The Crusader, Eighth Army Weekly, No. 26, Vol. 2, October 26th 1942

C R U S A D E R part were too busy “brewing up" to worry about the fleeing hordes of the enemy. In the siege of Tobruk the unit did good work helping in the bomb-pocked hospital, where they evacuated survivors from two wards which had been completely wrecked. After being relieved from Tobruk, and refitted, the unit returned to the desert where one detachment was involved in the bomb­ ing by the Germans of a South African C.C.S., and suffered several casualties. BENGHAZI "CAPTURED" Another page was added to the history of the unit by the “capture” of Benghazi by a few ambulances headed by an R.A.M.C. sergeant who played them into the town on his bagpipes before it had been occupied by our fighting troops. Hearing the sound of English voices from a building he went in and discovered a party of Tom­ mies. They thought he was a prisoner like themselves and there was quite a bit of con­ versation at cross-purposes before they rea­ lised that they were free men once more. The sergeant celebrated his “capture” of the town by broadcasting on his b f> 'i - > South Africa on Christmas D- .941 During our subsequ<‘ -ire-: > r ¦ the unit's drivers was t r e t h e 4 In­ dian Div. and accomj ch*m -a their historic break through, i adu.-c during this operation earned him .ate re­ ward of the Military Medal. One of the finest episo^s in the his­ tory of the unit was it’s evacuation of casualties from Bir Hacheim, during the battle of Knightsbridge. Ambulances stood by under fire during the whole of the operation and every patient was brought back safely to the C.C.S. Owing to shortage of medical officers on the spot an R.A.M.C. sergeant of the unit did magnificent work administering first aid to the wounded for many hours un­ der fierce fire. For the best part of two and a-half years the men of the M.A.C. have been at work in the desert. They have travelled thousands of miles, sometimes driving for twenty or thirty hours without rest, mostly at speeds of about two miles an hour. They have brought help and comfort to many hundreds of our sick and wounded comrades. Never has an ambulance failed to get back with its patients, never has the unit failed to sup­ ply an ambulance when called upon. C & o J i e f y B y J « f l SCOTCH WOODCOCK The first letter I’ve picked up this week comes from "Unexpired Portion” of 30 Corps. He says “could you tell me if Scotch Woodcock should be roasted or braised”. The reason I ask is because one of the cooks has promised to bring back some with him from leave. Could you help me with the stuffing? Keep up the good work in 'Crusader”. * * * Certainly, the best place to get the stuff­ ing is from the shop that sells the Angels for "Angels on Horseback” and the Cotta­ ges for "Cottage Pie”. {Editor’s N ote : — A Scotch Woodcock is scrambled eggs on toast with anchovies.) COOK'S PAY Recently I have had one or two ques­ tions in, regarding Non-Tradesmen cooks : there are Class I Non-Tradesman; Class II Non-Tradesman and Unqualified. Any man who works in the kitchen within an author­ ised establishment can get 3d. per diem as an unqualified cook. This can be granted him by his C.O. The classification to Class I or Class II Non-Tradesman has to be carried out by a Catering Adviser or at a School. However, should a man be classi­ fied Class II by a Catering Adviser, he is entitled to ask his C.O. for an upgrading to Class I Non-Tradesman after carrying out his duties satisfactorily for six months as a Class II Non-Tradesman cook. HOTEL COOKS Sergeant Guiguet wants to know the whereabouts of any of the cooks from L.M.S. Hotels. — I think I met one of the Bruche Brothers out here (from the Adelphi, Liverpool) and the other day came across Sgt. Noble who used to be Chef Pattisssier at the Exchange. Are there any others out here? If so. drop me a line and I'll pass on the news. * * * Many thanks for your letter Sgt. Dreer (10 Armd. Div.). I know just how hard it is to split rations for vehicle cooking, but I'm afraid that, although this has been the "bete noire" of every “Q” Officer since "Smuggins” came to the desert, little can be done about it. Small packs mean more shipping and more tin plate. THIS WEEK'S RECIPE Here’s this week's recipe : — R ock Cakes. — 1 1/2 lbs. flour; 1 oz. baking powder; 1/2 pint milk and water; 1/2 lb. margarine; 1/4 lb. currants and rai­ sins; l/2_ lb. sugar; pinch of salt. Sift flour through hands, add baking pow­ der and salt; rub in the margarine; mix in sugar and fruit; make a bay; add milk and mix lightly into a slightly sloppy dough. Place spoonful by spoonful (don’t shape) on greased tray and bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes. The other day I met up with some peo­ ple who called themselves the M.A.C., in official lingo, Motor Ambulance Convoy. Operated by a combination of R.A.M.C. and R.A.S.C. their function is to remove patients from Field Ambulances and trans­ port them via a Casualty Clearing Station to the Medical Railhead or its equivalent. But in desert warfare these limitations ra­ rely apply and the duties of a M.A.C. are many and arduous. One particular M.A.C. unit now in the desert has the honour of being not only the oldest medical unit but is also among the units of the British Army which have served longest in the “blue.” W ay back in 1939 it was on manoeuvres in the de­ sert and since April 1940 it has taken part in every campaign in these parts. Many a tale can be told by its members, stories of captures and escapes, of famous and peculiar patients, of surprise meetings with the German and Italian armies. Nearly every one of the older members has been taken prisoner at least once, and one has had this experience three times. ITALIAN GENERAL One patient was “Electric Whiskers,” the Italian General Bergonzoli. On another occasion the “guests” included a number of Italian women. One of these, perhaps fear­ ing a “fate worse that death” at the hands of the “brutal and licentious British soldie­ ry,” tried to commit suicide by jumping into the sea at Solium. Her effort was thwarted by the prompt action of the ambulance dri­ vers armed with boat-hooks and tow-ropes. Sometimes the ambulances of the M.A.C. have accompanied our flying columns and m sometimes they have cleared casualties from the field of battle. On occasion they have become mixed up with the retreating Ita­ lians. But the Ities were far too intent on escaping to molest our people, who for their - 3 -
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