Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tuesday 2nd August 1938

Normal duty today, with “the school”, i.e. the recruits squad. I joined the 4 words a minute (“B”) class which was rather ambitious for me. “C” would have been more suitable, with Fayers. We went by lorry to a hill near Rottingdean and received visual instruction from a hard-working, amusing Sergeant. “Christ Almighty!” said he when some men right wheeled instead of left. “Are you in this army, or Fred Karno’s?” he asked a somnolent recruit. And when our Corporal Russell, at the far end of the field, misinterpreted one of his rapid signals re. procedure, the Sergeant threw his cap on the ground. “For God’s sake go and tell him to send in cipher”, he growled, to the nearest recruit. The recruit dashed off. “Tell him to send his stripes back too!” yelled the Sergeant.

Afternoon: gas mask drill and a “school” lecture. I nearly fell asleep. We dismissed at 3 o’clock.

Now – 8p.m and I’m in a decent café at Rottingdean, on the cliffs. Have just had a swim in the pool below. Did a width underwater, although my “wind” is not so good as it used to be. I’ve ordered a buck rarebit and coffee. Here it is!

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