The Ghost of Christmas Past Aqaba
This was weird and with very few exceptions I have never spoke of this to anyone, as I am sure that I would not be believed or it would be considered that I was making it up (though for what purpose I cannot imagine).
During our time in Aqaba, we were subjected to being roused from our slumbers in the middle of the night to go to action stations as a rehearsal for the possibility that at some stage the camp could be attacked and we should therefor be properly prepared. So, off I would dash to the arms store, get my 303, fifty round of ammunition and, if my memory serves me correctly a box of ammo for the Bren. I would then rush off to get through the tank park gate ( which had to be unlocked and opened by some RP from the guardroom, they had the key) to my designated position (slit trench), some 20/30 yards further out. All this taking place under cover of darkness, no lights, some form of general organized chaos all around. In this trench, I had two or three other comedians (sorry companions), for the life of me I cannot remember who they were. At some stage we had been officially warned that a group of Syrian Commandos had been despatched to attack the camp at some time in the future and we should be on our guard (God knows where this info came from, no one tells you). On this one night alert, as I got to the Arms store, from out of the darkness I heard an authoritative voice ( a Rupert?) call out ‘this is not a drill’. Oh goody I thought, the Syrians have arrived. Hastening up to my suicidal position outside the tank park gates, I fell into a large hole in the ground that had been excavated to store jerrycans, having extracted myself from there I got to the barbed wire fence where the gate was normally open, as I went through my jacket sleeve snagged on some barbed wire, just a touch. Now I was through, jumped into the trench and awaited the arrival of my sturdy brothers-in-arms. I looked up the slope ahead to see if there were any insurgents, no, not even some local with his goats, all quiet. Remained observing like this for a time, my companions had still not arrived. Eventually, with no communication or sign of life, I assumed it had all ended up just another drill. So, it was now getting quite light. There being no sign of any enemy, the slope ahead being quite empty, I briefly deserted my position, to go back to the gate to find the missing men. A shadowy figure was arriving on the other side of the gate, I suddenly realised that the gate was not open, Tom ? the RP was arriving to open up the gate. “ What are you doing out there he asked?, Err this is where I am supposed to be I replied, you must have gone all the way down to the main gate by the road, round the back of the guardroom to get there, no I replied I came through the gate, no you did not he said I am just opening it now” and producing the key, he unlocked the padlock and pulled the whole lot back to let the tanks out if necessary. I insisted that I came through, so we both examined the gate and some distances either side to see if there were any gaps in the coiled wire. There were none. As far as I know there was no one else who had the possibility of opening the gate. Tom was a nice chap, but he insisted that the only way I could have got to the outside of the wire was by a long detour via the road and back of Guardroom. Oh! and in the meantime the rest of the guys turned up.
So possibilities of what happened.
This really happened, no kidding, probably a rational explanation, but I cannot think of one.
Very Best Wishes for you and Linda for Christmas
Tom and Kathleen Melsom
I like spooky Stories if anyone has any email them to me email@example.com
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all.