SAPPER HILL a short Story

Short Stories

The granite was cold, while the yellow lichen, scraped the skin. But the view was magnificent. To the left, the sea, placid blue. The red and green coloured roofs, which contoured along its shores. Likened to an artist's up turned paint box, Splashing colour on an otherwise bland yellow landscape. To the right Sapper Hill. The main focus of attention. Where beneath small puffs of black and white smoke, the black ant like figures of the Argentinean army scurried to and fro.

The lone helicopter's arrival, signalled the end, of punishing mixture of air burst and phosphorous shells, that rained down on them. We had watched, in small, dispassionate groups, from the heights of Wireless Ridge, where we had fought a long and bloody battle. Where, for once, the Argentinean soldiers, had actually regrouped, and launched a counter attack, much to everyone's surprise. But there was apparently, a fine line between attrition and slaughter. And some one was going in to talk to Menendez about surrender.

The small barracks at Moody Brook, were directly below us. A downed chopper, scattered outbuildings, the roofs all painted with red crosses. The guys carrying the 84 mm Carl Gustauv, (anti tank), asked if they could get rid of

some of the rounds they had been carrying, as the range had always been too short, or too far. They hadn't actually managed to engage any targets at all. They just wanted to have fired the bloody thing, after lugging it about for two months. It was at least 1000 meters to the helicopter, but they reckoned they could hit it. Not to be. After two or three attempts, they were told to pack it in, and head down the slope.

There was no order given, no signal. But it was a guaranteed end ex., and with all end of exercises, it was time to bin the lid, and put the red machine back on. Helmets off, berets on. We headed down the ridge towards Stanley. As it turned out, it was fortunate that  the guys with the 84 hadn't been able to hit anything. For it turned out, that although there were red crosses on the roofs of several of the buildings. All the buildings at Moody Brook, were

used by the Argy's to store ammo. If anybody had managed to hit it, they probably would have had to rename it Moody Inlet, once the dust had settled. 'Cause all that would remain, would be a bloody big hole in the ground.

With the odd burst of small arms fire, and the occasional ominous single shot ringing out, we progressed down the main road into Stanley . We were supposed to stop at the race course, and we did, for a little while. Long enough to have a few happy snaps. The press had turned up, in the shape and form of Max Hastings and his 35mm camera.

There was a fairly large stand, and we all managed to sit, squashed together and smile for the cameras. Somebody decided to get the Argy flag out, he had captured, and get it in the photo. All was going swimmingly, until some asked where he had got it from. Quite casually, we were informed that it had been on the small, tower like

commentary box at the end of the stands. It had a couple of grenades and stuff booby trapping it .When he spotted the explosives, and the tripwire he jumped back out the window. He had still been holding the end of the flag, when he had jumped. But nothing had gone off. We all had a good laugh at this. Which started the general chatter, about why we were all sitting there .

"Looks like they'll booby trap anything".

"Yeah looks like it , glad they checked out the stands".

"Who checked out the stands?".

"You lot, didn't you?".


"We thought you had!!".

"Not us mate!!!".

They looked at the tom with the flag. He looked back and spoke in a low voice as he slowly stood up. "You were all sitting here, when I walked round the corner with my flag. Right, I'll just go and ask some one, if they know who cleared it".

"I'd better go and see who he talks to".

"I'll see if he needs any help".

It didn't take long to totally empty the stands, and for everyone to disappear. The Argy's had indeed, started to booby trap the stands we had been sitting on. Fortunately for us, they never managed to finish it .There is a good

picture of a couple of us sitting on those stands . Which quite funnily, has been blown up, (by the photographer ukn), and is on the wall of the Airborne Museum in Aldershot.

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