Taste of death. A small incident WW2

By 23rd March 2009No Comments

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,

Ashley Roden

Author Ashley Roden

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