Mervyn Russell Scotting (1915-1942)

Mervyn was the son of Emily Scotting from Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. He was a gunner with the 2/3rd anti tank regiment at the time of his death on 27th July 1942 on the last day of the first battle of El Alamein.


The First Battle of El Alamein (1–27 July 1942) was a battle in the Western Desert Campaign. Allied forces prevented a second advance by Axis forces into Egypt. 

Operation Manhood

On 26/27 July, Auchinleck (British General, Eighth Army) launched Operation Manhood in a final attempt to break the Axis forces. XXX Corps was reinforced with 1st Armoured Division (less 22nd Armoured Brigade), 4th Light Armoured Brigade, and 69th Infantry Brigade. The plan was to break the enemy line south of Miteirya ridge and exploit north-west. The South Africans were to make and mark a gap in the minefields to the south-east of Miteirya by midnight of 26/27 July. By 01:00 on 27 July, 24th Australian Infantry Brigade was to have captured the eastern end of the Miteirya ridge and would exploit toward the north-west. The 69th Infantry Brigade would pass through the minefield gap created by the South Africans to Deir el Dhib and clear and mark gaps in further minefields. The 2nd Armoured Brigade would then pass through to El Wishka and would be followed by 4th Light Armoured Brigade which would attack the Axis lines of communication.

This was the third attempt to break through in the northern sector, and the Axis defenders were expecting the attack. Like the previous attacks, it was hurriedly and therefore poorly planned. The Australian 24th Brigade managed to take their objectives on Miteirya Ridge by 02:00 of 27 July. To the south, the British 69th Brigade set off at 01:30 and managed to take their objectives by about 08:00. However, the supporting anti-tank units became lost in the darkness or delayed by minefields, leaving the attackers isolated and exposed when daylight came. There followed a period during which reports from the battlefront regarding the minefield gaps were confused and conflicting. As a consequence, the advance of 2nd Armoured Brigade was delayed.Rommel launched an immediate counter-attack and the German armoured battlegroups overran the two forward battalions of 69th Brigade. Meanwhile, 50th RTR supporting the Australians was having difficulty locating the minefield gaps made by Australian 2/24th Battalion. They failed to find a route through and in the process were caught by heavy fire and lost 13 tanks. The unsupported 2/28th Australian battalion on the ridge was overrun. The 69th Brigade suffered 600 casualties and the Australians 400 for no gain.

2/3rd anti tank regiment Australia -By July, the regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J.F. Herbertson; the 2-pounders were replaced by 6-pounders around this time.Detaching a battery t o support each of the 9th Division’s three infantry brigades, over the course of several months the regiment took part in defensive fighting during the First Battle of El Alamein.[1] Casualties throughout July amounted to 23 killed, 80 wounded and 46 captured.