The Bluey

Dear Son,

Your 'bluey' arrived at about ten this morning and we gathered in the lounge while your mother read the letter aloud.  Isaac laughed at the pictures that you drew for him of your 'tank' getting stuck in the mud and snow. I tried to explain to him that an AS90 is a tracked artillery piece, but when you're seven years old - if it looks like a tank, then it's a tank! Your mother was so very relieved to learn that there is no more shelling in the Glamoc area of operations, and that apart from mines and booby traps, your Regiment's main concern is the repatriation of displaced persons and war refugees. I didn't explain to the family what you meant when you wrote of the survey being done for the gun positions in Kosovo; nor what target recording actually meant. Hopefully and God willing, it won't come to that. Perhaps Kosovo's problems will be settled peacefully and there won't be a repeat of Sarajevo. It is so very hard to believe that so much hatred could be in the hearts of ordinary men and women against their neighbours. We finished your letter with a prayer and then rang your grandmother to tell her that you were safe and well. The Kowhai blossoms this year are like burnt gold, and tumble with the slightest hint of a wind; I am sure it is going to be a long hot summer. So glad to hear that a troop from your Battery is camped on the land owned by the old washer-woman. I am in no doubt that as long as they remain close at hand, the local Serbs will behave themselves. It's just a pity that she has to walk twelve klicks every day to the fort without a lift. I don't know if the information has been released at your loc-stat yet but a Brit SAS snatch team have captured one of Milosovic's Generals and are holding him as a war criminal; perhaps that might help in slowing down the killing? We are all well son, and everyone sends you their love, so take care and always wear your flak jacket. Keep your head down mate and don't bloody volunteer for anything.


©Mike Subritzky
20 February 2001