Thursday, August 28, 2008

Monday 19th to Wednesday 21st August 1940

A two-night drill order – but as I said to Sid Pond, a few nights out are fuck-all nowadays, a mere bagatelle as it were. It was a Brigade Exercise actually and we represented a Syrian Army invading Palestine. (Perhaps a rehearsal for an invasion in fact of Syria by the Palestine garrison as many blokes darkly hinted.)

The first evening was lovely; a bivouac in large, sweet smelling eucalyptus woods. Delightful to lie there – and even to wake at 4a.m.! - with trees and bushes bathed in moonshine all around me as I lay. Keeble, inspired, even tried to compose a little poetry! Pond lying beside me, talked of home – how he longed to get back there, feeling somehow that his wife felt insecure, although her letters were still cheery. The next night wasn't so good, in battle positions further south in the scrub and sand. 2 1/2 hours sleep, that night. And during the days the flies were a torment...

We're back in camp now. It is thought that our training programme is practically complete at last. One more big drill order and – what then? Underhill has just come into my candlelit tent and waits impatiently to discuss old music. I will now conclude number 4 of the war diary. Oh! I do hope I don't lose these books!

Heil Freiheit! In our canteen has appeared the notice, prominently shown beside the wireless set:- “Please Only Use British Broadcasting Stations. By Order.”

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