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BY ROGER SMITH

Extracts from the book
:
Flies and worse in the Western Desert
A peculiar addiction to Irish lyrics
Burying the dead — Tebaga Gap
British Army at a minefield near Sfax, Tunisia
The countryside near Sousse, Tunisia
The Padre's tools of trade
A minefield near Takrouna, Tunisia
Kelly in Cairo
Housekeeping in a two-man bivvy in the rain — Sangro, Italy
Falling asleep on duty — Sangro
Kelly dies at the Sangro River
Civilians caught in the frontline — Castel Frantano, Italy
Getting sadness off your chest
Giant drunken zooming fireflies — Alife, Italy
Christmas 1943 — back from the front
Maori Battalion, Trocchio, Italy
Fear, and fear of fear — Cassino, Italy
A break from Cassino
All in a day’s work in the Cassino rubble
There for your mate at the finish — Terelle, Italy

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KELLY IN CAIRO

Then Kelly turned up again. I had forgotten about him and thought that he must have gone home, but not Kelly. He fled to Cairo the day before the furlough draft left, and for the past month he’d been living with a Greek girl in a house boat on the Nile. He had run out of money, had tried to rob a bar, been caught by the provosts after a two-hour running fight, and was now hauled before the CO to face a charge of violence and being AWOL.

Hank and I were called for escort duty when he went up for sentence, and we went through the usual routine of:

“Left turn!”

“Right turn!”

“Left turn!”

“As you were!”

“Left turn!”

“Quick march! Left, right, left, right!”

“Halt! ”

“Right turn!”

Kelly collected twenty-one days in the field punishment centre, and I just had time to whisper as we went left, right, left righting out again:
“Was she worth it, you sinner?”

“Beauty, boy, beauty,” Kelly replied with a horribly reminiscent leer of lust.

 

 

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Copyright Roger Smith, 2000