As a member of the Guards Armoured Division and advancing through Holland this incident occurred and which I still experience today. Having reached our objective for the day, we settled down for the night in and around a small farm. Everyone dug in, or selected safe place to sleep, with all the sentries posted and night security in place, I decided to sleep in a space between a high wall and what I thought to be a vegetable clamp of potatoes or turnips a mound of earth about five foot high and rounded on the top.
Having finally completed my duties and had something to eat, I settled down for a few hours sleep, feeling quite safe from any stray shells should the enemy start being aggressive.
At “Stand To” the next morning one hour before dawn, I was conscious of having a splitting headache, and the most disgusting taste in my mouth and throat, all I could do was wait for “Stand Down” when I could grab a quick mug of tea, and if lucky a wash and a cleaning of teeth.
As the daylight gradually lightened up my surrounds, things began to take shape and I could see part of a body sticking out of the “vegetable clamp”, which finally turned out to be a mass grave, hastily covered up, with complete disregard to the unfortunate civilians it contained
I drank a scalding hot mug of tea, and two tots of Army Rum, and still the taste of death remained in my throat.
Whenever I hear someone mention the smell of death, I always think surely they mean taste of death, and I reach for another extra strong mint to which I have now become addicted to.
Even now as I write this I reach for a mint or tot of Teachers,
The taste remains, perhaps not as strong, but it is still there.
P.S. Strange how this still persists when other incidents slowly fade away,