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6th Field Regiment, NZA, in Egypt Jan 1941

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During this time we received a further eight Dragons MkII which brought us up to 24, thus giving us a full supply of gun haulers, and a few days later eight brand new 25 Pdrs MkII arrived. Whilst we were disappointed to find that they were not for us but for the 4th Regt and that we merely had the use of them for a week or so until the 4th arrived from the WD, we were very glad of the opportunity to work with them and get familiar with them.

On Sunday Jan 5th 1942, Private Bunbury of the 18th LAD died in Helwan Hospital of dysentery. His was the third death in the Regiment since our arrival in Egypt, the others being two brothers from our Reinforcements - W.E. and R.C. Lee, who were drowned in the Nile shortly after our arrival.

Lee brothers
Gunner William Eric Lee and Gunner Richard Clarence Lee

At this stage training proceeded on a troop basis with troop exercises in the field as a preliminary to Two Troop exercises. The fact that we were now completely mobile made a big difference to us all. In fact from the first day of the shoot onwards all became very keen and completely threw off the lethargy which seemed to affect everyone in the latter stages at Maadi.

On Jan 9th 1941 we arrived back from a field exercise to find the Regiment in quarantine due to a case of infantile paralysis - the period to be from 10 days however subsequent cases later extended the period to three weeks. All cases staged good recoveries with one exception, Gunner L.D.E. Cordes of 30th Battery whose condition was extremely serious necessitating the continued use of the iron lung.

However, this state did not interfere with normal training which developed into Two Troop Bty exercises and worked up to a further shoot. This time on a more realistic scheme in conjunction with the 6th Infantry Brigade who did a battalion attack scheme for the South Western slopes of Scorpion Hill feature on to the features known as Point 97 and Siesta Hill. Each day a different battalion exercised, supported by two Troops.

1st day A & F Troops supported 24 Bn
2nd day D&F Troops supported 25 Bn
3rd day B&C Troops supported 26 Bn.

When the Battalions consolidated on their objectives they packed up and returned to camp but the two Troops of Artillery continued the advance with imaginary infantry and made a full day's exercise of it.

The next stage was to exercise as Three Troop Batteries, and it was on this basis of organisation that training continued.

The routine of Battery training was broken on Jan 24th with a bridging exercise as a preparation for a future beach landing for which we had been warned. We marched to the Nile and disported ourselves in Recce Boats, Assault Boats, etc without any mishap.

Jan 27th saw our first Regimental Exercise in the form of a skeleton show with Officers, Acks and Sigs only as a preparation for a full Regimental Exercise which took place on 30/31 Jan under the watchful eye of Brigadier Miles. The first day was very patchy but as soon as folk got over their strangeness, things went very smoothly and the second day fully made up for the mistakes of the first.

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