Don't ask me why I'm laughing, it was pouring down rain.

Reserve company position behind 355, 1953
Don't ask me why I was laughing.

Note my dinner half covered by cape, feeble protection from the pouring rain.

Reserve coy. immediately behind the front line positions, thus the 'fresh' rations. These were mostly powdered eggs, tinned cabbage, vile tasting margarine, tough meat or tinned meat, powdered potatoes,and bread. This was the counter attack and patrolling company for the 3 coys. on 355 itself.

From here we would leave before dusk and make it to the exit lanes just as dark fell, hoping to beat Charlie to wherever we were both going.

This reserve position copped a fair share of the shelling as can be seen by the background, so it was little better than on the main feature of 355. However the coy. here rotated with the 3 coys up front, thus all got a turn at the patrolling etc. during 3RAR occupancy of the infamous Little Gibraltar which was a number of times.

KFC and Maccas (Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's) would have gone over very well in Korea about this time, as it was anything would do in the tucker department. The ration supply differed from nation to nation, fresh food being almost non existent for the 'line' soldiers. Some time in 51 my platoon was lucky enough to be with the Yanks on Thanks Giving Day, we had a right royal feast then including turkey.

For most of the early period of the war, our supply was C-rations circa WW2, and it wasn't bad tucker. The Australian military either had it in store from those days, or our cheapskate government bought it on the cheap from our allies. Later in 52 and onwards we got to have our cooks up behind the line, if it was practical. They of course did their damndest with what they had, but that wasn't likely to win any Michelin dining awards. Most of the stuff was tinned and/or dehydrated, and tasted as you would imagine.

I had my first try at margarine then, it came in very large tins and should have been used for axle-grease. I have no idea how the Brits came to get through WW2 using that rubbish for butter. Our other staples consisted of powdered potatoes which tasted like washing powder, dried and shredded cabbage which also came in tins, I think that was an early form of plastic.

The rare meat dish that made its way to the forward companies was very likely water buffalo, we had vast herds running loose in northern Australia in those days, they were considered pests so nothing would surprise me. The item par excellence was the humble egg, at least you could cook that to suit yourself most times. I do recall being with the Durham Light Infantry on 355 at one stage, for breakfast we had a slice of 'bread' and HALF a fried egg apiece. The amusing part of the egg saga used to be in winter, when they were issued on the rare occasion in the line, they were frozen rock solid. Thus to dine al fresco on the treasured 'hen-fruit', one first had to boil it for some time to thaw it out.

Once this was done you could continue boiling it, or fry it in the splendid margarine along with the humble slice of bread, it was quite a treat actually. Lord how we got sick to death of the beans in the C-rations though, there were baked beans, ham and lima beans, pork and beans, and beans I have happily forgotten about. Never the less our old WW2 rations were more to the taste of our Yank comrades, than the 'baby-food' stuff they were issued. I foolishly swapped a ration or two with them in 51, it was much the same as I fed my children with many years later.

Then again we could have been with the Chinese or Koreans, in which case a steady diet of rice would have been our fate. I honestly don't know how they had the strength to fight, living on that tucker month in and month out. So there you are, 50 years later and I'm still whinging.


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