Full up and out

“That morning Private Bain had climbed to Roumana past the bodies of Seaforth Highlanders, ‘scattered like big broken dolls’, on the hillside. . . . As the living began to strip them of their few possessions he shouldered his rifle and began walking steadily back down the hill. No one accosted him. There seemed to be no straggler line, no stop line. In a couple of days he reached Tripoli where he was arrested. ‘I found the whole business of being in the ranks and in the infantry a brutalising business,’ he explained years later. The battle had been, ‘one almighty confusion and shambles’, in which the ordinary soldier, as usual, had no idea of what was going on. Reaching the end of his personal resources he deserted.” – David Rolf, The Bloody Road to Tunis

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