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In the aftermath of the failure of the final DLI attack on the morning of March 2nd and the German breakthrough of the 2/5th Forester's positions five miles to the east of Sedjenane on the afternoon of the same day, the British position in Sedjenane became very grave. Elements of the DLI (mainly drawn from HQ Company), together the 6th Lincs, some Forester stragglers and 4 Troop of No 1 Commando, supported by eight Churchill tanks of the North Irish Horse, endeavoured to keep the Germans out of the village. Two of the Churchill tanks were knocked out--at least one by a captured British 6-pounder gun [6th Lincs History page 8]. The British finally withdrew from the village on the evening of March 4th.

William Ling, 4 Troop, No 1 Commando

'We went back and then we fought a rear guard action there in Sedjenane. That's where we did the rest of our fighting in the village and in the woods there. We fought in the woods, but the main part of the Commando was up in the Mine and that's where they withdrew from. But 4 Troop was stuck in the bottom.

'The Mine was half a mile away. But I was actually in Sedjenane. I never went back to the Mine after being called out that time. We didn't get no further than Sedjenane. That's where we we stayed because they were still attacking at different places: they'd even started to come over the hills into Sedjenane then. They'd broken through. There was a tunnel there, there was some snipers got in and killed two or three officers that morning. Not ours. There was a little bit of open ground there. If you stepped out: wallop!'

These casualties were most likely members of the 6th Lincolns who sustained several casualties to snipers in this area [6th Lincs page 8.] The Churchill tanks actually drove right into the village early on the morning of March 4th [6th Lincs page 8].'I saw one of them, it looked really knocked out, what I could see of it. So he [the Germans] must have got one. But he brought a heavy gun or two up. Don't know how they managed that, through them blooming hills.'

Arthur Jackson, 4 Troop, No 1 Commando

'We were fighting house to house. The Germans held the village and we were trying to get them out of the houses and one thing and another. We were all together sort of thing, there was nobody giving orders very much. We were there all day and a night. We were being shelled from four directions and you didn't know where you were. It was mad. We actually had one tank there. I don't know where that one came from, it came right into Sedjenane with us. In fact we hid under it once or twice. The shells were coming from either way and the Stuka dive bombers were bombing us as well. It was a pretty grim do there.'

William Ling

'We went up specially. We were told they were getting a lot of the units out and we were sent up. We moved up from the village itself and then outside there was a really wooded part of it and we went into that. We laid along in this brush wood, which was very thick and we could hear the Germans talking as they were coming up--they were so close. And we all flung the grenades we had fired a few rounds and got out of it. That was during the morning [of the 4th March] that happened. There was some open ground after that and then we just stopped and they pulled us all together. I couldn't tell you the name of the place where we stopped that night and the next night. But it was open ground because the Guards were holding a point there as we went through.'

This would be Tamera, where the Coldstream Guards had been rushed to form a new line of defence [6th Lincs page 9]. 'I was sent out again and that's when I walked into this trip wire. The 8th of March was when I got wounded. So what happened after that I wouldn't really know. I took out a patrol and hit a mine. I was in hospital for 16 weeks, reported missing believed killed. We lost our Officer. He got killed about two days after I got wounded. I didn't know till I went back. We lost all four officers, 4 Troop did.'

Captain D M Davidson was in charge of 4 Troop throughout this period and, as noted above, was awarded the MC for his part in the Sedjenane action on February 27th. He died of wounds in the La Calle hospital on March 15th 1943. During this phase of the Sedjenane fighting, at least two other members of No 1 Commando were awarded gallantry awards, to read their citations, click the ‘next’ button below.

The Battle for the Village, March 3rd-4th