Keeping an eye on what our opposition were up to, you could hear and sometimes see a mortar or
mountain gun fire from his territory. Then there was a chance for our counter-battery support
to put one in his lap.
Interesting story goes with this pic. The watch I
was wearing was an American service issue, which I aquired from a recently
deceased Chinaman whilst on a daylight raid with the Durham Light
Infantry. I had been attached to them when 3RAR was on reserve at area 6
or Camp Casey. They were on 355 and I was with B coy down on the forward
position near Cloncurry, a small hill below 355
(Little Gibraltar), roughly half way between the forward positions of 3RAR and the Chinese,
and 227 (John). (Why did I always end up there?) Some
Chinese had been spotted in a bunker on Cloncurry, and they were desired
as prisoners. The Americans came up with a very loud speaker system, and
Chinese speaking person and tried to bluff the Chinese into surrendering.
That was a load of crock naturally, so we merry lads from B coy. DLI were
sent out to bring them back alive of course.
The platoon I was with drew
the short straw and had to go after the lads in the bunkers, the rest of
the company got into blocking positions between us and 227 the main
Chinese feature. To cut a long story short, the blokes in the bunkers had
no intention of surrendering. So following a heated argument between them
and us, they withdrew deep into the bunker system and called in their
artillery etc. This caused a sudden change in plans for the DLI, and a
stategic if undignified withdrawl began. Whilst extricating myself and in
the company of four DLI lads, I spotted this watch on the wrist of a
Chinese chap who had no further need of it. Being one to never let a
bargain pass by, I squatted down and retrieved said watch. The same moment
I did that a 75mm mountain gun shell landed amongst my DLI cobbers and got
the four of them.
Thus the watch saved my life I guess, yet hadn't been so
lucky for the previous two owners. Alas it was stolen back home in Oz many
years later, and still keeping excellent time.