Haifa to Southampton via North Africa and Malta

marina around bay
Benghazi, Cyrenaica
street off roundabout, palm tree.
Benghazi NAAFI

"At last, the advance parties (of which the signals section was one) boarded a troopship for the two-day trip to Tobruk en route to Benghazi in North Africa where a few months were to be spent before returning to the UK with the rest of the British Army of Palestine. We stood at boat stations as the ship left Haifa, immediately running into rough weather that prostrated the largest part of the troops on board. I spent two days lying on deck with fellow suffers from sea sickness.

burnt out vehicle
Tobruk wreckage

The debris of war—tanks, guns, trucks—lay everywhere; Italian, German and British. The Italian slogan 'Credere! Obbedire! Combattere!' [believe, obey, fight], along with the letters HD (Highland Division) adorned many walls as we drove slowly towards Benghazi. All of the towns were as ghost towns, and only remnants of the previous populations were left.

We were all grateful to arrive at Tobruk where, after an overnight stay, all available personnel, drivers or not, were pressed into driving the regiment’s vehicles through the scenes of the recent war. We went through the towns of Derna, Barca and the Tocra Pass, all names familiar from the 8th Army days, when C-Squadron of the Dragoons had taken part in the Siege of Tobruk. At the little fort stopover at the Tocra Pass, a lingering interest in aircraft tempted me down a wadi towards a seemingly intact German Stuka—until the warnings about un-cleared mines all around brought a more sensible caution.

cinema building and army vehicle.
The Globe, Benghazi
three soldier sitting on a wall
Relaxing in Benghazi
harbour, ships and marina
Malta Harbour
soldier with bottle
Iain in Malta

Our stay in Malta was enlivened by the presence of the British Mediterranean Fleet and the arrival of a Yankee cruiser squadron. Groups of sailors brawled and fought up and down the medieval streets, including the famous ‘Gut’. The squaddies, of course, joined their fellow countrymen in the navy with boots and belts until the MPs and shore patrols brought some order."

Iain Craig, Kings Dragoon Guards, memoir

Whilst in Malta the men of the Kings Dragoon Guards did manage to fit in some relaxation.

harbour with boats
Grand Harbour
harbour, ships, ramparts
Grand Harbour

Photos contributed by Iain Craig's son, Karl.