On one occasion,
whilst serving as signaller for Capt. Ducquenoy, they had lost contact
with their NCO signaller Sam Bridges. Bill was asked to go and look
for him. A dangerous job for the road was covered by a German machine
gun. Bill hurled himself across the road straight into a slit trench
that had been used by the Germans as a latrine. He continued to inch
his way forward smelling of German poo and eventually found Sam - fast
asleep!! After cursing him roundly, he told him they ought change clothes.
Bill finally passed
away peacefully in his sleep in June 2001, at home in Minster,Thanet,
Kent, after a short battle with cancer.
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Bill was also the troops "PIAT" man, a PIAT being a type of bazooka.
Excited at the thought of a few stories of tank blasting, I asked Bill for details.
He told me.
"Don, I lugged that bloody thing half way round Europe and never fired it once!!"
So much for the romance of war.
One of the Regiments most notorious Sgt Majors was WO Budd. Bill Smith and John May were the object of his wrath a number of times. There is more about Budd on Percy Lewis' page.
On one occasion they both missed their last train after a night on the town, and tried to fudge the return time. Budd spotted it straight away and reported it the c/o Major Moorshead, another unpopular Officer.
He gave them 7 days confined to barracks and docked them a month's pay.They were reduced to Class 2 soldiers, which put Bill back on the guns, although he was made up again to signaller pretty smartish once in France.