The Middle East
Foreword by Major-General Michael Forrester CB CBE DSO MC
This book, so ably and devotedly written by Major R.B. Johnson, a former Queen’s officer, with the generous support of Mrs Daphne Hill, tells the story of The Queen’s Royal Regiment in the Middle East and North Africa during the first three years of the Second World War.
Following the Prologue, which summarises the distinguished part played by the 2nd Battalion in Palestine during the Arab Rebellion, the narrative goes on to describe the important and varied roles carried out by 2nd Queen’s in the Middle East during 1940-42.
These include its part in General O’Connor’s offensive, which resulted in the capture of Cyrenaica and the destruction of an Italian army of almost a quarter of a million men, the Syrian Campaign, and later the Siege of Tobruk.
Thereafter, the spotlight switches to the arrival in Egypt of the 131st (Queen’s) Brigade of 44th Division; of its part in the Battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein; and of its achievements as the Lorried Infantry Brigade of 7th Armoured Division in the advance across the Western Desert, through Libya, to Tunis.
The story continues with the voyage from the UK of 169th (Queen’s) Brigade of 56th Division; of winter in Iraq; and then, following the longest approach march in history, its role in the capture of Tunis.
Having had the privilege of serving in 2nd Queen’s, and later in 1/6th Queen’s, and having many friends, too, in 169 Brigade, I am sure that this book, which I regard as a timely and welcome supplement to the now out of print Volume VIII History of The Queen’s Royal Regiment, will give great pleasure to many by reminding them of friends and events of over half a century ago.
Throughout its pages runs the theme of service, wholeheartedly given by men bound together by the spirit of comradeship based on regimental tradition, then nearly 300 years old.
“Pristinae Virtutis Memor.”