Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Friday 14th November 1941

We woke up about 8 o'clock and found the sea, all grey and foggy, just below us. Along the escarpment was the Transit Camp and here they gave us Tobruch tea, with bully and biscuits. What a bloody time we'd had!

At last the 104th Lorry arrived and within a few hours I'd come along the familiar Bardia Road, past the RAF man's grave, past the war cemetery, past the demolished buildings, past the water point, through an empty waste, to 339 Battery HQ. They were in the same position as before but there were several changes. There are two switchboards (17 lines altogether) and there is quite a decent stone-reinforced dug out. Stones are in evidence everywhere, proof of the shelling and bombing which made the wadi men so cautious.

There are some additions (all good ones) to the inhabitants of the wadi viz. Bob Andrews, Denny Search, Motley, Langley and Tubby Cartwright. (The Langley is Fred, late of the 1st Light Troop, Crete.) The “Duke” and Weatherall of Liverpool are gone, unfortunately, but Scott, Parker, Tiny Plane, Grant. George Hignall and Naden are still here. Ling comes visiting occasionally, I hear. Major Boulton has gone down wounded and possible will not return. There was one face I missed and did not regret, the mean, furtive face of Hall.

It was nice to be back in the familiar wadi, to see them all again. Thank God it won't be quite so thirsty and hot this time. However, we may not be here long. We are standing-by for the sudden push that will smash the Jerries at the frontier, and relieve Tobruch! Zero may be any day. “You reinforcements are lucky, “ said our Colonel (He's quite different from the previous CO, now in Italy, who used to call us “Gentlemen of the Essex Yeomanry”). “You've just got back in time to share in the fun. We'll soon be out of here!”

I'm on the first shift tonight and have another hour to do. Ar exactly 9:40p.m. and again at 10:40p.m. the harbour gun fired. If it had fired at the same time last night, I, for one, would have received a rude welcome to Tobruch!

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