Charles Ward – February 1943

Monday Feb 1st 1943.

Marvellous bath today, first since we arrived. Went about fifteen miles for it but was worth it. Some of the lads saw Stan and Connery’s graves.

Tuesday Feb 2nd.

Bags of rumours but nothing definite yet. Moving out at dusk to take over from Rifle Brigade on road junction. Five from platoon went back for 48 hrs. NAAFI up again. Bottles of beer, bags of fags, no wonder they’re scarce in England, soap, blades, envelopes, paper etc. Everything now packed ready for move. Sent home £15 today. Moved up and took over from the RB.

Wednesday Feb 3rd.

Fairly quiet day. Some shelling by us and a little by them. Two planes came down and machine gunned on plain. Dive bombers on other side of plain.

Thursday Feb 4th.

A few planes over this morning. New Coy Com took over this morning. Stukas over at tea time again. About 15 dropped bombs behind hills other side of Bou Arada. One shot down in flames.

Friday Feb 5th.

Nothing much today. A little shelling by us but only three shots in reply. Mail up, 6 this time.

Saturday Feb 6th.

Very cold today. Rain in afternoon. We’re sending one or two shells over just to let them know we’re still here. Rumour we’re going out of front line for refit. Hope it’s true. Wrote five letters. Terry accidentally shot himself in leg.

Sunday Feb 7th.

Rain during night but not too bad now. More mail 5 this time. Patrol went out but found nothing.

Monday Feb 8th.

Cold this morning. Stukas over plain just after breakfast. Too close to be comfortable. Hurricane Bombers with Spit escort over Goubellat plain. Rumoured they were after tanks.

Tuesday Feb 9th.

Shelled this morning, couldn’t expect much else as gully looks like a car park. We replied but don’t think they’ve got him. Quietened him a bit though. Stukas over plain again.

Wednesday Feb 10th.

Nothing much again today. F Coy patrol had clash last night. Two casualties. He dropped another two shells pretty close today. No damage though. Rained like hell in evening and all night.

Thursday Feb 11th.

Rain off but still dull. Knee-deep in mud. Good news. Communications cut between Tunis and Bizerta. Bebe and five warned for patrol tonight.

Friday Feb 12th.

Nothing much today. Few shells very close. Still too bad for aircraft. Guns 48 hrs silence.

Saturday Feb 13th.

Fine day. Fighter bombers over at tea time dropped shower just over the hill. Thought he was after us for a minute. Guns broke silence plastered Jerry digging in on hill.

Sunday Feb 14th.

Another good day. Few NAAFI supplies up. Lot of activity at night near Skins position, guns blazing away practically all night.

Monday Feb 15th.

Haze over both plains today. Guns still bashing away at intervals. Planes over plain, 1 down.

Tuesday Feb 16th.

Moved section over to new day-time position. Name submitted as compositor for First Army newspaper. Shells dropped three hundred yards away. Advised pl. com. position was no good and moved back to old place.

Wednesday Feb 17th.

Fairly quiet today. Spits over. Put up tents. Got new suit and boots. Look good enough to go to a dance.

Thursday Feb 18th.

Quiet day today. Very misty.

Friday Feb 19th.

Went to Gafour for a bath. Spent day there, quite a change. Rained in evening.

Saturday Feb 20th.

Nothing today. Haze over plain again.

Sunday Feb 21st.

72 guns moved up and some Churchill tanks. Think the 11th Armoured are relieving us soon. Went for information on the PIAT. Earmarked as instructor for NCO’s cadre when Batt. comes out of front line.

Monday Feb. 22nd.

Nothing in morning. Stukas over twice in afternoon, bombs dropped 400 yards away. Few shells over too.

Tuesday Feb 23rd.

Quiet today, four shells about four. Few shells again after Skins put on a small show. Killed about thirty, took eight prisoners.

Wednesday Feb 24th.

More shells and Stukas over again on Skins position. Left in evening for 48 hrs rest at A Echelon.

Thursday Feb 25th.

Went to Gafour for a bath. Baths moved. Returned to camp for dinner to find tanks and lorry borne infantry had broken through at Tally Ho corner. Rumoured F Coy surrounded. Two tanks knocked out and one surrounded. Action still going on.

Friday Feb 26th.

Full night’s sleep. Everything seems to be under control this morning.

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