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15 October 2014
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Gun Team plus Terrier: Near Tobrukicon for Recommended story

by angelatownsend

Contributed by 
angelatownsend
People in story: 
George Brown
Location of story: 
El Adhem near Tubrook
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A2446698
Contributed on: 
20 March 2004

Transcribed directly from my Grandfather's tape recording.

I had a new driver Joe Grundish he brought with him a little terrier named Spot and Spot was a great asset to us, he could tell the difference in the sound of enemy aircraft and our own, if he ran to the gun pit barking we could be certain we could get ready for action even before headquarters had alerted us by phone. If it was one of ours he would wag his tail furiously. There was another way too that Spot was used. Our 3 tonne lorry out in the blazing sun would be charged with static electricity, if we touched any part of the metal door or tailboard one got a nasty electric shock so Spot was put in first and if he didn’t jump about like a yo-yo we knew it was safe for us, he was a good detector. .........

I can’t give dates for these events as we only knew the year days and time were all one daylight and darkness were all we were concerned with but after two days ( my notes - ordered retreat possibly from Bhurka near Benghazi ) we were shepherded onto a one time airforce landing ground at El Adhem near Tubrook.There were already some heavy Ack Ack guns there with our 15 Beaufers that meant nine of our guns and crews were not accounted for in the retreat from Benghazi. I was taken to a position with my gun crew near the escarpment or hills as the gun to fire warning shots for the rest of the guns to go into action I was one that volunteered for these daft things in those days and my gun team didn’t enjoy it at all a brigadier had paid us a visit and he said “ We’re going to get our own back on Jerry tonight Sargeant , all transport coming from the escarpment will be enemy. As soon as you see or hear any movement get your shots off and we will give them a bloody nose tonight“ So I settled in gun and gun team making sure to take bearings and back bearings of guns but most essential was the one back to the coast road if we had to run for it. There was a half moon shining and I doubled the guard. All was well until about 1.00am when one of the guards said “ Sarge, there’s vehicles coming to us from the escarpment “ Gun team were in their positions, I heard the number 4 pull the hand operating lever to the rear of the catch and a round was pressed onto the loading tray, hand operating lever was replaced and reported held, I waited for the vehicles to come within about a hundred yards. They were all infantry trucks, no guns or tanks, then they all stopped. My gun team were swearing at me for delaying to fire - the little dog Spot was standing in front of me with his tail wagging , should I trust him with vehicle engines or fire the warning shot? I said “ Chaps hold your fire I’m going to try to crawl out to hear them talking, if they are enemy, I’ll fire my rifle “ Well, I listened and couldn’t understand a word until an order was given in English to which I promptly said “Who are you?” and back came the answer “ What the bloody hell’s it got to do with you?” I was still in the crawl position when I challenged him to come forward to me and be recognised. He said “ We’ve come through the desert from Benghazi, our officers have all been killed and it has left me a sergeant with 200 Ghurkas.” When I told him about the box of guns he said “ You have saved us all from being killed and the lads will be indebted to you” They stayed with us and the Sargeant explained it all to my officer who said to me “ Sergeant Brown, you put the whole exercise last night in jeapardy, it was foolhardy what you did” I had the complete satisfaction of 200 brave lads being saved to fight another day, where many did at Alhemein, thanks to a little dogs intuition.

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