The Escapee

At this point,, they were arrested and handed over to MI5 in Whitehall.  Keith was able to provide detailed information on French airfields and warships in North Africa; and 48 hours later he and Hopkins – Mills had disappeared at Marseilles – were dining at the Savoy. He was awarded a Military Cross.

He rejoined his regiment and was posted to Iraq and then North Africa, and took part in the 1st Battle of El Alamein. After two weeks of hard fighting his position was overrun by German tanks. He and the survivors in his battery hid in slit trenches.

The only escape route was across a minefield between the tanks. After it got dark, Rae ordered his men to follow him at 5 minute intervals, but only his sergeant followed.  The pair set off across the desert and were fortunate to be picked up at daybreak by British armoured cars. The rest chose to surrender.

At the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, 97 KYFR took severe losses. Rae was recommended for a Bar to his MC and was disappointed to receive only a letter of thanks from Montgomery expressing surprise that, as a holder of the MC, he should need another.