WW II, a British focus



memories of Rod Tallack

Rod's father was Pte Fred Tallack "B" Company 5/7th Gordon Highlanders.

The following is the letter his mother recieved.

The Rev David W Rutherford


Dear Mrs Tallack

I am just writing a short note giving an account of you husbands
burial. I was down from the line at the battle of Aleaith to
bury some of my own lads, when I was asked to bury your
husband along with two of his comrades. The cemetery stood by
the roadside, about twenty miles from Gabes on the main Sfax
road. There before the open graves we held a simple service,
reading Psalm 23 and Chapter 7 from the Book of Revelations,
and then committed their bodies to the graves, we marked the
graves with small wooden crosses, inscribed with name, number
and unit.

I have not heard the details of your husbands death, but you will
hear in due course from his own battalion, who are also attending
to the forwarding of his private belongings.

May I express my own sympathy with you in your loss. This is
one of many deaths which have been the necessary price of the
victory in North Africa. They are all heroes - everyone of them
and their comrades wont forget.

Yours sincerely

David W Rutherford


The town of Sfax is 270 kilometres south of Tunis. The war cemetery lies within the enclosure of the civil cemetery, 2 kilometres south of the town centre on the road to Gabes. It has a private entrance off the main road which, unfortunately, has to be kept locked outside of working hours to prevent possible vandalism.

The main gates of the war cemetery are open during working hours; Monday to Thursday and Saturday from 07.00 to 15.30hrs and Friday 07.00 to 11.00hrs. The cemetery is closed all day Sunday.
The register is kept in the cemetery register box during working hours

Sfax war cemetery, the town of which is the second largest in Tunisia, was formed by concentrations from the surrounding battlefields and contains the graves of men who fell in the battles of Medenine, the Mareth Line and Wadi Akarit, in March and April 1943. The last group of graves to be bought in to Sfax was from a small cemetery formed at Mareth by the Brigade of Guards.
In total over 1250 graves are situated within the cemetery including one casualty from the 1914-18 war, originally buried in Bizerta Sidi Saleru Military Cemetery.

Register Text TALLACK, Pte. FREDERICK HARRY, 3133279. 5/7th Bn THE GORDON HIGHLANDERS 5th April, 1943. Husband of Katie Nellie Tallack of Hayes Middlesex. VI. B. 17.

Rod Tallack has contributed the War Diarys of the 5/7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders