Monday, August 04, 2008

Thursday 7th March 1940

The new telephone exchange (Switch Unit universal 10-line) was the subject of today’s lectures. Lovely piece of work! Mr Adams still seems to regard me as the exchange operator and I was the first man to practice operating the new type switch unit. I asked him if I was still the M1 NCO and he said that he hoped so and that I’d only been moved out of HQ Troop into “B” Troop during his absence. If possible he’d get me back, he said. Doubtless “B” NCO Sigs. is a nice job – probably it will entail roaring around on a motor bike later on. Also it is straightforward, not complicated like the Command Post work. Nevertheless, the new Unit is attractive, I’m fairly efficient at the M1 job and most of my friends are in the troop. Of course, Ron Dean is eager to get back to his old job as “B” NCO Sigs. So a change would suit him even more than myself. Ah well! Laps of the Gods!

A gloomy rumour came true: when we signallers returned from the school at tea time we found that the lines had been reorganised and the number of men per tent reduced to seven or eight. All except “A” Troop men had been shifted from tent No. 15. Ling and Naden were in HQ Troop’s lines and I was in a raw-looking row of newly erected tents, among “B” Troop men. End of a jolly family.

I’m now in charge of a tent (bugger it!) and my companions are Barford (specialist), Gregory and Willoughby (signallers) and Partington, French and Howarth. The last are all militiamen, probably gunners or drivers. A stream of terrible words scorched my lips when I found my kit slung in this tent. I’ve had such a pleasant time too, acting like a gunner, with Pond i/c tent! Became resigned eventually, “Browned-off, boy?” chuckled Pond. “No,” I said, “The moving finger writes, y’know…”

One thing, it’s delightfully roomy in the new tent. Strangely silent in my new quarters (which are at the end of the farthest tent lines) when I came in from the canteen at 9:30p.m. Five men, all sound asleep. Everything quiet except for jackals, crying in the distance. Very soothing! In tent No.15 there’d be a hell of an argument in progress now. Noisy there – but very jolly!


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