Author(s): Bruce Robertson
Second World War
Infantryman Bruce Robertson had a long war. A volunteer with the First Echelon, he entered Trentham Military Camp in October 1939, sailed for the Middle East in January 1940 and entered Maadi Camp near Cairo late the following month. While other early volunteers returned home on furlough in 1943 - many permanently - Bruce found himself overseas for the duration after being captured by Rommel's troops during the first Battle of El Alamein in July 1942. He would see out the rest of the war behind barbed wire in Italy and Germany. Arriving in Egypt as a private soldier, he later received officer training. In February 1942, as a newly commissioned lieutenant, he travelled to Syria, where 2NZEF was on border watch for German troops that might seek a back door route to Egypt via Turkey and Syria. During this time, Bruce began to write about his experiences, initially in the form of recollections and later as diary entries. Bruce Robertson has given one of our more detailed and perceptive personal accounts of Kiwi war service, from both active service and POW points of view.