In my generation there have been wars like the Gulf War, the one over in Somalia, the situation in Rawanda, even the Falkland war. The Vietnam war was happening around about the time that I was born and before that there was the war in Korea. More recently, there is the war between the USA and the Taliban. The USA call it a war for freedom, the Taliban call it a war against Islam. In war, there are never any winners, only losers. The losers are the ones that never make it home again, the families who wait for their loved ones to return, in vain. The mothers who mourn their sons, and the brides who are left to explain why daddy isnt coming home. The brave men who do make it home, whether their country was victorious or not are left with scars that will never heal, nightmares that never go away and then the almost impossible task of trying to pick up where they left off...most can't, because the images that they saw will forever be part of them. So who are the winners in war?
In my sheltered life, i've thankfully never been confronted with fearing for my life in the way those in war torn countries have. I've never known the agony of losing someone who went off to fight a war that they may not even have believed in. I've never seen the horrific images of war, nor looked in the faces of people who were lost and dying. But my grandfather has. Not the Vietnam war, not the Gulf war.....but World War 2. And in this case, specifically the battle of El Alamein.
I never knew my grandfather, he died shortly before I was born, but he has a story to tell. There are many who probably have never really been interested in the second world war. It happened a long time ago. Long before I was born anyway. And what was there to know about it anyway? Other than what we learned in school. How those two big bombs ended it all...and good for that anyway, because how else would it ever had ended? Who cares? I never did. But, it happened and it was real. As real as it felt to those that died in the Vietnam war, the war in Somalia, the innocents that died in the World Trade Center on September 11th 2001. It was as real as the grief felt by all those that lost lovers/sons/brothers and fathers in all the wars since then and before then. The ones we remember from what we saw on TV, what we read in newspapers and what we heard on the radio. The ones that never touched us.
It was real, perhaps even more so as it signified the death of so many millions of people. World War 2.
My grandfather kept diaries of his time spent up in the north of Africa. I dont promise you sensationalism. Just the truth of what it was like for one man. A man I never even knew, my grandfather.
I want to tell his story. He was, from what ive learnt very passionate about the war, and what it meant to him and those that did make it home. And I therefore dedicate this page to him, and to his memory.
This is his story:
A note for the reader:
There is a lot of reading here, some may even bore you at stages as he deals with philosophy and other times slight depression, but for those of you who want to get a 'first hand' account of what it was like, this is what you should read.
Also, reader, I do ask that you excuse all spelling mistakes on my part. I have spell checked but its very likely I may have missed some. Also, the grammer i've entered here is exactly as was written, as I did not wish to change it in anyway. Lastly, I regret that it is possible that I have spelt names of places wrong. These were typed as I was able to make them out in his handwritting, and if, there are spelt incorrectly, a note from you with the correct spelling would be appreciated.
This has been a labour of love on my part. I am proud to have this man as my grandfather, but I do deeply regret that I was never able to know him personally. Due to the fact that both my grandparents are now dead, and the fact that they had together started to edit the diaries, I believe that it was his wish that they be published. I regret that he is not here to see his words on the net. Whether it interests anyone or not, is not the point. Whether it gets read or not is niether here nor there...I believe that he would have been happy to finally have his views on his time at war finally available to whomever wishes to read them.
Lastly, everything written here is copyright to W.S. Hawkins and nothing may be copied whether part or in full without the express permission of his son and daughter. Kindly request such permission by emailing me if indeed that is your wish.