0619 hours Lt Burdon reported that 10 MET of the 20 at ALAM EL ARAD were moving SSE. He could see about 30 MET stationary behind the 10 moving MET, which were AFVs. He thought they were medium tanks.
The remainder of the MET then appeared to start moving, and the whole column led by 10 tanks moved slowly SE. after 10 minutes the column halted but the advance guard of 10 tanks moved on ESE and at 0700 hours were 1 mile East of QUARET RAMLIYAT.
At 0820 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon reported the whole column moving SE again and kept in touch with the column until 0947 hours when he reported it was being led by 30 tanks and moving East – head 1 mile North of BIR ZAGDIN EL ABIYAD 539337.
At 1020 hours touch was lost with the column and never regained. Column appeared to turn North and then NW and Lt Burdon was engaged by what he thought to be an enemy rearguard and was forced to withdraw.
Meanwhile TSM Scrivener had withdrawn SE along the line of the escarpment and took up a pos of observation at Pt. 221 565335.
5Tp Sgt Chambers was at BIR KHREIGAT when enemy started advancing at 0619 hours and this patrol withdrew along the line of the KHREIGAT – HAMRA – HABATA track.
SHQ was eventually established 7 miles East of BIR HABATA.
At 1650 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon patrolled West to ILWET MAWI 543343 and reported no movement seen, returning at 2000 hours.
At 2015 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon at Pt. 221 555335 and 5Tp Sgt Chambers at 557330 remained there for the night.
2Tp Royals and 4Tp with SHQ 7 miles East of BIR HABATA.
2100 hours – nothing further to report.
At 0415 hours 3Tp at ABU SAYID reported the movement of vehicles to his North.
At 0520 hours 1Tp at SHEFERZEN reported 20 vehicles moving South. At dawn when the visibility improved, 1Tp found they were following a column of 50 vehicles.
2Tp on the KHREIGAT track reported a column (enemy) moving SE to ALAM ARAD. 1Tp reported their column to be moving down the wire but at 0800 hours an ominous rumbling was heard in the vicinity of SHQ. Simultaneously two 4 wheeled ACs appeared about 400 yards to the North of SHQ who beat a somewhat hasty retreat to the SE.
2Tp having been relieved by C Sqn on the KHREIGAT track, were withdrawn South and ordered to rejoin the Sqn South of HAMRA. 1Tp and 4Tp were still in touch with the column which had so rudely moved SHQ and which was now approaching the track just North of HAMRA.
3Tp who had been in the centre were now completely cut-off to their East and SE. they were ordered to move South and make a detour as wide as was considered necessary. They succeeded in doing this and rejoined the Sqn late in the afternoon 6 miles South of SOFAFI. In the meantime the enemy column which was moving towards HAMRA had reached BIR DIGNAISH very quickly. Considering that they were only 2 miles behind SHQ over a distance of 17 miles, it is curious they did not shell or attack.
The Sqn was in observation of the HABATA – DIGNAISH track for the remainder of the day. The column at DIGNAISH slowly moved away West and NW.
Cpl Cornish was badly wounded in the hand by shrapnel. This was our only casualty, although 1Tp and 4Tp were shelled at frequent intervals by the HAMRA column.
3Tp Lt Halliday in position at ILWET EL ANSUL and 5Tp Lt Dier at GHOT OGREIN.
At 0817 hours 3Tp reported a column of 36 MET consisting of tanks, ACs, guns and MCs in area BIR HAGIB 544359, shortly after 5Tp reported 9 MET to his West and 5 MET to his SW. all the MET were moving East and the two patrols withdrew keeping touch.
SHQ moved to ALAM SAMULUS 568361. 2Tp proceeded to ILWET ABU MAGHUD 565350 to watch the southern flank.
At 1000 hours all enemy vehicles appeared to be concentrated in the ILWET EL KURSI area 546360, but a ridge to the East of them prevented good observation. 3Tp was in contact the whole day with the enemy patrols that were pushed forward to the East of the main enemy position, and at one time 3Tp was shelled by 8th Field Regt RA who were positioned further East along the main road.
At 1500 hours 1 enemy tank and 3 ACs were seen stationary in the GHOT OGREIN area. 5Tp kept these under observation.
At 1800 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy proceeded with water and rations to 3Tp and then relieved 5Tp.
During the afternoon a column under Major Tuck RHA, consisting of guns and one Coy of the Rifle Bde moved into position near SHQ with a view to harassing and further advance of the enemy.
Situation at last light – enemy still in occupation of line BIR GIB – GHOT OGREIN. The 3rd Hussars had been operating to the road to the North all day. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Troops took up night positions on the 560 Grid line between the main road and the escarpment.Many Verey lights were seen during the night, which it transpired later, must have been the enemy retiring.
When the enemy advanced at first light, RHQ retired up the HAMRA – HABATA track. Lt Col Campbell had stayed the previous night and directed the movements of our own troops from the Rear link AC. On arrival in the HABATA area with the enemy not far behind a good deal of time was spent looking for the 4th RTR who had arrived the night before. Eventually they were found in the wadis, and were completely ignorant of the situation. They were galvanised into action, but as it happened the enemy did not come on.
RHQ went to RABIA, and spent the rest of the day and night there.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0605 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock relieved 3Tp Lt Burdon at Pt. 221.
At 0610 hours 5Tp Sgt Chambers patrolled forward to ALAM EL ARAD and 4Tp to ALAM BATTUMA.
At 1210 hours 4Tp went forward to BIR SILWEIYAT. No movement seen until after 30 minutes when he was engaged be 2 ACs and had to move slightly.
At 1535 hours 3 more MET, possibly tanks joined the two MET already in position at 527364 and engaged Sgt Peacock again and he was forced to withdraw to ALAM BATTUMA.
No movement seen both patrols at 1600 hours.
SHQ moved to QUARET RAMLIYAT and withdrew to ALAM FAKHRI and remained there for the night.
During the night orders were received to the effect that patrols were to be pushed forward to the line we had been on before yesterday’s withdrawal. There was no news of the enemy occupying any position South of the line SHEFERZEN – SIDI SULEIMAN – BIR SUWEIYAT.1Tp and 3Tp were ordered to recce North. 1Tp up the KHREIGAT track and 3Tp to SHEFERZEN. This was done without any enemy being seen and 2Tp were sent forward to the centre position at ABU SAYID. On their arrival they were unsuccessfully bombed and machine gunned by two Me 110’s who later flew over SHQ who were on the move. They were not attacked.
At 1400 hours 3Tp reported 1 enemy AC and 1 small staff car SW of KHREIGAT. 3Tp engaged them, but they fled to the West. 2Tp from the centre pursued them but they were too fast and got away. Unfortunately they got through the wire South of SHEFERZEN and escaped.
SHQ returned to their old position at 516329.
1Tp and 3Tp moved forward from their nigh position on to the 560 Grid line to ILWET EL ANSUL and GHOT OGREIN. They were held up by thick fog and it was not until 0830 hours that they could report that the enemy had retired during the night.
2Tp returned to SHQ at 0830 hours and relieved 3Tp in the afternoon.
No movement seen all day.
SHQ at ALAM SAMULUS 586361. The C Sqn patrol under Sgt Beard returned to C Sqn.
RHQ.Moved at first light to HABATA, the enemy having retired, and then back to HAMRA,
No movement seen during the night.
1Tp Sgt Beard relieved Sgt Chambers 5Tp at ALAM EL ARAD. No movement seen all day except for 2 ACs at BIR SILWEIYAT which observed 4Tp Sgt Peacock all day, and 4 AFVs in V tracks North of KHREIGAT.
At 1930 hours 2Tp Lt Burdon moved to ALAM EL ARAD in readiness for a recce at 0530 hours on the 15th.
2000 hours – nothing further to report.
SHQ at ALAM SAMULUS. 1Tp Sgt McCarthy in position at GHOT OGREIN and 2Tp Sgt Cameron at ILWET EL ANSUL.
3rd Hussars patrols on the main road pushed forward West at approx 0900 hours. 2Tp pushed forward 4 miles to cover their left.
At 1200 hours Lt Dier 5Tp relieved 1Tp.
At 1230 hours the Sqn Ldr was ordered to RHQ at HAMRA. The Sqn was ordered to move to HABATA at 1800 hours where it spent the night, less 5Tp and 2Tp who spent it at SOFAFI.
Lt Cunningham rejoined from CCS and took over command of 1Tp. 5Tp was under the command of 2Lt Burness during the day, at Lt Dier was sick.
The Colonel went off to BIR HABATA in the morning. A Me 110 came over at 1300 hours and dropped 4 bombs in our area but hit nothing.
At 0530 hours SHQ moved to ALAM EL ARAD and were joined by Sgt Peacock who had been relieved by the Guards Bde at ALAM BATTUMA.
At 0555 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon and 1Tp Sgt Beard moved to report on SIDI SULEIMAN and Italian camp area respectively. Lt Burdon kept touch with an enemy column retiring North towards CAPUZZO and Sgt Beard after reporting several small parties of MET between QUARET SHARQAN 520359 and the Italian camp, reported the area clear of the enemy.
Both patrols pushed forward after the enemy and by 1030 hours had reached the wire. SHQ was moving up behind and at 1200 hours had reached BP 40, with Sgt Chambers patrolling to QABR MEDUAR 501376 and Lt Burdon patrolling to BIR HAFID and on to HAQFET UAR. Both patrols reported no movement seen in their area by 1300 hours.
SHQ moved to BIR HAFID and by 1300 hours both patrols moved forward again to SIDI AZEIZ area.
1Tp Sgt Beard was at BP 38 and was rather mixed up with the enemy and friendly tanks. He was withdrawn to SHQ at 1330 hours.
At 1340 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon patrolled to BIR BEDR and then East to QABR ARMAR and on to 50736 and remained there in observation of SIDI AZEIZ – BARDIA road. Patrols reported various MET moving in SIDI AZEIZ area and on the SIDI AZEIZ – BARDIA road.
5Tp Sgt Chambers patrolled to BIR BU TABIL and reported MET moving West along TRIGH CAPUZZO and at 1650 hours reported SIDI AZEIZ clear of enemy and took up a position of observation at 500357.
At 1703 hours Sgt Chambers reported that he had been attacked by a Hurricane – Sgt Chambers, Tpr Fidler, Tpr Shrosbury and LCpl Strong wounded. LCpl Strong wounded in the ankle and Tpr Fidler in the leg. Tpr Shrosbury had splinters in his forehead. All three were evacuated to ADS. Sgt chambers was dressed by the MO and returned to the Sqn the same night.
At 1705 hours TSM Scrivener 2Tp moved out to relieve 5Tp.
At 1720 hours Lt Burdon reported that one MHAC was not charging and 1 broken spring. Permission asked to withdraw this patrol.
At 1845 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener and 3Tp Lt Burdon withdrew to SHQ. The whole Sqn moved to area BP 40 and remained there for the night.
We again advanced over the wire and took up position with SHQ at QABR EL GARAR and 5Tp and 3Tp in observation well forward in the QABR EL LACHEM and BIR EL HAMARIN areas. The Sqn remained in this position all day and withdrew East of the wire for the night. This is the first time the whole Sqn had been together for 6 weeks.
Sqn moved at 0600 hours to BIR KHREIGAT where it arrived at 0830 hours, and came into reserve with RHQ. Sqn remained with RHQ the whole day and at 1200 hours moved up to a position 2 miles SE of BP 40.
At 1900 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday went on patrol to BP 44 and 5Tp to QABR EL GARRARI. The remainder of the Sqn leaguered for the night at 513362.
We got up at the crack of dawn and moved to position 1 mile East of BP 40 and had a display of Me 109’s and 110’s most of the day. A Hurricane was shot down about 5 miles South of us. Three He 111’s bombed one of the columns just NW of us.
Spent the night there.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0920 hours Sqn moved to ALAM EL ARAD and remained there concentrated until 1900 hours when the enemy were reported to be advancing South from BP 38.
At 1915 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener moved to X tracks 518356 and contacted 2nd RTR. Patrol remained in this area for the night, but reported no movement seen.
At 1918 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock moved to HAQFET NAAS and contacted 60th Rifles. No movement seen and patrol remained 2 miles North of HAQFET NAAS for the night.
2100 hours nothing to report, SHQ at QARET RAMLIYAT.
At dawn 1Tp and 4Tp were sent out to the line of observation.
At 0700 hours the Sqn was ordered to withdraw its southern patrol and to concentrate at SIDI OMAR. Later orders were received for a troop to be left in observation of SIDI OMAR.
SHQ and 3 reserve Troops were moved 8 miles SE of SIDI OMAR.
At 1800 hours 90 tanks reported moving South from CAPUZZO and the Sqn withdrew observing the line from SIDI OMAR eastwards to SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 2100 hours the Troops on the line of observation were withdrawn to observe a line inclusive BIR SHEFERZEN inclusive southern X tracks South of BIR EL KHREIGAT.
Sqn moved at 0600 hours with the object of patrolling the area SIDI AZEIZ – BIR HAFID. At first light 3Tp and 5Tp proceeded into that area.
At 0730 hours when the Sqn stopped at RHQ the orders were changed and 3Tp was ordered to proceed to BIR BEDER 502383 and observe the TRIGH CAPUZZO. The remainder of the Sqn proceeded to 510358.
At 0830 hours 5Tp rejoined SHQ.
At 1006 hours 3Tp reported 20 MET moving SE along the TRIGH CAPUZZO. On reaching QABR EL AHMAR 507384, they turned South. 3Tp remained in contact and reported that 10 of these MET were medium or large tanks.
At 1100 hours this enemy party was engaged by our artillery from the BIR GIRBA area. At about the same time 3 enemy ACs were seen moving SW towards QABR EL MEDUAR and 3Tp broke off contact with the 20 MET in order to cover the left flank of the guns.
By this time the 20 MET having been engaged retired North followed by the 3 ACs from QABR EL MEDUAR.
At 1345 hours 3Tp had again pushed North and reported 30 MET stationary in the area QABR EL AHMAR 507384.
At 1515 hours 3Tp was pushed back by 3 ACs moving from 507384 to QABR EL MEDUAR, and therefore 2Tp proceeded out in an endeavour to observe the QABR EL AHMAR MET.
At 1533 hours 3Tp reported 8 MET stationary in the QABR EL MEDUAR area.
At 1700 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron reached BIR GHIRBA and after liasing with Major Withers in charge of the column there, proceeded to BIR HAFID to get in touch with a Sqn of 2nd RTR. On arrival he reported 100 MET moving SE along the TRIGH CAPUZZO, head of column on the 510 Grid line. This was at 1810 hours. Cruiser tank Sqn then engaged the tail of this column.
At 1855 hours information was received that 40 tanks were moving South from CAPUZZO and in view of this 2Tp was withdrawn to area Beacon 40.
In the meantime the MET at QABR EL MEDUAR, which now totalled 14, were moving South with 3Tp in contact.
At 1903 hours information was received that 80 enemy tanks were leaving CAPUZZO.
At 1923 hours orders were received from RHQ to break contact with the enemy and take up a line of observation at X tracks 517361 to 510361. 3Tp was therefore ordered to rejoin the Sqn.
SHQ and 5Tp together with the Echelon which had just arrived, withdrew southwards as the head of the column was reported 2 miles South of Beacon 38.
At 1930 hours a change of orders was received from RHQ and B Sqn was ordered to take up a line of observation from SIDI SULEIMAN X tracks inclusive to 510353. 1Tp was therefore ordered to these X tracks and 2Tp to 510353.
At 1949 hours all previous orders were cancelled and the Sqn was informed that no patrols would be required. Sqn therefore proceeded to 512342 where it spent the night.
Moved from BP 40 to QARET EL ABD where we had a quiet day. The Echelon arrived at the same time as the completion of the Mess and the advance of a large enemy column. Beat a hasty retreat to DAR EL BRUG where we spent the night.
No movement seen during the night, but 4Tp Sgt Peacock reported movement heard in BIR SILQIYA area 520369 at 0500 hours. 2Tp TSM Scrivener reported white Verey lights fired North of his position about 6 miles away.
At 0600 hours 4Tp moved North to HALFAYA PASS and contacted 60th Rifles, and patrolled NW to HAQFET EL ASFAR 523368. From this position he reported 30 MET consisting mostly of large AFVs stationary at BP 35 at 0720 hours.
At 0610 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener moved NW to Pt. 208 QABR EL SHARGAN and reported no movement seen in the Italian camp area 518364. He also reported 2 Cruiser tanks of 2nd RTR derelict 2 miles West of QABR EL SHARGAN.
At 0731 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock reported 30 MET mostly AFVs at BIR WAIR.
At 0732 hours SHQ moved to 529346.
At 0912 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock reported 10 AFVs moving down the wire from BP 35 to BP 38.
At 0915 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener who had moved to the Italian camp reported 40 MET at BP 38. He saw the 10 AFVs join them from BP 35.
At 0921 hours he reported 3 tanks moving South from BP 38 and he was forced to withdraw. A further 2 tanks and 3 MET were seen to follow these tanks.
At 1200 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener still in observation at the Italian camp and 4Tp Sgt Peacock at HAQFET EL ASFAR. No eastern movement of MET except for a patrol of 3 AFVs SE from BP 38. These were engaged and they withdrew.
4Tp were shelled by our own guns for 5 minutes and the same thing happened at 1600 hours.
At 1800 hours – no change in the situation. Odd enemy MET were seen moving between BIR WAIR and BP 38.
2000 hours – nothing further to report.
Our Troops still in line of observation of yesterday, with 1Tp on the West and 5Tp on the East.At 1000 hours 4Tp who were returning to SHQ were chased for 9 miles by 8 wheeled ACs. 1Tp were sent out with the Breda and located the 5 enemy ACs by 1200 hours. He engaged them with the Breda gun and they withdrew rapidly, and were last seen going NW at full throttle.
At 1712 hours 1Tp again came into the limelight and reported that they had captured a MC Combination and 2 prisoners on the Libyan side of the wire. He destroyed the vehicle and returned to his position on the Egyptian side of the wire.
2Tp went out to collect the prisoners, one of whom was badly wounded. A very exciting day.
Sqn at 512342. Morning was spent in maintenance.
C and A Sqns were patrolling the area to the North, and it appeared that the enemy had withdrawn during the night.
At 1900 hours 1Tp Lt Cunningham took over northern patrol 516361 from A Sqn and 5Tp Lt Dier took over the A Sqn patrol at Pt. 204 508364.
No movement seen was seen by our patrols during the night.
Moved to Pt. 204 at QARET REMLIYAT. Enemy withdrew in the morning.
SHQ same position 529346, no movement seen during the night.
3Tp Lt Burdon relieved 2Tp TSM Scrivener at Pt. 204 Italian camp and 5Tp Sgt Chambers relieved 4Tp Sgt Peacock at HAQFET ASFAR.
At 0800 hours no change in the situation. 30 MET were seen stationary in the BP 38 area, 12 MET were stationary in the area BIR WAIR. During the morning there was movement between BIR WAIR and BP 38 and further movement between BP 38 and CAPUZZO.
At 1305 hours 6 enemy ACs appeared at MUSAID. They turned South and moved down the track towards HALFAYA. 5Tp Sgt Chambers engaged the enemy ACs but was forced to withdraw. The enemy were then shelled and withdrew to BIR SHALUT and on to MUSAID.
At 1345 hours Lt Burdon reported that the enemy at BP 38 appeared to be in larger numbers and Sgt Chambers confirmed this 5 minutes later, 30 MET including the 6 ACs had joined them from the North.
At 1420 Lt Burdon reported the column at BP 38 starting to move South. It moved South for about a mile and then SW for 2 miles and then South again. The advance guard getting within 1,000 yards of SIDI SULEIMAN.
The column was engaged by 2nd RTR and guns and was halted. The advance guard consisted of 20 AFVs at 518358 at 1715 hours.
Meanwhile 5 ACs had moved from BIR WAIR to BIR SHALUT and moved on South down the track towards HALFAYA. 5Tp withdrew keeping the party under observation.
At 1645 hours the 5 ACs halted at 525368 and at 1730 hours moved on East for ½ mile. They were then engaged by guns and Breda from our patrol and withdrew in disorder and at 1800 hours were stationary there.
At 1800 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon at 52053572 in observation of enemy at 518358.
At 1855 hours the enemy appeared to be withdrawing North with rearguard remaining just North of SIDI SULEIMAN. The 5 ACs at HAQFET EL ASFAR moved North at 1830 hours and Sgt Chambers followed up.
At 1856 hours the 5 tanks were reported stationary at Pt. 191 520372. They saw 5Tp and advanced towards them and forced them to retire. At the same time our own guns fired at Sgt Chambers (the third time in 24 hours.)1930 hours the 5 tanks withdrew and Sgt Chambers went forward again.
At 2000 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon withdrew to V tracks at 522358 and remained there for the night.
5Tp Sgt Chambers withdrew to BIR SILWEIYAT and remained there for the night.
Sqn in reserve, but plenty of sorting out to do.
1Tp Lt Cunningham at 516362, 5Tp Lt Dier at Pt. 204 507364. A very foggy morning and it was not until 0830 hours that the patrols could see their areas.
At 0915 hours 1Tp reported 6 tanks and 30 MET in the area South of CAPUZZO and 5Tp reported no movement seen.
During the morning there were reports from 5Tp of vehicles moving in twos and threes up and down the wire in the GHIRBA area.
At 1420 hours 1Tp reported 40 to 50 MET dispersed in the BP 38 area 513371 and considerable activity amongst them.
At 1439 hours 5Tp reported 50 to 100 MET moving South from BP 38 with 12 tanks at their head. 5Tp was therefore brought across to watch the West, with 1Tp keeping touch with its head.
At 1445 hours 1Tp withdrew under shellfire, the head of the column then being on the 365 Grid line.
At 1506 hours the head of the column now counted as 80 MET was now at the 360 Grid line. This was reported by 1Tp and confirmed by 5Tp.
At 1553 hours 1Tp reported the head of the column in the SIDI SULEIMAN area and 5Tp got into an excellent position on the QARET ABU FARIS area and gave some very good information on the formation and types of vehicles in the column.
At 1640 hours 5Tp was spotted and came under very heavy fire indeed, from a range of 3,000 yards. During all this time 1Tp was liasing with a Sqn of 2nd RTR (Cruisers) who were awaiting orders to attack and 1Tp was being shelled at the rate of 4 rounds per minute.
At 1706 hours 1Tp withdrew slightly from the RTR as the shelling became more intense.
At 1100 hours 5Tp located 20 tanks at 515358, stationary. A report was then received from an OP to the effect that the main column was withdrawing. 5Tp moved North to confirm this and again came under heavy shell fire and was unable to get on, as both the B Sqn patrols were held up, it was asked if C Sqn could tap in from the East which it did and reported 12 MET in a hollow 2,000 yards NW of SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 1929 hours 5Tp who had again got into position reported a column of approx 8 MET moving North from SIDI SULEIMAN. It was thought that the area was clear. 1Tp went forward therefore to confirm this and on topping the rise encountered 4 enemy tanks at approx 600 yards range. These opened fire and 1Tp withdrew.
At 2000 hours 3Tp reported the last of the MET moving North and 2Tp proceeded to SIDI SULEIMAN and reported it and the area 3 miles North of it clear of the enemy.
From 1435 hours until the enemy retired a column of guns and Infantry under Colonel de Salis was continually engaging the enemy and 5Tp was the whole time locating targets and able to direct and observe the fire of our own artillery.
Lt Dier and Lt Cunningham carried out their most difficult task in a most able manner, while under intermittent and accurate fire.
During the morning two A/Tk guns were attached to 5Tp with the object of ambushing enemy ACs in the GHIRBA area. 5Tp succeeded in leading 3 tanks into the ambush, but the enemy escaped under a smoke screen. These guns were under command of 2Lt Burness during the afternoon and he was responsible for covering the West flank of 5Tp.
Activity in the morning but the rest of the day quiet.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 5Tp Sgt Chambers moved to position at HALFAYA PASS. 3Tp Lt Burdon was in position ½ mile NW of V tracks 552358.
At 0820 hours Sgt chambers reported seeing tanks moving South from MUSAID. They halted at HAQFET EL ASFAR and were joined by three more.
At 0840 hours the 6 tanks were stationary at 52473686. A column of 18 MET were seen moving NE from BP 38 to BIR WAIR. This column turned East and moved towards SOLLUM passing MUSAID at 0844 and going out of sight.
At 1200 hours nothing to report except for odd movement of ACs and tanks at BP 38 and HAQFET ASLAN areas.
At 1730 hours movement South of approx 3 miles by enemy column from BP 38 but they went back.
At 2000 hours nothing further to report.
Still in reserve.
2Tp at 520354 and 3Tp at 510354 with orders not to go North as a Sqn of 2nd RTR was making a sweep of the area to the North.
At 0730 hours 3Tp proceeded to BP 40 accompanied by two 2pdr A/Tk guns.
At 0815 hours 3Tp reported 3 ACs in the FORT GHIRBA area. They retired before coming into range.
At 0850 hours 2Tp was ordered to investigate area North of X tracks 518355 which was reported clear at 0928 hours. 2Tp proceeded NW for 3 miles and rejoined the track at the 365 Grid line from where he reported 6 MET in the BIR WAIR area. He then reported enemy artillery coming into action from 517371 against a patrol of C Sqn and a patrol of 2nd RTR in the QABR EL QAHAR area. Shortly after 2Tp came under fire and withdrew.
At 1108 hours 2Tp reported 4 enemy tanks advancing South towards QABR EL QAHAR but apparently these turned East before reaching that position. 2Tp again advanced and at 1155 hours were again shelled and forced to retire.
At 1340 hours 2Tp reported 4 tanks advancing South from Pt. 206 and retired in front of them and at 1430 hours he engaged them with the Breda gun (Cpl Scott). The tanks halted and returned the fire and caused the Tp to retire further.
At 1600 hours 3Tp reported 3 ACs going NE up the wire in area GHIRBA and for the next hour, the odd ACs were seen moving North and South along the wire in that area.
At 1900 hours 2Tp engaged an AC in the area North of X tracks, both sides withdrew.At 1930 hours 5Tp and 1Tp relieved 3Tp and 2Tp and at 1945 hours 1Tp reported 12 – 14 MET spread out in the GHIRBA area. These were still in position when the light went.
2000 hours – troops withdrawn to night positions.
No excitement. Lt Ward came to us from the Echelon. Colonel Heyworth and Major Scott (Royals) came up to us and went to the Royals Sqn in the evening.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0700 hours patrol taken over by A Sqn and Sqn went into reserve in area QARET RAMLIYAT and remained there all day.
We have now taken over from C Sqn, moving into position at 0630 hours. 3Tp went to fort MADDELENA and met no signs of the enemy or recent occupation. 1Tp and 2Tp on standing patrols. Very little of importance occurred. The movement of enemy tanks in the area fort MUSAID and the cultivation East of HALFAYA pass was the only enemy movement during the day.
1Tp Lt Cunningham 2 miles North of X tracks at 516361 and 5Tp Lt Dier joined up with OP from Major Christopher’s column at QARET ABU FARIS 515356 at 0515 hours and escorted him forward to a position SW of BP 38 514371.
At 0810 hours a party of MET were located in BP 38 area and were successfully engaged and retired northwards.
At 0830 hours the guns retired and 5Tp adopted his normal role of watching the GHIRBA area from Pt. 204 507361.
At 0930 hours 3Tp reported 30 MET moving South from Pt. 206 514368. The column halted 1 mile from Pt. 206 and 1Tp came under shellfire and was forced to withdraw.
At 1033 hours 5Tp reported enemy ACs moving SW down the wire in the GHIRBA area.
At 1110 hours 5Tp reported 3 ACs at 512367 and retired in contact.
At 1222 hours these ACs had reached 511362. A message was therefore sent through 1Tp to 2nd RTR who were in his area to send a patrol of Cruisers. This was done, the ACs were engaged and driven off. On being engaged the ACs threw out smoke screen and escaped.
At 1900 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron and 3Tp Lt Halliday relieved 1Tp and 5Tp respectively.
At 2010 hours 2Tp which had pushed further North for a last look before dark, reported 30 MET in leaguer position at Pt. 206 and 11 MET at 512360.
An uneventful day. Colonel Heyworth returned from the Royals Sqn and spent the night with us.
Sqn moved to area BUQ-BUQ arriving there at 1030 hours. Found nice place close to the sea, where 7th Armd Div were during summer 1940. Two Troops remained at 10 minutes notice.
At 1615 hours Sgt Gore and B2 and B3 Echelons arrived.
At 2000 hours – nothing to report.
Brigadier Erskine visited us during the afternoon. Sqn Ldr contacted Bde HQ and Sammulus column.
At 0630 hours 4Tp left to relieve 1Tp. The usual patrol activity took place and 1Tp was shelled a couple of times. A little enemy movement of MET and tanks around Pt. 207 was reported, but never developed, as the enemy withdrew on being engaged by our tanks.
The Sqn Ldr visited the forward Troops and arrived back at SHQ at 1310 hours.
Nothing was reported for the remainder of the day.
At 0630 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday reported 6 ACs at GHIRBA fort. At this time 2Tp was with the Sqn of 2nd RTR in the Pt. 207 area and at 0630 reported them in action with enemy tanks but could not see the result of the engagement.
At 0640 hours 2Tp came under shellfire from the Pt. 206 area and was forced to withdraw. These guns were then engaged by ours.
At 0745 hours 2Tp reported 5 enemy tanks at 520365 moving South. Shortly afterwards these tanks retired north.
At 0830 hours orders were received to watch for any movement between Pt. 207 and Pt. 206. 3Tp therefore moved slightly East into a position of observation.
At 1000 hours 3Tp reported 3 enemy ACs moving South from BP 44 and at 1030 hours they were at 505362 with 3Tp in contact.
At 1040 hours they had reached 504355 and at 1055 hours 3Tp had lost touch, having as he thought, last seen them at 503355. He thought he saw them again at 502356 at 11 44 hours, moving East.
A Troop of 2pdrs was sent from Major Hobbs’s column but owing to touch being lost they were re-called. It is thought the 3 ACs recrossed the wire at BP 47.
At 1339 hours 3Tp reported 3 ACs stationary at BP 42.
At 1708 hours 2Tp reported 5 MET moving South from Pt. 207. These were engaged by artillery fire and retired. 2Tp did some useful spotting for the guns.At 1900 hours 1Tp Lt Burness and 5Tp Lt Dier relieved 2Tp and 3Tp respectively. Lt Burness had taken over from Lt Cunningham who had retired to Cairo, sick.
At 1844 hours 1Tp reported 28 MET stationary at Pt. 206 with numerous men dismounted.
At 2015 hours 1Tp reported 6 MCs, 2 ACs and 1 staff car moving SW, just to the West of the Pt. 206 party.
The enemy made a demonstration early but were halted by 0900 hours. Major Smail and Lt Cunningham who had returned sick from B Sqn, went down to the Echelon.
At 0545 hours NTR.
At 0600 hours Sgt Gore and B2 went to replenish.
The Sqn remained at BUQ-BUQ until 0630 hours Monday 26th May 1941, good bathing was had by all. Inspections and checks were held.
A very quiet day – nothing important occurred.
5Tp in position at Pt. 204 and 1Tp in area Pt. 205 513363.
At 0625 hours 5Tp reported 3 ACs moving SW from GHIRBA.
At 0844 hours 5Tp picked up two men from the KRR’s who had been lost from SIDI OMAR night patrol. 1Tp was in observation of the Pt. 206 position all day, and observed at different times, some action between ours and the enemy’s tanks and artillery.
3Tp and 2Tp relieved 5Tp and 1Tp at 1800 hours.
Colonel Heyworth and Major Scott after several mishaps to one of their cars, left at 1130 hours with Lt Cunningham for Cairo.
The Colonel and Major Alexander went to SHEFERZEN with some 2pdr guns to trap enemy ACs which had been observed to go there daily. Unfortunately our gunners missed the cars but had quite a good shoot. A very hot day
Considerable amount of shelling was heard during the night from the direction of SOLLUM.
At 0830 hours Sgt Beedham’s Tp was heavily shelled and one car was hit, but not seriously.
SHQ did a patrol round the forward Troops who were very surprised to see us.
We saw about 11 tanks and a few MET 2 miles to the North of us, but no action was witnessed. A very quiet day.
2Tp in position at Pt. 205 and 3Tp at Pt. 204.
At 0710 hours 3Tp reported a column of 11 MET moving SW from BP 38. This column halted SE of GHIRBA.
At 0750 hours 6 ACs moved SW from GHIRBA and forced 3Tp to retire.
At 0815 hours they had halted at 508366.
At 0850 hours 3 of the ACs had come as far South as QARET ABU FARIS 510358 while the other 3 had halted at QABR EL SHAHISHI 510362.
At 1000 hours the southern 3 ACs moved North , joined the 3 at SHAHISHI and then retired North.
At 1157 hours 3Tp reported 3 ACs at 505365.
At 1340 hours these were joined by a further 3 and very soon after they all retired North. 2Tp was unable to observe if there were any enemy in his area owing to bad visibility.
At 1900 hours 3Tp was relieved by an A Sqn patrol and 3Tp relieved 5Tp.
A lot of AC activity. Wind went round to the SE and the sand started blowing. There was no activity in the evening, and Brigadier Russell came in on his way back. A very hot night.
1Tp relieved 5Tp. Nothing of importance was noted throughout the day. A very quiet day.
5Tp in position at Pt. 204 and at 0630 hours reported 7 MET in the GHIRBA area, followed by a further 4 at 0720 hours.
At 0800 hours 1Tp Lt Burness relieved a Troop of the Royals at SIDI OMAR and we took over that patrol. When nearing SIDI OMAR 1Tp was engaged by 3 ACs in area 498359.
At 0930 hours a Tp of A/Tk guns under Lt Colt-Williams RHA came under the command of the Sqn with a view of bagging an enemy AC. After a recce of the whole area it was decided to station a section at 510358 while the other section had a roving commission in area Pt. 204 507369.
At 1235 hours 3Tp reported 3 ACs entering SIDI OMAR fort from the SW.
At 1311 hours 1Tp reported 3 ACs moving NE from SIDI OMAR.
At 1635 hours 5Tp reported 6 ACs in the GHIRBA area.
At 1800 hours 1Tp reported 5 ACs proceeding NE up the wire from SIDI OMAR.
At 1900 hours 2Tp and 3Tp relieved 1Tp and 5Tp.
ACs on the move again. Major Smail went down to C Sqn at BUQ-BUQ with Padre Rogers.
Bad day with sand blowing and SW wind.
2Tp relieved 3Tp. Very quiet day, nothing of importance occurred.
2Tp in position at SIDI OMAR and 3Tp in position at Pt. 204.
At 0620 hours 3Tp reported the usual AC patrol at BP 43 and 5 MET moving SW at BP 39.
At 0700 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron reported 2 ACs 1 mile SE of SIDI OMAR.
At 0720 hours it was decided to move the section of A/Tk guns to HAQFET EL QUNEIQINA 503358 where they could conceal themselves.
2Tp and 3Tp reported considerable movement of ACs between GHIRBA and SIDI OMAR during the day, none of which crossed the wire, with the exception of 2 parties which engaged 2Tp just East of the wire in the SIDI OMAR area and then retired.
At 1900 hours 5Tp and 1Tp relieved 2Tp and 3Tp respectively.
A very quiet day except for 4 Me 110’s which bombed and machine gunned DAR EL BRUG some 7 miles away.
Major Smail returned from BUQ-BUQ about 1645 hours. Lt Spickernell spent the night with us before going on leave.
Sqn left BUQ-BUQ for RHQ at QARET RAMLIYAT arriving at 1100 hours. Remained there until 1730 hours, when RHQ and sq moved back to ALAM EL SAFA 552332 and remained there for the night. The enemy advanced to KHREIGAT and HAMRA areas.
A very quiet day until about 1500 hours when an enemy column came through the wire, consisting of approx 200 vehicles of which 50 were tanks.
2Tp Lt Clarke made contact and kept them under observation. Due to shells falling unpleasantly close SHQ were forced to withdraw to QABR CHRIBA 546337. During the withdrawal, a column of 60 MET, including tanks, were reported heading East from BP 70. The forward element of this force penetrated as far as HAMRA.
At 2200 hours the column that 2Tp was observing moved East as far as the KHREIGAT track and then headed North. During their observation the Tp was subjected to very heavy shellfire for over 2 hours. One car was hit but had no casualties.
At 2215 hours the column was reported between KHREIGAT and HALFAYA PASS and a considerable number of Verey lights were seen in this area during the night. A very exciting day.
Thick fog until 0730 hours at which time, patrols moved into position.
5Tp Lt Dier to SIDI OMAR and 1Tp Lt Burness to 510365 with role of watching the left flank of 2nd RTR and gun column operating to his East. The two sections of A/Tk guns in the same position as on the 25th.
At 0800 hours 1Tp reported vehicles and guns retiring North from Pt. 206 area after being engaged by our column.
At 0837 hours 1Tp reported 22 MET stationary in area 509332.
At 1030 hours 5Tp reported 2 ACs entering SIDI OMAR from the NE.
At 1055 hours 1Tp reported 6 lorries and guns, 3 ACs and 1 tank moving towards GHIRBA from the NE. this column was followed by a further 6 lorries and guns, and the whole column halted 2 miles SW of GHIRBA.
At 1123 hours a further column of 12 MET joined the previous column SW of GHIRBA. In view of the information the Tp of A/Tk guns was concentrated at 510358 with the 3 wireless cars of SHQ – called 6Tp.
At 1230 hours 1Tp reported a further column of 14 tanks moving towards GHIRBA from the NE and at 1247 hours a further column of at least 8 MET joined the enemy force in the area SW of GHIRBA.
At 1330 hours 5 tanks proceeded South and halted just SE of the wire at BP 40. They were followed soon by a further 5 tanks.
At 1525 hours a total of 20 tanks had crossed through the wire and just later the whole of the force moved into position spread out behind the 20 tanks. The visibility at the time was bad and approx 80 vehicles were counted, although the actual number must have been well in excess of this number.
At 1600 hours orders were received from RHQ that in the event of an advance the SIDI SULEIMAN – HAMRA track South of SIDI SULEIMAN would be the responsibility of the Sqn.
At 1620 hours 1Tp reported the column moving SE. 3Tp proceeded immediately to SIDI SULEIMAN in order to contact the head of the column.
At 1642 hours 1Tp reported the head in the area Northern X tracks.
At 1659 hours 1Tp reported head of column at 515358. 6Tp retired in contact with 1Tp at 1710 hours.
At 1715 hours 5Tp were ordered to withdraw SE from SIDI OMAR.
At 1720 hours 3Tp reported head of column at 514352.
At 1735 hours 1Tp reported 15 MET at 514352.
At 1736 hours information was received that a column of 16 MET were moving South on the West side of the wire. SHQ commenced withdrawal South at approx 1745 hours.
At 1755 hours 3Tp reported head of column at BIR EL KHREIGAT.
At 1800 hours 1Tp, 3Tp and 6Tp were in touch with the enemy column in the KHREIGAT area. Enemy tanks moved South from KHREIGAT and engaged 1Tp and 6Tp who were forced to withdraw. At the same time 3Tp came under artillery fire and withdrew SE down the track. At 1850 hours 1Tp and 6Tp were still being engaged by enemy tanks in area 520340.
At 1840 hours information was received that the enemy outflanking column had crossed the wire at BP 70 and were moving East.
At 1840 hours the column was reported at the 509 Grid line still moving East. SHQ were now retiring East towards HAMRA.
At 1900 hours the engagement between 1Tp, 6Tp and the enemy tanks was broken off.
At 1907 hours the enemy outflanking column was reported at 314514 moving East.
At 1923 hours 3Tp reported tanks which had previously engaged 1Tp were retiring North towards KHREIGAT.
At 1924 hours 5Tp reported 14 vehicles moving East at 520324. It was thought that this was SHQ of the Royals, but later turned out to be the enemy Northern flank guard.
At 2015 hours SHQ arrived at HAMRA and after waiting there for 5 minutes were joined by Major Pepys (Royals) and his SHQ who stated that the enemy outflanking column was only 2 miles West of HAMRA. 5Tp had previously been told to get in touch with the North flank of the enemy outflanking column, which he actually did when he contacted the 14 MET, but being under the impression that they were friendly vehicles, he left then to proceed East while he went South.
The situation therefore, at 2015 hours, was as follows:-
SHQ at HAMRA in touch with the enemy who were 2 miles to their West.
1Tp, 3Tp and 6Tp in area 530335.
5Tp in area 530325.
1Tp, 3Tp and 6Tp were ordered to proceed East to the 540 Grid line which they did, reaching it at 2130 hours and put their position as 540330.
It was realised that 5Tp was outflanked and could not proceed East. He was therefore ordered to proceed South and cut in behind the enemy column. This he did and by 2300 hours had reached the area 550315 where he halted.SHQ halted for the night in area 555324. The enemy column halted at HAMRA and 1Tp were ordered to a position 543327, and 6Tp returned to SHQ for the night.
The Colonel and Lt Spickernell left for Cairo at 0615 hours. All quiet during the day.
At 1615 hours the enemy advanced and at 1700 hours we were forced back to HABATA. We spent the night 8 miles NW of HABATA.
No movement seen during the night. Sqn moved to take up role of observation from coast road exclusive to escarpment inclusive. 1Tp Sgt Beard moved to ILWET KURSI 548361 and 4Tp Sgt Macey moved to GHOT OGREIN 548355. SHQ moved to ALAM SAMULUS 589361.
Contact was gained with a 3rd Hussars patrol on the coast road and with a section of 31st Field artillery who were at BIR FAGRUN 555359.
There was no enemy movement during the day except for a party of 40 MET moving down the HALFAYA PASS.
At 1800 hours – nothing further to report.
2000 hours situation unchanged.
At 0530 hours heavy shelling was reported by 4Tp in the HALFAYA PASS area.
At 0900 hours we were concerned with the location of the HAMRA column which was last seen going North. 3Tp and 4Tp did a forward recce to locate it. They only came in contact with very small parties, whom retired NW in the direction of HALFAYA PASS.
At 1458 hours KHREIGAT was reported no movement seen and SHQ decided to advance forward to a new position.
At 1530 hours the Sqn moved forward to Pt. 206. No movement seen.
At 0600 hours 1Tp Lt Burness proceeded West and reported 30 MET in the HAMRA area, but he was immediately driven back by three 8 wheeled ACs.
3Tp Lt Halliday was also engaged a little later by this patrol and driven back.
At 0700 hours 3Tp broke a spring in the wireless car.
At 0720 hours 1Tp reported HAMRA clear and he was ordered to proceed NW up the HAMRA – SIDI SULEIMAN track.
At 0817 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron was dispatched to relieve 1Tp.
At 1005 hours 2Tp arrived with 1Tp who at that time reported the enemy at 527334. 2Tp was therefore ordered to observe the enemy from the HAMRA – SIDI SULEIMAN track, and 1Tp from the SE.
At 1142 hours 3Tp arrived with 1Tp and the latter returned to SHQ which was at this time 3 miles East of HAMRA.
At 1305 hours A Sqn reported KHREIGAT area clear of the enemy. Therefore the enemy at 527334 must have moved NW without 3Tp being aware of the fact. 3Tp was therefore ordered to proceed NW up the track with 2Tp moving parallel 3 miles to the West.
At 1400 hours 3Tp confirmed the KHREIGAT area clear.
At 1540 hours 3Tp reached RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI where an enemy staff car retired as he approached.
At 1600 hours 2Tp reached QARET ABU SAYID where he reported 12 MET to the NW, but at 1805 hours information was received that SIDI SULEIMAN was occupied. 3Tp therefore moved NW to the track at 519350 to observe and at 1902 hours he reported 5 ACs moving South towards him.
In view of this information, 2Tp was halted just North of the ABU SAYID area. From this time until dark the enemy ACs, totalling 8, continually harassed 3Tp in the RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI area. Enemy ACs withdrew at nightfall and our Troops leaguered, 3Tp at KHREIGAT and 2Tp 4 miles to his West. SHQ leaguered in area 523331.
Moved at first light to HABATA. The enemy withdrew and we had a quiet day.
In the evening we moved to a position 7 miles NW of HABATA 553333 where we spent the night.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon moved to relieve 4Tp Sgt Macey at GHOT OGREIN.Sqn Ldr made a personal recce of forward areas and liased with 3rd Hussars patrol and gunner OP.
At 1100 hours no movement seen except for 10 MET which had moved down HALFAYA PASS between 0800 hours and 1100 hours.
1800 hours – no movement seen.
At 2000 hours – nothing further to report.
Very quiet day, nothing of importance to report, no movement seen.
3Tp moving forward from night position reported 2 enemy ACs on RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI at 0620 hours. These cars engaged 3Tp and forced him to retire South. Enemy ACs then withdrew.
During the next two hours there was considerable enemy ACs activity on the track North of RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI.
At 0830 hours 5Tp Lt Dier relieved 3Tp and 1Tp Lt Burness relieved 2Tp.
At 1417 hours 5Tp reported 5 tanks moving South from SIDI SULEIMAN. These tanks moved at great speed and 5Tp was forced to retire South down the track. At the same time 1Tp who had advanced South from the direction of QARET ABU SAYID was attacked by 3 tanks.
The 5 enemy tanks on the track, having reached the 345 Grid line, were engaged by our guns and halted. The 3 tanks however, continued to press 1Tp and at 1545 hours they had reached 51?340. 2Tp was therefore ordered out to assist 1Tp and also to watch the West flank as 1Tp had reported possible movement in that area.
At 1614 hours 1Tp reported the 3 enemy tanks retiring NE and he maintained touch until they reached the SIDI SULEIMAN area.
2Tp Sgt Cameron on reaching the area 510366 broke a wheel and had, therefore, to return to SHQ.
At 2020 hours 5Tp who had gone North again after the 5 enemy tanks who had retreated, was engaged by 4 enemy ACs and forced to retire.
1Tp and 5Tp then retired to night position on the 341 East/West Grid line.
About 0730 hours the 2nd RTR stopped hard by us and we had a quiet day except for an Me 110 recce plane which came over in the evening.
The Echelon was bombed and Sgt Pegg was wounded in the arm.
No movement seen during the night. White Verey lights seen at top of HALFAYA at 0500 hours.
3Tp Lt Burdon patrolled to BIR BATTUMA and reported no movement seen. He returned to his position at 0800 hours having remained 1 hour at BIR BATTUMA.
1Tp Sgt Beard patrolled to ALAM BARGHUT and 2 miles to its South. He reported 2 tanks moving slowly from SOLLUM village towards the bottom of HALFAYA PASS. Patrol was fired on from area Pt. 14 332568 and withdrew. Patrol took up normal position of observation at Pt. 26 549361 at 0900 hours and was relieved by 2Tp TSM Scrivener.
At 1700 hours no movement seen except for 4 MET which had moved up HALFAYA PASS during the morning.
2000 hours – nothing further to report.
At 1000 hours 4Tp under command of Lt Jacobson was pursued by 3 enemy 8 wheeled ACs. He retired South and the enemy ACs halted 2 miles South of KHREIGAT. They then retired in a NW direction.
At 0630 hours 5Tp reported 5 enemy ACs moving in area 519354.
At 0700 hours 5Tp was relieved by an A Sqn patrol and returned to SHQ.
At 0700 hours 2Tp proceeded to SHEFERZEN to take over that patrol from the Royals, while 3Tp Lt Halliday went to QARET ABU SAYID to take over that patrol from 1Tp.At 0752 hours 1Tp reported 7 tanks moving South down the track and engaging the A Sqn patrol in the area BIR KHREIGAT. These tanks were engaged by our guns and retired at 0840 hours, after carrying out target practice on a derelict Cruiser tank North of RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI.
At intervals during the day 3Tp reported movement of various enemy AC patrols in the area 519355.
At 1950 hours 2Tp carried out a recce of area RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR 795354 and then East for 3 miles. He reported no enemy in the HALIAN or EGYPTIAN forts or in that area.
At 1848 hours 3Tp reported 5 ACs moving South from SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 1900 hours 4 Me 110’s flew over SHQ, RHQ were warned and 5 minutes later reported they were being dive bombed.
At 1930 hours 3Tp reported that the 5 ACs now totalled 8, consisting of 6 ACs and 2 light tanks. They engaged A Sqn patrol and at 2000 hours withdrew northwards. They fired at the derelict Cruiser tank and set it on fire.
3Tp withdrew 2 miles South of ABU SAYID for the night, and 2Tp 2 miles South of SHEFERZEN.
SHQ moved during the day to ALAM EL SEYIF 510331. This being the 17th position SHQ had been in during the past 47 days.
The Echelon arrived with a composite 4Tp at 2015 hours under Sgt Corfield, having come on a direct bearing from RHQ now 25 miles away to the East.
Capt Lawson carried out a recce during the evening with a view to filling the gap between the B Sqn two western patrols. This he did and Pt. 202 was decided on as a suitable position for 4Tp to take up.
A quiet day until about 1830 hours when 4 Me 110’s came and smartened us up from 2000 feet. Two of the bombs failed to explode. Major Alexander’s ford had 2 tyres punctured and the LAD welding truck was burnt out. No one was hurt. The Breda gunners had a stoppage in one gun and were late off the mark.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 5Tp Lt Smithers relieved 3Tp at GHOT OGREIN.
Nothing to report all day except for 5 MET moving up HALFAYA PASS.
At 2000 hours nothing further to report.
Doctor visited us and 1Tp went and bathed at BUQ-BUQ.
Patrol activity in the ALAM BATTUMA area. Nothing further to report.
3Tp Lt Halliday in position 513349 and 2Tp at BIR SHEFERZEN.
3Tp reported 3 enemy ACs at southern X tracks at 0617 hours. These ACs moved SE to QARET ABU SAYID.
At 0706 hours these 3 ACs retired.
At 0800 hours 5Tp Lt Dier relieved 3Tp and 1Tp Lt Burness relieved 2Tp.
At 0840 hours 1Tp carried out a recce of SIDI OMAR area and 3 miles East of it – no movement seen.
At the same time 2Tp went to the Watch Tower 3 miles South of SHEFERZEN and reported no movement seen and returned to SHQ.
At 1150 hours 5Tp reported 3 MET in the KINIBISH area. These were followed by two more and all moved East.
At 1700 hours 1Tp carried out a recce of the SIDI OMAR area and reported no movement seen.
Between 1800 and 1900 hours 5Tp reported various enemy patrol movements in area 519345 and at 2021 hours 3 ACs engaged 5Tp and forced them to retire.
5Tp leaguered in area 515346 and 1Tp in area 2 miles SW of BIR SHEFERZEN.
During the day 4Tp was in position 508337 and reported no movement seen all day.
We moved at 0800 hours 3 miles West to get clear of 2nd RTR who were very conspicuous. Four Me 110’s flew over us before we left and Major Smail had to abandon his shaving. However they left us alone this time. The rest of the day was very quiet.
Lt Faymer with 2 Bofors AA guns took over from 2Lt Priddle, who returned to BARRANI.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 4Tp Sgt Macey moved to relieve 2Tp at ILWET KURSI. 2Tp patrolled West to try and locate two 25 pdr guns which had been abandoned by the 31st Fd Regt.
At 0630 hours 2Tp located one 25 pdr, but could not move it. They reported no movement seen on the HALFAYA – SOLLUM road. Patrol continued to recce area ALAM BHARGUT but were unable to locate any more guns.
2Tp TSM Scrivener at 0745 hours, commenced to withdraw to normal position which he had reached at 0835 hours and was relieved by 4Tp Sgt Macey.
Little movement seen during the day except 7 MET moving down HALFAYA at 0810 hours.
At 2000 hours – nothing further to report.
No movement seen.
At 0630 hours 5Tp reported 3 ACs at 515353.
At 0732 hours 1Tp was in position at RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR and reported no movement seen. 1Tp then proceeded for 3 miles East and reported no movement seen again and returned to BIR SHEFERZEN.
At 0800 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron relieved 5Tp and 3Tp Lt Halliday relieved 1Tp.
At 0825 hours 2Tp reported 2 ACs in area 579354.
At 1510 hours 4Tp in position at 508337 reported 3 vehicles approaching from the NW. They closed to within 2000 yards and opened fire.
5Tp in reserve at SHQ was ordered to proceed to the scene immediately with a Breda car and 3Tp was also ordered to move immediately also with a Breda car to QARET BAKARAT SW to intercept. The enemy however retire North immediately after firing and were never seen by either 3Tp or 5Tp.
At 1820 hours 2Tp reported 1 AC moving South in area 519354 and at the same time he reported a lorry and a staff car moving West to KINIBISH.
Capt Turnbull arrived on the Echelon to take over the duties of 2i/c, from Capt Lawson, who was to take over the command of A Sq.
A quiet day. Capt Grant-Thorold and Lt Crankshaw went down to the Echelon for the day.
|| CO: Lt Col WI Leetham
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
0550 – 1Tp Sgt Beard relieved 5Tp Lt Smithers at GHOT OGREIN. No movement seen during the day except for 7 MET moving down HALFAYA PASS during the morning.
4Tp Sgt Macey patrolled forward and salvaged a 25pdr from ALAM BARGHUT.
At 2000 hours there was nothing further to report.
There was slight patrol activity in the KHREIGAT area, otherwise no movement seen.
2Tp Sgt Cameron was in position at QARET ABU SAYID and 3Tp Lt Halliday at BIR SHEFERZEN.
At 0630 hours 3Tp on a recce northwards reported a man standing on top of RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR.
At 0640 hours 2Tp reported 5 MET in the area QUABRA EL GARAR 519354.
At 0720 hours reported 1 lorry moving West towards KINIBISH.
At 0740 hours 3Tp observing RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR from the East reported seeing 2 turrets hiding behind a hill. 5Tp Lt Dier who had proceeded to BIR SHEFERZEN to relieve 3Tp was therefore ordered to approach RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR from the SW and reported 4 ACs hiding behind a hill. These enemy ACs had obviously been placed there with a view to ambushing our patrols carrying out their daily recces of the SIDI OMAR area. On being discovered, the 4 enemy ACs moved to the East for a short way and then returned to RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR.
At 0830 hours 1Tp Lt Burness relieved 2Tp in the area QARET ABU SAYID.
At 0837 hours 1Tp reported enemy ACs in the area EL KINIBISH.
At 1205 hours 1Tp reported 3 MET proceeding North at 520349.
At 1705 hours 5Tp was joined by a patrol of KRR and they both proceeded to RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR to carry out a recce of the SIDI OMAR area. On moving to this position they observed 4 enemy ACs on the wire at the 353 Grid line which retired North as they approached.
At 1855 hours 5Tp reported 2 ACs at ITALIAN SIDI OMAR and 1 AC returning North from EGYPTIAN SIDI OMAR.
At 1928 hours 1Tp reported 1 lorry moving in the area EL KINIBISH.
A little local AC activity in the morning, otherwise quiet.
We were machine gunned by 1 Me 110 in the morning. No damage.
Major Joy and Capt Fitzpatrick of the Royals arrived in the morning.
Slight patrol activity was observed in the KHREIGAT area and 15 MET including tanks were observed in the SIWEIYAT area which afterwards withdrew towards HALFAYA.
1Tp Lt Burness reported 6 ACs in the SIDI SULEIMAN area moving slowly East at 0617 hours. Ten minutes later he reported 2 ACs moving West towards KINIBISH and at 0640 hours he reported 2 ACs moving South at 519349.
At 0655 hours these ACs turned West at 519346 and 1Tp withdrew slightly. The 2 ACs then withdrew slightly towards SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 0800 hours 5Tp Lt Dier reported 1 man standing on a well at ITALIAN SIDI OMAR.
At 0900 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday who had relieved 1Tp, reported several ACs moving around in the area 518355.
At 1000 hours 3Tp reported 2 ACs moving South down the track towards KHREIGAT. These ACs then turned NW and 3Tp retired to Pt. 206 513344 to observe. The enemy ACs reached QARET ABU SAYID where a Me 110 dropped a message on them and at approx 1100 hours they retired NE towards SIDI SULEIMAN and 3Tp returned to ABU SAYID.
A Troop of 2pdr A/Tk guns was attached to the Sqn and at 1300 hours they were placed in position at QARET ABU SAYID.
At 1935 hours 1 vehicle was seen by 3Tp in the KINIBISH area and 1 lorry moving West from SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 1955 hours 3Tp reported 2 ACs at 508355. Before darkness fell, 3Tp reported several ACs moving in the area QUABRA EL GASAR.
Capt Lawson left the Sqn for RHQ on his way to take over A Sqn.
RHQ.There was a lot of air activity in the neighbourhood.
Major Alexander went to C Sqn by the sea in the afternoon.
At 0900 hours 4Tp Lt Jacobson reported 5 MET in the SIDI SULEIMAN area and at 1130 hours they reported 3 MET RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI. Later on these MET moved West and NW and then moved out of sight.
Capt Lawson took over the Sqn from Capt Robarts who returned to Cairo.
At 0806 hours Lt Halliday at QARET ABU SAYID reported 3 enemy ACs halted at KINIBISH.
At 0820 hours they were relieved by 5Tp Lt Dier. As they were moving off, accompanied by the 2pdr guns, 5Tp reported 3 enemy ACs approaching from from the North. The 2 guns were brought into action and engaged the 3 cars who retired NW.
At 1124 hours 5Tp reported 3 MET moving North from RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI. No other movements reported during the day.
The colonel returned from Cairo in time for breakfast. Major Joy and Capt Fitzpatrick of the Royals returned to Cairo. Major Robarts spent the day with us. A quiet day.
Major Payne Gallway DSO visited RHQ between 0900 and 1700 hours. Otherwise NTR.
4Tp Lt Jacobson who was at ALAM EL ARAD 522357 reported during the morning movement of MET in the SIDI SULEIMAN area and 4 MET came South as far as RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI.
At 1830 hours 9 MET were reported in the SIWEIYAT area but at last light the whole area was reported clear.
At 0740 hours 5Tp Lt Dier who was at QARET ABU SAYID reported a tank at 505352. Later on both 5Tp and 2Tp Sgt Cameron opened fire with their Boyes guns at the tank which returned fire with 2pdr and then retired North.
At 1830 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday at BIR SHEFERZEN carried out a recce of SIDI OMAR and reported 2 men standing on the wall of the fort.
At 1950 hours 2Tp reported a vehicle moving East in area KINIBISH 513350.
Lt Horsford arrived on the Echelon and took over 4Tp who had been at 508337 all day.
Major Robarts and Capt Grant-Thorold returned to Cairo, the latter on leave.
Major Smail and Lt Crankshaw went down to the Royals in the afternoon with the doctor. A quiet day.
At 1000 hours 5 MET, 2 of which were heavy tanks, moved from BIR NUR to 529358 and from there shelled 5Tp Lt Spickernell at ALAM EL ARAD. 5Tp withdrew to Pt. 207 531347 and reported 2 MET at 532351.
At 1115 hours 5Tp moved via 531349 back to ALAM EL ARAD.
There were 6 MET seen in the SIWEIYAT area at last light.
At 1900 hours 1Tp Lt Burness at QARET ABU SAYID reported 1 lorry area KINIBISH. Otherwise no movement seen.
Very quiet. Padre Rogers arrived with YMCA car. He then went round the Sqn.
At 0800 hours the Sqn, less 2 patrols, moved to BIR ZIGDEN and took over A Sqn patrols at QARET RUWEIBIT, ALAM EL ARAD and Pt. 200 537354. These were taken over by 1400 hours.
A Sqn took over C Sqn patrols at ILWET KURSI and GHOT OGREIN and these 2 patrols returned to C Sqn by 1800 hours.
No movement seen in new area.
A little enemy movement was seen in the SIDI SULEIMAN area and BIR EL SIWEIYAT area during the morning.At 1030 hours SHQ and 1Tp and 2Tp moved to SOFAFI West where they met C Sqn. The Sqn then moved to ALAM SAMALUS to take over C Sqn’s task. 3Tp, 4Tp and 5Tp joined the Sqn when patrols from C Sqn had taken over from them. B2, B2a and B3 Echelons joined the Sqn from BIR ENBA.
At 0645 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy who was at QARET ABU SAYID reported 1 AC moving South at 519354.
At 0950 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron who had relieved 1Tp reported 2 tanks moving North 515354.
At 1924 hours 2Tp reported 4 vehicles moving East from KINIBISH area 513354.
At 2000 hours they reported 1 lorry and 4 smaller vehicles moving SW at 516355.
Moved to HAMRA area. The Colonel and Major Alexander went to Bde HQ.
We were bombed and machine gunned by a Me 110 in the evening. No damage although 2 bombs fell near the Mess.
Major Lord Apsley arrived in the evening to stay.
The Sqn Ldr visited all 3 patrols. He also contacted Major Consett, Officer i/c South Column.
At 0915 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock at QARET RUWEIBIT was machine gunned by a Me 110, no damage.
During the morning 3 enemy ACs moved in the triangle BIR NUH – BIR SIWEIYAT – ALAM BATTUMA.
At 0800 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart who was at Pt. 200 patrolled forward to a position 2 miles North of ALAM BATTUMA but was driven away by the 3 enemy ACs.
No movement seen after 1100 hours until 1900 hours when a patrol of 3 enemy ACs moved from BIR SIWEIYAT to ALAM BATTUMA and on to 530357. They remained there for 10 minutes and then returned to BIR SIWEIYAT.
A 2000 hours 4Tp reported 2 enemy MET halted at 519351. These 2 MET came from behind RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI and were still there when it got dark.
At first light 1Tp Sgt Parry proceeded to ILWET EL KURSI 547360 and 2Tp Lt Clarke was standing by at ALAM SAMALUS.
At 0930 hours 3Tp, 4Tp and 5Tp proceeded to the sea to bathe at 566371 where they were later joined by SHQ and Echelon.
1Tp reported no movement seen during the day.
Capt Friend went on leave in the morning and Lt Petch took over as 2i/c.
At 0826 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy at SHEFERZEN reported 3 ACs moving South at 495354. These were joined by a further 3 ACs. These ACs retired at 0900 hours.
At 1900 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday at ABU SAYID reported 3 ACs a 519351 moving North.
From 1900 to 2030 hours 3Tp reported several AC and lorry parties moving in the area of KINIBISH and ABU SHALIF.
Nothing to report all day.
5Tp Lt Spickernell at ILWET EL KURSI and 3Tp Sgt Beedham at ALAM SAMALUS.
Capt Lawson MC went to RHQ where he was told that Intelligence had reported a German advance was imminent and that A Sqn patrols were going to be taken over by the Central India Horse by 2100 hours. The Sqn would then proceed to SIDI BARRANI area to rest. Separate instructions were issued if the advance mentioned above were to take place.
The Sqn, less 5Tp, moved at 2200 hours along the road to SIDI BARRANI and halted for the night in area 582372.
At 0630 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday, who were at ABU SAYID, reported 3 MET at 518355 moving North.
At 0815 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy at BIR SHEFERZEN reported 3 ACs stationary at 495354.
At 0936 hours 4Tp Lt Horsford who had relieved 1Tp reported these 3 ACs moving North.
No movement seen remainder of the day except for several German recce planes.
A quiet day with no incidents.
Nothing to report all day except for odd vehicles at BIR NUH.
Capt Tanner and one S/Sgt of the South African Div Armd Car Regt attached for instruction.
Lt Blackburn RA and one Tp of 2pdrs attached.
Sqn complete with Echelon concentrated in area 602379 to rest.
Whilst proceeding to SIDI BARRANI from the night position the Sqn was stopped at 0600 hours by members of a party who had landed on the coast during the night, having been in an open boat for 7 days journeying from CRETE. The party consisted of 139 officers and men and they all said “Thank god that’s over”.
At 0855 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday at BIR SHEFERZEN reported 3 ACs stationary at 493352.
At 0917 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron at ABU SAYID was machine gunned by a ME 110.
At 0918 hours 2Tp reported 1 MET in the area KINIBISH 513354.
At 1940 hours 2Tp reported 5 AFVs at 509353 and from then until 2030 hours 2Tp reported various AC movements in the ABU SHALIF area.
Major Reeves Moore, South African Div AC Regt arrived in the afternoon for an attachment to the Sqn.
Two Australian A/Tk guns came under command of the Sqn during the evening.
Col Newton King and 5 officers of the South African Div AC Regt arrived in the evening. Col Newton King, Major Lyndsay and Lt Oppenheimer stayed with us and B & C Sqns took one officer. Otherwise NTR all day.
Lt Blackburn went on a recce with Sgt Peacock, who was at Pt. 200, to ALAM BATTUMA looking for gun positions for his 2pdrs.
At 0730 hours 3 enemy ACs moved to ALAM BATTUMA and then 1 ½ miles SE and halted. Lt Smithers who had relieved 4Tp remained in observation and eventually signalled then to rally with his flag and the enemy cars immediately moved off fast to ALAM BATTUMA, remained there for ½ hour and then retired West.
Nothing further to report for the remainder of the day.
Sqn complete concentrated by the sea 3 miles East of SIDI BARRANI. The day was spent in maintenance and bathing.
At 0545 hours 5Tp Lt Dier plus the 2 A/Tk guns left SHQ for BIR SHEFERZEN with a view to ambushing the enemy ACs usually in that area.
At 0630 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron at ABU SAYID reported 3 AC stationary at 515350.
At 0640 hours these ACs moved West to 512349. By this time 5Tp with the A/Tk guns was at QARET EL BAKARAT and it was decided to get the A/Tk guns to the North of the 3 enemy ACs. At this moment 2Tp reported these ACs moving East and this plan was abandoned and 5Tp plus the guns moved up to SHEFERZEN.
When approx 2 miles SE of SHEFERZEN 3Tp Lt Halliday at SHEFERZEN was attacked by 3 ACs and was therefore compelled to use his Breda gun and the ACs retired North. Therefore when 5Tp with the A/Tk guns arrived at SHEFERZEN the enemy ACs had retired to ITALIAN SIDI OMAR. 5Tp with the A/Tk guns then moved North towards ITALIAN SIDI OMAR but were unable to engage the enemy. During this move a Heinkel at 200 feet was engaged by the Breda gun without success.
At 1000 hours 3Tp escorted the A/Tk guns back to SHQ.
1Tp Sgt McCarthy had relieved 2Tp at ABU SAYID and at 1225 hours reported 4 MET moving West from SIDI SULEIMAN.At 1841 hours 1Tp reported a staff car proceeding South from KINIBISH but turned East and then North without giving a chance of a shot.
At 1950 hours 1Tp reported 4 MET in area KINIBISH.
RHQ.The Colonel and Col Newton King went round all the Sqns. Otherwise nothing to report.
At 0530 hours 10 Verey lights seen in the ABU SHALIF area.
2Tp Sgt McHardy at QARET RUWEIBIT, 3Tp Sgt Nash at ALAM ARAD and 1Tp Lt Stewart at Pt. 200.
At 0630 hours an enemy column of 13 AFVs including 1 large tank and 1 large AC moved from SIDI SULEIMAN to KHREIGAT. This column was shelled and withdrew West and then North. Capt Tanner and Major Payne Gallway were at QARET RUWEIBIT and saw the column moving , engaged and retiring. Lt Blackburn laid an ambush with two 2 pdrs in ALAM BATTUMA area. 5Tp Lt Smithers acted as bait and patrolled up to SIWEIYAT but the enemy would not play. The guns withdrew at 1000 hours.
No movement seen during the day. There were 3 large columns of smoke seen in the HALFAYA area at 1100 hours.
Sqn at rest by the sea.
At 0630 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy at ABU SAYID reported 4 MET moving South from SIDI SULEIMAN. These increased to 12 and at 0706 hours they were reported in the KHREIGAT area where they were engaged by guns. The enemy column then moved SW to Pt. 203 513344 and from there to Pt. 201 507347 where they halted. They were observed in this position by 4Tp Lt Horsford who had relieved 1Tp at ABU SAYID and also by 3Tp Lt Halliday who was at 508337. The enemy column appeared to consist of 6 ACs and 6 tanks.
At 0830 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron relieved 5Tp who were machine gunned at 0900 hours by a Me 110.
At 0925 hours 4Tp at 513344 was fired on by the enemy tanks.
At 1000 hours 4Tp reported the column moving NE towards SIDI SULEIMAN where they disappeared from view.
At 1915 hours 4Tp was machine gunned by an Me 110 and from then until 2030 hours reported the usual enemy AC movements in the KINIBISH – SIDI SULEIMAN areas.
We were bombed and machine gunned by a ME 110 at 0915 hours. No damage. The Colonel had gone to Bde HQ and so missed it.
Capt Grant Thorold returned from leave.
At 0730 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart reported 5 MET including 2 large and 2 small ACs moved to ALAM BATTUMA from BIR NUH. They remained there for 5 minutes and were joined by a staff car. After a further 20 minutes the party moved off back to BIR NUH and went out of sight.
Sqn still at rest by the sea.
At 0557 hours 4Tp Lt Horsford at ABU SAYID reported 4 MET moving North from 519354. 3 minutes later they were joined by 3 more MET.
During the afternoon there was a slight sandstorm and visibility became very bad.
At 1930 hours the light cleared.
At 1950 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday who had relieved 4Tp at ABU SAYID reported 3 ACs moving West from 519355 and these were followed later by 2 lorries and a staff car.
Lt Pridell 37th LAA returned to us and Lt Farmer 1st LAA went back.
At 0738 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart at Pt. 200 reported 7 MET stationary at BIR SIWEIYAT.
At 0850 hours 2Tp Sgt McHardy who had relieved 1Tp at Pt. 200 reported the 7 MET had moved to ALAM BATTUMA, halted for a few minutes and then moved SE for 2 miles. They shelled 2Tp and he had to withdraw 1 mile. The enemy then moved back to ALAM BATTUMA and shelled 4Tp Sgt Peacock at ALAM ARAD and he was also forced to withdraw 1 mile. The enemy then withdrew to BIR NUH and disappeared NW out of sight.
At 1000 hours patrols were back again in their normal position.
At 1600 hours the Sqn moved via BIR ENBA and RABIA to a position 3 miles West of BIR HABATA where we leaguered for the night.
At 1500 hours 4Tp Lt Horsford reported 3 ACs moving North by SHEFERZEN WATCH TOWER.
At 2010 hours 5Tp Lt Dier reported 1 lorry moving from KINIBISH to SIDI SULEIMAN.
Otherwise no movement seen.
No incidents. The Colonel was out all day round the Sqns, and in the evening he went to Bde.
The higher command had decided to advance with 7th Armd Div and the Indian Div with the object of relieving our forces at TOBRUK and the day was spent preparing and moving up for his event.
Major Apsley who was attached to the Sqn went out on patrol with 1Tp Lt Stewart who relieved 5Tp at QARET RUWEIBIT. Major Apsley returned at 1100 hours and then went back to RHQ.
At 1800 hours the Sqn, less the 3 patrols, moved to area 2 miles NW of QARET RAMLIYAT.
At 2000 hours 1Tp returned to SHQ from RUWEIBIT WARRANI where he had been in observation whilst 7th Armd Div re-concentrated in the KHREIGAT area.
5Tp and 4Tp remained in their normal position for the night.
In the morning Capt Lawson MC went to RHQ to receive orders and the Sqn moved at 1700 hours to area 516366 where the Sqn leaguered for the night.
The Sqn Ldr visited RHQ during the morning to receive orders for the advance.
At 1800 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron relieved 5Tp Lt Dier at ABU SAYID and 1Tp Sgt McCarthy and 3Tp Lt Halliday proceeded to SHEFERZEN relieving 4Tp.
At 1800 hours 3Tp carried out a recce of SIDI OMAR and reported 3 ACs moving SW of the rise.
1Tp and 3Tp leaguered together at SHEFERZEN and 2Tp at ABU SAYID. SHQ moved to QARET EL BAKARAT at 2000 hours.
Sqn Ldrs conference at 1100 hours. Brigadier Campbell called in.
Moved out preparatory to the show at 1900 hours and spent the night at MILIK 521332.
Two Me 110’s were shot down by Hurricanes.
No movement seen during the night except for our troops moving up for the advance.
The Sqn, less 4Tp Sgt Peacock and 5Tp Lt Smithers, moved to a position 1 mile West of ABU SHALIF. Later, 4Tp and 5Tp joined the Sqn there.
The Sqn was in reserve all day and moved with RHQ. They leaguered for the night at 506363.
The Sqn moved at 0530 hours to area 499355. The Sqn was responsible for the recce and observation for the line SIDI OMAR – GABREL GERRARI – GABR EL MEDWAR – BIR LEMLIN. This was to take place when the 7th Armd Bde advanced from MONASTIR X tracks 516361 to BP 40 and thence to BIR HAFID 506375.
Troops were given the following tasks:-
1Tp Sgt Parry to recce BIR GHIRBA, BIR HAFID and Pt. 204 509377.
3Tp Sgt Beedham to recce GABREL GERRARI, GABR EL SHADEW to GABR EL MEDWAR.
At 0940 hours 1Tp and 3Tp were in the BIR GHIRBA and GABR EL GERRARI areas respectively and Sgt Parry contacted 2nd RTR in the GHIRBA area. He reported movement on the BIR HAFID ridge at 506374 but this was later reported as being friendly.
1Tp was then told to push on the BIR HAFID but when he was within 300 yards of that position he was heavily fired on from what he considered to be a very strongly held position, consisting A/Tk guns and artillery firing over open sights. He dropped back and personally gave this valuable information to the Commander of 2nd RTR.
Meanwhile 3Tp was moving from GABR EL GERRARI to GABR EL SHADEW and 4Tp at 0945 hours was ordered to move out and watch the western flank from Pt. 201 496367.
At 1144 hours 3Tp was in position at GABR EL MEDWAR but 15 minutes later retired to GABR EL SHADEW as he was heavily shelled from BIR HAFID.
At 1155 hours BIR HAFID position was under heavy fire from our own guns. During the next hour that place was subjected to two tank attacks by us.
From 1200 hours throughout the afternoon 3Tp gave good reports of movement from the North, and reported on a column at 496380, 25 MET mostly AFVs and also 9 AFVs at 500380, and was able to see any movement into BIR HAFID from the North or NW.
During this time 1Tp had been giving information on the HAFID area.
At 1635 hours the column being watched by 3Tp and was at 496380 appeared to be moving NW.
At 1815 hours 4Tp was heavily attacked by 7 Me 110’s and all 3 cars were put out of action, 2 of them completely burnt out. 2Tp were sent out from SHQ to render assistance and brought back 9 wounded men. Lt Jacobson and Tpr Worthington subsequently died.
5Tp took over took over 4Tp patrol.
At 1945 hours the enemy who had returned to the 496380 area and who had been refuelling from 1900 hours, commenced to move South with a column of about 40 vehicles of which 30 were tanks, and at the same time a second column of 20 tanks moved under heavy shellfire South from the HAFID RIDGE. The western column advanced very quickly South to the 369 Grid line, while the eastern column came as far South as BIR GHIRBA.
1Tp maintained touch with the eastern column whilst 3Tp and 5Tp did the same with the western column.
Both columns were engaged by our artillery and tanks. The 3 Tps mentioned above maintained a listening watch during the night. SHQ leaguered at 499358 where Mr Jacobson and Tpr Worthington were buried.
At 0530 hours 2Tp Sgt Cameron moved North to Pt. 204 507364 but owing to a puncture coupled with bad visibility did not reach the position until 0734 hours. On reaching this position he reported 40 to 50 MET in the area Pt. 206 514369, also 1 AFV and 1 lorry at BP 40. He was engaged by this AFV and was forced to retire.
3Tp Lt Halliday was due to meet Major Consett’s column at BIR SHEFERZEN at 0530 hours and proceeded with them to attack ITALIAN SIDI OMAR and reported several men standing on the walls and 1 MET inside the fort. These turned out to be 3 ACs with their crews who withdrew before they could be engaged. 3Tp then proceeded to a point 3 miles West of SIDI OMAR where he remained in observation during the day until relieved by 1Tp Sgt McCarthy at 1900 hours.
At 0900 hours a Btn of our tanks passed through 2Tp position moving West and his role of watching the wire being finished he returned to SHQ.
1Tp was relieved by an OP of Major Consett’s column at BIR SHEFERZEN at 0846 hours and then rejoined SHQ. SHQ then moved to HAQFET EL QINEIQINA at 0630 hours.At 1730 hours 4Tp Lt Horsford and 5Tp Lt Dier proceeded to BIR SHEFERZEN where they joined up with Major Wither’s column. 5Tp remained there and 4Tp accompanied Major Withers West along the TRIGH EL ABD for 10 miles where they halted at dark, returning during the night. The object of this move was to try and lead the enemy into thinking that we were moving round his left flank.
Moved from MILIK at 0630 hours to ABU SHALIF and then to Pt. 205 where we spent the day. The horizon was covered with smoke and sand for most of the day.
Two enemy planes were shot down by Hurricanes who were plentiful all day until about 1800 hours when the Luftwaffe came over bombing and machine gunning.
3Tp Lt Burdon at 0530 hours moved off to take over A Sqn patrol at GHIRBA and 1Tp Lt Stewart moved to take over another A Sqn patrol at a position 2 miles NW of BP 46.
1Tp then moved on to Pt. 201 and at about 0700 hours reported a large column of approx 150 MET including tanks (about 50) moving South. 3Tp also observed this column which moved South to Pt. 201 496367 and then turned SE. it was engaged by our tanks and a large battle took place.
1Tp by this time was at BP 46 and when the enemy were driven back slightly by the tanks, moved forward to 496362. The Tp was then heavily shelled and forced to move back to BP 46.
During this time 3Tp was at GHIRBA and reported some enemy MET at BIR HAFID.
At 1000 hours the enemy again advanced right up to the wire between BP 47 and BP 45. Eight enemy tanks came through the wire at BP 46 and halted. The remainder of the enemy halted about 1 mile NW of the wire in the area 500363.
1Tp withdrew to 503359 and remained in observation there. 3Tp remained at GHIRBA and SHQ moved to QARET SUWEIDA.
The enemy column remained in the same position during the day until about 1915 hours when it commenced to advance East.
The first move was to C87 503359 where the column halted for 10 minutes and then moved on East to the area QARET ABU FARIS – GHARBIYA area where a big battle took place, going on until 2048 hours when darkness stopped the fight. During the battle 1Tp Lt Stewart was in observation on the southern side of the column. 3Tp Lt Burdon on the northern side from Pt. 206. When the battle stopped the enemy were seen to move back West and 1Tp observed them halted at 503359.
SHQ moved to EL KINIBISH and then to Pt. 203 where they remained for the night. 1Tp remained at QARET SUWEIDA for the night and 3Tp at 516361.
During the day 1Tp was shelled and fired at by A/Tk guns. At one time he was 1000 yards from 25 enemy tanks. The Tp Ldr’s (Lt Stewart) information during the day was excellent. He remained within 3 miles of the column during the night and so was able to report it stationary at 0530 the next morning and also report its first move from the night position.
1Tp Sgt Parry reported movement during the night, heard in the direction of the enemy’s western column. 3Tp and 5Tp who had leaguered together also heard the movement and thought that the column was moving in a SW direction. At first light however it was discovered that the western column had returned northwards and at 0625 hours 1Tp from BIR GHIRBA reported the HAFID ridge position still strongly held and no sign of the western column which had retired North.
At 0700 hours 1Tp reported 40 MET in the HAFID area consisting of tanks and lorries, and another column of 20 MET 2 miles further East. At this time a considerable number of dismounted men were seen in the HAFID position.
Between 0700 and 0800 hours 1Tp, 3Tp and 5Tp were relieved at 503355.
At 1030 hours the Sqn moved to 504351 and SHQ placed themselves at Support Grp HQ to enable Brigadier Campbell to get 11th Hussars information direct.
At 1930 hours the Sqn moved to area 504349. Capt Friend and his black driver returned from leave in Cairo.
At 0615 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy reported 6 enemy MET moving SE 496364.At 0630 hours 4Tp Lt Horsford was ordered to return to SHQ and 5Tp Lt Dier remained in observation in the BIR SHEFERZEN area.
At 0727 hours 1Tp reported 25 MET moving SE 501365.
At 0850 hours information was received from C Sqn that a column of MET were moving South in area 496372 but it was not until 0936 hours that 1Tp was able to report a large concentration of enemy vehicles to the North of SIDI OMAR. 1Tp then moved East to SIDI OMAR but came under shellfire from the column and was forced to retire SE.
The leading elements of the column entered ITALIAN SIDI OMAR and then withdrew North to their main body at 496364.
For the next few hours 1Tp was continually in touch with the enemy movement North of SIDI OMAR which consisted of approx 150 vehicles. The enemy appeared to be trying to move East but was heavily opposed by our column in that area.
At 1000 hours SHQ withdrew to area 509351.
At 1253 hours 1Tp re-entered ITALIAN SIDI OMAR FORT and reported 60 to 70 MET, mostly lorries, stationary at 491363.
In the meantime 2Tp Sgt Cameron had been despatched to assist 1Tp and at 1305 hours reached the area 498352. 2Tp then moved North to RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR where he remained in observation.
At 1500 hours 5Tp Lt Dier proceeded northwards to area 490354 accompanied by 2 A/Tk guns to investigate a report of a concentration in that area. The report proved false but 5Tp encountered 2 enemy ACs which engaged them and they then retired to SHEFERZEN.
5Tp reported various AC movement in the SIDI OMAR area during the afternoon.
At 1720 hours 1Tp reported the following situation – approx 60 MET in area 489360 and also 15 MET returning North from SIDI OMAR.
At 1743 hours 1Tp reported 10 MET moving East from 489361 and at 1748 hours 9 MET moving towards ITALIAN SIDI OMAR.
At 1837 hours 1Tp reported 40 tanks in area BP 47, being replenished by lorries.
At 1930 hours 3Tp relieved 1Tp and 2Tp relieved 5Tp.
At 1940 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday reported 125 MET stationary in area 492362, the majority of these being lorries.
At 1941 hours a large number of men were seen to dismount from these lorries.
At 1955 hours the enemy Infantry advanced on foot towards ITALIAN SIDI OMAR.
At 2040 hours 3Tp reported 55 MET at 491364 and 50 MET at 489361 also 3 large guns in area 491362. 3Tp spent the night in area 501354.
We moved back during the day in small jumps to ABU SHALIF again – the battle raging furiously between 2000 and 2100 hours. We had a fine view of a tank battle. Large numbers of Italian and German planes bombed the area during the afternoon.
No movement seen during the night except for enemy Verey lights in great numbers.
At 0545 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart reported the enemy column moving East from C87 and he continued to report on this column until it halted at QARET ABU FARIS at 0830 hours. 3Tp Lt Burdon also reported it from Pt. 206 up to the time it reached ABU FARIS area, where he withdrew SE and eventually took it up from a position of observation at Pt. 206.
1Tp Lt Stewart was in observation at 517352. The enemy remained halted in the QARET ABU FARIS area during the remainder of the morning.
At 0930 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock relieved 1Tp at 517352 and 5Tp Lt Smithers relieved 3Tp at Pt. 205 522352.
At 1115 hours 2Tp moved to take up a position of observation at BIR NUH. SHQ moved to BIR KHREIGAT at 0630 hours and remained there during the day.
At 1500 hours the enemy column in QARET ABU FARIS moved off NE. 5Tp and 2Tp kept the column under observation until it disappeared in the HALFAYA area.
4Tp Sgt Peacock patrolled forward to the northern X tracks , but when they were within 300 yards they surprised a German broken tank with the crew outside. He machine gunned the crew but there was someone inside who swung the turret round at him so he quickly withdrew over the ridge. Later 3 of our tanks destroyed this tank.
At 1820 hours 14 tanks moved East from EL KINIBISH towards QARET ABU FARIS. They continued to SIDI SULEIMAN and then turned South and were engaged by our tanks and guns and driven off West.
During this operation another party of 25 MET moved from Italian camp area SE to the northern V tracks at 522358 and remained there while the battle at SIDI SULEIMAN was going on.
At 2000 hours there was nothing further to report.
At 0933 hours the Sqn, still in reserve, moved to area 526340 where they remained throughout the day.
At 0600 hours 3Tp Lt Halliday reported 12 MET at 494358.
At 0612 hours 3Tp reported 3 ACs moving East 496356 and at the same time 2Tp Sgt Cameron reported 3 ACs moving North from the SHEFERZEN WATCH TOWER.
At 0620 hours 3Tp reported a concentration of MET in area HAQFET EL QINEIQINA and also 39 MET moving East from BP 47.
At 0628 hours he reported that this column consisted of 1 tank, 5 ACs, 7 guns and 26 lorries.
At 0645 hours a report was received that an enemy column was in area 507353 and 5Tp Lt Dier was dispatched to investigate.
At 0657 hours 5Tp reported that area clear and the head of the column was at 512357 moving East.
SHQ in the meantime withdrew to area 514344.
At 0716 hours 4Tp Lt Horsford relieved 2Tp and in the meantime 3Tp was reporting various AC movements in area 500356.
For the next 3 or 4 hours 3Tp and 4Tp were constantly watching the enemy AC patrol in the area SIDI OMAR and West of the wire in the SHEFERZEN area.
During the afternoon 5Tp reported enemy vehicles stretching from QARET ABU FARIS to QARET ABU FARIS EL GHARBIYA and at 1437 hours he reported general NE movement from this column.
At 1600 hours 5Tp reported 6 MET in area 515356.
At 1700 hours 5Tp proceeded to QARET ABU FARIS EL GHARBIYA.
At 1810 hours he reported 14 MET in area 510363 moving South. These were heavily bombed and dispersed.At 1822 hours he reported seeing movement in area QARET SUWEIDA. It was at first thought that this was friendly but it turned out to be 14 enemy tanks moving East line abreast. 5Tp just had time to get across their bows at 1000 yards and luckily must have been mistaken for an enemy patrol as he was not engaged.
At 1850 hours 3Tp reported 3 MET at 498355.
At 1900 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy relieved 3Tp.
At 1911 hours 4Tp reported 2 ACs moving East at 490356.
At 1935 hours 1Tp was shelled from SIDI OMAR and was forced to retire a short way at 1935 hours 5Tp reported the 14 tanks retiring at 510356. These were engaged by one of our columns.
At 2000 hours 4Tp reported enemy guns in action at 494359 and also 1Tp reported 7 of the 14 tanks halted at 500355.
At 2030 hours 5Tp withdrew to SHQ. 1Tp leaguered in area 505351 and 4Tp at BIR SHEFERZEN.
Moved at 1945 hours to area 527344 for the day. The battle was still going on. There were two big air battles when the Hurricanes arrived just after the enemy had bombed the area.
At 1930 hours 8 Me 110’s gave a fine display of aeronautics together with bombs and machine guns round our position and we had a good shoot.
In the evening the Regt came back under Support Grp.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0645 hours 4 tanks appeared at SIDI SULEIMAN X tracks with 3 other MET which eventually moved off NW. Patrols remained in the same area.
2Tp TSM Scrivener found a 25pdr with a punctured wheel. He managed to get a wheel off a broken limber in the same area. It was later collected after being reported to RHQ.
At 1000 hours all was quiet but the visibility was bad – about ½ mile.
Later on SHQ moved to QARET RAMLIYAT.
At 1615 hours the enemy sent out a screen of 22 AFVs South from SIDI SULEIMAN as far as RUWEIBIT WARRANI. They then turned West and moved off to EL KINIBISH. The object of the screen was to allow them to burn our derelict tanks which they did.
At 1800 hours the enemy had disappeared NE.
At 1015 hours the Sqn moved to Pt. 203 513344 to take over from B Sqn.
At 1400 hours 3Tp was in position at 511353, 5Tp at 505352 and 2Tp in the BIR SHEFERZEN area.
There was enemy patrol activity throughout the afternoon and 1 column of 20 MET, mostly tanks, which came as far South as 514354 and were engaged by our guns. They later retires NE to SIDI SULEIMAN.
1Tp Sgt McCarthy was at 503352 and 4Tp Lt Horsford at SHEFERZEN WATCH TOWER.
2Tp Sgt Cameron moved out to area 512353 at first light.
At 0538 hours 1Tp reported 6 MET in area 503357.
At 0635 hours 4Tp reported 1 AC at 492351 with 8 – 10 men digging a ridge behind.
At 0739 hours 4Tp reported 3 MET, one of which was towing a gun, at 491352.
During the rest of the morning 1Tp and 4Tp were in contact with the enemy AC patrols and at 1300 hours A Sqn arrived and relieved the Sqn. The Sqn then moved into reserve with RHQ at QARET EL MILIK 520331.
Returned to QARET EL MILIK at 0615 hours. Bombed and machine gunned by Me 110’s at 1050 hours. No damage.
The Sqn now had three permanent patrols out. One at ABU SHALIF, one at ALAM ARAD and another at ALAM BATTUMA. Each Tp had 72 hours on patrol and 48 hours rest.
1Tp Lt Stewart relieved 5Tp Lt Smithers at ALAM ARAD who relieved 2Tp TSM Scrivener at ALAM BATTUMA. 3Tp Lt Burdon relieved 4Tp Sgt Peacock at ABU SHALIF.
There was a little local movement in the SIDI SULEIMAN area during the morning. 5Tp patrolled forward towards SIDI SULEIMAN, but was driven back by fire from the enemy tanks which appeared from behind the ridge behind SIDI SULEIMAN grave. The patrol saw approx 15 men on the ground at the grave and 1 MET with them.
TSM Scrivener 2Tp salvaged a 15cwt truck with 2 Bren guns, 1 Boyes Rifle, 2 range finders and some medical equipment.
At 1135 hours a recovery party arrived to salvage an I tank at ALAM BATTUMA. This was unsuccessful as the tank had seized up.
At 1300 hours 5Tp moved to RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI as the visibility was so bad.
At 1900 hours 3 ACs approached ALAM ARAD from the North, but withdrew when they were 3 miles from our patrol.
Our patrols observed various enemy AC and tank patrols during the day and at the BIR SHEFERZEN position A/Tk gunners with 1Tp had a shoot at 2 enemy ACs but missed.
At midday the Sqn moved to BIR ENBA arriving there just before dark.
Major Smail and Capt Grant Thorold went to the Echelon at 0730 hours. Colonel Newton King and party left to return to AMRIYA. The Colonel went round the Sqns.
At 1400 hours RHQ moved to 1 ½ miles NE of BIR DIGNAISH 545319.
At 0600 hours the Sqn moved to 533340. 4Tp Sgt Peacock relieved 3Tp at RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI who relieved 1Tp at ALAM ARAD who relieved 5Tp at ALAM BATTUMA.
There was no movement during the day but at about 1900 hours and enemy column of 9 tanks and 2 recovery vehicles made a march from QARET ABU SAYID – SIDI SULEIMAN and were last seen going North from SIDI SULEIMAN.
Three tanks also came from the North and halted at the Y tracks 519354 from 1930 to 2010 hours and then retired North.
At 2100 hours nothing further to report.
4Tp Sgt Perry relieved 1Tp Lt Petch at BIR SHEFERZEN and 1Tp moved to Pt. 203 505351 and 2Tp Lt Clarke moved to Pt. 202 512353.
There was a good deal of enemy patrol activity during the day and at 1850 hours 2Tp reported 12 large tanks moving South from 513351 with 2 large recovery vehicles. They moved to QARET ABU FARIS and then on to SIDI SULEIMAN collecting various derelicts on their way.
The march was continued in the early morning and on arrival at SIDI BARRANI the Sqn came under orders of 22nd Guards Bde. The Sqn moved later on in the day to a place on the coast in the area of ALAN EL HAMID.
A quiet day. Lord Apsley went up to C Sqn.
At 0545 hours no movement seen during the night.
At 0640 hours 3Tp Lt Burdon at ALAM ARAD reported 7 tanks at Pt. 205 522356. These tanks made a march to ALAM ARAD and across to QARET RUWEIBIT and then North to KHREIGAT. Here they halted for 15 minutes and then moved West to QARET ABU SAYID, turning North there and disappearing out of sight.
Meanwhile 20 tanks and 10 ACs appeared in BIR SILWEIYAT area from the NW. They pushed 3 tanks SE to ALAM BATTUMA and drove patrol SE to Pt. 200 537354. The enemy did not come SE of BATTUMA but remained in that area.
At 1100 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener with Lord Apsley moved to relieve 4Tp Sgt Peacock who was at QARET RUWEIBIT and who moved to Pt. 204 to relieve 3Tp Lt Burdon who moved to Pt. 200 to relieve 1Tp Lt Stewart who came into SHQ.
At 1250 hours the enemy at ALAM BATTUMA started to move SE and were heavily engaged by TOGS column. 4Tp at ALAM ARAD was shelled from BIR NUH area and forced to withdraw to Pt. 207 530347.
At 1310 hours the enemy who were moving SE from ALAM BATTUMA were reported by 2Tp to be at QABR EL SAKIR. They then moved North past ALAM BATTUMA towards BIR EL SIWEIYAT.
At 1400 hours 2Tp reported 15 MET had passed BIR EL SIWEIYAT and that 8 MET still remained there.
By 1430 hours all patrols were back in their normal position.
At 1515 hours Lt Burdon reported 6 MET halted at QABR EL SHARQAN.
At 1930 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock reported 11 MET halted at Pt. 205 522356. Five of these MET later moved off North.
2100 hours nothing further to report.
Major Payne Gallway DSO left the Sqn to go on leave. Capt Cayzer took over command and Lt Burdon 2i/c.
3Tp Sgt Beedham moved to BIR SHEFERZEN area and 4Tp Sgt Parry moved to Pt. 203. 1Tp Lt Petch moved up towards Pt. 202 but by that time 2Tp Lt Clarke was involved.
At 0600 hours he had heard the noise of tanks moving from his NE in a southerly direction.
At 0640 hours C Sqn reported 7 tanks and 10 ACs moving SW – the tanks being at 525356. They continued moving SW to QARET EL RUWEIBIT and 2Tp was withdrawing to Pt. 203. From QARET EL RUWEIBIT the 7 tanks turned North to KHREIGAT and by 0810 hours they had turned West and by 0815 hours they had turned South and were forming up to attack our patrols. 1Tp and 2Tp were together by this time and had with them 2 A/Tk guns. Capt Friend was also with the party as he had been visiting the patrols. Owing to the threat from the East 3Tp and 4Tp were withdrawn to the 345 East West Grid line. The 7 tanks started moving South in line and engaged our patrols from 4000 yards, later coming to within 2000 yards. They were in turn engaged by A/Tk guns and artillery from the ALAM EL LISID position. They reached Pt. 203 and turned North and disappeared towards QARET ABU FARIS. Our patrols resumed their normal position and 2Tp returned to SHQ. Which was at ALAM EL LISID. After this incident little movement was seen during the day.
3Tp Sgt Beedham reported 3 ACs moving South down the wire opposite BP 55 and later moved down to BP 71 and then disappeared West.
At dawn 1Tp proceeded to ILWET ABU MAZHUD with the object of watching the left flank of the coastal columns in the event of an enemy advance.Later in the day this patrol moved to Colonel Eastman’s HQ slightly East of BUQ-BUQ where it remained ready for instant action on the left flank in the event of an enemy advance.
Quite a lot of activity in the morning.
General Creagh came to visit in the afternoon and the Colonel visited Div HQ.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener reported 3 MET in the area of the southern V tracks 519353 and 3 ACs were also reported at BIR NUH.
At 0615 hours 5Tp Lt Smithers relieved 2Tp Who relieved 4Tp Sgt Peacock at ALAM EL ARAD who relieved 3Tp Sgt Nash at ALAM BATTUMA who came into SHQ.
At 1100 hours 4Tp reported 1 MET moving from SIDI SULEIMAN towards HALFAYA also 2 MET halted just SW of BIR NUH.
At 1930 hours 2Tp reported 2 MET stationary at Pt. 205 and at 2030 hours he reported 1 AC moving down the track towards the southern V tack 519353 and then turned back NE.
Otherwise no movement seen.
5Tp Lt Spickernell moved to BIR SHEFERZEN, 3Tp Sgt Beedham to Pt. 203, 4Tp Sgt Parry to Pt. 202 and 1Tp Lt Petch returned to SHQ.
There was small enemy patrol activity in the morning and evening. Otherwise no movement seen.
From June 22nd to 30th the Sqn remained in the HAMID area with one Tp proceeding daily to Colonel Eastman’s HQ whilst the remainder of the Sqn were refitting and carrying out maintenance and training.
A quiet day. Major Payne Gallway DSO and Lord Apsley returned to Cairo. Colonel Hayward of the Royals arrived during the morning to discuss with Colonel Leetham arrangements for relieving Sqns. The Colonel left at 1700 hours to visit Support Grp.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart left to relieve 5Tp who relieved 2Tp who relieved 4Tp who returned to SHQ.
At 0700 hours 1Tp reported 2 medium tanks at ABU SHALIF and also 2 MET at the northern V tracks which later went West out of sight.
At 1100 hours 5Tp Lt Smithers reported 2 ACS halted at HAQFET EL NAAS. These ACs remained there all day until 2030 hours when they went out of sight in a NE direction.Otherwise a quiet day.
2Tp Lt Clarke went out to the SHEFERZEN area. 5Tp Lt Spickernell to Pt. 203. 3Tp Sgt Beedham to Pt. 202 while 4Tp returned to SHQ.
There were enemy patrols consisting of 3 ACs which travelled South down the wire until they were engaged by the Royals in the area of the 332 Grid line.Otherwise a quiet day.
A little activity during the morning. Three enemy 8 wheeled ACs moved South down the wire and were engaged and driven off by a Coy of the KRR.
Colonel Leetham and Major Alexander left for B Sqn who were just West of SIDI BARRANI and remained there for the night.
Very quiet during the afternoon with no enemy movement being reported.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0600 hours shelling was reported in area HALFAYA.
At 0815 hours 3Tp Sgt Nash reported 3 ACs between ABU FARIS and ABU SHALIF with men walking about. Fifteen minutes later these 3 ACs moved off NE out of sight.
At 1750 hours 5Tp Lt Smithers reported 4 MET HALTED NE of QABR EL SHARQAN.
At 1800 hours 2 ACs were reported at ABU SHALIF which later went off NE out of sight.
At 2030 hours 2 ACs halted ½ mile NE of BIR NUH, 1 MET at the northern Pt. 205 522356.
There was the normal enemy patrol activity in the early morning and late evening. They appeared to make no move in the heat of the day.
RHQ.Little activity today.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0730 hours 3Tp Sgt Nash reported 1 MET halted at Pt. 205 and also 1 MET at BIR NUH.
At 0940 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock reported 3 MET halted at southern V track. He engaged them with his Breda gun and they retired.
At 1200 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart reported 1 staff car and one large AC moving from SIWEIYAT to BIR NUH.
No movement seen remainder of the day. In the evening Major Anderson 4th SA AC Regt and 3 men arrived for a short stay.
It appears that the enemy have taken up a line of observation with AFV patrols on the general line SHEFERZEN WATCH TOWER – RUWEIBIT – SIDI OMAR – SIDI SULEIMAN. Usual dawn and dusk enemy patrols. Some smoke columns and explosions seen between 1000 and 1100 hours in area BP 39.
Brigadier Campbell and Colonel Hayward of the Royals arrived at 0830 hours to make final arrangements about reliefs of Sqns by the Royals.
Little activity, the usual enemy patrols. It is expected that the Royal will take control of the front at 2400 hours. The actual Sqns on patrol being A & C Sqns 11th Hussars, C Sqn the Royals and 1 Coy KRR
No movement seen during the night.
In the early morning there was a very thick mist over all our front and visibility was very poor, a very quiet day.
At 2000 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock reported 1 AC a mile East of ABU FARIS and 4 MET moving down the track towards SHEFERZEN.
During the last few days there has been a considerable amount of blasting and explosions coming from the enemy positions. It appears that they are building fortifications.
At 0940 hours Gunner position 513344 was attacked by 6 Me 109’s and severely dealt with. These aircraft then flew West and attacked 4Tp wounding Tpr Blake on a Breda car. They then continued and attacked 3Tp. Tpr Winslade was killed and Cpl Green wounded. Tpr Winslade was buried at 514334. Tpr Blake although seriously wounded continued to drive his car for 10 minutes until fainting.
There was the usual enemy patrol activity in the morning and evening and 4Tp Sgt Parry at 2010 hours engaged 1 enemy tank with his Breda gun. The tank withdrew NW.
A very misty morning and patrols reported visibility of 15 yards until 0830 hours. The Royal took command at 0815 hours and the forward link took up listening watch only. Ground activity was very slight but an increase in air activity was observed. Sixteen of our planes and 17 enemy planes were reported at 1530 hours.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0850 hours 4Tp Sgt Peacock reported between 12 and 15 MET spread out in line NE of QABR EL SHARQAN. 2Tp TSM Scrivener confirmed this.
At 1000 hours they moved off towards Italian comp Pt. 207 518364.
At 1100 hours 4Tp reported 12 to 15 MET in columns of 3 or 4 between 521360 and 521362. They appeared to be acting as a screen to a party who were blasting behind them. A certain amount of thuds in the SIDI SULEIMAN area indicated movements of MET.
At 1400 hours Major Anderson returned from 4Tp with whom he had spent nearly 24 hours and went on to RHQ
.At 1850 hours the MET acting as a screen still appeared to be in the same position, screening the blasting party. There also appeared to be objects which looked like entrenchments in the same area.
At 2030 hours there was 1 MET ½ mile East of BIR NUH and still 5 MET in area 521360. The remainder of the MET appeared to have moved off NW. also 5 ACs moved NE up the track from X tracks at SIDI SULEIMAN.
Patrols went out at first light.
Normal patrol activities were carried out by the enemy protective detachments. It was decided to bring the centre position (3Tp Sgt Beedham) back to Pt. 201 507347 in order to shorten the line. A quiet day.
On the whole a very quiet day with little enemy activity. Major Smail and Lt Ward left at 0800 hours to visit B Sqn on the coast.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0720 hours 2Tp reported 1 AC and 1 staff car halted just East of BIR NUH.
At 0800 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart reported 3 ACs just West of the Grave at ABU SHALIF 520353 who afterwards moved West and then North out of sight.
At 0845 hours 2Tp TSM Scrivener reported blasting in the same area as the day before with a screen of MET in front in groups of two, between 521360 and 522362.
At 1045 hours Lt Stewart reported 2 ACs halted just West of the southern V tracks at 518353.
No movement seen during the afternoon.
At 2045 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart reported 2 ACs at SIDI SULEIMAN with about 8 men walking about round the derelicts.
Normal patrols out.
At 1100 hours 5Tp Lt Spickernell drove off 2 enemy ACs which tried to penetrate our lines, with the use of the two Breda cars attached to him.
The day was otherwise normal.
Another quiet day with a little air activity. General Gott arrived at about 1800 hours and stopped for the night.
No movement seen during the night.
At 0730 hours 2Tp reported that 3 ACs came from the NE and halted just NE of BIR NUH.
At 1200 hours there were intermittent explosions coming from the area NE of QABR EL SHARQAN 520358 where the enemy continued with his blasting activities.
At 1815 hours 5Tp Lt Smithers reported that there were 10 MET in the area QABR EL SHARQAN and the blasting was still continuing.
At 1905 hours 3Tp Sgt Nash reported 7 MET at SIDI SULEIMAN.
At 2000 hours 1 AC and 1 MET moved South from SIDI SULEIMAN. They were accurately shelled and retired North.
This was a quiet day with normal patrol activity on both sides. It was noticed that the enemy were now blasting in the area 504368 which would seem to indicate the creation of some form of fixed position.
Very slight enemy movement throughout the day.
At 1100 hours Colonel Leetham again took command from the Royals who had been ordered to Palestine. This was a great disappointment to everyone as they had been expecting to be relieved by the Royals.
At 0700 hours 14 Me 109’s flew over RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI and at 0925 hours 1 MET approached BIR NUH and was engaged by our guns.
Normal enemy movement was observed throughout the remainder of the day.
Normal patrols sent out.
At 0915 hours 1Tp picked up 8 Riflemen who had been out all night on patrol and failed to locate their trucks by dawn.
At 0940 hours 2Tp engaged enemy ACs which were apparently searching for our Infantry patrol and drove them off NW.
At 1000 hours 1Tp picked up another Rifleman which now accounted for the entire patrol.
Nothing else of importance occurred during the day but enemy blasting operations continued over the entire area.
||CO: Lt Col WI Leetham
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
The Sqn was resting by the sea and had nothing to report until July 16th.
3Tp Sgt Beedham took over the SHEFERZEN area. 4Tp Sgt Parry Pt. 201 and 1Tp Lt Petch ABU SAYID.
This was a quiet day, the only event being the inspection of patrol positions by Major Smail who spent the evening with SHQ.
The Sqn moved from the sea to relieve C Sqn on the top of the escarpment.
At 1300 hours the Sqn moved to 533340. 1Tp was left behind with a broken spring but joined later.
At 1430 hours the Sqn arrived at C Sqn HQ and 3 patrols were sent out to relieve C Sqn patrols. 5Tp went to RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI, 3Tp to ABU EL ARAD and 2Tp to ALAM EL BATTUMA.
At 1730 hours all tps were in position and C Sqn patrols returning.
At 1900 hours 3Tp reported 3 MET halted at 526361.
At 927 hours 2Tp was shelled off BATTUMA and retired SW for ¼ mile.
At 1945 hours 5Tp reported 2 MET stationary at 518355.
At 1950 hours 2Tp returned to BATTUMA and reported no movement seen.
At 2045 hours tps retired to night positions approx 2 miles South of day positions. SHQ remained at 534340. Major Wainman went on leave to Cairo that night.
RHQ.Major Alexander, Major Wainman went on leave. Capt Cayzer went to Cairo. NOTHING TO REPORT.
5Tp Lt Spickernell took over SHEFERZEN area. 3Tp took over from 4Tp at Pt. 201, 4Tp ABU SAYID area.
This was a quiet day. Capt Dumming arrived to stay with SHQ also S/Sgt Stewart, both from 3rd Btn SAF.
At 0647 hours 2Tp reported 1 AC halted East of BIR NUH which at 0657 hours moved North out of sight.
At 0710 hours 5Tp reported 3 MET moving from SIDI SULEIMAN towards KINIBISH.
At 0714 hours 2Tp was shelled out of BATTUMA.
At 0753 hours 1 MET stationary at 515356.
At 0807 hours 3Tp reported 2 lorries at 522360.
At 0825 hours 4Tp relieved 5Tp at WARRANI.
At 0845 hours 3Tp reported 1 AC retiring out of sight at BIR NUH.
At 0915 hours 5Tp relieved 3Tp at ALAM EL ARAD.
At 1000 hours 2Tp returned to BATTUMA and was relieved by 3Tp at 1030 hours and returned to SHQ.
From 1030 hours to 1730 hours explosions were seen in the area 520360. These were thought to be blasting operations by the enemy.
At 1916 hours 3Tp reported 4 MET moving South from SIDI SULEIMAN and halting at 518356.
At 1934 hours 5Tp Lt Dier reported 3 MET halted 518356.
At 1945 hours 3Tp reported 2 lorries and some men walking about at 527362.
At 1950 hours 5Tp reported an increase of 5 MET at 519361.
At 2025 hours 3Tp reported 1 tank at BIR NUH and one tank halted West of BIR NUH.During the day 3Tp and 4Tp had 2 A/Tk guns with them.
Major Smail and Lt Poston returned to Cairo. A quiet day.
The usual patrol reliefs took place.
3Tp at ABU SAYID picked up a S African Flying Officer who had come down in the GAMBUT area on June 17th. Two Bedouins who had befriended him guided him through hostile country, and they were all sent to RHQ.
At 0600 hours 3Tp at ALAM EL BATTUMA reported 2 lorries moving West from 528363 also 1 large AC moving SW from BIR ABU NAIS.
At 0647 hours 5Tp reported 3 MET halted South of BIR NUH.
At 0726 hours 4Tp at RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI reported 2 ACs moving NW from 519354.
At 0800 hours the usual reliefs took place.
At 0900 hours Lt Dier took over his Tp (5Tp) from Sgt Merrick, having returned from leave.
Lt Horsford & Lt Dier carried out a small recce over some dead ground 3 miles NW of ARAD.
At 1925 hours 1Tp reported 5 MET halted at 516355.
At 1941 hours 5Tp reported 8 MET halted at 524361.
Lt Col Roodt and 4 officers of 3rd SA Recce Btn came to stay with us. Detachment of 38 LAD left us.
Usual patrol positions with enemy blasting in SIDI SULEIMAN area, otherwise a quiet day.
At 0755 hours 5Tp Lt Dier reported 12 MET halted at 514360.
At 0800 hours 2Tp arrived at WARRANI and the usual reliefs took place.
At 1145 hours 1Tp at ARAD reported 4 MET halted at 512352.
At 1847 hours 4Tp at BATTUMA reported 7 MET moving about in area 522362. One vehicle left this group going NE.
At 2005 hours 2Tp at RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI reported 3 MET halted at 518360.
Lt Col Roodt went to one of the columns leaving 2 officers with the Sqns. F/Lt Hamlin, 250th Sqn RAF, had lunch with us after 17 days with Bedouins in Libya. We sent him to SIDI BARRANI in the afternoon.
2Tp at ABU SAYID reported more blasting at 508358 SIDI OMAR area, and at 503356.
At 1832 hours this Tp (Woods) engaged and drove away two enemy 6 wheeled ACs. Otherwise the day was quiet.
At 0717 hours 2Tp at WARRANI reported 6 MET halted st 518360.
At 0734 hours 3Tp relieved 2Tp at WARRANI and the usual round of reliefs took place.
At 0900 hours 3Tp reported 1 MET at 517355.
At 1800 hours 2Tp at ARAD reported 3 MET moving West from 520355.
At 1824 hours 3Tp at WARRANI reported 3 ACs moving West at 517354. At 1913 hours they were at 518356 and then moved North.
At 1932 hours 3Tp reported 7 MET in SIDI SULEIMAN area with local movement.
Major General Gott and Colonel Kenyon SA AC arrived in the afternoon, with the latest Marmon Herrington. Colonel Kenyon spent the night with us.
At 0905 hours a threat developed to our western patrol at SHEFERZEN, an enemy force of 25 MET came to within 1 mile of the water tower on the frontier wire. They sent a party of 6 – 8 ACs to the tower itself. This movement, however, did not develop and by 1100 hours they had all withdrawn North.
At 0650 hours 1Tp reported 2 ACs at 525361 with 1 staff car, moving SW. During the morning the usual reliefs took place.
At 1300 hours 2Tp at BATTUMA reported 1 AC at 528360, the crew of which were inspecting derelicts.
At 2006 hours they reported 5 MET at 525361 and at 2044 hours 7 MET halted at 521362. Blasting operations were reported by all tps along the front.
The Colonel went round the Sqns and Lt Crankshaw took Colonel Kenyon to A Sqn and later to C Sqn near SIDI BARRANI.
5Tp at SHEFERZEN, 3Tp at Pt. 201, 4Tp at ABU SAYID, 1Tp returned to SHQ.
An uneventful day but 1Tp reported enemy defensive preparation on a small scale at 512355 KINIBISH.
At 0715 hours 5Tp Lt Dier at WARRANI reported 4 ACs halted in KINIBISH area with men dismounted.
At 0728 hours 2Tp reported 3 MET halted 525361.
At 0803 hours 3Tp reported 4 MET in area 526361.
During the morning 4Tp relieved 5Tp, who relieved 3Tp, who relieved 2Tp, who returned to SHQ.
At 1958 hours 4Tp reported 4 AFVs and 1 lorry at 518356.
Several MET were reported in BIR NUH area by both 3Tp and 5Tp.
Lt McSwinney and 3 Bofors guns KHA came to us. Lt Crankshaw returned from C Sqn.
2Tp Sgt Woods took over SHEFERZEN area. 5Tp Lt Spickernell took over Pt. 201, 3Tp Sgt Beedham took over ABU SAYID and 4Tp returned to SHQ.
The enemy carried out their normal patrol activity but no threat developed and we were unable to benefit by the pressure of close support artillery.
4Tp, 5Tp and 3Tp were in position at WARRANI, ARAD and BATTUMA.At 0645 hours 3Tp reported 4 MET in BIR NUH area. During the morning 1Tp relieved 4Tp and the usual reliefs took place, 3Tp returning to SHQ.
At 1930 hours 5Tp Lt Dier reported 5 MET halted at 524361.
At 1945 hours 1Tp Sgt McCarthy reported 20 men in SIDI SULEIMAN area, and at the same time 4Tp reported 4 ACs and 5 lorries halted at 527361.Usual movements of MET seen around BIR NUH and 5 MET in KINIBISH area at last light.
Lt Colonel Knowles, R Signals, came to see X Tp and Lt Donald at Capt Kellock RAMC returned from leave. No incidents.
Usual patrol activity.
At 0726 hours a demonstration was made by 4 ACs and 4 trucks, covered by fire from 2 tanks, in the KINIBISH area against 3Tp Lt Clarke. Before he was relieved he was forced to retire for a short time.
At 1545 hours SHQ was attacked by 11 C56 Italian fighters. Tpr Myers was hit and evacuated by the MO.
1Tp, 4Tp and 5Tp at WARRANI, ARAD and BATTUMA.
At 0644 hours 5Tp Lt Dier reported 4 MET halted in SIDI SULEIMAN area.
At 0705 hours 1Tp reported 4 MET in SIDI SULEIMAN halted.
At 0720 hours 1Tp reported 5 MET moving SW from KINIBISH.
During the morning the usual reliefs were made.
At 1737 hours 4Tp reported 1 lorry and 3 ACs at 528364.
There was the usual AC movement in the BIR NUH area in the evening.
Major Alexander and Major Wainman returned from leave. Lt Col de Robeck ILAA came in the morning. Capt Pomfret RAMC left us.
4Tp Sgt Parry went to SHEFERZEN, 1Tp Sgt Mullens to Pt. 201, 2Tp Sgt Woods to ABU SAYID. 5Tp returned to SHQ.
Lt Petch came in to act as 2i/c to Capt Friend as Major Lawson went on leave.
There was nothing to report all day.
2Tp at WARRANI, 1Tp at ARAD and 4Tp at BATTUMA.
At 0814 hours 4Tp reported 5 ACs in area 526361.
At 1100 hours 4Tp reported 4 MET halted at 519363.
During the morning the usual patrol reliefs were made.
At 1850 hours 1Tp reported 3 MET at 519360. Usual enemy AC activity in BIR NUH area.
Three South African officers and 1 Sgt were attached to the Sqn for instructional purposes.
Major Short and 6 officers from S African AC Regt came to stay. No incidents.
Usual patrol reliefs carried out. During the day there were the usual enemy patrols and blasting activities.
Lt Poston came to take over 5Tp from Lt Spickernell who returned to command Echelon.
3Tp, 2Tp and 1Tp in position at WARRANI, ARAD and BATTUMA.
At 0620 hours 1Tp reported 5 MET at 526361 and at 1000 hours reported 1 enemy vehicle towing away a derelict in the BIR NUH area.
The usual reliefs took place during the morning.
At 2000 hours 5Tp Lt Dier reported 3 MET at 513354.
The Colonel took Major Short round the Sqns and the other officers were split up. No incidents.
Usual patrol reliefs carried out.
Anti-personnel bombs reported on North and South track at B55. A quiet day.
During the morning 4Tp relieved 5Tp at WARRANI and the usual reliefs took place, 2Tp returning to SHQ.
At 0908 hours, before relief, 2Tp reported 3 MET moving towards SIWEIYAT from BIR NUH.
The usual ACs seen in BIR NUH area during the evening.
Major Short and his Adjt went to A Sqn. NOTHING TO REPORT.
2Tp (Woods) took over SHEFERZEN, 5Tp (Poston) Pt. 201, 3Tp (Clarke) ABU SAYID. 4Tp (Parry) returned to SHQ.
Before being relieved Sgt Parry did good work in drawing 4 enemy tanks on to our guns and co-operating closely with the OP.
Lt Clarke did a forward dawn patrol and reported that the diggings and defensive emplacements previously reported in the KINIBISH area were much further back, probably covering Gap 38 and the Italian Camp.
1Tp (McCarthy) took over WARRANI, 4Tp (Howells) ARAD, 5Tp (Dier) BATTUMA. 3Tp (Halliday returned to SHQ.
Before being relieved 3Tp reported 5 MET at BIR NUH at 0650 hours and 4Tp reported 4 MET at 518356.
At 1300 hours 1Tp was attacked by 6 Macchi 200 fighters. Two cars were hit, one being temporarily put out of action and the other had to be evacuated.
At 1914 hours 1Tp reported 2 MET moving in SIDI SULEIMAN area.
At 1940 hours 5Tp reported 5 men and some MET in BIR NUH area.
Major Alexander went to ACM in the morning. Brigadier Campbell, Lt Col Ackenhead and Major Curry RHA came to see us in the evening.
Usual reliefs. A quiet day with usual enemy patrols and enemy ranging operations area 509353.
Major Short and party returned and spent the night here.
4Tp (Parry) relieved 1Tp (Mullens) at SHEFERZEN who relieved 2Tp at Pt. 201 who relieved 5Tp at ABU SAYID who came into SHQ.
Sgt Parry took some Sappers with him to dispose of the Thermos bombs at BP 55. On arrival there 3 ACs came from the NE and covered the area of these operations. These ACs were engaged by both tps under the command of Sgt Parry who was able to dispose of 3 Breda cars. Unfortunately the enemy slipped of NW and on orders from SHQ there was no pursuit.
Major Payne Gallway OC of C Sqn came to spend the night at SHQ. Lt Clarke 3Tp left at 1200 hours for HQ Coastal Grp where he took over from C Sqn at 2100 hours that evening.
Major Short and party left at first light. A very hot day. Major Payne Gallway had lunch with us.
At 0930 hours the Sqn arrived at DIER BU EL MILIK area 517332. Patrols moved out to take over from A Sqn. By 1130 hours patrols were in position as follows:-
2Tp (Scrivener) at Pt. 199,
4Tp (Peacock) at Pt. 201,
3Tp (Nash) at QARET ABU SAYID.
No movement seen from all patrols all day.
At dawn Major Payne Gallway inspected the Tp positions and no Tps were relieved until C Sqn took over at 1115 hours.
At 1000 hours 5Tp left for RHQ to pick up the Echelon.
SHQ and the 3 Tps on patrol left at noon. The whole Sqn (less 3Tp) arrived without mishap at the camp area by the sea 586378 by 1800 hours.
[Transcriber’s Note, trick-cyclist – psychiatrist]
The trick-cyclist – Col James RAMC had lunch with us. Lt Ward went on leave.
No movement seen during the day. Very heavy ground fog which did not lift until 0810 hours.
At 0815 hours 5Tp (Chambers) relieved 2Tp (Scrivener) at Pt. 199 who relieved 4Tp (Peacock) who relieved 3Tp (Nash) who came into reserve. Nothing to report all day.
There was a certain amount of air activity. Major Alexander went round the Echelon and Major Smail returned from Cairo in the evening.
The usual patrol reliefs took place at 0600 hours. There was local ground mist on the left patrol position, which cleared about 0645 hours.
At 0745 hours 1Tp Lt Stewart on the left reported one 8 wheeled AC and one 4 wheeled AC and one Peoples car in area North of SHEFERZEN. These 3 remained in the area for about an hour and then went North out of sight. No movement seen for the rest of the day.
The Colonel went to C Sqn and Major Smail and Major Alexander to the Echelon. Col de Robeck called in the evening.
There was nothing to report during the night except for bombing to the North at 0400 hours. The usual reliefs took place and there was no movement seen for the remainder of the day.
Major Smail visited the left patrol.
RHQ. Reports missing.
At 0600 hours the usual reliefs took place. Major Smail visited the centre and left Tps. There was nothing to report.
RHQ. Reports missing.
Usual reliefs at 0600 hours.
At 0700 hours 2Tp (Scrivener) was joined by two 2pdrs and an OP. The party moved forward to Pt. Pt. 198 and remained there in observation.
At 0710 hours 1Tp (Lt Stewart) patrolled forward to KINIBISH and reported no movement seen in QARET SUWEIDA area. Explosions were heard in SIDI OMAR area.
At 1900 hours four 25pdrs and six 2pdrs of UGEF column moved to area BIR SHEFERZEN to engage enemy position at SIDI OMAR. 2Tp moved to RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR with the OP. 4Tp (Peacock) moved to BIR HURUSH 504355.
The OP was engaged by shellfire at 1900 hours from an enemy gun position located by Cpl Lawrence to be on a bearing of 6° from the ‘R’ of RUWEIBIT. Estimated gun position at 494359 and to consist of at least 6 guns as 6 flashes were seen together.
The OP and 2Tp were forced to withdraw after shelling the enemy position. The force withdrew at 2010 hours to normal night position and there was nothing further to report.
RHQ. Reports missing.
At 0600 hours the visibility was bad owing to ground mist and the usual reliefs took place.5Tp (Chambers) reported 3 MET and 1 DR at EGYPTIAN SIDI OMAR. The DR moved off in the direction of QINEIQINA and 2 of the MET moved to ITALIAN SIDI OMAR. The patrol then returned to normal position.RHQ.Major Smail returned from Cairo.
Lt Smithers returned to 5Tp from leave.
At 0745 hours 2Tp and 4Tp reported no movement seen.
At 1900 hours 1Tp went to Pt. 198 and reported 5 MET at 495353. These moved off at 1950 hours NE and returned to RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR at 2010 hours.
At 1935 hours 5Tp patrolled to Pt. 203 and on to 503355 and saw 16 trucks at ITALIAN SIDI OMAR and 10 MET at 504360.
2Tp patrolled to QARET ABU FARIS and reported 4 large MET moving in Eastern Camp at Pt. 207 and also 6 explosions.
A quiet day. Capt Tucker and 6 officers of the 6th SAAC Regt arrived to stay. Two went up to C Sqn. Major Smail, Capt Grant Thorold went to B Sqn for the evening.
No movement seen during the night.
At 1935 hours 5Tp Lt Smithers reported 3 ACs moving South from SIDI SULEIMAN X tracks. When they reached 518355 they turned West for 1 mile and then turned North and disappeared.
TSM Scrivener left the Sqn for promotion to SSM RHQ Sqn.
Nothing to report. Lt Col Fulton 19th LIA came to stay with us. Major Smail and Capt Grant Thorold returned from B Sqn with Lt Dier.
At 0600 hours 4Tp and one SA AC moved to relieve 3Tp at left position and the usual reliefs took place.
No movement seen all day.
A quiet day. Brigadier Davy visited the Colonel in the well at BIR DIGNAISH in the afternoon. Lt Ward returned from leave.
At 0600 hours 1 AC of 6th SA AC Regt went out with 2Tp to left position.
At 1730 3Tp moved to QARET ABU FARIS and 4Tp at Centre moved to BIR HURUSH and remained there while an OP was established at QARET SUWEIDA and four 25pdrs carried out a shoot on SIDI OMAR track.
a working party was seen at 509 361 otherwise no movement seen by both patrols.
At 1800 hours 2Tp moved to RUWEIBIT SIDI OMAR. Six MET were seen at 498380 at 1905 hours which later moved off West.
During these operations SHQ moved to QUBURET EL BARASI, everybody returning to normal position at 2035 hours.
Nothing to report. Major Alexander went back to Cairo, sick, in the evening. Lt Col Fulton 19th LIA returned to us from B Sqn in the evening.
The Sqn Ldr’s birthday.
The usual patrol reliefs took place and all reported no movement seen until 1800 hours, when 4Tp at Right position reported 60 – 70 MET halted in SIDI SULEIMAN area. This party began to move West at 1820 hours and was then seen to consist of about 150 MET. The column moved to EL KINIBISH and BP 47 where the head was at 2010 hours. The party went from sight here and touch was lost owing to 2Tp W/T car breaking down.
5Tp (Lt Smithers) at Left position stayed in his normal place until the head of the column was at QARET EL BAKARAT. He then moved SE to Pt. 194 501341 and was driven off from there by 6 enemy ACs and shellfire from the head of the column. The ACs chased him South to 503323 at which place the enemy halted and eventually turned North at 2050 hours.
Meanwhile 2Tp (McHardy) had been chased by 3 ACs and 2 lorries to Pt. 202 508337. This patrol was then machine gunned by a HEINCHEL which was doing recce for the column.
During the time 2Tp was being chased (McHardy), his 2 other cars lost touch with him and eventually turned up at SHQ at 1930 hours. Meanwhile McHardy’s car (W/T) had broken down at 503341 whence he had gone to keep touch with the column when they moved West.
4Tp (Peacock) was driven back from ABU SAYID by 3 ACs and 10 MET which turned West at ABU SAYID. They remained in observation at QARET BARASI from where he could see the column in the BAKARAT area.
At 2100 hours 4Tp was at QARET BARASI, 2Tp at 503341 and 5Tp at Pt. 196 501324.
Sgt Beard with 3 ACs of SHQ arrived at Sgt McHardy’s car at 2130, crews changed over. McHardy’s car was then towed back to SHQ arriving at 2345 hours.
The morning and afternoon as usual.
At 1800 hours there was considerable activity by 150 MET which kept us glued to the wireless until dark. These MET returned through the wire at about BP 69.
No movement seen during the night with heavy ground mist at first light.
At 0605 5Tp (Lt Smithers) moved North and on reaching BP 63 saw 3 MET 1 mile South of BP 62. These moved away North. At the same time 5Tp heard tracked vehicles. The Tp moved after the 3 MET and when the fog lifted at 0705 hours saw 2 MET and a DR moving across his front at BP 62. He gave chase and captured what turned out to be one 3-ton lorry, 1 armoured troop carrier and 1 DR. the lorry was full of supplies and beer and was brought into SHQ. The patrol could not move the troop carrier and it was left, later being towed away by the Royal. The DR was captured but the MC was US.
At 0700 hours 1Tp (Lamb) moved to Pt. 202 and at 0830 hours moved to normal day position at Left.
At 0700 hours 2Tp (McHardy) moved to QARET EL BAKARAT and at 1000 hours saw 6 MET at 507348 which moved North at 1035 hours.
At 1100 hours 5Tp left SHQ to relieve 2Tp and the usual reliefs took place.
At 1630 hours 1Tp (Lamb) patrolled to QABR SUWEIL and saw 3 ACs and 5 MET in area of Watch Tower at 493345. The ACs came towards him and he withdrew to QUBURET EL MADHUM and remained in observation. This party was still seen at last light.
Still at the sea.
A hectic morning on the wireless, but all quiet by 1100 hours. The Echelon was machine gunned by 2 Me109’s and 1 lorry burnt out and 3 men wounded. Major Smail was also machine gunned while driving along.
Capt Tucker 6th SA AC Regt and party left us, and Lt Col Douglas RB visited us.
At 0600 hours the usual reliefs took place. The visibility was bad until 0730 hours when 1Tp saw 5 MET in Watch Tower area.
At 0830 hours 3Tp (Macey) reported 3 MET moving towards him. They halted by the wire at 493345.
At 0850 hours one of the 5 MET at the Watch Tower moved off North and another MET joined the 4 left from the West.
At 1930 hours 5Tp (Lt Smithers) at ABU FARIS was chased away by three 6 wheeled ACs who came South to 515350 and then turned East and out of sight.
At 1935 hours 1Tp (Lamb) on patrol at Pt. 203 saw 1 MET moving fast NW from QUARET SUWEIDA, otherwise no movement seen.At 2000 hours no movement seen.
At 2100 hours – normal night position.
A quiet day. The Colonel and Major Smail went to the Royals C Sqn. The Colonel then went to the Desert Group HQ for the night.
0600 hours usual reliefs.
At 0800 hours SHQ moved to Pt. 201.
At 0830 hours 4Tp (Peacock) returned from a recce of the Watch Tower Camp. He reported a camp 300 yards by 100 yards with the Water Tower in the centre, three stone buildings. One MET was in the camp with a man on the tower. He was shelled from the 2 stone buildings South of the tower.
At 1845 hours 1 small tank and 1 lorry moved to Watch Tower Camp from the North and halted at the foot of the tower. This party was still there at last light.
The Colonel returned at lunch time. Major Payne Gallwey and Major Lawson had lunch with us. It was a very hot day with a hot wind.
At 0700 hours 2Tp (McHardy) reported 1 AC halted at bottom of Watch Tower and 1 man on the tower.
At 1840 hours 4Tp (Peacock) patrolled from Centre to BIR HURUSH, reporting 3 MET at BP 46 and 5 MET at ITALIAN SIDI OMAR also 1 small MET at HAQFET QINEIQINA.
At 1850 hours 3Tp (Macey) patrolled to QARET ABU FARIS and reported 15 MET at 517361, stationary.
At 1905 hours 2Tp (McHardy) patrolled to BIR SHEFERZEN and on to BP 52. No movement seen except for 2 MET and 3 men at Watch Tower Camp.
Sqn moved to area 520323 dispersed by Tps at 20 minute intervals. Lt Clarke was left at RHQ sick. The line was taken over by 1700 hours.
3Tp (Harvey) took over the West at 501312, 4Tp (Colman) at BP 65 and 5Tp (Lt Poston) at 496334. No enemy activity was seen.
A hot day. Major Reeves Moore and his Sqn of 4th SA AC Regt arrived in the afternoon.
OPERATIONS OF B Sqn. PERIOD 14TH – 30TH JULY.
During this period the Sqn found 3 patrols as under:-
This necessitated Tps doing 72 hours in the line and 48 hours in reserve in SHQ. With few exceptions shown below there was little enemy movement. What movement there was consisted chiefly of AC patrols in area BIR NUH and lorry movements in the area Pt. 207. These movements were usually seen in the mornings and evenings. There was also continual blasting along the whole front daily.
- RUWEIBIT EL WARRANI
- ALAM EL ARAD
- ALAM EL BATTUMA.
On 25th July the right hand column under Major Oswald pushed forward to engage the enemy fortifications in the Pt. 207 area. 2Tp was required to advance North to ABU SHALIF 520353 to cover the left of this column, in conjunction with a troop of the Northumberland Hussars A/Tk guns. The column began shooting at approx 800 yards and apart from slight retaliation from enemy artillery, there was no further enemy action and by 1000 hours 2Tp had returned to its normal position.
On July 26th, owing to information received, it was decided to bluff the enemy into thinking that we were going to advance, therefore the column under Major Oswald on the right and the one on the left under Major Carmoyle RB pushed forward their guns at 1900 hours with a view to bringing fire to bear on enemy dispersed points. C Sqn patrols on the left of us pushed forward and to cover their right 5Tp advanced from WARRANI to SIDI SULEIMAN. No enemy were encountered and at last light troops returned to their normal positions.
On July 27th at 1810 hours C Sqn reported 40 – 50 MET at the southern X tracks 518356. At 1816 hours 3Tp reported 8 vehicles in the BIR NUH area, and at 1822 hours 4Tp reported 30 MET moving South from KINIBISH. This whole column eventually turned SW and were entirely dealt with by C Sqn. At 1835 hours 3Tp reported a total of 17 MET in the BIR NUH area, 3 of which were thought to be guns. At 1837 hours 4Tp reported 4 ACs moving East from ABU SAYID and they therefore dropped back to KHREIGAT. These ACs disappeared shortly after dark and he returned to WARRANI where he reported no movement seen for the rest of the day. The MET in the BIR NUH area were shelled by our guns at last light and retired northwards.
On July 28th there were approx 12 MET in BIR NUH area which were shelled by our guns at last light. The enemy retaliated with guns from the area BIR ABU EL NAAS.
On July 29th the same 12 MET were still in BIR NUH area and at last light 4Tp were shelled at BATTUMA.
On July 30th the same 12 MET in BIR NUH area. At 0900 hours 4Tp were again shelled in the BATTUMA area and were forced to withdraw.
OPERATIONS OF A Sqn. PERIOD 17TH – 30TH JULY.
The Sqn remained at 586378 with one Troop at Coastal Troop HQ. Nothing occurred to change the daily routine – Pt. And bathing were enjoyed by everyone before breakfast.
On July 30th sports were held on the sands. Major Lawson left for the Royals Sqn at ALAM LEEHALI to inspect our new position.
The days were spent in maintenance, bathing and resting.
|| CO: Lt Col WI Leetham
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
At 0600 hours the Sqn Ldr went on a recce of Watch Tower Camp, South of SHEFERZEN.
At 1850 hours 4Tp (Peacock) went on patrol to KINIBISH whilst four 25pdrs shelled SIDI SULEIMAN area.
At 1950 hours 5Tp (Lt Smithers) patrolled towards Watch Tower Camp. Two MET were in position QABR SUWEIL and the patrol was shelled and driven back to 500343. The 2 MET moved towards camp at 2035 hours.
The Colonel went on leave, motoring to Cairo and taking 2Lt Rapp with him.
At 0700 hours 5Tp (Lt Smithers) reported the Watch Tower camp as apparently empty.
At 1300 hours General Sir Beresford Pierce and Gen Gott visited the Sqn and spoke to several of the men.
At 1919 hours 1Tp (Lamb) reported the Watch Tower camp as occupied by 2 MET and men walking about.
At 2030 hours 1 MET moved 1 mile North of the tower.
At last light nothing further to report.
General Beresford Pierce and Gen Gott came to see us and went round the Sqns with Major Smail. A very hot day.
At 0615 hours visibility was very bad owing to a heavy ground mist.
At 0750 hours 3Tp (Macey) reported 20 men working on the Watch Tower which had been destroyed by a patrol of the Rifle Bde during the night. One AFV was seen North of the camp.
At 0900 hours heavy explosions were heard North and NE of Centre patrol.
At 1905 hours 1 MET moved South down the wire and halted by the Watch Tower relieving one which was already there.
At 2020 hours 1 AFV moved South from the Watch Tower towards A Sqn patrol who had recced to the West behind the Tower. This AFV went from sight going South.
At 0640 hours 5Tp (Lt Smithers) reported 3 ACs moving South from SIDI SULEIMAN to ABU SHALIF and then returning North out of sight.
At 0645 hours 3Tp (Macey) patrolled to the Watch Tower and was engaged by Breda fire from the camp. He returned to normal position at 0710 hours.
At 2000 hours Lt Col Richards (CI 5th Armd Div) arrived with Major Smail and stayed the night.
At 0700 hours 3 ACs moved South down the wire from SIDI OMAR to the Watch Tower and remained there.
Visibility was bad during the evening and no movement seen reports were received.
3Tp (Macey) patrolled forward to QARET ABU FARIS where he was chased to KINIBISH, where the enemy halted, remained for a short time, moved North, and finally disappeared East in SIDI SULEIMAN area.
2Tp (McHardy) reported one man on Tower and 2 MET at bottom, at 2000 hours.
At 0700 hours the usual men and MET at the Watch Tower and at 0720 hours 3 shells landed 600 yards North of QARET ABU SAYID.
At 1945 hours 1Tp (Lamb) reported 4 MET ¼ mile North of Watch Tower and 2 MET at the Tower. Blasting heard in OMAR area.
At 2010 hours two white Verey lights SW of BIR SHEFERZEN.
1 Platoon of RB and 1 Troop Northumberland Hussars at 507301.
2Tp (Woods) at 507312.
1Tp (Lt Petch) at 499323.
3Tp (Hutchinson) at 495334.
At 0910 hours our line was somehow penetrated by 2 enemy ACs in between 2Tp and 1Tp. They were unobserved by the latter and appeared to the former to be friendly Marmon Herringtons. By the time this supposition was found to de extremely improbable, they approached the rear of 2Tp on the open flank having come straight down the boundary track.
The enemy ACs then attacked at great speed assisted by the close co-operation of a CR42 which pointed out our Troops positions. Our Troop was taken completely by surprise on an unexpected flank. The Tp Ldr’s car and Tp Corporal’s car were knocked out and caught alight. The Tp Sgt (Aslin) managed to get down to the Rifle Bde patrol.
The enemy then made off West through the wire taking with them, it is thought, Cpl Winterbottom, Tpr Crowther and Tpr Walburn.
1Tp (Lt Petch) which took over the patrol in that area, buried four bodies that night. They are believed to be those of Sgt Woods, Tpr Coles, Tpr Manning and Tpr Banbury.
5Tp (Lt Poston) took over the centre position 499323 leaving SHQ at 1005 hours.
At 1022 hours 3Tp in the North reported 3 ACs at 493332 which retired NW and were joined by two pairs of heavy dark ACs from the South, the entire party hastily withdrawing NW out of sight at 1059 hours.
The remainder of the day was quiet.
At 0620 hours 1Tp (Lamb) reported 4 MET breaking leaguer at 493347. They looked like small ACs and moved West through the wire – two moving South to the Watch Tower, and two going NW out of sight.
At 0625 hours 2Tp (McHardy) on patrol North of ABU SAYID saw 4 MET at ABU FARIS GHARBYA which disappeared North from sight.
At 0635 hours 1 large and 1 small AC moved West from SIDI SULEIMAN and halted 2 miles East of KINIBISH.At 0645 hours they moved NE to ABU FARIS and halted, being joined by a third AC. Two moved East and one NW, all disappearing from view.
Nothing further to report.
There was no movement during the day until 2005 hours when 2 MET moved down the wire and halted at the Watch Tower. Three ACs were seen well spread out just East of the tower.
Nothing further to report.
At 0612 hours 1Tp (Lamb) at Right, moved forward with four 2pdrs and an OP to EL KINIBISH, where the 2pdrs remained in the derelicts and the OP went to ABU FARIS.
1Tp moved to 510356 and reported 10 MET halted at 507360. These consisted of 2 small tanks, 2 lorries towing guns and 6 unidentified. They appeared to have come up the track from the West. The 2 tanks moved South and drove off 1Tp who withdrew 100 yards, hoping to draw then onto the 2pdrs, but they halted and fired at Sgt Lamb with the equivalent of a 2pdr.
Two large ACs and 1 tank appeared at QARET ABU FARIS and drove off the OP. The 2pdrs engaged the AFVs who retired under a smoke screen. 1Tp was engaged by these AFVs and driven back to KINIBISH.
At 0802 hours our whole party withdrew to ABU SAYID as the enemy had all gone.
At 1925 hours 4Tp patrolled forward to BIR HURUSH and reported 3 MET and men dismounted at 499360 and a tower with one MGT at 496359, also 2 MET and men walking about in BP 46 area.
Nothing further to report.
At 0635 hours 2Tp (Macey) on patrol in KINIBISH area reported 4 MET in QARET ABU FARIS area, and also 4 MET at ABU SHALIF which moved off North.
At 0705 hours 5Tp (Lt Smithers) at Left position reported 1 gun which had been towed by a lorry to a position 150 yards East of the Watch Tower fired 8 rounds, landing in the MADHUM area. There were 4 small and 1 large ACs in the Watch Tower camp. The large AC fired a few shells which landed in the BP 56 area.
At 1935 hours 2 MET moved down the track from the East, and halted at 509353 for about 10 minutes, finally disappearing NE.
At 2000 hours 4Tp (Peacock) reported 3 tanks at SUWEIDA. And 5Tp reported 2 MET moving North towards the Watch Tower. They were East of the wire and turned in at the camp. The situation in the camp was 2 MET North and 2 MET South of the tower at last light.
At 0719 hours 5Tp (Lt Smithers) reported 12 MET stationary at 495341 and a few minutes later 3 large ACs left the MET and moving NE halted at 499435.
At 0755 hours he reported 2 MET halted at 498344 and later these were joined by 2 more from the West.
Sgt Lamb 1Tp reported 6 MET moving North at 496344 led by 2 tanks.
At 1800 hours 5Tp reported intermittent shelling at 509353 and later, that 15 shells had landed in area 508351.
2Tp (Suggitt) reported shell landing at 514356.
At 1858 hours 1Tp reported a Me110 circling several times at 497345 and 3 AFVs and a lorry at 494346 which disappeared South over a ridge.
At 2000 hours 2Tp reported 3 MET moving SE to 516356 where they halted and were joined by 2 tanks and 1 staff car, the whole party moving East to the X tracks.
Major Payne Gallwey DSO left us to fly to South Africa and Capt Cayzer took over the Sqn.
At 0645 hours 2Tp (Suggitt) reported 3 MET moving South at 512353.
At 0648 hours 1Tp (Lamb) reported 9 MET in leaguer at 493342. Later 4 of these moved North to 493342 and the rest spread out.
At 0730 hours 7 of these MET moved South on the West of the wire out of sight on the 343 Grid line, leaving 2 in the original position.
At 0706 hours 2Tp reported 2 MET moving South at 511352 and withdrew 1 mile East of this position as these MET (which turned out to be tanks) had reached there. These tanks moved North to 512353 and Suggitt returned to his normal position, the tanks disappearing NW at 0800 hours.
At 0800 hours 3Tp (Macey) reported 7 MET moving North up the wire about 1 mile South of SHEFERZEN Watch Tower, also 3 MET at 495344, 2 of them towing something.
At 0810 hours 3Tp reported that 4 of the MET had halted at the Watch Tower and the other 3 about ½ a mile North of it.
The 3 MET at 495344 moved West towards the tower.
At 0822 hours 2Tp reported 3 MET moving North from ABU SHALIF and halting at 519356.
At 0925 hours Macey reported there were now 7 MET at the Watch Tower, and 3 North of it were moving towards the wire, disappearing there followed by 2 more which left the tower.
At 0957 hours one Me 110 flew West from ABU FARIS, then South down the wire, then turned NE and flew over SHQ.
At 1909 hours 5Tp reported 5 MET at ABU FARIS GHARBIYA and 2 men walking about.
At 1910 hours 3Tp reported 8 MET at Watch Tower otherwise no movement seen.
Major Whitley with 4 Subalterns and 4 W/T operators of the 4th SA AC Regt arrived at SHQ, preparatory to relieving the Sqn in about ten days.
The usual reliefs took place at 0615 hours, 4Tp (Peacock) taking out with him 1 subaltern and 1 W/T operator of the South Africans, 1Tp and 4Tp later having the same additions.Between 0700 hours and 0800 hours 3Tp reported 2 MET stationary at 495342. 5Tp reported 1 large and 1 small AC at 518354 and 4Tp reported 8 MET at 493347 and 2 ACs at 493341.
At 1843 hours 4Tp reported 1 staff car and 1 MC and 5 lorries moving South on the other side of the wire towards the Watch Tower. The staff car and the MC went West out of sight and the lorries halted for an hour at the Tower then moved NW along the TRIGH EL ABD. Two MET were seen at the Tower at last light.
At 0719 hours 1Tp reported 2 MET halted at 507353.
At 0826 hours 5Tp reported 5 MET moving NW at 521356.
At 0830 hours 5Tp reported that 2 ACs which were halted at 493341 were now moving North at 497344 and at 0835 hours they reported 2 ACs halted at 508353.
At 0840 hours 4Tp reported 5 MET disappearing West at 496339.
At 0853 hours 1Tp who had relieved 5Tp reported that 1 AC was halted at 511353 and the other was amongst the derelicts at KINIBISH, both then returned North.
At 1152 hours one Me110 flew West over the patrol from ABU SAYID and turned South down the wire.
At 1834 hours 2 ACs were seen at 507653, later going East from sight. Two MET were reported at the Tower by 2Tp and 3 MET halted at 494346.
At 1831 (Suggitt) 2Tp reported 10 – 12 MET at the Watch Tower and later 5 MET at 494341 which moved West.
At 1927 hours 3 ACs were reported halted at 507353.
At 1931 hours 2Tp reported that our guns were shelling the Tower and later that our OP at MADHUM had been shelled in turn and was retiring towards him.
At 1950 hours 3Tp reported 4 ACs at 518354 which later moved North out of sight.
At 2015 hours Peacock and Macey reported that the 3 ACs at 507353 had withdrawn NE.
At 2030 hours nothing further to report.
At 0827 2Tp (Suggitt) reported 2 ACs at 507352 which later moved away NW.
At 1305 hours 5Tp (Lt Smithers) reported 1 enemy plane flying North over SHEFERZEN.
At 1806 hours 4Tp (Peacock) reported 2 ACs moving West at 510353.
At 1937 hours 4Tp reported 4 tanks moving East out of sight.
At 2015 – SITREP – 3 MET at Tower, otherwise no movement seen. The South African Tp Ldrs were on patrol with us all day and their Echelon commenced to work.
At 0615 hours the usual reliefs took place.
The usual enemy movement were seen in the vicinity of the Watch Tower and at 0802 hours 1Tp (Lt Stewart) was shelled.
At 2015 hours – SITREP- 9 MET at the tower and 4 MET at SUWEIL which later moved to the Tower. Three South African W/T cars arrived with the Echelon.
At 0730 hours visibility was bad but 2 MET were seen at the Tower and 3 MET at SUWEIL. An enemy OP was located at 518353 among the derelicts and 2Tp was shelled at the Right.
At 0911 hours 12 vehicles, 2 towing guns, were seen moving North from the Tower. This was a suspicious move as the RAF had arranged to bomb the area between 0900 and 1100 hours.
At 2015 hours 3Tp (Nash) reported 12 MET in the Tower area and 1 tank was reported by 5Tp at 518355.
In the morning the remainder of the S African Sqn came up under the 2i/c and their Tp Ldrs were on patrol in their W/T cars with our patrols.
The usual enemy patrol movements were seen. 1Tp being shelled by 3 ACs at 1934 hours.
During the day we only had our W/T cars on patrol, the S Africans having 1 W/T car and one other with our patrols.
The same patrol formation with the S Africans was used and enemy movement was the same as usual in the Tower area.
5Tp (Lt Smithers) was our only Tp Ldr on patrol, in the Left position, the others having been taken over by the South Africans.
5Tp reported no movement seen all day.
The South Africans had by now completed the taking over and we were preparing for the march to GERAWLA.
The Sqn moved at 0615 hours for GERAWLA at 15 minute intervals.
The march was 163 miles and the Sqn was all complete by 1900 hours, less Lt Stewart and his W/T car who turned up next morning.
Operations of A Sqn. Period 1st to 6th August ’41
The Sqn continued to observe on the line taken up on July 31st. a Platoon of the RB with a Troop of the Northumberland Hussars (2 A/Tk guns) observed in the MADDALENA area 506499, and came under the Sqn Ldr’s command. Communication was by W/T.
During this period, the enemy made a daily air recce of the wire in the morning. The ground activity was very slight, and only an occasional AC was seen on the West of the wire and in the northern area.
Operations of A Sqn. Period 8th to 21st August 1941
The Sqn remained on the same line. On the evening of the 10th one Henschel was shot down by Hurricanes, 7 miles West of the wire between our centre and northern patrols. A column of the 60th Rifles went out and destroyed it some hours later but the crew had already been evacuated by the enemy. The 60th Rifles took over our southern patrol from the Rifle Bde.
The area remained quiet with patrol activity chiefly on the Italian side of the wire at dusk and dawn. Three Tp Ldrs of the 6th SA AC Regt came up to observe operations and two of the three nights spent with us were with the patrols.
Period 14th – 21st Aug. Patrol positions were altered slightly during this period.
- Support Group patrol at MADDELENA was withdrawn 400 yards and came East of the wire with an OP at the Blockhouse.
- Left patrol, 11th Hussars, was moved from Pt. 195 501312 to ALAM EL HUDUD 504312 after the attack on Sgt Wood’s Tp.
- Centre patrol, 11th Hussars, moved from 499324 to Pt. 196 501324.
- Right patrol, 11th Hussars, moved from 495334 to 498335.
Normal enemy patrol activity during this period, the wire would be recced morning and evening by CR42 and occasionally by Me110. Enemy ground patrols never proceeded further South than the Right patrol position, and only on four occasions came East of the wire.
- On 17th SHQ moved from 517362 to Pt. 199 515327.
- On 14th and 16th the MADDELENA patrol was lightly bombed.
- On 16th the 2 A/Tk guns (Northumberland Hussars) from MADDELENA went to our Right position for an ambush the following morning. This was unsuccessful and the guns returned on the 17th.
- On the 15th Lt Col Leetham with Lt Col Newton King and Major Anderson 4th SA AC Regt went round the patrols and on the 20th Major Larmuth and four Tp Ldrs arrived to commence taking over the Sqn area.
Operations of A Sqn. Period 21st to 31st August 1941
The same patrol positions were maintained. On the 21st 7 MET were reported in the MADDELENA FORT area and 3 of these came as far East as the Blockhouse.
It is probable that these vehicles were friendly and came from the Troops patrolling in the SIWI – BIR BAYLY area but no conformation of this was received.
This period was spent in gradually handing over to the 4th SA AC Regt, Tp Ldrs travelling with patrols from the 21st to the 25th of August, being followed by Driver Operators and by Troop Sgts on the 30th. Some delay was caused by the lack of No. 9 sets.
C Sqn went out of the line on the 23rd of August and was followed by 11th Hussars RHQ on the 25th of August. The Sqn came under command of Lt Col Newton King on the 25th.
On the 29th TAC R reported an increase of MET including tanks in the area BP 38, and all Sqns were ordered to keep a special look out. This increase applied to northern X track and FORT SHEFERZEN areas.
No further increase was reported and there were no undue movements of MGI.
[At this point in the Diary a single sheet has been inserted with a note in manuscript stating:-]
|Aug – Nov 41
|| CO: Lt Col WI Leetham
||11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
0830 – Sqn moved back to Pt. 194 454395 and Nash and Peacock were withdrawn and joined the Sqn there. From 0630 – 0930 Paton (2Tp) and Ballingal (5Tp) were in observation at 45612 and 470411 reporting enemy.
0835 – Nash and Peacock on main road destroyed 1 German lorry, captured 4 Germans and killed 1 other German.
1200 – Sqn concentrated at Pt. 454395.
1430 – Ballingal 5Tp moved to observe West from Pt. 183 432388.
1615 – Ballingal 5Tp observed an enemy column consisting of 10 ACs, 20 lorries, 8 guns and 20 DRs moving SE from 423385. This column kept moving SE and when it reached Pt. 181 it was attacked by 20 Ju 87’s who knocked out 8 vehicles. The column then turned round and disappeared West.
1730 – Ballingal moved to concentrate at SHQ.
1745 – SHQ moved to BIR MICHEIZEN and leaguered there.
SHQ in area Pt. 192 456401 still with Mayfield’s column. 1Tp in area 443401, 5Tp in area Pt. 172, 3Tp area Pt. 182, 2Tp Pt. 194.
Lt Col Douglas’s column and C Sqn were withdrawn from GAMBUT during the early part of the morning.
To the North of the escarpment, between the 448 and 450 Grid line, the area was still full of enemy MET. These were continuously engaged and the situation in 1Tp area seemed to be the same.
1131 – At 448405 enemy lorries appeared to be organising to move North which they eventually did.
1201 – These lorries were engaged by 5Tp and 3 lorries were knocked out and other damaged.
Orders were received that the NZ Div would withdraw in the morning as their position had become untenable and that the Sqn was to render all assistance to collect them and direct them to area Pt. 172 455405 where they would take up a new position. 5Tp therefore proceeded to Pt. 136 450412, 3Tp moved to area Pt. 172 and 2Tp moved into 3Tp position.
The situation at 1Tp was practically impossible to report on and as information was completely lacking he spent most of the day determining who were friends and who were foes. During the afternoon a large column of vehicles at 483405 moving North later proved to be some of the Indian Div who were not known to be in the area.
As the move of the NZ Div did not materialise, Tps returned to their original positions. Shelling of the enemy MET in the valley North of the first escarpment continued throughout the day and because of this they kept moving westwards.
1645 – SHQ witnessed six I tanks with Capt Friend, 11th Hussars leading them in a Dingo, go North of the escarpment on the 450 Grid line and then turn West. They appeared to do considerable damage but unfortunately none returned.
That evening all Tps returned to SHQ except 5Tp who remained astride the Trigh at 454403 and Major Lawson MC contacted General Norrie and spent 2 hours with him while he was waiting to meet General Freyberge VC and the NZ Div who had sustained heavy losses and were withdrawing through our position which they did at 2100 hours.
Information had been received during the night that the NZ Div were being heavily attacked in the SIDI REZEGH aerodrome area and the 4th Armd Bde were ordered North to their assistance.
2Tp were ordered to area ABIAR EN NBEIDAT, 4Tp to HAREIFE EN NBEIDAT and 5Tp to a position about 5 miles West of MUFTAH.
0700 – 4Tp reported shells landing in the SIDI REZEGH aerodrome area, but owing to a lot of dust and smoke were then unable to see the aerodrome itself.
0735 – 2Tp reported 100 MET in area of Pt. 175 438404 and stretching SE for about 2 miles from this point.
At the same time 5Tp reported a large column stationary at 428398. This column consisted of approx 400 vehicles and was also observed by SHQ which was about 2 miles to the East of it.
0754 – 4Tp reported vehicles in the aerodrome area, but it was not known if they were friendly or hostile. The enemy column at Pt. 175 could be observed being shelled by the South African guns which were about 3 miles to the SE of the enemy. 5Tp also reported a column of 100 enemy vehicles at 425396.
The Bde then decided to advance North to the aerodrome and the Sqn was ordered to watch the right flank. 4Tp were in a position to do this, owing to the ground to his North falling away as far as Blockhouse ridge.
0800 – The Bde and artillery advanced into the valley and immediately came under heavy fire from their East and West. SHQ moved to 4Tp position and 4Tp was ordered about 1 mile NE to look into the wadi SW of Pt. 175.
0950 – 4Tp reported approx 10 M13 tanks 2 miles SW of Pt. 175 in a wadi, facing WNW.
1030 – Information was received from 4th Armd Bde who by this time were under heavy fire from all sides to the effect that the NZ Div were being evacuated South.
1039 – 5Tp reported 2 columns of MET comprising a total of 150 vehicles moving SW and joining up in area 425395.
1045 – 5Tp reported 15 – 20 MCs who were just North of this party moving East.
1046 – 4Tp reported the M13 tanks were engaging 4th Armd Bde, some of whom were moving South.
Meantime 1Tp had been sent SSE to BIR EL CHELB to watch the South and SW to CHARRUBET EZ ZGHEMET.
1100 – 2Tp reported the situation around Pt. 175 was unchanged and that the enemy was still being engaged by the SA artillery.
1130 – 4Tp was ordered to watch for any westward movement along the 400 Grid line; but to do this it necessitated him moving 2 to 3 miles West, thus losing his view of the right of 4th Armd Bde. 2Tp was ordered therefore to move to the position just left of 4Tp.
During this time 4th Armd Bde was having a very rough time and said they were moving East towards the Blockhouse. 4Tp was therefore ordered East again to assist in the withdrawal of the Bde southwards and 2Tp returned to his original position watching the enemy at Pt. 175.
5Tp was then ordered North to a position where he could observe any West or East movement South of the other 400 grid line escarpment.
1214 – Capt Wood (OP 4th RHA) was asked if he could bring fire to bear on Pt. 175 again, to assist in the event of withdrawal of the 4th Armd Bde.
1217 – 5Tp reported 6 lorries full of Infantry moving East at 430400 and a general easterly movement of the column to the South of this. Brigadier Gatehouse was at once warned of these, and it is believed that acting on this information, he ordered the withdrawal of his Bde.
1232 – 5Tp reported the head of enemy column moving East at 432394.
1240 – 5Tp reported 4th Armd Bde moving East then South.
By this time a battery of RHA had withdrawn from the valley and were in position on the ridge. 4Tp told them of the M13 tanks in the Pt. 175 area, which they immediately engaged with marked success. 4Tp then warned them of the presence of the Western column, and at 1250 hours 4Tp was ordered to contact this column, which he did, and put the head to be at 432397.
1300 – 5Tp reported that the column had split and that about 30 vehicles were moving SE and 1Tp was ordered to contact them.
1305 – Capt Ward again arrived at SHQ and was informed of this column to the West which he promptly engaged and checked their advance.
1328 – 1Tp contacted his column at 423398.
1510 – 1Tp reported his column to be at 418386 consisting of 35 vehicles, moving SE. by this time 4th Armd Bde had withdrawn out of the valley and were replenishing in the MUFTAH area.
1557 – 1Tp reported his column still moving SE at 430378 and at this point handed the column over to a patrol of C Sqn. Just prior to this he reported the German column being heavily bombed by Stukas, setting fire to 3 of their lorries.
At last light, 2Tp and 4Tp reported 2 or 3 enemy tanks in the HAREIFET EN NBEIDAT area. These were engaged by 4th Armd Bde. The Sqn leaguered in with the Bde 3 miles South of MUFTAH.
No movement seen during the night.
1430 – visibility bad due to rain. During the afternoon things were fairly quiet except for a few skirmished with enemy ACs.
1750 – SHQ moved 3 miles South and Nash 3Tp and Peacock 4Tp joined SHQ. Paton 2Tp remained in observation all night 1 mile South of Pt. 187 450401.
1800 – nothing further to report.
Sqn observing on same line. 4Tp captured 1 Italian, a deserter from GAMBUT. Also 3 men from the RB who were picked up and had been missing from the night that Douglas Column had spent at GAMBUT.
Information was received that the remnants of a German Panzer Div were in the SIDI AZEIZ area. 4th Armd Bde with the Sqn moved out at first light to BIR BERRANES with the object of being in a position to engage this enemy column.
RHQ. In reserve.
No movement seen during the night.
0615 – Lamb 1Tp moved to 437399 and Nash 3Tp to Pt. 192 456401 and Ballingal 5Tp moved to relieve Paton 2Tp at Pt. 187 who came into SHQ.
0645 – SHQ moved 3 miles North to Pt. 194.
During the day skirmishes were carried out between our patrols and enemy ACs. By 1500 hours the enemy ACs appeared to be on the defensive and we appeared to have the initiative. All patrols, especially Ballingal in the centre, were heavily shelled during the day.
1700 – Peacock 4Tp moved to relieve 3 Tp who came into SHQ.
1745 – SHQ moved 3 miles South for leaguer and all patrols except 1Tp and 4Tp rejoined SHQ. Lamb and Peacock remained out in observation for the night.
Sqn in observation on same line. 1Tp moving to position at Pt. 192 saw a column at 0715 hours. 50 MET moving East at 461401 and at 0730 hours this column picked up by 2Tp at 470400 and consisted of 50 vehicles headed by 5 tanks towing guns and had been engaged by Mayfield’s artillery.
This column was shadowed by 3Tp and reached the head at 475395 at 0820 hours. By 0857 hours the head was at 484392 and definitely contained 111 vehicles and about 15 tanks.
At 0900 hours 1Tp captured a German staff car containing 1 officer and 3 ORs at 458406. The officer was carrying important documents and new codes.
At 0940 hours 3Tp reported column at 492390 travelling East at high speed and at 1045 hours it had reached 495389, 3Tp remained in area 491389. On his way there he intercepted 2 trucks and captured 4 Germans.
At 1045 hours 1Tp reported a column of 25 MET containing some ACs moving East in area 456406 and these then moved NE and halted at 459412, later disappearing over the escarpment to the North.
At 1615 hours 2Tp discovered 20,000 gallons of petrol (aviation) on the GASR EL AIRD aerodrome and had destroyed 1.500 gallons before nightfall.
No change in the situation. 1Tp and 4Tp giving local protection to NW and SW.
RHQ. In reserve.
No movement seen during the night but Lamb 1Tp heard movement to his West. A lot of flares were dropped during the night in area TRIGH CAPUZZO.
0615 – our line was extended West and Paton 2Tp moved to area 440400 to observe. Ballingal 4Tp moved to 442398 and relieved 1Tp who came into SHQ. Peacock 4Tp remained at Pt. 187.
SHQ moved to BIR SAUSENNA 445395. Quite a lot of enemy movement during the day and centre patrol (Ballingal) was heavily engaged by 8 large lorries and 2 A/Tk guns. Tpr Lenton, the driver of the Tp Ldr’s car, was wounded by an A/Tk bullet entering the car, otherwise no damage.
Paton was shelled by field guns and tanks from area SIDI REZEGH aerodrome and forced to withdraw several timesPeacock 4Tp at Pt. 187 had a fairly quiet day except for one engagement with two 6pdrs mounted on trucks. These guns fired very accurately and the Tp was lucky to escape casualties. When 7.02 Besa was fired at the trucks they retired quickly as they had no protection.
1745 – Paton 2Tp and Peacock 4Tp withdrew to SHQ which withdrew 3 miles South of BIR SAUSENNA to leaguer. 4Tp remained out in observation for the night.
0445 – the Bde moved West to 417385 with the object of covering the right of the Indian Div who were attacking GUBI from the West at dawn. The Sqn moved behind the Bde until first light when it carried out the duties of advance guard with 2Tp on the right, 3Tp in the centre and 5Tp on the left.
0710 – 2Tp reported 20 MET at 416390 and 5Tp reported 20 MET moving North at 416385.
0729 – 3Tp reported 3 ACs and 10 lorries moving North at 413385. At this time 1Tp was sent to a position 4 miles East of NAGFET EL GUEITINAT.
0738 – 3Tp reported 7 tanks moving NE at 414385. At this time information was received that 30 tanks and 300 MET were moving SW, 10 miles to our NE, and 1Tp was sent to investigate. Meanwhile the 7 tanks reported by 3Tp passed the forward screen of 4th Armd Bde forward Regt and arrived with them 1000 yards off Bde HQ where one was knocked out and the remainder retiring.
1Tp reported considerable shelling in the area he had been sent to, but could not locate any enemy.
4th Armd Bde had engaged the 20 lorries in area 416390 and they appeared to surrender but when a party went in to collect the prisoners it was heavily fired on by A/Tk guns and so the prisoners were mopped up by the tanks.
5Tp was reporting various movement of vehicles in the GUBI area but it was impossible to ascertain if they were the Indian Div or the enemy.
3Tp pushing West of the GUBI EL ADEM track reported some vehicles and Marquees in area 409381 which turned out to be an Italian hospital.
1515 – the Bde was ordered to move North to the left of Currie Column which was operating in area 425405, 1Tp acting as right flank guard.
No movement seen during the night.
0615 – Nash 3Tp moved to BIR BEUID and contacted a patrol of A Sqn. He then moved North to Pt. 183 and observed from there. Lamb 1Tp moved to Pt. 187 but was replaced by Peacock 4Tp as Lamb’s wireless went dis. Paton 2Tp moved to 442398 to observe.
SHQ moved to Pt. 194.1000 – nothing to report except Infantry digging at 441401.
1100 – 3Tp moved to Pt. 172 and at 1200 hours patrolled 4 miles West of GAMBUT from where he could see 9 miles West but no movement seen except for a party of 23 MET moving North at 449417. This patrol captured 11 Germans and 1 lorry and returned to Pt. 172 at 1630 hours.
Meanwhile 2Tp and 4Tp investigated Pt. 175 and WADI SCIOUMAR and reported 100 Infantry, 2 Field Guns and 80 MET in area 440403 and for about 1 mile around it.
1700 – 3Tp reported he could see 6 tanks and about 120 MET moving West along the 406 grid line at about 460408. Later another column moved West along TRIGH CAPUZZO consisting of 20 tanks and MET. Nash was forced to withdraw to Pt. 192 and at last light he could still see the column of 20 tanks moving West at 455404.
1730 – 1Tp moved to relieve Nash at Pt. 192 and Nash came into SHQ which moved 2 miles South at 1800 hours.
At first light 1Tp and 4Tp were ordered to patrol to the East and NE. It was then found that the Sqn had not been issued with the latest orders and that the Bde was returning to BIR BERRANEB. On arrival there 4Tp patrolled 4 miles to the SE and 1Tp 4 miles to the NE. the night was spent with Bde at BIR BERRANEB.
In the evening information was received that the German Armd Div was moving West from the SIDI AZEIZ area and at 2100 hours considerable movement was heard to our West and the Sqn ‘stood to’ for 15 minutes.
Midday the Support Grp and RHQ moved to BIR REGAN ES SCIRGIE. Cpl Cordery’s AC was found in a mud flat and recovered intact except for a tank shell hole.
0400 – Sqn less 1Tp and 2Tp who were out in observation moved to CHARRABET EZ ZGHEMAT 435388.
0615 – 4Tp Ballingal moved to Pt. 188 and observed an enemy line West of him on EL ADEM BIE EL GOBI track. He remained there all day during which he destroyed one light car and killed 1 Italian. He came into SHQ at 1900 hours. 3Tp Nash moved to 422403 and was in that area most of the day. He was heavily shelled on about six occasions and succeeded in capturing 50 Italian prisoners, 1 gun and 4 lorries. He came into SHQ at 2000 hours.
0800 – 1Tp Lamb came into SHQ from Pt. 192, refuelled and replenished and moved to relieve 2Tp Paton who had moved at first light to 437399 and had pushed North and was observing 150 MET moving West under the escarpment.
1100 – Lamb changed over with Paton who came into SHQ.
1110 – Lamb joined up with A Sqn patrol and together they rounded up 100 prisoners in SIDI REZEGH area. Lamb then pushed West to 424405 and then North and slightly NE.
1600 – Lamb joined up with a Bty of 1st RHA from Tobruk and communication was established between Lt Colonel Williams and Brigadier Campbell. Lamb remained with this Regt for communication purposes.
1730 – Peacock moved out to BIR HAID area and remained at 425394 for the night.
1915 – Ballingal returned to SHQ.
2000 – nothing further to report.
During the day Sqn captured 56 prisoners (some German), 5 lorries, 1 German field gun and destroyed by fire 1 Italian light car.B Sqn.
Owing to wireless trouble the Sqn was not informed of the overnight change of plan of the 4th Armd Bde, and, instead of patrolling to the East and NE as had been arranged the previous night, it was not until 0630 hours when the Bde began to move, that the Sqn learnt that the Bde was moving West towards BIR EL GUBI.
3Tp was ordered as right flank guard, 2Tp as advance guard and 5Tp as left flank guard to the force, but the Bde had advanced approx 5 miles before these 3 Tps got to the head of the Bde.
0715 – 2Tp reported 50 vehicles at 420384 and there were 5 M13 tanks in this column. A few minutes later he stated there were 20 to 20 tanks.
2Tp was ordered to observe this column from the SE and 3Tp from the NE, whilst 4th Armd Bde engaged with tanks and artillery.
4Tp was ordered to proceed 4 miles to the NE of SHQ which was then at Bde HQ at Pt. 181 426377 to watch the North and East.
2Tp was engaged by artillery and forced back a little.
0837 – the column showed signs of retiring.
0852 – 5Tp reported he was at BIR EL GUBI. the enemy column was by this time moving NW and 3Tp was held up by 3 ACs. 2Tp had also got some way behind and touch was temporarily lost.
1335 – 2Tp reported 20 lorries halted at 412387. 3Tp was ordered to move West and confirmed this report.
1343 – 2Tp reported considerable number of lorries with Infantry digging 413392, and 3 or 4 guns in this area.
1425 – 2Tp reported more vehicles and men digging at 413386. All these vehicles had moved down from the North and it appeared as though the enemy was establishing a defensive line on the EL ADEM – GUBI track.
5Tp was ordered to proceed West on the X tracks 414378 but was fired on by the tanks and forced back.
1519 – He reported 15 tanks halted at 413370. During the day 5Tp reported a minor action in the GUBI area, between 4th Armd Bde and enemy vehicles.The Sqn withdrew 3 miles East for the night.
Still in same place.
At 1030 hours 4 Me 109’s ground straffed this area. No casualties on RHQ but the fitters and petrol lorries were burnt out. Also Major Smail’s Ford which was returning to camp at the beginning of the attack on Support Grp AFV base and set on fire, but put out without much damage.
0600 – no movement seen during the night.
0615 – Peacock 4Tp moved West to Pt. 183 to observe the enemy lines, he estimated 400 MET and men stretching from 412398 to 412386. These was only local movement in this line.
1800 – nothing further to report.
At first light 2Tp swept to the West to Pt. 184, 4Tp was directed on GUBI and 1Tp on Pt. 169.
At 0717 hours 4Tp reported 2 men standing by a derelict Cruiser tank in area 417375 and 4 minutes later he reported 200 MET to the SW of these men.
At 0745 hours 4Tp reported 50 MET moving South at 414380.
At 0748 hours 2Tp reported 150 MET at 416382. By this time 4Tp was being heavily engaged and moved NE and then NW, 2Tp being about 3 miles to his North. The 4th Armd Bde then formed up to attack but immediately came under heavy fire, Bde HQ who were sitting on a ranging point, also getting their share.
It was therefore decided to move the HQ ½ mile. The enemy situation at this stage was that they were holding the line GUBI – EL ADEM track from 413397 to a point about 1 mile South of GUBI. There were about 800 – 1000 vehicles on this line and considerable numbers of Infantry dug-in.
During the day 4th Armd Bde kept up a ceaseless fire, one Bty firing 1700 rounds.
On the right of the Bde Col Currie’s column was also engaging the enemy. In the afternoon 1Tp managed to get across the wadi to Pt. 179 and got a good view of about 400 vehicles stationary 3 miles SW of GUBI, but as soon as he was detected he was heavily shelled and forced back.
During the afternoon 4Tp reported 46 tanks in area Pt. 182 and later these were heavily shelled. The Sqn withdrew 3 miles SE for the night.
The 2i/c had been having a lot of trouble with desert sores on his face and boils on his arms. It was decided that he should return to Cairo. Lt Horsford therefore took over the duties of 2i/c and L/Sgt White took over 4Tp.
In the afternoon RHQ moved SW to BIR BELCOMPOS South of EL GUBI the enemy having retired from there. Two burnt out German tanks were passed and several planes of both sides.
No movement seen during the night.
0600 – Paton 2Tp moved to 415398 to observe enemy lines in HAQFET EN NEZHN area. Nash moved to Pt. 188 and kept observation on 30 enemy MET and 35 tanks at 400400. Ballingal 5Tp moved to 406391 and observed enemy in BIR GEMADEZ area. These patrols remained out all day and were withdrawn at last light. Lamb 1Tp moved out at 1730 hours and remained out in observation for the night at 416395.
SHQ leaguered at HAQFET HAIAD.
At first light the Sqn was ordered to get in touch with the enemy who were thought possibly to have retired during the night. 4Tp Sgt White was ordered to proceed to Pt. 184 and 5Tp to BIR EL GOBI and 1Tp to Pt. 179. A considerable number of Indian Div were making it very difficult for the forward Troops.
At 0757 hours 4Tp reported 50 MET at 414388 and 5Tp reported 40 MET at 414378 but 4Tp’s party turned out to be friendly.
5Tp in the meantime was held up as a shell landing near him, it was assumed that the party to his front were hostile.
At 0811 hours 1Tp reported 7 tanks stationary at 402379. In the meantime the Bde were pushing forward South of GOBI and was then directed on HAQFET EL GENADER. As a result of 1Tp information a Sqn of tanks were sent to investigate the 7 tanks and they later turned out to be derelict M13 tanks.
At 0900 hours 1Tp on the left and 4Tp on the right were still pushing on, but 5Tp was held up owing to vehicles to his front.
At 0956 hours 1Tp reported 4 ACs and 30 lorries at 397385. In the meantime 5Tp was pushing slowly NW up to the track running NW from GOBI.
At 0958 hours 4Tp reported an enemy position at 400387 and 5Tp confirmed this a few minutes later. 4Tp estimated 50 to 60 MET in this concentration.
At 1200 hours 1Tp reported some MET to his SW and 2Tp was ordered to investigate but found they were part of the Indian Div.
The situation in the morning was most confused owing to the complete lack of liaison between the Indian Div and ourselves who subsequently engaged the enemy column at 397385. Part of 4th Armd Bde also engaged this party but met some enemy tanks and were forced back. The Sqn Ldr then went forward to 5Tp at 410385 where there was a large collection of abandoned diesel lorries carrying petrol and oil, 8 of these lorries and 5000 gallons of petrol and diesel were destroyed.
At 1400 hours 5Tp was ordered to move MW to get better observation of the German position which was later shelled and engaged by 4th Armd Bde. The Sqn leaguered about 5 miles West of GOBI.
Twenty miles North of BIR BUAR without too many incidents, the enemy having retreated on the same line.
Two Me 109’s flew low over the camp at the breakfast halt but only fired a few bursts. Later the column halted to watch a dogfight between Me 109’s and Tomahawks – one of each crashed.
No movement seen during the night.
0615 – Peacock 4Tp moved West to Pt. 185 and Ballingal 5Tp to Pt. 188 and Lamb 2Tp pushed forward a mile.
0700 – 4Tp reported that enemy at 400400 had disappeared and then pushed forward to Pt. 170 402404 where he captured 4 lorries and 2 Ju 87’s on the ground.
Ballingal pushed West and contacted 4th Armd Bde who were moving North.
0800 – SHQ and Col Wilson’s column moved West to Pt. 169.
1400 – 3Tp Nash moved to Pt. 167 while SHQ moved forward to 397409.
Nothing further to report during the afternoon.
The 4th Armd Bde was ordered to proceed to track junc 380413 and the Sqn was ordered out in front with 4Tp on the right, 5Tp centre and 2Tp on the left.
At 0715 hours it was reported that there were some lorries still in the GENADAD area. The situation was again obscure owing to the Indian Div having moved into the area during the night and complete lack of liaison.
At 0905 hours 4Tp reported 5 lorries and 1 gun at 402404.
At 0955 hours 2Tp reported 50 to 60 vehicles at 385395.
At 1045 hours 2Tp reported 120 MET in the area 374404 in the meantime 3Tp was reporting considerable numbers of enemy vehicles at 398404 but this was found to be incorrect as they were much further North.
At 1103 hours 5Tp reported an enemy line stretching from BIR EL HARMAT to BIR BELLEFAA. 3Tp still appeared to be confused with his area in the North and the Sqn Ldr went up to investigate in the area Pt. 169 where he met Major Payne Gallway. As far as could be made out the enemy on this flank extended their line from BIR BELLEFAA NE to 390415.
The guns of 4th Armd Bde shelled various points of this line during the day and the Indian Div also engaged them on BIR HARMAT area, 2Tp remaining in observation.
5Tp in the area NADURET EL GHESCUASC. Information was then received that 4th Armd Bde were about to launch an attack on the left of the enemy position and Major Payne Gallway and the Sqn Ldr went forward to a point 4 miles NE of NADURET EL CHESCUASC to see the outcome. A tank attack was launched but they came under very heavy fire and withdrew East. Bde HQ was seen to be advancing NNE but on being informed as to the extent of the enemy line they changed to NE and halted at BIR LEFA. From this position the enemy line was again shelled.
At 1606 hours 5Tp reported 20 tanks moving East two miles West of BIR BELLEFAA and these disappeared from view 1 mile West of this BIR.
Part of 4th Armd Bde therefore went West to engage and at last light engaged the enemy tanks, the battle lasting until dark.
All Tps were then recalled to SHQ who leaguered 2 miles NE of BIR LEFA.
Support Grp moved at first light to BIR HARMAT, RHQ very nearly being left behind. The column stayed there for most of the day and then moved North to Pt. 166 and stayed the night in a wadi on top of the escarpment. Several batches of Stukas were seen during the day but no attack was made on RHQ.
No movement seen during the night.
0630 – Sqn moved to 381413 with 2Tp Paton and 1Tp Lamb out in advance with OP of Wilson Column.
0800 – 1Tp captured and destroyed 11 lorries and captured 50 prisoners. Unfortunately he was engaged by A/Tk fire and had to withdraw and leave the prisoners who were picked up later.
1200 – 2Tp pushed on and reached Pt. 209 374431 and reported 200 Infantry and 6 guns at 374434. He was joined by 4Tp Peacock who had moved to 375425 and together they observed this column.
1230 – 1Tp who had been moving with left OP up to AVET ET TAMER reported 300 MET in area 358432. At 1300 hours he rejoined SHQ at 374430.
1245 – 4Tp reported a further 300 Infantry at 374433 and he captured 50 and destroyed 8 A/Tk guns. The party were heavily shelled by Wilson Column and the enemy shelled Peacock in return.
1500 – Peacock remained in observation of this enemy Infantry and 2Tp Paton moved NE to 378435 from where he observed North.
1600 – Sqn ordered to concentrate and join RHQ at 377415.
1730 – Sqn concentrated at Pt. 166 and leaguered for the night.
The Sqn was ordered out at first light to regain touch with the enemy, 5Tp going to Pt. 176 and 1Tp to NADURET EL CHESCEUASC and again there was considerable confusion as the Indian Div had moved up during the night.
At 0716 hours 3Tp reported 20 vehicles at 387416 and 1Tp also reported this party. 3Tp soon identified them as part of the Indian Div. The Sqn Ldr went forward in order to contact an officer from them in order to become acquainted with the situation. A Bde of the Infantry Div was evacuated at a point West of 394416. The Colonel of this Regt stated that he was advancing due North and that to his knowledge there were no further elements of the Indian Div to his West. 3Tp therefore pushed on as fast as possible to area BIR EL RIGEL and 1Tp to BIR EL TAMAR.
3Tp reported a column of 50 MET at ELUET TAMAR these were soon engaged by artillery and it only required 1 shell to dislodge them and they moved off out of sight to the West.
4th Armd Bde was then ordered to take up a battle position in the area X tracks 380413 and SHQ therefore proceeded there leaving 3Tp and 1Tp to cover the West and NW.
at 1600 hours orders were received from 4th Armd Bde that the Sqn was to leave them and come under orders of the Regt and at 1700 hours patrols were withdrawn and the Sqn rejoined RHQ at Pt. 166 and spent the night with them and C Sqn.
At 1030 hours the inward and rear flanks in company with the Brigadier went forward for 25 miles along the Trigh. 40 MET were encountered and engaged by B Sqn who had returned to the Regt.
The front and rear flanks made a desperate effort to engage these but were heavily engaged themselves by A/Tk guns.
The remainder of RHQ moved with the ACV 2 miles West along the Trigh and were shelled intermittently all day by 35 M13 tanks some 3 miles to their South.
The Colonel returned at 1800 hours and the night passed without incident.
No movement seen during the night.
0630 – 1Tp Lamb moved to 360425 and kept observation on a column of approx 200 MET, guns and tanks in area 357428.
5Tp Ballingal moved to 365428 and kept observation on a column in area 360431 consisting of 300 MET and guns.
1000 – Lamb and his Tp had a battle with three M13 tanks at extreme range. No damage.
1100 – SHQ concentrated and moved to U8768 where contact with Hugo Column was made at 1630 hours.
Patrols were pushed out North and West and contact with enemy gained. Sqn and Hugo Column came under heavy shellfire and suffered one attack by 3 ME 110’s. no damage or casualties to the Sqn.
1800 hours 1Tp remained in observation on Trigh ENVER BEY and 4Tp Peacock remained at U8568. Leaguered with Hugo at U8963.
Orders had been received that our advance was to continue West and the Regt was ordered to move on a two Sqn front with C Sqn right and B Sqn left. At first light the Sqn moved off.
At 0720 hours after proceeding 8 miles 2Tp was informed by some RB’s that the enemy were holding a ridge in area 360420 and that he could see 6 lorries a mile in front of this position. 5Tp immediately confirmed the presence of the 6 lorries and drove up to them. The enemy which seemed to be taken completely by surprise, surrendered without a shot being exchanged.
At this moment the enemy column of approx 40 vehicles was seen 1 ½ miles away on a ridge to the West and they opened fire with artillery. 5Tp quickly got the prisoners on to their lorries and made them drive East to rear SHQ. 2Tp remained in observation of these vehicles on the ridge with SHQ about 2 miles to his South.
In the meantime 4Tp after going 7 miles along the Trigh Capuzzo captured an Italian staff car with 1 officer and 1 OR. He was ordered to take the staff car with one of his crew driving along with him and put the prisoners on his AC with the object of handing them over to A Sqn who were believed to be about 2 miles to his West. However, on proceeding 2 miles he encountered 2 enemy ACs at close range who opened fire; putting the staff car out of action and during the ensuing melee the prisoners escaped.
At 0845 hours 4Tp reported 30 MET at 362413 and in the meantime the enemy on the ridge at 360420 were intermittently shelling, SHQ was accurately ranged on 2 or 3 occasions.
At 0930 hours 2Tp reported 8 enemy tanks moving East from the column. About this time Col Currie’s Column arrived on the scene and engaged the enemy.
At 0920 hours a Tac R report was received that there were 2000 MET in area 360406 and 3Tp was ordered to investigate.
In the meantime 5Tp reported an enemy column of 30 MET moving West at 355415 and at the same time 4Tp reported his column moving NW and it was presumed this was the same column. Col Currie’s Column was ordered to move West and get round the enemy and the Sqn came under his orders forthwith.
This column proceeded to CHEBIR and then turned NW to GABR EL HABIDI with 5Tp acting advance guard with 1Tp on his right.
3Tp had seen no enemy reported by Tac R and he, with 2Tp, rejoined SHQ.
From HABIDI the column went NNW to Pt. 204 where it halted for 20 minutes. 4Tp on the left had been reporting various columns on his left but they moved off West and he was ordered to leave them.
At 1400 hours 1Tp reported Infantry on a ridge and several lorries to our immediate right; these were not engaged as Col Currie had been ordered to push on North. 5Tp was sent 2 miles North of Pt. 204 and reported 40 lorries moving West across his front. These he engaged and destroyed 8 of them and brought in 2 prisoners, others he handed over to some RB lorries in the vicinity.
Currie Column then went on North with the object of cutting the main road West of GAZALA and eventually the column arrived in the area U8390. It was then getting late and as not much traffic was seen on the road it was decided to discontinue the advance.
About 8 aeroplanes were observed on the aerodrome and 100 MET in the TMIMI area. The column then rallied and after dark withdrew 10 miles Tp Pt. 204 where it leaguered for the night.
During the night the sounds of several enemy vehicles were heard moving in very close proximity and were fired on by the outposts.
Many Verey lights were seen during the night and it was thought that we were leaguering very close to the enemy.
RHQ moved 1 ½ miles South and at 0500 hours, after a brief encounter with 3 Me 110’s, moved NNW to U9065. On the way a Ju 88 on recce was severely dealt with by the column and was later seen to crash.
Intermittent shelling to our West continued throughout the day but luckily the range was about 1000 yards short.
0600 – movement heard during the previous hour by Lamb to his left.
0630 – 2Tp Paton moved to relieve Lamb who came into SHQ.
0700 – 3Tp Nash and 5Tp Ballingal moved out North to attack an enemy leaguer reported 2 miles North of SHQ. Nash captured 2 Italian officers and 4 ORs, 1 field gun and a lorry.
Ballingal captured 1 gun and 2 towers and 2 lorries but men got away.
1000 – SHQ and Hugo were still in leaguer area, 2Tp Paton was observing enemy column of MET and guns halted astride track at U8163 and 5Tp was observing enemy Infantry who were dug-in at U9575. Nash rejoined SHQ. 4Tp Peacock still in observation at U8271.
The 3 Tps remained in observation all day and nothing further of importance was reported.
1745 – Tps withdrawn from observation and Sqn concentrated at U8963 and leaguered for the night with Hugo Column.
Currie Column was ordered to continue the advance northwards with the object of cutting the main GAZALA road. Therefore 1Tp was ordered to proceed due North and 4Tp NNW; 3Tp to the East with a view to observing the enemy positions reported by 1Tp the previous day.
3Tp had only gone ¼ mile when he reported 7 lorries moving North. It was still very dull and dark and it was thought that these must be part of our column. However 3Tp was ordered to remain where he was until the light improved. Five minutes later he reported a column of 20 vehicles stationary about 500 yards to his East.
5Tp was therefore ordered up to 3Tp who was on a ridge ¼ mile from our leaguer position. 5Tp confirmed the position of the lorries but owing to the close proximity it was still thought that these were friends.
The Sqn Ldr then went up on to the ridge with 2Tp and sent Lt Horsford to stop Col Currie commencing his northwards march.
5Tp was then ordered to take up a position 500 yards North of the enemy, 3Tp 500 yards to the South and 2Tp to remain in his position 500 yards to the West.
Lt Col Currie then arrived on the scene and said it could not possibly be part of his column. The light was still very bad and although by this time it was pretty certain they were enemy, there was just a chance it might be another friendly column, some having been known to be operating in close proximity the previous day.
Meanwhile, a section of A/Tk guns under Major O’Brien Butler (3rd RHA) was placed between 3Tp and 5Tp, 2Tp was then ordered to move up and definitely establish the identity of this column. After going 100 yards a Motor bicycle was discovered and this was considered adequate proof.
All three Tps were now in position with guns trained on the column and on the command ‘fire’, immediately opened up.
Two minutes before the order to fire was given 5Tp had reported a further 150 MET ½ mile to his NE. his role was firstly to engage the column of 30 MET and then to turn his attention to the 150 MET, with 2Tp coming on his right to support him.
Immediately the Tps opened fire considerable confusion was caused amongst the enemy. 5Tp moving across and engaging the MET came under very heavy A/Tk fire as did 2Tp.
Both these Tps withdrew slightly West and 3Tp was ordered further South to watch that flank. By this time the enemy had opened up on us with artillery. 3Tp proceeded a few hundred miles [yards?] further South and reported another column of 150 MET stationary ½ mile to his SE.
Meanwhile 1Tp after proceeding 2 miles North encountered a force of 3 field guns and 4 lorries. He at once engaged these and captured the guns and lorries as well as taking 3 officers and 40 ORs prisoner. He was being shelled from the East and brought the prisoners back.
3Tp then reported that his column of 150 MET were moving NW. 2Tp was immediately ordered to proceed SW to watch this column and report on this flank.
He reported this column skirting the southern edge of Currie Column and moving in a westerly direction. A few minutes later 3Tp reported a second column of 150 MET moving NW. 2Tp realised that this column, if left alone, would come straight into Currie Column, and on his own initiative immediately engaged the head. The column scattered and then retired SE down a wadi passing to the South of 3Tp who also engaged them. SHQ could then see 21 tanks stationary about 3 miles to the NNE.
4Tp had by this time gone 5 miles NW and captured several DRs. He was ordered to move 3 miles SE and observe the tanks, which he did.
5Tp was ordered to move 2 miles West and he then reported a column of 100 MET stationary about 2 miles to his West. 1Tp moved ½ mile East to watch that flank.
For the next 3 hours various of these columns were engaged by Currie Column artillery and the tanks were seen to withdraw NE. there was a lot of Infantry on the ground ½ mile to the East and NE of 1Tp who went forward with the object of mopping them up; but was driven off by A/Tk fire.
An Italian officer was then seen leaving this column on a MC and he drove into SHQ and gave himself up.
At about 1015 hours Col Currie ordered the advance to the road to be continued and the Sqn moved on a three Tp front, 5Tp on the left, 4Tp in the centre and 1Tp on the right.
4Tp soon reported a column of 100 MET in area U9284. This was soon confirmed by 1Tp and 4Tp and 5Tp pushed on North to the escarpment overlooking the main road and to TMIMI aerodrome. They reported very little movement on the road.
In the meantime Currie Column engaged the column at U9284. 2Tp was ordered 3 miles West to watch that flank and encountered 3 enemy ACs which engaged him.
At 1300 hours information was received that the enemy were holding a line running East and West about 5 miles to our South. The enemy being reported being engaged by our columns from the South and our orders were to proceed South and fight our way through the enemy from the North. The column therefore moved South, with the Sqn acting as the advance guard, 5Tp on the right, 4Tp centre and 1Tp on the left. After proceeding about 5 miles, 5Tp came under heavy and accurate artillery fire but could not locate the enemy guns. At the same time 4Tp encountered a Tp of C Sqn and it was then realised that there must have been a gap in the enemy line.
Column was then ordered to rejoin Support Grp HQ at U9262. The Sqn rejoined RHQ in the same position and leaguered for the night.
The bag for the Sqn for this day was 15 lorries, 8 field guns, 2 A/Tk guns, 5 officers & 80 ORs prisoners.
Shelling continued as on the 11th and during the day the area was bombed by Ju 87’s and Ju 88’s consistently, no damage.
No movement seen during the night.
0630 – 2Tp Paton moved to U8463 to observe enemy to the West of him and 1Tp Lamb moved to a position at U17956 to observe. 5Tp Ballingal moved to U8274 and observed enemy in SIDI BRECHISC area and reported 200 MET and 24 tanks in this area.
1100 – nothing to report except local movement.
1500 – Ballingal recalled to SHQ as Indian Div had taken over his area.
1700 – Nothing further to report. Enemy still remained on their present line and apart from 8 heavy and 24 light German tanks reported by Lamb just South of SIDI BERGHISC there was little change in this situation.
1800 – Sqn less 2Tp Paton, who remained in same location all night, leaguered for the night.
The Sqn remained in reserve all day. During the afternoon it was bombed by about 20 Stukas but no damage except for 1 or 2 tyres resulted.
No shelling but plenty of Ju 87’s in force in the area.
A party of 12th Lancer officers arrived and spent the night with B Sqn. In the evening about 2100 hours the whole of Mayfield Column came through our leaguer, luckily no-one was hurt but considerable shouting occurred, followed by even greater confusion in the column as the traffic was diverted in another direction.
0630 – 3Tp Smedley moved to U8267 and reported observation on area in SIDI BREGHISC area, while 2Tp Paton remained in the same place as the day before.
0830 – 4Tp Peacock relieved 2Tp.
1000 – no change in the situation. Enemy still in position as previous day. Both sides shelled each other.
1300 – KDG relieved the Sqn, which concentrated and at 1400 hours moved to join RHQ 3 miles West of BIR HARMAT arriving at 1730 hours.
Sqn remained in reserve and at 1400 hours moved to 3 miles West of BIR HARMAT where the whole Regt concentrated.RHQ.At 1430 hours 11th Hussars were relieved by the Kings Dragoon Guards and the Regt retired along the Trigh Capuzzo X tracks and thence to 273406 where they spent the night.
|15 – 16
||Regt remained in same location and spent the time in maintenance.
1130 – Regt moved 42 miles West and on arrival at 7th Armd Div Battle HQ at 1400 hours were told to return back to our original location.
1430 – Regt started to return and the Sqn was Stuka dive bombed just as it moved off and the following casualties resulted:-
Lt P Stewart -wounded in the neck
,Sgt Chambers-wounded in the face
Tpr Smith-wounded in the leg and arm,
LCpl Attwood-wounded in the arm.
One AC (Paton on tow with LAD).
LCpl Attwood was driving petrol lorry while Chambers and Smith were in an AC of 5Tp. Two bombs landed within a few feet, shrapnel penetrating the car. Lt Stewart was wounded by a piece of shrapnel from a bomb 50 yards away. All 4 casualties were evacuated to MDS at Div HQ and at 1630 hours the Sqn commenced to move back. After proceeding 30 miles Sqn halted for the night.
2000 – nothing further to report. Tpr Henricksen on petrol lorry was very lucky to escape injury other than a burnt hand.
Sqn with the Regt moved nearly due West for 38 miles and on arrival returned to starting point.
Sqn was informed that the Regt would be in reserve all day. However at 1045 hours orders were received to proceed 48 miles West. The Sqn acted as advance guard to the Regt and moved at 1130 hours, reaching the destination at 1525 hours. Orders were then received to move back to the place we had just vacated and just as we started C Sqn appeared to get involved in a Stuka attack intended for somebody else. The Sqn proceeded 30 miles East and halted at dark. Lt Horsford shot a camel which was cut up and divided amongst the troops.
At 1130 hours owing to conditions at the front, the Regt was ordered to move forthwith to the Divisional column 42 miles West. This was carried out without a hitch. On arrival we were told that the situation had been cleared up and that we must return whence we had come, and return to 22nd Armd Bde. This we did but not before on leaving the Div area a heavy attack by 14 Ju 87’s resulting in the wounding of the doctor Capt Kellock and some casualties in C Sqn. We spent the night at 356404 30 miles East of Div HQ.
0645 – commenced move on back.
0830 – Sqn arrived in old position 3 miles West of BIR HARMAT and remained there with the remainder of the Regt.
Sqn with Regt 372405.
Sqn moved at 0645 hours and reached a position 4 miles West of BIR EL HARMAT where it spent the day in reserve with the remainder of the Regt.
At first light moved back to original position.
||C Sqn. – Nothing to report.
– Nothing to report.
Sqn in reserve all day. 2Lt Turner joined the Sqn and was posted to 5Tp as gunner.
RHQ was ordered to leave BIR HARMAT at first light in front of Guards Bde. Late in starting owing to postponement by Brigadier.
Left at 0730 hours and moved on bearing 25° for 2 hours and halted for breakfast. Halted again at 1500 hours having covered 80 miles. Connected with the Bde LO and the Echelon arrived.
0645 – Regt moved to U0216 to co-operate with Bde. B Sqn did advance guard and A & C Sqns followed RHQ.
Sqn arrived at 1530 hours, total mileage covered 85. Smedley (3Tp) never left the start point and after 25 miles Wills and Graham, his other 2 car commanders, were sent back to contact him and tow him on.
Moved from 372405 at 0645 hours to T9616 which was reached at 1500 hours.
No breakdowns en-route, distance 85 miles.
The Regt moved at 0645 hours for a distance of 86 miles to T9716 where it arrived at 1430 hours and spent the afternoon on maintenance.
Continued the march until early afternoon and halted West of the bog X7889. Great difficulty in getting the Echelon in owing to the bog. Echelon finally arrived at 0500 hours the next day.
0615 - Nothing to report.
0700 – Sqn moved with the Regt to T6008 arriving at 0900 hours.
0915 – Smedley reported that the AC towing him had struck a mine and damaged the front axle and wounded the crew. He contacted Major K Ames who fixed them up and towed the ACs on with him. Major Ames was attached to the Guards Bde with whom we were working.
1000 – Regt divided into different areas.
C Sqn to observe on line BIR BELHASAN – SCELEIDIMA. Sqn moved concentrated to ALAM HAGAR from where at 1430 hours 1Tp Lamb moved to BIR BELHASAN and 5Tp Ballingal moved to ABIRA EL CRENEISA. SHQ moved to S6093 and leaguered there. Both patrols reported no movement seen for the positions they were at, but reported that the escarpment appeared difficult to get down.
Sqn went to MSUS where we found A Sqn 12th Lancers doing the job that we had been ordered to do. Col Burne and RHQ 12th Lancers arrived at 1530 hours.
Orders at night for us to await arrival of Brigadier John Marriott and the Scots Guards. It appears that the Hun left Fort ZT MSUS in a hurry.
Note: We were somewhat surprised to find the 12th Lancers as the plan had been for the Guards Bde to come through South of Bengazi and cut off the line of retreat with 11th Hussars doing advance guard to them. However Rodney Palmer’s Sqn has been here since 0800 hours yesterday, and this afternoon appears to have been duplicated and his Sqn has gone South into B & C Sqn areas, while William Brown Clayton’s Sqn is in my area. 12th Lancers RHQ are in close proximity. Two Me 109F’s paid some attention to this place at 1200 hours and machine gunned 12th Lancer ambulance.
The Regt moved at 0700 hours to RGUBET EL AGEREMIA. From there the Sqn was directed on ANTELAT and SAUNU. On arrival in area X8383 3Tp was ordered to proceed West to ABIAR EL CHARAZ, 2Tp to SAUNU and the remainder of the Sqn with 4Tp and 5Tp as advance guard to ANTELAT.
At 1500 hours a fort thought to be ANTELAT was sighted and 4Tp and 5Tp went forward to investigate. At the same time 2Tp reported seeing a fort to his West with several lorries moving. SHQ then sighted a fort to the South and 1Tp was ordered to investigate and decided that it was ANTELAT. A fire was still burning indicating that the enemy had only just vacated.
5Tp investigated a blockhouse to the West of ANTELAT and encountered 3 or 4 enemy MET which moved off West and also saw a column of enemy MET about 8 miles to his NW.
2Tp had been unable to locate SAUNU, this was all caused by the Sqn being about 8 miles further North than was reckoned.
The Sqn leaguered 1 mile South of ANTELAT fort, 2Tp being about 6 miles to the East and 3Tp 10 miles to the NW. cold rainy night.
We moved 6 miles SW to X6681 where RHQ remained until Dec 24th, close to Bde HQ. The camp was attacked once by Me 109’s but no damage done to 11th Hussars vehicles.
On Dec 24th Major Alexander arrived with the Christmas NAAFI kit having nearly been into the enemy lines.
0730 – Sqn moved to ECUET ABDULLA. 1Tp Lamb moved to within 5 miles of BEDA FOMM and 5Tp Ballingal moved to BIR UMMELCHANUS from where he could observe MAGRUN landing ground which was being used a lot. Lamb observed approx 150 MET 3 miles NE of BEDA FOMM.
During the day 1Tp reported little change in his area except for local movement and a few vehicles moving North, one of which, a German lorry, was captured by Ballingal at 1530 hours. The driver was killed and the only other occupant captured.
1430 – 2Tp Paton was sent to X3476 from where he could see 7 tanks which Major Forbes column had engaged earlier. Forbes column consisted of four 25 pdrs and four A/Tk guns in area X3075 and later engaged enemy in BEDA FOMM area, but without much apparent success.
1Tp drove off an enemy OP which appeared West of him and in turn was attacked by 3 ACs which he drove off. Later he was shelled and a direct hit was made on Lamb’s car by a small shell hitting a wheel, damaging same and breaking his W/T battery outside the car.
During the afternoon SHQ was attacked by 3 Me 109’s Coombes and Tpr Scaddan sustained minor injuries.
Sqn at ZT MSUS. Sgt Mullins watched X tracks T0720 for last night, nothing to report.
Col Mayfield at first light gave information that SOLUCH was supposed to hold remnants of German Armd Forces, (yesterday Long Range Desert patrols arrived from there and reported Germans doing their Xmas shopping, so this may be true!), also that German air force was using MAGRUN landing ground with their full strength.
5Tp Poston had left already to contact 12th Lancers in SCELEIDIMA which yesterday they reported clear.
1Tp Petch was also despatched and in fact passed by 5Tp who were getting latest information from HQ 12th Lancers.
Mr Petch ran into A/Tk guns on track 3 miles East of SCELEIDIMA and his car was hit through the petrol tank. He was therefore withdrawn and Mr Poston took over his patrol and remained in observation of the position which appeared to be only lightly held but in an inaccessible and difficult place.
SHQ was moving to 5Tp area. SSM Clarke was left to contact the Echelon at fort MSUS and also Sgt Mullins, and also to meet Mr Petch who had fallen back East to have his car repaired.
SHQ with 3 & 4Tp to a position 4 miles East of SCELEIDIMA and waited there for Scots Guards, who shelled Infantry and A/Tk guns at approx 1330 hours to 1430 hours. A lot of time was then wasted as it appeared that the enemy retired West. 5Tp was sent further forward to observe from the South and 3Tp to approach by the track after Sqn Ldrs had decided that the A/Tk position had been evacuated.
The fort appeared to be unoccupied and 3Tp held off enemy that were trying to reach the road. Guns were again in action after the OP had been placed in position and our W/T used for fire orders. One Coy Scots Guards and 3Tp and 5Tp proceeded to a position 3 miles right of the fort for the night. Enemy weak elements were West of the fort at last light. A wasted day.
The Sqn was ordered to move West and cut the main BENGAZI – AGEDABIA road. 2Tp was therefore called in, but on reaching the fort, orders were received to the effect that SAUNNA was to be investigated. Therefore 2Tp was ordered to return to that place.
3Tp in the meantime had gone South to X3070 where he reported a force of 400 MET in the area X1560.
At about 0900 hours the Coldstream Guards under Colonel Moubray were seen arriving at the fort and contact was made. He sent out a column of artillery and Infantry to a position about 8 miles SW of the fort. 4Tp who was in that area acted as advance guard to that column.1Tp was ordered to act as advance guard to another column moving West to BEDA FOMM, (Major Forbes Coldstream Guards).
At about ??? hours 3Tp reported 9 tanks and 6 lorries moving East to the Blockhouse X3573. These were engaged by the northern column and eventually retired West.
During the afternoon 4Tp confirmed the presence of the 400 MET in area X1560. By this time 1Tp had located 60 MET in the area SE of BEDA FOMM and these were engaged by the column with him during the evening.
At approx 1700 hours 4Tp reported the column of 400 MET was moving North. Shortly after this was confirmed by 1Tp who stated that the column was headed by 30 tanks and at last light they joined the 65 MET SE of BEDA FOMM.
2Tp had located SAUNNA at about 0900 hours and found it to be a small fort placed on top of a high plateau with 2 tracks leading up to it, one from the East and one from the North. He saw one or two men moving about in the fort area and saw a large wireless mast. His Tp consisted of only 2 cars and he decided to attack with one car on each track.On getting to within 80 yards of the fort his engine stopped and he was unable to start it. His other car was not in sight and the enemy opened fire from loop holes in the fort. He wirelessed this info back to SHQ and 5Tp was immediately ordered to his assistance, but as they were 20 miles away the situation did not look too good.
About 10 minutes later his other 2Tp car reached him and pushed him back about 100 yards and then towed him. It transpired later that this car had got to within 100 yards of the fort and was firing on it and waiting for the Tp Ldrs car to appear. 2Tp then retired down the hill North of the fort and 5Tp reached him at about 1100 hours.About an hour was spent trying to repair the car but 5Tp decided it was advisable to attack on his own which he did, sending 1 car up the East track and 2 cars up the North track. The cars opened fire at 200 yards and shortly after white flags appeared and the enemy surrendered. The garrison consisted of 1 officer and 23 ORs.
Both Tps then returned to SHQ.
RHQ. Nothing to report.
0645 – 2Tp Paton moved to BEDA FOMM area and meanwhile 30 more German tanks and 60 MET moved East from X2567 and engaged Forbes Column and SHQ. 9th Glos Hussars (13 Honey tanks) who all withdrew East towards ANTELAT.
0700 – 1Tp Lamb moved West and observed 31 German tanks (including 3 Mark IV) moving East at X3578.
0715 – 5Tp Ballingal sent off to area X2197.
0730 – SHQ withdrew to join B Sqn at ANTELAT. Meanwhile the German tanks continued on East and were followed by 400 MET. Our tanks engaged them but enemy continued on East until they reached X5067 where they halted at 1100 hours. Meanwhile SHQ moved with Moubray Column and B Sqn to X5668 and remained in that area all day.
1000 – 2Tp moved NE to X4785 and observed the column at 5067 from the North. 5Tp meanwhile had abandoned a Humber AC with a broken stub axle and was ordered to contact A Sqn at SCELEIDIMA which he did at 1300 hours. He filled up here and escorted A Sqn Echelon to RHQ arriving there at 1700 hours. He then collected C & B Sqns Echelon and brought then to SHQ at ANTELAT arriving there at 1930 hours.
1Tp kept observation on enemy column until they halted at X5067 and was then withdrawn as B Sqn were in observation.
1500 – 2Tp moved to SIDI GREBEIL where he contacted Wilson Column and Brigadier Campbell who sent Paton on a job to recce an enemy artillery position in area 3562. Paton carried out his recce and returned to report to Brigadier Campbell at X2874.
1700 – 2Tp moved to join SHQ at ANTELAT.
1800 – SHQ leaguered at X4668 and Paton 2Tp joined SHQ there.
Sqn 3 miles East of SCELEIDIMA for the night. 3Tp and 5Tp spent the night in company of the Scots Guards (Capt Drury Lowe) below the fort. They recced West of the fort and found enemy Infantry to the North in the hills.
SHQ and 1Tp moved to a position of observation overlooking the fort, 3Tp and 5Tp were sent to a position overlooking the valley.
For the next hour 3Tp and 5Tp operated against the enemy and in spite of enemy ACs drove them back West.
1Tp was ordered to recce North to SIDI BRAMAN and then West along the track to SOLOCH. In doing so they captured a staff car and a lorry (3 prisoners and 2 killed). They reported no movement seen in SOLOCH.
Meanwhile 5Tp was proceeding West with 4Tp to his South. A pocket of enemy was found at the Mosque S2317 and from here the two Tps operating together took 60 prisoners including 3 officers. They also picked up men they had wounded in the first engagement and found 3 A/Tk guns, 1 lorry filled with ammunition and bombs which they destroyed and one filled with MGs which they brought back. These Germans had been only 20 days in the country and had been flown from Crete and were very young.
3Tp and 2Tp were ordered to recce to MAGRUN to see if the landing ground was still being used, and to harass the road, while 1Tp, 5Tp and 4Tp were withdrawn as the 12th Lancers came into the area.
SHQ had been throughout the day at SCELEIDIMA fort which was filthy in the extreme, but from which place they had a wonderful view.
3Tp and 2Tp reached the main road at 1630 hours and reported it as being used to some extent with 20 MET and 2 tanks South of MAGRUM landing ground which was not being used.
Mayfield and Grant Columns moved to 2604 for the night and SHQ moved there as well. Sgt Hutchinson and Sgt Mullins remained on the road (bag 70 odd Germans and kit as reported). Plan for tomorrow for Columns to operate against enemy travelling South on the road.
1Tp had leaguered with Forbes Column in area X3077 and went forward at first light to gain contact.
At 0712 hours he reported tanks in the area 2 miles West of the column. It was thought that these might be either a Sqn of the Glos Hussars or 22nd Armd Bde who were expected it the area. 1Tp got to within shouting distance of one of them and asked him who he was. The reply came back in German but as he did not open fire he presumably did not realise 1Tp was British. There was considerable mist and visibility was almost nil. There was an OP with 1Tp and the column immediately opened fire on he enemy tanks which numbered 30 and were moving East.
In the meantime 3Tp had been sent out to HASHASHA and 4Tp to a position about 6 miles SW of ANTELAT fort. 5Tp had been ordered to a position on the ANTELAT – SAUNNA road to observe the SE.
At 0730 hours orders were received to proceed to AGEDABIA and that C Sqn would relieve us. In view of the situation it was suggested that no move be made till C Sqn arrived and this was agreed to. 5Tp however was ordered to area ELUET EL MTUMIAL X4354 with a view to moving to AGEDABIA.
In the meantime the enemy tanks had overrun the 4 guns in Forbes Column and were still advancing East.
At 0817 hours the leading elements had reached 3580. 2Tp was sent to a view point on top of ANTELAT hill and confirmed 1Tp’s information and at the same time contacted a SA AC from Brigadier Reid’s force who had marched North of JIALO.
About this time Major Payne Gallway DSO arrived with C Sqn HQ.
At 0849 hours 4Tp reported 50 MET at X2860 and 40 MET at X3464.
At 1009 hours the enemy tanks had reached 5279 and 2Tp reported 400 MET moving in rear. 3Tp was ordered to retire to the fort and 4Tp move back to 5Tp. The tanks were by this time in right of SHQ and SHQ and Column HQ moved 6 miles East where our guns were brought into action again.
5Tp was ordered to recce SAUNNA but was hampered by 2 enemy ACs and the Tp of Glos Hussars went to their assistance.
At 1052 hours 2Tp reported the fort being shelled and moved back SE.
At 1115 hours 3Tp relieved 1Tp who was running short of petrol.
At 1141 hours 2Tp reported 7 vehicles in the fort area and at approx 1400 hours the tanks and MET were seen moving South to the fort. They then appeared to move West but observation was difficult owing to the enemy posting a rear guard of tanks. The enemy was subsequently engaged by Currie Column and retired West.
At 1730 hours 2Tp contacted a patrol of C Sqn in the fort area and reported it clear.
The Sqn leaguered 2 miles NW of the fort.
Nothing to report.
0630 – 4Tp Peacock moved to try and get on to the road at 0865. He reported enemy in that area and on the road. At 1300 hours he was moved up to BEDA FOMM area to observe the enemy there.
0630 – 1Tp Lamb moved to SIDI GREIVIL and observed enemy in BEDA FOMM area all day. Enemy estimated as 200 in BEDA FOMM AREA. Peacock while down in SIDI SALEH area reported 200 MET with some tanks 4 miles South of SIDI SALEH.
Both patrols were withdrawn at 1730 hours. SHQ leaguered 3 miles NE of ANTELAT fort.
Plan changed during the night and columns were ordered South. Sgt Hutchinson and Sgt Mullins made sorties into surprised Germans on the main road, but whilst collecting their prisoners had to withdraw because of a column of 50 MET travelling South and containing tanks and ACs.
SHQ with one Tp in front ran into enemy in area X2381 and came under A/Tk and artillery fire and were forced to withdraw. 200 MET and Infantry formed a rearguard position in that area. Mayfield Column who had passed through enemy smoke screen without seeing the enemy were informed and came under heavy artillery fire themselves.
3Tp, 5Tp and 1Tp observed and reported on this column and were harassed and continually being driven back by artillery fire and strong A/Tk batteries.
4Tp Lt Palin Evans drove off 3 ACs which looked like a threat to B1 Echelon. Advance SHQ was also moved off their position by artillery fire.
Sgt Hutchinson reported no movement seen between 0900 and 1100 hours.
At 1200 hours OPs Mayfield Column reached us and were sent to patrol but only shelled badly, enemy had despatched a column of 36 MET including guns to 1585 and 5Tp Mr Poston observed these and was continually harassed by them.
At 1600 hours Mayfield’s guns came into action against the enemy column.
At 1630 hours the column of 36 moved West and then South. 3Tp and 2Tp were withdrawn then main column was slightly harassed and dispersed but it cannot be said that much action was carried out against them during the day. Guns and OPs were depressingly slow enemy used smoke to blind out OPs our smoke for ranging (the sign of bad guns).
SHQ concentrated for the night which was spent at 3782. Mayfield provided listening posts. SQMS Smith arrived with Echelon at 2030 hours, thinking that we were tanks and fleeing from us. The work of the Echelon all through has been magnificent. Mr Petch and Mr Poston extremely brave and cool in all their work. They showed complete disregard to shell fire which is a hard thing to do.
During the night orders were received to proceed to AGEDABIA and moved at first light with 2Tp on the right, 5Tp centre and 1Tp on the left.
At 0715 hours 2 enemy ACs were encountered in front of the centre Tp at 4060. Assistance was asked for and at 0913 hours 2 Tps of tanks arrived whereupon the ACs retired.
The Sqn went forward for another mile and then came under artillery fire from several guns in the area X3858. 1Tp was ordered to push on to the SW and eventually arrived at position SE of the enemy and reported 16 vehicles.
In the meantime our guns were ordered into action after considerable delay forced the enemy to retire at 1500 hours.
Whilst waiting for this 5Tp had engaged 2 ACs and driven them back. The Sqn then carried on SW and a force of 100 MET was observed at X1555 with 30 MET to their East.
RHQ. Nothing to report.
0630 – 3Tp Smedley and 5Tp Ballingal moved to try and get on the road at X0870 an X0760 respectively. This they achieved at 1200 hours as the enemy in BEDA FOMM had withdrawn during the night.
B Sqn pushed SW towards AGEDABIA and reported no movement seen.
Both Ballingal and Smedley joined together and moved South down the road capturing an Italian lorry, 1 Italian officer and 2ORs. They contacted B Sqn patrol at SIDI FRAG at 1600 hours and were withdrawn to SHQ at 1700 hours.
1800 hours Sqn leaguered at BIR BUH FETTAH.
1Tp and 4Tp were sent out at first light to contact enemy who had withdrawn during the night. They continued West to the main road and found no sign of them but picked up 2 Italians in a German lorry.
Sqn was then ordered to work South of the main road West bound 25 Grid East.
No sign of the enemy as far South as the 50 Grid. B & C Sqns reported them as being in a heavily defended position around BU MUGRA South to AGEDABIA.
At 1400 hours Sqn was ordered to concentrate as too many patrols were on the ground and we moved to RHQ area at X5453, where the night was spent. A most excellent Xmas fare was brought up by Major Alexander with which the men were delighted. He had taken 6 days from Cairo, a good performance but nearly marred by his running into the enemy.
Babe and I visited RHQ and drank several glasses of champagne and kummel also an excellent cigar.
The news reported Hong Kong falling and the situation in Libya appears to be 150,000 Germans in Bardia, 3,500 in Halfaya being supplied by motor boat from Bardia and some cut-off Italians NE of Bengazi. Jocks Column operating in GHEMINES area. Eggs were boiled for tea with the Bedouins here, which is a change and there were plenty of sheep.
The march to AGEDABIA was continued at first light. 2Tp reported the 130 MET of the previous night no longer there.
4Tp was directed on SIRET BANDAR, 5Tp on AGEDABIA and 3Tp on the left. 3Tp broke down and was relieved by 1Tp.
At 0900 hours a force of about 20 vehicles was seen at SIDI EZ ZORA. 5Tp and 4Tp were sent forward to investigate and found that these were a small column of Brigadier Reid’s force. This column fired a gun shot at 5Tp before identity was established.
The Sqn then continued SW and at 1040 hours 1Tp reported seeing AGEDABIA with 50 MET to the South and the same number to the North. Shortly afterwards 5Tp got into position at SIDI IJNES.
At 1105 hours 4Tp reached SIDI FARG on the main road and reported it clear, he then proceeded South down the road and soon encountered an enemy vehicle which moved off South.
2Tp was ordered to a position SE of AGEDABIA having previously contacted further vehicles of Brigadier Reid’s force.
The remainder of the day was spent in observation the AGEDABIA position which appeared to be strongly held by Infantry and artillery stretching from the sand dunes X0737 to a point about 3 miles SE of the town. Our artillery came into action during the afternoon.
Sqn leaguered 3 miles NE of SIDI IJNES and 3Tp relieved 1Tp and remained in observation.
RHQ moved SW again to below DUKELAT. Some trouble with cars.
Sqn remained concentrated in same are.
1430 – RHQ and A Sqn arrived in same area.
Sqn at X5453, the morning spent in maintenance and general cleaning of guns. In the afternoon we moved to area X 3544 where RHQ had moved during the morning. C Sqn who had also come out of the line leaguered alongside and the two Sqns fraternised, Peter, Babe, Van and I discussed tactics and a new formation of all arms and then other things.
At first light 4Tp proceeded to BU NOGRA area, 2Tp to SIDI IJNES and 5Tp to a position West of SIDI EL HAMAR.
During the day 5Tp was periodically shelled from the South of the town. He reported 200 vehicles in area X0832.
1Tp escorted Brigadier Marriott Commanding Guards Bde to the Scots Guards in area X1545. The AGEDABIA position remained unchanged and our artillery engaged at intervals during the day.
The Sqn leaguered 2 miles NE of SIDI IJNES with 1Tp in observation of the town from the ENE.
During the afternoon 5Tp had contacted a patrol of the Royal Dragoons who stated they were advance guard to 22nd Armd Bde.
RHQ moved on SW to BIR BU FETTAH and stopped below a Bedouin camp 5 miles from Bde who laid a telephone line. RHQ remained in this place with one short move up to half mile until Jan 8th. During this time there were 2 extremely bad sandstorms and some rain. Enemy aircraft were often overhead but never attacked this HQ, usually bombing further back. Six tanks advanced from the South and pushed our forces back a little way.
Sqn remained in same position and area with RHQ.
Sqn in same position. A gap appeared to stretch between B Sqn left patrol and the right patrol of Bob Hemmis Sqn (Royals), we were ordered to fill this gap.
5Tp Poston was therefore sent out to contact B Sqn left patrol at X2018 and he then proceeded South and took up a position at X2510 from where he could see the Royal right and also 45 stationary MET at X1402 with OPs out in front in ACs.
The enemy positions at AGEDABIA appeared to be fairly strong and 1000 and more MET have been reported by Air Recce today, and also more to the South.
The Scots Guards apparently got a bit of a dusting this morning, losing their way after a night attack and as the day broke finding themselves in close proximity to the enemy position. We heard that Roger Harvey and Johnnie Crichley (the General’s son) were missing.
Advance GHQ went to meet the Colonel at B Sqn HQ at SIDI IJNES and Harry Petch took the Sqn to BIR EL VESCECA where SHQ joined them later, picking up Wadsworth enemy route. Babe shot a “rabbit” for the pot which sat for him and was eventually dismissed with the 5th shot with his revolver. I missed a gazelle.
More NAAFI kit this evening. The men are being done extremely well – Babe and I had canned American oysters before lunch with sherry, they were excellent. I heard the reason we found SCELEIDIMA occupied, after the 12th Lancers had reported it clear. Sgt Lamb (C Sqn) found a young officer of 12th Lancers sitting 15 miles to the South, very pleased with himself, saying “I am here before you and have captured the place which the enemy are supposed to be holding”. This slight mis-calculation necessitated Harry Petch running into an A/Tk gun at close range, also told that in Cairo half of this Sqn and myself are reported as being in the bog – which we were told caused some disconcertion.
Observation of AGEDABIA, 3Tp on the North, 5Tp from the NE, 1Tp ENE and 2Tp from the South.
The Scots Guards had attacked the northern end of the position during the night without much success. 3Tp contacted them about 0830 hours.
2Tp reported 1000 MET SW of the town. Only local movement amongst the enemy was seen during the day.
Contact by wireless had been made with a Sqn of the Royals and it was realised that a considerable gap existed between us. A Sqn therefore despatched a Tp to fill this gap.
The Sqn moved back 3 miles to a leaguer position. 2Tp and 4Tp remained out for the night.
In the same area. Nothing of importance to report.
1200 – Sqn moved to relieve B Sqn who were working with Lt Col Mowbary Column NE of AGEDABIA.
1300 – arrived at BIR SEBICA and took over B Sqn patrols. 2Tp Paton moved to X2730, 1Tp Lamb to X2236 and 3Tp Smedley to X2043 in order to watch the North.
Patrols had little to report other than local movement amongst the enemy positions, which appeared to run from BU NOORA to AGEDABIA and then SW to EL GEDID.
1800 – 1Tp and 3Tp withdrawn, 2Tp left out in same position for the night. Sqn moved 2 miles back from day position and leaguered.
Sqn at X3220, 5Tp at X2510 and 3Tp was sent to SIDI EL HAMAR but could not reach it as elements of the enemy were already there. 4Tp Palin Evans was sent to X3801 to try and contact the Royals who were supposed to be on a line of observation to our South. Information from the South had been extremely difficult to obtain, although we knew that 22nd Armd Bde were operating there.
At 0812 hours 5Tp reported vehicle movement to his NW and a few minutes later reported 10 MET approaching the position that 3Tp was supposed to take up.
These 10 MET were forward left flank guard to a very strong enemy column of 500 MET which then started to move from the SW corner of AGEDABIA down the track until it reached X3005 and then turned SW.
This force was observed from 0830 to 1100 hours by 3Tp, 5Tp and 4Tp who were at times harassed by the enemy left flank guard, only about 6 tanks (M13) were noted in the column but it was extremely strong in A/Tk guns of all description. Some artillery was also noted. 5Tp had followed the head of the column but owing to lack of oil his job had to be taken over by 4Tp and 1Tp came into the centre of out line in the area X2215 and captured there a staff Charabang (the equivalent of our ACV) belonging to the Major General commanding 21st Panzer Div and important papers and maps.It appears that the object of this column was to attack 22nd Armd Bde from the North as they were threatening the enemy retreat by being across their line of communication. None of this column retired to AGEDABIA and the MET there was greatly decreased.
During the afternoon a column under Major Sainthill (Coldstream Guards) came to us with the object of harassing the enemy column, they were however too late and were sent to area X2425 to have an artillery shoot into AGEDABIA. This they did at extreme range and not knowing the results.
There was no further movement from the enemy during the afternoon although they held the line of the track running SW from AGEDABIA to EL GHANAN with A/Tk guns.
During the morning Rear SHQ had been moved East 3 miles, Advance SHQ stayed at BIR VESCECA.
4Tp returned for the night but 1Tp and 3Tp remained in the locality of their day position. Heard definitely that Roger Harvey and Jimmy Critchley are missing. Also that 22nd Armd Bde had a battle today destroying 30 enemy tanks.
At first light 3Tp proceeded 3 miles North of 1Tp to a position NE of the town and 4Tp remained ENE of the town.
A Sqn took over our South patrol and during the morning A Sqn reported considerable SE movement of approx 500 MET. slight movement South of AGEDABIA was noted by our patrols.
At about midday C Sqn arrived to relieve us and the Sqn retired to RHQ into reserve in area X3343.
In same position, Nothing to report.
0640 – 1Tp Lamb moved to same position at 2236 and 5Tp Ballingal moved to X2043, while SHQ moved to same day position at BIR SEBICA. 2Tp Paton remained in same position.
Little to report during the day except local movement in AGEDABIA position. Our artillery slightly harassed the enemy but otherwise there was nothing further to report.
1800 – 1Tp and 5Tp rejoined SHQ. 4Tp Peacock relieved 2Tp who came into SHQ. Peacock remained out the night in observation. SHQ leaguered in the same place.
Sqn at X3819. 3Tp at X2019, 1Tp West to 2013 and 2Tp Sgt Mullins to X3004. Both 3Tp and 1Tp reported a decrease in the numbers of MET in AGEDABIA, there appeared to be 150 in one group, another 50 on the main road on the South of the town. 1Tp could see right across on the main road and they reported next to no traffic on it.
At 1000 hours 3Tp captured 5 lorries and 30 prisoners at X1820 and a short time later, 2 DRs. (This makes 3Tps total up to 68 lorries and approx 90 prisoners since the start of the campaign).
Meanwhile at 1030 hours 1Tp was forcing a very surprised lorry back into AGEDABIA and at about 1130 hours 3Tp nearly captured an OP.
2Tp’s day was made extremely difficult by lack of any information from the South and by differentiating between friend and foe.
At 1500 hours the 22nd Armd Bde complete moved North along the track from EL HASEIAT into area X2511. 4Tp was sent to contact the Bde on his way to relieve 3Tp and at 1600 hours I spoke to Charlie Spencer, Brigade Major, who gave the following information.
Successful tank battle yesterday, 30 to 40 German tanks knocked out (did they recover them?). the remnants of 21st Panzer Div at CHOR ES SUFAN moving NE. large German column, supposed remnants of 15th Panzer Div, at EL HASEIAT facing SE. Royal watching former, 12th Lancers watching latter.
I arranged to leave my two northern patrols and to withdraw my southern one as his task was superfluous. 2Tp was therefore ordered to withdraw. 5Tp had by now relieved 3Tp and at 1900 hours 5Tp reported 100 MET moving South at X1015, 1Tp a short time before this had reported 36 MET travelling South by the same route (does this mean enemy evacuating AGEDABIA?).
4Tp relieved 1Tp for the night. 5Tp at X1922 4Tp X2215. SHQ and the remainder X3819.
Sainthill Column operated in the area throughout the day but there were no targets. Intend tomorrow to get in close contact with 22 Armd Bde to make information on the whole front quicker and easier. Heavy coastal rain during the afternoon and evening. We heard a rumour of the part we play in the next move.
Nothing to report.
No change in AGEDABIA area but at 0800 hours a battle developed South of BIR EL VESCECA between 41 German tanks and 22nd Armd Bde. A Sqn who were on their left were slightly involved in the battle and at 1200 hours lost touch with the tanks. 4Tp Peacock left 1 AC in his position and moved of SE as far as Z2923 from where he could see the battlefield of the morning, also 60 MET South of him. A patrol of A Sqn took over from him and he returned to his normal position. While he was away, Cpl Nash (commander of the car he left) was attacked by 2 ME 109’s but no damage other than 2 punctures and a severed petrol pipe.
1700 – Nothing further to report. 4Tp remained out in observation and Ballingal was recalled.
1800 – SHQ leaguered at X2439.
During last night 4Tp Palin Evans was disturbed by 4 or 5 vehicles travelling SE down the track from AGEDABIA and came under A/Tk fire from them. He therefore had to move his position. Forward elements of 22nd Armd Bde were at X2510 during the night.
After 4Tp troubles with A/Tk guns he was attacked by a flock of sheep which caused some chaos.
The remnants of 15th and 21st Panzer Divs joined up during the night and were following up the withdrawal of 22nd Armd Bde along the line of the track running NW to AGEDABIA, and a tank battle took place in the area South of BELANDAN.
At 1000 hours 5Tp Poston captured an Italian staff officer and 2 NCOs of the Trieste Div who had come from AGEDABIA to recce for a position. The Sgt NCO on handing over his revolver tried to stab Cpl Andrews but only gave him a slight bruise. The Sgt was revolvered by Mr Poston but refused to die.
At 1005 hours 4Tp was ordered to contact 22nd Armd Bde to obtain information as there had been none from the South, also to inform them of the location of the Guards Bde left flank. By now things were moving fast and accurate information became impossible owing to the fact that the whole of the 22nd Armd Bde were passing through our lines of observation in a northerly direction.
By 1130 hours the enemy were on a line from AGEDABIA along the track eastwards to BIR EL VESCECA and George Kidston was in touch with 40 enemy tanks in area X3025. 22nd Armd Bde were ordered to withdraw and we were left to observe on the enemy line with Sainthill Column in close attendance.
SHQ had moved back 7 miles North to area X3530. Advance SHQ moved to X3027. It was now possible to recce forward and clear up the situation.
3Tp at this time detached as a link with 22nd Armd Bde but he was ordered to return. 4Tp was sent South to BIR EL VESCECA and then West along the track. 2Tp Sgt Mullins to ELUET GERBIA and 1Tp Mr Petch to CHOR EL AUD to ensure there was no movement eastwards.
By 1530 hours the line South of the track was reported clear of enemy.
At 1602 hours 4Tp engaged 2 lorries packed with Infantry with some success. By last light it was seen that the enemy were holding the track SE from AGEDABIA to BELENDAH and there were no enemy East or NE of that line.
12th Lancers were on a line of observation to our East from 1630 hours onwards. During the late afternoon advanced SHQ was strafed by Me 109’s but the ACs satisfactorily kept out needle and explosive bullets although Babe Roberts and his crew lost a good deal of their kit.
At 1745 hours 30 MET moved SE from AGEDABIA to their line.
4Tp for the night at X3021 and 2Tp at X3521, the rest and SHQ at X3231.
0640 – 2Tp Paton moved to a position of observation at BIR SEBICA and 1Tp Lamb moved to relieve 4Tp who came into SHQ.
0700 – SHQ moved half a mile South.
0900 – there appeared to be little change in the enemy front in our area except for fewer MET North of the town. The landing ground SW of AGEDABIA was used, and at one time there were 13 Stukas and 6 Me 109’s on the ground.
1200 – Nothing further to report until about 1730 hours when a column of 6 tanks, 30 MET and 8 guns on tow moved NE out of AGEDABIA and made their way to area BIR SCEIGH where they halted and eventually leaguered. 1Tp kept them under observation and remained within 2 ½ miles of them for the night. A Tp of A Sqn were observing them from the East.
1800 – 2Tp came back to SHQ which leaguered in the same position as the previous night.
Sqn worked in close contact with Sainthill Column which moved 3 miles South at first light.
At first light, 4Tp from his position X2823 reported an enemy concentration along the line X2418 SE to X2912. This line had been taken up during the night by the enemy who also held the line from AGEDABIA to BELENGAH. The new position was successfully shelled by our artillery in the morning. The enemy were digging in and A/Tk gun positions were seen on the line.
2Tp was at X4010 during the day, watching for any more of the enemy East or NE. 3Tp was in close proximity to the gun positions and watching the centre.
4Tp Mr Palin Evans nearly captured a German OP during the morning and at midday was having active skirmishes with enemy Infantry in lorries with A/Tk guns.
No artillery fire from the enemy of any note, and anyway they appeared to be unable to find our position and shelled Bedouin tents.
At 1615 hours C Sqn reported a column headed by 5 M13 tanks moving East from X2726. This was a definite threat to our gun position and Sainthill decided to move NE to another position.
The going was appalling and the column which now consisted of approx 40 vehicles was moving fast NE4Tp was withdrawn to prevent him being cut off, and from 1630 onwards 1Tp Mr Petch was reporting on this column. Sainthill guns were never able to get into position before dark and the Sqn kept enemy column under observation. Enemy reached high ground at X3027 and halted. 2Tp was withdrawn and 3Tp observed from the East.
At last light the column was still at X3027 and had apparently secured this position to prevent us overlooking him and being able to shell and harass him. 3Tp and 1Tp remained in observation during the night and SHQ was with Sainthill at X3433.
1Tp reported vehicle movements from his SW during the night and there was a good deal of small arms fire. We hear that Jock Column had returned to the area which is good news. The enemy are definitely pushing all their strength into the AGEDABIA area and making dug-in Infantry positions.Three sorties of our bombers, in strength, were seen during the day, the first attack definitely on target. The enemy Ju 87’s are using the drome AGEDABIA, very close up to their front line.
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