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March 5th

In the morning after breakfast, I remember having a touch of 'bomb happiness'; a battery of RHA were in action immediately behind the waggon lines, and the sudden noise of their guns firing was inclined to make me look over my shoulder with a start: presumably a combination or the usual factors: continued fatigue, lack of meals and danger.

At about 1100 hrs Capt Welsh and I were standing at the entrance to the WLs when a car stopped and we saluted the CCRA, Brigadier Ambrose Pratt. He asked us what we had been doing: we gave him our story, and he told us that the Guards were leaving and that the 1st Parachute Brigade, from Bou Arada was going to come into action. This was very cheering to us, as the fame of the 'Red Devils' had already spread in Tunisia. Soon afterwards, Major Hudson took a party to our previous gun position, now the FDLs, to recover some smoke shell which could not be carried the previous night. On his return he reported that the roads were being mined and that the enemy were not in contact, so that everything was quiet.

We decided that the WLs should be moved back as they were in front of the guns, so Capt Welsh set out on recce and found a new area about 500 yds in rear of the gun position, in the woods behind Sleepy Valley. This area was insufficient for all of the vehicles: BSM Gooden had also done a recce on the Djebel Abiod road and reported that the only suitable area available was along way back, about one mile behind Djebel Abiod. It was therefore arranged that the vehicles should be split, Capt Welsh taking charge of the main waggon lines behind the gun position to include the fighting vehicles, quads etc and BSM Gooden the subsidiary WLs in rear containing the non-essential vehicles. The rear WL vehicles moved off during the afternoon in ones at quarter hour intervals, and main WL vehicles moved at dusk. I visited the gun position during the afternoon and had a talk with my GPO and gunners who were all very cheerful. The BC told me to go back with my party to the rear WLs to rest and sort ourselves out, and he hoped that we should be there for at least two days. We moved back after tea at about 1700 hrs, pitched our bivouacs and settled down for a night's rest. The day had been exceptionally quiet.