Monday, April 30, 2007

Wednesday 1st January 1936

Lorries cannot get through the flood now! A punt is used for the deepest part of the channel. At lunch time I was out there with several others, unloading from lorry to punt and from punt to other lorries across the water. Was given a ripping pair of thigh boots. Managed to wade through at night with the cycle on my shoulder. The staff were taken off in three boat loads. Remarkable scene, as I stood at the water’s edge. A lorry with it’s red rear lights, deep in the water; dark shapes scrambling into a punt; lights glittering on the water.

RNVR - Began bayonet drill. I happened to be the right hand man. “Fix” – and the right hand man takes three paces forward… “Bayonets!” He takes out his bayonet, fixes it, flings up his left arm at an angle of sixty degrees and watches the class.
When all the bayonets are fixed down comes the arm, back comes the rifle, three paces to the rear, pick up the dressing.

I saw this same thing done once at a Leicester parade. And it thrilled me. Now I’m learning to do it! When I think that I’m in the RNVR, a naval reservist, member of a military body, being trained to fight for England – my hair stands on end. (But actually none of us think in that romantic way.) Now that so many, many boyish dreams are coming true, I merely think – “This is a damn good show”.


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