Monday, July 07, 2008

Thursday 14th September 1939

After several changes, we now have our meals at an old skating rink in London Road. A dismal place – and it will be a damn sight worse in winter, I reckon. Peeling distemper on the walls, leaky roof and filthy girders from which a gentle rain of fine rust particles often falls – onto our clothes, the tables and the food. We have vacated the old drill hall, and Battery HQ is now at an empty house in London Road. We still parade in the square however, and from there the signallers usually proceed to the park.

Had to drill a squad – the signallers – in the new threes formation today. Quite enjoyable. I’ve always longed to drill a squad, barking harsh orders! After work is over, Sergt. Quayle and his four lance-jacks – Stan Ling, Dean, Pond and I – have a cup of tea together, or a glass of beer according to the time of day.

Half holiday, so I motored across to Great Yeldham and saw Lois (at her request) for half an hour.

“I’ve decided that I shall not let you go” she said.
“I don’t mind being engaged,” I said, “But I do not intend to marry, now”
“Oh, that’s alright”

Sometime later, after we’d been talking about the war, I said, bewildered still, “I always thought of engagement as a prelude to marriage, not as an end in itself. In the latter case, it seems pointless” “Not necessarily,” Lois replied, “It’s a sort of first refusal, really”

We agreed that we could both have our love affairs with others… Which all seems very puzzling to me.

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