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On 1 January 1938, Hugh Peter de Lancy Samwell was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's). The battalion was shipped to Egypt in June 1942 and, as part of the famous 51st (Highland) Division, arrived in time to prepare for the Second Battle of El Alamein.
In this fascinating memoir Samwell describes this and other battles the 7th Argylls were involved in throughout the war in the desert with refreshing simplicity and exciting detail. Promoted to Major, Samwell fought with the Eighth Army across Libya and into Sicily.
What makes his story so different from the many that have been published over the years is that it was written as it happened, not at some later date when it could be embellished with the received words from other tales and the afterthoughts of the historians. We know this for sure because Hugh Samwell, who was wounded and awarded the Military Cross, did not live to see the end of the war. He was killed in action on 13 January 1945.
Samwell's memoir, reproduced here in full, was originally published in 1945 as An Infantry Officer with the Eighth Army: The Personal Experiences of an Infantry Officer during the Eighth Army's Campaign though Africa and Sicily. Hugh Samwell never saw his book in print.
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