Charles Ward – December 1942

7th December 1942

Travelled in TCVs over high mountain range from hide out area. Crossed into Tunisia. Slept in open.

8th December 1942

Woke up wet through. Raining like hell. All trucks bogged down and had to be pushed onto road. Eventually moved off still miserable and wet. Stopped the night on side of road. Slept, or attempted to, in TCVs. No wash or shave.

9th December 1942

Still raining but managed morning cup of gunpowder. Continuing our nomadic existence, we dished up breakfast on the move. Stopped for a couple of hours and made dinner. TCVs left us and we started to march. Still no wash or shave. Took up defence position on knoll in range of mountains. No food. Rained all night. Slept with greatcoat and gas cape among rocks. Worse than last night. Fell half-way down cliff face in dark.

10th December 1942

Still raining. Clouds all around hill top. Made shelter to sleep in. Had to carry food etc up to knoll. Everything still wet through but stopped raining in evening. Still no wash or shave.

Friday 11th December 1942

Fine morning except for mist. Stand to. Breakfast. Had quite a good night’s sleep. Everybody washed and shaved. Carried all ammunition up. Laid tele line from 15 pl to us. Sent out patrol up mountain track for about 5 miles. Did guard. Fine night except for short shower of rain.

Saturday 12th December 1942

Very good morning with few clouds and sun out. Most things were dried out. Made shelter for all section. Sent out another patrol about 10 miles through mountains to El Agula. Good night’s sleep.

Sunday 13th December 1942

Another fine morning but a little cold. Very fine day. Nothing unusual so far. Called out to stand to at 20.10 hrs. Stood down at 21.30 hrs.

Monday 14th December 1942

Another quiet day with everything normal.

Tuesday 15th December 1942

Same as yesterday. NAAFI supplies came up, so we had a few extra cigarettes, soap etc.

Wednesday 16th December 1942

Reached the ripe old age of 24. I am getting old. First air mail letter card issued to us. Guaranteed to reach home for Christmas.

Thursday 17th December 1942

Plenty of air activity this morning. Constant rumble heard in distance all round.

Friday 18th December 1942

Best day yet. Saw three dive bombers but long way off.

Saturday 19th December 1942

Cloudy today with occasional showers. Warned to move off at dusk. Moved about 9 miles back to rest of battalion.

Sunday 20th December 1942

Settling down in new position. Cold and showery. Orders to pack up ready to move again at 11.30. Took up fresh positions and dug in.

Monday 21st December 1942

Moved again after breakfast nearer road. Stayed there rest of day and moved up towards Medjez-el-Bab in evening. Stayed night in farm. Slept in haystack.

Tuesday 22nd December 1942

More air activity. Moved into building. Good sleeping quarters. Rained like hell during night.

Wednesday 23rd December 1942

Still bad weather holding up attack.

Thursday 24th December 1942

Still raining. Warned to move up and stop Germans taking Skins’ (Inniskilling Fusiliers) prisoners. Averaging eight a night. Moved up into position after dark. No sign of enemy at all. Dug in. Rained hard all night.

Friday 25th December 1942

Still occupying positions in hills. Still no sign of enemy. Suspected to be occupying farm. Attacking tonight.

Saturday 26th December 1942

Moved forward in early hours and attacked farm but enemy had evacuated. Rest of day spent resting. More rain. Moved back to coy. position. Very cold.

Sunday 27th December 1942

Quiet all night. Rested all day. Attacked another farm at dusk still without success.

Monday 28th December 1942

Called out in early hours but false alarm. Weather turning very nice again. Evacuated position at dusk.

Tuesday 29th December 1942

Took up position guarding A/Tk guns on hill. Weather fine but very windy. Letters arrived, five for me. Village in valley shelled and taken by enemy.

Wednesday 30th December 1942

Orders to be ready to move within one hour. Outlying farms shelled from village. Quite a good day, warm sun.

Thursday 31st December 1942

Not moved yet. Artillery duel going on in valley. Convoy shelled. Move cancelled.

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