Sunday, July 06, 2008

Wednesday 6th September 1939

Awakened at 6:30a.m. by the air-raid sirens. This was quite convenient, as we always rise then, in any case. No all-clear at 7:30, time for parade. I wore my helmet but felt a bit of a fool so took it off again. At the square, everyone else seemed equally ashamed of their hats. When the SM and officers came however we all had to don tin hats and sling respirators at the alert – and keep in small parties. The all-clear did not go until 9 o’clock, actually.

We’d seen many English fighters but no sign of raiders. Rumour had it that the raid had actually occurred in the Thames district.

An hours marching drill this afternoon – and 339 Battery begins to show signs of smartness!

Met Lois in the evening, at the Sunbeam café. I was in uniform of course – civvies are not allowed – with nice bright buttons, lance-jack stripes, crossed flags and four year service star. (I’m not yet due for that – until October – but thought I’d sew it on now as we may be too busy for “make and mend” jobs next month.) I’m now getting quite proud of my uniform and as I have to wear it every day, find it less irksome.

After tea – Lois told me that today’s air raid was on the Kentish Thames coast and seemed unsuccessful – we sat in the car on the café pull-in. We had a long discussion without once looking at each other. I puffed hard at my pipe and wound the car windows up and down. It started when Lois said, “Under the circumstances, do you think I ought to go back to Great Yeldham wearing my engagement ring or not?”

Up to the present she has pretended to be not engaged.

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