Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friday 19th December 1941

We are still here - all of us – but terribly depressed. The first sign of a change of plan came when the Colonel rang up to say they were “doing all they could about the draft, at RHQ. “Tell the men we're not sitting on our backsides...”

Everyone was standing by, kit packed until about noon, when the news came through that both the draft of 120 men to 51st RA and of 60 men to an RHA unit were cancelled. Nor postponed, cancelled! “It's definitely cancelled,” said the Colonel, less brusque than usual, “but we look like being here some time. No expectations of a move down yet.”

So the groups of sullen men dispersed and the death throes of the Essex Yeomanry were postponed; but the seed of unhappiness and discontent had been sown. The rations are terribly meagre and badly prepared now, with battery cooking. Half a mug of tea each, without sugar. “We'll have to do more tomorrow,” said the cook, vaguely. At present we've a small reserve of tinned rations, milk, sugar, tea etc. but it can't last long without any supplementing.

The popular B.C. and the genial Battery Captain have both gone away with minor ailments. We'd hoped to get the weary, drawling, dry-witted Major Robin Boulton back as B.C. But no! (He hit a mine about nine weeks ago and went down suffering from shock. Today he returned to Tobruch and became a Captain in 414.) Captain Stratt, probably quite a decent fellow but unknown to us, came from 414 to be our B.C.

We're all beastly short of cigarettes and tobacco stores. There's apparently some difficulty in obtaining supplies for this Regiment as it is just about to go down...

(“We look like being here some time, yet,” said the Colonel.)


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