They went to France shortly after the war started.
When they came back to the depot I went looking for all my old mates, there were a heck of a lot of them had been killed. Some of them had been taken prisoner. I remember thinking then, God, you know, at that age. That's another thing to impress on you, to tell you what a mugs game it is. These politicians and businessmen will use anybody, they'll use anybody who's daft enough to fight.
I'll give you an experience, just a little thing that happened when we were in Burma. You get the dry season, there are only two seasons really in the Tropics. You get the rain, it rains for months on end, you might just get a break for a couple of days, but the rain when it comes down, it comes down as they used to say, like glass stair rods. There used to be glass stair rods to hold down carpets like long bars of glass. Well that's what the rain looks like when it comes down. It comes down that heavily.
Well the trenches get water logged, so in the daytime in the rainy season you can't get in the trenches because, apart from that, Burma is a very hilly country. So the rain runs down the hills. It comes from the top and it's a dam flood when it reaches the bottom. Where ever you are on that hillside your trenches are going to get flooded, because the rain runs in from the top.
We used to dig little channels around the top of the trenches and the two sides to try to run the water off. That was sufficient to a point, but after a few days the whole ground gets water logged. So the rain seeps through anyway regardless of the little channels that you've dug. The rain comes through so you couldn't get in it during the daytime. You had to find a bush or somewhere to rest under, if you weren't on any guard duty you could get your head down and get to sleep That's another thing about fighting a war, you'll take every opportunity you get to close your eyes and go to sleep. You never know when you're going to get the chance again, for along, long time. So what I'm saying is this, during the rainy season this is the sort of thing you have to put up with.
The trenches fill up, up to the brim with water if you leave it. So when you've got to get in at nighttime, when it's going dark, that's the other Stand To I should have told you about. There are two Stand -To's in the army. It's a long time now since I was in the Army, but the two Stand To's were dusk and dawn
When it's going dark, that's the other time the enemy is likely to attack So every night and morning you're Standing To for about half an hour. You can imagine what sort of life it is.
Everybody Stands To for about half an hour in case the enemy attacks. Now before the nighttime Stand To in the Tropics when it's the rainy season, you can't get in you're trench to Stand To because it's full of water. So you and your mate will take your helmets off, and you'll start bailing.
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