Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday 23rd June 1937

Morning surprise; a letter from Mr NC Dawson anticipating that I should spend the weekend there – at Ealing. Tactfully there was no allusion to our last meeting – May 10th. The letter was quite friendly and assumed I had been too busy to go home lately.

Business: Yesterday I sold half a pint of Dryfast (and had to telephone the order through). Today I made 14 reported calls, collected a cheque and sold a tin of U/coat Paste. This order was passed through a Southend merchant to be supplied from his stock so my turnover was nil. Monday 2/6 Tuesday 1/8 Wednesday Nil.

193rd Battery tonight. Gun drill. Learnt some complicated movements first, ie. changing rounds. They number off in a peculiar way – 1,3,5,7 and 9 in the front rank, 2,4,6 and 8 in the rear rank.
Afterwards we did “action” drill and hell! I was number 1 of the gun first time! The very first time I do gun drill I’m picked to be number 1. It was good sport rapping out commands (prompted sotto voce by the sergeant major):

“Detachment – ‘Shun!”
“Detachment – Rear!”

Felt a bit of a silly sod though. Each man of the detachment has to be efficient in nine jobs:

a) Examine the bore and be responsible for the whole
b) Traversing gear and dials
c) Elevating gear and dials
d) Fuse dials
e) ?
f) Breech mechanism
g) Ammunition, covers and so forth

Loading drill. I started as no. 7 (opening and closing the breech) then became no. 6 (loading and firing). The shells (dummies of course) weigh 16lbs. When no. 7, one of the ejected shells fell on my foot. I noticed it.


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