(This is an extract of 356 words out of the 1630 words in the full tale of "John Murray.")
.....we were on a track one day when some Japanese fighter aircraft came over, they were light bombers as well. They carried two hundred and fifty pound bombs.
They started to machine gun us first. As soon as they came down, everybody disappeared off the track. There was a little hut off the track and some dugouts, that some Indian Army unit had used. So I leaned my rifle 'like a lot of other blokes did,' against the hut. 'It's a queer thing this, I never thought about this before, about me leaning my rifle against the back of the Bren-carrier and later on, against the hut. But there must have been a month or so between the two events'.
Anyway the Japanese '03' aircraft, after they had finished their machine gunning, they came down again dropping bombs. Well when it was over and they had cleared off, we emerged from the dugouts. I went for my rife, it was there okay, but it had been hit by a piece of shrapnel or bullet, I don't know what it was. What ever had hit it had knocked the trigger outside its guard. I thought, "That's a bit of a bugger, I can't use it like this," so I went up the hill to the Regimental Aid Post. There were always loads of rifles there, you could pick up anything, because all the wounded and soldiers who had been killed had all their gear taken there. So you could go and help yourself to a pair of boots, or a weapon of any sort.
So I decided when I got there, that I'd be better off with an automatic of some sort. I thought, "Bugger the rifle, I'll pick up a Tommy-gun or a Sten-gun." Well I found a Sten-gun. Well bugger me, I was marching back down the hill with this Sten-gun, when I met the platoon Sergeant, "Oh Christ no! We're all bleedin' machine gunners now. Take it back and get a rifle," he said.
I took it back and of course I had to pick up a rifle. That was the end of Murray's rifle. When we eventually got back, and of course that rifle I had picked up from .......
© COPYRIGHT RICHARD PATTERSON 2001