Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thursday 27th June 1940

Bit of a “panic” today. We are evidently moving very soon – this weekend I should imagine, and temporarily to Nathanya. It will be rotten to leave these spacious, clean billets – the best resting place I've ever had since being called up.

Jack and I went before the OC this morning (No “Prisoner and escort 'shun” business; he just wanted the facts). Somewhat peeved about the damaged rifle, and not particularly interested in our explanations. We thought we were “covered” but apparently a case may be made of the fact that the rifle was being carried at the trail instead of slung, when the accident happened. “There will doubtless be a Court of Inquiry and you will probably have to pay for the damage and I expect it will be very expensive,” he said nastily.

On Brigade HQ Guard tonight. After being buggered about all morning, I felt entitled to a “loaf” so had a bath instead of going on afternoon parade. (Owing to the chaos on which I'd depended, I was not missed.) Marvellous hot bath – not a shower, a bath! How we'll miss these billets! The first time ever that the army gave me uncrowded quarters and some degree of seclusion.

In the guard room now. It's about 7:30 p.m. as I write. A window opposite me affords realistic frame for a bit of wall, tall tree, tin shed, dark trees; above again – high old house fragment. Above the rooftop far higher, the hilltop. One of Jebel ar Turs western slopes.

3:45a.m. Ye gods I'm tired! Have been doing all the reliefs since midnight and didn't get more than ten minutes sleep before then. A prowl up the hill for half an hour; ten minutes rest; change the sentries; twenty minutes rest; another prowl. And – alas! We hear that tomorrow is moving day for the majority of us. There'll probably be baggage loading; tent pitching at Nathanya – altogether little spare time.

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