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Private Papers of H H Kassman – Excerpt from Book by Kenneth Rankin, July 3, 1941






H. Henry Kassman, Kenneth Rankin


הצבא הבריטי


Imperial War Museum (IWM)

Folder Number:

Gunner HH Kassman 6-8.1941


Book excerpt (diary entry) included in a file of Gunner H. Henry Kassman’s correspondence between 1941-1943 compiled by his daughter in 2010. File’s contents are primarily typed letters and other correspondence, occasionally reproduced (often in addition to the typed version), and also include photographs, diary entries from Kenneth Rankin’s book Top-Hats in Tobruk, some other written materials, and some explanatory material. For further information, please see the folder summary. For all posts about this collection, please click on the “H. Henry Kassman” tag in this post.

Top-Hats in Tobruk by Kenneth Rankin is a published version of the author’s diary from his time in Tobruk while serving as an officer in the 152 HAA Battery, 51st HAA Regiment RA during World War II. The titular top hat was the Battery’s insignia. Excerpts from this book were likely chosen for inclusion in this file due to Kassman’s having been in 153 Battery (and later 152 Battery as well), in order to round out and give additional context to the events described in his correspondence.

Briefly: German attacks, difficult army camp life, soldiers’ morale.

Page 5: Extract from Top-Hats in Tobruk by Kenneth Rankin (152 Battery – Kassman was in 153 Battery at this point). Diary entry for July 3, 1941. Opens with mention of waking to artillery fire again and dealing with a dispatch rider in the early morning. Description of uncomfortable and depressing army life. “We are all getting tired and fed up.” Further artillery fire, despite a sandstorm; description of resting on the beach and later going into the water and feeling better. Brief description of army meal.

The artillery fire that woke the writer up turned out to have been the Germans attacking “in the early hours”, making it a mile in, and then being pushed back at dawn.

Description of further discomfort due to heat and fleas. “All kinds of battle noises continued around the perimeter keeping me awake wondering what was happening.” Mention of various illnesses in camp, and overall attitude toward them. “We have been here too long.”


1/2 page, typed. Dated July 3, 1941.

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