Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday 10th November 1939

Sid Pond and I reported sick at 7:30 parade and in due course went to Brentwood for dental treatment. We thought we might have some teeth out whilst there was still a chance of receiving civilised attention. Only one tooth each was removed eventually so I still have a couple to be extracted.

Except for attending a lecture by the CO re the move (“This is the first stage of a long journey and it may be a long time before we see Essex again”), Sid and I have been to no parade since returning from our (free) trip to the dentist. We are now in my billets attic – oil stove alight, skylight closed, electric light on. Sid is cleaning his kit whilst I write this. As there is a pay parade at 3:30p.m. – in half an hour – we’ll soon be fit for duty again!

I am in the next party to move. I go on Sunday with one of the road convoys, as solitary operator of an R/T truck set. The main body will go by train on Monday afternoon. And the place is still – Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

Evening: Rather against my inclinations, I was persuaded to go to the final Battery Dance tonight. Wore a very old pair of brown shoes, which I’d blacked for the occasion. Underhill paid my admission money – 3d! – and dammit! I enjoyed myself!
Sour old sod! Why didn’t I go to one of these “hops” before. Bisley, once a digs comrade, was there and of course, Dean and Pond.

I spent a good deal of the time in the bar and talking to Bisley but had several dances later in the evening. Luckily I chose a good dancer, - Sergeant Harts’ wife – as a partner and was able to trot around the floor alright, although I have not danced for a long while and have forgotten most of the little I once knew. Mrs Hart, whose husband was in the band, shoved me along cleverly during two waltzes, two fox-trots, a palais glide and a Lambeth Walk.

And at eleven o’clock, the MC (Ray Fullerton, the Battery Clerk) made a neat brief speech ending with “So good night to you all and good bye!” Then, the stately RA Slow March and The King.


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