Friday, July 11, 2008

Monday 13th November 1939

Cartwright, Dean and I, the only signallers here, were given a real signals job this morning. Dean and I put up a wireless ground station on the hill above the village street. Cartwright was sent to a railway station some three miles away with a wireless truck. He kept in communication with us right through the day, whilst stores were being unloaded. This was much better than the navvy work being done by the rest of the advance party! Messages were not very frequent so we had much jocular conversation and did a little experimenting.

Dean went to lunch at 1p.m, and I when he returned at 1:45. Arrangements for our own messing have been made now. I found the mess-hall in an ex-church hall. Peaceful there! Bread, butter, cheese and pickles and tea; no none else about except the cooks. There was a wash place and lavatory adjoining; and central heating was installed. What an improvement on the Rink at Chelmsford! Pleasant to have arrived here before the main body. Snug and quiet, with just a few of us here.

I’m beginning to feel pretty fit now. Smoking seldom, very seldom exceeds ten cigarettes a day; often I only have eight or so. That cough of mine is diminished amazingly, owing to this and the healthy life.

At about 3:30p.m the main party arrived by train. Cartwright gave a highly amusing “running commentary” on the scenes at the station. The afternoon dragged on to a cold twilight and work in the chilly, wet field was a less attractive proposition.

Dammit! The kindly hospitality of these Midlanders – with their lovely familiar dialect and understandable ways! I’d just said to Cartwright, “The fact is, I now feel cold and tired and miserable. Over” And then, two children came from a nearby house and shyly gave Ron and I plates of steaming hot pancake!


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