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The GI's Need Melons!

by CSV Media NI

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Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
CSV Media NI
People in story: 
Robert McDowell
Location of story: 
North Africa
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
19 January 2006

This story was posted by Mark Jeffers with permission from the author.

In October we left County Down, Northern Ireland and made for Crewe in England. In December we sailed from Liverpool to Oran in North Africa in a converted mail boat, which had previously sailed between England and South Africa. Our ship narrowly escaped a U-boat torpedo in the Mediterranean and we arrived safely. I remember seeing our Division Commander, General Ward, in North Africa — he was shooting at an attacking German fighter with a 45-caliber pistol! Captain Browning was promoted to Major, then Lieutenant-Colonel (Battalion Commander). While still our Captain, he saved me from a Court-Martial, when Second Lieutenant McClure caught me buying melons to give to GIs who were up on a charge, and I was on a detail to guard. Captain Browning showed what he thought of the charge by going out the same evening and getting melons for them himself! As for our own rations, the Mess Hall had a truck, and we also had ‘10 in 1’ rations, which each contained enough to provide a tank crew of five men with three meals a day. They consisted of a cardboard box containing canned meals like bacon and eggs, sausage and eggs and potatoes and beans.

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