Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sunday 8th October 1939

In the shed at the top of Aunt’s drive, I revved Slinky’s engine; switched off. The song ended and Slinky B’s Long Silence began. Then I put bricks under the axles, so that the wheels were clear of the ground; emptied the radiator; took out the battery.

Soon felt the lack of a car! No trains were running from Willoughby Station so I borrowed a cycle and rode to Rugby, Marie being my companion. My train connections were now very doubtful, but I (fatalistically) neither worried or hurried. Left the bike at Marie’s. They gave me tea at her house, for which I was very grateful. Rugby Station seemed lifeless, but eventually the booking office opened. My special (furlough) ticket was only 7/7d all the way!

Caught the 5:59. It was full of servicemen returning from leave. In my carriage were a naval rating, an RAF Corporal, two cavalrymen and one miserable civilian. We exchanged cigarettes and talked “shop” all the way to London. Weird journey through darkened stations and blacked-out country. Only a dim blue light in the carriage itself.

At Euston a vast tide of khaki, grey and navy blue flowed down the platform. I felt proud to be one of that tide. Difficult tube journey (all the routes have been altered) but I reached Liverpool Street five minutes before a Chelmsford train went.

Reached billets 10:30p.m.

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