Letter from North
Africa (6 pages)
Cousin Bob Taylor has a letter in his mother's own handwriting of the following excerpt from DaveĄŻs letter of 14.8.42 to his mother:
The last six weeks or so, there have been time when I thought that being a soldier was worth Six & six a moment, but those moments donĄŻt come very often, and as a rule, the worse they are, the bigger laugh we get afterwards. Only Aussies can do that, laugh afterwards. I donĄŻt mean weeks or months, but in the space of minutes or hours, after danger, these Aussies can laugh.
Do you wish to know of the very first time, that I have ever realised just what it to be an Aussie, what it felt like to be one of them and to be really proud of the fact. It happened coming up to this Desert battle some time ago. Civvies were leaving Alex in droves, mostly by train; they thought Mr Rommel was the winner at last, the roar of his artillery could be heard up the coast road, his flare could be seen by night. Our brave cobbers the Kiwis had already met him, well, odd building were blazing in the city as this Btn. came driving through, lorry after endless lorry, packed with sunburnt, healthy Aussies, and as the convoy sped through those cities foreign streets, where from every window, roof-top, door & garden gate, men, women and children, waved, cried and cheered, at street corners dense packs threw flowers, cigs, papers, and gave us their God Blessing in Arabic.
Where dear old ladies wave hankies & blessed us, young pretty girlies
gave cheery smiles and threw us kisses. Young mother held tiny tots up so they
could see the Australians more easily. And just what were these same mad Aussies
doing, how were they taking this rowdy passing welcome?
Where dear old ladies wave hankies & blessed us, young pretty girlies gave cheery smiles and threw us kisses. Young mother held tiny tots up so they could see the Australians more easily. And just what were these same mad Aussies doing, how were they taking this rowdy passing welcome?
mine, thatĄŻs just when I felt so proud to be one of them, to see & watch
& hear them, every man knowing full well where he was going & what was
ahead of him & not so far either & every man shouting & waving,
singing songs, Ki Yi Yippy & a lot of others. Calling out so loudly - Oh o
oh, when they spotted an extra good sort & altogether not seeming to give a
damn & that is the very thing that makes me so proud to be an Aussie; these
chappies with the big wide grins & rough manners are the only soldiers in
this mad world today who can do that sort of thing & I have seen thousands
of troops in this dirty ME - Indians, SĄŻAf, Poles, Scots, Tommies & Free
French besides the silly looking local? direction. And our boys are the only
ones that laugh & sing & joke when things are really tough. The NZĄŻs
are the next to us in ways, in looks we are no dif, they are ever so much
quieter. Seldom use our slang.