The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
Scouts And Scouting
Scouts And Scouting.
Years ago, I read of the scouting achievements of Baden Powell and Major Burnham during the campaign in South Africa, and developed a craze for the game. But I never got a chance to show my skill till Mars sounded the gong in 1914 and plunged half the world into war. Then I found myself in Liverpool Camp, N.S.W. One evening the O.C. paraded us in front of the Orderly Room and stated that four Germans h d escaped from the Internment Camp close by, and that he wanted ten men who knew some-thing about scouting to search the hill across the river, where they were supposed to be hiding, Here was my opportunity, at last. That night, ten of us crept silently through grass and shrub, and peered through the dusk in hopes of seeing the missing Huns. It was close on midnight when the Sergeant of our party thought he saw something crouching behind a distant bush. As we prepared to rush and overpower the object,
fame and promotion loomed before me. I grip-ped my rifle firmly and charged. There was a piercing yell—I had fallen into a prickly pear bush! I arose just in time to see the form behind the bush scamper away—it was a calf! The Sergeant was quite nasty about the affair, and threatened to transfer me to the A.S.C.
Three of us were doing listening post duty in Deadman's Gully at Anzac one night. It was a weird, silent spot. On this particular night the Turks were more active than usual and occasional bullets whizzed close to us. Shortly after midnight, one of my companions whispered that he could see a Turk peeping over a big boulder in front of our hiding place. We held a Council of War. then charged the boulder with fixed bayonets. I was the last to reach the rock, which, of course, did not mean that I was lacking in bravery, though my teeth were chattering. Even now I'd like to meet the chap who placed the stone on top of that boulder, and gave it the appearance of a human' head. To make matters worse, the incident became widely known, and I did not hear the end of it until I transferred to the Camel Corps.
North of Bir-el Mazar is a hill covered with shrubbery, and when we were up that way, someone spread the report that it was a Turkish sniper's haunt. Two of us were detailed to scout in front of the hill and try to locate the whereabouts of "Abdul". Advancing close to the summit without meeting with opposition, we grew daring and began to crawl on hands and knees through the bushes. Suddenly my mate stopped, and in a wheezy kind of voice whisper-ed, "Bill, I'm covered by a blanky Turk". "Where?" I asked. "Right in front of me—I'm looking down his rifle barrel". I looked to the right, to the left, and even to the blue sky above, and then tried to imagine what my boyhood heroes would have done had they been in my place. Presently my mate began to wriggle slowly backwards. It took us half an hour to cover two hundred yards, and every second I expected to hear the crack of the sniper's rifle. When we bad reached a spot where we consid-ered we were out of range, I looked at ray companion. He was laughing. "Put the wind up you that time, Bill", he said. Some fellows have a queer idea of a joke.