Published In Books

A Story Half Told

A Wartime Autobiography

Leslie, Anita, 1914-1985
France, Germany
0 09 151210 7
Hutchinson & Co.
Published in
Publication Year
# of pages
First Edition
In collection

In copyright. All Rights Reserved.


From the dustcover flap

From the outbreak of war Anita Leslie wondered how to join the fray. Just before the Battle of Britain she enlisted in the Mechanised Tranport Corps and after training sailed for Cape Town with sixty girl drivers. eventually they reached Egypt and drove wounded during the battles of the Western Desert. When Sir Walter Monckton appointed her to edit a troops newspaper she embarked on hectic chases from Turkey to the Euphrates and found it necessary to transribe copy from the Morse, with Arab compositors who knew not one word of English. As Winston Churchill's cousin, Anita might suddenly find herself invited to stay with army commanders such as General Alexander, whose home lay near hers in Ireland, but most time she spent with other ranks. Eventually, after a summer working with ambulances planes in Italy, she joined the French Army as an ambulance driver because it alone allowed women to drive in the front line.

In the 1st French Armoured Division (by 1944 seven French divisions were fighting on their own soil) she saw the winter battle which resulted in the capture of Alsace and in early April 1945 this division crossed the Rhine. Twelve ambulances, each with two girl drivers, accompanied the tanks, armoured cars and infantry. After a chase through the Black Forest and the capture of Sigmaringen Castle, whence Pétain had fled a few hours before, Anita and her co-driver found themselves a few miles from Berchtesgarten. [...]