Cpl Eric Lowther (4802011) of the 6th Battalion the Lincolnshire Regiment is pictured first left with two unidentified NCO colleagues in the superb photograph above. Note that all three men are wearing the distinctive 46th Division Oak Tree shoulder flash. The 6th Lincolnshire Regiment was part of 138 Brigade of the 46th Division and played a pivotal role in the defence of Sedjenane in early March 1943. For the official 1946 6th Lincolnshire Battalion History’s account of the Battle see this page. This poem on the previous page and both photographs in this section are courtesy of Mark Gamble. If anyone can recognise either of the other NCOs please get in touch. The item below is adapted from an article Mark wrote for the Lincolnshire Echo in 2008. The photograph at right is of Eric as a young recruit in 1937.

The Story behind the Poem

‘In late November 2007 Mrs Iris Mary Lowther, the widow of the late Eric Lowther of Willingham-by-Stow, Lincolnshire, passed away. Following her death members of the family had the task of sorting through papers and documents that spanned many years of family history. Amongst the ephemera they came upon some information that gives an interesting insight into the past. On three faded scraps of paper was found a poem that recounted the violent struggle that was the Battle of Sedjenane, which took place 65 years ago,. Involved in the defence of the town and the surrounding area were several British Army units, including the 6th Battalion the Lincolnshire Regiment. Amongst the ranks of the Lincolns was 24-year-old Eric Lowther.

‘Eric had trained as part of the Army’s Supplementary Reserve in 1937, and was called to the Colours with the outbreak of the war in 1939. His words are an interesting record of one young man’s experience of Battle: The poem has an echo of the optimism of General Alexander, who wrote to Allied soldiers on the 21st April 1943:

‘“Two months ago, when the Germans and Italians were attacking us, I told you that if you held firm, final victory was assured. You have proved yourselves the masters of the battlefield, and therefore you will win the last great battle which will give us the whole of North Africa”.

‘Eric Lowther’s war and that of the rest of the 6th Lincolnshire Regiment was not over with victory in North Africa. The 6th Lincolns went on to serve in Italy, Egypt and Palestine. Eric Lowther died on the 5th April 1997, he remained a true Lincoln until that day.’

Thee 6th Lincs NCOs, Eric Lowther, at left
Eric Lowther, service dress, 1937

Three Wartime NCOs of the 6th Battalion, the Lincolnshire Regiment