Order of the day issued to columns as they prepared to cross the
Wingate's Order of the Day, 13th February 1943
Today we stand on the threshold of battle. The time of preparation is
over, and we are moving on the enemy to prove ourselves and our methods.
At this moment we stand beside the soldiers of the United Nations in the
front line trenches throughout the world. It is always a minority that
occupies the front line. It is still a smaller minority that accepts
with a good heart tasks like this that we have chosen to carry out. We
need not, therefore, as we go forward into the conflict, suspect
ourselves of selfish or interested motives. We have all had opportunity
of withdrawing and we are here because we have chosen to be here; that
is, we have chosen to bear the burden and heat of the day. Men who make
this choice are above the average in courage. we need therefore have no
fear for the staunchness and guts of our comrades.
The motive which had led each and all of us to devote ourselves to what
lies ahead cannot conceivably have been a bad motive. Comfort and
security are not sacrificed voluntarily for the sake of others by
ill-disposed people. Our motive, therefore, may be taken to be the
desire to serve our day and generation in the way that seems nearest to
our hand. The battle is not always to the strong nor the race to the
swift. Victory in war cannot be counted upon, but what can be counted
upon is that we shall go forward determined to do what we can to bring
this war to the end which we believe best for our friends and comrades
in arms, without boastfulness or forgetting our duty, resolved to do the
right so far as we can see the right.
Our aim is to make possible a government of the world in which all men
can live at peace and with equal opportunity of service.
Finally, knowing the vanity of man's effort and the confusion of his
purpose, let us pray that God may accept our services and direct our
endeavours, so that when we shall have done all we shall see the fruit
of our labours and be satisfied.
O.C. Wingate, Commander,
77th Indian Infantry Brigade.