August 13th 1939 – Razani

Did advance guard to Narai and sat on Duncan’s piquet. A bit of sniping from slopes behind Toady and the Scouts did a gasht in the hills west of Pink Hills. They had a good battle there and most of the day we saw shells bursting over there. I went up to Alexandria piquet in a staff car and had a beer with Donald Gordon. Inside it looks as though it might have stepped out of some film of the frontier, or Beau Geste. A wooden, railed platform all round the top of the wall, for stand-to, gives this impression. A very interesting log book is shown me with some bloody funny entries in it. The Scouts did a gasht up that way and were fired on. Some of the garrison are reputed to have heard them say “Don’t shoot, we are Scouts” and the shooting stopped.

The Sappers blew up a bomb on the road a couple of furlongs from the Narai, and I see half a culvert that has been blown in, a night or two previously. I also saw some fragments of this bomb, which certainly looked tough enough. They reckon Alex is the highest permanent piquet in the Empire – but I don’t know about that.

The Brigadier is reputed to have said that Ipi (now in Khame, so why the hell don’t they blow him out of it) is sending up a gun or two to the Razmak front. It is almost a proscribed area up here now, as all the locals have orders to stay indoors on R.P. days, so that anyone out, if not a Khassadar, is liable to get shot. Though I’ll be damned if I have ever seen a man yet who might be enemy. You hear the shot, or the bullet arrives, and God bless the Duke where it comes from.

A letter from Clapham today. This munshi, Feroz Khan, is very bad mannered. Whilst your attention is fixed on “Hagha Dagha” or “Khwab o’khial”, or whatever it be, he slides a hand up his shirt, rummages about for a little, as though searching for tin tacks in the bottom of a bed, and then produces a long white hair, plucked from the shrubbery on his chest. He then holds it and contemplates it, almost regretfully, finally depositing it on your best Persian carpet. He cast a great many with Mickey Wardle but I, duly warned, used to watch him carefully when he was fiddling about, trying to unbutton his shirt, and stare so hard that he gave it up. Alas, the other day I looked up from the book and saw his hand come out like a snake from his bosom, and the deed was done. When he had gone, there shone a long thin white hair on the floor.

Cpl Farry has the Military Medal for his effort on Dun on April 10th. He was badly wounded, but continued to fire back, and I reckon he killed the leader of the gang. Some say he was hit in the right shoulder and then turned over and fired from his left shoulder, but I wouldn’t be knowing about that. The 2/7 are hanging their shield on August 23rd and Donald expects to come down from Alex for that. I must get into training as there is only 10 days.


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