March 3rd

After some difficulty I found a good WL area 400 yds west of the Tamera railway bridge. The village of Tamera
had been attacked by aircraft during the day: there were fires burning and fresh craters in the road. The Churchill Squadron of the North Irish Horse was leaguered there and moved forward about an hour before dawn. I returned to the gun position, reported the area of the WLs and drove off in K with the BSM and an NCO, instructing the vehicles to follow at intervals.

We parked the vehicles and just managed to distribute and camouflage them by first light. We then prepared breakfast and ate a hearty meal and I had my first shave for three days. After mounting a guard I got everybody else to get down for some rest. It was not long before enemy aircraft appeared but fortunately did not turn their attention towards us. Men who climbed the hills on either side of the valley were able to look down and fire their rifles at enemy aircraft flying at 'zero feet' above us.

I was just about to get some rest when I received a call at about 1100hrs to prepare a carrier and OP party and report to the battery command post. On arrival I was instructed that my job was to assist Capt Welsh in Sedjenane and that I was to report to the CO at RHQ. The CO told me that I was to act as LO with Lt Col Myrtle at Lincs Bn HQ and assist Major Tighe of 15/17 Medium Battery who was also with him, Capt Welsh remaining at an OP. Guns available at the time were 279 and 449 Batteries of 70, 15/17 Medium Battery (still in the woods about half a mile west of Sedjejane and 457 Light Battery.

I set out on my carrier to move up to the village, the road in front of which was straight for about three quarters of a mile. As I arrived at the beginning of this stretch of straight road I met a number of vehicles with some officers and men on a small rise to the left watching the road. It was apparent that the enemy were directing counter battery onto the mediums, and as the guns were so close to the road, the road was being shelled at the same time.

Enemy salvoes were falling approximately every two or three minutes. The people halted were hoping for a pause in the enemy fire to be able to get forward--one of them was Capt Mynheer MM of the DLI. The CO had impressed on me the urgency of getting to the Lincs as quickly as possible, so after encouraging the party to cross their fingers and keep their heads down and my driver to waste no time, I carried on, leaving the small party at the roadside. We reached Sedjenane without mishap, though feeling somewhat naked under direct enemy observation from the hills to the north. I learned quite a long time afterwards that the enemy had spotted the group of vehicles we had just left, had shelled them and Capt Mynheer had been wounded.

I found my way to Lincs Bn HQ, which was behind the station on the west side of the village, centred on a culvert under the railway. The Lines had three coys deployed with a troop of Commandos on their right flank in the area of the mine. Their fourth coy was at present in reserve with the carriers. The enemy had already made contact and were attacking strongly: enemy shelling and mortaring was continuous. After introducing myself and getting the layout, I visited Capt Welsh at the OP and found that he was doing a considerable amount of shooting and had materially assisted the Lincs in repelling attacks. Next to him (about three yards away) was a Churchill which created a deafening roar at the OP every time it fired its 6 pdr and Besa, which was often. Both Capt Welsh and myself had our 2l sets on Regtl 'H' net. I now laid a short line between his OP and myself at BHQ. He was firing by direct communication with the guns so that at this time I had very little to do but keep in the picture. At about 1600 hr we had a visit from the 2- in-C Major Kelly. After this time the enemy increased his fury with his attacks, shelling and mortaring and rest was impossible: between then and the time we evacuated the position I have never heard such a concentration of noise from our own and enemy weapons either before or since.

After dark the enemy continued attacking: he fired a great number of flares and used light signals to continue to bring down mortar concentrations. After a conference at BHQ, Major Tighe left for the Brigadier's conference with the Lincs 2-in-C, taking with him DF tasks etc. Before he left, the line to Capt Welsh had been cut and I could not receive him on the air: in order to contact A Coy (the OP was in this coy area) fighting patrols had to be sent from BHQ as the enemy
frequently infiltrated our positions and the infantry line was also cut and could not be repaired. Major Tighe therefore left with the impression that Capt Welsh had been cut off, and I believe stated this at the conference.