Saturday, December 15, 2007

Monday 7th June 1937

No orders today, no queries. Twelve reported calls. Curious, the psychology of a day without orders. One feels like a neurotic deprived of drugs, kinda feverish, jaded and nervy. Orders act as a stimulant. If you take one early in the day you’ll feel so full of enthusiasm that you’ll probably get another – perhaps two more or three.

Evening: Rochford drill hall. Sat like a bugger for some time, watching two sergeants instructing eight privates. Saw the Sergeant Major and Major Ditton at stand easy. Cannot be attested until my RNVR discharge comes through. To obtain that I must send in my kit – (“complete and in good order”) which is at Hawthorn Court. In the meantime I can join in the activities of the drill hall. Sat around a gun for the second drill and had a practical lecture on breakdowns. All beastly mechanical and not my line at all, really. After we’d dismissed (they don’t fall in very smartly, by the way) a tall, slow speaking feller named Flood came up to me and arranged to “bring me along” if I eventually joined. That means that I pretend to be introduced to the Company by him. He gets 10/- for bringing a recruit and – very fairly under the circumstances – gives me 50%. Flood is a farm hand but he’s also a good business man!

Damned if I know whether to join or not! Will set out the points for and against:-


Comradeship. They seem a chummy lot and being a small, new unit it would be quite a happy family.

Infantry is about the lowest form of military life and the roughest.

Machine gunnery – in time of war, dangerous and honourable.

Most of the men being lower class, educated fellers stand a good chance of promotion. Very rapid promotion compared to the RNVR, for instance, where the most brilliant man would not get a confirmed killick until his re-enrolment. At Rochford there is a four months recruit now doing advanced training for his stripe!

I have dilly-dallied and given the impression I would eventually join. Feel rather under an obligation, therefore.


Machine guns are essentially mechanical and I never am very interested in mechanical things.

Not much drill, very little rifle shooting, no signalling, not much “bullshit” – all the things I’m keen on!

The platoon commander is Sales Manager of a competitive paint firm.

Rapid promotion – yes! But a knowledge of English and good manners won’t get me a stripe if I’m not mechanically intelligent.

Being specialist, the Company does nothing except machine gunnery. Surely this one subject would become boring within four years!

Five points “for” and five points “against” Oh! Bugger it! I’ll go to bed!


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