Memories of my Grandad and WWII North Africa

Some years ago a letter was found by my Grandma, written by my Grandad.

Here are his memories of North Africa

821299 – OP Sig: Roland Gallett

1st Regt RHA

Left Burton for Liverpool about Jan 42. Joined convoy at Greenock.

About nine weeks at sea calling at Freetown then Cape Town and on to Suez. A trudge to Almaza near Heliopolis. Up the blue to relieve the troops breaking out of Tobruk after six months siege.north africa mapThen weeks of useless swanning about in the dessert getting nowhere. I am OP, mainly in signal truck or Stuart Tank.tank

First big action when Rommel cut up the foreign legion who diverted them onto us at Bir Hakeim my OP Capt got the MC and Capt Prentice lost an arm. Lots of fighting now and I remember Knightsbridge which was only two 48 gal drums.

I remember Stuka valley where we had to hold out for 12 days.

Somewhere we had four guns knocked out by bombing. I went to Borg-El-Arab in the signal truck to get four more and we were in action again in hours. It was here where I saw train loads of Sherman tanks and took the good news to the disheartened troops.

I remember Alam.Halfa when I saw all Rommel’s forces coming through, a sight I’ll never forget seen from Ruweisat Ridge. We had a bit of luck here. We were supposed to go to a bulldozed position which was occupied by somebody else. This forced Chestnut Troop to drop into a natural horse shoe which provided good cover. When Jerry retreated I was on the ridge again he saw us, had a go and our tank driver Hart was badly wounded, the other signaller Packer was slightly hurt but he missed Alemain. The officer in “B” Battery’s tank next to us was killed. We got away in time to miss the next stonk.

I remember a run back for 100 miles, we got caught on our own minefield at Tobruk, I really thought we had had it there. Everybody had made for Alemein and formed a line. Our column was back last. I was in the TL truck at the back and could see four MIV’s after us, their shots were falling each side of the truck. Major Hanwell turned one gun round and some of our anti-tank who used to be with us at one time. The shooting was excellent by the tracer and stopped Jerry.grandad 1