I was called for Army National Service at age 18 in 1944.After infantry training, I was posted to Burma and embarked on the converted luxury liner troopship ‘Monarch of Bermuda’.
They made sure there was not much luxury to soften us. Head to Tail hammock sleeping.
Smelly feet wafting stronger the nearer we got to the tropical heat of India.
The cinema was used for film afternoons, before hammock hanging time, and hearing ‘Road to Morocco’ brings that memorable pong/song ! – back.
Here It is – Pity it’s not in Smelly Vision.
I remember standing on a parade ground in Bombay (Mumbai now) on my 19th birthday – (November 1945) thinking what a transformation in one short amazing year.
From country bumkin, who had barely travelled outside Ocle Pychard/Burley Gate village, to the Far East via Gibraltar, Malta, and The Suez Canal.
I have the army to thank for travel and mind expanding riches that I would never have afforded otherwise.
I left behind in Blighty my first ever steady girlfriend, and we exchanged weekly letters for several months – SWALK on the envelope flap – all those kind of lover’s acronym messages.
2 years is a long time for young love to be apart, and sadly it withered.
Although the song ’ It Was Only A Winter’s Tale’ is not of that time or temperature, hearing it always takes me back to our sweltering army tent in Burmese jungle land, receiving the SWALK less letter, and feeling an icy stab and chill, realising that my first love, the most impressionable strongest, romantic, emotional love of all, ‘was not to be’, a happy ending.
And I would never now send a letter with BURMA on the flap! – ‘Be Upstairs Ready My Angel
Ever since, at this time of year I wistfully think of – ‘A Winter’s Tale & A Love Not Meant To Be’.
Hankies ready ? This emotional video portrays the feeling, eye moistening well. (Sniff – I’m choked already!)