Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monday 16th September 1940

Writing again by moonlight but it's not too good tonight; misty. There were five alarms last night, none of them serious. It browned us off, so Jackie Hall and I have dug a shallow pit right by the slit trench. Now we won't need to take shelter unless bombs fall right close, in which case we can crawl down into the trench by a special passage.

Terribly hot in the daytime now. It is only bearable in the evenings; then we feel fine! The face is definitely better and I've shaved all the beard off except on chin and upper lip. I like this beard! The blokes call me “The U-Boat Commander”.

Gas lecture this afternoon. Intelligence informs that the enemy are possibly about to use lewisite or mustard. The time bombs in B Troop went off today. We're used to it now. Hardly anyone even looked up when the bangs came.

Things are moving in this area and the Road (I can give it capitals for it's the one road running from rear to forward areas) has been crowded with more traffic than usual during the past 48 hours. Nearly all coming back and going behind us! Guns of all shapes and sizes, tanks... 107th is now in our rear, so they say! Long trains have been coming down from the front too. Smith, the “L” driver has just come back from an all day reconnaissance in the forward areas. He says the Italians – and Germans – are advancing and that our troops are withdrawing “to previously prepared positions”. (How often I've heard that phrase in the war news!) He thinks we're going to stay here and cover the withdrawal, if necessary. “A” Troop guns have just moved off to a nearby gun position, I notice, covering the Road, railway, and hills to the southwards. So we might have more excitement than we want, shortly!

Bathing parade just before tea. The sea, once so treacherous, was now like glass. Lovely for swimming. Lagoon-like. In fact probably the iridescent seas one gets at a place like Nassau, pride of the Bahamas!

End of Shimmering Haze 1940


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