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A Shout From The Attic: Even Death Could Not Kill Us!

...Most of us spent the evening swinging from the ‘A’ frame rafters supporting the hut roof. Looking more like monkeys than young men. We did it to prove what we knew ourselves, that we were immortal and to show that death could not kill us, nor Hell or the fear of it hold us down...

But Ronnie Bray and his fellow army recruits found out that those four-shots-in-a-day were effective.

To read earlier chapters of Ronnie's autobiography pleaase click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

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I looked, and behold a pale horse:
and his name that sat on him was Death,
and Hell followed with him
The Apocalypse

The Army was intent on making me as fit as possible. To do that, it first made me very sick. Every day brought the same old same old, but also new and exciting things. One day it was PULHEEMS, an acrostic for a medical inspection, the elements of which I have forgotten. Medical men took a great interest in us in various states of undress. On one fateful day, they lined us up in the medical centre with our upper torsos exposed. Either side of the line was two orderlies with multiple dose syringes filled with toxins. Four shots in four seconds, and the needles were not getting any sharper!

We were advised that we would get a reaction from the tetanus and one other shot whose identity is lost to memory. After tea, we languished in the barrack room waiting for the onset of the creeping death that we had been promised. Nothing happened, so we assumed that we were supermen whom the nostrums of the British Army could not harm. Most of us spent the evening swinging from the ‘A’ frame rafters supporting the hut roof. Looking more like monkeys than young men. We did it to prove what we knew ourselves, that we were immortal and to show that death could not kill us, nor Hell or the fear of it hold us down.

At about half past nine the army, accompanied by Death who was smiling and Hell who was laughing, made its point. We dropped like flies onto our beds, most of us crying out in pain, cursing ourselves because of our unbelief. Our barrack depicted such a scene as greeted Florence Nightingale after the bloody battles of the Crimean War. Our ‘dead’ and ‘dying,’ some crying for their mothers, lay across their beds without the energy to slide between the sheets. Unconsciousness – the balm of sleep – eased our suffering. Next morning we were fully recovered, but wiser in we now accepted that others in the army, besides us, knew a thing or two.

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