From the fall of France in 1940 everybody thought the Germans were going to invade England. So all the Army then was around the coast in trenches. That went on for a heck of a long time. I was happy generally with the mates I was with, especially when I got into this motor cycle platoon. I was happy because I was off my feet then, it was a treat, but this is what I'm telling you again.
We went up to Burma and left the bikes behind, and we were all posted to rife companies.
Well, then you start looking around and realise that a lot, even my own Sergeant in the motor cycle platoon had skipped, he was another bully. He used to threaten me. He used to say, "Look here, any more of you and I'll get you posted to a rifle company." But when we got up fighting the Japanese he was another twat that had disappeared, you see. There'd be something the matter with his knee, he'd fallen off a motor cycle sometime or other and he'd play on it. They play on things you see and that was it. What I'm leading on to, I'm saying, in the end you'll finish up the mug, because from being threatened, to be shifted from my mates, that nasty bastard of a Sergeant was saying that, "I'll shift you from your mates if you don't shut up." I was a bit voicy and I'm not talking now about on parade. I'd dare not have done it then. It was in the canteen at nighttime or in places where we were talking generally. He would just say, "Shout up". He wanted to dictate or get me shifted. Even though I wasn't ambitious and if I had been, I could have probably left twat's like him standing.
Then you get into a position in battle, where as the time goes on you're losing a lot of men. You're losing them through wounds, blokes who are killed and you lose a lot through sickness. A hell of a lot were getting Malaria, and I got that earlier on before we met the Japanese and I wouldn't want that again. It's a hell of a complaint, a disease, it was very wide spread in Northern India and Burma.
So they start getting short of Corporals and Sergeants. It's not like it was in barracks when they're all fighting each other for a stripe, trying to show off with a stripe on their arms.
So the Company Commander sent for me one night. His Batman came crawling out to the trench I was in. "The Company Commander wants to see you." So I crawled back, this was when we were fighting the Japanese, the Japanese were only a couple of hundred yards down the valley. In this trench where the Company Commander was with his Headquarters, he just said to me, "Congratulations Corporal."
I was really amazed. "No thanks sir I don't want promotion," I said. Well he gave me the biggest ticking off in my life. He said, "Were not playing bleedin' cowboys or boy scouts, we're at war and we've got to win." That's the position they put you in.
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