Monday, April 02, 2007

Early on the 24th day of the battle

After Robert Crisp's close brush with a spent anti-aircraft round, he was ordered to "send out patrols" from C Squadron on a reconnaissance out to the "north and northwest" to the 10 mile limit and back. Just "two or three miles out", Robert was startled to see a tank "nestling in the scrub". He approached and saw that the tank was "an abandoned Crusader". Robert rescued the officer's valise with his name on the leather bag. He could see that the crew had hastily abandoned the 22nd Armoured Brigade tank. Robert's driver, Whaley, figured out that they had "run out of gas", as we Americans would say. By 3pm that day, the patrols were recalled to hear some amazing news. The buzz was that the 4th Armoured Brigade would be withdrawn, so that it could be sent to "another front". 3rd RTR would stay, until "relieved by the Royal Gloucester Hussars". Robert decided to celebrate by putting on the silk pajamas from the letter valise. He slept in luxury for the night and then returned the pajamas to the valise. He wrote a note to the owner, "explaining what I had done". This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.

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