Short Stories



 I noticed beast the Coy Cdr.’s runner was sitting beside us but not joining in .I thought that he may have had touch of exposure and went to talk to him to see that he was okay. He didn't really know me and  there was definitely something wrong with him .I couldn't see any physical injuries to him but he was in some kind of shock. He had been quite near a group of the lads who were led by the CQMS 'Doc Findlay’ when they had been struck with a direct hit by a 105 round. It took one of doc’s legs clean off, he died soon after. Doc had been carrying the wounded down the slopes then coming back up with the stretchers weighed down with ammo.

I was checking Beast out again starting from the top of his head, planing to work my way down his body, when I snagged my finger on his helmet. He had bits of shrapnel sticking through his helmet. There were also cracks in his helmet. I couldn't tell if they were also sticking into his head. I decided that I would have to remove his helmet .In the ideal world it would have stayed on and the nurses and doctors would have taken it off in the hospital. It was the top of a shitty hill thousands of miles from the ideal world. I took it off.

There were bits of shrapnel sticking out of his head all over the place. I ripped his shell dressing open and using it to make little rings. I put them round the pieces of shrapnel then wrapped a dressing over the top to try and  stem the flow of blood. I then ripped part of the helmet innards out and stuck it back on his head. (I and some of the lads would later go on 'Combat Medic' courses. Though it was not the fault of the medic instructor's, we would end up teaching them more than they taught us.) Lightning does strike in the same place twice. There was little point to easing the pressure on his head wounds if a bigger piece of shrapnel sliced the top of his head completely off, because he wasn't wearing his helmet. The CSM grabbed one of the lads and got him to take beast back down to the RAP along with the other wounded.

Later we heard the whine of engines from tracked vehicles brought on the wind from out of the darkness; it was the Scorpion and scimitar that we had last seen at the bottom in the LUP. They parked up just to the left and rear of the Boss's and my (now occupied by the rest of the world) trench. They started to engage the trenches on Wireless Ridge. 7.62mm tracer followed by 76mm rounds straight down their throats. It was spectacular. Just like sitting in your armchair at home watching it all happening on the box. We we’re all smoking and sitting up pointing and joining in now and again with the odd burst of 7.62mm. Machine gun tracers skirting across the sky like a light sabre. We constantly had calls for fire on pre-targeted objectives and enemy positions. Countless 33lb shells rained from the heavens.

It was in fact to end all too soon. The two CVRT’s had run out of ammo. Having fallen silent it was a bit more apparent that it had not been they who had been making all of the noise. We weren’t having it all our way. There was still the odd artillery round and groups of mortar rounds landing in amongst our positions. Not only 105mm rounds there was as well the frequent 155mm round landing in and about the coy area. People started to slide back into their trenches and the glow from cigarettes disappeared, snuffed out now that it wasn’t all going our way any more. Carefully stowed away so not to get wet and totally unlightable, saved for that moment when it would all be over.

The lights of Stanley glowed in the distance, had it not been for the death that surrounded us. We could have been on Salisbury Plain, the terrain being so similar.

Tracer lit the night.
While the screams of the dying  
Were drowned out,  
By the exploding shells.
No longer cold or wet.  
No thoughts of hunger.
Just a surge, a rush,
The body’d come alive.

© Jim Love

That smell of death,
It hides around the corner.
The next fold in the ground,
That hill in the distance.
It mocks you,
Eggs you on.
Laughs at your fears,
Invades your mind.

Death taunts you,
Makes you think irrationally.
Tests your skills,
Hides from your reason.

Beyond your tangible grasp,
Gone in a split second.
But still there,

© Jim Love

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