Grandad’s WWII Diary – Saturday 27th June (cont) – Thursday 2nd July 1942

June 27 - July 2

Click here for entry for Tuesday 23rd June (cont) – Saturday 27th June 1942

Saturday 27th June (cont.)

… unwanted gear – marching to transport.  Left escarpment – shortage of transport – B Echelon had been chased away by tanks.  Onto the first lorry that had room.  B Leatham & I on back of anti-tank portee – towards end of convoy.  Our tanks in battle with Jerries making break to escape through.  Convoy moved on until after midnight – then hell was let loose – had run into Jerry trap.  Trucks, lorries, ambulance full of men blown skyward as they were hit.  Battle lasted several hours then we turned left.  Fairly heavy casualties ??? ??? Sergeant and 12 men missing.

Sunday 28th June

Day 447

Convoy stopped at daylight to reform – buried four men.  Only 17 vehicles in convoy.  Heading south and towards Kaponga Box.  By afternoon more lorries joined convoy – reached box at 4PM.  At night several planes over – bombing us heavily.  Boys feeling rather nervy after last experiences.

Monday 29th June

Day 448

Shifted along escarpment to new positions.  Crashed Hurricane close by.  More heaving bombing at night – hit ammo dump. Terrific explosion.

Tuesday 30th June

Day 449

4th & 5th brigade moved 12 miles in south-west direction – in positions if Rommel swings inland.  Bombers still over the Alamein Box.

Wednesday 1st July

Day 450

Again shifted position – things looking serious. Rommel still pushing down.  Terrific tank battle in progress towards Alamein.  Was appointed company runner.

Thursday 2nd July

Day 451

Again moved.  Flight of M.E.109’s strafed (attack repeatedly with bombs or machine-gun fire from low-flying aircraft) convoy while moving – casualties slight.  Debussed at 4PM walked 2 miles – 23 Battalion in reserve, 21 & 22 forward.  Jerry began shelling soon as we stopped.


The following extract from World War 2 Timelines website in order to put the above into perspective.

27/06/1942 German troops begin to outflank the British positions at Mersa Matruh. As this happens the British start to withdraw towards the El Alamein line, confirming radio intercepts that had indicated they would.
28/06/1942 German advance units capture Fuqa and report increasing confusion in the retreating British units.
29/06/1942 Rommel takes Mersa Matruh after heavy fighting and captures 6,000 prisoners along with large quantities of supplies. British disarray increases as German advance units mix with British rear units which are reatreating as fast as possible for the relative safety of the El Alamein defensive position. Mussolini arrives at Derna in Libya to prepare for the triumphal entry into Cairo. Alexandria is bombed. 
30/06/1942 Rommel spearheads reaches El Alamein. The port facilities at Alexandria are prepared for demolition, should the axis forces not be stopped at El Alamein. In what became known as ‘Ash Wednesday’, British HQ is Cairo begins to destroy classified papers and prepares for evacuation to Palestine. A brave but disorganized Eighth Army is addressed by General Auchinleck, who tells them, that ‘He (Rommel) hopes to take Egypt by bluff. Lets show him where to get off.’ This comes as ‘Ultra’ interceptions told them that Rommel would attack their positions at El Alamein the following day.
01/07/1942 Rommel captures 2,000 prisoners from the El Alamein ‘box’ but loses 18 of his 55 remaining tanks.
02/07/1942 The British hold El Alamein despite heavy attacks, Rommel is now down to 26 tanks.

Click here for entry for Friday 3rd July – Wednesday 8th July 1942



    • Thanks but I don’t think I can take too much credit for it. I am just the messenger. I find reading them through that I get stressed about what will happen, then I remember that its non-fiction and I know whatever happened, he survived the war, went on to marry and have children and grandchildren – else I wouldn’t be doing this. Its a bit sureal at times.

      • I understand the feeling. The same occurs with me as I work through Wayne’s Journal. Wayne’s Journal is about more people than my uncle, though, and not all of them make it through. Since you read it from the beginning, you know that there have already some who vanished in storms, etc.

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