February 10th 1939 – Razmak

I am pronounced bile free and advised to get up, as I’ll soon be discharged. This is the 13th day in hospital and I’m about fed up. It was a nice rest at first, between sheets after four weeks in Razani, but a fat-free diet is very monotomous – soup and jelly predominant.  The only thing I got my teeth into was toast and jam. Later comes promotion to boiled chicken and mutton and fruit salad. Breakfast is grapenuts, force and two boiled eggs.

There’s a very pleasant Assistant Surgeon Irving here and a Major looking just like something off the stage. I move in with Field for a bit who has been evacuated with some sort of flu. He goes out pretty soon. Captain Fowler, who succeeded Murray as the Doctor at Razani, looks in and says that a gang of Badmashes with a gun were reported between Khaisuira and Razani. Much shooting in Razani the other day, but only two villagers chasing a duck. Whilst I was there we had no shooting, the last being about Christmas, but they usually snipe when the Brigade is in camp there.

The piquets got windy one night and blew off all sorts of coloured Very lights about 7.30pm in the rain. Someone heard a noise in Nullah piquet, which guards a well. Nullah 685 all let off. And our No 3 post too, thinking they saw someone just outside the wall. But only an Indian at the latrines.

They sacked 100 Khassadars up at Razmak Narai. The orderlies are pretty idle here, being the King’s, up from Peshawar to relieve ours, as we are short of men. We have been up here three months without a shot fired at us; save two or three which landed on my platoon’s sangars on R.P. Of course I was in Nowskara, dammit.

A column went out Makin way just before Christmas, I had a platoon up Gibraltar to cover them. Colossal battle they have at Tandi China corner. I hear guns, VBs and MGs. They come home with about 20 casualties. Two men are shot dead in Shora piquet, a ruddy fort. Whilst we are down in Razani they shoot up R.P. troops in Razmak. There is the famous occasion early December, when the lad near Bakkoke Piquet lets off 30 or 40 shots at gunners mules returning from R.P. They lose two mules, and lots of artillery open on him. No good. Later that evening he moves round and puts a few into the camp and 6/13 lines and 2/7 Rajputs. One of the perimeter posts has V.B. trained on where he is believed to have been. They didn’t open up as were not risking punishment. Bloody fools.

Maybe its the old custom of watching and watching a new unit, watching it first keen, then going slack (familiarity breeds contempt) and eventually someone buys it. I hope it won’t be me.

The 2nd Brigade including R.U.R. (Royal Ulster Regiment) has moved up to Bannu, but it may only be normal relief of 1st Brigade. Rumour has it that they go to the lower end of Khaisora, and the 1st Brigade, who are now back in Dandil, take the upper end. It’s also rumoured the Leicesters remain in Razani until 2/12 come as relief of 3/14 on March 15th. The 6/13 hung their shield last night and the first casualty comes down this morning – a Major Allan RIASC, who got hit by a bottle or some’at and broke his “eye film”.

I have trouble getting books from the Club babu. I sent for his catalogue, and he swore he hadn’t one, eventually relenting and letting me have it two days later, when I’d asked Fowler to call in and order it. I chose some books, got ’em, but next time he claimed they were all out. I’ll sort him when I get up there.

Intelligence reports Ipi trying for a Holy War, when his pals have returned from the Plains. Also rumours of declaring operations, and Brain says they are giving a medal for 1938 and that we shall be eligible. Had a letter from Biddy Benbow, wanting photo of me, and one from Bill having taken 6 days only. I thought it took that to Karachi alone. He has no opinion of Arabs, “Oozlebats” or Jews, but hasn’t had a battle yet. Nor have I for that matter. The troops reckon the Green Howards were pulling their legs. They got pitched straight into war when they arrived, whilst we have had three months calm, for training. I heard that the bushman who shot up the gate so long ago was ambushed by two Gurkhas and they chopped his hands off. Maybe. I also hear they got the chap who sniped Razmak, whilst we have been away, over by HMS Nelson, a factory chimney and incinerator. His fate I suppose will be six months jug, and when he’s let out I believe they give him 50 chips to start life anew. It’s so damn silly, he should be charged with attempted murder, or treason, as I beleive he was a Khassadar.


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