Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday 21st November 1941

3:30a.m. A busy evening since “21” yesterday – at 5p.m. Now all is quiet here, except for a persistent steady rumble near the road. Tanks, lots of them, moving up for the morning attack! Far away to the West are occasional gun-flashes and distant thuds. There are few calls on the switchboard except for an unusually careful testing of lines. Still the tanks rumble on. It's a pity that they have to advertise their approach in this way.

4:30a.m. I can still hear the noise of the tanks but it is almost drowned now in the thud of gunfire from somewhere quite near at hand – on our right rear. This is probably 107 RHA firing to the South. Is this the morning of the battle? I suppose so. We shall put down a barrage on the enemy positions whilst a force (which includes the 1st RHA) will try to break out of the perimeter and join the forces from the frontier. We have been told nothing but I think this is the Day, probably.

Does she love me? Is it possible? To reassure myself I read her last letter again.
“... Just for fun I have looked in my diary again to see the exact things we did write on those windows...
... I suppose I must have liked you very, very much to write all those scrawls in my diary, but I'm glad I did now, for darling we were so hopelessly happy – weren't we?
... And I sat on a little gate cum fence and Stephen said he thought I looked very lovely sitting there... Oh Lord! we are such fools... I wonder just why FATE DESTINED US TO MEET!
... I think the Stephen I love is being kept quite safe, to be re-discovered somewhere in the English countryside...
... But when I stroll away in the evenings... and my secret thoughts... and sometimes I wonder if I am foolish in wondering these things, and then extracts from the letters you have written me, tell me I'm not...”

Why! She wasn't sure either! She had to reassure herself just as I did. It certainly does seem too good to be true – yet it is true.

Today! It's nearly 6:15 and just now I heard, “Nine minutes to go before the first bang.”!

Twilight of 1941 ends in the twilight of early morning, a few minutes before the barrage goes down.

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