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1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment
'Desert Warfare Exercises'

 

TARHUNA, NORTH AFRICA
The training camp at TARHUNA in North Africa was a desert barracks built by Mussolini in the 1930s to house his new empire forces. In the second world War it changed hands frequently and at the time of these exercises was in use by British Regiments when they used the Libyan desert for training.

 

Colonel BOSHELLS Comments
After handing over the command of the Battalion to Major GIBSON, Col BOSHELL said 'This was the first Battalion exercise they had been able to undertake for nine months and was the first in which some of the younger soldiers had taken part, One naturally expected a number of mistakes, and of course there were, but there was nothing very ghastly, They were the sort of mistakes which had we been in Libya for two months would have been eliminated.

Two aspects that please are :-

1. It confirmed what I already knew that the Battalion is extremely fit, and

2. Because of the high spirit among all ranks, I deliberately made the exercises severe, however good one may seem in training, tactics and general if one is not fit and determined in war the position becomes useless.

"Besides if you are going to walk dressed up like a Christmas tree carrying heavy loads and trudging 15 or even 20 miles across rough country, undertake flanking movements, put in attacks and still come up smiling when told to do another 15 miles, it requires guts and confidence. From every point of view I have no worry. I think the soldiers did extremely well."

In conclusion Col BOSHELL paid this tribute to his officers and men :-

"If we had to go into action tomorrow, I would not mind leading this Battalion"

Praise indeed from an officer who whilst serving as a Company Commander with the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment in the Burma Campaign during the Second World War, was awarded a Distinguished Service Order whilst relieving the garrison at KOHIMA, wounded during the same campaign and Mentioned in dispatches twice.  

 
IMAGES FROM TARHUNA

Welcome to TARHUNA, North Africa

The Guardroom, TARHUNA

A 1st Bn D.E.R.R. Regimental Policeman directs a local

Spence and Simpson, Tarhuna

Lt Ian SPENCE (Left) now Regimental Secretary and Ron SIMPSON (Centre)

B Coy 1 DERR attack

'B' Company 1st DERR attack during Exercise 'Sand Beetle'

 

The Bn advance (Uphill)

The 1st Bn DERR advance (This gives a clear view of the terrain)

 

B Coy Advance

B Coy 1 DERR advance, ignore the goats A pause in the advance

The attack goes in B Coy 1DERR

The attack goes in

Bn HQ watch an air drop

1 DERR Bn HQ, liaise with the RAF regarding an Air drop

 

Some Battalion personalities in Tarhuna

Cpl KEMMISH

Drummer M FRANKS

Cpl Micheal KEMMISH, from Wokingham Drummer Michael FRANKS from Reading
Drummers SMITH and STANNARD Ptes BARNES and GASK
Drummer David SMITH (Left) and Drummer Reg STANNARD both from Reading.

On demob both became very active members of the Regimental Association in Reading. Dave is still Active, Reg has since unfortunally died

'Laughing boy'

Pte David GASK (Right) with Pte Denis BARNES, both from Reading. Barnsy is also a member of the Reading Association branch

Pte WAGSTAFF

Pte SHILTON

Pte WAGSTAFF Pte Michael SHILTON

Ptes POYNTER and DEVLIN

Sgts MARTIN and WHITING

The Zoo Men

Pte Melvyn POYNTER from Reading with his Chameleon, and Pte Walter DEVLIN displays his stuffed exhibits (What can we say !!)

See the Malaya page linked to the Catterick posting to see Cpl M POYNTER reappear as a 'Jungle warrior'

Sgts MARTIN (Battalion crack shot) on the left and Chris WHITING enjoy an off duty moment, (Both appearing to impersonate President NASSER

Cpl SEWARD and Pte CHURCH

Cpl SEWARD and Pte CHURCH, attempting to brew up

Battalion Church Service

1st Bn DERR Church Service, Tarhuna, North Africa.

 

 

Acknowledgments
The Web team would like to thank Ron SIMPSON for his help in gathering information for this page. A full account of the North African Exercises are to be found in the Regimental History 'Cold War Warriors'
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 19 July 2006.