18 Nov 42. Rain in the morning prevented us from moving early. Rations arrive at 1100hrs and we move at 1230hrs along the Barce, arriving at Mawraza at 1630hrs, where we spend the night. Col Joy (Royals) takes over as Brigadier from Brig Roddick, who was seriously wounded this morning when a 15cwt passing the Brigadier’s car ran over a mine.
19 Nov 42. Capt Harari took over command of a mixed force consisting of three Grants one Stuart from Greys and one troop of Anti Tank guns. Rain all night and early morning. We leave at 0930hrs and arrive at the Barce escarpment at 1345hrs. The Pass, which had been blown up, was not repaired until 1600hrs. We then carry on and arrive at Barce at 1615hrs. Capt Harari fixes us up with billets, fresh bread and eggs.
20 Nov 42. Prepared to move at 1000hrs, but were informed that the Tocra Pass had also been blown up and that it would take the REs all day to repair it, so we stay in Barce. Capt Reycock (MO) was called out at about 1130hrs to perform an operation on a South African who had been injured by a mine further forward. Lt Scott arrives at 1100hrs with mail, cigarettes and fruit, and in the afternoon Lt Dill arrives with more mail.
21 Nov 42. Leave Barce at 0800hrs as forward reconnaissance and protection to Bde HQ. Have now two Grants and one more Stuart under 8th Hussars commandeered from the Greys. Make the Tocra Pass by 1000hrs without trouble but, after going another ten miles, one of the Grants runs over a mine and is put out of action.
Immediately after this the Medical Officer (MO’s) Armoured Car does the same and the MO is transferred to a three-tonner. Arrive at Driana at 1230hrs and top-up, but decide to push on to Benghazi at 1345hrs and, after finding billets, spend an easy afternoon.
22 Nov 42. Early morning on maintenance until 1000hrs. From 1000-1030hrs we move around Benghazi for the newsreel photographers. Tank No 28033 (Cpl Smith) has now to be evacuated as the steering has packed in completely. Running short of rations and water again, but are able to manage with Italian bottled mineral water found in one of the buildings.
23 Nov 42. Cpl Smith and his crew are transferred to a B vehicle and at 0815hrs we form up behind the 60th in the city square, ready to move on to Macrun. Stop at 1230hrs for a brew-up, and to allow the Anti Tank gunners, who had fallen behind, to catch up.
Arrive at Macrun at 1500hrs, finding about 25 planes on the landing ground. The second Grant fell out at Benghazi with engine trouble and came on in its own time, but did not arrive by nightfall. The Stuart taken from the Greys has also developed engine trouble and will have to go to Wksps.
Strength now two Stuarts in moderate condition and one Stuart unfit to go further. Informed at 1700hrs that we are to hand over the two good Stuarts to the RHA (for OPs) tomorrow and that we are to return to our unit, taking with us the third Stuart, which will be left at Zt Msus.
24 Nov 42. Carry on at first light and make Msus by 0830hrs. Whilst breakfast is being prepared Capt Harari arranges with the RAOC to recover the Stuart and we are able to draw a little petrol and one day’s rations.
After trying to trace our B3 Echelon, to take back with us, we find they are in the Mrasses area, and we move East at 1330hrs. By nightfall, we cover about 40 miles and leaguer for the night.
26 Nov 42. Have another full day’s travel, following the F track. Leaguer at 1830hrs about 20 miles West of Bir Hacheim. Lts Chapman and Smith returned from ‘A’ Sqn to the Regiment with news that Squadron was on the way back, but that Maj J D Harbord had been killed on 17 Nov.
27 Nov 42. Move after breakfast at 0745hrs and meet the Greys, who give us petrol to take us to the wire. Turn North at about 1100hrs and arrive at El Adem at 1530hrs.
Spend about two hours collecting rations from H div RASC and handing over a three-ton lorry which had broken an axle. Carry on until 1830hrs along the Trigh Capuzzo and spend the night about ten miles East of El Adem.
28 Nov 42. On the move before light (about 0430hrs) until 0830hrs. Have a quick brew and make for Capuzzo. Having trouble with the 15cwt Dodge and also the jeep, the latter having to be taken on tow when we reach Capuzzo at 1300hrs. Fill up with petrol and have a mid-day meal. Travel until 1800hrs to 20 miles East of Sa’um via Halfaya Pass. ‘A’ Sqn advance party arrived by road under command Lt Young back to the Regiment.
29 Nov 42. Travelled all day. Spent the night at El Daba.
30 Nov 42. Made a very early start for home and arrived at Sidi Bishr at 1100hrs. This was the closing of a very happy but rough three months.
Capt M Harari, Lt R P G Dill and Capt J B Heycock, Medical Officer, and 29 ORs arrived by road, having taken seven days from Magrun. This was the party that reached the furthest point of the pursuit by ‘A’ Sqn.
‘A’ Sqn now complete, less casualties: killed in action and eight wounded, and men evacuated sick, 8th Hussars all together at last, for the first time since mid-June.
Total strength on 30 Nov: 25 officers, 355 ORs, plus four officers in hospital and approx 40 ORs.
- A short history of 3rd The King’s Own Hussars
- A short history of The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars
- A short history of The 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars
- Middle East (Egypt and Libya) timeline
- Vickers-Armstrong Mk VIB light tank
- A10 Cruiser tank
- A13 Cruiser tank
- A15 Crusader tank
- M3 Stuart ‘Honey’ tank
- M3 General Grant tank
- M4 Sherman tank
- Object: 2pdr Armour piercing round