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21 Battalion

Heavy Casualties

page 444

Heavy Casualties

‘And this is how three of us fluked the capture of von Ravenstein. By November 27, 1941, the 21st Battalion had suffered fairly heavy casualties. The C.O. had been killed, the second-in-command wounded and the remnants, with the exception of A and B Companies, were withdrawn from Sidi Rezegh, placed under command of Headquarters Company commander, and sent by night to Point 175.

‘I believe the move was made by 6th Brigade, to whom we had been temporarily attached, as much to give us a rest and a chance to recoup as for any other reason. Quite incidentally it had been mentioned that we were to close the back door on 6th Brigade headquarters against surprise from the rear.

‘Desert navigation was the problem of Intelligence, and up to the night of November 27–28 I had not been displeased by our efforts over the Libyan Desert. But I was not clever about this night march on foot of some 3½ miles, and we did not strike the spot until the early hours of November 28.

‘It was a cold dawn to which we awoke having wearily dossed down in the sand once we were certain of our location, and the scene which met our eyes was pretty cheerless.