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"Don't waste time dishin' out any more ruddy stuff," says Mr. Morse. "If we don't get a move on quick, them ruddy paratroopers might be too far off for me to get at 'em, and then wot? I asks yer."

He has parked himself in the back of the car on top of some of the ammo boxes. I catch him putting "one up the spout" which he follows with aiming drill at the dog which is having a great time getting in everyone's way.

I am always of the opinion that keenness is a very nice thing to meet at all times, and should always be encouraged, but I feel it is full early to load our rifles, because this aerodrome is a long way off. And I shouldn't be at all surprised if our friend shoots somebody's pet cow just to get the old eyeballs workin' again, as he explains. Anyhow, I make him unload because I am not looking for more trouble than I can already see is very likely coming my way as Adjutant to this outfit.

"Do you think we need take the whole of our store of ammunition for only five rifles," I ask the Q.M., "because, the way I look at it, the car seems too full for five of us to sit in it with any degree of comfort."

"I count only four," he replies. "Who is the fifth?"

"That all depends on which of the party you started counting at," I reply.




"Well, you can't go for one," he says. "In all my years of service it was always my experience that when there was a roughhouse in the offing, the Adjutant stayed at home. Besides, I am the only one in uniform, so it's me for command of the expedition."

"Now let's get this straight," I say to him. "How do you think I got my second pip in the Crimea if I'm so jolly ignorant that I don't know that a Quartermaster is a non-combatant and, therefore, never takes part in the battle. Bottle, yes! But battle, never!"

Mr. Morse tells us that there's only room for one of us, so why don't we toss for it instead of messin' about and wastin' time. This seems to be the best way out of the difficulty, so the Q.M. spins a coin and I lose.

I slam the door and tell them to get a move on.

"Hold hard," says the furniture merchant, "I don't know whether you're keeping it to yourself for security reasons, but I think it would be just as well if you gave us a hint as to where this perishin' aerodrome hangs out."

Now the Zone Commander did give me a map reference, but I wasn't vastly interested, because we hadn't yet been issued with any gridded maps. The map I was using at that time was one that unfolded out of a little book called Fifty Jolly Jaunts Round the Midlands, which I found very interesting indeed.