Monday, June 16, 2008

Friday 26th May 1939

Crouch-Blackwater zone today. Met Lois at Rettendon “Bell” in the forenoon (the meeting was not so simple as that, but no matter) and drove through the lovely green sun-lands. Made calls rapidly when we did reach Burnham on Crouch. Finished at 3:30, having done fourteen calls and taken four (small) orders.

Drove very idly back – batting along at a steady 27 and being passed by all vehicles except pedal cycles – until I was near Battlesbridge, when I speeded a little. Lois came with me into a lorry driver’s bar. I learnt that two horses which I had been tempted to back each way this morning, had both come up – a place in the 2:15 and a win in the 3 o’clock. Mentally determined, then, to take up betting in a small way. Mr Retallack carefully described his system yesterday. So another mug is born…

TA tonight. Trained signallers and recruits were all out practising when I arrived. I took over the telephone exchange as usual. Although I’m terribly unsure of the job as yet, blokes at the other ends seemed to make as many or even more blunders than myself. Some of the recruits seem quite decent fellas and a better class of man seem to have joined recently. Annual Training commences in a weeks time. It will be a time for “shaking-down” and getting to know each other and our jobs.

Yes, things are fairly chaotic! We have not had a roll call for several weeks now; our names have been jotted-down in haphazard fashion. Sergeant Quayle has not left us. It is rumoured that the Major refused to sanction his transfer to the Military Police – and no wonder, at a time like this!
Embleton and Hignall are gaining swift promotion. They were both appointed Bombardier (two stripes) tonight. This is, of course, acting, unpaid rank at present.

Still light when I drove back to Stock. (“…And – “How the days are drawing out” you said…”) My kit is packed, for this is the Whitsuntide weekend and Lois and I are going away, somewhere to the West of London, probably. We’re not quite sure where, exactly, but this is planned to be The Perfect Crime. The Christmas intrigue was very amateurish; many loopholes which might have led to discovery, were left open. Many threads were left loose (or attached to the wrong terminals, to use signalese). Now, however, we hope to execute The Perfect, Certain, Undetectable Crime!

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