Army service WWII
Mike was not sent down, but a letter from the Bursar reported that Michael always said he had an ambition to be in the Army and that he joined the Grenadier Guards. I am told he served with the Irish Guards in 1941 and as a Lieutenant in the Reconnaissance Corps in 1942. Records show that he was promoted to 2nd Lt. in the Recce. Corps. from the O.C.T.U. in May 1941; he was subsequently promoted Lieutenant. The 44th Reconnaissance Corps, also known as the 7th Bn. The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regt, had been involved in the famous Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940.
Mike's Recce Battalion trained with the 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division and with it sailed from Scotland in May 1942. They travelled via South Africa to Egypt, where they arrived in late July 1942. Mike would have spent some time acclimatising and then been kept busy between Cairo and Alexandria, when the regiment’s Humber LRCs and motorcycles were found to be unsuitable for the desert. His regiment moved to the Alamein line on 14 August, in reserve.
As part of 7th Armoured Division, the regiments assault troops and carriers were assigned to the motor battalions and its LCRs to the cavalry regiments of the 4th Light Armoured Brigade. Between 30 August and 4 September Mike would have seen action in the battle at Alam el Halfa and a week later he would have been involved in guarding front line positions near Himeimat before going into reserve.
His regiment was listed as a Corps asset for El Alamein, probably because it was reorganized for a special, mine-clearing role in the battle. It disposed of its Humber light reconnaissance cars whilst keeping its carriers, and absorbed the carrier platoons from two other Infantry Brigades, creating in essence a carrier battalion (carriers were vehicles used in the desert campaign to transport people and equipment or to tow equipment). The regiment spent October training in mine-sweeping, with the help of members of the Royal Engineers and with the addition of six Scorpion mine-clearing tanks.