Soldier's Daughters

Soldier's Daughters by Fiona Field Read Free Book Online

Book: Soldier's Daughters by Fiona Field Read Free Book Online
Authors: Fiona Field
before they snapped her a salute. She returned it with a ‘Carry on, lads’ as she pushed open the door to the office block and made her way to the chief clerk’s office, passing piles of boxes of stationery in the corridor, a slew of map cases and a couple of filing cabinets. Sam knew the battalion had recently been arms-plotted to this barracks and they were obviously still trying to get straight. A pretty brunette female clerk sitting at a desk near the door stood up respectfully when she saw Sam enter. Sam read the fabric name label stitched to her combats and noticed the stripe next to it.
    ‘Corporal Cooper, do sit down again. I’m Captain Lewis and I’m reporting for duty – the new OC of the Light Aid Detachment. Could you direct me to the adjutant so I can introduce myself to him and the CO?’
    ‘Yes, ma’am. Of course.’
    Sam stood to one side to let Cooper past so she could follow her. ‘Sorry about the mess ma’am. The move means we’re all at sixes and sevens. Should be straight again soon, though. And if I may say so, ma’am, it’s nice to see another woman join 1 Herts. There’s only about a dozen of us here so your arrival is very welcome. Carry on at this rate and we might make the infantry almost civilised.’ Sam grinned at Corporal Cooper and took an instant liking to her. If Cooper was representative of the other members of the battalion, Sam felt she was going to get on just fine.
    Cooper stopped outside an office near the other end of the corridor from the clerk’s office and knocked.
    ‘Sir, this is Captain Lewis. She’s the new OC LAD.’
    Cooper stood back to let Sam into the office. Sam entered and saluted. Andy Bailey, the adjutant, stared at her slack-jawed from behind his desk before remembering his manners and leaping to his feet.
    Sam was a tiny bit taken aback. Something obviously wasn’t right, but she couldn’t work out what the hell it was.
    ‘Sorry,’ said Andy, ‘this is a bit of a shock. I assumed Captain Sam Lewis was going to be a man.’
    Sam gave him a wry smile. ‘Well, I hope that the fact I’ve turned out to be a woman isn’t too much of a disappointment.’
    ‘No, well…’ Andy stopped. ‘My fault for assuming. It’s, well… 1 Herts has never had a female officer who has lived in the mess before. I’m Andy, Andy Bailey.’ He stuck out his hand for Sam to shake before he gestured to her to take a seat.
    ‘What, never?’ she exclaimed as she took her beret off and sat down. ‘Then it’s probably about time.’ Sam tried to sound casual and upbeat but she hadn’t expected not only to be the sole woman to be living in but also the first.
    ‘Of course, we’ve had a fair few female soldiers serve with us – got a few right now, as a matter of fact – and a while back we had a female medical officer, but she was married and lived out.’
    ‘So, me being here isn’t going to be a problem,’ said Sam.
    ‘Of course not,’ said Andy, swiftly. Then he grinned. ‘A novelty maybe, a problem, no.’
    But Sam wasn’t entirely convinced.
    ‘Anyway, we need to tell the colonel you’re here.’ Andy Bailey pressed a buzzer on his intercom. ‘Sam Lewis is here, Colonel.’
    ‘Send him in,’ came the reply.
    There was a pause before Andy took his finger off the intercom button. Sam looked at him and raised her eyebrow.
    ‘The CO’s in for a surprise too, isn’t he?’ she said.
    ‘He’ll get over it.’
    Andy stood up, walked round his desk and opened the interconnecting door to the next office. Sam shoved her beret on her head again, pulling it down automatically to make it mould into the correct shape, and followed the adjutant.
    ‘Sir,’ she said as she saluted on the threshold.
    ‘Come in…’
    Sam saw Colonel Notley’s eyes widen before he smoothly recovered himself.
    ‘Come in,’ he repeated. ‘Shut the door.’
    Sam did as she was ordered and then approached his desk. The CO’s office was perfect with a mass of regimental

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