Robbie & Self in our foxhole, Samichon Valley 51/52

Robbie & Self in our foxhole, Samichon Valley, 1952

Another bunker another cobber, another place.

Brown Palm ID

Here you can see a candle supplying our light, and both of us smoking. I expect the air would have been foul, as would we have been. You will note he is smiling, he hadn't been there long. I on the other hand look totally depressed. At a guess I would say 95% of line soldiers smoked, helped calm the nerves no doubt. We had a pack of 20 American fags in our combat rations each day, dating back to the early 40s when they were prepared for the GIs fighting in WW2. As well, Lord Nuffield a wealthy and patriotic Brit, paid for each Commonwealth soldier to be given a tin of 50 English fags per week; very kind of him we thought. Oh yes, a razor blade as well.

When on R&R in Japan, you could always pick the line men from the rear echelon lot, by the palm of their hand. Strange you may think, but not so. During the night the line men had to light their fags under cover, then smoke them cupped in the palms of their hands to shade the glow. Even on outpost we addicts would crouch in the bottom of the pit, and under cover of a poncho light up. Then smoke carefully with the glowing end firmly held and hidden between our palms. Thus after a while at this caper, you ended up with two lovely brown palms from the nicotine; a dead giveaway for the line men. No brown palm was rear echelon naturally.

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