Just one of those extraordinary things … my book of Anthony Cotterell’s wartime journalism, This is ‘WAR’!, was published by Spellmount six years ago (it can be bought HERE at PERARDUA BOOKS) and it is only since the recent posts about Anthony and D-Day that suddenly a photograph of the Sherwood Rangers tank crew with whom Anthony was embedded in Normandy in June 1944 has come my way.
The photograph has been kindly sent by Alan o’Grady, and Jack Hogg is the one on the left. Anthony directly refers to him when recording the banter which went on between the members of the tank crew, as can be read below in an extract from This is ‘WAR’!
Cook was the commander of the tank (I rather suspect he is the more commanding figure on the right in the photograph), and Cherry was the driver, a young man with flaming red cheeks. Jack, ‘the desert warrior’, had been in North Africa, and endlessly had the mickey taken out of him for his reminiscences.
Hogg, the operator, who was on guard, was singing ‘Only for ever’ followed by ‘It’s foolish but it’s fun’.
Jack, the desert warrior, started a dissertation on how something obviously sounds different in the desert.
‘Tell us about the desert, Jack,’ said Cook unkindly. ‘Tell us what it was like in the 8th Army.’
The desert warrior maintained a disgusted silence.
‘Tell him about the time you joined the Army, Cherry,’ said Hogg. ‘Tell the desert warrior.’
‘You blokes want to watch yourselves and all,’ said the desert warrior.
‘The way you’re going on you’ll have no mucking rations left.’
‘Liable to get pneumonia,’ said Cherry. ‘I’ll tell you when I first slept like this in a tank in a minute.’
‘All right you mark my words,’ said the desert warrior.
‘I’d like to redesign this tank without the diff so I could stretch my legs out,’ said Cherry.
They began to settle down to sleep.