Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wednesday 3rd August 1938

With “B” class in the recruits squad again, striving to keep up with the speed. Upton is also in this class but Fayers and Camper are in “C”. Hurst is a trained man – linesman, whilst Woolmer is an operator B3.

Bloody warm in the recruits tent (but damn cold in the early mornings, especially at the wash-place, 6 a.m.) Of the 35 recruits, only 9 were not fallen in as latecomers at the afternoon parade. Among those nine, were Fayers, Upton, Camper, Lawrence and myself, to our great joy. And we only paraded five seconds before the first of the latecomers!

A swim on the beach with Fayers this afternoon. In the evening went again to The Smuggler’s House, Rottingdean, for supper – with Upton. When I got back to camp I found an almost-hot tap in the shower’s hut and had a damn good shave. The first unpainful shave since I came to camp. Might not have to shave tomorrow, then; 6 a.m. at the washing place is hell and there’s a strong, bitter wind. It’s dark now and we’re all in the wind-shaken tent except for Fayers and Hurst. Five candles provide illumination as we lie on our respective beds.

Two promotions today. Woolmer – after five years service – becomes Lance-Corporal. And – surprise! – little Corporal Russell has got his third stripe. And oh! I forgot! Corporal Smith, who slept in this tent the first night, has been promoted to Sergeant, also.

Interesting point. One frosty morning last winter I was driving from my Carlton Avenue digs to Southend station (rendezvous for a CHA rambling party). At the end of Southbourne Grove stood a “Terrier” Corporal, waiting for a bus. I gave him a lift. Seeing he was a Signals NCO, I mentioned I was in 193 Battery, adding that I wished I was in his unit. That was Corporal Smith, now Sergeant. When we meet at the drill hall recently, we recalled the incident.


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