In a display of grandeur and celebration, the opening of Tebourba Way unfolded with great pomp and circumstance.

This significant event on April 30, 1953, marked the joining of Millbrook and Shirley, enhancing their connectivity and accessibility.

In present times, Tebourba Way stands out as a well-known route for numerous drivers in Southampton. However, the majority of those who journey along this path and past the memorial by the intersection with Oakley Road are unaware of the Second World War battle that gave the road its name.

(Image: Echo)

In the midst of the intense conflict at Tebourba, Tunisia in 1942, the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Hampshire Regiment faced overwhelming odds, challenged by a German Army four times their size. Despite this, their incredible bravery and courage shone through, leading to a significant triumph over the forces of the Nazis.

In theory, the British forces were significantly outmatched by the formidable power of their opponents, notably with Hitler's troops dominating the skies and boasting advanced tanks. However, through unwavering bravery and exceptional training, the soldiers of the Hampshire Regiment managed to overcome the odds in the remote desert village of Tebourba, situated just 20 miles outside Tunis.

In the face of relentless assault by ground infantry and tanks, as well as aerial bombardment by the Luftwaffe, the soldiers of the Hampshires displayed unwavering resilience and stood their ground.

In a series of resilient moves, the British forces launched numerous counterattacks, unleashing Bren guns with precision and engaging in bayonet charges.

In a display of courage and leadership, Major Herbert Wallace Le Patourel fearlessly led a small group of soldiers into enemy territory amidst a barrage of machine gun fire. Their mission was to neutralize German positions strategically located on elevated terrain.

(Image: Echo)

Despite successfully achieving their objective and silencing the enemy, the Major's valiant volunteers paid the ultimate price with their lives.

Undeterred, Major Le Patourel pressed on fearlessly.

Armed with only a pistol and grenades, the Major charged ahead, engaging the enemy in fierce close-quarters combat.

His brave actions left his companions to believe that the valiant major had fallen in battle, as he did not return from the fighting.

The remarkable man failed to make a return and his comrades were forced to speculate that the brave major had perished in combat.

(Image: Echo)

During the conflict in Tebourba, from the end of November to early December 1942, the Allied forces made significant progress against the German troops.

The British 1st Army successfully established a strong foothold in the area during this time and managed to maintain their position without being displaced thereafter.

This was another setback struck to Field Marshal Rommel, leader of the formidable German Afrika Korps. This defeat followed closely after the loss at El Alamein, leaving Rommel reeling.

Just four months later, a staggering 250,000 German and Italian troops surrendered to the advancing Allies.

In recognition of their outstanding bravery and leadership during the intense battle, a total of sixteen soldiers and officers received prestigious decorations while another 20 were commended in official dispatches.

(Image: Echo)

Their unwavering courage and dedication shone through as they faced relentless German opposition, resulting in the 2nd Hampshire's numbers dwindling from 689 to just 194.

Following his remarkable act of courage, Le Patourel received the prestigious Victoria Cross posthumously. Surprisingly, on the day of the formal declaration, he was discovered to be alive and was later able to personally accept his well-deserved medal.

Having sustained injuries in combat, Le Patourel was captured and held as a prisoner until being released in 1943 along with a group of 700 fellow British soldiers who were wounded or unwell, all returning from Italy.

Two other officers from the regiment were honoured with the highest bravery accolade from Britain during the era of the Second World War. Captain Richard Wakeford, aged 23, and Lieutenant Gerard Norton from South Africa, aged 29, were both recognized for their exceptional courage displayed during the Allied progression in Italy in the summer of 1944.

At the memorial unveiling in Millbrook some 11 years after the battle, Southampton Mayor, Alderman Burrow, told the crowd: “May this road be a way of peace, a highway which, though named after a battle, may serve only to keep in perpetual memory those who fought that we and succeeding generations may have peace.”

Major Le Patourel attended the opening ceremony during a rainy English spring day.