GEORGE an' CHARLIE
(This is an extract of 361 words out of the 1417 words in the full tale of "George an' Charlie")
......At the end of 1941 I went with a draft of about fifty men to make up a unit which was going over seas, that was a different battalion to the one I was in. It was the original Battalion I had joined when I was seventeen. They had gone to France in 1940 when I was under age, but I was always anxious to get back with them. So when I got this chance, when I saw the notice on the board that they wanted volunteers to make them up, I put my name on the list.
At the time we were billeted in Berkshire, in an old country house about three stories high. I was up on the top floor. There were no lights there, apart from oil lamps. Everyone was walking around with little oil lamps. In the passage way one night, the Sergeant Major met me and said, "Oh by the way Patterson, am I mistaken or did I see your name on the list for a posting to the 8th Battalion?"
"Yes that's right sir," I said.
"You know they're going abroad?"
"Yes I understand that sir."
"I thought you had more bleedin' oil in your can than that."
I'm just telling you that to illustrate the types there are. Not only in wartime, not only in the Army, you meet them all the time. They're bloody 'go getters'. That fellow was a Sergeant Major. On the face of it he's supposed to be a leading light in the fight against the enemy, the bloody Germans, Japanese and the Italians as it was at the time. All he was thinking about was him self. This Sergeant Major was looking down his nose at me in effect. He was saying, "Well you bleedin' idiot."
On the face of it, they are all 'brass buttoned and bulled up', they look the part, but underneth they're nothing of the sort.
I went with this draft to the 8th Battalion. They were stationed near Hull at the time. A little place called 'Cottingham'. I think Cottingham is the largest village in England. I had to report to a Sergeant named.....
© COPYRIGHT RICHARD PATTERSON 2001