Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sunday 22nd October 1939

Did not get up for breakfast. Luxury! I lay asleep until 7:30a.m. Went downstairs then; the sun had risen and it was much pleasanter than fumbling about in the inky darkness of 6;30a.m. Had some tea from a thermos and sandwiches which I’d bought overnight. Put on my uniform (laid out neatly and gleaming) and walked to the certain factory roof, where I took over from Sid Pond.

Little to do – except in air raids! Almost the “cushiest” job in the Army, I reckon!
In an office on the roof was a relay wireless station. It is now 3p.m and I’ve been in the wireless room nearly all the time except for occasional strolls on the roof and dinner – at RHQ. Jennings was dining there, also Cash, the man who was on guard with me that first night of the war. The Regiment was moving within a month he said, to commence training proper. One of the Officers had told him he said, and furthermore, a reconnaissance party had been despatched there this very day.

Damn him! Although bursting, he would not divulge the name of the village or small town to which we would be sent. By constant questioning, we found that it was within 50 miles of Chelmsford, in the Suffolk district, and a place of which everyone had heard. Tiny and I crept upstairs, took out an AA map and looked at East Anglia.. Immediately one place-name leapt at me – “Newmarket!”

We hurried down to the hall, button-holed Cash. “Know anything of the races, old man?” asked Tiny. “No, - eh? So you know then?” said Cash, bewildered but relieved that the secret was out. “Sure, we know,” said I confidently. “Yes,” he admitted, happy that concealment was no longer necessary, “It is Newmarket”.

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