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40 Royal Marine Commando

Based at Burma Camp Malaya

1962 to 1966


Action Mortars DF SOS

By Cpl Tom Blair 6 Troop B Coy


During their stay at the Laut the ITV crew who were filming a jungle story noted that they did not have any action footage, Boom, bang, zipp of tracer and  all that. The Paras gave us a show in Aden last year the producer said in a stage whisper.

On hearing this Jasper Bacon shouted  "Stand to Action Mortars DF SOS....... Fire. .......Get ready with your camera there is going to be all the bangs you wanted and plenty of action, watch the far bank of the river "  Although we were meant to be `Stood to` all eyes were on the mortar pits ,hands placed over ears ready for the noise and action.  Utter silence then " Jesus Christ , I wish people would stop  pissing about, who shouted that cried Mick the mortars Sgt". " I did bawled.... Jasper now get a move on MFC  I said DF SOS now". The crews sprung into action, check range and elevation ,  remove barrel from baseplate, empty oil that had been put in almost to the top to stop the tube rusting , give it a boogie out,  barrels replaced , muzzle covers  on  recheck range and elevation and the less than enthusiastic "ready "called out . The MFC shouted out ` Number one mortar.....5 rounds HE DFSOS...Fire.` The first round  went down the barrel , there was a muffled bang, the bomb came out followed by a tail of blue and grey smoke, had a look around , wobbled for a bit then fell into the river  about twenty yards from our bank  The Sgt Maj had the wit to shout` take cover` it went off in a great plume of water. The Chinese trading post was peppered with sharpnel  even as each bomb got further away from us. The fifth round hit its intended target , the far bank, to a loud cheer from the spectators . By this time Number Two mortar had been made ready in a fit state to join in giving the area a going over. The film crew thought they had enough footage and left on a kumpit later that afternoon.

There was an air of expectation the next day. TheSgt Maj was heard  typing away ( Good old Sect 69 was used again.... Conduct prej)  and the Coy Cdr was in deep contact with Cdo HQ. Despite our best efforts none of the HQ blokes were talking so we had to wait and see what was going to happen to the Mortar Detachment. In the end none of them gave much away but the MOD got lots of dosh back that day.

© Copyright Tom Blair 2012 ....All Rights Reserved