University of Oxford
78d5f9f8690c98796f0effc12d43f17f413ad99f.pdf (4.6 kB)

Extraordinary Encounter

Download (4.6 kB)
online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:11 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Syd remembered an unexpected meeting the year before he was captured and smiled; yes it was an extraordinary encounter, especially considering the madness of the war they were all currently engaged in. Syd recalled that the sun was beating down directly overhead and the air in the army truck was stifling; winding down the windows, the breeze enveloped his face which helped; he had managed to get a decent speed out of the old jalopy and was enjoying the feeling of flying down the long straight dusty road through the desert. He was pleased to be out of the front line for a spell and away from officers giving him orders back at the barracks, the freedom of the open road was a tonic after his last spell of driving tanks. He was somewhere in Palestine and the war was going badly for the Allies but so far, he had managed to keep his head down and stay safe. His enjoyment was soon ruined when he heard a plane buzzing overhead. He had a stack of ammunition supplies in the back and he was on red alert in case they were targeted. The plane suddenly opened fire. 'Oh Christ,' said Syd and turned to his co-driver Tommy,

'Don't know about you Tom but I don't fancy going up.'
'Put yer foot down Syd and see if you can outrun them.'
'Have a look Tom and see how many are up there.' Tom leaned out of the open window and looked up.
'There are two planes whooping about up there, can't work out whose they are as the sun is in my eyes, could be bloody Yanks for all I know, they're a bit handy with their firing but I did see Jerry earlier.' Syd put his foot down on the accelerator and tried to get the old lorry to go a bit faster, there was no shelter as the road was long and straight and the glare of the sun dazzled the road making it looked like a river. Suddenly Syd shouted,

'Oh, bloody hell.' He had spotted a stationary lorry blocking the road in front of them. Noting the British signage, Tom said, 'At least it is one of ours.'

'What idiot would leave their lorry blocking the road, silly sods,' he screamed. 'Tom, get ready to dive into the ditch on the right as soon as I stop, you ready, now.' The lorry screeched to a halt and both men jumped out. The planes above buzzed them a couple of times and then moved on.
'Glad those bastards have gone, said Syd, let's go and sort out the idiots who left their lorry in the middle of the road'.
'Here said Tom, look at those guys up there, it looks like there's a game of cards in progress.' They moved thirty yards up the ditch, closer to the card players and were just about to remonstrate with them when one of the guys suddenly looked up at Syd and said very calmly with a huge grin on his face, 'Hello Bruv'. Would you believe it, there in the middle of Palestine, in the desert, miles from civilisation Syd comes across his older brother George calmly playing cards in a ditch. 'You, silly arse,' shouted Syd, 'I can't believe that you would leave the lorry slap bang in the middle of the road so nobody could get by?' George looked up to his brother who was looming over him and casually shielding his eyes from the sun, a smile spread across his face. Chuckling he said, 'I see the war has done nothing for your temper bruv; you should know me by now, those planes could have fired at us and I never take any chances, I have a wife and kids back home; I intend to see them again after this madness is over.' Syd shrugged and felt his tension release, typical George he thought, always ensuring number one came first. Syd realised the irony of finding his brother in the middle of nowhere and it was a comfort to know that he was safe as he hadn't heard from him in two years and here he was sitting in a ditch in the middle of the desert playing cards. Syd laughed, 'Yes that is my brother he always finds a way to make a fast buck.'

'Come on Syd,' said George, 'shall I deal you in? I have a living to make you know; we are playing three card brag; put some money in the pot and join us.' An hour later they decided it was safe to carry on with their journey and George took them back to his camp where to Syd's amazement some stupid officer had put him in charge of stores. Syd laughed, 'Can't think what fool gave him that job', but they all had a good feed and drink and did very nicely that night thank you very much.


Person the story/items relate to

Lance Sergeant Sydney Frederick Anderson (1 March 1921 - 20 April 2001) 46th Division Reece Corps

Person who shared the story/items

Janet Hack

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

My Father

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID