Jocko Podcast 216 w/ Echo Charles:  Why You Should Never Give Up. The Memory Endures, by Reg Curtis

Jocko Podcast 216 w/ Echo Charles: Why You Should Never Give Up. The Memory Endures, by Reg Curtis


this is Jocko podcast number 216 with
echo Charles and me Jocko willing good evening echo good evening in attack
most daring in defense most cunning in endurance most steadfast they performed
a feat of arms which will be remembered and recounted as long as the virtues of
courage and resolution have the power to move the hearts of men and that right
there is Winston Churchill speaking in honor of the British first Airborne
Division had on him and he was actually making that statement on September 22nd
1944 in which the battle was not actually even over yet and we did cover
that fateful battle on podcast 94 from the book called men at Arnhem by Jeffrey
Powell and it’s just it’s a it’s an incredible book and an account of the
British Airborne Division in that battle where they lost almost 75% of its
strength and from that point on was for all practical purposes purposes out of
the war so who were these men that made this stand we saw one when we covered
Jeffrey Powell’s book but obviously there were thousands more each one a
hero and also each one a human being and I recently got a book in the mail that
someone sent me and the book was written by one such man one such human being the
book is called the memory in der and it was written by a man named reg
Curtis so let’s go to this book and meet and learn and honor a hero of a human
being here we go chapter one’s called prelude to war as a youth I carried out
milk I carried out a milk round in the early morning and a newspaper round in
the evening earning four shillings a week which helped towards the cost of
the special clothing I needed as a choirboy at st. Augustine’s Church near
Grove Park railway station when I left school in 1934 at the age of fourteen I
got a job at Elliot brothers and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers firm
in Lewis Shem I cycled five miles to and from work Monday to Saturday and learn
quickly under the watchful eye of the charge hand learning how to operate a
milling machine centre lathe hydraulic press and finally working as a capstan
center operator I had to just read that part because you know you always hear
about the old man who had to go five miles to work and five mile home uphill
both ways yeah there you go mmm yo reg Curtis was doing it mm-hmm after
three years I was beginning to set and by the way he’s like 14 years old at
this time just kind of FYI mm-hmm so after three years I was beginning to
settle in for a long-term job when a series of small strikes put the damper
on my enthusiasm the persistent industrial action prompted my decision
to join the army where such strikes were not tolerated you kind of get the
impression this is our guy right he’s they’re having strikes whatever he says
where where can I go where that’s not gonna happen
oh I know the army my father had been in the Royal Army Service Corps and my
grandfather was the chairman of the Royal British Legion so the army seemed
natural enough my family I was encouraged by my uncle
fred himself a regimental sergeant major I chose the foot guards because after a
short term of service I would be acceptable to the City of London police
in those days you had to be at least five and five feet ten and a half inches
tall to be a policeman I was already 6 1 and still growing I
presented myself to the guards recruiting office in London and enlisted
with the 1st or Grenadier regiment of the Foot Guards and flowing forward a
little bit there was there was one corporal Tucker so now he’s you know he
don’t through the boot camp scenario there was one corporal Tucker my squad
instructor who took great delight in marching us on to the frozen parade
ground with extra zest then put us on a charge if we slipped up so you not only
received a sore rump but also got extra parade as punishment
another approach was to march us toward a large puddle and then give the order
to mark time come on knees higher he would shout from a safe distance
scrutinizing each man in turn and looking for any signs of cracking we
were just numbers at Caterham though to this day I say it did me no harm as it
instilled a self-discipline that has served me well through life that’s what
you’re gonna get and you know you and I were talking earlier about basically
normal face basically look I’m not gonna show that this is not fun I’m not gonna
show and you were saying that you learn if you can if you say look no factor
right no factor I got to do this hard thing no factor not hey I gotta do this
hard thing so I’m gonna get mentally all fired up no no just no factor and you
learn over time that saying no factor keeping it in your head actually you get
better at it and all of a sudden hard things you just go I was gonna do it I’m
just going to attack it that’s one of the things that this type of military
training does and even he’s saying look the stuff that this guy’s gonna go
through is a thousand times harder than doing mark time March
on the parade ground for an hour thousands of times harder infinitely
harder but there’s a little lesson that he learned and plus he’s British
right and the Brits with the stiff upper lip that’s that’s like a whole culture
at least it used to be because the cultures change a lot in Britain but
this warrior culture of hey there literally England if you think about it
the stiff upper lip which is hey we’re just gonna go do that’s that’s the no
factor culture of hey we got something to do cool we’re gonna go do it
watch this where this is England what do you got we got some hard for school no
factor stiff upper lip move forward fast forward a little bit he so he gets like
one of his first jobs is is sort of guarding the the royal family and so he
does some of that and then moves on to kind of the regular army going back to
look soon enough I left the glamour of Windsor and the comfort of Victoria
barracks behind and was sent to pair bright in Surrey where every Guardsman
goes for field work craft and firing on the open range it was my duty to be able
to handle and fire a gun in preparation to protect king and country in an
emergency but trust my luck to a fallen had fallen foul of bad weather it was
not really my cup of tea to prostrate myself on a wet and wind strip flying
overhead range with a sergeant breathing down my neck whispering words of
encouragement an added supply of rain water running over me in torrents from
his groundsheet cape this is this is not the way you’d hear a US Marine described
being on the range in a rainy day you know that’s just such a British way of
explaining this and then he continues on it must have done some good as I made
first-class shot though for what purpose I was not yet sure so guess what this is
post-world War One I think I want to say this is 1939 when he enlisted so it
isn’t or maybe 30 maybe in 38 actually I think it’s 37
yeah 1937 he joined the army so there’s you know World War one was what 20 years
in the past that was the war to end all wars sure
there’s a guy in Germany that might be getting a little uppity but he’s saying
hey look I know I gotta learn how to use this gun but not really sure what I need
to know how to do this for continue on fast-forward a little bit in early in
1939 I was transferred to the home of the British Army at Aldershot and
Hampshire I’ll never forget the atmosphere of the night of the tattoo
which tattoo is like a word for a parade basically when our battalion marched on
dressed in navy blue trousers with red piping down the outseam outside outseam
of each trouser leg long-sleeved white waiter type jackets with brass buttons
and the guards peaked cap with red band around the crown carried out without a
word of command our drill display lasted for 20 minutes the finale being the only
time a command was given the battalion will advance in review order by the
entire by the center quick march 450 men moved as one and the reason that I’ll
had that once again when you just think about the human beings right
psychologically in that moment look you’re a cog in the wheel that’s all you
are you’re a pawn on the chessboard that’s all you are
but and he and he says it like that feeling that you get of being a part of
something that’s literally bigger than you are
mmm hey I’m just I’m just a guy out here in a uniform but there’s 450 of us
moving as one mm and there’s some part of human instinct that likes to be a
part of that tribe continuing on in August
some mysterious goings-on began unusual apparatus in the form of digging
equipment both powered and hand operated appeared along with wheel barrels and
mountains of little sacks which turned out to be sand backs lorries loaded the
lorries loaded with sand would dump their contents at various points and
instead of the usual drill parades and kid inspections we found ourselves of
filling these bags with sand and building barriers I thought it must be
some sort of giant exercise and no idea that it was in preparation for
real enemy being confined to the barracks with its own shops and theatres
we didn’t mix with the public so knew very little about matters of national
importance indeed in those days a servicemen was
not allowed to discuss politics and we would be put on charge if caught
attending a political meeting so these guys are completely isolated and I’m
thinking about even when I joined the Navy and we’d go on a ship we’d have no
idea what’s going on there’s no internet yet and so we had no idea what was going
on in the outside world and even even living on base I mean you at least when
even when I joined you had cable news right you knew the CNN was on and you’re
watching CNN and you’re knowing what’s going on the world
there’s no CNN there’s no TV there’s nothing so these guys are completely
isolated they’re living they’re gone all the stores are going to our on base the
theaters on base so there’s a living on base paying no mind to what’s going on
overseas what is put on charge means get in
trouble just in general yeah just in general like oh he got in trouble yeah
yeah okay so it’s not like a you know cuz it’s varying levels of yeah and it
covers and he I’m glad you brought that up because it uses it throughout kind of
the book because there’s you get can get put on charge for all kinds yeah yeah
and so it’s just a general term that means being in trouble may be written up
written up may be sent to the brig for a little time whatever but you know you
got put on charge yeah and they’ll court-martial nothing like this but
could be you keep it up yeah if you well could be to you like if you did
something really bad you just got welcome you know he’s gonna get put on
charge okay yeah yeah is any level of trouble is what I perceived it is maybe
a Brit military person will let us know if I’m wrong continue on on the 3rd of
September war was declared with Germany and I realized what all the sandbagging
was for within days my battalion was mobilized reservists were called up and
along with thousands of other troops two weeks later two weeks later we were in
France I think I was quite unperturbed at the possibility of getting killed
after I was a soldier trained to kill so why
should I have any qualms you know what’s nuts about this and I mean putting it in
perspective World War one which was now 20 years at Pine sight was so insanely
savage and yet this guy’s still Reggie’s like yeah you know what
cool I’m not worried about getting killed I’m a soldier and you think about
the casualties in World War one had you had to be it shows you it shows you how
quickly we can forget right what war is because if you witnessed a day on the
battlefield in World War one there’s no way you’d want to do any of that ever
again but whatever you’re 20 years old you you’re a crack shot with that rifle
time to go get some continue on in the Ford positions we oh yeah and by the way
now I’m just jumping past hey they get there and by the way like I said they
get to France two weeks later this isn’t like okay we’re doing a
prolonged preparation no we’re declaring war on the 3rd and Eden September the
3rd of September we’re declaring war and then in September two weeks later you’re
on the ground in France ready to get some in the forward position so now they
start moving forward from France in the forward positions we took over a
deserted village called trom born about six miles from the German border as it
was snowing our fighting patrol decided to make use of sheets to create so
they’re in these and they’re in these areas that are pretty much abandoned and
so they’re going into houses and finding stuff as it was snowing our fighting
patrol decided to make use of sheets to create sets of camouflage gear white
suits gloves over boots hats and coverings for our rifles hunting around
we’ve I found a sewing machine thinking that we might as well do things the easy
way as a fighting patrol we didn’t fire a shot there’s more matter of listening
and night reconnaissance in our white outfits carrying only rifles and law and
limited other gear we traveled more comfortably than we had previously which
I skipped over the part where they’re basically doing long long movements to
get into positions on one night reconnaissance we became
overconfident don’t let that happen and one of our lads knocked up against the
enemy wire it was a still bright moonlit night we were in no-man’s land just 75
feet from the forward German positions they’re talking obstruct Lee as luck
would have it we were crawling so we froze hugging the ground for an hour
without moving on another occasion we were on our way back to base when from
and by the way on that one they they make it out on another occasion we were
on our way back to base when from the direction of a bend in the road 50 yards
away we saw a group of figures we were about two miles from our lines and knew
that no other patrols were out so these men must be the enemy our patrol leader
gave the signal to lie still we were straddled each side of the road in semi
open ground but fortunately the night was not too bright the group passed by
10 men in all space six to eight feet apart they were well armed but warned no
light suits keeping them in view and moving only our
eyes we lay unnoticed if we had been spotted they would have had the
advantage because of their automatic weapons and also the fact that they as
they passed down our center we could not have fired on them for fear of hitting
our own men never separate your forces which is hard when you’re walking down
the road because when you’re walking down the road you’re gonna be in a
what’s called a staggered file which means you got guys on either side of the
road right which generally we’re trying to stay off the roads anyways but
sometimes that road is the smartest place to move you’re gonna make a bunch
of noise moving through the brush and you can get on that road and move really
quietly so it’s something that can happen but then when they see the enemy
they all get off the road what’s the quickest way to get off the road it’s on
the route side that you’re on and what does that mean you’re on both
sides the road now when the enemy walks in between you and you start shooting at
the enemy you’re actually shooting at each other
mm-hmm so you have to be cognizant of that which these guys were continuing on when I came into contact
with two Germans and this is another thing about this book that first of all
this book is not very long but the other thing that’s that’s crazy and British
and no factor and stiff upper lip is he’ll he’ll describe the most insane
things that were factually crazy as like in three sentences of what and just
really matter of fact you know still although there are times where he
definitely adds some color but that’s the way he is just just kind of
matter-of-fact very British about the whole thing when I came into contact
with the two Germans for the first time myself I gave them five rounds of
rapid-fire at a range of fifty yards as they edged towards me under the cover of
garden walls and fencing they were my first shots and anger I didn’t see the
two Germans anymore so maybe they were lucky shots guardsman Bateman and Elms
doubled past and shouted for me to come on and we continued in the open country
making our way over to a bridge and halting roughly after roughly a thousand
yards where we took up defensive positions air activity was increasingly
tremendous Messerschmitt 109s were machine gunning at low level and had
strafed our troops coming over the bridge only a few minutes after I
crossed there’s these these talking about these and I don’t know if I just
never really thought about it this much detail but he talks about these you know
the enemy aircraft coming in at low level and strafing them all the time and
if you’ve ever seen a Messerschmitt they’re just really badass looking
aircraft and a lot of the German aircraft they just were I mean all the
aircraft back then right I mean you got Spitfires you got Corsairs you got
mustangs you got a p38 litem you’ve got awesome looking aircraft that and if you
can imagine this – at that time those were the most technologically advanced
things right so they didn’t look they didn’t look old right they look like a
x-wing fighter from Star Wars right that’s what you were seeing you were
seeing this magic machine that was just and now this thing
is pointing at you at at an altitude of like 300 or 400 feet and just dumping
machine-gun rounds at you and can you imagine the noise that they make with
those big giant engines I mean yeah and so he talks about that a lot in these
books and that’s kind of the first encounter that he brings it up the other
thing that scares me about it is it’s sort of random you know it’s almost like
mortar fire because the aircraft’s gonna come down if it’s pointed two degrees in
that direction you’re fine if it points two degrees in your direction you’re
dead and the the rounds are hitting you know at a spacing of six feet or
whatever when they get to the ground mm so if you’re in between those two six
feet you’re totally fine or you get hit in the face or in the head and you’re
dead so there’s this element of chance going on as well which I never like I
never liked that element no chance continuing on leaving the area and
traveling mainly on foot encountering few enemy on the ground but experiencing
continuous shelling and bombing from the air we came to a stop by the river
escape near the city of Tornai six miles from the French border here we went into
a counter-attack during which a very well liked platoon commander lieutenant
the Duke of Northumberland was killed Lance Corporal Harry Nichols and
Guardsman Nash were ordered to flush out some bothersome machine-gun nest six
hundred yards from our position that’s British right you’re gonna describe
machine-gun nests as bothersome the section I was in gave covering fire what
is that all about yeah that’s called cover and move fundamental to our left
they picked their way with caution Nichols and a light machine gun under
each arm Nichols with a light machine gun under each arm I didn’t see them
anymore but they must have completed the mission because there were because the
enemy fire ceased after a while Lance Corporal Nichols was posted
missing presumed killed but later reported as being alive in enemy hands
he was awarded the Victoria Cross for this action in this
my built-up area on the river the Germans afforded very good target
practice for me I found that I just could not miss but we were all getting
weary through lack of sleep and proper food no one can live off scraps or from
scavenging for long without feeling the worse for it and enemy numbers were
increasing tenfold or so it seemed continuing on we came to another stop
this was the last time I took part in a coordinated attack with the third
Battalion Grenadier Guards we went into a bayonet charge I say again we went
into a bayonet charge at courtier setting off I felt very scared scared
and all sorts of things went through my mind like what the hell am I doing here
oh yes I joined the army to become a policeman want to laugh the muck was
flying fast bullets whining and splattering and I crouched lower to
dodge them on I went with the rest my 16 inch Enfield bayonet blade fixed and
protruding at the ready ready ready for what the only thing I’d ever stuck with
a bayonet was a sack dummy then I saw them in the swirling smoke human beings
not sacks real Germans blimey I trudged on wrenching my ankle in a pothole on
and on until the order rang out charge charge
I began to double now with my bayonet thrust at full on guard those figures
growing bigger and bigger until they were just a few yards away among the din
and yells of pain there were dead bodies from both sides littering my approach I
was afoot from the two Germans when suddenly they both dropped their rifles
and reached very high chattering something about comrade I was so bloody
amazed and relieved that I said come on then I’ll take you prisoner which is
just that paragraph for me to think through because I’m thinking when I see
those Germans you know what I’m doing I’m shooting them right I’m not gonna
continue with the bayonet charge right I’m not
acting to take these guys prisoner gets on my battalion was now badly cut up and
he uses the term caught up meaning shot up meaning you wounded injured he’s that
throughout the book with numbers well below effective fighting power and we
were ordered to attach ourselves to any unit and make our way to Dunkirk though
no reason was given and here I was stuck with two German prisoners the journey
was nerve-wracking with hordes of refugees jamming the roads and making
military transport movement almost impossible lorries guns in French age 39
Hotchkiss tanks were often seen abandoned in ditches rendered immobile
but clearly not by enemy action what was going on were we throwing in the towel
so he’s seen all these abandoned vehicles and they’re being destroyed by
friendly forces only because we don’t want the enemy to get a hold of our
tanks and he’s trying to figure out what’s going on and obviously anyone
that knows anything about history knows that they’re heading for Dunkirk to
leave the route was an absolute shambles with military and civilian gear
constantly getting estranged rumors were plentiful now such as the story that Lee
Leopold 3rd of dirt of Belgium and his army were capitulating towns all over
France were falling into enemy hands French general Giroud had been taken
prisoner to pile on the agony the Germans not let up on their bombing or
machine gunning one bit and their slaughter of refugees was unnecessary
and sickening to see we did what we could in the way of tending to civilian
wounded using their own clothing or bedding for bandages while their dead
were either left covered left or covered with something to hide their torn bodies
and agonized faces even cattle grazing in the fields had not escaped the
blitzkrieg and lay bloated through lack of milking or blown apart by shell fire
the carnage spread for a good two miles after seeing those poor wretched
civilians so caught up my occasional wounded soldier the occasional wounded
soldier did not seem quite so bad my two German prisoners appeared to be as
disgusted by all of this as I was and you’re gonna see throughout this book
the impression that he gets of the German is
you could see that there’s definitely a wide range of of Germans that they
encounter obviously some completely hostile but there’s some that clearly
are not are not totally engaged in the Nazi attitude hmm and there’s plenty
interesting to hear as he interacts with people throughout it continue on only
reached the outskirts of Dunkirk to find a mass buildup of French and British
soldiers with transport tanks and artillery pieces jamming the roads like
a London rush-hour the next five days were a mixture of hell hunger and
fatigue and I think it was only thanks to the fatigue that I overcame the hell
and the hunger I know it was five days because I put a nick in my rifle but
each morning when roused by this visiting stickers and Messerschmitts so
they’re getting bombed and they’re gonna machine-gunned every morning during
daylight the appointed beachmaster a British officer mustered officers and
NCOs from all regiments and briefed them to organize parties of men to tend to
wounded bury the dead and scavenge for ammunition and food
I found it most distasteful removing tins of bully beef and biscuit remains
from corpses but at least I still had my life the beach was littered with
abandoned lorries and trucks as well as Army Staff cars with wheels missing and
doors hanging off as I wandered wandered around going about my tasks among these
mutilated forms that were once carefree young men I remember thinking that I
must be dreaming I was brought back to reality sharply by the appearance of two
enemy fighter planes which proceeded to distribute even more death and panic I
dived over a corpse and slithered down a sand dune the staring eyes of the corpse
saying to me get your head down and arse up after five days on the beaches it was a
relief to find that it was finally my turn to get into the snake-like line of
troops readying for departure as I drew closer to the vast mass of a ship a
minesweeper heaving in the Mucky looking swell I could see its multi-barreled
ack-ack gun porting skyward in readiness for any Stuka fighters or attack or
fighter attack the operator seeming oblivious to our presence one was
scanning the sky with his binoculars the water was by now was well and truly up
to my neck and I still had fifty feet to go I clung to the rope with both hands
and pushed on the man behind gave me a shove the water kept lapping over my
nose and into my eyes gulping choking and spitting out the endless mouthfuls
of oily foul tasting saltwater I was now quite submerged with a last
mighty effort I lunged in the direction of the boat still grasping at that rope
I could not have been it could not have been more than a minute that I was
underwater but it felt like a lifetime clinging on tight to the rope with my
left hand with my right i groped for the rope mesh hanging down the side of the
ship and with great exultation found and grabbed it I managed to pull myself up
up up and up the ship rocking and heaving with each vibration of the
exploding bombs which were arriving much too close for my liking so finally he’s
on board a ship and they’re getting bombed and strafed flopping down
exhausted I was soon asleep though inevitably we had a visit visit from a
Messerschmitt then this woke me violently as its bullets danced along
the ship’s deck causing large pieces of wood splinters to spew over everyone
these administers as much damage as the bullets to some unfortunate recipients I
dozed off again and slept like a log until we docked in England so ended my
participation with more than 300,000 others in operation dynamo better known
as the history better known to history as the miracle of Dunkirk
so that’s the way you kick things off with your with your war and I forget the
time that passed and I know that the time that seemed to pass was very quick
the way I just read it skipping a bunch of stuff but it was like 200 days that
he was on the ground this was no hey I was there for a week no they were there
moving forward fighting drawing back going to attack back and forth this
whole time and and you know that could be you know though just that experience
right there could be a whole book and into itself right that’s how that’s how
low-key reg Curtis is you know he was literally extracted off of Dunkirk after
this entire campaign falls apart and he covers it in 20 pages not even 20 pages
mmm because he’s getting warmed up so he gets home and he says they’re followed
two weeks of leave that I enjoyed more than ever before the sheer ecstasy of
white sheets and pint after pint of beautiful beer and the days of roughing
it in France seem soon seemed very long ago
yeah can you gotta kind of think how hard it’s like when you’re going through
basic SEAL training mm-hmm what they do is they during hell week
you’ve been awake for like two or three days and then they go hey they come up
with this big story and they tell you that oh you’re gonna we’ve we’ve kept
you we were too hard on you guys we have the the commanding officer just told us
we got a we got to put you guys to sleep for eight hours so go get warm dry
clothes on and we’ll come back to you guys and wake you up in eight hours and
you’re of course you believe it I mean back in the day we believed because we
didn’t know any better no one gave us any heads up there was no in for Intel
Network providing information there wasn’t there wasn’t like the movies
about the stuff right so we just thought wow that seems kind of crazy but okay
and then you get all dressed nice warm clothes and you’re all dry you go you go
literally get in your bed and then as soon as you fall asleep like 20 minutes
goes by and in there with machine guns and bullhorns
and they’re waking you up so when you think about that’s that’s retaining
right that’s a tiny tiny little thing when you compare it to what’s going on
here this guy goes to France starving like wounded and dead everywhere fear
gets back to England goes on leave for two weeks white sheets you know beer
it’s all good and then you know what’s you you know what’s gonna happen you’re
gonna go back when when you when they did that to you uh in was that hell week
yeah they did okay so before there was before there was like a network right
you see the and you said you believed it like when they say oh we put you all
right was there a party you mind like or as far as part of the reason why you
believed it’s because like they are pushing you pretty hard at any point
were you like hey push too hard yeah actually I thought what you’re gonna say
is was there part of my mom and this would have been I would said yes whether
part of my mind was like this is too good to be true
this is all yeah I think that’s you know that I would say the bigger part of my
mind was saying that but I kind of was like oh I seems like a cool like they’re
telling us this red but no no before that though like at any point where they
like I know he’ll or were you or whoever being like I know how weak supposed to
be hard but like this is kind of excessive like yeah I had no data on
which to judge it yeah you knew is gonna be hard y’all was talking to a guy that
quit buds and I said you know what why did you quit and he said because it
sucked and I said well didn’t you know that it was gonna suck when you went
there I mean that’s where you’re going yeah all know it sucks mmm
go watch it a video you know and it’s like it’s gonna be it’s gonna suck it’s
gonna be cold it’s gonna be wet it’s gonna be miserable it just feels like
that yeah it’s gonna suck like that part but then you know like it goes sometimes
in your brain anyway it’ll go beyond sucked in into like whether it be
dangerous I never felt anything like no I was always like all this is this is
just the training right okay then yeah then it that makes sense that you could
go to when they say oh yeah here’s the eight hours sleep or whatever you could
go to a while this might be too good to be true yeah
oh yeah so I’m saying what you’re saying is you’re sure that there’s guys who
were like yeah that’s right yeah man horses wait you are and then those the
guys that when they get when the trick comes they get trapped brother defeated
yeah I’m devastated mentally devastated that’s why it’s one of the best things
well not a lot there’s a lot of people that don’t get out of that bed right
they don’t get out of that bed because as soon as you get out you’re going
straight to the surf zone and people don’t like that man I mean you can hear
seals talk about it guys can get scarred from liking the ocean for years yeah for
years they don’t want to go in the water they don’t want to do it because because
because they just they use it as an implement of torture mm-hmm me I didn’t
care you know like I surfed and it was all good you know let’s go get some sort
of Wow back to the book so he’s home he’s taking a little time off he goes
back and starts doing kind of local let’s call it like local guard type
activities and then we get this in August I received a telegram telling me
that my home in South London had been hit by a sea mine and I was given
compassionate leave to return what the hell was a sea mine doing inland it must
be a mistake I thought however apparently there was such a thing which
came down attached to a parachute so that’s what the Nazis were doing and so
he gets a little leave to go and check things out and so he goes and here we go
this is him finding his home upon reaching Grove Park as I turned into
Fairfield Road I immediately saw that our house and received a direct hit
there was now just a heap of debris where once it stood half a dozen houses
and dozens more were badly damaged the local ARP warden told me that not one
person had been killed because everyone had taken to their Anderson air-raid
shelters my parents were both ok and staying with some friends a mile up the
road it was a shock to see our home destroyed but after all I had seen in
France I think I must have become immune to any real emotions and then this
happens in October as a result of a directive sent out by our Prime Minister
Winston Churchill we receive the letter which was read out to us by
the regimental sergeant major volunteers he shouted for a new type of fighting
soldier are required he glanced over the top of the paper beady eyes registering
some amusement soldiers he carried on to be trained as commandos and parachutists
now I know that you would not wish to desert the regimen but anyone wishing to
volunteer one pace forward march glaring as he did so he took three
stealthy steps towards us well you all chicken then there was not a titter nor
even a hesitant shuffle meaning everyone was just standing fast I fought back to
the days in France I thought of the carnage of the British prisoners of war
the Warwick regiment herded into a field just outside Dunkirk and machine gun to
death by the waffen-ss I thought of my home being blown to smithereens and how
the Germans were blocking my ambition to become a London policeman
I took a pace forward before it was too late and some time passes as they try and get
everything organized and then it continues on I was to join number two
commando later renamed the 11th Special Air Service battalion and still later
the first parachute battalion in Britain at that time there was little or no
knowledge of the techniques of parachuting so everything had to be
thought out very carefully there were no special types of parachutes for jumping
from aircraft and no suitable aircraft the whole lot had to be devised
developed and tested all too often with fatal casualties or severe injuries
just learning how to conduct parachute operations of from scratch so they start their training and the
training is is really really hard as as you can imagine here we go now he
settled down to some real soldiering and I actually begin to enjoy the tests
thrust upon us I didn’t realize at first that we were being used as human guinea
pigs trying out new methods of roughing it and of delivering a soldier to the
place of battle for everyone for everyone it was a taste test of strength
involving guts sheer cunning and a determination to win some conditions
were abominable but my conscience told me that this was a challenge I must rise
to and again this is when you got someone that’s learning through
repetition how to take pain and suffering and do it in a way that is no
factor so jumping forward here through some training that they go through and
and all the training is just it’s like it’s a guinea pigs right the training is
just guinea pigs they’re just doing crazy things to these guys and then they
do their first parachute jump it gets done with that within the next week our
seven jumps had been achieved and we cannot wait to so those blue wings on
the right arm of the battle battle dress blouse one lad he even brought his
sewing kit along with him and sat down in the corner of the hangar to get them
on before anyone else it was odd to see a man walking around
in width and Shaw in Manchester with their wings wings shoulders slightly
forward of the rest of their bodies civilians and other non para soldiers
were asking who are these blokes with the wings some sort of secret unit
that’s not a little bit a unit pride right this is why dichotomy of
leadership when Rafe and Saif disobeyed mm-hmm big Jocko in warp star two
wearing patches this is one of those things that you know us think in the
back of my head like the if you’re gonna if that makes you hold your check
start a little bit higher and you get that unit pride continuing on we were
training both as parachutists and also for the specialized work of the commando
which meant that a lot of extra work had to be put in to achieve the very best
end result above all above all it was emphasized it was emphatically stressed
that we should never accept defeat even went up against overwhelming odds and we
were taught to persevere to the end and to be able to endure great if not
impossible fatigue sound familiar
that’s what we do that’s what we do in the military top to persevere to the end
and I guess that’s so much of that is so much of that is what the way you know
you’re taught to do that because you do it because when you go to like SEAL
training or whatever there’s no class that says ok when you get tired think
about this no class that says that no class that says when you feel like you
want to quit then you should think about this or you should say this no if you’re
if that’s where your head is at and you want to quit
there’s no they don’t teach you anything to stop it what what you learn the way
you’re taught is by oh I’m gonna get through this mmm that’s what’s going to
happen I’m gonna get through this of course we have to learn a little bit
about hand-to-hand combat we practice not only the use of the knife but also
how to best avoid one when used against us Chinese experts taught us judo and
unarmed combat with a rifle and fixed bayonet we would be flung at you or
sorry a rifle with fixed bayonets trucked er who’d yell come on lunge at
me I lunged hesitatingly for the first time come on Longshanks lunge you won’t
get anywhere near me right mate I thought you asked for it and I took a
really good lunge but this man was an old hand like lightning he parried my
blow and before I knew it I was flat on my back – the rifle he was the same with
the fighting knife and quite a few of us nursed cuts at the end of a day’s
training those knives were razor sharp there’s no real world in April of 1941
we were visited by Winston Churchill accompanied by Sir Arthur Barrett and
major-general Sir Hastings Ismay and he goes he actually go I’m not gonna tell
the whole story but there’s a one point where where where reg has a little very
short conversation with with Winston Churchill and basically he’s reges the
receiver on a dis on like a hand-to-hand combat display and he ends up getting
thrown you know like a hip toss I’m imagining and and when he’s done and
he’s kind of getting up off the ground and in Winston Churchill looks at him
and says uh did you really try lad and and reg looks at him and says what do
you bloody think sir and then he said Winston Churchill pursed his lips gave a
big grin and waddled off looking delighted so that’s pretty awesome
interaction with Winston Churchill who by the way we haven’t we haven’t even we
haven’t even started to get into the Winston Churchill scene here on the
podcast but you know it’s covered you know it’s coming and and that’ll be I’m
many podcasts and this is a little glimpse into the future
continuing on bypassing usual military procedure various unorthodox methods and
the use of small arms explosives were adopted an official eyes were shut so
long as the end of June result was achieved
one such stunt was to withdraw the safety pin from a hand grenade release
the arm which we call the spoon release the arm which in turn would fire the 4
second fuse in the primed grenade making it really live hold it for a second and
then throw it quickly the object being to make sure the enemy would have no
time to throw it back anyone refusing this dangerous venture would be subject
to a variety of Flowery names luckily we had no casualties as a result and what
makes that scariest so a grenade has a 4 second fuse when you pull we are holding
something that what do they call it the arm it actually fits into the web of
your hand this this this piece of like light aluminum and you when you put it
in the web of your hand and then you hold the grenade that thing is stuck in
place mm-hmm now you then you next thing you do is
you pull the pin because when the pins in there that arm doesn’t go anywhere
because it’s spring-loaded as soon as you pull the pin that there’s tension on
the spring that’s ready to make that spoon or arm fly off and that’s what
arms it to blow up in four seconds mmm the problem is is that the fuses aren’t
perfect so depending on the fuse that you get could be could be three seconds
could be six seconds could be four seconds like it’s supposed to be is
there a possibility it’s two seconds yes there is so when you cook we call it
cooking it off so when you cook off that that grenade there’s a possibility that
it goes off but if you don’t cook it off at all and you throw it the enemy can
throw it back here especially if it’s four seconds I mean one of their choices
they can either jump on it they can dive away or they can grab it throw back if
they think you haven’t cooked it back well best thing to do is get it out of
there remember T Fred Harvey yes he was getting grenade tossing fights with the
Japanese so as this training is going on also we
have to remember there’s the mental fortitude part there’s the tactical
training but we can’t ever forget just physically physically being hard to keep
on top form we had plenty of physical training cross country runs compass
marches and night exercises discipline was self-imposed
and any need to impose it by a superior was frowned upon yes that’s what we want
we don’t want to we don’t want to have to impose discipline wrote about in
leadership strategy tactics that’s not the if you have to impose discipline
something wrong then you know what’s wrong your leadership is wrong because
if you’re leading correctly the troops will put discipline on themselves they
will they will acquire self-discipline because they understand why it’s
important psychological and physical resistance were driven to the utmost
until men could take their limit and even more but it was never enough we
were marched counter marched and marched again in fair weather and in foul live
ammunition fired at close range actually helped I found myself so preoccupied
with making sure I did not get hit that I became oblivious to fatigue and
plotted on at the end of the day’s training I would stretch out on the
hanger for absolutely shagged on passing sergeant Sid Oxley might prod me and say
something like not bad lad not bad do better tomorrow a get stuffed was the
usual quiet reply as I slipped a well-earned cigarette between my lips
and drew hard so there’s a pretty good chunk of this training in there and
again all this training was they just created this they just created that this
was new or like we’re making up and props one thing when I look at the
course of my entire life there’s like a couple moments in time where things made
an impression on me and one of the things that made an impression on me as
a little kid was I had these toy soldiers I had a lot of toy soldiers
but the British commandos from World War two they had little ladders they had
little grappling hooks they had boats and they had babies right you know what
I’m talking about and when you’re a little weight you don’t know what a B
Gnaeus I know the meaning okay well you know when you see a stereotypical like
let’s say a robber in a movie and they’re sneaking around and they’re
wearing a black beanie uh-huh I think that all stems from the British
commandos for so for me when I saw like those little carrot those little
soldiers that I had mm-hmm with black beanies and rubber rafts that look like
zodiacs they also had I had a little kayak for him too interesting yeah and I
think all seeing those things I was always drawn to the maritime component
of Special Operations interesting hey I want to be the closer what’s the closest
thing I can be to a British commando I see these guys with boats and a weird
thing is I mean that’s that’s not what these guys are doing in fact and I
didn’t say this reg reg Curtis didn’t know how to swim that’s why he was so
scared and he did he doesn’t say it until he later in the book that’s why he
was so scared of Dunkirk that’s why he’s talking about how he’s underwater
there’s nothing he can do about he’s hanging on the rope because he doesn’t
know how to swim and he’s weighted down uh-huh but yeah the the British
commandos which I’m sure will broke off from the parachute guys but that’s kind
of a major a major influence on a whatever five six year old kid yeah I
don’t remember any well then again I guess I wasn’t into the toy soldiers
element yeah you were just getting like the regular big green toy soldiers from
like the grocery store yeah yeah ornament for sure I had n GI Joe I
graduated from plain green army men to legit little soldiers that came from
different units and I had all these different units and I knew what kind of
gear they had with them I had the Africa Corps right then not the Nazi Africa
Corps and again the ones that stand out were the ones
that had like looked a little bit different the Africa Corps guys were can
instead of green the British commandos were green I had I had paratroopers I
had a little army men just more cement they were smaller than the regular army
men yeah they were small they were I think I think their nomenclature is 1/32
I think they were really small they were you know half an inch tall maybe it may
be three quarters of an inch tall and they still had individual soldier that
bottom platform that little bottom platform huh
and I would set up battle scenes you know out in the yard and play-by-play
the way things were unfolding yeah he probably went deep though I’m like you
know the regular army men set man set the guy who’s crawling a little low
crawl guy yeah yeah yeah he like he would be flying sometimes in my so in
your scenario yeah yeah because he could be in that flying position well I had
that I had the model plane so I also had a teacher named mr. McGuirk in high
school and he had a little army he had little planes and all throughout his
room the classroom hanging you know model little model playing so I had
model planes too because it was all trying to make unmake this battle
scenario and the weird thing is the weird thing is about this stuff is like
okay if my son let’s face it if my son has army soldiers we kind of expect that
just to be normal right like hey of course I mean by the time that kid was
born he had more soldiers did he know what to do with yeah but there’s some
instinctual thing even you you were like back in kawaii’ sure right
there’s no I mean your mom wasn’t saying hey I really want you to be interested
in military stuff right and yet you had green army soldiers yes and even though
some of them could fly which is a little bit unrealistic
some of them were still low crawling right yes some of them were engaging in
battle against other soldiers yeah so you have an instinct for war yes big
time and I think most just like I talked
earlier about the instinct for like hey I’m part of something bigger than me
which is a beautiful thing if you think about it right that’s a beautiful thing
like I am part of this group that I’m I’m subordinate to this group as a
powerful thing and it has to be countered correctly because you don’t
want to be someone that gets brainwashed and joins a cult right
the the bhagwan shree rajneesh cult sir right you don’t want to be that person
uh know that yeah that is weird now that you mentioned that like yet it
wouldn’t call it an instinct for war like I think because it’s it’s so common
like consider like GI Joes okay I’ll say this scenario so we we had a queer my
dad built our house and he well he was one of the people who built our house so
when we were digging the cesspool it’s like septic tank septic tank I guess
it’s like a huge hole no super deep anyway they put the cap on it
okay this big concrete cap on it okay then they fill it in and then but as it
remains is still a big hole like the size of a Jacuzzi okay about that size
but it’s just a dirt hole that’s weird it’s like a weird like a dug in jacuzzi
in dirt so I’m not sure what this is for going yeah that’s just the way it sorted
itself out okay so it sounds like a fox hole yeah yeah but um and then you drain
I’m quiet rains pretty much every day yeah but enough to put a cool little
shallow puddle in the bottom of that and mud so we’re in a muddy terrain scenario
GI Joe yeah wise so we got Hills we got at the top of the hill we got the
valleys that think you know the the Watterson area at the bottom and oh yeah
it was like battles going on the whole time we’d light stuff on fire and your
dad was no military experience your mom was no military experience your
neighbors my grandfather was a TD but I decide yeah Canadian a d-day yes that’s
right salute but I had no idea at this point obviously but unless we’re still
doing it GI Joes good guys versus bad guys killing like
part the GI Joes like you could blow them up with firecrackers and then bury
them and they do all this stuff you haven’t ceremony since stuff oh yeah
we’re going deep yeah big time caching the whole dramatic the him and
it’s not like someone like told on told ya and how much how much did you see how
many war movies had you seen on TV even remember I don’t remember but you know
you could I mean this is what like 80s will say 1980s or maybe there’s some
a-team going on a team and watch did not like religiously I think so it’s just
we’re talking the instinct that’s the bomb yeah I did I mean mash was on I
don’t think I’d ever watched mash that’s more than comedy though that’s not like
a but yes it is kind of a comedy if you if you watch that show it’s actually in
many ways there’s some pretty heavy episodes of mash through actually
because I remember watching it when I was a kid and there’s definitely I
remember watching that movie going Oh watching that show sometimes and you
everyone’s expecting a laugh but then sometimes it would be super heavy
because they would occasionally inject war yes right and yeah so yeah so I
think there’s just an instinct that people can have at some level and I
think obviously just like in sync of being something bigger than yourself
that’s an instinct that people can have at different levels right not everyone’s
a 10 in hey I want to be part of a group that’s bigger than Mila not ever not
everyone is in fact I would say maybe you don’t even want to be a 10 because
then you’re just looking for a cult to join right next thing you know you’re
buying a guy Rolls Royces which is what you gotta watch out for right so we’re
not looking to do that same thing with the war like instinct
right there’s some people that are pretty high up on that I believe I was
pretty pretty high up on that because I don’t remember wanting to do other
things right so like when I thought about my future as a child the thought
was be a soldier like that’s what I remember be a commando that’s what I
remember so it’s you know it’s something that and I’m sure there’s a bunch of
other you know like a fatherly instinct right or a motherly instinct or
here’s another interesting one some people like to travel right yeah some
people want to move around a lot some people want to stay home there’s like
different levels of instincts that people have hmm some people want to
settle down and hold what you got yeah some people don’t want to do that at all
so people have various instincts so I would say that what they did in this
training is honed the instincts that people did have and get rid of people
that didn’t have enough of the instinct for war and you know once again talking
about seal training they’re not really teaching you anything they’re just
getting rid of people that don’t have the right instinct yeah can’t do it yep
that’s what they’re really doing they’re not teaching anything you learn only
because you learn from your experience but it’s not an active teaching protocol
yeah that’s it it’s so deep what do you think do you think that that’s like good
like is that and of course I’m gonna say is it the best way because who knows the
best way but is that kind of the best way to do it because it kind of seems
like it could be the best way to do it it’s definitely it’s definitely you’re
not gonna get me well you’re gonna minimize the amount of stray voltage
don’t you kind of wanna work with someone that has a higher instinct for
winning yeah then someone that’s gotta be coaxed and
trained yeah exactly I’m saying that’s what it seems that’s why it seems like
it’s a pretty good thing to me yeah it’s almost like would you rather have on
your football team someone that and I think about this think about your the
who’s the person that brings people onto the team it’s not the coach but like the
GM I don’t know so let’s say you’re in control of a football team and you’re
gonna take this thing as far as you can this is your only job do you want the
guy that you get that you have to train a bunch to get him to be able to run a
fast for fast 40 or do you want a guy that comes out of the gate and he’s kind
of already there right this is a no-brainer
of course now there are outliers that I actually want this guy that was slow but
he’s such a hard worker and a grinder that he’s going to excel anyways like I
want that guy and guess what seal training does that you know if
you’re a gazelle and you’re really great athlete it doesn’t test you as much as
the guy that’s a grinder yeah but the guy that’s a really great
athlete has a little bit more value out of the gate than the guy that’s a
grinder once you show up at the team though you want the guys to grinder more
than you want the guy that’s a good athlete right yeah so almost like it’s
all sort of and that’s not a guaranteed every time because there’s some guys
that were freaking great athletes and they were just incredible so don’t don’t
take that one wrong but necessarily a guy that’s a great athlete versus a guy
that is just has can gut through it probably I would lean towards the guy
that can gut through it because he has a level of grit you’re not you don’t face
a pull-up bar out in the battlefield right yeah you’re not you don’t you know
it’s not there yeah and then that makes sense I mean it’s all kind of in the
same bucket really but we’re like these are just attributes right so how does
Leif put it he’ll say um buds is just a screening process to weed out people who
we don’t think have the characteristics to be successful on the battlefield
which is a very eloquent way of putting it Eliquis so those characteristics
aren’t necessarily who can do the most pull-ups it’s not that because look if
you’re doing like there’s a minimum though right obviously like you have to
do as fair as the minimum is so minimum to like get two buds the minimum is so
minimum it should be disqualifying if you can actually only do that many I’m
not kidding the minimum pulps gotta buds is something like ten right tiny it’s
ridiculous yes yes so just like I said it’s like okay we haven’t we have a
minimum and that’s sort of it so who cares if you can do fifty who cares
really we care about other stuff yeah well there’s a well-rounded component
right and and that’s what makes that’s the thing that makes the SEAL training
hard is you can’t just be a fast runner you can’t just be a fast swimmer
you can’t just be strong upper body you can’t just be comfortable in the water
you can’t just be durable you got to be all those things and what’s hard is
they’re contrary to each other right because being able to run 14 miles is
one type of person that’s going to be really good at that being able to get
the obstacle course is another person that has a lot of upper-body strength
this person has a lot of endurance this person ever and then you add in hey you
need to be able to pick up your buddy and sprint with them over the berm
that’s explosiveness so we want this really kind of middle-of-the-road on a
bunch of different things well-rounded as opposed to someone that’s just really
good at one particular thing and there’s all kinds of people that show up that
are great athletes in one category and it doesn’t work for ya so that add the
attribute of all the attributes that contribute about the guy who can gut
through stuff sort of lifts up all those attributes if they’re not that high so
let’s say that’s the main one then yes yes you want the guy who that comes
naturally to rather than the guy who in my there teaching may falter later and
I’m saying yeah I want that to be part of you make sense part of you and man
what a good quality to have that’s the thing that’s that’s the thing people
look we everyone gets a certain amount of talent you can decide to work hard
you can decide to work hard now now there are people that say that work
ethic is a talent right I get that concept and I think the reason it
appears to be that way is because you get people that work so hard that you
think oh that must be a talent of theirs right to have this talent that you’re
gonna work so hard I don’t I well I think that you have well you do you have
way more influence over that talent then you do over your explosive strength yeah
well I mean infinitely more yeah because you can’t I don’t know the same no
genetics expert but I don’t know that there’s a gene or a series of genes that
gives you work ethic yeah yeah I would say the answer’s no I mean not not
alright me we could check with the bro science like schools on that one
yeah those but there I bet you know when they start breaking down this genetic
stuff they’re gonna start finding stuff about people that’s gonna be really
interesting and some of it will be time I mean I’m not going Sam Harris you know
know you you’re every decision that you make is kind of pre
and free will yeah but you know I’m sure Sam and I will have a chance to sit down
if he has the courage to step up to the plate and have a real conversation with
me but but I’m I bet as this stuff gets uncovered they will find that there’s a
propensity right like their pen City for focus yeah because that’s what hard work
is kind of it’s just hey look that like when I was going to college and I would
get to I did one semester I took five English classes the dumbest thing I’ve
ever done I would be so crushed with reading over you know during the week
but then on the weekend would come and I’d have to read five English classes
worth of reading and that was when I would be like okay I would have to like
turn the switch in my head and just go full-on sit there and read for 10 hours
and read in memory what I was reading so that was a switch it was like oh and I
remember thinking myself I’d be talking to other people that had one English
class and they’d say I’d say did you do the reading can you tell me what
happened in a bit yeah of course I did the reading and they’d be like I cannot
sit down and read for that long and I’d be like no hey you don’t care B you lack
discipline C maybe I’ve got a little propensity to be able to turn it on or
maybe it’s just through force of will look I want to get an A in this class
why because yeah because I don’t want these instructors looking at me thinking
that they got a little something mom me no you don’t got anything on me I’ll
read this material and I’ll know it yeah and all that and all that right there is
it so you just so everyone realizes I’m not crazy
that’s just gamification that’s just gamification in my head to make things
fun to make things challenging right I’ll do that with anything all day long
if I’ve got something to do I’m gonna have a good time with it
yeah yeah we’re gonna have a good time with it I’m fine
so when you hear me you know I was watching something Larry Bird sure and
he was this he’s famous for talking trash to all the other players
but he worked so hard he was also famous for his work ethic but I think there’s a
little bit of gamification right when you go I’m gonna do this to you I’m
gonna do things like he would come down the court and you know he’d say like
he’d say uh here comes three who wants it meaning come and try and guard me I’m
gonna hit a three-pointer and he would do it yeah yeah you know there’s a
little bit of gamification people respond well that so that’s me when I
was going to college as a 28 year old man by the way I’m not talking I was a
18 year old kid all worried about how I looked and what the party what am I
worried about any of that I was in there to win and in order to win I made it
into a game for myself yeah oh you think you’re gonna ask me you think they’re
gonna come up with a question on this reading material that you gave me that
I’m not gonna know the answer to watch this so that way I’m actually paying
attention actually paying attention to what’s going on as opposed to I don’t
care doesn’t really matter I’m in the Navy
anyways who cares what I get for a grade ball ball ball ball I could make those
excuses all day you can always take the easy path if you want to it’s always
there you just gotta remember that it leads downhill yeah and if you take the
righteous path well then you’re gonna move in the right direction yeah yeah
but it still seems like you got all those methods we’ll say like from you
know like you weren’t born with that you know kind of thing no it seems like who
knows you got yes it does see it seems like it’s a choice that I make well and
it seems also like where are you like what you learned along the way what
that’s what what lessons got reinforced the you know what lessons got reinforced
for me if I don’t work hard I’ll lose yeah that lesson got reinforced on me
over and over and over again if I don’t work hard I’ll lose if I work hard I can
do better I might not win but I can do better and I’ll tell you something else if your attitude is like if your
attitude is only I’m gonna win like that’s why I’m doing this you’re not
gonna win every time mm-hmm but let me tell you what your
attitude can be I might not win every time but I’m gonna get your respect yeah
you would when you get done beating me when you get done beating me and you
shake my hand you’re gonna mean it yeah because you you had you’re gonna mean it
I’m gonna push you at a minimum that’s what’s happening
so if you beat me and and by the way I don’t hold it against you when you beat
me I respect if you beat me I know you worked I know you got I know you got
after it which is cool and I don’t I don’t hold any angst whatsoever it’s
good actually because I know that this guy worked harder than me and I know I
got to work even harder so good for you so that’s that comes that’s learned
that’s me learning as a kid oh I wasn’t good at this anymore I look back in my
life now like I wasn’t great at soccer I never played soccer outside the soccer
season other kids are running around dribbling the soccer ball whatever going
to camp whatever I didn’t didn’t care enough it didn’t well didn’t understand
the first thing that I got well I got very focused in the SEAL Teams and in
the SEAL Teams because you’re going against high-caliber people not all of
them but you got some people at the top of the bell curve that are freaking
badasses and if you’re if for me so I got these incredible athletes you know
when I checked in a SEAL team one I’m gonna try and think this was probably
ten of us when SEAL team want a pretty good chunk of the guys went to SEAL team
one there was some guys in that went to SEAL team one that were total athletic
studs I mean infinitely better than me in
every category of athleticism you know and I knew like okay if I’m gonna hang
with these guys I’m gonna have to work really really hard just to hang with
them just to hang with not to beat them just to hang with them so that idea gets
reinforced over time okay if I don’t work hard I’ll be at the bottom of the
barrel and and then what it boils down to if I’m at the bottom of the barrel
how much am i helping the team because if I’m if I’m a if I’m a detriment to
the team I’m now now what am I even doing with my life right I do not want
to be a detriment to the team I want to be a positive to the team and even
though I might not be the best guy in the platoon I might not be the strongest
the fastest the best shot whatever those things are if I’m third or fourth or
fifth in some of those categories okay well now I’m a bad
to the team now I can help which is what it all boils down to and when it all
boils down to it’s like you know you can make an excuse for yourself and live
with it a little bit right yeah but you can’t make an excuse for the team
meaning hey look even in extreme case well you know if I’m not that great of a
shot and the enemy gets a shot off quicker than me oh well I’m gonna die
that’s that you that’s the job of God that’s the choice of you know whatever
but if you just play that out one step further if I don’t get this shot off
this guy will have the chance to shoot one of my buddies that’s do you need it
you put more rounds downrange yeah you need to shoot more you need to get
better and faster faster on your reloads fast ready to draw a faster your sight
pictures after you need to get better yeah because you don’t let your
teammates down yeah so when that’s what’s really driving you that’s
powerful that’s more powerful than I just want to be the best I don’t want to
just be the best cuz you can give yourself a little slack in there but
when you look at it you say oh I don’t want to let my teammates down they’re
counting on me that will make you stay up later that will make you wake up
earlier that will drive you to try and be better and that lesson that lesson on
me got reinforced over and over again and if I didn’t work hard then I
wouldn’t be I failed something in Budds called pool competency yeah and I I
failed it right and I was gonna say I shouldn’t have failed it and the reason
I was gonna say I shouldn’t have failed it was because I I was comfortable in
the water I’d done all the water stuff kind of first time every time meaning
not tying in life-saving I was good I felt really comfortable and so when I
failed it I was sort of I was deeply disappointed that I failed it and I was
hyper worried that maybe I’m not gonna make it through this training and so we
me and a couple of the other guys that failed we spent the entire weekend in
the dip tank which is the little little box that you fill with water to clean
stuff in and I don’t even know the why the instruct the instructors let us use
dive gear I have no idea why this was not safe and maybe we just did it I
don’t really but we got in this dip tank and we we
did pool comp to each other for hours and we just ripped the stuff off and rip
you know crossed each other until we went through the procedure so many times
when I went to retake pool comp it was it was easy it was easy when I went to
retake it on Monday so what what lesson got reinforced I need to prepare more I
need to work harder I need to go the extra distance or else I can fail so
there’s another little reinforcement I told you this one before I failed to run
in seal training why did I fail run I failed a run in seal training because I
paced myself and said well you know I’ll save a little something and I didn’t
have anything to save what I needed to do was run as hard as I could so I
failed the run when I paced myself the next run what did I do when that when
they said go I ran as fast as I could for the entire thing because you’re not
allowed to wear a watch so you have no idea what the time is you you just and
so you think about that you think about when you’re cruising on a run versus
when you’re running as hard as you can it’s hard to tell where that cruise
levels at because am i running am i running a six-minute mile mm-hm if I’m
cruising am i running a 630 or mine running a 720 it can be hard to judge
especially when you’re sore like you’re your body’s sore so you know if you did
if you did 508 count bodybuilders at 3 o’clock in the morning and then you go
out and you run your run your pace you might seem like you’re running faster
than you really are so what did I learn from that I failed the run and now what
did I have to do I realized I can never let off again ever
so there’s a little lesson getting reinforced yeah over and over and over
again don’t leave it up to chance leave it up the chance do do the work and
that’s the way that’s how you develop these things no one told me no one told
me what I just said i wit maybe I wish somebody would’ve and the reason I say
maybe it’s because maybe you still don’t learn it because there’s some things
that you have to actually go through there’s some things that the only thing
that’s going to teach you is experience yeah and in even Tom like these you went
through these things where the environment sort of provided these
lessons no matter how like overt or covert they were like provided to you
through the end right like you know how like I like a
farmer or something like this someone who’s sort of grew up just working hard
as a way of life you put them in another environment we’re working hard will show
itself or whatever or they’ll work hard yeah because the environment sort of
provided that or whatever so yeah so that makes sense you know and obviously
we can’t count every second of your life and here’s where this came from it was
it you know obviously but it seems like the work ethic and and being able to
like still fortitude like mentally through things or whatever it seems like
that’s an environmental thing fully it is and that’s why reg Curtis was biking
five miles to work and five miles home every day Monday Monday through Saturday
yeah six days a week get some uphill both ways uphill both
ways so that is what they learned in this training some of these things that
we just talked about and and again the book details these things really well
but we’re gonna jump ahead right now to a chapter five a cruise to North Africa
on the ship I bordered and after endless trudging along narrow passageways and up
and down the steep stairs and gangways I was directed to an area below the
waterline after the ship soon after casting off we learned that we were
heading for Algiers from where we would take part to combine operation by Great
Britain and the United States codenamed Operation Torch that’s led yet you get
on this ship to leave you don’t even know where you’re going you’re just
gonna go get some you yeah that’s what you know you know knee you know you’re
gonna go get some moving forward here there there on the ground and again I
hate to skip these parts this is a book you gotta get and I’ll talk about how to
get it again because it’s not a normal book we’re informed that our objective
was an enemy emergency airstrip close to a place called souk el Arba in tunisia
along the way we were attacked by two me-109 but these were successfully shot
down by our escorts of Spitfires boom thanks to the Americans easing their
rule about smoking on aircraft I managed to feel more relaxed by puffing through
half a dozen cigarettes so now they’re going for their jump by the way they’re
going to jump into this into this emergency airstrip
it was a three-hour journey and very hot and humid heat and we sat in the plane
sweating like pigs singing songs and cracking jokes to try and hide our
feelings chunky said well lofty that’s his
nickname he brings up a couple times well lofty it won’t be long now see you
in heaven you must be joking mate I replied tersely he’s got to be a damn
good Jerry to catch up with me then the order was bellowed out action stations
it made me shiver hook up I was sweating sweating like hell and fed a bill felt a
bit weak at the knees I wondered out loud what sort of
reception are we going to get what mate Crabtree asked oh nothing I muttered I
hooked up my line with shaky fingers managing to endure ten minutes of
standing while the plane came to in to drop us at the airfield
out in the wild seventy miles from Tunis so the reason I put that part in there
is just letting everybody know especially you young troopers out there
that are gonna on hold the line you’re gonna be scared and even this guy that
is a just a fundamental badass across the board his shaking fingers he’s
sweating profusely he’s scared and by the way he’s hiding it to the best of
his ability he’s keep me stifling that emotion
continue on the jump masters piercing voice cut through the sound of the
aircraft stand to the door I swallowed hard and prepared for the exit when the
order to go rang in my ears I became a changed man it suddenly felt so much
cooler being whisked about in the air all around me were hundreds of
parachutes we were finally dropping into action
there you go so you’re gonna be scared once you get in the action you’ll you’ll
settle down and okay so now this is the land they move and now they get into a
situation we were machine-gun constantly one minute we were in put in buses and
the next taking cover once with Pat Dolan and chunky I dashed for safety
across an open ground and slid into a hundred feet slid into a hollow 100
from a dirt road as three small specks of Misha Schmitz came diving straight
for us from 4,000 feet I lay on my stomach looking at the aircraft through
my camouflage net scarf as they came in fast much closer now and three of them
opened fire one concentrating on the road transport the other two on our
men’s scrambling for cover on each side of the road bullets lashed the ground
ten feet from us kicking up Fountains of dust
bloody hell Pat that was close said chunky they circled and came in for
another run this time really low only about fifty feet from the ground a
couple of our a cap guns let fly Jerry let rip and muck seem to be flying
everywhere mainly rock splinters and dust as one aircraft clattered by I saw
quite plainly the pilot with a white scarf around his neck you fucking fool
you might have killed us someone shouted and then let out a bellowing laugh
amazingly after all that strafing no one was seriously hurt and only two of our
vehicles were rendered unserviceable as time went on things continued to hot up
and the buses were soon abandoned in favour of foot slogging so again this is
like a horrifying thing to think about these Messerschmitt 109s coming down and
strafing you with machine gun this pushing forward a little bit in the book
there another situation then they turned towards us three Stuka dive-bombers
approaching us at about five thousand feet the sky was clear and visibility
was good it was most weird not knowing whether they were interested in us or
just passing but they were interested in us alright the leading pilot made half a
roll and nose down the preliminary commencing that inspiring Stuka dive
angle of 85 degrees as it whined nearer I could see the evil gull wind shaped so
clearly it seemed to be approaching me head-on and it was and I was at my wit’s
end as to whether I should get out and run for it
or stay safely put but possibly perish before I could make up my mind I saw
four black dots moving away from the aircraft they were bombs seemingly aimed
directly me their descent a company by a
high-pitched scream I gripped my smock and braced myself the sides of my slit
trench took shook and a shower of freshly dug soil cascaded over my face
partly filling the trench Christ that’s closed I thought aloud the Delta to
Stukas came in to repeat the treatment and there seemed to be a never-ending
succession of bombs violently vibrating around then the drone aircraft drifted
away and as and as black smoke billowed slowly skyward voices began to ring out
as men sought to sought reassurance and that others were okay chunky was there
on the edge of my trench asked me if I was alright putting on a brave front I
said I was and I was except for a little excretion but then getting away with
nothing more than a wet pants after that lot did not hurt my pride I didn’t tell
the others though so that freaking bombs dropped right on top of him pissed his
pants no factor happy to be alive continuing on we’d only been and this is
again skipping we had only been in Tunisia for a few days in our bag of
enemy killed or captured was fast increasing together with quite an
assortment of armored cards motorbikes and weapons they get into some gun
fights I found myself going on a volunteer burial party for men known to
be lost or killed in action for any dead or wounded Parros that’s the parachute
guys the Arabs could be the biggest menace as
some of them would think nothing of stripping a corpse of its clothing and
then just leaving it if a ring would not come off the finger with ease the finger
might be severed to achieve their greedy end at times it was reported that
wounded of both sides were mutilated by these scum and here’s out on these
basically like on a little burial party after some of these battles had taken
place we came upon two more Paris of one lying by a large rock a jagged cut with
dried blood right across his temple the other just a few yards away looking a
bloated blue-green I had seen dead soldiers before usually just after being
killed but this retrieving of privates papers of private papers and dog tags
from dead men was not in my book of training and I was lost for a moment
wondering if I was alone in this nightmare and then there’s a there’s a
Padre with him a minister with him and he says the Padre broke the silence by
inquiring any most serene voice now who have we here we buried those two
side-by-side and then he goes forward here things were beginning to hot up now
and we found ourselves taking part in some large-scale skirmishes with an
enemy who is not going to take it all lying down you know he says hot up he
doesn’t say heat up and he says that throughout the book some that’s why I
probably put a little extra expression on it so people don’t think that I was
miss miss reading it but he says things were beginning to hot up now maybe we’ll
bring that back and here we go fast-forward a little bit I was just
taking a position with the mortar when the CEO went or went round firing his
pistol in the open side slots of the tanks and calling for the crews to come
out so here’s the seal and there’s some tanks some enemy tanks and this guy’s
approaching him with the pistol on reaching the third tank shots were fired
back and he fell clutching his chest followed by his adjutant captain miles
white Locke who was hit in the face amid the general din of battle I was too busy
to get trying to get dug into the rocky soil to make out exactly what had
happened but soon learned that the co had been severely wounded and major
Pierson was now to take over command it was a great blow to me at this time also
to hear the death of my old friend Stanley Juan ‘bless
I was horrified by a different site an enormous brute of a pig munching away at
a dead German soldier it seemed the pig had somehow come across the wine in this
farm got filthy drunk and was eating everything such scenes became horribly
familiar but my stomach gradually grew accustomed to them on Christmas Day 1942
I watched the rain fall as I tried to make myself a little more comfortable in
my slit trench rain trickled down my neck my hands were wet and cold and if I
had had a cigarette I would have enjoyed it my feet had been constantly wet for
god knows how long and I was beginning to feel a teeny bit browned off when
good news we were being withdrawn for a rest off we went to souk el Camas where
I thoroughly enjoyed the luxury of a mobile bath unit delousing and refitting
it was heaven but we soon returned returned to the grind once more so again
I picked out some highlights of the first kind of action that they had but
you you have to get the book to kind of follow along exactly what they’ve been
through but they’d been through really tough fighting and then finally they get
the they get the turn they get their word that they’re gonna take a little
break which they do but you know like I said earlier it’s it’s a little break
it’s not big and just like I talked about the times where you get a little
reprieve from the cold wet miserable but then it’s time to go back in and that’s
what you have to do and these guys do that going on here between the two that
they end up in this spot between the two towns is a hill called jebel mah Mansoor
the commanding height to the Pont du Tunis Road it’s 2,000 feet above sea
level five miles around at the base and has an easiest climbing angle of 45
degrees also known by us as hill 648 it was occupied by crack German Afrika
Corps and Alpine troops and it was our job to take it at all costs
I thought this word would be a tough nut to crack but the men were determined to
win through this through but the men were determined to win through and shift
the enemy once and for all we checked our arms and ammunition and collected 48
hours rations so there’s this dominant high ground that they need to take and
it’s got their Africa Corps who I talked about earlier it’s got the Alpine troops
these are these are really good German troops and this point early in the war
you know this is when this is when the German army the German military was
what’s really really good I mean later in the war they were still good but they
you know they suffered massive casualties and they started having like
little you know younger troops inexperienced troop Hitler Youth you
know kids that were 14 years old out on the front lines getting after it
this is early in the war these are experienced troops you know these are
the troops that were this is where you know the the Prussian roots of military
genius are showing through and these troops and this is it this is this is
these are tough tough and this is a tough enemy so going on here we started
off and it was quite a long way over rough on the uneven ground before we
halted at the base of an ugly massive looking hill the usual advancement
barred meant that preceded most attacks was not forthcoming on this occasion as
we wanted to maintain the element of surprise
this time Jerry be first to rock the boat as we waited at the base of the
hill the sky now and again became bright with German night lights which one fired
heavenward made the whole area quite luminous everyone froze until they fell
to earth and safety returned once more in the form of semi-darkness in this
waiting game I found my thoughts straying back to England what I could do
for a couple fights pints of English beer there’s not till four o’clock in
the next morning we ventured carefully toward forward through the undergrowth
up went to more German night lights then two more then still more the place was
illuminated like daylight they must got wind of us or smelt us we could
determine the nationality of a soldier from at 50 feet if the wind was
favourable so probably they could do the same from the top of the hill to machine
guns began firing then more joined in as the place were alive with them and they
slashed and ripped mercilessly at the brac and slicing the branches of trees
as if an invisible sharp knife had done the job a bullet went through my trouser
leg grazing my thigh but I didn’t think too much of it as I was still mobile
German mortars started hitting the approach slope and yells a pain here and
there told me to take more care the wine overhead was also warning that the enemy
artillery was joining in as things hot it up with the occasional tracer bullet
mixed in with the machine-gun fire I could almost feel the hot lead piercing
my limbs it was certain I would not get away with it this time
farther back things had gone wrong with our usual stalwart mules the amazing
animals that carried our heavy gear where men could not set foot they didn’t
appreciate the sudden shelling and bolted out of control
major Clem’s B Thompson managed to round some of them up with the hemp of a
French officer major Prix Oulu and then all hell seemed to be let loose our men
are men yelling whoohoo Muhammad as the R and T companies went in with their
bayonets unfortunately s company missed their
correct route the tapes laid to assist their ascent had been damaged or cut by
the enemy activity and at the count we were to find that they had suffered
extremely heavy casualties and this chant of woohoo Mohammed this is
throughout the time that they’re fighting in Africa and they do it when
they get to Europe as well as this was something that the locals did and they
started doing it too it’s kind of like the term gung ho which gung ho the the
the Chinese turn which means work took actually a Chinese communist term which
means that worked together and you know we use it and they started using it I
believe he’s in the Korean War they started using that term but had been in
World War two working with the Chinese anyway that must have been when it was
must been war during World War two when they were working with
nice and the Chinese would say gung ho work together mm-hmm kind of means
getting fired up down well now yeah that’s how we use it Americans yeah we
can take work together and turn it into get after the barrage we were set up
against was intense and a ricocheting bullet or shell splinter often did as
much damage or more than a straightforward burst of fire we could
occasionally be lucky at one time an artillery shell failed to explode on
impact with the ground and went on mercilessly ricocheting three times
before coming to arrest with a dull plop but the bombardment was unrelenting and
we had to work or and we had our work cut out here there was agonizing shrieks
of pain right and left to me as I passed unrecognizable as I passed man
unrecognizable soaked in blood being tended to by a splendid medics those
unsung unarmed heroes Sam Koster and Frankie Thompson to reach the summit and
searched out and dealt with the enemy with no ceremony whatsoever as Sam told
me afterward Frankie was lunging and tossing men with
his bayonet as though he as though they were sacks of straw Frankie was a big
chap usually very friendly and quietly spoken but in action a different man picture that bayonet on your rifle and
you’re throwing men off of it lunging and throwing men with a bayonet as if
they were sacks of straw Frankie Thompson don’t play amid that turn all
the turmoil and dead and wounded of both sides the curtain of fire had lifted and
there was not a sound this is once they get up to the hilltop looking around the
hilltop only a few of our men could be seen moving among the twisted forms RR T
and s companies had suffered very heavy casualties more than half of the
battalion officers had been killed or wounded he as they kind of get settled
on the top of the hill he that as they’re preparing for a counter-attack
which they know the Germans are gonna do he gets sort of
tasked with going around and helping and gather up the sick death or the wounded
in the dead he goes on here setting about the job of collecting the wounded
was something sickening as I gazed upon the scene of our once able and live
comrades now quite still or with torn limbs I wondered whether there was any
such thing as civilization a bit hard on my lip and went about my task with grim
determination looking around for someone to help I noticed a lad who was in the
same troop as me early in 1941 hello taffy and what have you been up to
like a lift that’s that’s how he greets this guy Cheers lofty and like I said
lofty is the nickname of reg Cheers lofty it’s nice to see someone alive he
said wearily he was in a sitting position and it apparently been hit by
no fewer than five bullets they were all clean flesh wounds in the calf thigh
forearm and one through the apex of his penis and all rather uncomfortable but
no broken bones he was pretty well saturated with blood but cheerful let’s
try a fireman’s carry I suggested he’d had a shot of morphine so I didn’t think
he feel he would feel too much anything to get away from here he said at that
point Gerry started up again with artillery and mortars than a few snipers
and to make it really interesting some suka dive-bombers Stuka dive-bombers too
joined in the chorus let’s get going before it gets too hot I’ve got to get
you on my back I said so once again this is you know is he’s saying this so kind
of matter-of-factly he’s up there trying to rescue this wounded guy who’s
obviously badly Muniz been shot five times and then he they start with
artillery and mortars and then snipers and then Stuka dive-bombers that’s
what’s going on and then he says he says let’s get going before it gets too hot
it’s like it doesn’t get any hotter mmm
I’ve got to get you on my back I said I managed to get him over my shoulder
without causing too much pain and we started along the long trek through
wooded country ravines and open wastes it was a ticklish and tender drop job
but for two hours we struggled on I was sweating like two pigs he goes through a
description of how hard it was to get this guy to an area where he could get
some of the help that he needed once he gets that guy dropped off continuing on
I joined a section of join us section comprising men from t and s companies
they were mostly newcomers I wondered what had become of all the friends I had
not seen since the attack started one of the lads told me that major can run con
Ron had been killed and captain Miller – I felt so alone no disrespect to the
reinforcements but the cream of our men were fast disappearing in the foothills
of Tunisia Jerry was counter counter-attacking
in earnest now and slinging everything at us in the way of explosives with
batches of Stuka dive-bombers joining in at two hour intervals and making things
even more deafening the muck was falling heavily and a splinter from a nearby
bursting bomb slashed a vein in my right hand while another praying to my helmet nipping over rocks and creeping through
Bracken and bush under a hail of bullets and screaming shells I’d been become I
became cut off from the party of men I’d been attached to I was making good
progress and stopping for a breather dropped into a small depression in the
ground suddenly alone German pounced on me from the rear I realized what was
happening instantly when I saw the field gray
caught cuff of his uniform my Schmeisser which was out of ammunition was slung
bandolier fashioned over my shoulder but I had an American 45 automatic call
ready in my right hand I went down on one knee summoned up the unarmed combat
I had been taught grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and heaved him with
all my force over my head it was my turn now and I was not so gentle as he rolled
on to his back I sprang and landed my fourteen stone weight feet first on his
chest having the Colt which I had released
dangled on its lanyard I started to squeeze the trigger shouting you butcher
bastard to his no no comrade no no no I pulled the trigger
but it was empty I grabbed his rifle check that it was loaded and ordered him
to his feet Danka Danka he kept saying hugging his
chest as we moved off and with that he starts moving to get this prisoner back
under control arriving back at Barada after the formality of delivering my
prisoner into custody I rejoined the rest of the battalion we were in great
need of rest and a refit and we were and were all sent by truck to a place called
Tabor sook some 60 miles away while Bharata was handed over with thanks to
the Americans we were very soon back with him great so they get a little
breather we’re very soon back with a brigade this
time in the jebel a Boyd area the brigades manpower was well down with the
enemy and the enemy usually outnumbered us three to one Death Ridge as my pet
one para as my first pair of position and Happy Valley was known also
developed the name shell-shocked Ridge I tried closing my eyes at any given
explosion it was a terrible feeling like waiting to be massacred the Germans
started to mount an attack it was daylight and I could see motorized enemy
units being dropped off at points as near as they dared to our positions
three or four miles off in the direction of seda Jane they spread out an extended
order and started toward us we were told to hold our fire until the last minute
so the whole first Battalion lay very quiet and still enemy mortar saturated
the area I felt the draft of an exploding shell which deaf in my left
ear and left it ringing and at the same time propelled me to the bottom of my
trench making me even wetter than I already was now the mortar broad had lifted him
skipping ahead a little bit now the mortar barrage lifted
and I could hear the silence of the Solothurn machine gun fire as it severed
the undergrowth the enemy getting nearer all the time
60 yards 50 yards 40 yards I peeked gingerly over the edge of my hole in the
ground 30 yards 20 yards then above the din the order was bellowed fire fire
fire advance advance as we went out to meet them
the battalion flung everything the enemy that it hung everything at the enemy
that it could tommy guns Bren guns Sten guns cap captured Sullivan’s and smizes
grenades English German Italian coupled with the cry of woohoo Mohammed gripping
my rifle I advanced through the murderous fire the haze of smoke and the
acrid smell of explosives every available man was on this one even the
cooks before long the tables had turned in our
favor with two dead Paras lying to my left I hopped over a dead German and
came upon a wounded one a little to my right he was contemplating using a Luger
pistol but I booted it from his hand and clumped him on the face with the butt of
my rifle the whole episode was soon over with the enemy beating a hasty retreat
and leaving a bag of captured clean-shaven German parachutists flown
in direct from Germany to deal with us what a shock for them so that’s like
just again whatever a couple paragraphs maybe two paragraphs and I mean it’s
total insanity right the guys are 20 yards away before they get the the order
not only to fire but to advance mm-hmm continuing on this is now they’re doing
a coordinated attack while we pushed on with two para and three para brought up
the rear the British 139th Brigade attacked on a right in time the pimple
well does the name of like a little Knoll was retaken and our brigade
proceeded to press home the final assault amidst devastating artillery and
mortar fire from both sides tragically we found that we had gone a
little too fast for our 25 pounders to increase their range quickly enough and
we suffered heavy casualties from our own fire at daylight
I passed Jacque Pearson crouched by a rock bellowing into a field radio and
none too pleased with the person on the other end what do you think you’re doing
here Ord you’re killing all my bloody men so little horrible blue-on-blue
scenario happening man everything but everything seemed to be in our favor now
even the weather was kinder and we must have advanced about eight miles under a
curtain of continuous fire both until both Italians and Germany were ready to
give in and we’re running to be captured so think about this scene with just
massive fire and you’re advancing onto that fire for eight miles they get up
there they’re doing this they’re continuing to advance at this part and
here Messerschmitts buzz the area spraying the ground spasmodically and
causing those nearest to drop quickly into convenient holes we pushed on at a
steady pace past demolition guns past demolished guns and supply dumps the air
stinking with appalling butchery I glanced instinctively towards a shell
burst 50 yards away as I watched its jet black smoke belch skyward my gaze was
transfixed by something odd on the ground I wondered if it could be a human
drawing nearer I saw that it was the roasted body of a man in the sitting
position he must have been driving a Scout car or light vehicle as there were
small pieces of charred twisted metal spread 50 feet around with dismembered
arms and legs torn and blood-soaked uniforms littering the Black scorched
soil the aroma was diabolical someone accidentally brushed the sitting
form on passing and the body simply disintegrated with a sickly sound fast-forwarding a bit the smell of burnt
flesh coat floated in my direction and that quickly and I quickened my pace to
get clear of it plotting on in these awful humid and
dusty conditions I think I felt almost immune to weariness and the shocking
sights of war nothing seemed to be able to stop us now and this is again you got
to read this book but this sort of concludes this section the first
parachute Brigade group was not destined to take part in the final push to Tunis
our role in the campaign had come to an end and we were withdrawn from the line
so ending five months hard slog and again that we were just burning through
this book and I’m skipping so many sections this stuff is fun this is five
months this is half a year just about of this type of fighting originally trained
as shock troops in Tunisia after the initial parachute assaults we had served
as plain infantry but that’s just the way the wind blew for us medals were
plentiful and all ranks had earned them eight distinguished service orders 15
military crosses nine distinguished Conduct medals 22 military medals three
crawe two gear and one Legion to honour in their own way even our German
adversaries had recognized the brigades fighting ability by naming us the Red
Devils for those who were there though the price of success was unspeakably
high we had lost more than 1,700 men killed wounded or missing so again I hate to burn through five
months of insane fighting and and I’ll take a day get at reg right now like
he’s so matter-of-fact about stuff and he only hits on the high points I’m
hitting on the high points of the high points right just insane insane to think
about that for five months so from there they’re transported from Tunisia back to
Algeria and they spend time training for a drop into Sicily a parachute drop
innocently which once again you fight in Africa looked it’s really tough
conditions in Africa now you’re getting closer to Germany like you’re going into
going into Sicily you know what’s waiting for you it was hoped that if
Sicily could be taken it might prompt an Italian surrender a large proportion of
my battalion including myself now went down with dysentery it goes into talking
about a lot of that this is no this is just it’s like no nothing’s easy between
exercises we a claw my Akamai’s dour reinforcements to use every do use every
type of enemy weapons including Schmeisser automatic which we found
superior to our own Sten gun so now they start preparing for this mission in
Sicily there were three bridges to take in Sicily and the password for them was
to be Desert Rats with the reply kill Italians as the plane took off chunky
said well this is it our second operation I tried to act normally but
could feel the sweat running down my cheek so once again he’s stifling some
emotions and here they go getting on this getting ready to do this
job and this is just it’s just crazy as we drew nearer to our
objective and at a thousand feet I could see the flak and tracer zipping past the
wing of the aircraft for 30 minutes we dodged everything they threw at us but
it was a tense half-hour as we were helpless to do anything so you’re in an
airplane you’re getting ready to parachute and there’s flak bombs
exploding around you trying to take down your house your aircraft and tracer
fires zipping but you know how much protection an aircraft gives you from
tracer fire from machine-gun fire zero what’s flak so it’s anti-aircraft they
set it for a certain altitude it goes up in the air and then just blows up in
hopes that some of that shrapnel will hit the aircraft and damage the aircraft
and take them down yeah so flak jacket so flat actually flak is just little
chunks of this fragmentation right chunks of metal that that come off of
explosive device like a grenade or a artillery round mmm that’s gonna like on
purpose yes perfect that’s what it for and then a flak jacket is to protect you
from fuck gotcha in the old days like the flak term flak jacket the flak
jacket would protect you from flak it wouldn’t protect you from a bullet right
because flak isn’t going as fast as a bullet is so like an old-school Vietnam
flak jacket yeah it wouldn’t stop bullets but it would protect you from
flock yeah like a motorcycle jacket kind of thing like it’s like it’ll it’ll
protect you but not from the real deal yeah yeah so even so even nowadays right
the expression like don’t give me any flak mm-hmm it’s like kind of that yeah
exactly yeah exactly what it is so these guys
are up there and like he says helpless and by the way this is a half an hour of
this suddenly we were given continue on suddenly we were given the order to hook
up I did so unweighted the engines cut back on the approach to our drop zone we
descended to around 600 feet with all sorts of rubbish whizzing by and the
plane pitching and tossing like a toy in a vast
then there came a terrific explosion as our tail was hit the order jump man jump
screamed in my ears and I tumbled through the doorway into the void below
so the aircraft finally takes a devastating hit he doesn’t he doesn’t
mention whether the aircraft made it or not he just says that it you know the
tail was hit hard I can’t imagine that’s super easy to fly a plane once the tails
been blown off now he gets on the ground again fast forward a little bit on the
ground about 300 yards in my left was the main coastal road to the town of
Canton Catania an enemy traffic was in tremendous confusion to my rear I could
hear Italian voices and about a hundred yards to my right Germans rapping out
orders then down the road came a 15 strong German patrol they could have
been parachutist judging by their dress and headgear fortunately I was not alone
when they were just a few yards off and we opened up on them there were some
grunts groans and sickly yelps then silence we slipped on in the direction
of the bridge around which our men were by now silently killing harassing and
panicking the German and Italian defenders at night small battles raged
unceasingly and we were pinned down for a long time by mortar fire when daylight
broke though I saw the for the first time the vast mountain scenery at the
base of which we had been fighting again I’m just jumping through stuff then the
Sun starts to come up it became warm and then the heat became intense a typical
you’re never you can never just be comfortable it’s always like freezing
cold or too hot you would he had 15 minutes where it was warm and then they
were too hot there had been no firing for some time and I realized that the
enemy was no longer with us scanning the countryside I could see
burnt-out cars Italian tanks and ammunition dumps the smell of burnt
bodies and oil filled the air I was glad to move on such a confusion of our
Brigade such was the confusion of our Brigade drop that come daylight three
men from the men from three para discovered they
spent all night fighting alongside the men of first pair without realizing it
at the bridge it was clear that there had been a fierce battle the pillboxes
had been rushed and dealt with ruthlessly here
the brigade mustered aprox me a hundred and eighty men but the three-inch
mortars and ammunition had not arrived and there was a lack of communication
with outside units wireless sets those our radios had been either incorrectly
netted back in Africa were damaged on the landing or just did not arrive we
learned that German parachutists from the third Regiment of the 1st
fallschirmjaeger division had dropped simultaneously on our drop zone the
previous night so we must have indeed have brushed shoulders with them when we
came upon that fifty man Patrol how crazy is that
you’re jumping into a drop zone and the Germans are jumping in there too and then he goes as things start to escalate
he’s talking about how hot it was like hot as in not heat temperature but hot
as an enemy action little wonder things were so warm the
area within an approximately 2 mile radius of the bridge was festooned with
88 millimeter and 20 mm 20 millimeter guns pill boxes machine gun pits and
also a few coastal guns and we were engaging with crack German tooth troops
including paratroops they presented a good target whenever they got too near
the bridge you could not miss but word run around that our supply of ammunition
was now drastically low conserve ammunition and fire only when you are
absolutely certain certain of a kill was the order but due in due course members
of the 1st and 3rd para battalions at the northern end of the bridge withdrew
to join us at the southern end the enemy was getting harder to ward off as tanks
and tanks began to appear now we got tanks enemy tanks on the scene we were
using captured Italian 40 millimeter anti-tank gun along with our own
anti-tank gun the battle worked up to a terrific
climax the Germans were sending their best troops in an effort to shift us
their paratroopers probing for weak spots and allowing no respite food was
in our haversacks but there was no time to get it it was fire fire and keep on
firing finally there was a lull at about 1830 or soon after giving us a chance to
take stock maybe the Germans wanted to regroup I checked my ammunition and
found only four rounds left plus one in the chamber
at 19:30 we were ordered to withdraw in order to avoid capture and go in small
groups we made it off in a westerly direction toward the Gorna Lulu the
Gorna lunga river if we could use the river and the road running parallel to
it as a guide for a couple of miles perhaps then we could be clear of any
enemy concentrated attack so these guys are basically bagging out of the area
and as they’re doing they’re doing it in small groups at one point as darkness
fell we came upon a deserted farmhouse but decided not to enter as it was quite
near an abandoned flat gun pit we thought both sides would be we thought
both could be booby-trapped it was approximately 0-200 by now we were very
tired and hungry we dozed off in an orchard 20 feet from the edge each man
at the base of a different tree so as to be less conspicuous so they spend the
night in this orchard and then they set off once again we saw no more of the
enemy via Lentini we reached Augusta some 50 miles from prema soul bridge
finding the town in our hands it was a great sight to see so many of
our own troops and tanks and so they continued on reaching Syracuse without
mishap on this on the 17th of July just four days after dropping and assisity
we soon set sail arriving back at seuss in Tunisia on the 20th our 1st parachute
Brigade group had not only suffered heavily in the North African campaign
but in Sicily to where we had lost a further 300 men killed wounded or
missing it was time to rest refit regroup and reorganized and we also got
to relax so I mean this this is a group of men that are now just hardened combat
vets and yet there’s no war there’s no end to this insight right I mean there’s
no end yeah I guess if you looked at it from a strategic perspective knowing
what we know today maybe you could say there’s an end in sight
but if you know you’re barely surviving this though you’re barely surviving it
you know what the end is I mean you have to accept what the end is probably gonna
be the end is probably gonna be you’re not gonna live in early November we were
told that the whole first Airborne Division was returning to England and
the first parachute Brigade would leave from Algiers at the end of the month on
the 29th of November we shipped out of Algiers on the SS Samaria happily
heading for Liverpool now one particular chap made a popular appearance Peter
the battalions unofficial unofficial lovable dog Peter liked water and
jumping from planes and was the only parachute dog on record at first he was
owned by a lad named topper Brown and rumor had it they both escaped from
Dunkirk in 1940 Peter was a marvel and could do almost anything asked of him
never forgetting a trick put a stone on his nose and back away and he’d remain
motionless but at a given command he would toss and catch that stone water
was his God there had been static tanks eight feet deep at Bulford into which a
stone could be thrown Peter would retrieve it in no time and then sit
patiently waiting for another run when we had set off from North Africa in
October the previous year he had been smuggled aboard the Arundel castle
everyone helping in the scheming to get him aboard
and keep him fed exercised and comfortable he’d been left behind in
Algeria in the good care of the cooks and the rear-echelon party when we went
on to meet the enemy in Tunisia where topper Brown was taken prisoner and
sadly never heard of again corporal Jim Nash the battalion
hairdresser of our company then took care of Peter and is it was at mate
Moore in Algeria during training for the Sicily operation
that Jim took him up for his first jump from an aircraft a special bag had been
made and was fixed to Jim’s front with a hole at the top for Peters head to
protrude they made a perfect landing Peter running off as happy as their a
wagging his tail after various other escapades Peter returned to Algiers and
was smuggled aboard the San Maria where he was having a great time until the
locker door of his hiding place was accidentally left unsecured during one
of our boat drill procedures and he ventured out on his own he was found
wandering below by the ship’s officer who ordered him to be put over the side
we were just two days out from Liverpool the men were furious and it was just as
well that the officer responsible could not be found as a roving band of
justice-seeking Paras could not have been expected to be lenient as far as
Peter was concerned he had such enthusiasm from water that maybe he was
fitting to end up in a sea grave but we felt his loss I don’t mind admitting
that we fighting men had a soft side even after all we’d seen and done
perhaps especially after all we’d seen and done I wrote Peter a poem entitled
epitaph to a friend it’s last verse as follows Peter made us happy and carefree
he had no military apparel he made just two jumps his grave is the sea
his wings truly earned and the name red devil kind of a theme that we see come
up from time to time the attachment that soldiers can get to these to these dogs
that they they come across at some point and unfortunately a recurring theme is
some rear-echelon person that doesn’t understand killing those animals and I
also thought it was you know it’s interesting that line I don’t mind
admitting that we fighting men had a soft side even after all we’d seen and
done and he says perhaps especially after all we’d seen and done that’s
something that is I mean I think that’s absolutely true
you know you there’s no better there’s the sunset looks a million times
infinitely better when you know the sacrifices that have been made to see
the sunset the white bedsheets that you get to sleep on you appreciate
infinitely more when you’ve been sleeping in the dirt for six months and
it goes on and on and on and so when you see when you see that depravity that
that human beings are capable of well that can actually expose the fact that
you really can cherish a innocent innocent little dog and these guys arrived back home get
stationed the 1st battalion gets stationed at Ingram’s Thorpe castle and
at this point they know something really big is in the air and he says here in
August men coming from our old training area of tatton park reported seeing
thousands of Tanks they’re like a giant tank park
sure enough in mid-september we were finally setting off somewhere I checked
over my gear one gamin bomb 2.36 hand grenades combined pick and shovel
webbing equipment with small pack 2 ammunition pouches Amanda Lear with 303
ammunition water bottle mess tin iron ration field dressing camouflage net
scarf triangle shape error recognition bright yellow silk scarf tied around the
neck for ready for instant use rifle and an escape kit comprising of a silk map
of Europe a small button compass and a strong file the size of a nail file that
was about it except for a kit bag strapped to the leg and parachute Plus
Mae West’s life jacket in case we finished up in the drink I felt like an
overdue pregnant hippo and didn’t know where to put anything else though still
I had it 200 cigarettes 2 bars of chocolate and some boiled sweets it’s
interesting the the yellow scarf for recognition and he specifically says
tied around the neck for instant use and it’s interesting we kind of I always
carried one the basic reason why I always cared was cuz I was a radio man
when I was a young enlisted guy and I used it at times I had learned the value
of it signaling helicopters and signaling boats in the jungle like if
you and the weird thing is you when you’re in a let’s say you’re in a boat
in a river along the jungle there’s so much jungle to look at that it’s really
hard to see someone waving their hand it seems so obvious when you’re waving
at some waving at a boat hey I’m over here first of all they can’t hear you
because they’re running engines shooting machine guns they can’t hear you
and second because they’re looking at whatever quarter mile or half a mile of
green bush they got this whole thing to try and find you and you’re in a green
camouflage uniform and you’re waving your honor they can’t see you so you
need I would always have a aircraft panels what we call them aircraft
signaling panel which is just bright fluorescent orange and I could whip that
thing out really quickly and then it then you become a lot more visible same
thing with an aircraft overhead well in Ramadi it didn’t take long before
everyone was carrying that because and they were carrying big ones too like I
was a platoon or like an element that was going in a building would have a big
giant one that you could hang out a window everyone we are here hey friendly
forces we are here hey so even this guy world war two that
bright yellow silk scarf important signaling device at the hand he says I
wondered how the rest of the men were going to fare on this hop I was just
getting used to the new faces like Frankie Panzer Mainzer bill sill Barry
Terry brace dick Bing Lee dolly gray major Perrin Brown Sid Oxley gov Beach
with his top hat the Germans will surrender in surprise if he takes them
with that I fought Joe McCready Pattie McCormick and Captain Joe Gardner I mean
just I just had to read those names for two reasons number one because they
sound like the best bunch of characters you could ever hang around and also so
everyone remembers that all these people that were talking about there are all
people unfortunately sergeant busty Everett had fallen ill and died at born
we were from all over the country and Beyond and on the whole one big happy
family it was daylight when we clambered into
trucks and headed toward the aerodrome at Barkston Hall everyone was tense but
ready to go come what may he goes on here our objective was to capture and
hold the bridge straddling the Rhine at Arnhem my first parachute battalion was
to seize the high ground to the north our escorting typhoon
Spitfire and Mustang fighters were weaving between the dakotas and gliders
as we crossed the English Channel tension began to mount in my plane we
approached land on the other side and could see the area that had been flooded
to try and stop or impede the advance of our land forces I was admiring the
landscape when the order rang out action stations hookup green light on go being
number 13 I had a few long seconds to wait as I shuffled forward then I felt a
slight pat on my parachute back and again found myself tumbling out of the
doorway into that familiar open void my parachute opened once more obediently
and I drifted down to earth without difficulty after a good three-point
landing I was now an enemy occupied territory except for the occasional
machine-gun fire and some blasting from enemy machine-gun emplacements the
landing had been unopposed and the whole dropping North Zone north of keys ylim
was packed with gliders and discarded parachutes everyone soon collected
themselves and rendezvous at their perspective points the time was just
after 1500 on Sunday the 17th of September 1944 the time was just after
1500 on Sunday the 17th of September 1944 leaving the drop zone we made our
way quickly along the track running alongside the wood west of wolfies and
south of the railway the end of the track lined up with a road running
parallel to the railway turning right here and then over the road onto the
railway sidewalk we nosed our way toward wolfies station suddenly there was a
loud explosion up ahead and some machine-gun fire
and now this is when things start to get hot our company still upfront became
engaged in a fierce battle facing armored cars mortars and machine guns
it was getting dark now the whole battalion laid doggo for a while to try
to avoid further detection we lay up in the woods for some hours pushing on
occasionally but cautiously at one point in time unbeknown to the enemy they
completely surrounded us in the semi door so here they are they’re kind of
like laid up they’re not trying to move too much in the semi dark we passed down
winding lanes this is when they start pushing forward through the woods and
along the south side of the road we were now about five miles from the Arnhem
bridge and so far luck had been with us at about two o’clock in the morning
there were sounds of battle ahead apparently coming from an area northeast
north northeast of lincoln beak on arriving there at about zero 500 we
found that the leading companies had met fierce opposition and it suffered
heavily then with no reason given at the time the original plan to go for the
high ground north of Arnhem was changed and we instead turned south towards
Marian Dahl an austere beak some two miles from the bridge at zero 600 we
entered austere beak where we met members of the Dutch underground
movement who showed us the easiest route to the bridge we were moving cautiously
in a file ready for action and everything seemed a little bit too quiet
at zero 6:30 as dawn was breaking we moved up into a built-up area and then
it started the enemy had been busy overnight preparing gun emplacements
taking up positions at vantage points posting snipers and concealing tanks and
SP guns German gunfire shattered the peace and I darted for cover and took up
position in the neatly laid out garden of a nearby house more firing came from
the house direction with two other men I ran around the back of the house and
fired his two Germans in rubbery they must have had their chips
with two other men I round around the back of the house and fired at two
Germans in the shrubbery they must have had their chips amid the smoke and fire
of machine guns SP guns and six-barreled mortars the battle ranged the battle
raged and Bilt’s to such a pitch that I became quite accustomed to it and went
about the task as if on street fighting training back at home we hadn’t eaten
since leaving England but I was too busy to be hungry casualties were mounting
mounting incredibly fast and in every direction
I could see motionless forms of our men cut down in their tracks progress was
slow and the battle became more intense as the bridge loomed gradually nearer
with two other chaps I did not know I chased after some Germans in a house we
threw a grenade in and dash to the door to finish them off with Stan and rifle
looking around for any more of the enemy we were belt that we belted to the rear
of the house I tripped over a broken fence and went sprawling as I scrambled
up I heard a close whine and recognized which I recognized was a mortar I died
for cover by a low wall and the bomb landed very near near enough to feel the
draught snipers were taking potshots at us dodging and weaving through gardens
and backyards I came to stop an opposite a factory held up by held up by a heavy
mortar machine-gun fire yet again I threw myself into the ground it was
absolute bedlam with the slicing sound of German southern look so so low their
guns their bullets cutting the air in every direction and the repeated stalk
of mortars followed by the wine and sound of hot shrapnel hitting the
rooftops a small lump of shrapnel hit my helmet sounding like a pea on a drum in
the heat of battle men were shouting curses lobbing grenades through open
doors and windows and following up with shrieks of contempt for the enemy and
the cry of woohoo Mohammed casualties really began mounting there were groans
from men who had been hit motionless perilous motionless Paris lay in the
road and slumped over walls I saw a pair of
feet protruding from a garden gateway one boat
one boot blown off but leaving the foot complete such as the magical phenomenon
of war the German firepower was murderous and all I could do was keep
alert for the sound of English I had a horrible feeling that my battalion was
being cut to ribbons going forward a little bit there was a heck of a battle
going on inside the factory and men were scrapping furiously with grenade stands
colt handguns and fighting knives the wall of the house opposite received a
blast of machine-gun fire coming from behind me I was about to move off in
pursuit of a German in the garden of a terrorists house on the on my right when
I felt an explosion just beneath me and a sharp pain reeling over and looking
down I saw that the lower part of my right leg was in a most unusual position
and blood was oozing out steady and fast I shouted for help and to Paris dashed
up quickly and rendered first aid one of them sergeant Nobby Hall called for
medical orderly I was worried but felt like a nuisance as everyone was busy
enough already without being lumbered with me I was placed on a way I was
placed on a stretcher and carried into a wooden shed a few yards away where
medics cut the boot off of the foot of my shattered leg smashed by an explosive
bullet it looked awful but strangely I didn’t feel much pain they tore open the
field dressing I had carried for so long in different parts of the world but
never previously needed and carried out a quick but thorough job pandemonium was
raining outside as machine so at this point obviously he’s been wounded he’s
been wounded really bad his leg is in very rough shape he can’t walk
pandamonium was raining outside his machine gunfire echoed around the
built-up area a mortar bomb landed quite near but the medic administrating a
morphine injection kept a steady hand as if he were in the safety of a
back in England so the talk about detaching the medic is just cool and
calm while the other medic hunted around for suitable makeshift splint a young
Dutch girl appeared from nowhere and offered me a welcome cup of water I was
feeling cold and clammy and her helpful is a great comfort as was the morphine
which soon began to take effect there was another series of explosions
just ahead a clear signal to get moving and I was carried cautiously to the
corner of a house next to the road I had come down only a short while ago
everyone was scattered everyone was scattered and there were dead Parra’s in
the road on the sidewalk and in the gardens snipers were busy and our men
were bent on winkling them out there was a thud a whizz and a bark of an
exploding shell followed by another and another all bursting on the rooftops of
houses 30 yards back then something flashed from an upper window only 20
yards ahead and bullets splattered on the wall above us the medic sent me down
to wait for an opportune moment to get across the road and I saw four pairs
pressed themselves into the wall of the building opposite as they worked their
way toward that flash went under the window the leading para kicked the door
out and out of the window came a potato masher which he immediately picked up
and threw back in that potato masher is the classic German grenade with a long
handle on it which they did so that they could throw grenades as far as as the
Americans could because we’ve played baseball and they play soccer and you
don’t kick you don’t kick grenades you have to fit all the leading para kicked
the door and out of the window came a potato masher which he immediately
picked up and threw back in accompanied by a Mills bomb which is their grenade
phone by another man there was quite some explosion following which four
pairs entered the building sprang Sten gunfire in the room and threw up through
the floorboards a trick we had learned in training I was more than relieved to
get out of the line of fire was carried into the relative safety of a garden
wall as I laid helpless behind the wall I had a clear view of the clatter and
confusion of the battle and the threw the demolished gateway
so he goes on here obviously I’m not covering the whole book but covering
some sections of things that are unfolding I was moved with a number of
other wounded men to a nearby barn where I spent a fairly easy night thanks to
the powerful effects of the morphine injection I had been given early the
following morning all was reasonably quiet in the immediate vicinity although
I could hear the sound of battle not far off looking around the barn I didn’t
recognize anyone from my first battalion and those men
I spoke to did not want to know they were either too preoccupied with their
wounds or unable to talk at all some of them looked as though they had just
lived through a nightmare which I would say is an accurate statement and again
it’s like everything that he’s talking about is just you know complete mayhem
combat that’s what he’s talking about it’s just totally out of control and
finally it settles down a little bit for that night and it sounds like maybe the
probably the Brits at that point had done a good counter attack maybe
established a perimeter unfortunately doesn’t last at about zero 702 medics
came up to me and said that my turn was next this is desert trying to extract
him lifting the stretcher they carried me to a waiting Jeep it’s engine running
there were four walking wounded in the back seat and I was strapped to the
front of the bonnet alongside another chap who was already strapped in on the
on the side the windscreen he forced a grin what’s yours I asked they got me in
the guts he said bluntly that’s a nasty place to cop it I thought feeling sorry
for him a short stocky medic jumped in the driver’s seat saying hold tight in
the back and don’t worry you two in front on the bonnet we might have a
rough ride and it will be a bit fast what do you even do I mean they take you
they put you on a stretcher on the hood of a freaking Jeep and they’re like ha
and the medic says hold on to the guys in the back and says hey up front don’t
they’ve got him strapped down there’s nothing they can do they can’t move I
wouldn’t want to do that on a Tuesday afternoon know you know going like to
the market mmm I mean imagine I’m like hey I call to
take you to the market I put you on the hood of my car strap you down and say
hey it’s gonna be a little rough after a fast and fast forward after a fast bumpy
journey the Jeep tour through rooster beak past the divisional headquarters at
the hartenstein Hotel and pulled up sharply in the drive of the tafelberg
hotel a few hundred yards farther on airborne medics quickly unstrapped me
and took me inside setting me down on the floor opposite a window in the
entrance hall the hotel tafelberg had been German Field Marshal Walther model
Modell’s headquarters prior to our arrival the previous Sunday and we were
now using it as an improvised military hospital it must have taken a few knocks
as it was now in absolute shambles as usual the British Tommy had managed to
brew up even in such hazardous conditions and I was given a mug of tea
and a bar of chocolate my first food since leaving England two days earlier I
had not touched my ghastly iron ration I tried to sleep but with the interruption
of shelling and mortar fire prevented that when night fell I just long for
daylight to come again I hated the nights it was bad enough to be meeting
angry Germans in battle but it was worse to do so while I slept
the next day Wednesday I was grateful to be taken into the operating room
ingeniously rigged up in the kitchen of the hotel so he gets some you get some
preliminary work done on his wounds and of course the Brits I know I’ve talked
about this they like to grow up their tea and they will do it
that’s how they roll I was returned to the entrance hall where the din of
battle and bullets hitting the wall outside made me look out I was surprised
to be is to see a German wandering about pictures you’re in a hospital you just
got like the shrapnel cut out your leg they said take and set you down and now
you’re watching the battle out a window and you see a German wandering around he
took up a stand positioned by the door and then began pacing up and down just
then there was a loud Crump outside and debris plaster and glass fell all around
I looked to see where that one landed and the German I’d seen outside only a
few moments ago was now sprawled out killed
I presume by one of his own mortar bombs but that should tell you what a
situation there and there’s Germans outside the window walking around I was
set down at the head of the stairs to my right lay a glider pilot who had a face
and arm injury I mean all the wounded who covered most of the landing area
came a wounded man walking our eyes met did I know him I hardly knew anyone they
were unrecognizable clotted up with blood and dirt then up the stairs belted
some combat Paris and we asked them how it was going and I had I had to capture
this because this is just as British as it gets
so these there’s like we just said there’s Germans walking around outside
this place is total shambles and they see a couple pairs and he says hey how’s
it going and the one of the pair has answers not too bad not too bad could be
a bit better before disappearing back down again that’s like that’s an
olfactory response yeah oh by the way we’re about to get over on but not too
bad nothing could be better but you know we got this fast forward a little bit a
wounded man with his Arminius thing approached me with an inquiring look
what unit Chum he asked almost in a whisper first Parra
I replied I’m in a shower of dust and smoke as yet another shell exploded very
near he winced and withdrew from the direction of the shell blast just as we
felt the ominous vacuum of warm air he was almost incoherent as he glanced
around the terrible scene of man-made destruction I just left the bridge he
said there was quite a pause what’s it like there I asked he swung around
glaring at me as if the hole was my fault his eyes hard staring and
red with fatigue the poor fellow had been hit through with something bad I
offered him a cigarette and with a trembling hand he took one it hung limp
in his grasp Thanks I don’t really smoke but I’ll have one
he said then he answered it was bloody hell their tanks belching fire blokes
getting killed left and right the carnage was terrible he paused as a
medic a passed by with a man clutching his side and hobbling on one leg
a bloody congealed bandage wrapped around the stump where once had been a
foot my lad drew hard on the cigarette and coughing continued there were hordes
of them it went on for hours attacking shelling then the bastard start started
burning us out my two mates got killed the twisted and broken bodies of our men
were strewn everywhere he leaned back against the wall looking a little more
at ease I don’t know but I think it may have been the first I may have been the
first person he had spelt out his experiences to Vader he told me that it
was his first time in action I thought he had ridden it bloody well the next
few days seemed to drag on forever with my leg giving me much more pain now
than ahead during the first 24 hours after I was hit and so obviously these
guys around rallied up and their suffering but it doesn’t mean that
they’re safe continuing on there are so many shells landing in on and around the
building plus the occasional burst of machine-gun fire splattering the inner
walls that I imagined we must be slap-bang and in the frontline or
somewhere in no-man’s land and by the way that’s the field hospital there were
hundreds of wounded in enemy included as well as Dutch people caught up in the
fight so many that some got moved to the hotels annex across the driveway and am
any man with flesh wounds or injuries that did not hinder the use of a firearm
was ordered outside to fight so if you could fight you now it’s time he was now
the 23rd of September and I was lying still at the head of the broad stairway
and there was motion down below those ruddy Huns again
said the glider pilot there was a shuffling and German orders were being
wrapped out then some SS troops dashed up the stairs a sinister looking type
about 20 years old led the way and was coming right out coming right at me I
found myself looking straight down the barrel of his Schmeisser his trigger
finger shaking I didn’t bat an eyelid I just did not
want to upset him and give him a cause to let rip he was glaring at me with red
beady eyes Christ this is it I thought I had heard of other wounded being shot up
but my luck was in and he passed me by he and two other SS men had a good look
around and took and then took up firing positions at windows in rooms leading
off the landing as they started to fire out Colonel Warwick dashed up the stairs
swearing and rebuking them for firing from a clearly marked Red Cross building
discipline took over they looked defiant and sullen but with fingers handling
their automatics hesitantly they reluctantly obeyed the officers command
and stopped firing so as I talked about earlier with the and clearly these are
some Germans that have respect for the law of armed conflict and they there
which let’s just start with this we’re in the hospital building and now he got
the the Germans in the building using it as a firing position I don’t even know
what to say about this like what is that even how do you even translate that into
into reality you’re wounded you’re your hospital is getting mortared and
machine-gunned and then there’s German enemy soldiers in your building firing
from inside your building walking around looking at you oh and he comments about
this it was most strange to have enemy in the building one minute only being
replaced by your own combat men the next so that’s his statement about it is that
yellow strange I wondered how the rest of my first pair
of battalion were doing right from the Sunday night our our company it had a
tough time losing half of its men in the bee Lehrer doodle area then
forty men of six splatoon s company were killed in two minutes on the approach to
Arnhem Arnhem and in the den brink st. Elizabeth’s Hospital and factory area
the rest of the battalion was badly mauled in the midst of it all father
Benson a Roman Catholic priest was busy making his rounds and answering urgent
calls one man so constantly needed things began to get on my nerves that
morning which is kind of interesting cuz he’s been through all this stuff he’s
wounded he’s surrounded by the enemy he’s on his whatever however many
hundreds of days in close combat that he’s been in over the past few years mhm
and now that he’s wounded and surrounded and his men screaming and dying all
around him things are getting on his nerves a little bit this morning yeah
make sense that’s that’s what that’s what reg is up to so things began to get
on my nerves that morning what with the continuous din of battle
outside of my leg getting more painful through lack of proper medical attention
I called for father Benson to offer a few words of comfort so he came and put
me at my ease later he was to his wounded by tank fire into the building
I’m sorry to say that he died from those wounds and was buried in the grounds of
st. Elizabeth’s Hospital on the following day the disposition was
frightening once again understatement the British
understatement because as far as I’m concerned everything up to this point is
completely horrifying on the following day the disposition was frightening our
men were still doing their damndest but the Germans were slowly closing in very
slowly marked you for they lost heavily and had to fight for every inch of the
bloody ground they got there with things getting hotter still I was moved again
to what was thought to be a safer spot just to the other side and along the
landing area suddenly there was an almighty explosion
in the room on my right men were already wounded once twice or hit again and some
were killed there were piteous cries coming from that room it was at this
time that Major John Wadi of the 156 parachute battalion who had started his
parachute days in India when the battalion was first formed was wounded
again and two english medics and a dutch nurse were killed a medic now came out
cradling a form in his arms the chappy carried could have been dead or
unconscious he was covered in blood and his arm was shattered and hung
pathetically by his side his left leg bandaged from his first wounding Christ
I wish I were outside there was another resounding crash of bombs followed by
curses perhaps I was better off in here it was bloody awful for everyone
everywhere outside the situation was getting completely out of hand further
enemy reinforcements were mustering around the perimeter in the form of
powerfully armed tanks from the SS Panzer divisions with long barreled high
explosives and armor-piercing shells the passage where I lay ran from front to
rear the hotel and I was facing the rear with a grandstand view of the battle
through a gaping hole in the wall where once there had been a window now and
again one of them are our men would break cover to stock the enemy and then
the enemy would repeat the process with the multiple accompaniment of shell
bursts tank fire machine-gun fire curses and yelps of pain I heard the ominous
sound of an approaching tank I couldn’t see it but the squeaking of its
caterpillar wheels grew even louder then it came into view it’s great gun
traversing from right to left picking its way through the trees it stopped for
a few minutes to feel its way and then the gun barked out sending a shell
across my front to an unseen target the other wounded were lying huddled
together trying to afford each other protection
the floor was littered with debris blood and glass and there was an incessant
whine and explosion of mortar bombs together with the shriek and crash of
artillery vibrating the very foundations of the building which I thought would at
some point tumble down I don’t know what time it was when the shelling and
gunfire stopped but after a din of the last six days it felt very strange to
suddenly be so much quieter there was still spasmodic firing in the distance
and a little shelling but nothing to worry about we began to converse more
freely gone on strike Jerry one man almost sounded except that his had half
his mouth bandaged from a shell splinter wound nah he’s packed up as Jerry and
buggered off a cockney put in the glider pilot was more cautious crafty sod is
the Hun he’s got something up his sleeve then I saw men being carried downstairs
with great activity going on outside but not of battle two medics picked me up
both of them silent and not looking too pleased where to now
I asked the Elizabeth Hospital one told me the enemy had overrun us and was
calling the shots so the Germans were now in control he
gets taken outside outside was a ghastly sight with the fallen dead of both our
sides lying where they had gone down British and German medical orderlies
were putting the wounded into jeeps and various other vehicles including two
small vans improvised as makeshift ambulances three of us stretcher cases
were loaded into a small open German lorry with shallow sides which would
prevent us from bouncing off in transit there was just enough room for five
walking wounded now they’re on this Drive we all had shattered bones of some
sort which made us cry out in pain during the rough ride in this antic
integrated lorry and I was still more than pleased when it finally came to a
standstill at journey’s end at the hospital there had clearly been heavy
fighting and spent cartridges could see be seen littering the floor and
entranceway I heard the familiar voice of a friend what the hell are you doing
on that stretcher scrounging for a lift I went to answer but nothing came out can you imagine you go to a hospital and
the floors got bullet casings all over it
word got around that the whole show was over and I began to wonder what really
went wrong the battle had been lost but it had been some fight as mortar
sergeant dick winning him later Reilly remarked we may have lost the battle at
Arnhem but we did come in second it should be noted that there had not only
been a great loss of light life in this battle but also massive local
destruction with one or one in four houses totally destroyed in most of the
remainder badly damaged and so again you know I talked about the seeing the
different sides of the Germans and you know we already saw some of the Germans
the prisoners being sickened by what the kind of civilian casualties were taking
places they evacuated Dunkirk the the Germans that were firing inside the
hospital and then when they get told by an unarmed you know leader hey get out
of here there’s okay fine they’re grumpy but they leave just the fact that these
the patients are the the wounded are getting treated actually pretty well so
they end up in this sort of makeshift hospital a South African
orthopedic surgeon captain alexander Lippmann Kessel was going to see me he
commanded one of the surgical teams of the 16th pair of Field Ambulance I was
thankful that I was not going to have a German butcher I had seen the end result
of a German doctors amputation of a man’s foot crudely almost guillotined
and without anesthetic I was carried into a large room with medical apparatus
everywhere trolleys and tables laden with all sorts of instruments bandages
field dressing and splints I was placed on a hard narrow table about four feet
from the ground in the distance I could hear the sound of gunfire and German
flak which meant that our aircraft were in the vicinity the anesthesia just put
up had his needle at the ready and medics were preparing for the operation
when there was a noise rather like a giant balloon having air released and
then a terrific explosion with a very quick presence of mind one medic threw a
blanket over me and shield me from the blast with his own body as shattered
glass fell in small pieces and slivers all over the operating theatre then all
in quiet again and the blanket was pulled carefully to reveal yours truly
with popping eyes my treatment had to wait another day while the place was
cleaned up fortunately for me the next visit was uninterrupted the wound was
cleaned and redressed and I had my first plaster cast post saw put on and so like
I said it seems like at this point that’s it’s relatively civilized I mean
if you can forgive a bomb exploding while you’re about to get surgery but
relatively civilized compared to what they’d been through at one point there’s
an SS officer comes in and they kind of go through the different individuals
there and they finally get to him and when he tells him he’s a he’s a airborne
guy they say you’re going to a prisoner of war camp and he says here was
September 28th it was the 28th of September when German
orderlies carried me out of the hospital not so carefully as our own medics and I
had to hang onto the sides of the stretcher as we descended the stone
steps at the entrance to avoid sliding off and now he gets transported again
this time he ends up at the vilem three concerned barracks we were given iron
beds with straw filled pillows and the floors were dirty
there was no heating and only a meager supply of medical necessities and then
at one point a doctor or who or or I presume he was entered the room
accompanied by a rotten Fuhrer of the SS Medical Corps the stench from my wound
caused disapproval on the face of the doctor and grabbing my big toe with his
finger he slowly raised the leg which began to bend at the wound beneath the
knee where both the tibia and fibia were broken stopping he peered at the wound
inquisitively do you mind that hurts I told him whereupon he simply released
the hold of my leg and let it fall on the hard table instantly turning to go
looking at me in the eyes with a sadistic expression as he did so
you bastards square-headed shite hawk I said I couldn’t care less if he didn’t
understand the phrase he just raised an eyebrow with an inquiring look and
departed while I returned to my private world of pain then the medics came back
with that infernal SS guard and redressed and replastered my leg so like
I said there’s I mean it’s not great treatment but I mean let’s face it he’s
alive and yeah he goes on here I was at the barracks for a little more than a
week when one morning I was for yet another move this time a short
journey to the giuliana hospital in Apple doom apeldoorn my stay at Giuliana
hospital is going to be the longest and best as far as medical cares go the
hospital staff with Dutch doctors and nurses helped by our own doctors and
orderlies and the Germans left us well alone to fend for our own medical
requirements like I said that seems fairly civilized to me and they’re
trying to help him out and here we go it was decided to apply a gadget called a
Kirchner wire extension to my leg as both bones were broken below the knee
the theory was to stretch the leg and try to marry the bones in the correct
position under an injection of ever pen a steel bar was shot through my ankle
bone to act as an anchor a steel cable was then attached to the anchor and to a
pulley apparatus below the foot of the bed weights were added each day to
steadily stretch the leg otherwise I was told I would be left with a 2-inch
shortening necessitating the use of a club boot at a later date which I didn’t
much care for but my general condition my general and local condition had
regressed considerably and I was at my lowest ebb I was now wishing that I
could see the end of this confounded uses lump of decamp decaying flesh and
bone on the 19th of November I got my reluctant wish and my leg was amputated
by major Peter Smith of 133rd parachute Field Ambulance as I later learned it
was not a moment too soon prior to the operation I had been
regarded as a hopeless case one of those certain of not lasting after surgery
however I made such an amazingly quick recovery that I was back to life and
sitting out of bed only a week later the medical orderlies could not do enough
for us from bass to fetching bedpans carrying patients from the bed to the
loo and back again soothing and dying soothing the dying or reading a book for
those too weak or exhausted to do so for themselves they were always on call all
hours of the day and night i won when they manage to eat or sleep I asked
one who was passing with a bottle in his hand he answered quite cheerfully oh we
get 40 winks now and then with a snack in between so there you go
I mean almost one sentence no two sentences he was wishing that he could
get this this decaying hunk of flesh off of his body and the next time the next
sentence is he got it amputated that’s that’s that’s how much that’s that’s
that’s him as a matter of fact as you can get I guess is where I’m going with
this this is a one last little section of this a Polish para who had dropped
that Arcanum was opposite me in the corner of the ward he’d been caught up
badly and was having a rough time a German military clergyman kept calling
to say prayers and finally came to administer the last rites as he stood
there in the in his dark olive green uniform blackjack boots and belt peaked
cap under his arm I scrutinized his close-cropped bull
neck and square jaw I could not help but notice and thought how strange that he
wore a gun holster a man of the cloth with a pistol in a hospital what next so he talks about you know the care that
he gets he starts getting moved around a lot the Germans kept shipping us out as
soon as they thought we were fit enough to travel and once again I found myself
in a truck this time heading to the rail station and Apeldoorn where we pulled up
alongside and boarded a Red Cross train and of course this stuff just never gets
easy daylight came with a German doing his nut and shouting Spitfire octone
Spitfire Achtung I watched a lone Spitfire turn and fly parallel to the
Train at about a hundred feet with the same distance from the Train it was
quite cheeky I thought the pilot was having a real close look to make sure it
was a hospital train I could see clearly as goggles were off and white scarf and
felt like giving him a wave as he disappeared behind some pine trees we
were now in Germany with snow-covered mountains and forests of fir log cabins
dotted here and there making it also picturesque as nightfall came we halted
at a dismal looking place a small town I think unfortunately the luxury was now
over and we were ushered off the train in a collection on a collection of
crutches of varying lengths that were produced and given to the leg amputees
so they get end up in this like just junk place we were all a bit under the
weather with the added unpleasantness of an
amputation one that had an arm and a hand missing another two arms off and
most like myself had lost a leg one poor fellow was the worst for blisters on his
one and only foot we had a wounded medic who was with us and did all he could to
help with medical minimal medical supplies we had only paper bandages it
was not the best of nights on the cold stone floor but I somehow slept others
were not so fortunate and one chap that not even lived to see the rest of the
journey remaining motionless the next morning as we were roused by the guards
so this is transport continues gets on a train finally ends up at another place
the snow was quite thick and we pulled in what looked like a school in a small
town near Munster three of the Yanks and myself were told to get out and then
Laurie carried on its way leaving us standing in the crisp snow a voice is
called welcome but he come in he’s a big American from Indiana called Marvin
Adams inside he showed us to a room on the left grab yourself a pillow and bed
down here I’ll do yours bud he said looking me up and down how’d you manage
that fella put the best foot forward at the wrong time I answered oh well this
ain’t the Ritz but we’ll have fun he said I wondered what he meant by that
always good to be that person with a good attitude when you’re in a damn
prisoner of war camp mm-hmm going on here the Germans guards were
non-existent except at night as we were all severely wounded there was thick
snow outside they were obviously not worried about a mass escape food was
sparse but regular and then again more moving I was just getting used to this
place when word went around that Jerry was moving us some of us maybe for
repatriation having only one pin meaning leg I thought I stood a good chance to
be in on this then early one morning three Yanks two Russians and myself were
ushered to a truck and taken on a passenger train in which we traveled a
few miles only to D train again perhaps to get another connection for as our yet
for our as yet to be undisclosed location destination and then they get
off that train they get on another train they get on this other train after
shunting around a bit and hitching up to another train we rolled off again it was
dusk cold and pretty dismal all told then someone struck up our version of
the song bless them all and their version of the song was Sodom all Sodom
all the long and the short and the tall sod all the sergeants and the wo ones
sawed all the corporals and their bastard sons for we’re saying goodbye to
them all as back to their billets they’d crawl you’ll get no promotion this side
of the ocean so cheer up me lads saw them all and he
says it seemed we had joined a group of British soldiers by this was by way of
an introduction they finally make it to Bremen we pulled in slowly and as the
train came to a stop there were sounds of doors opening in the hustle and
bustle of people getting off and making their way along the platform and then it
happened an air-raid warning wind out civilian and military personnel
immediately began scurrying about in the military I noticed did not hesitate to
shove anyone else out of their way a little shot at the German military the
civilians are getting pushed out of the way so they can get to cover the air was
humming with aircraft American Boeing b-17 Flying Fortresses and our guards
quicken their step way ahead of us periodically turning to beckon us to
hurry it up we entered the shelter big enough for
about a hundred people and after a lot of pushing and shoving settled among
amid glares and remarks thrown our way I was happy to let it happen but somehow
I’d been pushed and guided into a corner of the shelter away from the door
if a bomb lands too near that the Germans take it blast take the blast and
cushion any affect on us I thought there was a wooden bench fixed to the wall I
dropped to it exhausted three guards spread out between us and other
occupants and when the bombing started in earnest the shelter shook I was sure
wanted landed close outside because I felt it’s draft reminding me of being
blown off my feet in North Africa only that time it was just fifty feet away
everyone fell silent as the drone of aircraft and wine and crash a bombs went
on with ever-increasing ferocity for a good hour before dying down to a steady
drumming and an occasional distant explosion I must admit I always think of
these bombing runs as taking like maybe 10 minutes but we’re talking about a
good hour people began to chatter this is once everything’s kind of faded
people began to chatter as interfere dispersed an external bravado took over
I could hear the gnashing of teeth glances accompanying finger pointing in
our direction the crowd is getting restive and a big man started pouring
forth with words of abuse a big Frau about 40 years old worked her way nearer
to us until she was only a couple feet away I felt the moisture of her spittle
as she argued with the guards about the privilege we had being allowed to be in
the same shelter as the German people I gathered that that was a crux of the
matter that was the crux of the matter at this point a heavy booted foot came
out and started propelling my way I parried friendly with my right hand and
the boot just brushed my balls coming to a harmless glancing blow on my left
thigh the guard stood firm restraining the woman and trying to calm everyone
down it was only then that I noticed a familiar sound in French our guards were
Frenchmen constricted and conscripted in the German army
anyway they saved my nuts from being cracked there must’ve been another
hour’s wait at the stations another back gonna transfer transfer again there
must’ve been another hour’s wait at the station until I an old army type lorry
with solid tires turned up aw sorry they were waiting for a truck I couldn’t care
less at this stage provided I didn’t have to hobble on crutches before long I
saw the large POWs camp ahead with its 8 foot high wire fences and guards
platforms sticking up like sore thumbs all around there was a collection of
dingy looking Hut’s dotting the interior the lorry slowed at the gate and the
senior guard jumped down through the handy handing out to go through the
handing over ceremony then the big wood and wire gates creaked open and the
lorry jerked into the compound where out we tumbled I was exhausted and sweating
as if I’d just come out of a Turkish bath my stump was throbbing I stayed
lying on the ground where I landed managing to support myself on one elbow
while the rest of the party sat knelt or remained standing with the aid of their
crutches I didn’t want a welcoming committee but wish that someone would
show us where to go one of the guards was busy having a chat and laughed with
his mate eventually he gave us the go-ahead and the party moved off slowly
and wearily I found myself left behind I tried to get up at a
muster enough strength to make it so I started crawling dragging the crutches
I’d only managed five or six yards when I heard voices and saw two pairs of
gated boots come come on me old mate a voice said we’ll give you a lift on
which they lifted me with ease and carried me I don’t know how far I didn’t
even get a glimpse of their faces to say thanks sinking down onto a straw mattress I
just slept and slept for the next two days when I awoke I found that I was in
Stalag x1 B in Saxony along with a large number of other airborne men it was not
long before I contracted more complaints to add to my already sorry condition
lice and bugs were in abundance in my hut the nights were the worst the iron
stove was stoked right up at night and the heat was awful with all the doors
and windows shut tight urine buckets would fill to the brim in no time making
the stench nauseous I went down with dysentery pleurisy and scarlet fever
which together with my amputation meant that I did not feel all that good reg is
hard as nails if I had wanted to die I would have but fortunately that didn’t
enter my head little key note as I read that I thought hmm let’s think about
that if you want to die if you want to give up you that there’s the time but
luckily fortunately for him that thought did not enter his head after a short
time promising news again I’m jumping ahead like this is what we’re talking of
every little thing that he just talked about is a nightmare and he’s got him
all at the same time it’s been a while since we talked about lice on the
podcast yeah we’ve been missing out on that one we think lice is no big deal
because your kid gets it and then you get some special little medicine from
the store and then you put it in their hair or you shave their head and and
either way problem solved mm-hmm these guys are got it and there’s
no way to get rid of it this is by the way while they’ve got
dysentery and clergy and scarlet fever and an amputation however fast forward a
little bit after a short time promising news I was told that I was going to be
repatriated I boarded yet another train no sooner do we set off that there was a
terrific woosh and the train stopped in the middle of nowhere
I could hear the guttural Tang twang of German civilians as they ran hell for
leather on each side of the train to take cover from what must have been our
own aircraft overhead one of the guards just been loosed and left it to us
looking down to the track I saw that it was much too high for me to jump with
only one leg though some of our party of eight jumped and took cover i fouled my
pants and don’t know whether it was fright or the dysentery that was still
with me the planes returned they were – rocket firing RAF typhoons which
specialised in ground attack I recognized the sound as they got nearer
there was another woosh and then another followed by an ear-splitting explosion
the carriage shook so violently that I thought we were going to topple over as
always in such a task it was over in no time with such attacks it was over in no
time and all is suddenly peaceful again so they have to go and repair this train
and then finally we had reached a snug little village called mais burg on the
German side of the border with Belgium and once again we see some nicer
treatment our first job was to be cleaned up and we were taken in pairs
into the shower I was asked to remove all personal items from my pockets and
all clothing was to be cleaned and fumigated don’t worry you’ll get
everything back an English medic told me here put this on it was a sort of cotton
smock which tied in the back was just long enough to cover to the knee first
in came a great big American with the same garb with four arms like tree
branches he lifted me bodily with the ease of Samson himself mind you I was
down from 14 stone to just over 8 since last September and to translate that
into American English he weighed 196 pounds
in September and now he weighs a hundred and twelve on reaching the shower his
maid asked can you stand on one leg bud sure I said Samson had taken his smock
off and proceeded to bathe me while Hercules steadied me I was carried back
to a most luxurious bed with white sheets
God knows where this when they scrounge the sheets but trust the Yanks there
were approximately forty wounded there a mixture of English French an American
with four American and two English orderlies one of the walking wounded
acted as a cook all the others doing menial tasks they did not mind them so
he’s in this pretty car can I even say let’s say let’s just say an improved
situation an improved situation is what is he in that goes on a little bit you
know even he calls it the luxury things began to liven up outside the rumbling
in the distance grew nearer and groups have bedraggled weary looking Germans
plotted through the village the wounded borne by horse and cart field guns were
manhandled the luxury of enemy motorized transport being afforded to senior
officers only who clearly wished to withdraw in his dignified a manner as
possible leaving unter officers to do all the
donkey work along with the shoots n’ and suffer all the humiliation of being seen
by their own countrymen it was a pathetic sight like a cutting from the
first world war film archives as the dawn approached the throb of motorized
transport and tanks was very near so he’s seeing the Germans kind of walking
back he’s seen the officers in the vehicles the German officers in the
vehicles and the German troops walking or being carried if they were wounded
and here’s tank activity right which is kind of an indication when you hear tank
activity but you see people withdrawing with horses and carriages that’s an
indication that perhaps the tanks that we’re hearing are
Friendly’s as dawn approached the throb of motorized transport and the tanks was
very near you could hear the squeak of the tank’s wheels rubbing against the
caterpillar track thirsty for lubrication edging and shunting into
position for the impending advance in the village that noise that a tank makes
in the city is just we knew well who is awesome and and it’s also horrifying
like these guys when they are hearing the German tanks outside when they’re in
that that battle where they’re about to be overrun the horror can’t even imagine
of tanks coming and now the joy which I got to experience some of the joy in
Ramadi of hey the tanks are coming it’s cool or its glorious and God bless the
tankers and here these guys feeling the same way the American orderlies were
jubilant they’re here limey the Yanks are here exploded Hank anyone who get up
walk hop or propel themselves in some way momentarily forgot their wounds and
discomfort they peered through the cracks and the doors through the windows
I could not see anything from my window only the Nazi flag of the local garrison
hanging listless like the enemy itself bill one of the English medics came
dashing in not knowing which way to turn in his excitement there’s hundreds of
them there’s hundreds of tanks out there bloody well hundreds of them Sherman
tanks of General Patton’s armoured division had encircled the village in
the early hours of that morning and were in a very advantageous position as we
were in the valley and they were on the high ground every gun would have its own
selected target with orders to open fire if fired upon thankfully the tanks
played a waiting game with the non-existent enemy because the because
unknown to the Americans the birds had flown an American Scout car ventured
cautiously toward the village unmolested it reached the outskirts scanning the
Brit buildings where white flags were protruding no sign of the enemy still in
view of the tanks on the hill it became bolder and cruised gently into the
village our makeshift hospital with a painted red cross on the
roof must have been in view of the scalp car now all these goings-on were being
shouted by one of the medics in the passageway for the benefit of all those
like me he who could not see for themselves so he’s getting a
play-by-play the Scout car came to a stop it’s occupants clutching their
automatics at the ready they must have spotted someone stepped
carefully into view that person was a medic with a Red Cross armband Hank the
orderly from Ohio he was about a hundred yards from the Scout car and they
stealthily approached each other Hank not wishing to be mistaken for a German
ruse though in the Scout car not wishing to
fall for any trick as they drew closer the realization dawned that they were
brothers a wireless call was immediately sent to the tanks on the skyline and in
minutes the village was alive to their Rumble as they thundered on through
leaving an acrid smell of oil and exhaust fumes I was almost home and you
know I got to that point in the book and I was like well that’s that’s where you
stop and it’s definitely a good place to stop but let’s let’s take that as a stop
that incredible glory of seeing the Americans seeing Patton’s armored
division roll in and knowing that he was almost home but there are some things to
think about and he covers them in the epilogue here
he says the casualties in the Arnhem area alone were 8000 airborne killed
wounded captured or missing including poles plus more than 400 RAF pilots and
crew there were 750 Dutch civilians and
underground fighters killed at least 2,500 Germans and in the following
winter of 1944 to 1945 some 200,000 Dutch died of starvation so it’s so it’s
important to understand that these you know you see you see this through one
man’s eyes but that thousands in fact hundreds of thousands were affected by
this particular battle and again that might be a good place to stop but
there’s another note here he talks about several years later I visited the place
of thinking if you will of that great man and founder of the parachute
regiment Winston Churchill the war rooms situated far below ground at the
Treasury chambers in Westminster the existence of these a warren room warren
of rooms was a well-kept secret during the warriors the tour was fascinating
everything remained exactly as it had been back then I sat in Churchill’s
chair in front of me on the desk printed on a black card printed in black on a
card the words of Queen Victoria in this house we never speak of defeat in this
house we never speak of defeat and he goes on in the toilet there was a red
telephone a direct line to President Roosevelt in Washington in the visiting
ministers room I opened a book entitled world war 2 on the Sicily landings and
saw a training shot of members of my eleventh SAS battalion to the fore in
the line up or Harry bants corporal Hudson Jimmy Metcalfe and myself down here beneath Westminster I’ve
surrounded I am sure by a dedicated team Churchill did his job extremely well I
would like to think that I did my best alongside other leopards lions and
tigers of the first parachute Brigade and again III really didn’t get into the
fact that at some one point their their call signs their code names had been the
leopards lions and tigers that’s what they’re the different battalions were
called it could be a good place to stop I’m gonna go a little bit further this
is actually in the preface of this book and he says when the war ended because
this is but he survived he was home when the war ended I found it a little
difficult initial initially knuckling down to civilian life the letter from
the government saying you are now a civilian seemed so sudden I couldn’t
face the prospect of an office job so I tried manufacturing making handbags
before joining my brother-in-law John in his landscape gardening business and
then Browns branching out on my own in the same line of work having an
artificial leg didn’t help but I didn’t let it hinder me then the limb fitting
Center at Gillingham kindly reinforced my artificial knee for kneeling several
times I got a BSA motorbike and sidecar and had the gears modified to operate by
hand and set a foot I built my own house you do the best you can again I mean hey found it a little rough
but guess what I’m gonna go I’m gonna go to work I’m gonna start a business I’m
gonna build a house I’m gonna drive a motorbike around the country with a
sidecar you do the best you can and I also wanted to say that he wasn’t
alone he obviously needed that sidecar for someone and I’m quite sure that that
was one of the dedications of the book is for Betty Francis reges what’s it
helped me so much and the last thing I’ll say and the last thing I’ll read
from this book I should say is the dedication and he says I dedicate this book to all
my airborne friends who never came back whose actions have made it possible for
me and other airborne friends to enjoy over 70 years of living and that is well
that’s the parts I’m gonna read from this book but um reg Curtis died on
January 29th 2016 94 years old he was the last surviving member of the
original first parachute battalion the last of those initial 500 men that took
that step forward and volunteered for parachute in commando training in 1940
in the book the book which is called the memory indoors the book it’s actually
not available on Amazon it’s not available in book stores I actually got
it I got it from somebody that that sent it to me
and with no inscription in it it says he sent me a note it says dear Jocko keep
up the great work best wishes I believe it says Rick or rich so that’s where I
got the book from luckily it was sent to me I wouldn’t have known about it
otherwise if you want to get this book which you should it’s available from
pilots publishing dot co dot uk’ and there’s also a Facebook page the memory
facebook.com slash the memory indoors and as it says in the book the author’s
royalties in respect of this book will be donated to the parachute
regimen charity and there you go another hero teaching us the sacred lesson that
we must never forget that life as a gift and as reg Curtis tells us what you do
with that is you do the best you can you do the best of that you care and with
that echo echo Charles as I D compress over here a little bit maybe you got
some ideas of how how we can be the best we can yes what do you got for us well I
one of the many things that I took was I don’t know if it was his attitude hmm or
if that’s the culture or both you know could be a bit better then I was the
other guy right who was like could be a bit better do we can do a bit better
yeah so on these terrible conditions right could be a bit better
oh no you’re talking about the guy that says not too bad not too bad so you know
like I said probably probably both right attitude let’s culture the attitude
right when things when you go through adversity you can have that attitude not
too bad not too bad could be good be better
maybe we’re about to get overrun and there’s a strong possibility we’re gonna
get killed all right not too bad not too bad could be better yeah there’s a
little positive thought pattern there yeah it’s kind of like well it’s really
a good news bad news yeah it’s also a realistic view right yeah hey I’m still
walking hey I still got ammunition yeah and by the way it’s not not too bad
means we don’t have to do anything could it be better though yeah maybe
there’s some things we can work on yes yeah well I forget what movie it was
when he’s like I got good news and bad I think I’d have been Tango in cash I
don’t know maybe maybe not but anyway he said I had good news and bad news is
what’s the bad news where I’m almost out of gas and he’s
like well what’s the good news we’re almost out of gas see that’s the
attitude really good man anyway speaking attitudes good and bad what we’re doing
one of the many things is jujitsu okay so that’s a really good news/bad news
scenario as well really what’s the bad news bad news is you’re gonna get choked
from time to time I know this firsthand that’s that’s the bad news but the good
news is you are exposed to an environment that will teach you how to
choke others if the need may arise good yes so good news is you’re getting
choked I’m sorry bad news is you’re getting choked yes the good news is
you’re getting choked which means you’re learning how to defend also choke other
people yes so if we repetitively well that could be good or bad because
whatever so it’s a matter of your attitude mmm really how was your
attitude lately on getting choked a lot of learning you know learning what do
you call it when you relearn something you know lessons less repetitive
repetitive iterative learning sessions hey it’s not an inoculation you know
it’s repetitive well it is it’s both imagine that you get choked one time
you’ll never get choked again no no that’s not the happens at the jujitsu so
we are it sounds like jujitsu even though there’s a negative possible thing
right mm-hmm but it’s not too bad not too bad could be better could be better
if you train it yes start training the more you train the better you get so
there you go anyway while we’re training we’re gonna
need a geek cuz you’re gonna do ghee what do you do not Diggy well I guess
that’s possible but okay how about recommended no no I recommend are you
gonna fight people all the time that are just wearing shorts no no what if you
get in a street fight okay if you get a street fight at the beach maybe what if
you get a street fight at the supermarket
with the jean jacket yes somebody something like this yeah yeah he’s
taking the last you know and and really that’s like that’s a proper you know
like that you gotta fight them for something like this but that’s even just
one of the extra teeny tiny way of looking at it where it’s like okay oh
because the chance of you getting in an actual fight are pretty low
if you okay not to say that you shouldn’t you know I’m not saying that
but they’re pretty low that’s what I’m saying especially if you’re gonna
actively avoid getting into a fight yes if you’re smart you smart yes the
problem is you can’t always avoid no you can maybe a situation and here’s the
deal if you are forced into a situation that where you have to defend yourself
and you don’t know how the result is catastrophic catastrophic we why I have
that catastrophic possibility here’s the deal if that’s the only reason you were
training jiu-jitsu if that was the only reason it would be worth it if that was
the only reason here’s the deal you and that’s not the only reason there’s a
thousand other reasons there’s there’s an infinite more reasons right you’re
gonna get in better conditioning you’re gonna get mental stimulus
you’re gonna meet other human beings you’re gonna develop relationships and
have friends you’re going to think you’re gonna develop discipline in your
life right this is a long list I mean this goes on so even if the only thing
you were gonna get was just you learn how to defend yourself totally worth it
now not only you need to defend yourself you can be able to get these other
collateral bonus things which by the way some people in order to work their
cardiovascular system that are riding a spin bike somewhere someone else in
order to work their flexibility is doing a yoga class someone else in order to
work their strength is lifting some weights which I’m not saying no I’m
saying you don’t do all those things but I’m saying you can get all three of them
like a little a little hitter of all three of them no problem get on the
jujitsu mats yeah gee noogie both of them yes well yes but if you’re if you
doing the only because someone on the street might be wearing certain types of
clothes same exact same exact same exact point I just made yeah if you’re only
you only gonna do ghee because of that it’s worth it but there’s all these
other beneficial things yes and I’ll tell you this right now the really the
number one thing that’ll keep you in jujitsu doing it the number one thing
and it’s maybe even by far for most people is that it’s fun I was gonna say
fun it’s great I hope we’re alive yeah it’s true because look think about it oh
yeah I’m gonna I’m gonna do jujitsu for self-defense
oh yeah that’s when I started G when I started you Jitsu me mm-hmm when I
started I was like I am just gonna get good enough here so I can so I can
handle myself which is like it’s about six month period yeah about six months
you know if you’re an aggressive guy and you you’re a good athlete or strong or
whatever six months you’re pretty good to go right six months of GG is here you
know what’s up mm-hmm it’s been 20 whatever years yeah
yeah exactly right and so oh yeah don’t I mean and if you tap someone out try
the first time the first time you tap someone out then say like oh yeah that’s
it I made that up by the way you’re trying to impinge on my my statement
well you might have made up saying that maybe bringing it to light but the fact
is true oh so you’re saying that I only quoted like like a universal truth yeah
you know self-evident I don’t know man cuz people used to ask how long should I
train for or they know I mean we got the question on the podcast how long should
– I really don’t like it and the answer was at first I will you should try for
six-month all three months whatever no no yeah train until you you tap someone
out I don’t use the term in anger but you tap someone out for real yeah it’s
your training environment yeah and then you’re good yeah you’re right that was
that was the specific answer so yeah that is yours okay okay I just making
sure cuz I’m over here wanting a full credit nonetheless if you’re training it
just for you if you would have said it in not such a such a way like the way
you said it man you thought you you said it as if you just created like II
MC squared over there you’re like you should train until you you were looking
down your nose at me as you said it as if so I had to call you out on that my
little bro yo oh good I was just remembering the other day the Austrian
guy that came came Kurt her young Kurt yes so I asked him was like how long you
been training he said like a month or something it’s like some kind of kind of
new were really new and so I said have you tapped anyone out yet and he said
yes yeah like all this guys in the game I knew already you know so that maybe I
kind of drew from that recent experience too you know to kind of say it but when
the last like was saying if you train only for self-defense only for
self-defense not because it’s fun not because it’s a good workout not because
you got a bunch of new friends not because all this stuff only for
self-defense after a while not even a long while after a short while you can
be like man like I don’t even know I’m doing it like right I’m not even I’m not
using it to defend myself really yeah you know those are kind of rare you know
then you might not do it you know especially not fun so there you go
fun people like there are people who train jujitsu for decades literally
decades that have never got in a fight before never got a street fight you
never got in it like a physical fight it was like yeah are they training for
self-defense yeah sure of course but that’s not why they’re in the game yeah
exactly right so nonetheless when we do it like I said do the ghee that’s gonna
be one of it the other part it’s no game when you do get a key you get a warden
key yeah 100% 100% best keys by far factually now same type of thing if
you’re gonna get an origin key just because you want the best key that’s
good that’s a good that’s a good reason like that’s solid right it’s my reason
if you peel back the layer a little bit and you want to find out what else
you’re gonna get well guess what else you’re gonna get you’re gonna get the
fact that you are literally rebuilding an industry and a community and in an
economy inside of America you know that’s a
little that’s not even a little bonus like there are some people that would
look at that and say I’m gonna buy an orange knee just because of that yeah
and then if I even dude you do to that sort of secondary
I’m saying I could dig it now if you’re feeling it let’s say you’re feeling it
you’re feeling that part mmm you’re feeling like America you’re feeling the
economy you’re feeling the community feeling the industry you’re gonna bring
it back you’re gonna help but you still haven’t gotten over the hump of showing
up at jujitsu school but you still want to support it’s okay it’s we’ll say I
step in the right direction we we have jeans that you can get right you can get
jeans you’re still gonna help those other three I would prefer the first
thing that you get in all seriousness the first thing I would prefer you get
is a key because that tells me you’re gonna go get on the map if you if you
because so many people and you know what everybody well you know what 99% of
people say when they finally start jujitsu I wish I would have started well
you know when I first this bah you know that’s what people say tell you this I’m
meeting people now that are purple belts that start at jujitsu when they started
listening this podcast so we’re about probably three to four years away from
having somebody that started jujitsu listening this podcast will be a black
belt mm-hmm in jujitsu which is a awesome achievement here’s the thing
there’s also people that will say I started listening to podcast and three
years went by before I started you could have been a purple bow don’t wait I’m
telling you right now like I’m telling you right now start you Jitsu yeah
emphatically telling you that and by the way we touched on a little up kind of
combatives hand-to-hand combat in this book all right and there’s a whole line
of a whole thread we can pull on that and we will at some point the the the
British combatives program World War two very cool
I’ll I’ve done I’ve read a bunch about it and we’ll we’ll dig into it here
because it’s pretty awesome well the way they were doing things
their concepts etc but if they were alive today they’d be learning the
jujitsu you do all day yeah yeah and they’d be getting American geese even
from England they’d be like you know what those those Yanks did
yeah get yourself a Yankee right because again really the primary reason is
because it’s actually the best one yeah I’m saying yep same thing for jeans
where I would say since I got my pair of origin jeans which is like while ago
when you think about it when they came out so while ago I have not worn any
other jeans ever no yeah why would you why would you do that no
there’s not even a reason to do that reason I don’t have one pair to first
and though I don’t have three but nonetheless that’s the only ones I wear
also are there we have other stuff here that origin we do so yeah joggers you
know more athletic wear all kinds of good stuff you go to origin main dot-com
mean like the state also supplements keep yourself in the game yep
propel yourself further down the path yeah other word yep get yourself joint
warfare and krill oil just out of the gate once again and I feel bad cuz I did
this on social media where the guy was like hey what can I do to help me I was
I I didn’t want to be that guy that was like well you know here try my
supplement line you know I just don’t I just don’t want to be that guy and then
later I felt bad I was like I should have just been straight up and said hey
listen man do whatever you want to do get yourself some krill oil and join
warfare immediately order that oh what you’re 36 years old and you feeling sore
and your joints and your act I think I was literally asking me how my choice
knows I didn’t say it because I don’t to be that guy yeah right now I’m being
that guy you know what guy I’m being the guy that’s actually trying to help
people cuz I didn’t help that guy as much as I could have I should have said
listen do what I’d you know be consistent don’t take big chunks of time
off order krill oil and oil joint warfare right now yeah that’s what you
have to do that’s my recommendation I feel bad for not doing that I will try
not to make that mistake again no I had the same experience I went on
with Pete and Brian mmm hens in daylight okay and an episode with him recently
and he was the and Pete was saying oh yeah you’re like durable because I don’t
have like ailments you know Pete’s jammed up his back this is like you know
world I’m older than him actually and he’s like oh yeah you’re durable
you know and I was like yeah I mean because I never thought I was durable at
all like that I was pretty fragile to be honest but you guys might cuz you know
what Pete said to me like when he was just out here
he was like you told me I was durable well he’s a Lardner I figured that you
guys had that conversation cuz I said that’s what echo told me one time and
you told me when you told me that it had been like it when you told it to me it
had been like you had been contemplating it for quite some time you were like you
know what I figured out about you and I was like what and you said you’re dirt
yeah like a tank I was like that’s interesting
and I had to kind of agree with it yes and so he said that I was durable and I
was like well and we even said no jock was durable I don’t and them but then I
guess on in a way yeah yeah you are you bounce back from some pretty significant
you know any well how many surgeries you I had one knee surgery but a few knee
injuries plus my loose knees I know I know I know
I don’t lose anyway for real anyway so they pop out all the time so I’m saying
that you know and they’ll get squats how’s this I do do squats and actually
now I go deep like all the way down like you yeah oh yeah that’s the feeling
tighter no no great I mean same know they still pop out in jujitsu like when
I do butterfly cut anyway so long so it doesn’t matter they’re loose clinically
the doctor orthopedic surgeon told me that anyway what’s right papa so anyway
I don’t feel like anyway given the circumcised I’m pretty durable but
anyway the point is we’re talking about this stuff and then like I’m like saying
like oh yeah plus I don’t think time on it and then I’m naturally going into
plastic during warfare krill oil everything like religiously you know so
it’s basically the point was to to just say you gotta like actively be durable
you know kind of thing but say I liked purely genetic apparently right increase
your durability also we got other stuff we got discipline go in a can which is
just awesome it’s awesome no sugar it tastes
delicious it has some caffeine in it it has to let me
just it’s got some other things in there but it’s got a little kick that goes
with it same with the discipline powder which is
what I drink pretty much all the time it’s almost it doesn’t have too much
caffeine in the in the discipline powder it’s got like 15 milligrams a scoop
which is not crazy at all it’s a micro dose even if you have two scoops what’s
that 30 mil you know 45 milligrams for three scoops it’s not that big of a deal
but tastes delicious has some other ingredients that give you a little you
give a little kick and then of course Mulk
yes protein in the form of the these dirt mm-hmm for adults and kids even
though it’s like sure the kids are gonna drink the regular milk and let’s face it
the adults gonna drink the word kid mom drink so much warrior kid mocha I’m
surprised I haven’t turned to gone down in age yeah unless those are there too
so and they taste insane that’s the thing
yeah so that’s that also jockle whitey and by the way right now this all this
all these supplements that you might want to try are available at the Vitamin
Shoppe nationwide and everyone that’s been going out and buying stuff there
it’s pretty cool appreciate it they’re like hey everything selling out and
we’re like yeah get more people in the people are in the
game across the board orange in mein kampf get so thank you
also again reminder if you’re gonna get this book you can’t get this book on
can’t get it on Amazon you have to go to pilots publishing co dot uk’ go to the
facebook.com slash the memory indoors also chocolates the store it’s called
Yakko store and this is where you can get the gear I really use the word gear
that much but music keep the gear t-shirts rash guards hoodies hat second
stuff to represent the path gear discipline equals freedom good take the
high ground or the high ground we’ll take you
that’s that job unless we want to represent while you’re on the path
that’s what do it chuckles door calm also subscribe
to this podcast if you haven’t yet is if there’s a possibility that you’ve
listened to 500 hours and you’ve been like well I’m not quite sure yet I’m I’m
asking that you just you know go for it just just get crazy and and subscribe I
don’t even know why someone would not subscribe you know just trying it out
yes if you also want to relieve a review some people leave really good reviews
and buy good reviews I don’t mean hey it’s a great podcast I really like the
insight that no I mean I mean reviews that are let’s just say there’s they’ve
got layers layers fun colorful color later they make me laugh they make me
chuckle yes sir don’t forget about the ground Sun yes so shines a good deed in
a weary world no no no you haven’t seen Willie walk in the Chocolate Factory
lately no I – I don’t think I’ve seen on any other oh I saw part of the Johnny
Depp one no as part of it foul well no wrong you got to watch the original one
it’s an awesome it’s a great movie well interesting that’s interesting
jock you heard it Jocko watch that bed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is
an awesome yes it is an awesome movie okay Oh amen maybe I’ll look into it
maybe I’ll report back the less grounded podcasts I’ve got over here thrown out
quotes from the movie right we’re doing Shakespeare we’re doing we’re doing the
memory indoors but we’re also throwing out some Willy Wonka Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory sure well there you go that will make
sense anyway like oh saying of grandeur podcast ass podcast about life
jiu-jitsu life life jiu-jitsu juices is infused into life or his life infused
into gee it’s both well more important I think life is
reflective of jujitsu and jujitsu is reflective of life so if you can learn
from one that you will learn both which is important it’s true now
quite as often as jockle podcast but it’s out there so which is weird because
it’s like really hard to make this podcast and it’s really easy to make a
grounded one but you know we do we do the hard things yes that’s what we focus
on probably turn it prioritize and what is the second part just got a knife in
this warrior kid podcast which is a good one for the young trooper warrior kids
and don’t be shy if you’re a parent to listen because you’re gonna learn I wish
I would’ve had that podcast as a parent when my kids were young actually in a
way it’s a parent pod it is it is yes it is yeah cuz you know like you know like
when you when you hear of like certain people’s childhoods or whatever like
certain like people who are like successful in X Y Z you wouldn’t be
athletes whatever right and you learn about their childhood you probably he
could probably learn some solid stuff like oh I just just that one little dude
I mean let me try to you know start incorporating just yeah the word keep I
guess it’s all in there yeah speaking of warrior kids don’t forget about the
warrior kid soap at I rejoice wrench calm and actually right now live live is
a new mmm what’s it bobble what’s it called a Hoosier model it’s not flavor
because you don’t know come on I’m thinking of regular soap so you know
like I don’t know what do they say it it’s a new version we have a new model a
new version of soap you you actually have to check it out because it’s so
legit it’s called well what it does let me unless what it does is it’s got
some anti microbial Rubio anti microbial I think I do it it’s got some anti
fungal natural elements to it one of those elements is like it’s got like tea
tree it’s got activated charcoal and what’s cool so this is what’s cool so
first of all the soap is called killer soap
that’s the name of the so but what but what it’s it couldn’t be any more
perfect because it is because of the charcoal it’s black yeah so it’s black
and it’s awesome yeah so get yourself some killer soap from Irish Oaks ranch
company by the way this is a kid that’s making it a kid that started a company
and pitched me you know much stuff I get pitched I get pitched up
five times a day I get pitched something this that and the other this kid pitched
me but you know he pitched me he’s like hey I’m already rolling yeah you know
I’m already rolling I’m already making so by the way I’m 10 and I’ve got a soap
production line for and I’ve got vertical integration I mean he was
getting after it yeah so Jaden pitched me pitched me and of course he didn’t
even pitch me by can you know he was like I want you to know what I’m doing
hmm there are openings if you would like to get a piece yeah and you invest in
the people right yeah I’m looking at a kid that’s 10 years old that’s sending a
business plan that’s sending samples what do you like so anyways we went deep
to cover the grappling and just the look there’s nasty things in the world mm-hm
and if you want to you can get some killer soap and that will help you as a
person inside and out to stay clean yeah good logo to copy just making everyone
suffer through our own little inside jokes the good Lord it’s true so yes
Irish Oaks ranch calm that’s where you get it
and as jock who said you know hey stay clean man right anyway YouTube channel
as well jock podcast does have a YouTube channel so you can get the video version
and also excerpts and stuff like that some enhanced videos varying levels of
acceptance and variables of it has life from people yeah so anyway yeah so
YouTube channel subscribe to that if you want and smashed
I said it I said it I said it you can times is that funny I don’t know but it
wasn’t more than 29 it’s only funny when you say it because it’s so I don’t I
can’t even get it anymore yeah cuz it’s it’s worn out bro okay so
just no no more no stop also don’t forget about psychological
warfare little psychological hater and I actually had the person point out to me
hey that was me now so that’s one I also had the person point out to me that
there’s a name for the type of shooting that we talked about which is where
you’re shooting at where things are supposed you think things might be it’s
called Drake shooting and the dude is that like a he’s a guy that’s on Twitter
who always brings up good points he does his own personal research on stuff but
he’s got a weird like handle hmm then I can’t remember what it is ever I mean I
recognized in a heartbeat I know I can tell you all the kind of things so
anyways I apologize for not telling you that Drake shooting appreciate the info
he’s always got a good info but with a psychological hitter with someone that’s
realized that that’s what psychological warfare is it’s not some broad course on
how to have more discipline in your life it’s just a little bit of a encase you
know psychological warfare and if you need a visual hitter you can go to
flipside canvas comm Dakota Meyer making a bunch of really cool bunch of really
cool graphic images that you can hang up on your wall so you stay on the path no
matter what books Hey look for this book right here the memory indoors awesome
book an honor to be able to read it thank you to Rick or rich who sent it to
me and yes we will keep up the work that we’re doing here if you want to get this
book go to pilots publishing dot co dot uk’ or go to facebook.com the memory
indoors and if you’ll also be helping out the regiment the parachute regiment
charity on top of that leadership strategy and tactics everyone that’s got
it thank you you’re probably going to get copies of
those for the people that you know recommended let’s
get your team on board appreciate it warrior kid one two and three probably
the best kids books that you can get right now in my opinion I’m biased but
I’m gonna be biased because I read them and I think man the lessons in these
books I wish I knew him yeah I wish I knew him
so warrior kid books one two and three way the warrior kid marks mission and
where there’s a will Mike in the dragons if you’ve got a littler kid that wants
to learn the one of the most important things that you can learn as a kid is
how to overcome fear that book shows you how to overcome fear just when it was
freedom Field Manual get it so that you can read two pages read two pages okay
you know let’s say we made up a a pill that you could take this pill and you
would get a mind shift in a positive way like you would you if you took this pill
you would increase your discipline factually okay would that pill pill sell
well would people want it yes okay read two pages this book your discipline
will increase sixteen to eighteen percent by the way yeah the increase in
discipline well read two pages well in the defense of the pill people mm-hmm
pill advocates the whole purpose of a pill is so you don’t have to do any kind
of work read or do all this stuff assume scene okay so okay two pages of
this book is not an extended period time you’re finishing this in less than four
minutes also right so this this book essentially is the pill of books so you
know instead of like the encyclopedia dad Oh books same thing we’ll take it
it’s a rough loose analogy not sure not hundred percent I don’t think they think
through that one and then of course we got extreme ownership of the dichotomy
in leadership these are the foundational books about leadership that I wrote with
my brother Leif babban we got national on front which is a
leadership consultancy look if you have a business if you have a team if you
have a company and you have problems every single problem that you have is a
leadership problem I guarantee that every single problem that you have is a
leadership problem and what we do at echelon front is we solve problems
through leadership so go to echelon front comm for details
we got EF online which is leadership interactive leadership training online
it’s EF online comm you can get the information you can get the repetitions
you can get put you can get put in scenarios that will help you think
through problems at EF online we also do little live webinars where we answer
questions EF online comm we got the muster coming
up in Dallas Texas Orlando Florida and Phoenix Arizona every event that we’ve
done has sold out if you want to come go to extreme ownership calm right now and
register leadership seminar that’s what we do there and of course we’ve got EF
overwatch and EF legion placement for military people that understand extreme
ownership that understand the dichotomy of leadership EF overwatch is for
executive leadership inside companies EF legion frontline troops and frontline
leaders go to EF overwatch comm or EF Legion to get involved in that from
either side whether you’re a vet that wants to get into a civilian job or
their civilian company that needs veterans to help you lead and win go to
those websites and get that figured out and if you have not heard enough of my
overly dramatic speech patterns and excessively long pauses and you haven’t
heard enough of echos ridiculous commentary about the heroic life of
being a bouncer then we are available on the interwebs on Twitter on Instagram
and on e old Fife HECO is that echo Charles and I am out
chocolate will again thank you all for listening to the podcast and for giving
this podcast your support thanks for spreading the word
thanks for telling your friends thanks for getting some deaf court gear or some
origin gear all of which allows us to do this podcast and of course thanks to reg
Curtis for your service and sacrifice to keep us free and all the military
members out there in uniform right now doing the same thing keeping the enemy
at bay and also to our police and law enforcement and firefighters and
paramedics and EMTs and dispatchers and correctional officers and Border Patrol
and Secret Service and all first responders thank you for keeping us safe
every single day here at home and everyone else out there
remember what reg Curtis taught us to never give up even against overwhelming
odds to never accept defeat to persevere and endure until the end and then when
you get tripped up or you get knocked down even then what you do is you do the
best you can lesson learned Thank You reg Curtis and we will be out
there in your honor and getting after it then until next time
Zek oh and Jocko out

78 thoughts on “Jocko Podcast 216 w/ Echo Charles: Why You Should Never Give Up. The Memory Endures, by Reg Curtis

  1. Update Jocko: A Billionaire bought and pushed out my Brother…a company he Founded…my Father Invested 250k…25 years…He has to start all over 53 years old..2 kids…Yes I'm bitter Gia 🇺🇸 10 Million Dollar Company built from scratch…him!

  2. He said…maybe in relief … I'm no longer responsible for 40 Families ✝️…. Heartbroken BTW in SF LA
    * I begged him in 2014 to sell to Kendall Jackson ..I had a dream my grandfather came to me…said..3 times Get Them Out…he meant CA

  3. This was a badass episode. I still want that officer found and his ass beat who threw Petie (I think that was the dog's name I listened the other day on Google podcast) off the boat! Fuck that asshole.

  4. PirBright is a dodgy UK Company – 🤔😵😵😵😵😵😵😵 Diseases NWO Let's add dodgy Oxitec UK Co GM Mosquitoes bought into heavily by Bill Gates 🤔😵

  5. That mindset of 'no factor' was super novel at first but has really helped with brushing past problems that used to hold me up. Appreciate the podcast Jocko.

  6. Podcast number 216 is a true lesson learned about never give up nor give in to all enemies and adversity stay on the warpath

  7. 5 mins in an already a 🔥podcast thx guys just got your book leadership strategies jocko cant wait to read it through and get some valuable knowledge

  8. I am a senior in Highschool. I'm tall, athletically above average, have unshakable confidence and am talented in everything I do (I have aced the highest classes available to me in math, english, art, science and even drama) I rarely study for tests and rely heavily on natural talent and almost always get away with it. I have nothing to prove. No one doubts me.

    I'm afraid of nothing, and have nothing to prove, I have the privilege of a very supportive family. I feel I have never been truly challenged. Because of these things, motivation comes hard for me.

    My question: What can I draw motivation from if not from fear or doubt? Why should I become great at something or put in the work when I can just coast along and still do better than most people?

  9. Go listen to Eddie Gallagher’s podcast episode on Mike Drop. It’s awesome. Did one on Cleared Hot recently too. Hopefully one day he can make it on Jockos. I’d love to hear Jockos take on how badly the command mismanaged that entire situation. Such a black eye for the community.

  10. This book is absolutely insane. The dude cheated death like 500 times and by the end it just stopped bothering him. Incredible.

  11. Speaking of Up Hill 5 miles both ways, before we were married I had got my ex wife pregnant and we were hurting financially so when my car broke down, to get to my job at the foundry had to bike to work 54 miles round trip, Then swing a sledgehammer for 12 hours. As a new dad I loved it because it was time alone Additionally I always find it enjoyable to learn how far I can go.

  12. That didn't seem like 3hr 50 min. The absolute stud warrior that Jocko mentions occasionally applies to Reg Curtis and the 1st para battalion. Amazing people!

  13. There is no single gene for training, but there are sets of genes that make people quite a bit more likely to spend time on certain activities.

  14. As a 19 year old dude, I'm glad I live in an age where I have direct access to hear and consume the content of Jocko Willink, Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, Gary Vee, Grant Cardone, Jim Rohn, Tom Bilyeu, Patrick Bet-David, and other great content creators — feels great. Thanks, Jocko and YouTube!

  15. in a Prophetic Dream it came to me that in honor of Jocko the USMC will name its new amphibious tank the Jocko. It will be a hundred and twenty tons of Abrams and armoured personnel carrier combined

  16. "The easy path always leads downhill." I get a free t-shirt for designing your new one! Graphic would be a hill with a path splitting in two with one leading down to a graveyard And the other up over the hill.

  17. Jocko, flak comes from AAA or anti aircraft artillery. Essentially it is an artillery bombardment of the sky. Not much different than a soldier receiving artillery or mortar fire. In essence World War II bomber crews went over-the-top into artillery fire just like World War 1 infantry soldiers. Is it any wonder that they needed to recover at flak houses? I've heard of all the podcast and I don't recall you making that connection.

  18. I want to take the Krill oil and Joint Warefare, but I can't because it's not Kosher. Does anyone know a good alternative?

  19. That opening of the book reminds me of my Grandpa. He was doing hard labour, and had to travel to the workplace with his bicycle, everyday about 15 miles each way. No matter the weather. Men really were made out of sterner stuff back in the day it seems.

  20. Good episode, have you guys ever thought of getting into mad Mike hoare's books about the Congo? Seems like it would be in Jocko's wheel house

  21. This man is requires listening during family dinner time, and early morning get ready routine times… My 9 and 5 year old daughters can recite many of his sound bites by virtue of having heard some so many times. His thoughts, attitude and approach to life are what every individual, family member and dedicated member of society should strive to embody… In the absolute most hetero way I know possible, this man, Jock, is my hero…

  22. Would love to hear a conversation between jocko and Dan Carlin. Both have an enthusiasm and knowledge of armies from history.

  23. As a girl I played with my brothers plastic green soldiers and briefly considered joining but my father heavily discouraged me and I caved. I greatly admire and support warriors including military and law enforcement. Watching American society these days where there are so many who don't support warriors (especially police and ICE) I have wonder lately – do I support men of the warrior class because I was conditioned having a father who was a WWII vet? Or is there a warrior class by genetics and being a daughter of that genetics causes me to support it. And why do some people not support the people protecting them? I guess I'll never know the answer! Keep up the great podcasts Jocko! (and Echo)

  24. 終審法院判決結果處分 。勒令提出叛軍領袖代表作品以及全部參與者都會有被捕獲准依照軍法法務就地正法審判懲治處理。資金的理賠償還貸款額度依照法務保護最高的審判決議通過換算償還釐清案情處理。終結此案不得再度審查後糾葛的失職問題處理

  25. In the late 1970s my brother and I used our BB Guns against each other. Making sure we didn’t shoot in the face! We never did but enough pain and bruises on legs and body to show how we were obsessed with Play War. For me I joined the army in 1989, and in 1991 I was deployed to Iraq and to patrol with section moves, live ammunition, claymores, radio checks and artillery support I found a measure of my childhood fantasy come alive in Iraq. Still at the end of the tour it was no longer child friendly and my learning experience from Iraq 1991 put rest to childhood fantasyland. RIP Sgt. Eddie Grant.

  26. Thank you for an enlightening and heart felt written experience. These were great men and warriors who lived invisible and brilliantly as regular men. We cannot know these men because most are dead and their history is a powerful and visceral lesson that we as living ancestors of brave, valuable and stoic men who fought, killed and survived the history in which they lived through. We need warriors to tell their stories, give us the insight to how they stood firm and made their way through a history that we cannot know. The value of their outlook I think lives in some but it seems that society is turning its back to the power of the unseen and unknown individual. This man was and is a fine example of the past slowly disintegrating by the softness and bubble of history’s winners.

  27. This video was in my recommended videos, right above a video titled “when to give up strategically” . I’m confused.

  28. In the British military “the be put on Charge” is a specific form of commanders discipline for minor offences or Non-Judicial-Punishment

  29. Love this episode and how Jocko has such a quick and insightful grasp of the situations at play as he can relate to them. Also a very strong cultural grasp of the particular British character. Keep it up!

  30. Flak is a generic term for anti aircraft artillery. It was borrowed from the German military acronym FlaK, short for Flugabwehrkanone which means “anti-aircraft cannon.” Flak jackets are so named because they were initially developed to protect RAF aircrew in WWII from fragmentation from such artillery.

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