In for a hell of a time: the wartime experiences of two ordinary South African soldiers in the North African desert during the Second World War
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At the conclusion of most conflicts, generals and politicians put pen to paper and often, in rather immodest terms, describe their role in the struggle and how their individual contribution secured an inevitable and glorious victory. Such versions of history by these “great men” are then viewed as some of the most important personal contributions on the respective topics. This article is an attempt to bring to the fore the experiences of but two men of much lesser importance. Through an analysis of some surviving correspondence and reminiscences of relatives, the author hopes to show that the stories of the ordinary are indeed the building blocks of greater works.