Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday 10th February 1941

Weather slightly better. Had a wash, shave and shampoo. Drove Sid into Solluch during the morning, to see the MO. Arab town, white buildings, picturesque in the distance, dirty in reality. Tree-lined streets and a pretty square. Soldiers and lorries everywhere. Thousands of prisoners on the outskirts and wandering about or doing small jobs in the town. Sunshine. Wounded soldiers and Arabs being taken away in ambulances. (Many Arabs, including children, were unfortunately involved in a skirmish near here.)

There is a railhead here, too. Minaret and nunnery, now a hospital. The whole scene was somehow familiar to me – that's why I've troubled to mention it – so maybe I've read a book or seen a film that describes a similar scene.

H truck wireless tuned in to the English news at 7p.m. Libya - “magnificent victories of a handful of British and Australian troops against overwhelming numbers”... In East Africa, the rest of the MEF is pushing far into Italian Eritrea – and the Africans are getting into southern Abyssinia .... Few air raids over Britain last night ... Bulgaria denies presence of German troops ... Our Ambassador and consular staff being withdrawn from Romania as “German troops are now concentrating there, fully equipped” and obviously an expeditionary force is being prepared there.

“Like buggery we'll go home soon,” I said sardonically when the last item came over.
Don Parker, Ted Gayler and Search agreed gloomily. The popular answer to “Where next?” just now is “Back to Mena and then – the boat!” We'll probably go back to Mena or some such base camp but if there is a BOAT, it will not be going to Blighty. Not yet.

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