Monday, June 25, 2007

Saturday 2nd May 1936

Awoke just before the alarm howled, at 6.45. After a (light) breakfast at a café near Ealing Broadway, I caught the 7.45 down.

Staines 8.30. Walked by the riverside and arrived at the works 9 o’clock. Cycled back to Ealing in the afternoon, having a (light) luncheon on the way. Changed into no. 3’s and caught the 3.26 from Waterloo to Brookwood. Beyond the village, I walked through wood lanes, towards the sound of distant firing. Rifle shots and sometimes the clatter of a machine gun. At Bisley, I called at the RNVR hut and was told the Focsle men were shooting on Siberia. Now proudly wearing gaiters, I went through a soldier’s camp and behind the firing point of Century Range. Eventually, at the far end of the range in an isolated part, near the machine gun men, I found the others.
(Dark blue and white, a pleasant contrast after so much khaki) The shoot was nearly over but I was allowed to fire a few shots at 500 yards. Only got one outer but it was all a thrill.

Shooting at Bisley; feeling the rifle “kick” against my shoulder as I pressed the trigger; looking through the sights at a target over quarter of a mile away. One outer! But I’ve shot at Bisley.

Came back to Town in a carriage with Bell, Cooper and an AB who is an office porter in private life. I recognised the village of Brookwood having cycled there alone, about 2 1/2 years ago on a day when I smoked many Turkish cigarettes. I little guessed then, lovesick boy, that I’d come again, in this way.


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