Well, it's a far cry from Gloucestershire and the Royal [illegible] for that matter, to the hot sun of Basutoland - that's the bit of British soil in the middle of South Africa - but that's where a company of the glorious Gloucesters is scattered at the moment.
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Background: Well, it's a far cry from Gloucestershire and the Royal [illegible] for that matter, to the hot sun of Basutoland - that's the bit of British soil in the middle of South Africa - but that's where a company of the glorious Gloucesters is scattered at the moment.
The Company's headquarters are in Swaziland - 500 miles away by road - and these men have been left with the lonely task of patrolling the barren hills above Maseru. Historic ground - because less than a hundred years ago, a party of the twelth? Lancers was killed in this defile in a skirmish with the Basutos. It's still called "Lance Gap" after them, but now the patrol is just for training, and relations with the locals are rather better.
[illegible] the only job they've got. The platoon's been sent out to help the Public Works Department with the construction of a new dam.
The work's still in the early stages, but the use of the army's equipment has meant that most of the essential groundwork's been well done.
This is not the Gloucesters main camp. That's at the training School of the Basutoland Mounted Police.
There's four hundred horses at the school altogether - not quite where you'd export to find a bunch of infantrymen. But the Gloucesters are famous for their adaptability. Since the regiment was formed over two hundred and fifty years ago, it's men have been service all over the world - with Wolfe in Quebec and Sir John Moore at Corunna. They fought Napoleon at Waterloo, and the Germans in both world wars. And of course there's their famous stand in Korea fifteen years ago. So it's not surprising that they've picked up some mementoes on the way - like the German field gun they captured on the Somme in nineteen eighteen.
Weapons have advanced a bit since then though they've still got to be kept in good condition. But the men are much same - still recruited mostly around Gloucestershire and Bristol.
It's not all work. The regiment's on a nine month tour of duty - and that means that wives and children must stay at home. So it's a drink in the beer garden or perhaps a swim in the Maseru Club pool, if you want a bit of relaxation.
Some of them even find enough energy in the heat for a game of rugger against the local club.
But there's still a job to be done - though not for much longer, it's tour of duty's nearly over, and the battalion will be home to England in April.