Another Short Story by Frank Parkinson Cyprus – National Service

7 Jan

While writing my other short story I forgot to mention this other episode
I am not a great believer in fate but a strange episode certainly happened to me that was indeed a chance in a thousand of happening-
I was selected for an advance party to prepare our new camp at four mile point Famagusta. Shortly after arrival, we were allowed to visit a NAFFI . I was sitting with four other comrades drinking a well-earned refreshment, when an announcement on a radio gave out a request for me.
It was on a Cyprus forces request programme. My mother had sent a request for a record for me and had not told me about the request; I did not know at that moment where I would be. Further more I had not listened to a radio in 3 months. or had been informed of the request. The record was Hernando`s Hideaway. I heard it, and what odds of the chance of me doing so. Fate certainly played its part.

It was about this time I was called upon to travel to Nicosia hospital. A major exercise had taken place in the Troodos mountains to flush out the EOKA and their leader General Grivas. Unfortunately, a fire was started and the flames turned upon the British troops. There were casualties deaths and serious burns. Two badly burned soldiers were near to dying and my duty was to stay with them and do what I could. The parents of the two unfortunates were flown into Cyprus and were at at their bedsides. I remembered distinctly and will never forget having to turn one of the soldiers over to place some gauze under his buttocks to allow him to pass motion. The hot sticky substance and the pain that came from his back. Has been a living memory and has remained with me ever since. The two lads died that night, because of the injuries they had received. I am sorry to say it was probably a blessing in disguise. It was a sad time believe me.

On a brighter note the cook sergeants had changed duties. The famous Squeege had taken over and turned his predecessor out of the kitchen.
To give him a job while he waited a plane to back to England and demob. They put the replaced sergeant in charge of a working party doing general duties. He was not very bright and he asked me. “What do you do in civvy street?”
“I work in a chocolate factory. ” I lied in reply.
“What kind of work is that then? He asked.
Well do you know those strawberry whirls that are found on chocolates? I put the little twirl on top of them ” I lied again.
“What, I could do that ” He said laughingly looking assured of his future.
” Yes you could but if you miss one, you have to run half way down the assembly belt to put your twirl on it” I replied with a deadpan face.
He looked puzzled, but repeated he could do that. He left for dear old Blighty some days later and he had assured himself he could do one job at least

Good luck to you all

Frank Parkinson

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