September 26th 1940


Nothing of note. Letter from Tony Cotterill, Wana getting sniped and the other day 6 B.O.’s and 3 orderlies out exercising hounds were ambushed by 30 Dushmen at 200′ range. Two horses were hit and the remainder missed. However, Arthur Murray and an orderly fell off in the general confusion and bolt for home, and Mike Oliver apparently rode back in the face of the advancing tribesmen and rescued Doc Murray. Or that’s the story anyway. It was a trap to draw out Wanacol where a lashkar was waiting for it. However, the bait was not swallowed. Only some armoured cars went out in pursuit, and the R.A. opened up rapid fire from the camp. Why do I always miss the fun? Campbell apparently can’t quite understand life there, and when the gunners opened rapid he was having one of his reports debated before the C.O. The guns started and Campbell interrupts the C.O. with “My God sir, artillery!”

These recruits here are a mixed lot. Some of the Sikhs that arrive speak pretty good English, some have been impressed, some are Nai Sikhs (JDW: a caste of Sikh working in the haircutting or beauty profession), and then some desert after they have been here some weeks. The Dogras are mostly pretty good, and give no trouble at all. Kumaonis we take now, and they are proud and conceited. (JDW: a people from northern India) Some have been told to ask for Ghurka hats like the Dogras, and some speak no Kumaon tongue. PMs are alright, some madder than others, but the real madness are the Pathans, especially the Orakzais (JDW: a tribe from the NW frontier), with whom no other brand of Pathan is able to converse. There are eight groups, they spend 15 working days in each, and then know how to fire a rifle and salute, a bit of V.B., and elementary collective training and mountain warfare.

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