2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

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War In The Jungle
Extracts From Recorded Interview
Sgt. Gilbert Scott Selwyn 14400465

....Now try to bring this into context, if you're in the jungle, you’ve got to go from point A to point B, you don’t know what’s ahead of you, and as your going through, your spread out, not like they show you in the films, your spread out and you can’t see, virtually your next person is six feet away approximately, you can’t see him but you can hear him through the jungle, and your making your way forward, you could start off with maybe a patrol of 15 men, you come round say a small clearing, you don’t just walk across the clearing. Is there anything the other side, no, o.k. you go forward, and suddenly shots are fired, couple of your blokes go down. You haven’t got time to stop for them, take cover and go on, into the thick jungle the other side and try and fined out whose shooting at you, and you carry on to your objective until you get there. But you don’t stop to think what happened to those two blokes that were shot there, that went down, and you got to carry on, and you don’t even ever hear of where they are, or what happened to them, because nobody comes back and say’s, oh the medic’s came along and took them, and they took them back to H.Q. at so and so, you never hear that information, you're just going, and its stop, make a meal or something and off again, do a loop round and try and make your way back to H.Q. which has moved from where it was originally, you cannot describe it, you’ve got to be there to see it.

But I always look at it, we were only young lads really, and how did we learn that. We did jungle training in Madras and all I can say is, and I don’t know why; whatever you were told you stuck to it, and I think it saved our lives a good many times. You got to give credit to the people who told you what to do.

....I wouldn’t ever volunteer as a stretcher bearer, no way, no way would I, those blokes. I look at it to be quite honest, if you're in action and you get shot, then your in a dangerous position, right, and these poor buggers, stretcher bearer’s had to come out pick you up and take you back, their running into the line of fire and all that, no way mate, to run the other way’s the best thing, mind you I was an expert at digging a hole, when I hit the deck I was four inches down straight away, it’s one of those things they train you which we did, we had a hell of a lot of training.

....Your thinking al the time, Arthur Pike and me took the company to find a hut, through thick jungle, and the railway line, there’s only one railway line going north to south of Burma, there’s no off-shoots, it’s just one railway line, we were way down here and the Burmese came in and said, they’d seen some Japanese in a hut on the railway line, up at so and so, so they said, Pike and Selwyn, you’ll lead a patrol up this road through thick bloody jungle, we got our map and we got our compass bearing to where this hut would be, approximately on a bend in the railway.
....So we had to reach this particular point and we were down here, so we’ve got a compass bearing. It was I suppose about two and a half, three miles, something like that, through thick jungle, so you can’t say go on a compass bearing, because all you were doing was pointing it at a jungle, so I would go first, through that way, and I would have my compass set and hold it in front, and you follow that line and you keep going and you count your paces, 120 paces is a hundred yards, I would then stop, and Arthur Pike would be coming up behind me, and I would keep looking back at him and he would say left or right, because his not moving, his standing, and if I moved off (Course) he would wave me over, left or right), signals, and when we got there we were 20 yards away from this building, and when we got there the bloody place was empty, the company was behind us.




Sgt. Gilbert Scott Selwyn
Sgt. Gilbert Scott Selwyn

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