Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday 29th December 1940

A little “harassing fire” on just now (6p.m.) So far, there's been no answer. They replied to this mornings dose however and an unlucky OP party got shelled. Jim Hutley and Ron Hadlow were wounded and have been sent back to Base. Bob Andrews had a narrow escape from injury: Fancy old Ron being one of our first 339 casualties!

Sid was with me in the exchange pit from 7p.m. He operated the switchboard whilst I dozed. I awoke about 9:30p.m. and felt like a snack so we got the primus and tea mashing utensils in. When I returned later (carrying a tin of meat loaf and some biscuits) a lovely smell of hot tea came to me as I wriggled into the pit from the cold darkness of the night. Afterwards, we sat smoking and Sid held forth on world affairs, demonstrating how and when this war would eventually end. (Dreams of distant peace!)

The 414 exchange operator rang through at 11p.m. (we hadn't bothered to “go off duty” at 10p.m.) and grumbled about his job, saying that he was lying in the open, shivering, in a trench about 18 inches deep. “Now just listen to me, boy!” bawled Pond, all jolly, “We're all right here!” And he went on to describe our snug, lighted dugout and the recent meal. “In fact, boy,” he ended, heartily, “It's so nice here that we're staying on a bit longer! We should have called the next relief an hour ago!” All this must have been bitter news to the wretched 414 operator!

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