January 3rd 1939 – Razani

R.P. down to Khaisora crossing, to let the Brigade through to Dandil. I am wearing chaplis for first tryout. My platoon piquets Lower Tambre Obo, an old built-up camp piquet, with the remains of a perimeter camp below it, overlooking the head of the Khaisora. A pretty dangerous looking place, surrounded by nullahs whose beds are out of sight. In front is another platoon on Upper Tambre Obo, overlooking the village. The Green Howards had 7 casualties on the Maidan on our left, whilst going up to Mamha Roga. Captain Ainsley was killed up there too. Clarke arrives up, as O.C. D Coy, with a bottle of beer. I have just got it open when I get caught with the R.T.R. However, the platoon scrambles down, under cover of the V.B. which I sent down to the old campsite, across the Khaisora and up a precipitous bank on the other side.

I reckon chaplis beat boots any day, except perhaps in snow. R.P. in future is done by gashts. Patrols of 3 or 4 platoons go out and leapfrog and leapfrog from hill to hill, parallel to the road, and hoping to catch a Dushman. There’s Khassadar piquet, Morton’s Bump (after a lad in 3/14), 72, 71, and Knife Edge. Mami Roja side is a great separate feature 70. Up the other way it’s more dangerous, with two villages, Razani and Zargaran.

We did a wonderful gasht up there to reconnoitre Zorgat Algad and it looks pretty grim, with a ruined village. I was holding a shale crest on day and took a section down the side of Zargaran to hold a position looking up Zorgat Algad, to cover a platoon. I needed a bodyguard with fixed bayonets as protection from fierce dogs, but the threat of a stone seemed quite sufficient.

Life in Razani when no R.P. is pretty dull, but we have a seven-a-side football league in which I play. The Gunners win that. Officers vs Sergeants on a Sunday morning and beer afterwards. Most enjoyable. Dick Forsythe is one of the gunners, Capt Guy Lambert the other officer. Dick arrived in India last Easter, went to Hyderabad and Sind, and has been here 8 weeks. Brigade H    Q is at Nowshara, and has a section at Dandil. He goes off to Mir Ali after a bit, with all the rest of the gunners, and I take over Sally, a labrador belonging to the Adjutant of 3/14. I have her about two weeks and am charged R7/12, on 1lb meat per diem @ 4 annas. I wrote to Captain Harvey about it.

I took up a squad and built a cookhouse on 4 piquet and did general repairs. Then the main well fell in on the cookhouse and the cook claims he was there, which I don’t believe. In excavations we find two unbroken eggs. Eventually Clarke has to revet with 16ft angle irons and corrugated iron, or the whole post would collapse.

I am pretty ill for three days, following a cold, with chill on the liver and violent indigestion. Eventually I go up in a staff car on 29th January and roll down to the hospital to find I have Catarrhal Jaundice. I go back to my quarters and arrange a change of bearers. Ganga Din gets my goat, always looking as though he had just had his pants kicked. Major Brain 6/13 got me the brother of his, one Attam Khan, a Pathan from near Peshawar. He arrives down at Razani with blankets round him like a tribesman, and I stammer Urdu at him and send him back up, as I am going to Razmak the next day. The handover is completed, and I move into hospital.


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