Ernest Sewell, 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, remembers the ferocity of the fighting around Longstop Hill, Tunisia, in April 1943.
Eric Reeves
Private Eric Reeves

Shocking. They had these airbursts and this shrapnel come right the way down on you with these airbursts just above your head and we went into an attack, what they call a creeping barrage. The troops had to stop about 100 yards behind our artillery. Of course some pitched short because they were about 18 to 20 miles back. A lot of them pitched short among their own troops. Got through that and one thing and another. We went to Longstop Hill where that Harry Secombe [was] and Spike Milligan, he was there but He was in the artillery and we were in the East Surreys. And on that Longstop Hill they [the Germans] drove the Americans off. It was horrific. Anyway, we had to go up there, they turned us up there. It was absolutely shocking. Anyway, they drove us back only to the bottom of the hill, and the Churchill and Sherman tanks were waiting at the bottom of the hill to mow us down in cold blood. That is true, they was there lined up. They said we had got to go back so we had to go back there, or we would have been shot down with those. And when the night time came - there was a Lieutenant, he was only with us a week. He was in the middle, this was at night, pitch black, and a Sergeant [was] there, and I - I was a Corporal at that particular time - I was on the other side, and no more [distance] than to that gentleman there [points to cameraman] this machine gun went off. We never had time to spread. This Lieutenant caught the lot and of course we skidded about a hundred yards, I took turf and everything, I did, going along that ground, and the Sergeant went off somewhere else. Well whatever happened to the Lieutenant, I don't know, he was killed because he got the whole burst you see. He never had time to spread, it was so near. So I found my way back in the morning, I laid there all night, I found my unit. Got back and this Sergeant found his way back, but he went off his rocker, he stood there like that, he took his hat off, his Army hat, threw it into the sand, swivelled with his foot, picked it up, dusted it off like that, put it on his head as if he was looking into a mirror like that. Then all of a sudden he run and jumped over the washing which he had tied up between the trees. Jumped over. Anyway they took him away and we don't know whatever happened.