Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Friday 27th September 1940

For two days we've burrowed like moles into rock and now the slit trench entrance extends about 4 foot 6 inches beyond this dugout to a bend in the trench (there's a lump of rock still to be shifted around that bend; beyond there is a trench about 18 foot long, in easier sand and stone). The entrance is nicely sandbagged-up to that bend. We can't complete the roofing yet, as there is a dearth of corrugated sheeting for the moment.

Sunset is almost past. Short twilight; dark within a few minutes. There are still only four of us with M1, in this snug wadi. My turn to sleep in the dugout tonight. I slept here on Wednesday, looking sleepily out of the rough-hewn, craggy entrance at the star-shine. Last night I sat in here with Vic Naden for a while and we told stories, cigarette ends glowing and faintly illuminating rocky walls and a tin roof – whilst we sipped at a couple of bottles of ginger beer.

Great rumours come out here, as they did to Palestine, of Lady Astor, the MP, who, if tales be true, has no affection for the Middle East Army. “All men from Palestine must wear red arm bands, to show they are unclean. No decent girl must go with them” “They do nothing out there but go to brothels” “... Meanwhile, our Army in the Middle East is just basking in the sun...” These are some of the (reputed) sayings of Lady Astor!

“Basking in the sun” commented a dejected driver today, “She don't say nothin' about the dust, or the flies that bite you to bleedin' death.” 1/3 of the battery is at present in hospital, excused duty, or attending for dressings...


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