|| ON a
dirty night in August 1940 Pte. Blank of "C" Coy.,
the 32nd Bn. The South Staffordshire Home Guard, singlehanded
and utterly disregarding his own and other people's personal
safety, engaged the Enemy on Chemical Hill, opening fairly rapid
fire with the two rounds of s.a.a. which the Coy. had borrowed
from a neighbouring battalion to show the troops what it looked
Neither Pte. Blank nor the bull was injured, but a rather
forceful person of remarkably rude health was hurt in both
mind and spirit. His display of brooding parental affection
inclined the troops to think he was the father of Pte. Blank.
But it was the bull he owned and loved. It is only fair to
the animal to say it did not appear to reciprocate. Possibly
it felt a bit under the weather, ruminating upon the stark
fact that a bullet's first graze might have been its last.
However, having given full play to his affection, the bull's
owner went on to express a not entirely unjustifiable concern
as to his pet's future life (in this world)
and even got as far as wishful
thinking out loud about Pte. Blank's in the hereafter. His
discourse, threatening to develop into a full-blooded Philippic,
our inimitable Sgt. Heath judged the moment ripe for diplomatic
intervention - "throwing the cat among the pigeons"
as he put it later. More in pain than anger, he asked the
owner what he had to complain about compared with we? It was
us what had lost two ruddy bullets or was it? Them bullets
wasn't in the animal so far as us could judge, was they? Right,
then they was probably on or in his adjective farm. If so,
he should by rights be shoved in the clink for illegitimate
possession of Government property. If he wanted to start a
bust-up here he had better ruddy start it somewhere else.
If he wanted his (the Sergeant's) advice - not that he would
waste his puff giving it to him - he would say to him: "Float
now, while the going's good, you and your ruddy cow".
This somewhat original legal argument obviously non-plussed
the owner, but the insult to the bull was, so to speak, the
unkindest cut of all. Man and beast drifted out of our lives
into the dawn, silently and together, tails down. (......continues.....)