Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday 6th August 1938

World news item: Japan and Russia are on the verge of war. That is, there are already several hundred dead on either side. One might say war had commenced but it hasn’t – officially.

Two men fought in no. 2 Company’s lines. Like dogs they rolled on the ground, clutching each other. Struggling madly they plunged right through to no. 4 Company’s lines. In passing they crashed against the guy-lines of our tent. Instantly, Fayers and Camper appeared, looking hopefully for trouble, the latter flourishing a tent mallet as he sprang out.

“School” with the training section until lunchtime. “Di-di-di-dah-di di-dah-di-dah-di”

Afternoon, Company sports. I only entered for the tug-of-war and was not chosen for that. We are the “cock” Company at sports and one has to be a thorough athlete to get in most of the events. Nevertheless, I should have entered for one or two of the open events, just for sportiness. Windy, I suppose. Camper was the only bloke in my tent who competed – in the obstacle race and tug-of-war. The military mile was damn exciting. Entrants had to march a mile in caps, tunics, slacks, boots, carrying bandolier, haversack, respirator, water bottle (full) and rifle. We took second and third places. Pretty gruelling, especially as it was a hot day. Corporal Dennison (second) was an absolute stylist but Beeton (third) was simply strong.

Result of Sports: We won the shield with a margin of over twenty points. All over em!
Queer chap, Beeton. He’s a recruit. Middle twenties, mask-like brown face, dark hair, lithe walk. I’d sum him up as cruel, courageous and strong.

Evening: Ginger Hurst and I went into Brighton. (Ginger, a hefty unintelligent fellow, might be described as all right below the shoulders!) Carnival night in Brighton. We wandered along the Pier. Everyone looking gay. Paper hats, streamers, people singing, “The Lambeth Walk”. Ginger looked solemnly around and contributed to the gaiety every now and then by shouting –“Wakee, wakee! Come on then my lads! Rise and shine! Sun’s a scorching yer eyes out!”

We stood by the “Dogems” some time without getting a vacant car. Then I saw a very attractive, vivacious girl bumping around, alone. So, when the cars stopped, I dashed across, said, “May I be your passenger?” got in beside her and paid the man. Ginger grinned sheepishly when we hurtled past him, my arm around the girl. We had three trips altogether (she, independently, paid the second time) and then I went back to Ginger who thought I was a fool. Was very tempted to pursue the matter further but I had not forgotten my Lois.

Afterwards we sauntered along the Front, meeting Bonner, Kirby, Cooley and some others. Their methods of enjoyment – especially Ginger’s – savoured somewhat of hooliganism and I felt rather a wet blanket. Cooley and I had supper whilst the others hung about outside. Later we all came back to camp by taxi. Bed 1:30.

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