Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wednesday 5th February 1941

Travelled about 70 miles south and westwards today. A pretty bloody trip. We're right down in the desert now. Hereabouts it is stony and a journey over this surface jolts the guts out of one. Most of the way, though, has been across uneven and dusty ground – two evils in one! Choking dust constantly swirling over us in the back of the lorry, hour after hour.

Nicholls had it worst, being farthest aft. Once he lay down as we jolted on, almost invisible in the dust clouds. “Have a ground sheet over your head, Nic, and try to sleep!” I said. He spread his hands, “But I don't want to sleep - I want to die!”
That was early in the journey, when we could still joke, before our heads, throats and stomachs began aching!

Later, the excessive jolting started a leak in one of the precious water cans... (I mention these little things in case anyone later imagines this to have been a “cushy” campaign). The severity of today's march is shown by the fact that no less than seven of our vehicles fell out on the way for various reasons - “bogged” in the sand, engine trouble etc. Some of these are still missing.

However! There's always a brighter side! In the midst of a waste of desert, we found six loaves of BREAD! and took them aboard. We bivouacked just before sunset, mashed tea and had some toast. Later on supper was served. We hear that tomorrow's march is about the same distance as today's, also (this unofficially) that Benghazi is already being encircled.

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