Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Captain Bennett's company from the 2/33rd Battalion on 9 and 10 june 1941 in Syria
At the start of the invasion of Syria on 9 June 1941, a company of the 2/33rd Battalion was sent through the hills to take Ferdisse. The planners greatly underestimated the time that would be needed to travel. They thought that the company could be in Hebbarliye in four hours. The actual travel time was 24 hours. Even in 1941, there were Syrians near the village who had lived in America and who spoke English. There had been French cavalry there, but they were unaware that the Australians were nearby. By 8am on 9 June 1941, Bennett took his company towards Ferdisse. He was to put his company across the road to the west. When they reached Ferdisse, they took machine gun fire. Bennett ordered one platoon as a rear-guard in Hebbarliye. As they reached Ferdisse, they saw French soldiers leaving with machine guns on pack mules. He then proceeded to occupy the road according to the plan. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.