Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More action on 15 June 1941

The 25th Australian Infantry Brigade had moved forward from Merjayun late on 13 June 1941. They left a small force at Merjayun, while the brigade headed for Jezzine. The commander of the force at Merjayun decided to take an agressive approach, and he vacated the town by heading into the mountains to see if he could work his way around the Vichy flank. While they were gone, the Vichy obligingly moved back into the town. The way into Palestine seemed open, but the Vichy commander did not show much initiative. He was content to hold Merjayun. Brigadier Berryman, the divisional artillery commander, took command of a force to retake Merjayun. They were not able to retake the place, but did definitely close the possibility of any Vichy advance. In the process, Lieutenant A. R. Cutler, of the 2/5th Australian Field Regiment acted heroically, and continued to do so, for which he eventually was awarded an Victoria Cross. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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