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40 Royal Marine Commando

Based at Burma Camp Malaya

1962 to 1966


The Civet Cat

By Geoff (Tex) Webbon

..........In his book “Where Soldiers Fear To Tread” Ranulf  Fiennes mentions a man referred to only as “The Unfortunate Marine”. In later versions he identifies him as Hugh Affleck – Graves, in 1963/64  3 troop commander. This story shows that the trait of  being “unfortunate” started earlier than 1967 when Fiennes was writing of his experiences in Oman during his time in the Dhofar.
..........The troop was in a kampong at a place I can no longer remember the name of, but the locals were extremely friendly, particularly the headman. Whenever there was an event in the kampong we were invited and tuac was passed around in large doses. The troop commander was not too happy about us fraternizing too much, particularly as he was straight out of the box and feeling his way.
..........However as Christmas was approaching and the headman had invited the troop to a do, the troop commander gave permission for one of the non patrolling sections to attend, and he attended himself.
..........At the end of the do, the troop commander made his way back to the grot and decided to get his head down in his pit. Not a problem you may think. Unfortunately one of the guys had a pet civet cat which had snaffled a chicken from the kampong, and after devouring the said chicken looked for somewhere to have a kip. The animal decided that the troop commanders mossie net looked a likely place, notwithstanding that the troop commander was crashed underneath and snoring lightly.
..........However the chicken did not agree with the civet and went straight through it, thus depositing a wet smelly pile on the net. This duly dripped through the mesh and covered “Gravesend” as he became known. Nobody felt like waking him up and so he slept in this state for a further hour or so, and then he took off like a rocket for the dhobi area. The civet cat had in the meantime found somewhere else to hide.

© Copyright Geoff (Tex) Webbon 2014.