Military Service – Incident 2

Following on from Incident 1 : A few months later we were on patrol in a notoriously bad area and during the day we had made our way from village to village keeping a wary eye out as we progressed. Late afternoon we rested at a buildings complex. The complex had been damaged and was mostly in ruins but with low walls etc it was the perfect spot to defend and we took up the positions allocated by our NCO. It was here we had our evening meal. However we did not settle for the night and just as the light was fading we crept out into the bush making our way to an inconspicuous position in the crest of a hill, some half a mile away. It was here in the long grass that we bedded down. As the evening progressed I was awakened by the barking of dogs on the village line where we had been earlier in the day. However it was not unusual for the locals to be social in some way. It wasn’t a problem – we were safe!

Some hours later however I was woken with quite a start! There were bullets from a number of automatic weapons flying over our heads at a distance of about 10 feet. The sound is akin to a sharp clap with your hands but is very quick and much sharper. The sound has been most aptly described as a snap! We dare not sit up. NCO urgently advises to stay down and more importantly, not to fire back. Felt like an eternity , but it didn’t last long and all went quiet. We settled down again and went back to sleep albeit with a little trepidation. Afterwards we realised that because we had not been found where we were last seen, it was a random act of frustration and provocation. The perpetrators, large in number to be so brazen, will never know how close they came to causing death in trying to guess where we were! Thank you Lord! The tense atmosphere was relieved the next morning when a good laugh was raised when it became apparent that one lad slept through the entire incident! There were only 6 of us in that patrol.

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