Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Saturday 25th January 1941

Relieved Gayler on the exchange at 4a.m. He told me that a message had come through that we were to be ready to move by 11a.m. I'd hoped to be able to wash some of my dirty clothes today when maintenance was finished. Damn! However, the sooner we push on, the sooner we'll get back to Blighty, I suppose. another 800 miles west to Tripoli! We'll make it! and then – Cairo, the Sudan and Abyssinia? Or home? Or to Greece? I wanted to go to Abyssinia, but today's mail rather makes me want to go home. Somehow it's a pity I got that mail; I was getting settled abroad and no longer restless.

8:30p.m. Sitting in the cab of M1 (which is blacked-out by means of my blankets) and writing by the light of a dash board lamp. God knows where we are! 80 odd miles beyond Tobruk and far to the west and south of the Gulf of Bomba. Not the least sign of any enemy activity so far. Wonder how far our advanced forces have pushed? Apparently they are encountering resistance at some point and there is also report of a good deal of dive bombing by German Junkers planes.

We are now attached to the 7th Armoured Division – this is the fourth division we've served with since we left the 54th and they have all been unusual sorts of divisions! Anyhow we're now in the division that's done nearly all the fighting here in the past five months, so we should have an eventful time during the period of our attachment. A long and dusty ride today. Broken country in patches and rocky ravines, over which the bridges had in many cases been destroyed.

Just before sunset we reached this spot, in the centre of a clump of bushes (higher than the usual scrub – about 4 foot) and immediately lit a fire. Old campaigners now! We mashed tea and had a decent meal of fried bully, biscuits, margarine and jam. Afterwards, although it was dark, we sat around the red ashes for an hour or so, smoking and yarning.

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