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DESERT RAILWAY

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The Desert Railway

The New Zealand Railway Group in North Africa and the Middle East during the Second World War by Brendon Judd

Published by Publishing Press Auckland. Illustrated, 262 pages softcover.

Reviewed by Paul Harrison

Available from – The Railway Book Committee, 56 Red Hill RoadPapakura, Auckland. Cost $25.00 plus $5.00 P&P

As the foreword states, the war effort of the New Zealand Railway Group in the North African campaign from 1940 – 1943, has been largely overlooked in Official and unofficial publications. Yet this Group was responsible for a stretch of railway extending 215 miles across some of the most highly contested terrain in this campaign, and as General Montgomery said after the breakout at Alamein, when there was a rush was to keep the logistical flow to the front line “its now train versus Rommel.”

Brendon Judd has written an excellent work, looking at the operations of the group from a personal and strategic perspective, covering their work in Egypt, Lybia, and Palestine. Although there were only several hundred personnel in the Group, 34 of them lost their lives during the campaign.

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