Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Finally into Damour on 7 July 1941

One company from the 2/14th Battalion, that commanded by Captain Noonan, was on the north side of the Wadi Daqoun. They were almost into Damour, as they were just 400 yards from the town. From where they were, they could hear heavy firing on the south side of the wadi. However, Noonan's company was so far unopposed. Seemingly, they could just move into Damour any time that they wanted. Captain Noonan agreed that there would be benefits from moving into Damour. He was feeling cautious, though, and sat with his headquarters and one platoon in their position 400 yards from Damour. He let two platoons move into the town. They exchanged fire with some French troops as they moved into Damour. Some of the Australians moved into some stone buildings which would provide good cover. As tehy wainted, they saw ten European French troops moving along the street. The Australians waited until the French were very close and then killed or wounded all ten. By 4pm, Lieutenant Katekar's men, from the 2/27th Battalion, were pushing some Senegalese troops northward towards Damour. The first few men surrendered when the Australians shot at them. A little while later, there were about one hundred more on the hill, across from Captain Noonan's men. Sergeant Mott shouted at them and fired over their heads. The Senegalese troops ran for cover. The Australians soon had 92 prisoners. They could see more groups of Senegalese troops, but they could hear shots being fired in Damour, so they moved eastwards. Captain Noonan's men put the prisoners in one house and occupied others. There was no food. During the night, they could hear vehicles drive nearby. The French knew that they were in Damour, while their own artillerymen did not. As a result, they had to endure both Australian and French artillery fire. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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