Sunday, September 07, 2008

Friday 22nd November 1940

On guard last night and today, in the vehicle dispersion area in a sandy depression just outside the camp. A pretty rough and ready guard – we didn't clean-up much and there is no guard tent. Sitting in the open writing this and it's not very easy as two fingers are now festering, besides my foot.

Last night I sat peacefully in a vehicle for two hours, discussing the psychology of armies and the quaint characteristics of various members of the battery with John West. He spoke scornfully of a large proportion of the men, who grumble unduly and are pessimistic about the war. “They're licked, beaten” he said, “They can't take it. They're far away from home and their families are getting bombed – so they've had enough; they want to call the war off and go back” I agreed, ashamedly remembering that I'd once very nearly become one of the defeatist crowd myself. And theories of “communism” - all nonsense, I see now, but once I felt bitter so sought hope in those foolish views. The officers here are a very decent lot, on the whole, too.

Next week we move to Mena Camp, quite near Cairo. The officers are very anxious that we shall not get into trouble when we get let loose in a big city. Yesterday there were subdued giggles when it was solemnly announced on parade: “Those of you who intend to visit brothels are to draw FL's at the MI room before leaving camp.”

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