René’s journal entry for June 21, 1943…



            Today we left at 7:00 A.M. and when we stopped for gas at 8:30 A.M., Roy went to a phone and soon who did we see coming towards us in an ambulance, but Paul Stratte. Gee, we were all sure glad to see him, and vice-versa. We had quite a chat with him while the boys filled the trucks up with gas and oil.

           Had lunch that day at Oujda and it was plenty hot. It was there that we had to change our watches an hour ahead. We had to stay there for an hour and a half because the bloomin’ water point was quite a little ways off the main highway and we definitely needed water.

          The water and gas situation all along was a headache because for some reason or other they never seemed to have the two near to each other – utterly stupid, for it certainly wasted a lot of time for the various convoys.

          We were going to stop that second night at a little town of Tlemcen but as it was only 4:30 P.M. when we got there we persuaded Roy to have us go on to the next place, despite the fact that the boys from the 8th were kicking some, because they thought we were driving too many hours during the day. One of their officers was just getting over a pilonidal cyst and the sitting was apparently sort of tiresome for him.

          But our boys were in good spirits and figured there was no sense sitting around a little dump in the heat when it was considerably cooler riding. So, we went on to Sidi Bel Abbes that night, arriving at 7:00 P.M. This time we were quartered in an old racetrack. There they had water and latrines all set up and it was pretty good. Again, it was too hot to put up pup-tents, so again tied to the truck with netting, and slept comfortably.

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Watch for my next message on
June 22

Click on map to enlarge
Day 2 – Taza, Morocco to Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
7:00AM to 7:00PM
Cohn’s Courageous Commandos traveled 239 miles

When the convoy stopped for gas, René ran into Paul Stratte – shown here together at Camp Pickett, Virginia back in the fall of 1942.