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Somebody's Boy.
Somebody's Boy. 
 

Western Mail, Thursday 14 December 1933, page 2

Somebody's Boy.

Dear "Non-Com." - It was while I was serving in the Royal Marine North Russian Relief Force in 1919-20.

It was his nineteenth birthday, and they were burying him in a little church yard somewhere in Russia. Only a week before a letter had come from his mother wishing him "Many Happy Returns" and hoping he was having a good time in Germany. (We had left England secretly two months previously and it had been published officially that we had joined the Army of Occupation in Germany). He had chuckled in his happy-go-lucky way as he said, "My mother will be surprised when she knows I am in Russia."

Yesterday he had been bubbling over with joy anticipating the extra tots of rum the boys had promised him to celebrate the great day. But early in the morning we had been ambushed by the Bolo's and he had been one of the first hit. A Serbian company had come to our aid and we had got out of the ambush fairly cheaply, but the next few hours was a nightmare march, carrying him and some other wounded men on improvised stretchers of tunics fastened together and tied to saplings by means of pull-throughs and lanyards. Sixteen miles of agony, of sobs and groans, with curses now and again from the badly stricken men and grim and obstinate silence from the relays of bearers. Then the end of the journey, and the doctor's weary voice: "The medical stores have not yet arrived. I can do very little".

And so he had died, this boy of nineteen. As they lowered him into the grave, I heard as in a dream the captain's voice: "Ashes to ashes” but my thoughts were roaming, roaming back to a scene different from the one in front of me. I seemed to hear another voice, a thousand miles away, saying: "My mother will be I surprised when she knows I am in Russia."

No. 17826, Karlgarin.