August 17th 1939 – Razani

I manage to get to bed at 10.30pm after listening to Mac’s detail. However what with Clarke’s wireless and sort of thinking of the morrow, I get no sleep and get up at 1am to a cup of tea and half a dozen biscuits. Well we set off at about 2am and take about half an hour to cross the aerodrome and get onto the road. From there its all Plain, on the road all the way, and I don’t care a damn if they do hear the noise we make with our boots, and open up.

I am sent on to Crocus where I halt, at about 4am, and wait for dawn. I hear two lads come shuffling down the road, so I hop out with my revolver and hold them up. One complains in English that they are Baluchis and looking for transport. At first light I send up a khassadar, though he seems goofy and unable to understand my Pashtu, and then we follow him onto Toady. The very devil of a noise starts on the other side and goes on the whole day. There is a bit of shooting on the 7101 side and we open up from the roof with the V.B. On coming off we open up (Cpl Webb and his 5 rounds rapid) to keep their heads down, but I don’t think they were really firing at us.

A couple come over on the way home, but I get in at 1pm, shave, bathe, tiffin and am in bed at 2pm to sleep like a snapdragon until 7pm. Up at 7.30, bathe, and Pearse comes in. Afterwards over beer everyone discusses the day’s operation.

The Scouts rounded up 58, who are in a “cage” down by the Treasury, guarded by 5/11 and surrounded by a speculative audience of all races. Some got away into the hills and shot up piquets at 200′. A few got in between the outer and inner piquets of 2/1. They shot up the inner ones and then gathered their cloaks and themselves and went into a huddle, for a council of war. One of the outer piquets then got them in the rear with a VB.

2/1 met a party suddenly round a nullah, at 10 yards range, and claim to have shot 5 out of 7 of them. 58 prisoners were taken out of the village, and 9 enemy estimated killed, but only three bodies recovered to date, and one rifle. Tanks fired an immense quantity of ammunition and one gurkha got hit in the arse and the other in the knee, the bullet travelling up to near his ribs. All the village dogs started off about half an hour before dawn and I heard cocks crowing as well. The prisoners were mostly locals from those two villages with a few badmashes as well, and are to be interrogated about that hold-up below the narai on July 12th.


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