2Lt Brock and the 6-in Gun
In 1942 I was a 2/Lt in the 14th Lt A.A. Regt with a light van plus driver at my command. On 27th June, the New Zealand Division had been surrounded by the German Africa Corps at Minqar Qaim. That night the Division broke through the surrounding enemy forces and set sail over the hard, desert, sandy soil for Alamein where, it was common knowledge, we were to reform.
About 10am on the 28th, I saw what must have been at least a 6" gun, by itself out to one side, pointing towards the enemy. I had my driver take me over to the gun. I spoke politely to the Gun Sergeant, a Britisher, and asked what he was doing there as we were all under orders to get back to Alamein. He said to me, "Officer said to stay here!". I asked - "When was this? When did you last see your Officer?" He said "Two days ago"!! "Well", I said, "He's probably dead or in the bag. You'd better tag along with us". No way was he going to move! I drew myself up to my full height, tore a page from my notebook, told him I held the King's Commission, and wrote out an order commanding him to come back with us to Alamein or I'd see that he was court-martialled!! Never did you see a gun limbered up so quickly! He came, and we waved each other "Good Bye" at our Div Headquarters, who pointed him in the right direction. We built a cairn of rocks where the gun had been and left a note, "Find me at Alamein".
P.S. My driver was the late Freddie Howard of Bulls. He died some years ago now. I went to his funeral. End of an era.
Bruce Brock 26149, Major, later Bty Cdr 28 Bty 5 NZ Fd Regt.