The publication is sub-titled - Recollections of El Alamein Charles G. McKenzie As Told To Graeme E. Petterwood.

Graeme Petterwood has supplied some additional background to McKenzie:-

"Charlie drove petrol tankers for a commercial oil company after his return to civilian life - when he became a part-time soldier and our paths first crossed.

Charles Gilbert McKenzie was most definitely my B.S.M., during the 1956 - 1960-ish era, in the post-war CMF - 'F' Troop, 'R' Battery - 6th Field Regiment R.A.A. - and helped train me in my role as a National Serviceman gunner through to my final rank of gun-sergeant in the CMF. We remained good friends for many years - right up until his death. My referral to Charlie in the Foreword (copy below) of "GIMME THE GUNS" published in 2003, just prior to his passing, was in the El Alamein context.

I had access to a great amount of personal and official documentation supplied by Charlie to enable his story to be written. Unfortunately, his terminal ill health robbed me of the opportunity of completing the whole of his war-time experiences. I had actually started on another chapter relating to the years when he went on to help fight the Japanese threat, but I shelved it when I realised he would not last long enough for me to finish it nor him to read it".

 

Forward

When my former 6 Fd. Rgt. B.S.M., Charles McKenzie, first brought his notes to me for reading I realised that not all the stories about WWII in Northern Africa had been told. For some time I had pestered him to put on paper some of the reminiscences that he shared with other Artillery comrades, little knowing that he had already spent half a lifetime doing so - in great depth - in his own unpublished memoirs.

To supplement his own diaries, Charles has pieced together some of the actions he was involved in from major historical archival documents, much from his own service records and much more from his sharp memory of those times when millions of young men went to war.

This whole yarn, however, is from a common soldier’s viewpoint - it was not written with the understanding of the decisions that shaped destiny but only those that forever affected him and his companions.

To quote Tasmanian Gnr. TX 1467 McKenzie, C.G. - ‘D’ Trp. 16th Field Battery, 2/8th Aust. Field Regiment, 9th Australian Division -

“This work is a compilation of dates and events from many sources that I have managed to obtain, as well as seeing some of those events through the eyes of a soldier on the ground. Much of my information is in hindsight after perusal of official histories, unit histories, biographies and my own diary. Diary dates are accurate but because diaries were banned at the time I kept mine low key in the event that I might be captured ... but my entries are as accurate as History”

I am glad that I have been able to assist in my own small way to help Charles tie up the few loose ends, dot the i's and cross the t's - and perhaps lay a few ghosts!

Graeme E. Petterwood.

Launceston.

26thJune,2003