'Echelon Stakes or November Handicap', 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), North Africa, 1941
Photograph compiled by Major Wilfred Herbert James Sale, MC, 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), World War Two, North Africa, 1941.
Allied trucks in the Libyan Desert.
Following the battle around Sidi Rezegh a German counterattack on 24 November 1941 created havoc as Allied supply columns were caught up in the fighting. The County of London Yeomanry regiments each had two echelon or supply units, known as 'A' and 'B' Echelons. The 'B' Echelons for the whole of 22nd Armoured Brigade were on the move when they were caught in the open by German armoured forces.
In an action that was subsequently referred to as the 'Echelon Stakes', the Allied vehicles scattered but over 200 allied soldiers were captured. Among the prisoners from 3rd City of London Yeomanry were Major Charles Rich, commander of 'B' Echelon, Captain Gavin Carew and Quartermaster Lieutenant Murdie Andrews.
The prisoners of war were driven off in lorries and unceremoniously dumped at a desert camp with just two guards. The captives quickly persuaded their captors to surrender, split into two groups and took off on different escape routes.
The party including Major Rich and the County of London Yeomanry were eventually rescued by Indian soldiers and returned to their brigade. Although not confirmed it appears that Sale was among those temporarily held prisoner by the Germans as he appears in another photograph with two other soldiers, captioned, 'after their escape'.
From an album containing 199 photographs compiled by Major Wilfred Herbert James Sale, MC, 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters).
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