‘Yah, white knees!’ This was Nicholas Mosley’s greeting when I landed at Philippeville in North Africa in October 1943. We were both in the Rifle Brigade and had joined up on the same day when we were eighteen. He had arrived ahead of me and was soon off to Italy. We corresponded a bit but I hardly saw him again until after the ‘forcing house of war’ – though still remembering with nostalgia our early high spirits with friends of the same vintage at the otherwise dreary training camp at Ranby, near Retford.
We at Ranby had been instilled with the idea that the Rifle Brigade and its sister regiment, the KRRC, were the tops. We wore black buttons and despised any regiment with brass buttons, the Brigade of Guards excepted. So it was a shock to us all when we got to