I first came across Glover in England, not long before we sailed for India. He always seemed to be arguing with a Lance Corporal. They were always together, whether they were in the canteen or walking across the barracks or where ever. I got the impression that the Lance Corporal always seemed irritable, he was always cursing Glover. I used to wonder why, I used to think, "Are they pals or what?" They always seemed to be at each other's throats, whether they were pals or not. Anyway it was just a puzzle to me at that stage.
I remember the 'cockney' Corporal. He used to be often saying, - "Glavver," Cockney for Glover, "You cant." Well you know what that is in cockney. He was cursing him. That stuck in my mind. It was quite a puzzle really I never did get to the bottom of it.
One day not long after we had arrived in India, Glover appeared at the window of the 'Basha' I was in. He was riding a push - bike. The 'Bashas' in India, the old barracks were made of bamboo and timber uprights mainly. There were no glass windows, only an opening and a flap of bamboo matting, that used to be propped open with a stick. This flap was open of course. The bottom half, from the sill down was built of brick. The brick was only built up into a wooded frame, wooden uprights, or studding. The bricks were not keyed in.
As I was saying Glover arrived on his bike, as he stopped out side the window he shoved his foot on the top of the brickwork. The whole soddin' lot came crashing in on my bed, I said, "Glover you twat."
As if nothing had happened he said to me, "What's it like in this company? I'm being posted here next week."
Well I was bloody appalled, all this muck and mess and broken bricks on my bed. I started to have a go at him, so he pissed off on his bike.
The following week he appeared. Well, I thought, " Just my fuckin' luck." I noticed that Glover had found a bed, next but one to mine. He asked me if I would help him put up his mosquito net. There were wires that ran right along the barrack rooms at the top and bottom of the beds. All the beds were in line on both sides.
The mosquito nets were oblong, like a canopy over the beds. There was a tape on each corner and you'd fasten these to the wires. Well this 'chump' Glover asked me to put his net up, well, old muggin's here agreed, but when I came to put it up I noticed it was like a bell tent. The shape was different to mine.
"Where the hell did you get this net?" I said.
"Oh," he replied, "We all had them in the desert. It's a sand fly net it's got a finer mesh than a mosquito net." Well, as I weighted it up I realised it wasn't going to go up, because there was only one tape at the top, and of course that would have gone in the middle of the bed. "There's no wires above the middle of the bed." I said, "You bleedin' nut, you'll have to go and get it changed," he was reluctant to go to the stores and get it changed. After that I got to know Glover pretty well, because he came into the same platoon I was in, which at the time was the motor cycle platoon
The next instance I remember involving Glover was when we arrived back at the barracks at Ahmednagar, after being out on a scheme. It was during the monsoon season in India. These schemes could last from two or three days to a week.
'Of course we had waterproofs, the rain used to absolutely piss down'. When we got back this particular night, it had been the last night of a scheme, the platoon sergeant said to me,
" Have you seen Glover around?"
"No." I said. Then this other fellow arrived, a geordie named Matt Cowan,
"Have you seen Glover around?" said the sergeant "He's not turned up." Matt Cowan said that he had not seen Glover anywhere. The sergeant must have been asking around the platoon were Glover was, because most of us had not been far from each other, or we'd come across each other. So when Matt Cowan said that he hadn't seen Glover either, it seemed that no one had seen him for quite a while. So the sergeant said to me and the geordie, Matt Cowan, "You'd better both go back and see if you can find him."
Well that was a bit of a job really, because it was still pissing down outside. Anyway we got on our bikes, I remember how futile this was. We had a job to see at times, with it pissing raining heavily. The roads were muddy; puddles everywhere. I was cursing Glover again, I thought, "Bleedin' Glover of all people."
We went back for miles until we came to a track we'd gone down off the main road, which was little more than a track. We carried on down the track till we came to where we'd camped the night before. There was still no sign of Glover. We turned our engines off and had a good look around. When we came to restart the engines they just wouldn't start. The water had splashed into the contact breaker points and magnetos, we tried to dry them out with bits of rag. We took the covers off the magnetos. We got Matt Cowan's engine started and left it ticking over, whilst he helped to start mine. As fast as we were drying the contact points, the rain was in there again. It was really pissing down. We didn't have chance to withdraw our hands, when the points would become wet through again. It was bsolutely hopeless bleedin' situation. We kick started, till we were exhausted.
We both decided that it was useless, the only thing to do was to wait until morning, when there was the chance of someone else passing, because it had been a big scheme we had been on. Quite a lot of troops and vehicles were around, although not in the particular spot we were, so we camped for the night.
All we had were our ground sheets, Army ground sheets aren't that much use at all. They've been in use since about the Boer War, they were bloody useless. They've never altered the stile of them. They were just long enough, about six feet by maybe two foot six wide, with eye let holes down the side of them, so you could use them as a double purpose thing. You could lace your pull through or bit of rope through, making a bed out of them if you had a frame. In the jungle you could make a bamboo frame and lace your ground sheet round it to make a bed. They weren't a proper good thing at all really, for any purpose
So, we laced the two together with our pull through, which is the piece of cord used for cleaning the rifle barrel through. We put the two motor cycles a couple of feet apart and made a tent with the ground sheets on the top. We both tried to get down on the grass between these two bikes. That's how we spent the night. It was a bloody uncomfortable night, I'll tell you. I had the footrest of one of the bikes sticking in my arse all night. I remember that distinctly. Every time I tried to turn over, this bloody footrest was in the way. They weren't folding footrests, like they have today. I couldn't get shut of the bleedin' thing. It was there to stay.
The next morning a breeze came up,..END OF 1,337 WORD SAMPLE OF 3,445 WORDS.