Tales From the Tiger


I had just arrived at Ton Son Nhut from my R&R (Rest and Recreation) and was told there were no flights to Nui Dat till that afternoon so I wandered over to the Yank OR (Other Ranks') Boozer and settled in. That afternoon I found where the Caribou was leaving from and as I approached the aircraft there were two officers waiting to board. One I recognised as my platoon commander, Lt Ian Hosie, and the other officer was a captain (I think it was Captain Bill Titley, 2IC of C Company). Mr. Hosie spotted me and tried to wave me away but I saluted him and slurred 'Good afternoon Sir', the captain asked Mr. Hosie did he know the soldier but he shook his head and denied he ever saw me before. Dunno why, I had on Pollyanna trousers, a Yank khaki shirt with two stripes on the sleeves, admittedly the stripes were upside down, and no slouch hat. It must have been because I was staggering under the weight of my echelon bag that Mr. Hosie ignored me.

I sat on the aircraft next to a warrant officer and a reinforcement, and the three of us yarned during the flight. The WO introduced himself as Ray Simpson* and was a great bloke, he laughed when I pointed out my platoon commander, still ignoring me and I told him I would most probably spend the night in the cells. I didn't know at the time who Ray Simpson was, but I was bloody glad to have met the man. (many years later, in the peace time army I had the misfortune to work with another recipient but that bloke wouldn't talk to me because I was a lowly Sergeant).

At the Dat everyone was picked up in vehicles except me but the captain must have taken pity because he ordered me into his Landrover. There was dead silence 'till we pulled up at Charlie Company lines then Mr. Hosie ordered me to get into my tent and stay there. I heard the bastards laughing as they drove off so I went into my tent and stayed there.

Mr. Hosie was always looking after me when we were in camp but I reckon he had a mean streak in him. Like the time we came back from Vung Tau after R&C (Rest and Convalescence) and the trucks pulled up in Charlie Company lines, I reckon I was pushed, the diggers reckoned I fell, but whatever, I managed to get my webbing tangled up on those hooks on the side of the bloody trucks and hung there upside down. As I hung there I distinctly heard Mr. Hosie ordering the drivers to take off. The drivers had a conference around me and came to a decision; it was against Task Force Standing Orders to drive around with an unlawful attachment to their vehicle—meaning me. They untangled me just as the boozer opened.

* Warrant Officer Class II Ray Simpson, VC)


© Jack Bradd
C Company 2nd tour

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