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And in a somewhat similar manner, later that evening Pte. Blank drifted into the presence and on to the mat of that prince of Warrant Officers, C.S.M. (ex R.S.M.) A. T. S. Leigh. His campaign ribbons like a strip of particularly gaudy deck-chair canvas, were a rainbow of military glory from Omdurman to everywhere. They had dazzled Generals and at such short range they simply blinded Pte. Blank.

"Now me lad," said the C.S.M., "tell me what happened last night." For him, he was speaking quietly and only one bayonet fell off the mantelpiece. (It was the one we could almost always fix with the aid of a hammer.) But Pte. Blank, having no previous military service, had rather less than most private soldiers' experience of Sergeant Majors being gentle. It was not surprising that he promptly developed a hitherto unsuspected stutter.

"I shush-shush-shot . ." he ventured.

"What!" roared the C.S.M., "You stand there and have the nerve to tell me you shot. I suppose you mean you opened fire. I know that already. Everybody in England and Brownhills knows it. Except, thank God, your Officers. It might have spoiled their breakfasts, reading about it in The Times this morning. Then where would you have been? I'll tell you -  


charged with dumb insolence to a superior Officer as well as attempted murder. Now tell me, where were you when you "shot"? And call me ‘sir’".

"I were behind a bub-bub-bush, sir."

"Behind a bush! You ought to have been in the lovely trench we dug for you! What were you doing behind a bush?"

"I were doing a shush-shush-shiver, sir."

"My God! Call yourself a soldier! What were you doing a shiver for?"

"I c-c-c-could see summat move, sir. It were coming towards me, like."

"Like what?"

"Summat like a German, sir."

"Oh! So you saw a summat, summat like a German coming towards you. Haven't I wore meself out telling you to challenge anyone approaching your post?"

"I did give a shush-shush-shout, sir."

"Oh! You shouted, did you. After me wearing me voice out all these weeks telling you that sentries on active service always speak low but aggressive. Why didn't you speak low, like I'm doing now?"  (......continues.....)