Friday, August 01, 2008

Tuesday 16th January 1940

Kit inspection. No work today. I spent most of the time with Hammick. Several times we slipped away from the chilled throngs, waiting in the snow for their turns for inspection. Poached egg on toast and coffee at midday. We skulked in the cook house awhile, then slipped into the mess hall (temporarily converted into a kit inspection centre) I sat on the floor and thought dreamily how nice it would be to sleep in a soft bed in a room with a fire; Hammick leaned against a warm radiator.

Suddenly I heard a voice say, “Got a cigarette Steve?” and then Hammicks petulant voice, “Don’t wake him. Can’t you see he’s asleep?” So I’d had a doze! We left hastily in case, wishing to transform the room into a mess hall again, they made us move tables etc.

We went to The Reindeer and a ripping three course lunch with cups of tea for 1/3d
Outside it was snowing… Whilst we waited (in a warm, quiet taproom) I sat sleepily by the fire, listening to Hammick theorising on revolutionary government, as he indolently threw aimless darts at the board.

Returning to the mess hall we learnt horrified, that the battery was already on parade. Never been late before! “What shall we do – go on or wait here?” “I don’t know!” Craven, we reached the parade ground. There stood the battery, in column of sub-sections. But there were no officers or sergeant majors! Dignifiedly we walked across and fell-in. Owing to the general chaos, the names of absentees had not been taken and Serg. Major Carlos had just disappeared to find out what we had to do next (which was to continue waiting for kit inspection) “So we’d no need to worry, after all!” “No, we crapped ourselves for nothing” said Hammick frankly.

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