Jack Caple - Death of a young officer

Running time
2 min 22 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I might tell you a story about a young officer. He came in on the reinforcements. A keen young fellow and good looking and he was sent to C Company on the Red Line.

The Red Line was, Tobruk was like a horseshoe and the Red Line was outside and the Blue Line inside.

He was sent down to the Red Line, C Company and he said that night, he said 'Are we going out on a fighting patrol?' and they said 'Yes but you're not.'

Anyway the next morning, I was the Bren gun carrier platoon in headquarter company and I went out to bring in two badly wounded.

The Germans had laid a minefield unbeknown to us overnight and in the front there was three pronged jumping jack and out the back was Teller mines.

Anyway we delivered that young officer and another chap. He didn't last 24 hours. Now the message behind that was that you never volunteer in the army but do as ordered.

But the next day I given a sergeant out of the engineers and we had a look at this minefield and he says a prayer, frightened it might have been booby trapped and he lifted two or three Teller mines, big Teller mines. They could blow a tank, stop a tank and we nursed them on our knee, three of them, three Teller mines and we said to the driver, Stan O?, 'Take it easy.'

We had three Teller big mines. We didn't know how much it would take to set them off. We took it to Battalion headquarters and they said 'No. Brigade.' 'No. Divisional.'  And that's the first time they'd seen Teller mines and that week they decided to lift a truckload of them. I don't know what they did with them.

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