August 1952


On Thursday, 31 July, and Friday, 1 August, the pantry in the cookhouse was broken into in the middle of the night and stores were stolen. With rations being so important, the officers at Battalion Headquarters decided to have someone sleep in the pantry the next night (Saturday 2nd August) to catch whomever was breaking in to the cookhouse.

Guess who was selected to guard the pantry?

I decided it wasn't such bad job, and gathered up a camp stretcher to settle in for the night. It was dark and quiet, and after a while I became restless. I decided to go back to my barrack and get my trusty AWA "Radiola" radio to listen to the "hot tunes" all night. When I got back to the cookhouse I realised there was no power point to plug the radio in. Improvisation was the answer. Having absolutely no electrical knowledge, I took the plug off the end of the cord on the radio and unscrewed the cover off the "old style" round switch on the doorway of the cookhouse. By pushing the wires into the switch - Voila!! - Half power to the radio and half to the light globe. Now I could settle down to listen to the music.

After midnight an Officer, with the cook in tow, decided to check up on the cookhouse to see if everything was okay. I had no warning as I was listening to my music. The Officer was ahead of the cook and put his hand around the comer of the doorway to switch on the light - before I could shout, he touched the uncovered switch. He really jumped back in surprise. He looked at me - never said a word, I guess he was in shock. He turned and walked off. The cook was shaking his head in disbelief-, he never said a word either.

The cookhouse wasn't broken into again as far as I know, and I never heard from the officer again. I wonder if he ever told anyone of his shocking experience.

Electrified Pantry

Ernie R. Holden.

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