2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

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Muddy Waters
Written and donated by The Sphinx And Dragon
Regimental Journal
Page 2


.....Two patrols of Japs each of six men moving along a track - four Japs moving behind trees with rice bags on their heads - three Burmese crouching by a wooden hut smoking cheroots - the tracks of 70mm field guns - a disused enemy bivouac area with scattered debris and ammo boxes all around and the well-known rubber Japanese boot soles of some 20 of the enemy imprinted in the dust, etc. So the reports from his patrol leaders would go on, to be passed to Company HQ and then to the Battalion Intelligence section and no doubt further up the line for analysis and action.
.....His sergeant would soon be round to inspect his rifle - he'd better clean it or an extra guard duty or other duty would result. Why couldn't they trust him to clean it himself? If it jammed from din it meant his life not theirs. As Ken sat up and got his pullhrough out he realised he hadn't dug his shelter trench. That was another irksome chore - two foot down and six foot long, shaped like a keyhole, to be dug every night in all new locations as they moved on.
.....Two stray shells whistled over not far away and reminded him of the need but his sergeant seemed to think he wouldn't dig down if he was left to his own decisions.
.....A pull through was a metal weight at the end of a piece of cord split at the end to hold a cotton patch four inches by two inches with which all rifle barrels were cleaned. The patch, string and weight were manually pulled through the barrel to clean it. All riflemen carried pull throughs on them.
.....They ought to know he needed no encouragement having seen many casualties from shelling. Pulling his rifle through and beginning to oil it, he eyed his entrenching tool with no enthusiasm. Just then his platoon officer and sergeant came up to him together. What had he done he wondered? 'Just going to dig down, sarge,' he announced guiltily. 'Only just woken up, doesn't take long.' Both his officer and sergeant looked serious. 'Wells,' said Lt Whittingham-Jones, 'get dressed - you're on patrol again in an hour's time. Bring a sub machine gun and minimum equipment including a water bottle. Be at platoon HQ in half an hour.' Incredulously Ken heard the news, 'But I've only just got back, sarge,' he said, addressing his sergeant. His platoon commander knew how Ken or any of them would feel.

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Pte. Kenneth James Wells
Pte. Kenneth James Wells

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