Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday 4th February 1941

Today it was sunny and dustless. I got up first this morning and lit the fire for a mash of tea. During the day we checked our kit, before the loading of the lorry, and drew rations of food and water for 72 hours.

A mail went out this morning; for two hours there was concentrated silence at the M1 camp site, as we wrote our letters. I had the usual feeling of desolation and loneliness, which I always get after writing home is done, as I sealed the envelopes. Some men seem to feel worse when they receive a letter. Others, like myself feel elated then; but it's awful when you seal a letter, hoping it will be possible for it to go, ever so quickly, by air mail. Today my last and therefore saddest letter ended:- “Auf Wiederschen Dearest – you really are my dearest, you know...”

Tonight Pond and I are sitting in the blacked-out cab with a mug of fiery cognac. We came here to read but talked instead – and smoked! there was a canteen issue of 150 cigarettes each this afternoon. We began with Sid going to Maldon flicks with a friend and two barmaids in a swaggering manner, piquing his wife to be, who watched their rakish progress from the queue and later sat nearer them – to Rio and I saying good-bye and meeting Mick at a London station at midnight during my last leave – and ended with the prospects of this invasion of Libya and the awful possibility of an invasion on our England, (April!) and the possible duration of this dreadful and endless war – and the gloomy aftermath. Pity we didn't keep our conversation to the past, leaving the future veiled as it should be!

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