In our Battalion we lost I should think three quarters of the stretcher-bearers, and I'm telling you now, three quarters of them were killed within about six months. Then we started getting reinforcements, you see you get blokes coming in that you don't know, strangers from different units and from depots come to take the place of those killed, and it's sickening the whole thing really you know.
In the end no matter how keen you are, I've known very keen soldiers, and before long, they realise there's no future in it. If you stay there long enough, your going to get, either that badly wounded that you'll not be fit for any further service, or your going to be killed. There's no doubt about it. It's a bloody mugs game, anyway that's what I'm saying. So how can I put it in a nutshell. Just that, it's very uncomfortable. It's ten to one you'll be thirsty.
We were lucky in the 2nd World War, or we were lucky where I was in India and Burma, I say India. A lot of people don't know this, while I'm at it I might as well tell you. When you say India, there were thousands of troops in India. Not many people know that they were on more or less a peacetime basis because, India is a damn big country. Most of India was a long way from the borders where the fighting was in Burma. The Japanese actually invaded India in 1944. They were about two hundred miles over the border into India, with the intention of taking Calcutta, before anybody realised they were there.
The natives started to come through with stories telling the people in the towns that the Japanese were invading, but nobody took any notice. That's another thing you'll get in wartime. You get a lot of stupid people in high positions. You get Generals like we had who were thick as pig shit, there's no doubt about it. They were going to cocktail parties while you are fighting, and you're mugging it. They're that fucking highfalutin, they're going to the dances all fuckin' dolled up and they're in the towns like Calcutta, and the reports come through and they just brush them aside. They're not what, I should say, they're not fit to be in the positions they're in Those are the people that indirectly you'll be taking orders from. So I'm just saying what a mugs game it is.
It's a hell of an experience bear in mind, once you've been through an experience like that you think back on it, and I don't know which way to think really now. Whether I'd have been better off without it, or whether the experience was worth the while, but I should not recommend it to anybody.
A lot of fellas I joined the Army with when I was seventeen were dead before they were twenty one, I was extremely lucky because I joined just before the 2nd World War started. When it did start I was only just eighteen, eighteen and a fortnight, and the order then was, that no one under eighteen and six months was going to fight over seas. So I was sent back to the depot with a lot of the fellas, but a lot of the other blokes were only a few months older than me.
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