Monday, October 24, 2011
Dank and Damp- Re-written by Roiserer
The man had a slight trace of a limp as he walked across the concrete towards the door of the munitions section. He passed by the sandbags, saluted the guard and went inside.
The private at the desk looked up and smiled, then stood up and gave the visitor a smart salute.
"Great to have you back Sargent Major, sir"
" Good to be back Kelsey.," he said, returning the salute. "Get me the figures on the 3.7 ammo, will you? "
"I see you’re getting right back into it Sargent. We all thought you’d want to take it easy until you worked your way back. What's so important about the 3.7 anyway?"
The Sargent Major gave him a look. "I’m fine, Kelsey. I’ve had plenty of time off in the hospital and plenty more time getting used to this new foot of mine. Now be a good lad and get the inventory will you. Those shells are the only ones we have with the VT fuse"
The private dug out some papers from a filing cabinet behind him, and then opened a folder.
"Oh I see. I heard those shells were like magic. All I can say is I’m not getting into any football matches with you and your wooden foot - I bet you can really belt that ball now. I suppose your running speed is not too great but then again no one will want to get in your way either. With that thing you’d end up breaking someone’s leg if you missed the ball and hit'em in the shin. My mother always says that when God closed one door he opened up another. Why I bet that…"
"Kelsey be quiet will you lad? I’m trying to work here," sighed the visitor as he looked down the list…"What’s this?! What happened to all the 3.7 VT fuse ammunition? It doesn’t show up on the inventory sheets."
"Oh most of those were packed up shortly after VE Day and sent off to Devon to be near the live fire sites. Not much need for Archie munitions being spread all over the countryside anymore. It’s not like the Huns had any planes left. Somebody probably thought they needed to be nearer the training grounds. I think most of it went to Okehampton."
"Seems like a strange place to store shells that are sensitive to being damp. I suppose someone must know what they’re doing. Anyway it’s above my station to question the higher ups. Well it’s time to get them out of there and back into the hands of the ack ack gunners. Old Ivan is going to be paying us a visit it seems, and we’re going to need all those magic shells spread around again. Curious … didn’t they have instructions that they were to be keep dry and under no circumstances were they allowed to get damp?"
"Now that you mention it Sargent Major, I do remember something like that. I’m sure they kept them high and dry in Okehampton…hang on, that’s in Dartmoor isn’t it? Rains all the time there. Seems a bit of a stupid place to store ammunition that is sensitive to getting damp. Well as you say I’m sure they know what they are doing. From what they tell me those shells are amazing at knocking down planes. It would be an act of treason to allow them to be damaged if you ask me."
"No one asked you Kelsey," replied the Sargent Major, "Now let’s get going on the paper work. Ivan is going to attack soon: I can feel it."
"But the paper said that the deadline was the 15th of October... "
"I don’t trust that Stalin…never did. Short’uns are always trouble. They said that about Napoleon. My Colonel used to say, ‘Never trust a small man, brain’s too near their arse’. "
Kelsey’s face fell. "That’s not fair Sargent Major. Not all of us pint sized are trouble"
"That’s true Kelsey. For a shorthouse you’re a bloody good bloke."
"Thank you Sargent Major…I think."
The visitor left the private a little nonplussed as he left.