Robin Horsfall presents the fourth in a short series of humorous soldier’s memories.
In 1975 the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was approximately fifty percent Scottish - Jok was one of those fifty percent. Short, fierce and extremely proud he would fight anyone for any reason. When he was in a violent mood he was best left alone but in contrast he had a dry and wicked sense of humour.
It was October and the battalion was dug in on Salisbury Plain. The trenches that we had created in the red soil gradually filled with water and mud. Wet men shivered and swore as nightfall came and hid them from the world. The sides of our trenches collapsed and we were forced to rebuild them or risk punishment for leaving our watery holes to sit on the ground alongside. There was little point in making such improvements as it would only be a matter of hours before the company moved and a new position would have to be dug again.
As the night passed our position became quiet - the only sound was the intermittent hiss of the radio. Occasionally a radio check would be called in by the Company Commander - Sunray Charley.
Jok was our platoon signaller and he was huddled beneath a plastic poncho at the bottom his trench with an ear phone over one ear.
A voice message came in
‘Hello Charlie one this is Sunray Charley, radio check over.’
Jok took his frozen hands from between his legs and pressed the radio switch.
The reply came back,
‘Prat’ he said to himself - referring indirectly to Sunray .
An hour passed and we all tried to sleep as the rain poured though the gaps in our clothing and soaked us to the skin then Jok pressed the radio switch and said for all to hear.
‘I’m f***ing pissed off’.
There was a long hiss of static and then a reply.
‘Hello unknown call sign this is Sunray Charley– send call sign over’ asking him to identify himself.
There was a short pause before Jok replied
‘I’m not that f***ing pissed off.’