At El Alamein, 70 miles (113 kilometres) west of Alexandria.... on the Mediterranean coastline of?
At El Alamein, 70 miles (113 kilometres) west of Alexandria.... on the Mediterranean coastline of the Arab Republic of Egypt, one of World War Two's most decisive battles in late October of 1942 is commemorated each year on the Sunday nearest 26th October. Yesterday (Sunday 24th October) wreath-laying ceremonies at three war cemeteries....British, German, and Italian....commemorated the fallen of the historic Battle of El Alamein.
After the Axis Army of Italian and german troops, commanded by Field-Marshall Rommel, had forced British and commonwealth troops to retreat to the Alamein "Line", General Field-Marshall (now Lord) Montgomery led a model defensive action which was successful in repulsing the attacker. He was later to lead British and Commonwealth troops forward, against strong opposition, across the desert to Tripoli. Not long afterwards Rommel was recalled to Germany and the Axis forces laid down their arms. On both sides the toll of lives and equipment was very heavy....at the start of the El Alamein counter-offensive a shattering artillery barrage had released over 1,000 shells a minute.
A crowd of more than 200 attended Sunday's commemorative services Ambassadors and representatives of many countries laid wreaths in the cemeteries.
SYNOPSIS: The British Cemetery at El Alamein, in the Arab Republic of Egypt, west of Alexandria, where the names of nearly 20,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers, who lost their lives in the decisive World War Two battle here, are registered.
In October 1942, after Italian and German troops commanded by Field-Marshall Rommel had hemmed had hemmed in British and Commonwealth forces on the Mediterranean coastline at El Alamein, General Montgomery led a massive counter offensive which successfully repulsed Rommel's Axis Army. British and Common-wealth troops were then able to reach Tripoli after shattering artillery barrages which saw more than 1,000 shells-a-minute fired across the desert. Rommel was several months later recalled to Germany and the Axis forces laid down their arms.
On both sides, the cost in human lives was very heavy, and last Sunday special commemorative ceremonies were held to mark the fallen. A wreath is laid in the German Cemetery.
The French Ambassador in Egypt placed a wreath at the British Cemetery.
The German, British and Italian Cemeteries at El Alamein are all very well cared-for with flowers and bushes..hard to nurture in desert conditions.
Britain's Ambassador, Mr. Roger Beaumont also laid a wreath on Sunday.
Pakistan and India were among other countries represented, Twenty-nine years have passed since the two great Commanders of the Second World War led their troops in this vital struggle for the control of the Middle East.
Only a few houses, a cafe and a museum stand near this spot, but three cemeteries bear witness to the historic Battle of El Alamein.