A well attended meeting of Aboyne & District Probus Club were treated to a very authoritative talk by Captain Alec Rose TA at their meeting on 12 March.
Cpt Rose, who is an Estate Manager and former regular soldier, is a Captain in the 51st Highland Batt’n, Royal Regiment of Scotland in Inverness and has made a very full study of the role of the 51st Highland Division at the battle of El Alamein.
Before his main talk Cpt Rose described the role of the TA and its planned expansion as the regular army is to be reduced in size. The 51st Highland TA is based at Stornaway, Wick, Peterhead and Dundee as well as Inverness.
In 1942 the position of the Allies was grave. Churchill needed a major success to help convince the Americans that the first priority was the war in Europe. The Desert war had been a campaign of movement back and forth across Tunisia and Libya. The British, Australian, South African and New Zealand divisions and the Desert Air Force was now under an integrated command and had a numerical advantage.
Alec explained how the 51st had reached the desert in 1942 having be reformed in Scotland after the huge losses in France in 1940 and under Gen. The battle opened with a huge barrage on 23 October 1942 and was to last 12 days. The 51st, organised into 3 brigades, advanced behind a creeping barrage to take the objectives set out in Gen.
The 51st gained almost all of their objectives and took hundreds of prisoners. The battle raged on, with attack and counter attack and many lives were lost. Rommel, most of his tanks destroyed and his army severely depleted, disobeyed Hitlers orders and started the retreat which resulted in the expulsion of all Axis forces from N Africa in 1943. Cpt Rose also laid out a copy of the plan with which Gen Wimberley had briefed his men and used this together with slides and video to deliver a very clear and informative talk.
After questions, John Stephen thanked Cpt Rose for taking the time to come to the Club. The next meeting is on 26 March when speaker will be Bert Hosie of Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association. All retired gentlemen are welcome.