Colin F. Jones

ROLLS ROYCE RECONNAISSANCE
(Western Desert, 1941)

~ 1 ~

Two Rolls Royce armoured cars they had
To form the scouting troop,
Led by Sergeant Lamb who had his own,
A Morris designed to suit.

~ 2 ~

It was a cold clear night and the desert smooth,
Had favoured their vehicles springs,
The horizons were empty except for the moon,
And the sounds were of normal things.

~ 3 ~

Ten miles into the gap they’d gone,
But there was no sign of life at all,
No camp no minefield not even one,
Not a track of an Italian car.

~ 4 ~

Uncanny it was but time was at hand,
Sergeant Lamb called them to stop,
They all pulled up while the sergeant scanned,
The area from bottom to top.

~ 5 ~

In the luminous darkness they turned around,
After Lamb made a final sweep,
But nothing on the horizon was found,
All life it seemed asleep.

~ 6 ~

They passed a lonely pile of stones,
Which marked the Bir – a well,
It was half an hour before the dawn;
By the red sky you could tell.

~ 7 ~

They stopped and had a cup of tea,
Then continued into light,
For now the Sun was up and free,
The hot desert in clear sight.

~ 8 ~

Twenty miles out they heard the planes,
And they scattered far and wide,
But they were seen no cover reached,
They were in for a wild ride.

~ 9 ~

The bombs came down thick and fast,
As the Bren guns chattered back,
The dive bombers howling passed in mass,
In a blistering harsh attack.

~ 10 ~

There were twelve of them swooping down,
Caproni fighters strafing lead,
As the Bredas searched again for height,
As the three armoured cars all fled.

~ 11 ~

The drivers swerved their speeding cars,
In response to their firing gunners,
Who were fighting off the roaring planes,
And looking out for others.

~ 12 ~

Fourteen planes with bombs and guns,
And ammo was running short,
Both in the aircraft in their runs,
And the Brens would soon abort.

~ 13 ~

A bomb fell down ahead of them,
The one above them missed:
But the Sergeant’s car ran over it,
And exploded in a mist.

~ 14 ~

The car was turned upside down,
and the crew were flung about,
But at that spot the sand was soft,
And without injury the crew got out.

~ 15 ~

A Breda screamed in for the kill,
As Sergeant Lamb at point blank range,
Opened up with the a determined will,
With a hail of bullet rage.

~ 16 ~

The Breda flattened and hit the sand,
In an explosion of hot debris,
The Hussars ran with a helping hand
To drag the pilot free

~ 17 ~

But the Breda pilot was already dead,
And the other aircraft flew away,
Relief soothing all their constant dread,
That this was to be their final day.

~ 18 ~

The two armoured cars made it back home,
To C Squadron 11th Hussars lines,
The Rolls Royce scout cars still intact,
Without the loss of lives.

Rolls Royce armoured car
The Rolls Royce armoured car used against the Italians in the Western Desert in 1941 by the British