Saturday, August 13, 2005
The fall of Derna
Late on January 29th, 1941, the 2/11th Battalion was heavily shelled. Brigadier Louch thought that this might have been a final flurry before Derna was abandoned. He ordered that a patrol should be sent forward after the firing had stopped. They were blocked, and by morning, there were fires visible in Derna. Further attempt to advance were met with machine gun fire. After dawn, some Libyans scaled the escarpment to inform Brigadier Louch that the Italians had withdrawn, and the Australians were able to enter Derna. Derna marked the eastern edge of a fertile area that had been colonized by the Italians. It was an oasis of civilization amid the harsh desert.