Book Review: The Story of my War
Written by Leon Engelbrecht, Thursday, 03 September 2009
JH Selfe’s The Story of my War is a title we should see more of. Americans call their World War Two forbears “the greatest generation” and, as has been seen in miniseries such as Band of Brothers and films such as Memphis Belle, Saving Private Ryan and now Clint Eastwood’s Flags of our Fathers, never tire of telling the story of those illustrious men and women. Centres, such as the D-Day memorial in
Selfe, a Bishop`s old boy, Rhodes Scholar and diplomat, played a small, but honourable role in World War Two, serving in armoured reconnaissance for the duration. Selfe was a trooper and corporal in
Selfe and his comrades took part in a number of skirmishes in southern Ethiopia and what stands out is that neither the terrain nor the weather was particularly favourable to the primitive armoured cars used by the Union Defence Force in that campaign. At Gil-Gil his unit was in support of the SA Irish. "The rain persisted throughout the three days the battle lasted, it was bitterly cold and no fires could be lit to warm food. Inside our car we at least had some protection… The infantry … in the usual tropical uniform of shorts and shirts had no protection, virtually no food and no chance of a smoke."
The Story of my War
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