Thursday 3 March 2022

And Finally, My Sedjenane Battle Book Project.

I've just done a general clean up on the website, deleting dead links and tidying up pages. Still a way to go, but it should work and look a bit better now than it did before. I'd forgotten what a big site it is now: the site's search engine is the best way into it. There's probably still quite a few broken and rogue links, but a lost less than before. The software is now so old now (Serif Web 6, copyright year 2000!) that it's becoming very unstable, however I will still be adding the odd item and updating photo captions as appropriate. Next year, February 27th-4th March 2023, will be the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Sedjenane in Tunisia, in which 16 DLI suffered extremely heavy casualties. I'm finally getting around to writing what I hope will be the definitive history of the Battle and have a lot of additional original research and eyewitness testimony which is not on the website. I've got the 'untold story' and the structure of the book, firmly mapped out now in my head, but if there's anyone out there who thinks they can add to it with photographs, documents and the rest, please get in touch. This will be your last chance to contribute to the real story of one of the most costly, most mis-reported--and least understood--battles in the entire history of the Durham Light Infantry. Whether this book is self-published, published by a reputable publisher or simply handed over as a completed project to the relevant museums will be decided in due course. The imperatives of commercial publishing generally result in hastily written and/or sensationalised rubbish, so I will see what I've got when I've got it and decide on the matter then. I hope to have a complete manuscript/narrative by the end of the year. Writing the book also means finally getting around to transcribing the several telephone interviews I undertook with various 16th DLI, No 1 Commando and 2/5th Sherwood Forester veterans in the late 1990s. These were in addition to those undertaken by yours truly for the IWM in 1999-2004 and tended to be more informal. I also interviewed over the phone several veterans who were not interviewed by the IWM, and with the passage of time and WW2 now passing out of living memory, these interviews are even more important now than previously. I aim to have these tape interviews copied as MP3s and passed on to the IWM as part of the project in due course. Which brings me to my usual plea: the 1942 Company photographs of A Company, 16 DLI, C Company 16 DLI, and the various platoons of HQ Company 16 DLI, bar the Mortar Platoon, which is on the site here: are still lost to history. No museum or archive has them, yet they must still be out there somewhere. I've done my best to caption the photographs I do have, for instance see the B Company 16 DLI photograph here: These missing photographs, and the officers and men featured on them, deserve to see the light of day again after 80 years. The quest to find them continues!