“The Chronicles of Hussar” by T.H.Trew
Note from the transcriber : This is an accurate transcript of a fragile carbon copy of a hand-typed, home-made “book” found in 2006 in my father’s* tin of WWII memorabilia. The account was written by a serving soldier in the language of the time and has not been altered in any way, other than to omit crossed out typing corrections. (BPS, November 2006)
(* 14613269 Tpr R. E. Smith of the Reconnaissance Corps, formerly with 2 Troop A Squadron of the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry, then the 14th/20th Hussars from 2nd March 1946 to 28th August 1947 – See Chapter VI, v.5)
1. AND it came to pass that the children of the fourteenth son of Hussar, and the children of the twentieth son of Hussar besported themselves in the land of India.
2. And the word of the Warlord came unto Groves, father of the tribe, saying unto him, “Behold the day of vengeance is at hand. The Hitlerites have arisen seeking to smite the earth. Therefore take thee and thy sons, any thy iron steeds, old though they may be, and prepare to battle with the enemy. Sharpen thy swords, beeze up thy guns and get thee hence out unto the land of Edom and there smite the Hitlerite.” Thus spake the Warlord.
3. Then did Groves the father call unto him Stephens his right hand man, and the four elders of the tribe and said unto them,
4. “Get thy finger from behind thee. The day of vengeance is at hand. Gather together the strongest of thy young men, each with his sword and steed of steel. Burnish thy weapons till they gleam as the mid-day sun, blanco thy belts and polish thy boots. Thus shall thou seek and slay the enemy.”
5. And the tribe did go forth and pitch their tents in the land of Edom.
6. And the sun waxed hot, and the quarterbloke waxed rich, taking unto himself a daily portion of his childrens shekels for they bought their own khana and brewed their own char, for the manna which the Lord of War gave unto them they could not eat.
7. And on the seventh day of the third month the elders sent out spies to spy the land and seek the Hitlerites.
8. And on the fourth day of their sojourn did they return. And they shook the dust out of the wilderness from off their feet and the sand of the desert from out of their hair and entered into the dwelling of Groves and flung him up a beefer.
9. And they made their report saying, “Blessed father of Hussars, greetings. We have done they bidding and spied out the land and the hosts of the enemy are gathered round the pass which is called Fai Tak in the land of the Persians, Sir!”
10. So they journeyed northwards to the land of the Persians and smote and defeated the Hitlerite and took the land unto themselves.
11. And after many days sojourn in the land they journeyed to the city of Shaiba.
12. And they pitched their tents without the city and took unto themselves the most beautiful of the maidens of Ashhur, and some weren’t so fussy.
13. And it came to pass that Groves, father of the tribe, did leave his throne.
14. And Har Tilney, a man wise in the wisdom of God and full of love for the children of Hussar, sat thereon.
15. And the tribe rejoiced.
16. Now there arose from the ranks of the tribe a man, small of stature but diligent in the use of his hands. And full of cunning.
17. And he said unto Har Tilney, “Wisest of the wise, blessed father of Hussars, look unto thy steeds of steel, and thy chariots and thy wagons. Behold, they shine like jewels in Edom, and the signs of the tribe are delicately engraved thereon and are pleasing to the eye. But alas, they will not budge! Give them into my charge I pray thee, and ere the passing of the moon they shall fly hither and thither across the wilderness with the ease and grace of a young gazelle, and shall be unto thee a blessing.”
18. And Har Tilney was satisfied. And he said unto the man, “Tom, it is well. Thou shall be Captain of the hosts from this day forward. Get thee hence and do thy stuff.”
19. And in the fullness of time the steeds of steel and the wagons did puff and chug, and the tribe were ready and awaited the word of the Warlord.
20. But the Warlord spake not.
21. And they tarried in the land of Edom and were consumed by the desert sun and stricken with many fevers. And they ate soya links. And they gazed with heavy hearts over the emptiness of the wilderness murmuring among themselves.
22. And great were their tribulations so that they lifted their hands to heaven and cried with one accord, “Let me out!”. And Har Tilney heard the cry of his children and was moved.
23. And he gathered unto him the elders and prayed daily unto te Lord of War saying “Lord of War, Mightiest of Warriors, thou who smokest thy cigars in Whitehall, harken, we pray thee, to our cry. Listen with mercy to our pleadings and take us from this barren land, for verily we are browned off.”
24. And the Lord of War heard the cry, and with great clouds of smoke, spake thus,
25. “Har Tilney, thou shalt leave this dungheap, thou and thy children. Gird up thy loins and get thee unto the land of Egypt, which is a land flowing with milk and money. And thou shalt seek out the place which is called Burg al Arab (M.R.135271) and there pitch thy tents.”
26. And it was so.
27. Thus did the children of Hussar strike their tents. And with their steeds of steel, their swords and their guns, their small packs and big packs made their way rejoicing.
AND they journeyed through the land of the Edomites to Jerusalem and Judaea and their caravans stretched across the Sinai desert even unto the Red Sea.
2. And they came at last to the place which is called Burg el Arab in the land of the Egyptians.
3. And they laboured six days putting their house in order.
4. And on the seventh day they rested. And they counted their akkers and departed from the desert into the city of Alexandria which is by the sea shore.
5. And they filled their bellies with eggs and chips and eggsa’bread, and wads. And they drank char. And they gazed with fondness on the daughters of the land, and spake with one another saying,
6. “See, how fair are these bints, behold their doves eyes and ivory skin. How much fairer than the bibbies of Edom whose skin is brown, and who stink. Let us arise and go about the city in the streets and bazaars.” And they had shoe shines, caring not for the cost.
7. Then spake the Warlord unto Har Tilney saying, “Arise, my son, turn thy face unto the north. Thou and thy young men shall go to the land of the Syrians even unto the borders of Turkey. Thou and thy six hundred shall appear as a multitude and strike fear into the hearts of the Turks. Each man shall be as ten men, and each gun as ten guns, and thou shall hoodwink the Jerries.”
8. So they departed the land of Egypt and spread themselves over the land of Syria even as a mighty army.
9. And the Turks looked with fearful hearts and were afraid, and ventured not over their borders.
10. And the Hussars tarried in the land many days and went horse racing.
11. Yet again spake the Warlord unto Har Tilney saying, “Take thou and thy children once more to the land of Egypt with fleetness of foot and in all haste. And thou shall curb the ire of some troublesome Greeks. Wicked men who worship the wrong government.
12. And great was the disappointment of Har Tilney. And he spake with feeling unto the Warlord saying, “Mightiest of Warriors, thou knowest the yearnings of our hearts. Canst thou not find us some other job? Already we have been in the land of the Egyptians and are not impressed, we come and go with monotony and are cheesed. Send us I pray thee to the heart of the battle.”
13. And the Warlord was full of wrath and the heavens were rent with his anger, and he spake saying. “Answer me not back, get mousing and gillo.”
14. So with fleetness of foot and in great haste the tribe betook themselves through the land of Judaea and across the Sinai desert to the land of the Egyptians.
15. And they came at last to the camp of the troublesome Greeks
16. And the children of Hussar encompassed the camp and made ready to strike the worshippers of false governments.
17. But the sons of Greece beheld the companies about them and were afraid.
18. And they cast aside their false ideas and their guns and their wagons and a lot of small kit.
19. And they surrendered themselves to the children of Hussar.
20. And the tribe rejoiced, yea, the sons of the fourteenth son of Hussar even the sons of the twentieth son of Hussar.
21. And they took temselves once more to the city of Alexandria into the streets and into the bazaars and bought gifts and nonsense for the old folks at home.
NOW in the sixth year of the conflict the tribe dwelt in the land of Syria in the village of Innsaria which is by the Tyre and Sidon.
2. And the windows of heaven were opened, and rain was upon the earth.
3. And Har Tilney, father of the tribe gathered unto him his chieftains and elders and said unto them,
4. “Verily, the news is better than the weather! On the twelth day of the first month so we journey by boat to the land of the Eyeties, and the sons of evil shall tremble at the sound of our coming.”
5. So it came to pass that the sons of Hussar came unto the Italy, a land flowing with vino rosso and marsala, and they arraigned themselves for battle.
6. But the enemy were still afar off and they must need journey to the mountains of the north where the snow lay and it was cold.
7. And they came unto the mountains and dug holes in which to live. And the snow and the rain did fill the holes, and the children were cold indeed.
8. And in the morning they did shoot at the enemy from afar. And for each shot they did receive one shot. For it was a gentleman’s war.
9. And neither they nor the enemy did move, nor did the steel steeds, for there was much mud.
10. Now with the changing of the season the sun shone, and the tribe moved and halted at the town which is called Ruffio to the east of the land.And they made ready once more to meet the Hitlerite.
11. They oiled their steeds of steel, and cleaned their guns and sharpened their swords and lifeted their hearts in exhultation and flogged petrol and got drunk.
12. And the Warlord said unto Har Tilney, “Go up against the land of the Valley of the Po, even against it and against the city of Medicina. Waste and utterly destroy it.”
AND on the ninth day of the fourth month they went forth to meet the enemy.
2. And the sound of battle was in the land.
3. The young men with their steeds of steel did belch forth in their fury in the face of the enemy with the roar of a raging lion. And the earth and the heavens were filled with a great noise.
4. And a devouring fire rained on the land and upon the Hitlerites and the earth shook with the sound thereof.
5. And the dwellings of the inhabitants were consumed with fire. Great was their tribulation.
6. And the Warlord did call forth his armour to hurl at the bastions of the enemy. And the Hitlerites were sorely tried, yet they would not lie down.
7. And on the seventh day of the battle the city was reached.
8. Then Har Tilney called unto him an elder of the tribe and said, “Bodge, take thee and thy company to the edge of the city, and shufti.”
9. Bodge was a mighty man of valour. And in the evening he beheld the city burning with fire. And he cried unto his company mounted in their steeds of steel, “This day shall the glory of thy deeds shine in the heavens, and the stories of thy valour shall be passed down to thy children’s children and shall not perish. Nor shall the memories of thy triumphs dim even with the passing of the ages. NOW FINGERS OUT – AND FOLLOW ME!”
10. And into the centre of the town rode he and his mighty men as a rushing and scorching wind. And their guns hurled forth javelins of fire into the hosts of the enemy without ceasing.
11. And the young men of the Hitlerites fell in the streets and their men of war were cut off on that day.
12. And they did flee from the city and from their holes in the ground, and the dead were without number.
13. Thus were the broad walls of Medicina utterly broken and her high gates burned with fire.
14. And the young men if the Hussars did chase the enemy and went motoring.
15. And they passed through the valley of the Po unto the mountains of the north.
16. And the Hitlerites battled no more and were utterly defeated and laid down their arms.
17. And peace was upon the land.
AND it came to pass in the third month of the peace that the men of Hussar came unto the town which is called Chiavari.
2. And behold, the sun shone and the city was fair to look upon and the hearts of the people rejoiced.
3. And they took the city unto themselves for their own use, and started main guards.
4. And they swam in the waters of the sun which was warm, and danced by the setting sun. And they drank sweet wines in the inns and lay in the fields by the light of the moon for the daughters of the land were exceedingly fair.
5. And they ate, drank and made merry for the world was at peace.
6. And they did name the city “Bella Chivari” which is in the language of the land.
7. And they betook themselves unto much learning and reading of books and there arose prophets amongst them who rose high in the ranks of the tribe.
8. And they did drill in the early morning and cut capers in the road which led unto the camp.
9. And in the course of time the prophet arose and took himself to a high place and called unto the children of Hussar saying, “Woe unto us sons of Hussar for a mighty voice spake unto me in a vision. And lo, I beheld seven eagles each holding his young, and seven sceptres and seven earths were held in each of their seven claws. And the eagles did stretch their wings and flew out of the sun into the clouds of darkness. And the mighty voice spoke saying, “All good things come to an end.”
10. And the words of the prophet were fulfilled, and the good things came to an end, and the children of Hussar went out from the fair city and came to the place called Milan, which was a town full of evil.
11. And some of the young men were afflicted, and journeyed away on the sixteen tram, they and their small packs.
AND they journeyed from the land of the Eyeties into the land of the Hitlerite who were now at peace.
2. And they pitched their camp by the plain which is called Luneburg.
3. And there was a YMCA there.
4. Then did many of the children of Hussar depart from the camp and take themselves to their dwellings unto their wives and children for they got their tickets.
5. And those that were left took unto their bosom the remnants of the tribe of Recce, mighty men of valour and renowned in battle. And they became one with the tribe of Hussar.
6. And the sons of Recce brought with them their chariots and their wagons and their guns and their swords and all their goods and their overcoats.
7. And when they assembled themselves by the house of Hussar, they and their chariots and their goods and their chattels in a great crowd there was chaos in the camp for not one of the tribe of Hussar, nor one of the tribe of Recce, nay, not even the quartermaster, knew what was which, or what was what.
8. Now after this they put on new raiment and cleaned their boots. And on their breasts they carried medals of many colours. The Star of Africa and of Italy and of Germany and of Burma and many other decorations yea, even unto the Defence Medal.
9. And when the daughters of the house of ATS saw the men of valour they were pleased, and this was mutual. And they danced together and were content. And some took the daughters unto them to be their wives and did marry whilst their brethren drank and sang songs in the Rose of England.
2. An behold the young men did look with fondness on the daughters of the land and did frat when they didn’t oughter.
3. And they did find tables under which to put their feet. And they traded and bartered against the laws of the land. But they waxed rich, yet no so rich as the Quartermaster, for his fags are numbered as the sands of the desert.
4. And the father of the tribe, and the elders and chiefs of the tribe took unto themselves stallions, which were their first love, and rode in the hills and in the valleys in the early morning and were content.
5. And the young men of the tribe took unto themselves such pleasures as was their wont in all the lands of the earth and were content.
6. And the tribe watched over the land.
7. And the steeds of steel were silent.
8. And the windows of heaven opened, and rain fell upon the earth.
9. And it is still raining. Amen.