Seriously funny

Charles Cowling

“You shouldn’t have joined the Army if you can’t take a joke.” That’s what a soldier used to say to a friend writhing in agony with a bullet in his guts. Perhaps soldiers still do. Dark humour abounds on battlefields. It expresses courage and insouciance, admirable traits when ‘The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,/ And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.’

Private Kevin Elliott and his best friend Barry Delaney made a pact: whoever died first, the other would wear a dress to his funeral.

Kevin was killed in Helmand on 31 August. Barry was, as you can see in the photo, as good as his word.

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