July 26th 1939 – Razani

The rifles have apparently been given up as lost, and as we are duty battalion, I spend the morning clearing scrub from round the 2/8 lines, from which they snipe the camp at night. Did so yesterday to a chorus of all types of firing from the R.P. troops. Dunkerton says it was the hottest day that they have ever had. 2/7 and 3/10 were out and they brought in a few khassadars as prisoners. The ground piquet protecting me opened up, Bakhshi way, at movement they are so good at spotting in head high scrub at 1300 yards. On the way back I met the gurkhas going out to piquet Bakhshi range. One of their VCO’s salutes me, and 20 minutes later is dead with a bullet between his eyes, next door to Nelson.

About 6pm, whilst I’m sitting in the Mess reading “Khyber Courtship” by Maud Diner, the orderly corporal brings the general ‘stand-to’ round. Out I double, to find everyone in a flap, and only A & C Coys to stand to. They go out with 1/8 to try and catch some 80-150 enemy located at Gaj. They never succeed of course, but manage to open fire at 600′ or so, on parties seen making off. They just get in by dark, at about 8.15pm. Stories come in though. Some lad in the gurkhas had his company HQ and MG mules in the old Serai at Gaj. Every time he tries to get out the door a swarm of bullets come over from Oak. He eventually sees a few men taking cover up there, so he lets rip with the MGs, and bugger the khassadars up there. Three of them, wounded, roll into camp later, complaining bitterly.

Undy’s HQ had a signal lamp, pointing outwards towards the forward troops, and this drew fire every time it was used. R.P. troops reckoned they had 1000 rounds fired at them, a couple of hundred in half an hour or so. This is supposed to be given them by Ipi and they are blowing it.

A tremendous roar a few nights ago, I never heard it, but they blew up a culvert, though without much effect. Lindsay Yound says they are trying to hold up R.P. troops, draw more out of camp, and then hop down and “raid a post, and capture a rifle or two”. How the bloody hell, I can’t think. Thursday – tomorrow –  and I have to dig a bloody garden.


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