Les Powell - American issue

Running time
3 min 2 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We were issued with American made parkers, well, sleeping bags, parker jackets. Big parker came down here and wrapped over and I'm not sure what else. I spent a lot of my time sitting up in the ground, a hole in the ground, half in the ground and sandbags around the top, that was the signals hut. I think I had three other signallers working for me.

I spent a lot of my time sitting up all night monitoring the radio and the telephone with all of that on and in the sleeping bag in the winter. What else can I tell you about this? Okay, we didn't have, we were up on top of hill 355 and it was very hard to get supplies up, so only essential supplies coming up. Water supply, enough for drinking and a pannikin, an army pannikin which was enough to clean your teeth, wash yourself and have a shave if you had a shave every now and again.

I can remember walking all the way down the hill a couple of times to the creek down there and breaking the ice and having a wash just because I felt a need to wash. And once, just once, I got a jeep back to the American something or other like the 125th, not MASH, but the Mobile Advanced Shower Unit. They had one of those. You went in one end. You checked in your hat, your rifle and your boots, threw all the rest of your clothes in the corner and went in and had these hot steaming shower and went down the other end and picked up whatever clothes you could find and I did have a nice American jacket from there but that went to and got your important things back and went back to your lines, went back to 355 which is where I spent most of my time.

I do remember also in reserve, one of your companies would go back every now and again to reserve, and we had a sort of a little tent thing there and we, to keep warm, and that was, that was the winter of, Christmas '52 I think we were in reserve, and I don't know how many of us would have been in one these tents. You would have a drum, like a four gallon drum, sand in the bottom, somebody would pull for kerosene, a mug of fuel from outside, that would be in a drum outside, you'd have it leaking into the sand and light it and that was how you'd keep warm and you'd also get some beer when you were in reserve, Kirin and Asahi beer from Japan. So, I guess that's how I kept warm. It was pretty hard, pretty difficult.

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