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20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment


page ix


This, and I quote Dave Pringle, one of the joint authors, this is the history of the 20th, by men of the 20th, collected and collated by him and by Bill Glue, ‘both of whom had the privilege of serving in the 20th’.

The 20th, throughout its life, was known as a happy unit. It met, in the earlier days, more than its share of misfortunes, cruelly heavy losses in Crete, black disasters on Belhamed and on Ruweisat Ridge. But its spirit never changed or faltered, traditions grew, were fostered by the surviving ‘old hands’ and absorbed by those who took the places of the dead, the wounded and those enduring the years as prisoners of war. It lives now only in the hearts and memories of those who once were proud to be 20th.

This book has been prepared with care and pride. Dave Pringle worked on it for years, almost to a breakdown. When he was forced to admit that he could not go on, Bill Glue, an ‘original 20th’, took it on (from Orsogna) in addition to his heavy duties as Sub-Editor of the War Histories. Each gave all he had to this work. It is, as Pringle remarks, characteristic of the enduring 20th spirit that almost every man who was asked for information, or for his recollections, gave his help freely and often at great personal inconvenience. From 1944 on George Robson took immense pains to gather information. Basil Borthwick has made a great contribution, as was to be expected. These two, with Pat Barton and Shirley Hodson, are the chief of ‘a host of good fellows, most of whose contributions are acknowledged in the text’ by quotations from their letters and diaries.

Thanks are also due to Miss Joan Williams, who prepared the index, arranged the illustrations and took on her shoulders much of the routine sub-editorial work of the War History Branch while Bill Glue ‘was immersed in the history’. The maps were drawn by the Cartographic Branch of the Lands and Survey Department and done with care and accuracy.

page x

Completion of this history, and now I am speaking as a 20th, in a way ends a chapter in our lives. The great days and the bitter days, the faithful comradeship, the humour and the tragedy, the high dedicated endeavour are all in the past. Something of them is here recorded.

H. K. Kippenberger


CO 20 Battalion (once)