Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunday 28th November 1943

The occupants of this part of the ward were once the quietest men in the compound but today this is not so. This half of ward 3 is now more bizarre than quiet. Coming in for my tobacco last night, I heard three snatches of conversation from three different groups.

Taffy (apparently he is a private soldier in the RAMC) was the centre of one party. He was explaining that his real rank was that of sergeant, and that he'd fought (as a Special Service Commando) in Poland, Germany, Austria and the Balkans. “... So after that,” Taffy was saying excitedly, “I did some sabotage in Austria. and then – I crossed over into the Balkans...”

The sand-happy Boat Toucher was dancing eagerly about, mad eyes glaring, as he cried, “I may be a craftsman in my pay-book, but I'm a Lance Corporal, really. War-established-in-the-Western-Desert-Lance-Corporal, mate. I'll write to GHQ tomorrow mate, and ask why I'm not paid as a Lance Corporal...”

Larti was talking confidently to Nobby Brown (Nobby has a strong Cockney accent) in this manner: “Good evening.” “Hullo mate!” “Excuse me.” “That's OK!” “Are you a British subject?” inquired Larti humbly. “Yahss, mate!” replied Nobby of Battersea.
“There are many advantages in being a British subject,” stated Larti primly. “Don't I know it!” growled Nobby with great bitterness. “I also know,” said Larti proudly, “I also am a British subject...”

As I walked back towards the door, “Blind” Ginger Vernon (Canadian Mounted Police) passed me, groping cautiously towards his bed. He smiled at me as he went by, and said “Evenin' Corporal Dawson.”

“Bloody hell!” I exclaimed when I got into the quiet kitchen, “It's like a nuthouse in that ward tonight!” Joe Meek glanced up from his newspaper. “That's alright! It is a nuthouse!”


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