Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sunday 4th July 1937

Up at 8:30. Did three drills at Leigh. Took about an hour to be fitted with uniform. “Fitted”! I’m being ironical. Puttees, greatcoat, awful cap and tunic, big boots. Khaki! I’m a bleu, a private soldier; a gunner.

After receiving my kit, the sergeant borrowed a pipeful of baccy as he liked the smell. Gunner Coleman, his assistant, also had a pipeful. Coleman, incidentally is a paint salesman – Williams and Howard. Gun drill. I was no. 6, pushing home the shell and firing.

Last half hour, a lecture on sentry-go, with the sergeant instructor demonstrating. (“'Alt! Oo goes there?")

With my little black kit bag I cycled home. An easy ride, downhill with a following wind. Across the main road, then along the little winding lane that leads to Eastwoodbury. I cycled later to Great Stanbridge, to the trout streams. Had lunch, then paddled around in a canoe. A crowd of yah-hoos arrived (from Southend?) and tried to make the place hideous. Had tea; went on the stream again. Three young gentlemen came (from Southend?) took three canoes and upset them. They looked priceless when the canoes rolled over; they also struck me as being amusing when they scrambled ashore afterwards.

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