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14 May, 2010 19:39

No chance of washing unless you had some water in the tank – WWII veteran

Luis Dorff of the Royal Tank regiment, who was a POW from Great Britain, remembers the difficulties of serving in the Middle East.

“The Middle East, as you probably know, is purely a sea of sand,” Dorff recalls. “There is nothing but sand, virtually nothing but sand.”

“During the day, it was extremely hot and during the night it was extremely cold, but we had to suffer it, there were no buildings, no cover, at all – you just laid on the sand and you went to sleep. You were cold, you were cold, and during the day you were hot, you were hot.”

Occasionally a sand storm would happen, and people could not see anything except for flying sand.

“And sand was everywhere – in your shoes, in your ears, everywhere,” the veteran remembers.

“No chance of washing unless you had some water in the tank, but if you had some water in the tank you would much rather drink it than wash in it.”

Aleksey Chistov, a senior sergeant in Russia’s Air Defense, said “daily life at war in any conditions is something you get used to. You just take it for granted.”

“Only one thing was really scary: the recount patrol,” he added. “When there is firing from the both sides and you are in the middle and you just can’t get out.”

Chistov remembers one day when they got caught in the crossfire between the two armies.

“That was some situation. We decided to hide in a shell crater, because we knew shells never hit the same spot again, and there we waited till night before crawling to our trenches,” he said.