The mortar fire


The mortar fire we could see landing on the beach was really much more personal because we could see what it was doing to the poor devils there.  The casualties were coming off the island in a steady stream, many of them being given plasmas in the small boats as they made their way to the hospital ships. 

The ambulatory cases get to you most, perhaps because it’s easier to see them, the stretcher cases are usually pretty well covered up.  Those who are unconscious don’t have any expression one way or the other but the lads with powder blackened faces and white staring eyes, gaunt with shock and pain, get to you and give you a small idea of what’s going on ashore.

We were so cold and so wet for so long that the skin on our hands got white and pulpy as it does after long immersion.  The skin on the under side of my hand has now completely peeled off.  Both Jack and I developed minor trouble with our feet toward the end of the operation.  Our toes got numb and stayed that way for weeks.  My left big toe is still not quite back to normal.