Dennis Davis - Skiing in Syria
We got back to our place at Tripoli and one day they said "We're now going to form a skiing battalion" and so not a volunteer again, noone volunteered. "Has anybody here had skiing experience?" A few of us put our hands up so the officer turned to me and he said, "Righto Davis, you were born in England, you must have had ski experience." "No," I said, "The nearest I had was a bit of ice-skating." "That's near enough", he said.
He didn't know the difference, ice-skating is nothing like skiing, so I was co-opted to join the group. So there was about twenty of us and they moved us up to Sidon In Lebanon and if you've ever heard of the Sidon, it's a beautiful spot, fantastic, and we went to the hotel, ‘cause the hotel was taken over by the army, and for a week we were taught how to ski and the leader, I think he was a major, he was one of the Olympic athletes, ‘cause a lot of them were British officers and we had, all the instructors were Olympic athletes and we learnt quite a bit about skiing but I think it really was just a bit of a ruse to give us a bit of a break because nobody in their right mind would put a few Australian soldiers against Italians and Germans that were born on skis but the whole idea was that the Germans could come down through Jordan and of course come down through Syria and make another attempt to capture the canal which was a major objective so we had about two months there on skis.