Things I Remember about Christmas Island Life

Sgt Goodchild. Officer Mess. Flt Lt Conche. I think he was a doctor. Reg Sewell. A great mate & Cpl Tasker our NCO. Barry. I think he came from Southampton. Robert Lacy, from the north of Manchester. There were many more lads that I had good memories of but I cannot remember their names. Memories: Land crabs that tried to get into your tent in the night. Rats running around the roof of the tent between the inner and outer canvas. Falling down into the big pit one night, that engineers had made for all the bad beer. The tidal wave warning. Seeing a TM Avenger aircraft go into the sea. Getting badly sunburnt. The experience of getting off Malden Island in a DUCK. You had to wait for a big wave to come in and then drive into it to get afloat and give it the gun and you were off the island. Note: It did not have beaches as we know, it just jutted out of the sea. We developed a technique like the DUCK used to be able to swim in the sea, a bit dangerous really because I mistimed it one day and the sea water rushing down the steep beach took me with it, down and down I went all I could see were white bubbles, then I broke the surface about 40ft out. I swam back slowly and waited for a really big roller to make sure I got well up the beach this time. I went for a walk one day to see the ship wreck on the coral and the hut the survivors had made. While I was out on my own I was looking to see if I could see the supply Dakota coming in, when I noticed quite a heavy cloud with tail coming out of it, the sea below began to boil. Not really ever having witnessed any thing like this I sat down and watched. It didn’t take long before I was looking at a full blown water spout or tornado and it was coming straight for the island. I’m going back to camp quick I thought. I didn’t run but walked quickly and kept looking back. After a while I looked back again and it had gone as quickly as it came. That was a bit frightening and I believe HMS Narvik anchored off the island was making plans to get out of its way. The other thing about Malden Island was that there were wild Wiltshire pigs roaming about, they would come into camp in the middle of the night looking for food, we just kept out of their way because they would attempt to attack us. They had been on the island since 1927 roaming free. ©: Tony Walker 04 May 2002