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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

The Left Hook

The Left Hook

The whole Division moved forward at 7 a.m. on 13 December. The going was excellent for the greater part of the distance, the column sweeping rapidly over vast areas of smooth, firm sand. The surrounding country was grotesque. To a lone traveller it would have been overwhelming, and even soldiers, travelling by the thousand, were not insensible to its influence. To the north of the route lay a series of isolated hills of bare, smooth rock, and far away to the south could be seen a considerable range of jagged mountains that glowed red, like mounds of embers, in the sunset. As night fell conditions deteriorated, the flat surface giving way to the difficult going of Chrystal's Rift, which was negotiated in darkness.

A heavy fog blanketed the landscape in the early hours of the 14th. The men were informed that news had been received that the Germans were retiring from the El Agheila positions. The Division was to press on with all possible speed.

The desert was rough and progress was slow. The long column moved, with frequent halts, all through the day, carrying on until 11.30 p.m., when a halt was made for the night, the unit camping on the Marada Track. The going was good on the 15th. One halt was made among pools of clear water left in depressions in the hard ground by recent rains—long enough for many of the men to bathe and wash clothing.