Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/91

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The War and the Future

he knew that only eighteen Australian battalions had landed on the Peninsula—Numbers one to eighteen—and he did not understand what a member of the thirty-first battalion could be doing there. So he looked hard at this Major and said: "Say, are you Fair Dinkum?" That is an Australian slang phrase which means, "Are you the genuine thing? Are you quite all that you pretend to be?" The Major said: "Yes, I'm Major Fair Dinkum."

At the inquest on Major Dinkum, they found that he had taken the uniform from a dead Major of the thirteenth battalion, and had been afraid to wear it just as it was, for fear of being challenged, so he had reversed the numbers on the shoulder straps, and made them thirty-one. The inquest found that he died from lead in the head.

A branch of the service which is very little recognized but exceedingly dangerous is that branch of the messengers who carry messages and carrier pigeons and telephone wires during an attack. One of the most difficult things in modern war is to let your own side know exactly how far an attack has progressed. You send back messengers and the messengers are