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The crew of ‘HMS Tara’ spent 4 months at Bir Hakkim, where they endured harsh conditions with little hope of rescue. However, Quartermaster Richard Williams remained optimistic that he would one day return to Holyhead. While in captivity, he carved this brooch for his young daughter Mary Elizabeth, also known as Cissie.

Armed with local guides and Captain Gwatkin-Williams’s hidden letter, the Duke of Westminster left Sollum in the early hours of the morning on 17 March 1916. He led the convoy of armoured cars, trucks, and ambulances across 120 miles of hostile desert, and arrived to find the prisoners on the brink of starvation and dehydration.

The survivors received medical treatment in Alexandria, Egypt, and later attended a reception at the Euston Hotel, London to celebrate their safe homecoming. Many of the men then returned to Anglesey, where Richard Williams was finally able to deliver the carved brooch to Cissie.

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