The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry
6 October 1959 - 10 July 1968
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Early Morning Call - Here's Johnny!
The G10 store in Osnubruck comprised of two stores, one for every day use for issuing rifles and bits.
The other part was a store room which was stocked for extra supplies in the event of an Eastern block country attack, which had to have a person sleeping there for security. It was a very secure area with bars on the windows and extra strengthened door.
In the early hours there was a knock on the window of the store where I slept.
Anyway the knock on the window was Fred Weston who ran the store for supplying bits for the married quarters such as beds, rugs, chairs and the like.
He was asking if I had a spare bayonet, I thought this is a funny request at this time of morning. Anyway, after unlocking the secure store room, there outside with Fred Weston was Johnny Welsh (a regular who liked to stay in the guard room with the CO's blessing) who was looking a bit worse for wear after a late evening with George at the Dodesheide Pub.
In Dodesheide their was and still might be an AKC Cinema (Army Kinema Corporation) which the local army units (16/5 th Lancers and R.E.M.E.) provided a fire picket on a monthly rota, which meant wearing uniform and Bayonet.
So on that night it was John's duty for cinema picket which meant staying until the final screening and lock up of the cinema.
On the way back to camp he got diverted to the pub, after swift half or two he left the pub and on making his way back to camp through a country lane leading to the camp. John decided as only John would know took a dislike to some cows in a field, and made the decision to throw his bayonet at the cows, then went to retrieve it with no luck.
Afterwards he had second thoughts, what would the farmer think if there was a bayonet sticking in one of his prized cows? And how could he explain about his missing bayonet to the company store in the morning?
So seeing it was John (as the saying goes its better to have him pissing out of your tent rather than pissing in it) after a quick search I managed to find a spare bayonet and everything was smoothed over. After which I went back to bed and continued waiting for the Russians to attack.
The sting in the tail is I meet John at a Taunton reunion last year some 44 years later, I spoke to Fred Weston and mentioned the bayonet story, and to my surprise and delight Johnny Welsh was also there in person, we spoke about the bayonet incident and everything above was recalled with great relish.
A short story by Dave Pruett.