By John Stanaway
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The 2/1st pressed forward with the 2/3rd Battalion on its right, capturing enemy posts from 28 Desert Sands—PAGES 8/7/03 1:12 PM Page 29 THE NORTH AFRICAN CAMPAIGN within the enemy perimeter. As with the first day’s battle, the Italian artillery was well handled and some of the gunners refused to surrender even with the Australian infantry surging into their positions. These brave soldiers, after firing on the Australians over open The Battle of Bardia, dusk, 3 January 1941. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Australian War Memorial 29 Desert Sands—PAGES 8/7/03 1:12 PM Page 30 DESERT SANDS, JUNGLE LANDS sights and inflicting casualties, were shot down while still serving their guns.
They are a strange race, these Jews. Most of those I have met are very keen on making the country their natural home & in spite of recent land regulations & opposition by the Arabs I think they will do so in the end. The climate here is very much like our own in Sydney in August. The first few weeks we were here it was as cold as billyoh. I had to wear a jumper all day. Now it has warmed up a lot but is still rather nippy in the evenings. We don’t get much rain. I think we have only had half a dozen wet days since we arrived.
The 2/1st Battalion commemorated Anzac Day on 25 April with most of the battalion getting up at 2 am and travelling in trucks to the Australian Section of the Gaza War Cemetery for the dawn service. Other small detachments marked Australia’s most significant national event by marching through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. While he enjoyed visiting Tel Aviv on occasions, Eather, like many Australians, found the hygiene standards and differing cultures in Egypt and Palestine hard to accept. In a letter to his sister, dated 25 April, Eather wrote: Since we have been here I’ve moved about a lot on various jobs & have seen quite a lot of this strange old land.