Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday 23rd May 1940

Morning ride under an almost frantic officer. Remarkably caustic! I get less of his abuse than formerly, thank heavens; he has found fresh victims. After a very short break there was a “panic” and we all fell-in for digging. We hastily finished off an AA gun pit on a hillside and were rewarded by the grant of the half holiday we didn't receive yesterday.

It's been a pleasant afternoon in the mess, sitting by the wireless set. Got the German news via New York which gave quite a different version to that of Daventry.
“Those two great empires (France and Britain) will be beaten and they will perish.”

Afterwards, Podgie Pond dozed and woke and dozed again beside me, whilst I read the “Southend Standard” - a month old – and twiddled wireless knobs. Very soothingly, Eastern music throbbed monotonously from Cairo whilst I read of familiar places and familiar names.

Pond is well-known as an anti-something. Anyhow, he's in favour of the co-operative state and a bit of a fascist. Must confess, he's rather converted me, also. This morning a specialist was shouting in the lines, “Fall in the Fifth Column, under Bombardier Pond!” It sounded rather funny. Sidney interviewed the crier. “Gunner Humphereys,” he said, “I have two witnesses to prove that you accuse me of being a Fifth Column man, presumably an espionage and sabotage agent. You must come before the OC with me and prove your charge.” Humphereys thought he really meant it and was “shaken”!

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