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15 October 2014
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My Best Story: A Tractor in Palestineicon for Recommended story

by noel-carter

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Jack Carter John Carter
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14 June 2004

In WW1 my father 'Jack' was in the AOC (Army Ordnance Corps)helping to build a road from Egypt to the fighting front in Palestine. They lived in tents.

Jack drove an American built HELT Caterpillar tractor.

When Armstice was declared and his mob were preparing to return home, the question was 'What do we do with our tractors?'

Sergeant Major said 'line them up at the side of the road'. (Off the road of course).

When my brother John was 'called up' in 1942, he trained as a road operator. He was given leave when in Libya, and cadged a lift (air) to Palestine.

There he remembered Dad's story and searched for his tractor. Found it and others exactly as left in 1919. Metal work, no rust as scoured and polished by wind blown sand.

Nablous Road, our house in Port Lane Colchester was called 'Ramleh'. Now called 'Ramala',

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Message 1 - Best story.

Posted on: 15 June 2004 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

I read your story and smiled. Having been in that neck of the woods or desert I should say I would bet there was only the frame and heavy bits left.
In my time anything left at the side of the road vanished as if eaten by termites overnight. That included Tanks.
All Crews had strict instructions to stay with any broken down vehicle until the L of C Patrol (us) came along. We would then find that anything movable including the fuel had been taken from under the crews noses without them even knowing.
When our Tent man could shave us with out even waking us up what else did we expect, they could steal your skin while you wore it.
Regards Frank.

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