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Knightsbridge Survivor Remembers

Discussion in 'North Africa: Western Desert Campaigns 1940 to Ope' started by The_Historian, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    "Ordered to ‘fight to the last man and the last round’, they stuck to their guns as their comrades fell around them.
    For three days, the brave band of Desert Rats suffered relentless Panzer attacks and mounting casualties as they held the line in North Africa from Rommel’s advancing tanks.
    Their heroism during one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War was later immortalised on canvas.
    Now the only surviving ‘Tommy’ depicted in the painting, 93-year-old Ray Ellis, has told of the ‘miracle’ that saved his life.

    [SIZE=1.2em]The helmeted gunner in the foreground of the artwork, he is shown fighting to the end as the bodies of his brothers in arms from the 426th Battery of the South Nottinghamshire Hussars lie all around.[/SIZE]
    In an emotional moment to be shown on BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow tomorrow, the former sergeant points to the dramatic painting and says: ‘I am that man. I fired the last round.’
    Describing the events of the last day of the battle on June 6, 1942, Mr Ellis told how he remained at his 25-pounder gun and witnessed the death of the shirtless comrade beside him.
    He said: ‘My regiment had been given the order to fight to the last man and the last round and not to retire, and this painting shows our position after a long day’s battle.
    [SIZE=1.2em]‘I fought in that battle. I am in fact that man there. And the reason I can say that is because the regiment was almost wiped out – but by some miracle, I was the last man virtually, and I fired the last round.[/SIZE]
    ‘That round, which was at about six o’clock at night, hit a Mark IV tank. Then the man standing at the side of me was killed because a German tank had come up behind us and fired its machine gun, almost point blank.
    'And I took a deep breath and waited for mine. For some reason the tank didn’t fire and I survived and am still here.’"

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2301328/I-Desert-Rat-left-firing-Rommels-Panzers-Incredible-tale-heroism-Antiques-Roadshow-painting.html#ixzz2OzWhsg00
     
    Johnesgef and 4jonboy like this.
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy New Member

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    Thanks for posting that Gordon, a really interesting story. I will be watching the programme tomorrow.
    I must say I do like Terence Cuneo's paintings.

    Lesley
     
  3. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Should be a good one, Lesley.
    My father was in the Battleaxe division too; he was Royal Corps of Signals attached to 36 Infantry Brigade.
     
  4. 4jonboy

    4jonboy New Member

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    Another D-Day Dodger then :)
     
  5. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Yep!
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard

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    A good story, Gordon. I'm glad the painting is not for sale. I'm also happy that Mr. Ellis saw it as well.
     
  7. 4jonboy

    4jonboy New Member

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    Watched this programme last night, very good. Ray Ellis looked good for 93 years of age.
    Did you happen to see the little mouse on the painting-it had a little gun all of its own ;).
    (The mouse is Terence Cuneo's trademark-usually somewhere on his paintings)

    Lesley
     

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