Originally posted by Simon Bolivar View Post
Part 12: When I disobey a direct order!<o></o>
We received some wounded Bootnecks in one morning, which had all been injured in the same incident. They had been put down on one side of a hill & told there were no friendlies in the area, they were ordered to shoot first & ask questions later. The weather was bad & as they got themselves sorted out & a brew on, one of them was sent to the ridge to check out what was going on, on the other side.
The lookout spotted a group on the other side huddled around a small fire, having a brew, a prime target. The rest of the team were soon up on the ridge & firing down on the enemy. The enemy were caught unawares, not having had posted their own lookout but soon started returning fire & few moments later the ridge began to be hit by mortars that he enemy had requested by radio. The Booties called up for their own back up & that?s when the mistake was realised, some senior officer had screwed up & put these two teams out together. The next call was for a chopper to medivac the wounded; a blizzard blew up & the chopper nearly crashed, as it was it landed on of the injured Para?s legs. If his legs weren?t injured before they certainly were then. We received the Para?s the next day, in a rare diplomatic move they were put them other end of the ward. It was neither the Booties nor the Para?s fault but it didn?t help intra-regimental relations, which were always frosty at best.

We received over 60 casualties today. Everyone was so busy they sent me to help in Triage. This was the area below the Ramp from the Heli-deck. The Bandies brought them down on their stretchers, they would be assessed by the admitting Medical Officer & the Bandies would be told which ward to take them too.

When I arrived there were a couple of aircrew having their injuries assessed. Due to the bitter cold, they had been transported in their sleeping bags. I unzipped the pilot & found he had lost his leg (good tip read the Casevac form first & avoid such surprises), the remains were covered with a single large field dressing & the inside of his sleeping bag was a bloody mess. He was pretty much bombed out on Morphine; he would have been topped up for the journey. I managed to remove his Chairman Mao suit (green padded suit, top & bottoms worn over normal field uniform to keep of the cold, very efficient), took off his cream kid leather gloves. We didn?t have much time to talk, the area was backing up but I put all this kit in a black plastic bin bag. The Medical services officer (a commissioned medic not a doctor) told me to ditch this kit as it was contaminated with blood, ?what throw it all away?? ?Yes, just ditch it Dove.? Now I know the losses of equipment & uniform we had during this conflict was in the millions & these items were a petty part of that but I hate wasting anything that can be saved & it seemed me that all they needed was cleaning & they?d be perfect for winter pike fishing. So I ?ditched? the said items under my bunk, having put the bin liner in another bin liner so it didn?t stink my cabin out!

Once back in good ol? Blighty, I took this bag unopened, to the launderette near my parent?s home. I looked the nice lady in the eye & said, I wonder if you could possibly clean this kit that I brought back from the Falklands, it?s a sleeping bag ect, I am afraid it?s contaminated with dried blood & will be rather smelly.? I never said I had been the one to bleed into it but she just smiled & said she?d do the best she could. I still have this kit & it gets an outing or two every winter; I have even used the suit to smoke cigars in, on dry cold days. Whilst others were bringing back legal & not so legal military hardware as souvenirs, I was more than happy with these items & at least there was a few bob of the tax payer?s money that didn?t get wasted.
I don?t know what happened to the pilot; as the RN has never had a Douglas Bader, I assume he would have eventually been invalided out & received compensation from the Falklands fund.

One night one of the P&O deck crew cracked up. He was one of those taken up from the Merchant pool, not a regular member & probably hadn?t worked for some time. As with many he had a drink problem, we knew this because anyone drinking more than Matelots or Booties, definitely had a drink problem (of course civies would have said the same about us). Some of these guys were on a bottle of scotch a day, with a few beers thrown in to make it through to the next tot. Due to slightly more pressing priorities, we didn?t receive enough (any?) spirits after sailing from Ascension so there was rationing for the first time in the P&O crew bar. This nearly caused a mutiny as it was their right to drink themselves to oblivion. We were on two tinnies of CSB (Courage Special Beer) a day, when that ran out were down to Oranjeboom, yuk!

One night this guy runs amok with one of the fire axes that were hanging on the bulkheads in strategic places below decks. For some reason I was in this corridor & he was barring the way. He wanted out, he wanted off, he wanted it now. I have made some foolish mistakes in my life but thinking I can take an axe from a poor demented soul; in the throws of alcohol withdrawal wasn?t one of them. There were several big Bandies about & they too had enough sense not to be heroes either. The Master at Arms was called for & tried to talk this guy down but as an authority figure it just got him more agitated.

The situation was resolved by Naval Nurse Gay. The only coloured lass we had, (ebony skinned as one of the patients reports) she marched out of her cabin, pi*sed as hell at being woken by the racket during a couple of hrs off. She was in her nightclothes but standing at 5? 5? & upright as an Amazon warrior; she walked straight up to this guy & said, ?give me that right now! Don?t you know you?re waking everyone up here?? She reached out & grabbed the axe & he let it slip from his hands. He collapsed in a snotty sobbing heap & she turned & gave the axe to a Bandie & said ?do the nurses have to do everything onboard here?? and marched back into her cabin. Real class.