Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tuesday 3rd October 1939

At the first parade we are supposed to perform PT exercises, and in my own case this is usually taken with “A” Troop, to which I and several other signallers have been appointed for roll-call purposes. “A” Troop PT usually consists of dull exercises under a strict sergeant and unpleasant bombardier, in company with some uncouth and unfamiliar gunners.

Today, for a change we fell-in with our own squads, so I was with signallers only, as I used to be. Sergeant Quayle marched us away across the Park at a brisk pace. Arrived at the far end, we fell-out, had a smoke and then marched back! At second parade we heard the order, “Fall-out men who are going away!” and our Sergeant was among these.

I was sent to BHQ to check and test five wireless sets. This took all day. In the afternoon Boden and I were there alone – with Lieut. Adams. Going into the QM’s stores I saw a man with unfamiliar buttons and badges on his uniform. Good heavens, it was Jacko, come for a gossip! He spent the rest of the afternoon with us, first in the garden on the sets, later in the wireless room whilst we lazily tested HT and LT batteries. Dean, Boden and I took him along to tea in the mess!

Jacko called at the billets later on and sat on Jennings’ bed whilst I cleaned up.
By jove! I do wish he was still with us! And George Embleton! We had a snack at Wainwrights’. Mary was there, with a quite decent bloke in the Military Police. Rather fond of him, I reckon. She’s awfully keen to get married, now that we are at war and heaven knows what may happen to everyone. I do not blame her; and I am certainly not jealous – have no right to be, anyhow.

This has been a hail-and-farewell sort of day. Hail to Jacko; an empty stool at the bar for George; hail to Hamick “Hemmings” posted back here from Div. HQ when I never expected to see him again; and farewell to Sergeant Quayle.

Jacko, Tiny and I went to a pub in the Broomfield Road district and, as arranged were joined there by Sergeant, Sid Pond and their wives. Sergeant Q was very jocular about haggis and kilts; he’ll be in Scotland this time tomorrow. “What are you having, Steve?” he cried, “I can call you that now I’m in a different unit!”

Went along to his house for a final drink, after closing time. Then – farewell again – “Good luck, Sergeant!”

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