2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

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Muddy Waters
Written and donated by The Sphinx And Dragon
Regimental Journal


.....Wells, a south countryman from Sussex, lay on his back chewing a long straw. Usually referred to as 'Ken' he was in fact Pte Kenneth J Wells, Royal Berks Regiment, from the town of Littlehampton in Sussex. Of athletic build he was sturdy with dark hair and eyes, his complexion turned sallow, if not yellow, from the daily dosage of mepacrine taken by everyone on Burma to avoid malaria.
.....Despite the noise of battle in the middle distance, Ken was in good humour for he had just returned from a successful patrol with his corporal and three other men and was enjoying a break for R and R. They had seen and reported on enemy activities some two rules away. Ken had shot one Japanese sentry dead before the patrol withdrew with valuable information of the Jap position. Their skill and avoidance tactics had once again beaten the Japanese at their own game.
.....It was 3pm on 28 January 1945, hot and windless. The patrol had already brewed tea in their mess tins and scoffed some bully beef and biscuits. All were finding time for a well earned kip lying in the shade under the scattered jungle and scrub which covered this defended area.
.....The next patrol would be someone else's turn. Someone else would run the chance of being shot up or ambushed. Killing the enemy wherever you could had to be measured against your own chances. It was Ken's big fear. Ambush and counter-ambush, he had already had experience of both. Now he was happy resting in the company area; he might even have time for a letter home. At least until tomorrow no more patrols for him.
.....Ken and all of them knew how easy it was to be shot up in this mobile infantry battle. Casualties miles out on patrol were not easy to get back - if they were hit, they all knew the probabilities. Some of the non-smokers could smell the Japs before they got to them but nothing was certain. It was a mug's game searching the countryside in small reconnaissance patrols. He supposed it had to be done but the information they usually got never seemed to Ken to add up to much.

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Pte. Kenneth James Wells
Pte. Kenneth James Wells

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