Dog and a Party

"Anything happened during the night?" asked 'Hursty' as I joined him for breakfast.

"No, we've had a quiet night, thank God. By the way, Hursty, as I came off duty I caught a glimpse of Dog. I'm glad you brought him with you. The last time I saw him was at Ramat David before Christmas."

"We didn't bring him, he just appeared."

We had been in this camp for a couple of weeks or so when Dog was found near the main gate. He was more or less out on his feet. One of the lads picked him up and carried him into the Guardroom. They watered him fed him and gave him a wash and handed him over to one of the medics. It took him over a week to recover. Now, apart from a limp, he's OK and back on the booze again.

Scruffy mongrel he might have been, but he had come some 40 miles and found us amongst the thousands of other soldiers. Good old Dog. He came among us, seemingly out of nowhere, when we first arrived from Greece. Without doubt there was terrier in him. But what else, is anybody's guess. Roughish haired, drab desert colour, he had a splash of white round his mouth and quite a lot of black on large ears that flop and looked out of place on him. With the best will in the world he can't be described as anything like good looking. He is nobody's pet; sometimes he allows us to stroke him, at other times he warns us off with a growl. Like us, he gets his food from the cookhouse and sleeps when and where he can. he never gets under our feet and most of the time he goes unnoticed.

When he joined us he was referred to by a goodly number of monikers, mostly 'Lad', 'Boy', 'Scruff', and 'Scruffy'. All that changed when the Orderly Officer came across him near the bins behind the cookhouse.

"What have we here, Bombardier?" he asked.

"It's a dog, sir!"

Danes with their dog
Photo: Leif Thomsen

"Dog! Dog! I know it's a bloody dog, Bombardier!"

By this time the animal had vanished. Its official name, 'Dog! Dog! I know it's a bloody dog, Bombardier!' spread by word of mouth round the camp. Now we just call him Dog.

The day after Dog had been dubbed was pay-day and the 21st birthday of a bloke in our Troop. Also, it was the eve of departure for two lucky sods who were going home for demob. We had much to celebrate, the NAAFI was full, the Gold Star was flowing. Dog, hidden under our table, popped his head out every now and then to lap up an ashtray full of beer. With every round of drinks the ashtray was refilled.

Taffy and Jock, tenor and baritone of some repute, led the singing. 'Nellie Dean' and 'Lilli Marlene' received encores. Much laughter accompanied the repertoire of ribald Army songs. We sang 'We'll Meet Again'. It was time to go.

"Come on Dog, let's be having you." He came out from under, went sideways like a crab, hit Paddy's legs and went down in a heap. "Come here you drunken little bugger you!" he said, picking Dog up and cradling him in his arms. "I shall have to be carrying you home, you little varmint!" but his words were lost on Dog, who was snoring like a good'un. Paddy bedded him down by his bedside. When he awoke next morning 'Dog' had gone. Several days passed before he ventured into the NAAFI again. A quick learner, he found out his capabilities for holding his beer. Now one ashtray full a night was his limit."

Enduring the Hour, Ted Hall.