We then commenced patrolling in 'No Man's Land' and, during our stay in the line, raiding parties of Commandos passed through us to carry out raids on Green Hill. Towards the end of our tour, about six weeks, the 'higher ups' decided to attack the towering heights. A dump of Compo was made in C Coy's tunnel--the Durhams had to perform the carrying duties, which they did in true fashion and such remarks as, 'Where did I hide that ----box.' were frequently heard. The attack never materialised. We were relieved and withdrawn to Corps reserve where we rested in the shade of B Echelon.

After resting for 48 hours we were to have moved off southwards--the CO and Coy Commanders departed first on a recce, the remainder to follow on the Sunday evening. This however, did not transpire as during the afternoon some French soldiers straggled into the camp with information that the Germans were advancing through the hills to the north. Later in the day Coy Commanders were called for and orders for a dawn attack formulated.

The Battalion was late over the Start Line, with A and B Coys leading, followed by D Coy with C Coy in reserve. It soon became apparent that the attack had failed. Numerous stragglers filtered back to the lines looking pale and tired: large numbers of the personnel of the companies had become casualties or had been taken prisoners. At this stage, the CO and Coy Commanders had returned and an attack by C Coy was planned to take place during the afternoon. This attack, supported by a composite company of Anti-Tank, Mortars and Carrier personnel, was successful although it left the two companies in open ground.

Two days later a further attack was 'laid on', a flanking movement by A, B and D Coys supported by C Coy, who later had to follow through. Again the attack did not go according to plan and the Battalion received another severe 'cutting up', with the disappearance of practically the whole of C Company. We withdrew, firstly to the woods of Sedjenane and later to the cover of the woods of Tabarka. All Sgt Majors except those of HQ and C Coys were killed. It was here that Lt Col Preston and Major Worrall joined the Battalion.

The situation was serious, but with the help of the Para Boys and reinforcements known as E Company under the command of Capt. Vizard and Capt. Reynolds (Long Tom), the situation improved about a week later.

Until the end of the campaign we never fought again as a Brigade, but were given the job of mobile reserve. This entailed travelling by night to various parts of the front, in order to give the impression that the First Army was strong in numbers. During this period we became attached to all formations of the
1st Army.


Pte Evan Darlington 1943 envelope
Pte T Tunney 23 Feb 1943 postcard

The postcard above was written in the brief break between the Battalion pulling out of the frontline at Green Hill and going into action at Sedjenane. Below, CSM Miles Etherington of B Company was one of the three Rifle Company CSMs killed in the action. Pte T Tunney, Pte N Cook and Pte E Darlington (see the envelope at the bottom of the page) of 15 Platoon, C Company were all posted as missing but later confirmed as POWs. Pte Darlington escaped to Switzerland in late 1943 Newspaper items courtesy of the Sunderland Echo and Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Evan Darlington envelope courtesy Roy Mills.
M Etherington newspaper item
Pte N Cook of Wheatley Hill
Pte T Tunney of Thornley