British officer served with 5th Bn Black Watch, 153rd Infantry Bde, 51st (Highland) Infantry Div in North Africa and Sicily, Italy, 1942-1943
REEL 1 Background in GB, 1916-1939: family; education; employment; reasons for volunteering for London Scottish Regt on outbreak of Second World War, 1939. Recollections of operations as officer with 5th Bn Black Watch, 153rd Infantry Bde, 51st (Highland) Infantry Div in North Africa, 1942-1943: voyage from GB to Egypt, 7/1942-8/1942; initial impressions of Egypt, 12/8/1942; acclimatising to desert conditions; training for advance to front-line; use of white tape to guide troops in desert; morale in 8th Army, 9/1942; atmosphere in 51st (Highland) Div and visit to division by General Bernard Montgomery, 9/1942; divisional composition of 8th Army; inspirational training implemented by General Bernard Montgomery; attitude of Australians towards British forces over fall of Tobruk in Libya; handover with 9th Australian Infantry Div; duties as intelligence officer and work of reconnaissance patrols.
REEL 2 Continues: role of intelligence officer in processing of Axis POWs; treatment of Axis POWs; attitude towards snipers; story of capture of German war correspondent POW who was acquainted with Colonel Thomas Rennie; description of preparations for Battle of El Alamein; water ration; equipment carried for fighting order; battalion assembling for Battle of El Alamein, 23/10/1942; attitude to forthcoming battle; entry into no-man’s land at 20.00 hours, 23/10/1942; start of artillery barrage 21.40 hours, 23/10/1942; start of advance under creeping barrage; reaction to coming under German fire; state of battalion during advance, 23/10/1942.
REEL 3 Continues: achieving battalion objectives; consolidating position; nature of attack on Stirling Ridge, 25/10/1942; under sniper fire on Stirling Ridge; break-through of Axis lines during Battle of El Alamein, 1/11/1942; battalion casualties during Battle of El Alamein; reaction to Allied victory at Battle of El Alamein; air support received during Battle of El Alamein; death of company piper in action during Battle of El Alamein; composition and traditions of regiments in 51st (Highland) Infantry Div; lessons learnt by participating in major battle; advance into Libya; putting on battalion pantomime at El Aghelia, Libya, 12/1942.
REEL 4 Continues: appointment of Colonel Chick Thompson as commanding officer; opinion of Padre Tommy Nicolls; advance towards Tripoli, Libya; entry into Tripoli, Libya, 25/1/1943; accommodation in former Italian Governor’s Palace in Tripoli, 1/1943; participation in victory parade in Tripoli, Libya, 4/2/1943; second hand story of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s visit to Tripoli, Libya, 2/1943; advance towards Tunisia; attack on Mareth Line, Tunisia; incident of ‘friendly fire’ on Mareth Line, Tunisia; reception in Sfax, Tunisia; strength of German positions at Wadi Akarit, Tunisia; battalion use of mules; opinion of Gurkha troops.
REEL 5 Continues: contact with French Foreign Legion, Tunisia; living conditions in Tunisia, 5/1943; opinion of German and Italian troops; question of deserters. Recollections of period as officer with 5th Bn Black Watch, 153rd Infantry Bde, 51st (Highland) Infantry Div in Sicily, Italy, 7/1943-8/1943; training with Landing Craft (Infantry); weather conditions during landings; advance inland to Pachino; passing through Italian roadblock; advance to Plain of Catania; attack on German positions at Vizzini; receiving support from American troops at Vizzini; capture of Vizzini; opposed advance to Sfero.
REEL 6 Continues: degree of contact with American troops; posting with training team to 10th Indian Infantry Div in Italy after end of Sicilian campaign.