Friday, July 04, 2008

Saturday 26th August 1939

5:30p.m. Have been here, at Stock, all day. I got up late, cleaned the car, cleaned my uniform and packed things ready for mobilisation. I want to be ready in case notice is short but nevertheless I do not think the Yeomanry will be called-up, or that there will be War.

News: “Henderson Flying Home, with messages from Hitler” “Turkey stands by Peace Front” “Italian Frontier Closed” “German Embassy advises all Germans to leave Britain at once” “Rome report of peace plan” “German ships recalled”

Rumours are as contradictory as the news!

a) It is rumoured that Henderson (British Ambassador) is bringing us a peace plan from Hitler.

b) People here say they have seen large numbers of British troops embarking for France, from both Tilbury and Southend.

To hell with it all!
Since last autumn, the novelty has worn off the word “Crisis”.

South Benfleet full of AA troops when I met Rio there this evening. Almost like a frontier town. It seems that the only units not mobilised locally are the Essex Yeomanry, RASC and Essex Regiment - all part of the field force.

Rio looked simply beautiful and I told her so. (I’ve never known any affair which progressed so well on physical attraction alone, unsupported by any moral, spiritual or mental attraction!).

We came to The Cock for darts (Rio scored smashing victories) and drinks. (“May you never look less lovely than you do at this moment” and “May you have what you want, as you want it and when you want it”)

Drove her homewards in bright moonlight. Mars is now the evening star. Rabbits dodged in the headlights. I stopped and walked back, with a flash light.Yes, one was dead, but not messily – perhaps a broken neck. I put it, still soft and warm, beside the road, on the grass.

Back to the digs 3:30a.m. No news, no telegram.

It was delightful how one forgets the crisis and war and business and money troubles when with Rio. For minutes, as we drove out of South Benfleet, we talked of mundane things like that; there was a pause, then she suddenly put fingers gently on my shoulder and said softly, “Hullo!”

We had met!

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