Sunday, September 20, 2015

with the 2/3rd Battalion from 8 July 1941 and with the 2/5th

We are now at daybreak on 8 July 1941 with the 2/3rd Battalion. They were on the Kheurbet el Biar ridge. They started to receive French artillery and mortar fire as the day got light. They could see French artillery in the distance, where the wadi cut the hill. By 6am, Captain Parbury could see Australians at Deir Mar Jorjos. At that news, the 2/3rd moved forward to the heights that they were to take. The commander ordered Porbury to tkane hill 569 on the right. He sent a platoon which came under machine gun fire. The Australians were tired and without water. They were able to move along and reached one knoll on the summit. They could see five French field guns some five hundred yards away. By late on the 9th, in the afternoon, they took the guns. They were then in the village.

Meanwhile, the 2/5th was at the wadi near Deir Mar Jorjos. This was just at midnight in the night of 7 to 8 July. The first men to arrive came under fire, but were able to take four 75mm guns and 8 machine guns. By 3am, they were in Deir Mar Jorjos. Just before En Naame, they took the high ground. From there some men entered the village and took "a French colonel of the Foreign Legion and his staff". By 8am, an artillery captain was able to get his 15 mile long wire into the village. That allowed the commander to speak with Brigadier Savige. By dawn on 8 July, they started to receive mortar fire. A small group was sent to take the bridge. There men with two Thompson sub-machine guns and a Bren gun. The bold attack caused the French to flee the bridge. When Lt-Col. King saw a French counterattack forming, he called in artillery fire, which broke the attack, so that the men all ran. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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