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L/F's Killed at kohima


"Mopping Up"
"The Brigadier"

Photo's of Japanese solders found at Kohima



They're looking for idiots, and they found one in me, but at seventeen you don't think, and that's the way they want them. They want fellas at seventeen because as a General said in the 2nd World War, "We don't want the call up at twenty two, we want them at eighteen because by twenty two they're too late to mould." What he meant by that was, they're to late to brainwash, because they've probably started to think for themselves, they have not had much experience in life. These are the fellas they will use, and I will just say this before I carry on.
In the 1st World War, they used to sing a song:-
"You can send for me Mother me Sister or me Brother, but for Gods sake don't send me."

Now that was just a joke , but what they're saying is really, send anybody but me. That's the authorities attitude as well. They'll send any fool they can get to do the fighting. So I'm saying it's a mugs game.

Right then, to fight in a War; I'll tell you in the first place it's bloody uncomfortable all the way round. It's ten to one that depending on where you are, (you see, there is a big difference in whether you're fighting in a jungle or a desert or in Europe.) Wherever you are, it's ten to one a lot of this time you'll be very tired, because it's excruciating. You'll be digging trenches and marching. You have a load to carry as well, your not just marching you know, you've a pack on your back and you've got a steel helmet on your head. You've got a rifle, a bayonet on your side that weights a few pounds, a water bottle full of water, which weights a few pounds. You've also got an entrenching tool on your back, about one hundred and fifty bullets in a bandoleer to carry, a couple of grenades and by the time you've weighed all that up, you can imagine the weight that you're carrying around with you.  Now imagine that in the Tropics, where it's the weather like England had in the summer of 1976, you know, and you're marching, sometimes like we were in Burma, up and down hills and you're sweating until your skin starts to get what you call prickly heat. The pores get enlarged and it prickles all over, so that's another added discomfort. On top of that it's ten to one that you'll have blisters on your feet, because you do so much marching.

We didn't march as far generally as they did in the 1st World War, they used to do twenty to twenty five miles a day quite often, although we did that on occasions.

Now apart from all that, when you do get to where you're going, the first thing you do before anything else, even before you brew up, is to dig in. So you can imagine, you might have marched ten to fifteen miles, as I say you get to where you're going, and you dig in, then you've got a breathing space. Then you'd probably sit down in the bottom of the trench with your mate, and have a fag, like I did. You'd get your water bottle out and have a drink of water. Then you'd have a natter, and then you're mainly waiting for the cooks to bring your grub up, because that's the way the Amy's organised.


Read extracts from a collection of short stories from the Far East which can be obtained on CD shortly.

"George Glover"
"The Pipe"
"John Murray"
"George an' Charlie"

"The Chiropodist"
"Arrival at Jorhat"

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