Saturday, January 03, 2009

Saturday 20th March 1943

Joe Louis didn't feel like getting up this morning. Eventually he leapt out in an agile manner however and tried to smash Ginger. But Ginger dodged him in an equally agile manner. The blacks all went into a huddle of mutterings and sullen looks after this. The whites, ie four Englishmen, two Arabs, a Jew and a Cypriot, consolidated at the same time. We withdrew our forward O Pip (to use artillery jargon) by moving Mizrahi (Yugo-Slav prince in appearance, Palestine Jew in actualty) into a bed between Killick Collinson and Anastas Chomata. This gives us a forward defence line of Chadwick on one side of the ward and Hamad on the other.

Felt foul this morning. Couldn't write; couldn't do anything. High wind blowing. I could not even enjoy a cigarette. Heavy-headed and morose I lay down.

At dinner time the niggers gave me some excellent shock therapy, thus: I was aroused by hearing a cry and there was Jock Swann (orderly) staggering away while Joe Louis savagely lashed out at him, with a boot in his hand. At the same instant another orderly, Wilson, passed down the ward at about 30 miles per hour, met Joe and rapidly forced him back in some pain and confusion. Black reinforcements were noisily assembling, so the two orderlies withdrew into the “white” part of the ward, supported by Killick, Taffy, a Sister and myself.

Ghandi went to the rear of the niggers and urged them on with frenzied denunciations and gesticulations. Supported by his pal, Gasasiui, Joe advanced into no-mans land and assumed a dramatic, animal like and threatening pose, which he held for some minutes. He looked a rare picture; his face had gone as black as coal. Things quietened ultimately. This incident woke me and I felt fine afterwards.

Poor old Killick still tells us amazing stories about his experiences in the other hospital. He writes about it, too, every day. One of the queer hawks at the NZ hospital is named Mr Monsoon... Killick has again told me the story of the man whom he once found with his wife. As before, it petered out abruptly!

I had a brief interview with the MO this morning (he wanted to know why I felt fed-up all of a sudden) and the Killick became very suspicious. He thought I'd been to give the MO a report on him!

In the “C” tent, the whites have the balance of power, for though the two Greeks may not be so insane as that bloody black sergeant, they are more fierce and violent. When I was in there this afternoon, collecting the canteen order, one of then was bellowing a rebel song. This annoyed the nigger who began to patter a few crazy prayers. (The usual line, “With God all things are possible”, etc.) Both Greeks turned around and roared threats, and the nigger relapsed into morose silence again.
Jock Farrell calls for “that long bastard bombardier” or “that big corporal of the artillery,” dozens of times a day. The orderlies tell me this is a usual symptom of prolonged narcosis. The patient is always asking for someone.

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