The 11th Hussars were a reconnaissance regiment in 7th Armoured Division, the famous ‘Desert Rats’. The 11th Hussars reported back details of the locations and strength of the enemy. The accuracy and reliability of these reports, often given in difficult radio conditions, became the bedrock on which the higher commanders based their plans.
Lieutenant Colonel Combe was the commanding officer of the 11th Hussars for the initial stages of the Western Desert campaign, during which the regiment were involved in the early British raids into Libya and as part of the cover force for the Western Desert Force during the Italian invasion of Egypt.
On 11th June 1940 the 11th Hussars were in the vanguard of the army and closed up to the frontier fence with Libya. By 12th June they had breached the fence, entered Libya and had taken 70 prisoners with arms and equipment.
The Battle of Sidi Barrani (10th to 11th December 1940) was the opening battle of Operation Compass, the first big British attack of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. Sidi Barrani, on the Mediterranean coast in Egypt, had been occupied by the Italian 10th Army, during the Italian invasion of Egypt (9th to 16th September 1940) and was attacked by British, Commonwealth and imperial troops, who re-captured the port.