Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday 17th October 1940

Have had a hectic time for two days. Drill orders during the day and the exchange at nights. Over half the signallers are in hospital or sick, hence we are terribly short of men on these exercises. M1 went out with three (untrained) men and one (untrained) man on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, instead of the normal compliment of five trained signallers. It meant a good deal of work for me, the only person on the truck who could recognise an earth pin, for instance, by sight... Of course the officers expect things to run just as smoothly and the lines to be laid just as quickly...

“This is the land of the four Esses and two F's” said Naden impressively, last night, as we sat in the exchange dugout. “Yes?” “Sand, Shit, Sun, Syphilis and Fuckin' Flies,” he explained laconically. “ - And bombs, Bloody Bombs,” I added, as distant thuds were heard.

This bloody country! Even when blokes go on leave they can't escape the consequences of having lived in this damned mish-qwise place under the conditions we do. Every one of the first leave party of eight had agonising stomach pains for two or three days after beginning to eat normal food, in Cairo and Alex. Sid Pond contracted dysentery and has not returned yet.

However, it was a luxurious arising this morning, a maintenance day. Lay in my extremely snug shelter, excruciatingly comfortable, and was awakened by Don Parker (today's tea-fetcher) at 5:40a.m. Then I just languidly stretched out with a mess tin and had it filled with hot tea from our billy can. I lay there peacefully for another 10 minutes, sipping tea and smoking a cigarette. Tea in bed at the back-of-the-front!!


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