50 (Northumbrian) Division C.B. Sec (attached) War Diary15 June 1942 to end

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  1. 50 (Northumbrian) Division C.B. Sec (attached) War Diary15 June 1942 to end

    [First pages marked ‘Original destroyed by orders G.O.C 50 Div’]

    15 June 151 Bde Box
    Orders to prepare for Mobile Operations in SOUTH and SOUTH WEST, also to destroy secret documents and what cannot be carried.
    Am placed in charge of centre of BDE ECHELON COLUMN.
    Capt H. DUNCAN THOMAS R.A. and Lt FENTON, Royal Signals in Sigs 15 cwt.
    Sgt BROWN ED, L/Bdr LANGSHAW F, Dr MILLER and Signal personnel in 3-tonner.
    Formed up at dusk in severe shelling at STRICKLAND POST.
    69 Bde Group started first to our SOUTH and EAST. 151 Bde started off, the various battle groups having first moved into their positions at 2300 hrs.

    Proceeded EAST very slowly. ECHELON was in 3 columns all bunched together.
    No moon. Some vehicles were hit and set on fire by 105’s. Others by an A/Tk gun sweeping the column, which was also machine gunned. Columns on right and left appeared to have gone onto minefields.

    After waiting about 20 minutes, the DAAG in charge of BDE ECHELON decided to go on and we turned hard left and went straight through BRESCIA DIVISION. There were many fires and a great many vehicles, both friends and foes moving about. We halted about every hour and I either saw or satisfied myself that the 3-tonner and other vehicles were close behind. It had done invaluable work towing out an anti-tank gun belonging to the infantry, whose portee was set on fire. Also it carried a fair number of NCOs and Men picked up in the dark...

    16 June
    ...After about 0100 hrs I lost it.
    Column moved SOUTH about 50 miles – then EAST.
    Saw no sign of enemy all day.
    1600 hrs Continual parties of 6 or 10 vehicles proceeding SOUTH and EAST all day, till we reached MADDALENA. Signals 15 cwt on tow for two-thirds of the journey.
    Many vehicles had Italian prisoners on board, who climbed on and begged to be brought along too.

    17 June
    Waited for stragglers and other columns.
    18 June
    Went to BIR SCHEFERZEN with Capt WEBB RA I.O. Called in 30 Corps.

    19 June
    BIR SHALATA 0900 Rejoined RA 50 Div.
    20 June
    SOLLUM. Reported to HQRA 10 IND DIV. Took one 4.5 gun of 68 MED Regt to rejoin Capt GILLESPIE at SOLLUM.
    21 June
    Set up CB Office at RHQ 7 MED Regt.
    Set up CB Office at RHQ 64 MED Regt (Col de BURGH) MED Group Comdr.
    HALFAYA – Ordered to evacuate FRONTIER. Nearly blown up by booby trap at food dump.
    2300 hrs Proceeded on our own for MATRUH.

    22 June
    Proceeded for orders to EIGHTH ARMY at BAGGUSH.
    23 June
    Returned to NZ DIV and met Lt Col M YATES, RA at MATRUH.
    24 June
    Set up Office with 64 MED Regt.
    25 June BAGGUSH
    Reported Army and 50 DIV.
    26 June MATRUH
    Reported to Lt Col M YATES, RA 64 MED Regt RHQ. MATRUH evacuated.

    27/28 June ALAMEIN
    Reported to Lt Col M YATES, RA at 30 Corps.
    28 June EL IMRAYID
    Proceeded to BURG EL ARAB, picked up 20of miles wire, four telephones, returned to ALAMEIN.
    1400 hrs FORTRESS A. Reported with NZ SVY Section, with four Flash Spotting instruments to NZ DIV RA.

    30 June FORTRESS A
    Bombarded enemy battery.

    4 July NZ HQ
    NZ CBO (Captain PETER GILCHRIST) took charge. Brigadier WEIR, CRA told me to report 13 CORPS. Dive bombers appeared.
    My driver, Dr IC MILLER T.S. was killed instantaneously by a splinter through his heart.
    3-Tonner hit in ten places, including hole in differential and three in radiator. 8 NZ personnel killed and 14 wounded. Vehicles and guns hit.
    Brigadier PAT WILSON told me to report to EIGHTH ARMY.

    5 July
    Proceeded down BARREL TRACK to MENA. Very bad going.
    6 July
    Pulled out half a dozen times.
    7 July
    Reached MENA. Reported to EIGHTH ARMY RA. Told to return to base. 2000 hrs Reported to BDRA ALMAZA.

    [War Diary ends]

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