Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Damascus falls on 21 June 1941

The Free French force commanded by Colonel Casseau on the road from Kiswe to Damascus had moved to the outskirts of Damascus in the morning of 21 June 1941. Troops in a barracks were firing on the Free French, so the Colonel sent a gun forward to start firing. The Australian machine gunners were on the right flank, protecting against any attacks. The Free French infantry were moving forward towards the city. Colonel Casseau sent two armored cars forward. In the opposite direction were a column of cars, with a white flag flying. Lt-Col. Blackburn accompanied Colonel Casseau. The city and police were surrendered, and a formal ceremony and luncheon were held. By 4pm, General Legentilhomme led a column of vehicles into Damascus and met with the cabinet. One company of the Australian machine gunners were ordered to move through the city and take position on the road to Homs. Troops of the 2/3rd Battalion were now split. There were still two companies on the heights to the southwest of Damascus. A third company had been formed and were at the roadblock on the road to Beirut. Brigadier Lloyd would have liked to attack immediately, but Major Stevenson asked that the men be fed and have some rest. They moved out the next morning. There were the Australians and a company of Indian troops. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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