War Diaries of 

8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars



Home 1939 1940 1942 1943
1944 1945 1946


January 1941



February 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col TG Watson

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  2 Feb 41   Advanced party of the Regiment, and all ORs at RAC Base Depot and Leave and Transit Camp Abbassia, collected at Mena Camp.  
  3 Feb 41   Road party arrived. No A vehicles and with only B vehicles which were not good enough to leave in the field for the use of other units.  
  5 Feb 41   Train party arrived. Regiment established in Mena, Jubbalpore Lines.  
  8 Feb 41   Twelve ORs attached to CMP for traffic duties on Cairo - Alexandria road and Cairo - Port Said main road.  
  11 Feb 41   Regiment ordered to Alexandria (Sidi Bishr) for local duties - guards, prisoners etc. Small rear party remain Mena. Application for RHQ to return to Mena.  
  13 Feb 41   RHQ return to Mena. Two composite squadrons remain in Alexandria: B and HQ Squadron under Maj How, and A and C under Maj Duff.  
  17 Feb 41   Lt R E McDonnell died of wounds, Benghazi, result of dive-bombing attack on HQ 7th Armd Div at Aqedabea.  
  18 Feb 41   Capt J W Phillips returns from temporary duty with 7 Armd Bde.  
  24 Feb 41   The following message from Comd 7th Armd Div received:-  
      ‘The enemy resistance in Cyrenaica has been finally overcome. 7th Armd Div have had a large share in the achievement of this success. They have been in contact with the enemy since the outbreak of war (with Italy) and, after nearly eight months, have won an outstanding victory. I congratulate all ranks on their endurance and fine fighting spirit. Your skill, energy and courage have alone made the victory possible’.  
  27 Feb 41   7th Armd Div HQ return from western Desert to Abbassia. 7th Hussars and 1RTR to Mena.  


March 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col TG Watson

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  7 Mar 41   Two composite squadrons return from Alexandria. Regiment established Kirkee Lines, Mena  
  11 Mar 41   Drew 45 light tanks, seven cruisers. These only kept a few days and then handed over to Australian Div Cav at Helowan.  
  17 Mar 41   St Patrick’s Day. Officers entertain sergeants mid-day. Regiment have special Christmas dinner they missed in the desert. Message of good wishes received from the CIGS, Gen Sir John Dill, who is at present in Egypt with the Foreign Secretary, Mr Anthony Eden.  
  23 Mar 41   Composite squadron (A and C under Maj Duff) to Tura Caves (near Maadi) for guard duties on ammunition dumps.  
  24 Mar 41   Remainder of Regt to be used for AA duties (Hotchkiss guns) on transports between Egypt and Greece. Parties, approximately one NCO and six per party, start to leave.  
  26 Mar 41   Draft of eleven officers and 53 ORs joined from RAC Base Depot.   
      To RHQ: 2Lts V A Buist and R E Gregory; A Squadron: 2Lts G Beringer, E Mc C Hector, J D Derouet; B Squadron: 2Lts G McCulloch, B T Attenborough, T M Mills; C Squadron: 2Lts J F S Huntingdon, W Moss, A A Dear.  
  30 Mar 41   Squadron returns from Tura.  


April 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col TG Watson

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1 Apr 41   D&M and Gunnery Instructors courses at RAC Base Depot and Schools applied for, and all possible vacancies accepted.  
  23 Apr 41   Capt J D Harbord posted to HQ 7 Armd Bde as Bde Tpt Offr.  
  25 Apr 41   The following mentioned in CinC’s despatches for operations up to the end of November 1940: Maj D S Cripps, Lt C F Hedley, SSM Harrold, Sgt McMasters, Cpl Clarke.  


May 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col TG Watson

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  3 May 41   Become GHQ reserve - mainly for use on internal security duties if required. Throughout April and May the AA escort parties gradually returned. A short period was spent in 4 Armd Bde under, first Brig Caunter, and later Brig Gatehouse.  
  12 May 41   Became part of 1 Armd Bde Gp (Brig H V S Charrington).  
  17 May 41   Lt Col T G Watson relinquishes command of Regiment on appointment to Army HQ India. Maj D S Cripps appointed Lt Col and given command.  
  20 May 41   Message received from Lt Col T G Watson:-  
      ‘After leaving the Regiment after nearly 27 years unbroken service in it, including three years in command, I sincerely thank all ranks for their most loyal support and co-operation accorded me. During my time in the Regiment it has operated in many countries and campaigns. Today I am fully convinced that it is second-to-none in training and esprit de corps, and will soon prove itself outstanding as in former history, when next called upon in battle. I wish you all the best of luck and good fortune in the future’.  


June to July 1941



August 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col D S Cripps

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1 Aug 41   Drew one M3 light tank, complete less WT, from RAC Base Depot. Allotted to C Squadron.  
  2-5 Aug 41   Nothing to report.  
  6 Aug 41   Sgts’ Mess meeting called by RSM T Hegerty.  
      Adjutant, Capt P H V de Clermont, evacuated to 15th General Scottish Hospital. Capt J N A Baldwin takes over duties.  
      Draw up two SCR245 WT Sets and complete kits for our first two M3 light tanks.  
      Maj Duff and Capt Threlfall left for a demonstration, near Bir Kanayis in Western Desert, by 7th Armd Div.  
  7 Aug 41   Drew 32 Chevrolet (four-wheel drive) lorries from Tel el Kebir and allotted as follows: Six to both A and B Squadrons, seven to C Squadron and thirteen to RHQ Squadron.  
      4 Armd Bde Commander visited the unit during the morning.  
  8 Aug 41   FGCM was held in the unit’s lines, starting at 0930hrs. Capt Gwyn was a member of the court. Five troopers from this unit were tried and found guilty.  
  9 Aug 41   FGCM still in progress. Maj Duff and Capt Threlfall returned from Western Desert.  
  10 Aug 41   Regimental football team were invited to play at Zifta by the Zagloul Club  
  11 Aug 41   FGCM finished.  
  12 Aug 41   Drew four M3 light tanks (American) and allotted one to each squadron. They arrived complete and with WT.  
  13 Aug 41   The Commanding Officer held a squadron leaders’ conference to discuss:-  
      1.  Future training.  
      2.  Unit’s new role  
      It was also decided to name tanks over 37mm gun, but not to name lorries.  
  14 Aug 41   Drew eight M3 light tanks (American) complete with WT. Allotted two to each squadron  
  15 Aug 41   Regimental cricket game at Gezira Sporting Club, Capt Dunne’s XI versus Capt Lowther’s XI. The former team won by a narrow margin.  
  16 Aug 41   Drew six M3 light tanks (American) complete with WT. Allotted one to RHQ and B Squadrons and two to A and C Squadrons.  
      Regimental skin inspection. Cases of skin trouble, nil.  
      Capt Nelson took a mixed party of M3 light tanks and 15cwts to the Gebel el Kashab (618804) area, Map Cairo 1/100,000, to try out various experimental devices for the recognition of ground troops by the air arm.   
      Arrangements made by Maj P Hobbs RHA, with the air arm.  
  17 Aug 41   Nothing to report  
  18 Aug 41   Drew fifteen Chevrolet lorries from Tel el Kebir, and allotted as follows: three to A, B and C Squadrons, and six to RHQ.  
      Drew four utility Fords from Mena Vehicle Park and allotted one to each squadron.  
      Three American sergeants and Maj Cornob of the American Army visited us, with the object of helping us over our teething troubles with the new vehicles.  
  19 Aug 41   Drew five M3 American light tanks and allotted one to C Squadron and two both to B and A Squadrons.  
  20 Aug 41   Four officers and sixteen ORs of 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment of Artillery of the Union Defence Force visited the unit, spending the night with us. They spent the afternoon inspecting our tanks.  
      Drew three American light tanks and allotted all three to C Squadron.  
  21 Aug 41   The unit lost one officer, 2Lt E Mc C Hector and one NCO, LCpl C Carpenter in an unfortunate accident during night navigation, on the night 20/21. The training tank of A Squadron involved in the accident was evacuated.  
      Special scheme held in conjunction with 149th Anti-Tank Regiment of Artillery for the benefit of 20 members of the Union Defence Force staying with the unit,  
      Drew four M3 American light tanks, all allotted to C Squadron.  
  22 Aug 41   Drew four American M3 light tanks and allotted one to C Squadron, two to B Squadron and one to A Squadron.  
  23 Aug 41   Drew one Ford utility and allotted to RHQ Squadron.  
  24 Aug 41   2Lt B T Attenborough attached to 4 Armd Bde HQ.  
  25 Aug 41   B and C Squadrons both handed over to 4 Armd Bde their training tanks. Unit drew from 4 Armd Bde two American M3 light tanks and allotted one to B and A Squadrons.  
  26 Aug 41   Capt the Right Honourable Oliver Lyttleton, the Minister of State, paid an unofficial visit to the Regiment during the morning.  
  27 Aug 41   The Army Cinema Unit and the gentlemen of the Press visited the Regiment and C Squadron were selected to act as film stars. Some good shots were obtained.  
  28 Aug 41   Seven reinforcements in officers from England joined the Regiment and were posted as follows:-  
      Lt P H Wagstaffe to RHQ Squadron.  
      Lt R S Roffe and Lt N A St G Gibbes to A Squadron.  
      2Lt Y L M Fitzherbert and 2Lt N A A Hall to B Squadron.  
      Lt J Robertson to C Squadron.  
      4 Armd Bde Commander visited the Regiment during the morning and inspected various proposed modifications to both A and B vehicles.  
  30 Aug 41   A draft of 51 reinforcements in ORs joined the Regiment, nine to A Squadron, sixteen to B Squadron, seventeen to C Squadron, nine to RHQ Squadron.  
      Lt H C Carver transferred to A Squadron; 2Lt D L A Cooper transferred to HQ Squadron to take up duties of Signals Officer; Lt J G Hooper appointed Messing Officer, vice Lt H C carver; 2Lt J Robertson appointed PAD Officer, vice 2Lt V A Buist.  
  31 Aug 41   Nothing to report.  



  Personnel M3 Tanks Chevrolet Lorries
  Officers ORs    

A Squadron

9 113 9 10 OV

B Squadron

7 106 9 10 OV

C Squadron

9 110 14 10 OV

HQ Squadron

10 114 4 19 OV


35 443 36 49


September 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col D S Cripps

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1-18 Sep 41   Regiment in the process of being brought up to strength, both in M3 tanks and B vehicles.  
  19 Sep 41   Gunnery in new M3 tanks commenced by squadrons.  
  24 Sep 41   2Lt R E Gregory left the Regiment; posted to the Royal Scots Greys as Regtl Tech Adjt.  
  25 Sep 41   Battle practice on range in area North of Mena Camp, visited by GOCinC, Gen Sir Claude Auchinleck GCIE CB CSI DSO OBE.  
  26 Sep 41   Gunnery concluded. Further transport drawn to bring the Regiment up to strength. One US Army officer, Lt Garrett Fonda, and two NCOs reported for attachment to the Regiment as observers and advisers.  
      Unfortunate shooting accident occurred, resulting in the deaths of Sgt Crawley and Tpr Bartley.  
  27 Sep 41   Funeral of Sgt Crawley.  
  28 Sep 41   Funeral of Tpr Bartley.  


October 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col D S Cripps

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1 Oct 41   First full strength parade in new tanks.  
  6 Oct 41   Regiment represented at the funerals of Gen Pope and Brig Russell.  
  7 Oct 41   Advance party, consisting of four vehicles under command of Maj F R W How, left for the Western Desert.  
  8 Oct 41   Regimental road party, under command of Maj C E R Duff, left Mena Camp for the WesternDesert and stayed for the night at Amariya. RHQ, A and C Squadron tanks entrained at Giza.   
      Lt J Robertson injured. Train party, under the command of Maj J C Vernon-Miller, left for Maholafa, pm 8 Oct.  
  9 Oct 41   Road party moves on to Gerawla, where it spends the night and is joined by the CO and the Adjutant. RHQ, A and C Squadron tanks arrive at Maholafa at 2300hrs and detrain. Considerable bombing at Matruh, Bagush and Fuka. No damage. B Squadron entrained at Giza.  
  10 Oct 41   Tanks fit sunshields at Tank Delivery Squadron, Kilo 22, Matruh - Siwa track, and at night leaguer at Kanayis area by 1700hrs. B Squadron detrain at 2300hrs.  
  12 Oct 41   Regiment leaves at 0700hrs, on orders received late night before for Allam Abu Hileiqat ref 605350, and has entirely successful trip, with the exception of one A Squadron tank catching fire and having to be abandoned, and considerable damage done to tracks over stony going.  
  14 Oct 41   GOC 7th Armd Div, Maj Gen W H Gott CBE DSO MC, visits the Regiment and expresses his pleasure at again seeing them in the Western Desert. 4 Armd Bde, consisting of 8H, 5RTR and Bde HQ, all in area Allam Abu Hileiqat, as Corps Reserve XIII Corps.  
  17 Oct 41   Regiment removes sunshields and carries out two days’ squadron training in area East of present location. Heavy khamseen mars the first day’s training and further considerable damage was done to rubber tracks.  
      Capt J C Pringle rejoins Regiment from the West African Frontier Force, and is posted to B Squadron.  
  20 Oct 41   Owing to the seriousness with which the track situation is viewed, training is interrupted. Bde Comd flies to Cairo to see Tank Advisory Board.  
      Capt W V H Nelson ordered to report to Eighth Army to take up G3 appointment.  
  23 Oct 41   Information received that the Regiment has to be given a new issue of tracks, and then do some training in the Kanayis area.  
  25 Oct 41   C Coy RASC arrive with transporters and the tanks are lifted back to the Kanayis area. One tank is sent to do the trip on its old tracks, and return, as a test.  
  29 Oct 41   New tracks arrive and are changed.  
  31 Oct 41   Regiment moves to Minqr Siwa el Bohari for brigade training.  


November 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt Col D S Cripps

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1 Nov 41   The Regiment was with Brigade in the area Bir Kanayis on 1 Nov. The tracks which had been damaged by long marches over rough ground had been renewed.  
  2 Nov   The Regiment moved South with Brigade, to an area West of Bir Hilw on the Siwa track, this area being chosen as a suitable training area.  
      2Lt McCulloch returned to the Regiment, having done 1,100 miles in his tank without undue wear to tracks.  
  4 Nov 41   A two-day brigade scheme, which included the forming of a brigade leaguer by night, was started today.  
  5 Nov 41   The scheme consisted of an attack on a Jock column which was coming up the Siwa track. After the scheme was over, B Squadron advanced in extended line formation right through the Jock column, as they wished to see a squadron of tanks advancing at close quarters  
  6 Nov 41   The Regiment moved to the area south-east of Bir Diqnaish and came under command of 7 Armd Bde.  
  7-14 Nov 41   During this week the Regiment remained in the area of Pt 221 560304. All leave from the  Western  Desert  was cancelled and the Regiment went into winter clothing this week  
  15 Nov 41   The Regiment moved to the area of Bir Diqnaish and returned under the command of 4 Armd Bde  
  16 Nov 41   The Regiment remained in this area and final preparations and arrangements were completed.  
  17 Nov 41   Maj J W Phillips, Capt J W Gwyn, Lt R H Ames and five ORs left for the LOB camp at railhead. Two days’ extra rations were drawn for the Regiment.   
      In the evening of this day Lt Robertson left with a party under command of Maj R Uniacke of 5RTR, to go forward and cross the frontier wire in order to dump petrol, for topping-up, about six miles West of the wire.  
  17 Nov 41   The Regiment left the area just South of Sofafi, where the last stages of our training had been completed, at 0530hrs and, after a good run, crossed the wire at Gap 70 and replenished at Pt 186, just over the wire.   
      This operation was completed by about 1000hrs and the advance continued in a north-westerly direction.  
      As we approached the area Gabr Taib el Essem on the Trigh el Abd, a patrol reported unidentified armoured cars.   
      This was investigated but nothing came of it and, as darkness fell, the Regiment leaguered in a battle formation in the area Gabr Taib el Essem.  
      It had been a successful approach march of some 75 miles and the order of squadrons had been A, C, HQ and B. B Echelon had also had a successful approach march and the topping-up to the West of the wire had gone off smoothly.   
      The Echelon went into leaguer with Brigade in the area Gabr el Gerrari.  
      Lt J Robertson’s Account. 17 Nov 41. Start at 1730hrs from area Bir Diqnaish. Column consisted of representatives from 8H, 3RTR, 5RTR, who were responsible for petrol (aviation) to be dumped at Pt 183 4730.  
      The column also consisted of one platoon 2nd Scots Guards, one troop anti-tank guns from Northumberland Hussars, one troop AA, and REs.; the whole column under the command of Maj Uniacke.   
      We moved in open formation until darkness fell, when we moved in and two officers walked in front, navigating. Gap 70 was reached at about 0100hrs and cut by the REs.  
      We then slept until first light, when we moved forward again in the area Pt 183. Here the column split up into three parts under the command of each regimental representative with their petrol.   
      At this point each regimental rank was marked with axis signs. At the end of the rank the petrol was split into squadron dumps about half-a-mile apart. The Regiment arrived at 0830hrs.  
  19 Nov 41   At first light the Regiment moved forward into battle positions with C Sqn on the left, B on the right and A Sqn in reserve in the area between Trigh el Abd and Gabr Sredi. Standing patrols were sent out by the two forward squadrons.  
      Almost immediately an enemy column of some 60 vehicles was reported about 60 miles to the North, going in a westerly direction.   
      The column shortly turned away North and went off, leaving armoured cars in observation.  
      During the morning enemy armoured car activity continued and reports were received that he had a number of tanks in the vicinity, also a report was received that 100 enemy tanks had been seen moving south-west at 458388, which was about twelve miles due North of our position.  
      The Regiment was ordered to move forward to meet this threatened attack on the track Gabr Saleh - Sidi Azaiz. In fact, this enemy force had moved practically South and, at about 1600hrs, the full force of the enemy attack developed on the position held by the Regiment.   
      The information received from 2Lt T M Mills, whose troop was the B Sqn standing patrol, was in fact the only warning received by the Regiment of the impending attack.  
      The attack was preceded by a dive-bomb and dive machine-gun attack by nine ME109s, which was concentrated on RHQ. The enemy force consisted of between 70 and 100 MkIII tanks, supported by MkIVs. They advanced in a compact formation from the North.   
      When within 1,500yds of our position, they opened out to a certain extent and commenced to fire. Their shooting was very accurate and a number of our tanks were laid out before they came within effective range of our guns.   
      They advanced to within about 700yds, but did not make any attempt to come much closer, except in the later stages of the battle, when they made an attempt to break through on our left flank, which position was being held by 5RTR.  
      The battle was fiercely contested until dark and the Regiment prevented this attempt to break through our line. This was a good performance, particularly in view of the fact that the enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior.  
      It is probable that about 20 enemy tanks were accounted for on this day. Had they attempted to come in closer it is probable the casualties would have been far more heavy, but with the balance distinctly in our favour.  
      Maj J C Vernon-Miller, Lt F R Charles and 2Lt G McCulloch were unaccounted for. The MO went out and made a determined attempt to bring them in, but the difficulties were too great and he was unable to find them.  
      During the action we had lost 20 tanks.  
      A replenishing party came from B Echelon at about 2100hrs.  
      MO’s Own Account of Attempt to bring in the Wounded. When we arrived in leaguer, it was found that Maj J C Vernon-Miller and several others were missing. Soon after, Sgt Willetts arrived in the leaguer, saying that Maj Vernon-Miller was severely wounded by his tank, several miles away, and that Cpl Preston, also wounded, was trying to walk back towards the leaguer.   
      I went out to try to find them in my armoured car, with a tank as protection. We went out to a burning tank about a mile away, and then made off on a compass bearing to where we thought the other tanks were.   
      It was, of course, pitch dark; we stopped after half-a-mile and SSM Hunter went on a foot patrol and we shouted out ‘Cpl Preston’. We got an answer, and found Cpl Preston collapsed on the ground, put him in my armoured car and fixed him up.   
      He could not give us any further information, except that Maj Vernon-Miller was a prisoner of the Germans. We went on another half-mile or so and then did another foot patrol. We heard tanks moving about a short way away.   
      I rang up the Regiment on wireless, telling them that there were tanks ahead, giving our bearing, and I asked whether we should continue or not. We were told to come back, so we returned, bringing Cpl Preston with us. If we had gone on we would have been prisoners, it transpired afterwards.  
  20 Nov 41   Patrols were sent out first light and it was not long before they contacted the enemy and were withdrawn. In the meantime, the Regiment had advanced a short distance out of the leaguer area, and very soon came under fire from MkIV tanks firing 75mm guns from long range. The only answer to this was artillery.  
      The Regiment stayed in position under shellfire until the RHA were able to take up their positions, and then moved into position for a battle with the remainder of the tanks which we had engaged the day before. We were in reserve for this and did not have a shoot.   
      Before long the enemy withdrew and, when out of range of our guns, he withdrew and replenished at about 1030hrs. While they were replenishing the enemy could quite clearly be seen walking about between tanks, discussing plans and studying maps, and this seemed an instance when quick liaison with the RAF would have been effective.  
      It was soon evident that the enemy had decided to withdraw, and the column of tanks and replenishing vehicles moved off north-east. Contact was maintained for some distance but reports had been received of another enemy column in the area, so the Regiment took up battle positions about Bir Bu Meliha.   
      An attack was threatened for about mid-day, but did not materialise and the opportunity of a lull was taken by most tank crews to cook some lunch.  
      Eventually the attack did develop at about 1530hrs. The attacking force was similar to that on the previous day, though it was not the same unit. The attack was preceded by some ground strafing on the part of the Luftwaffe, the intention being to disorganise our defences and to give their tanks a line to aim for in the attack.   
      As on the previous day, the battle was fiercely contested and continued until darkness stopped play. There was some excellent shooting, and some of our tanks were able to get advantageous hull-down positions.   
      There is no doubt that we were able to inflict considerable damage on the enemy who, in many cases, came in closer than they had done on the previous day.  
      As darkness fell a regimental leaguer was formed a short distance back from the battlefield. This leaguer had no sooner been formed than orders came through from Brigade and we had to ‘up sticks’ and join the Brigade leaguer, some distance away.   
      It must have been after midnight that anyone got a chance of sleep, and it had been a tedious night march.  
      At about 1800hrs B Echelon had moved South, and they did a night march of twelve miles, the whole echelon being brigaded, and it was well after midnight before the replenishing party reached the Regiment.  
  21 Nov 41   22 Armd Bde had come up to join us during the night, and the order of the day was that we were to ‘attack and relentlessly pursue the enemy’.  
      The Regiment was in reserve to Brigade on this day and, for the first time since our approach march, we made a good advance. The artillery, as throughout the campaign, did great work amongst enemy columns, which showed a tendency to move westwards.  
      The advance continued in a north-westerly direction until about mid-day, when replenishment took place at Bir Bu Meliha 465384, and many tank crews were able to snatch a quick brew-up.  
      After this the Regiment passed through Brigade and the advance continued, with the Regiment leading the Brigade, A Squadron on the left, B Squadron on the right and C in reserve.   
      The going was bad and a mist came down, which increased in intensity towards the evening. An enemy column was reported ahead of us, but its exact position was not clear, presumably owing to the mist.  
      At this stage Capt Threlfall, whose tank had been knocked out the previous day, rejoined the Regiment with a fresh tank and with concrete information as to the whereabouts of the enemy column, which was some four or five miles ahead of us.   
      On contact being made with the enemy, an attack was put in by squadrons. B Squadron went in first and did a quick ‘mosquito’ attack, encountering heavy anti-tank fire, but were fortunate in not having any casualties, although at least two of their tanks were hit.  
      A Squadron were ordered to attack next but only two troops, namely those commanded by Lt Simons and Lt Gibbes, were available, the other two troops having been sent off some time before to try and identify some tanks which had been seen to the West.   
      These six tanks pressed home their attack, but the enemy was evidently fully prepared for them and they encountered heavy and accurate fire from at least six high-calibre anti-tank guns, at close range. Five out of the six tanks were put out of action.  
      In the circumstances it was decided not to send C Squadron into the attack, and the Regiment withdrew into leaguer with Brigade, in the area Bir Reghem 441392. B Squadron was last into the leaguer, as they lost touch with the Regiment in the attack and had some difficulty in locating their position.   
      Also, they had to round up a party of stragglers from the enemy column and take them prisoner. This was done by 2Lt Ricardo.  
      During the day B Echelon had carried out a long march, following up the Brigade, and leaguered five miles behind the Brigade for the night.   
  22 Nov 41   This was a disastrous day for the Regiment.  
      Patrols, which were sent out at first light, had nothing material to report, and about 1030hrs the advance of the previous day was continued in the direction of Sidi Rezegh.   
      7 Armd Bde were being hard-pressed by German counter-attacks in this area. Sidi Rezegh was a vital position to the Germans if they were to hold their ring round Tobruk, and they showed great determination and complete disregard for losses in fighting for the position.  
      In the advance the Regiment did right flank guard to Brigade, with B on the right, C on the left and A Squadron in reserve. The advance was continued up to the area Carmuset En Nbeidat, overlooking the Trigh Capuzzo.  
      B Squadron reported a large number of vehicles on the Trigh Capuzzo. Also they reported what appeared to be 50 AFVs approaching the escarpment from about eight miles away.  
      Brig  Stirling came up from Brigade to make a personal reconnaissance, but apparently saw nothing of sufficient importance to warrant further investigation. The reported 50 AFVs were interpreted by Brigade as being New Zealanders.  
      The intention of the Brigade was then switched onto Sidi Rezegh aerodrome, where the Germans were putting in a strong counter-attack. The Regiment was in reserve and was not called on to take part in this battle, which was both fierce and confused.  
      We stayed with Bde HQ on the high ground to the East of Sidi Rezegh and had a magnificent view of the battle. The artillery were firing from behind us and did magnificent work; from the spectators’ point-of-view the battle was reminiscent of the Royal Tournament at Olympia, with burning aeroplanes, tanks and lorries as far as one could see. Just before dark the enemy put down smoke to cover an infantry attack, which he made on the Support Group.  
      About 1700hrs the Regiment, which was still with Bde HQ, came under fire from the East. As we withdrew south-east to form a leaguer with Brigade, we came under fire of all kinds.   
      It was impossible in the dark to see who was firing at us and a battle ensued, the only indication of targets for us to fire at being gun flashes and the tracers of their shells.  
      Before long the firing ceased and a close leaguer was formed. It was clear, either that we were surrounded or that we were being attacked by our own forces in error. The former alternative proved to be correct.  
      With the idea of bringing in the Brigadier, who had been observing the battle at Sidi Rezegh, Brig Stirling then fired three Verey lights.   
      The next thing to happen was that large numbers of German tanks and infantry carriers appeared just outside the leaguer, and a series of bright Verey lights were fired by them, which lit up the whole scene.  
      It was still thought that the vehicles might be friendly. Everyone was now ready with all available small arms, but the order was given not to fire. The commander of the leading vehicle enquired in English who we were, and the information was given to him.  
      Without further hesitation, the enemy drove into the leaguer which was now surrounded with their tanks, dismounted from their vehicles and took command of the situation.   
      We were outnumbered and surprised. Nonetheless, a stout defence was put up, and it was not until after three-quarters of an hour’s fighting at close quarters that the enemy had completely overcome resistance.  
      He had rounded up all those on the ground with Tommy guns, and those who had mounted their tanks were attacked with grenades if they did not at once surrender.   
      Out of the Regiment only six tanks escaped from the leaguer, commanded by Maj Sandbach, Capt Threlfall, 2Lt D C Ricardo, 2Lt Mills and Sgt Brown; Col Waller, in command of the Northumberland Hussars escaped in a staff car. From Brigade, Lt Attenborough and Capt Stibbs, the Signals Officer, escaped.  
      After driving South for some eight miles, the four first-named tanks in the Regiment, which had escaped, halted for the night. A vigilant guard was kept up through the night, by officers only.  
      During the day B Echelon had withdrawn to the area Gabr Fatma and, on the way back, had come under fire from 22 Armd Bde.  
  23 Nov 41   The four tanks had spent the night in the area Sidi Mohammed el Abeied and the first to encounter us the next morning were a South African patrol. Shortly after they had appeared, tanks were seen and Maj Sandbach went to investigate. They turned out to be 5RTR. They were able to tell us a certain amount about the general situation and the whereabouts of the Brigadier.  
      We were practically out of petrol and were greatly relieved when 2Lt Hall, with the thin skins, came up about mid-day and replenished us. Also during the morning Sgt Brown and [name omitted in original] turned up with their tanks, having had a party with two German staff cars.   
      We amused ourselves in the afternoon by chasing a party of enemy transport, but gave up the chase when almost within reach of them, in order to attack another column, which was presumably enemy as a German staff car had driven towards us from it. It was thought just possible that this column might contain our prisoners.  
      It turned out to be a   New Zealand column. They fired on us with 25prs with open sights, but fortunately their fire was inaccurate.  
      Shortly after this we made contact with the Brigadier, who appointed the four tanks to be his personal bodyguard. In this role we had some good shooting against a party of German tanks that evening and accounted for certainly one German MkIV, with direct hits on several others.  
      During this action a fine-looking mallard flew quite low just in front of our tanks; he no doubt enjoyed the spectacle of men shooting at one another instead of at him.  
      During this day B Echelon had a period of rest in the area Gabr Fatma.  
      On the morning of this day Lt Wagstaffe was sent off with a party consisting of Lt Garrett Fonda US Army, Armt QMS Patman RAOC, with three cars and drivers, to recover some tanks which were thought to be in a repairable condition. The account of his subsequent adventures is in an appendix to today’s diary.  
  24 Nov 41   On this day the four tanks continued their role of bodyguard to the Brigadier and, during the morning, we travelled with Brigade to Ghot el Moheta 452380, where we met a B Echelon and replenished. After replenishing we continued to move with Brigade towards Bir el Haleizin.   
      When we were a short distance south-east of this, Maj Sandbach reported seeing a column of some 2,000 MET moving South in the general area Bir el Haat 459384. We were sent off to attack this on the East, which we did independently of Brigade, who had attacked in a different direction.  
      Shooting continued during moonlight and we chased some Italian M13s, which fought a running rearguard action at the tail of the column, for a considerable distance.  
      In the meantime, Brigade had received orders from Division to move at once to the area Agheret Sciueia.  
      We had no knowledge of this but, fortunately, 2Lt Buist, Liaison Officer, had kept contact with us and was able to put us in the picture. We were very low in fuel, but were again lucky in running into the RHQ leaguer of the KDGs, and they were able to arrange for us to be replenished.  
      We then did a night march, practically due South, of some 24 miles, our small column of five tanks and a Dingo passing right through the German columns.   
      We could see their leaguer lights to our right and left, also a number of their vehicles which were still burning as a result of the attacks which they had received from the ground and from the air. However, they did not attempt to stop us and we finished up in the area Ghot Aghieret Scedida.  
  25 Nov 41   As it became light we were able to see the enemy columns on the move to the North and we could also see a large leaguer 3-4 miles away to the south-east of us.   
      On investigation we were very pleased to find that this was a very large RASC centre and they replenished us with rations and water, which were running low.  
      From there we went on to Adv Div HQ, arriving there at about 1000hrs  
      Here we found about 32 Honeys and a number of reinforcements waiting to man them. Although he must by this time have been exhausted and in need of a short rest, Maj Sandbach started immediately on the task of organising these into a composite force, complete with the B Echelon commanded by Drs McMillan and Heycock, the latter having now rejoined us after his short stay with the enemy.  
      The force which moved out the next morning was commanded by Maj Sandbach, Capt Threlfall being the 2IC. There were two squadrons, one 8th Hussar squadron, which was joined by Lt Barress of the RTR, and the other composed almost entirely of RTR personnel and commanded by Capt Jolly.  
      In the meantime B Echelon, which, with the other vehicles and convoys which had joined them, consisted of a column of some 500 vehicles, moved East along the Div axis under command of Maj Strange of 3RTR. The wire was crossed at 1300hrs and the Echelon camped in the area of Eighth Army HQ. Here the Echelon replenished, having collected in a few stragglers belonging to the unit, and having got rid of the various stragglers that had come back with them.  
  26 Nov 41   Maj Sandbach’s force moved out from Div in the morning and went straight to the Bir Berreneb area, where we met Brigade and replenished at about 1500hrs. Capt Jolly’s squadron went to 3RTR and took part of B Echelon with it. We leaguered with Brigade in this area for the night.  
      In the meantime, B Echelon had re-crossed the wire after much difficulty in obtaining authority to proceed West, and leaguered in the area Pt 168 452342, where a WT contact was gained with the Regiment.   
      The Echelon replenished from the South African Division, then made for Bir Berreneb and leaguered there. Reports had been received that the Regiment was here, but the only leaguer that could be found was a German one. WT contact with the Regiment by now had failed through flat batteries.  
  27 Nov 41   Patrols were sent out first thing in the morning, but had nothing material to report, and most of us were able to find time to have the first shave since the show had started.  
      It was a pleasant morning, but the weather soon took a turn for the worse and we were treated to an unpleasant mixture of wind and rain. At about 1300hrs the Brigade advanced north-east, with Maj Sandbach’s force leading.  
      There was a great deal of enemy MET reported ahead of us.  
      We managed to split this enemy column and engaged one section of it, which appeared to have no protection with it. We were able to get in fairly close and use MG fire. One German officer gave himself up with a lorry and six men.  
      2Lt Mills was left in observation of this column which, before long, collected itself and moved off West. The remainder of Maj Sandbach’s force went to the assistance of 3RTR, who were engaging the tanks which had been separated from the rest of the enemy column.   
      This battle was fiercely contested and continued until dusk, when we rallied and moved back with Brigade into leaguer.  
      In this action two of our tanks were knocked out, commanded by Maj Sandbach and Sgt Clark, but there were fortunately no casualties and both crews were picked up unhurt. Maj Sandbach was commanding Capt Threlfall’s tank at the time and it was unfortunate that it had on board large stocks of rum and whiskey.  
  28 Nov 41   This morning the Brigade moved in a north-westerly direction, and it was not long before an enemy column was sighted going West along the Trigh Capuzzo.  
      A two-hour battle with a strong force of enemy tanks ensued. There was some very good shooting and the artillery co-operated magnificently. This was a successful action which definitely finished in our favour.  
      Lt Barress put up a particularly stout show when two tanks in his troop were knocked-out and set alight. With the assistance of Cpl Lightfoot of the RTR, he succeeded in getting away a badly wounded man. For this he has since been granted an immediate award of the MC.  
      At mid-day a message was received from Gen Gott, the Divisional Commander, congratulating us on what we had been able to do so far, and saying that, though we had already been fighting for a longer period than men were usually called on to endure, we would be expected to fight one more battle, after which we would be rested.  
      The Brigade advanced again, the Regiment leading with the role of contacting the enemy and then withdrawing into reserve. The enemy were encountered just to the South of Sidi Rezegh.   
      We had a good shoot in this battle, as the enemy made an attempt to break through on our left flank and we were called from reserve to prevent this. It was a fiercely contested battle and we were replenished during action by a tank which came up from Brigade laden with cases of ammo - a courageous performance  
      Practically all of our tanks had fired more than 200 37mm rounds on this day. The Brigade withdrew some distance South before leaguering.  
      B Echelon remained in the same area during the day and were joined by the rest of the Brigade Echelon.  
  29 Nov 41   Brigade moved north-west over the Sidi Rezegh battlefield, with the Regiment leading. The battlefield was a hideous sight. The advance patrols went just over the escarpment and were fired on by anti-tank guns.   
      One tank, commanded by Cpl Morris, was knocked-out and Sgt Barnett put up a fine show in rescuing the crew. Lt Ricardo’s troop was missing for the rest of the day, but turned up again in the evening, having joined up with 5RTR.  
      A further enemy column was seen going West along the Trigh Capuzzo, apparently unprotected but, in view of the probability of concealed enemy anti-tank guns, an attack was not put in.  
      B Echelon had remained in the same area and were dive-bombed at approximately 0800hrs, 1200hrs and 1600hrs. Four men were wounded and four lorries were burnt out.  
  30 Nov 41   This morning we encountered the Italian Ariete Division, just to the North of Bir Reghem 441293, and had a successful engagement with them. We had a good hull-down position and had a magnificent shoot.   
      3RTR were on our right and they managed to work round to the enemy’s flank and press home the attack.  
      It was most invigorating to beat up the Italians in this fashion and they ultimately took refuge in flight, leaving nineteen of their tanks behind.  
      During the battle Lt Ames was wounded and his tank knocked-out, together with those of Capt Threlfall and Lt Barress, but we were able to recover all three.  
      B Echelon remained in the same area and were again bombed at exactly the same time. Another three lorries were lost but there were no casualties. On the 1600hrs raid the RAF were waiting above and accounted for no less than 24 dive-bombers.   
      One RAF plane made a pancake landing in the leaguer area and the pilot was perfectly all right.  


MO’s Account of his Own Experiences.

 In the late morning of 22 Nov 41, the 8th Hussars were ordered up to Sidi Rezegh. We arrived there and waited on the top of the escarpment, watching the attack on the aerodrome. The Regiment was in reserve. Towards evening our 25prs fired with open sights at some enemy anti-tank gun crews on the escarpment. The German artillery made some desultory shellfire. Suddenly, as we watched this, the enemy shelled the Regiment accurately and with heavy fire. The Regiment turned to the right and proceeded slowly, but were suddenly met with concentrated fire from enemy tanks which had crept round our flank.


The tank battle lasted until it was dark. The Regiment then stopped and formed into a leaguer. The leaguer was composed of the remaining 8th Hussar tanks, about 25, myself in a scout car, a few Gunner trucks and the Brigadier’s ACV with Brig Stirling in it, and a few other vehicles.

I remember remarking to RSM Hegerty, who was with me in the scout car, that the German flares were rather close and all round us. I was then called over to a Gunner’s truck, where a gunner was lying very badly wounded in the stomach.

Just as I had finished attending to him, and had walked over to the ACV to ask about an ambulance to get the wounded man back to the Field Ambulance, I heard tanks approaching the leaguer; Col Cripps was also at the ACV, and the Staff Captain, and others. 

We thought that they were the rest of the Brigade tanks coming into the leaguer. Suddenly I heard German words being shouted and our men shouting ‘They are Jerry tanks’. The Brigadier immediately had a message sent to warn the Brigade tanks not to come into the leaguer as the enemy were there.

Everyone then rushed to their vehicles, German tanks came fast on the outside of the leaguer and they put up flares which lit up the whole leaguer as if it was day. Sparks then began to fly, machine-gun, Tommy gun and tank shells poured into the leaguer from all sides and German soldiers rushed into the leaguer with Tommy guns.

A splendid fight was put up, but we could not get away owing to the whole area being full of Germans. A German with a Tommy gun forced me to put up my hands, we were then put in a long line with our hands up, marched along, while impudent Nazis went through my pockets, taking my compass and other things from me. 

They then sorted us out into officers, sergeants and men. I told an officer that I was a doctor and was going to see to the wounded. I then proceeded under escort and collected all the wounded together, searching vehicles etc for them. Col Cripps then called over to me to say that Maj Duff was wounded; I examined him and found he was suffering from a severe abdominal wound. I got all the wounded, and Maj Duff, together, for warmth, lying round a burning vehicle. I attended to them and then went over to the Colonel and told him that I must get them to hospital at once, as several were badly wounded

I then saw a senior German officer and told him that I was going to stay with the wounded and that he must get us to hospital at once. He said that we could go with their transport later. I spoke to 2Lt Huntingdon, the Colonel, Lt Derouet and Lt Roffey. 

They were put in a car and driven off very soon afterwards. They appeared in good heart. I was left with the wounded. We were in the centre of about a regiment of infantry and tanks, leaguered all round us.
All through the night Verey lights were put up in the leaguer and their repair and transport vehicles appeared hard at work. I got my wounded blankets, tarpaulins, bully beef, biscuits and water, from our tanks. We were given an armd guard of four men all night. 

As time went on I kept seeing German officers and insisting on them getting the wounded to hospital. They kept procrastinating. Poor Maj Duff was in pain, despite of morphine during the night, and I sat and talked to him. It was wonderful to see the way these wounded stood the discomfort of lying in the open. I was interrogated during the night and the interrogator searched me after he drew a blank. Luckily, searching revealed nothing.

In the morning I went on insisting that they took us to hospital and they continued procrastinating. I then became extremely angry and told them that I should report the lot of them to the Red Cross, and I would not stand for such scandalous delay in getting us to hospital. By this time I had drawn a large crowd round me, and I picked out a more senior man wearing the Iron Cross, and I repeated all this to him and I was extremely angry. 

This did something; they brought my wounded some black bread, coffee and cheese, and I got them to clean out the captured ACV to put my wounded in for their transit to hospital, after they said there was no available vehicle
Shortly before this their tanks left in a southerly direction. I counted 150 tanks and two large cars. We were left with the regiment of infantry possessing anti-tank guns. They were practising driving the captured American tanks. 

Two of my very seriously wounded had died by this time. A German ambulance suddenly appeared and I got them to put my four seriously wounded into it, and then I got into the ACV with the walking wounded.

Their sergeant major then got into the driving seat of the ACV and we were just about to be off. Suddenly, heavy 2pr fire was directed onto us, and machine-gun fire. The ACV I was in got a direct hit, we were all luckily unwounded. I got out of the ACV and got my wounded out. 

I saw a white flag lying on the ground, presumably from the ransacked ACV. I stood up and waved it towards our tanks about 1,000yds away. A Nazi then stuck a revolver in my back. I told him in German that he could not shoot me as I was a doctor, and he did not. The machine-gun bullets from our tanks made him lie down.

I bundled the walking wounded into the ambulance and got into the cab to drive off, but could not operate the machine. I saw the German driver standing near, so I went up to him and told him in German that we were both in the Red Cross and he must drive us off. I pushed him into the cab with his orderly, and they started off.

We met a New Zealand carrier and warned them of German anti-tank guns, and they directed us to their HQ, where I handed over my patients and the two prisoners. I could not get back to 8th Hussars, as they said the LofC was cut, so I stopped and helped their field ambulance. We had a large number of wounded during the night.

The next morning I was put in medical charge of a large convoy of their wounded (approx 200) to take them back to the CCS. We had two ambulances and fifteen lorries. We reached XXX Corps without incident, and then stopped and I got into a lorry to give a man some morphine. Suddenly all the lorries started off very fast. 

I jumped out of the lorry and saw about five MkIII tanks, about half-a-mile away on our left; these were shelling and machine-gunning us. I got into one of our passing vehicles, which were going far too fast. We got to the front and stopped the convoy, and found one vehicle missing. We could not find it and presumed, as we found correct, that it had gone straight on to a field ambulance. 

I brought all the other vehicles down the divisional axis, reaching the CCS that night after a long day’s march. I delivered my wounded over and next morning left for Division where, as luck would have it, Maj Sandbach arrived with the rest of the 8th Hussar tanks.


Lt Wagstaffe’s Account. 

On the morning of 23 Nov a party was formed to recover two tanks which were thought to be in a repairable condition. The party started from Gabr Fatma and consisted of Lt Fonda US Army, Armt QMS Patman and myself, three cars and drivers.

The tanks were located, one of the Regiment’s tanks and one 5RTR. The tracks were off the 5RTR tank and our tank had a broken front sprocket and track. After a certain amount of work, taking in all about three hours, one tank was almost ready to tow. At about 1430hrs we were approached by a Sapper officer, who wished to blow the tanks up. As there were some German tanks (dead) in the vicinity, we asked him to blow them up and leave us alone. This incident put us in doubt as to whether the position was still static, or had become fluid. We got on to B Echelon and discovered that they had gone on a bearing and were Strength 3. We were now ready to move off, our tank towing the other, whose tracks were removed as they would not ride over the sprocket. A squadron of 11th Hussars approached and gave us information of a large German column which was heading towards us. We tried to contact B Echelon, but had no success. So it was decided to go to some higher ground where we hoped to see something. The pace was very slow as the tank being towed sank deeply into the sand. We arrived at a trig point and decided to ourselves that it was Pt189. Whilst we were there we were joined by a Jock column of 25prs, who were convinced that the enemy were behind us, proceeding towards the wire.

We were also joined by Brig Davy’s car which, under an officer of 7th Hussars had been attempting to recover some cruisers. The car had been attacked and a sergeant in it was badly wounded. Quite a lot of people had now assembled at this trig point and a general dispersal took place. We hoped to travel with the Jock column, but they were rather too mobile for our slow speed.

We proceeded in a south-easterly direction for some five miles and, just before dusk, we were attacked by six ME109s. We kept going for some time but their attack was rather persistent and we stopped at some convenient slit trenches. We tried to get as many as possible in the tanks, as we were unable to get rid of the MEs, who must have been convinced that we were very important. Sgt Hall, driving Lt Fonda’s truck, was killed in this attack.
In front of us we found B Echelon Support Group, who took over Sgt Hall. Dusk was falling and the evening was made very confused by firing on all sides except North. We turned North with Support Group and leaguered, approximately between Gabi Saleh and Sheferezen.

During the night there was a great deal of activity and, on investigation, proved to be German armoured columns taking up some sort of battle position. A lot of confused firing continued on all sides all night.
We had more or less run out of petrol, but were able to get a little from Support Group for the cars.
Owing to the fact that we felt the Germans were liable to attack somebody at dawn, we decided to move before dawn. We set off in a diamond formation, Lt Fonda and myself navigating from the Dodge. The plan was to go South and attempt to join forces with the Brigade by turning eastwards (half the party managed this after various adventures).

After travelling carefully for about five miles, dawn broke and we found that we were travelling parallel to about 80 German tanks and a large amount of transport. As we were unable to reply to their recognition signals, they despatched a patrol to look after us. However, we were able to cut across their front. Unfortunately we ran into the back of another column, which was being attacked by our Air Force. At this moment a heavy early morning mist descended and, although we were able to pass fairly freely amongst this column, we were unable to get out of it. We parted company with QMS Patman and my own car. The Germans seemed to have quite a lot of small guns, pulled by anything from a three-tonner to Ford 8cwts.

By about mid-day on the 24th we seemed to have come through the column, of course we must have travelled a long way with it in the mist, as we were now close to the wire. The plan was now to go to Maddalena and endeavour to find out the position. About six miles West of Maddalena we found German tanks, motor cyclists and lorries refuelling, but again they did not take any notice of us whilst we approached, but fired a little as we went away and sent cars after us.

The party halted and brewed-up whilst a further plan was made up. We decided to go further South, go through the wire and reach Maddalena. This was accomplished without much difficulty; we had managed to pick up some German petrol, which was a very great asset.

When I eventually arrived back, I was delighted to find the two other cars had made the journey safely, as during our passage through the German columns there had been a lot of firing.


December 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J W Phillips 

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1 Dec 41   We were told first thing in the morning that the New Zealanders on Sidi Rezegh had been over-run by German tanks, and that we were to counter-attack and do what we could to get them out  
      The Regiment was again leading the Brigade, with the role of drawing the enemy fire and then withdrawing. We advanced over the aerodrome with Capt Gwyn and 2Lt Mills doing advance guard with their troops.   
      The aerodrome was covered with German and Italian planes, but was otherwise deserted, and we advanced to the escarpment beyond.  
      During the advance it was clear that the enemy was subjecting the New Zealand leaguer, which was on the plain beyond the escarpment, to a tremendous artillery barrage.  
      As we got to the escarpment we could see the New Zealand leaguer with practically every vehicle ablaze, a terrible sight. Away to the left, stretching towards Tobruk, were the German forces.  
      When we had descended the escarpment onto the plain below, we came under heavy fire of all kinds, including anti-tank fire from the West and north-west.   
      Maj Sandbach formed us up into line and we advanced into the New Zealand leaguer in this formation.  
      As we advanced into the leaguer we saw the New Zealanders, who were sheltering in slit trenches. Many of them, thinking us to be Germans and that they were therefore hopelessly overwhelmed, came towards us with their hands up.   
      When they realised we were friends, many of them fixed bayonets and formed up behind us, wishing to attack the enemy positions - in the circumstances a very courageous action.  
      It was during the action in this leaguer that the Regiment suffered grievous loss in the death of Maj Sandbach.   
      His tank was put out of action by shots fired from a captured I tank manned by the enemy. As he was evacuating it, he was hit by a burst of machine-gun fire which proved fatal.  
      The remainder of the Regiment then rallied under Capt Threlfall on the East of the leaguer area, where we came under heavy shellfire and eventually, as the enemy was mustering strong forces to the north-west, and the New Zealanders had by now evacuated the position, we retired across the wadi under a heavy barrage of shellfire from North, East and West.  
      During this shelling Sgt Jones’s tank was hit and no trace of him has since been found. During the withdrawal 2Lt Ricardo was hit by shrapnel and sustained a wound in the neck.  
      This action completed twelve days of almost continual fighting without rest. In practically every operation the Regiment, or latterly Maj Sandbach’s squadron, had led the advance and made first contact with the enemy.  
      After this the Regiment suffered no further casualties.  
      B Echelon had moved out of the Taib el Essem area at 1400hrs and lost two more vehicles in a raid by dive-bombers at mid-day. The Echelon leaguered in the area of 62FMC.  
  2 Dec 41   The Regiment was now taken over by Maj Phillips and spent the day in rest and maintenance in the Bir Berreneb area. Everyone was able to get a very welcome wash and shave.  
      B Echelon removed to the Fatma area, where they leaguered and remained for the next four days.  
  3 Dec 41   The Regiment remained throughout the day in the Berreneb area and the day was spent in rest and maintenance.  
  4 Dec 41   Moved at 1600hrs, with the role of protecting Brigade thin skins, and leaguered with Brigade for the night in the area Hagfat el Haiad 425389.  
  5 Dec 41   The squadron, under Maj Phillips, joined 3RTR and acted as a squadron for them.  
  6 Dec 41   We were in reserve to Brigade on this day. Brigade moved West for about nine miles, but failed to make contact with the enemy and withdrew into leaguer about three miles East.  
  7 Dec 41   We took part in a battle with Brigade which lasted all day, but sustained no casualties. The battle took place in the area south-west of Gubi, and the Regiment leaguered there for the night.  
  8 Dec 41   This day was spent patrolling the area of Gubi.  
  9 Dec 41   Moved north-west with Brigade, and assisted in an attack on an enemy position at 387407. At 1600hrs assisted in attack on 20 enemy tanks, which were going West. The battle was fought at long range and was broken off owing to darkness.  
  10-12 Dec 41   These three days were spent in rest and maintenance with Brigade.  
  13 Dec 41   Left the area 379412 and joined B Echelon, which was in the area Bir Bu Maafes 398397. Moved at 1630hrs to Bir Belfonchius.  
  14 Dec 41   Left for 62FMC, where we replenished and continued towards the wire.  
  15 Dec 41   Crossed the wire at El Beida in a violent sandstorm, and reached railhead at about 1600hrs.  
  16 Dec 41   Pushed on to 8Km post on the Matruh road. Advance party left for Cairo area to make arrangements.  
  17 Dec 41   Spent the whole day resting and cleaning ourselves up. The Regiment paraded at mid-day for an address by Maj Phillips, when he read out various letters of congratulation.  
  18 Dec 41   The journey along the coast road, and we halted for the night near to Amariya.  
  19 Dec 41   The march was continued and we reached Abu Rawash about mid-day, and in the afternoon the Regiment went on to Beni Yusef camp.  
  21 Dec 41   Maj J D Harbord was reposted to the unit from HQ 7 Armd Bde and took over duties of 2IC.  
  22 Dec 41   Capt W V H Nelson reposted to unit from HQ Eighth Army  
  23 Dec 41   The Regiment by now being issued with new clothing; the first leave party left.  
  29 Dec 41   First leave party returned. Capt P K Earle was reposted to the Regiment from the RAC Base Depot, and took over duties of OC B Echelon in RHQ Squadron.  
  30 Dec 41   Second leave party departed.  
  31 Dec 41   A memorial service for the Regiment, under arrangements by Capt The Rev F Hone, was held at 1100hrs in the cathedral,Cairo  


Home 1939 1940 1942 1943
1944 1945 1946
Previous Year Next Year


© 2018 Copyright www.desertrats.org.uk

© 2020 Copyright www.desertrats.org.uk