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Sergeant James Bellows

Discussion in 'A Soldier's Story' started by Jim, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    My wife will tell you I can’t go to sleep with my arm round her, because in my sleep I sometimes shake and hit her. I relive parts of the war in my sleep. You can’t ever forget it. A lot of the men I lived, worked and fought with had a lot to put up with. In Sicily we had different battles nearly every day. In Sicily I was ordered to go back and put crosses on the graves of our men killed from a certain point onwards. I took some men and some wooden crosses with me. A large proportion of the graves were desecrated. The feet dug up and the boots taken off. There were all our comrades with their feet sticking up in the air. I ordered my men, ‘If you see a Sicilian anywhere in the vicinity, shoot the bastard.’ This is the sort of thing you see. On D plus one, we had reinforcements. One job they were given was to collect the dead for burial. One lad found his twin brother. He was shattered. Going into the attack in Normandy, we passed where the Durham’s had gone in. The place was covered in Durham’s graves; CO, Adjutant, the lot, in one field. You don’t forget. Little things trigger it off. When you wake in the night, you think, ‘If I’d done this, that wouldn’t have happened.’ Even after fifty years it’s so clear. This is where that prayer [Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’] comes in; ‘Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.’ We’re old men now. The lads I’ve spoken of died young. They’ll always be young. But us, we become a burden to society in the end. One day it’s going to be all over, and strangely you don’t resent the fact, you’ll welcome it when it comes.
     

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