Monday, July 07, 2008

Wednesday 20th September 1939

Battery Exercise today – the first since camp. In Ling’s absence (he’s still sick) I went back to my old job i/c Command Post signallers. Pond was i/c “A” and Dean i/c “B”.

Rather futile for me – who have done no Troop signalling – to be i/c “A” with Pond as my assistant, but Mr Adams says this is so, on paper. Good to be back with M1 though, just on this occasion. (“M1 Personnel, ‘shun!” I snarled as the Major approached during “Detachments front”)

Triumph for our Mr Adams when the Major, going through “Orders” said, “We have the wireless vans but I’m afraid the wireless will have to be imagined today” Mr Adams was able – through Sergeant Quayle’s overnight preparations – to step forward, salute smartly and say “We have three sets now working sir”.

We established the telephone exchange, completely hidden in a deep dry ditch beneath a thick hedge. Here we could work uninterrupted and secure from observation. I had Gayler with me. Having remembered that he seemed the brightest of the recruits to whom I showed the exchange at camp, I asked for him to be put in the CP group as an understudy for Ling when I have gone. Thus, in the Army, may a man’s destiny be set.

After the Exercise, our new CO, Major Ingledew, delivered a critical address. He’s strict and regimental but he certainly knows his job and should make us, ultimately, into an efficient and disciplined unit. The Command Post was the only section not criticised for having no concealment. He said we were concealed very well.

There was one “balls up” however – possibly owing to a “short” somewhere, “A” and “B” could hear each other without being connected. In the afternoon Gayler, Ling (now well again) and I overhauled and tested the Seven plus Three at Battery HQ, using a metallic circuit. We could find nothing wrong whatever.

Pleasant to have had a few days without any routine duty.


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