Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tuesday 18th June 1940

One of our two brother regiments, the 107th, is said to be going to the front, in Egypt. For this purpose, 107th has had to requisition a good deal of our equipment. It seems that Stores have little equipment - 107th took two of our guns as well!

If Germany wins, it will be the victory of a deliberate, efficient machine which strained every cog to succeed against the puny efforts of an ill-disciplined, poorly organised, over confident England. The 107th episode is typical. After all these months of war, it is admitted that only a million men are at present in England, trained and (presumably) equipped to repel invasion.

Up to this weekend, only 8 classes of men – 21-28 – had been called up for military service. The reason given was that there was insufficient equipment for more.
To the vocabulary of “Shook 'em,” “No waiting,” “Straight up” and “Keen, see,” two more phrases can be added. The first is the laconic, “Panic”. It's “panic” when men are dragged from their beds at midnight and sent to look out for parachutists. It was “panic” on June 1st when “the bird plan” was put into operation. The phrase “panic” can of course be used in connection with the old favourites ie: Man seen carrying rifle: -

“What's up, panic?”
“Yeh, Italians forcing a landing on the coast”
“Shoot 'em straight down, boy – no waiting”
“Yeah, I'll shake the buggers”

The second phrase is, “You've had your rations, matey” And that originated when a man came in late for tea and found there was no food left on his table except a dry crust. “You've had your rations, matey” the cook told the complainant, “It 'aint my fault if your pals 'ave ate 'em, is it?” So now, whenever someone says, “No fucking jam left?” or “Is this all I get for my bloody breakfast?” there's at once a cry of “You've had your rations, matey” the irony of which, in such circumstances, is obvious.


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