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21 Battalion

Handing Over the Prize

Handing Over the Prize

‘We had made a mess of the general's Benz. A front and back tyre, and the spare, which was strapped to the side, were all flat. One round had pierced the upholstery between the general and his driver after ricochetting from the dashboard. Unbeknown to us another had punctured the radiator. No wonder the general, who, by this time, was rapidly regaining his Teutonic composure, paid us the compliment of admitting in broken English: “British! Noo Zeeland? Ja! Ja! Good soldiers, British!”

‘With Bob driving and with Cliff and I doing guard duty we set out for Brigade. Bob had a very hard time steering because of the flat tyre. Even so we should have made the 3½ odd miles but for the punctured radiator which leaked dry and caused the engine to seize.

‘Believe me, we felt much alone when this happened. We were in a wadi and were perfectly sure we were in view of the enemy. Where a German general is doing a personal reconnaissance as lightly escorted as was this chap, there also will you find German troops not far away. We were not at all sure whether our own Brigade had spotted us and if so what they would make of a German staff car making its leisurely way toward our lines. I sent Cliff Vause back with an urgent request for a Bren gun carrier and begged him to “Egri George!” (Hurry up).