Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Friday 26th December 1941

Eventually we marched about two miles to a “rest camp”. We carried the usual impedimenta, less blankets this time, and did the march in good order. The majority of the men must be very fed-up, for there is grousing at the least thing.
(“...'Shun! Right turn! Quick march!” “Bugger me,” they growl, “All this bull shit”... “Right, fall in again, pick up your kits.” “I 'ain't goin' to walk much further. I'll fall out if they make us...” “Fall out the Sergeants! There's a tent for you, together.” “Cor! The lousy sods! A tent for them!”)

We had to erect our own tents. Ours was sodden wet and in an awful tangle, but we got it up eventually. There are only eight of us in it – quite a large E.P.I.P.
There are no duties here. Some of us managed to scrounge bedboards and we rigged up bits of string to hang things on and a black-out and so forth. Jimmie James, the “X” driver, made a brew on the primus. Then he and I washed – in hot , soft water.

This is fine, for the time being. We shall not be here long. There may be leave, but no one knows anything. Tonight a party of men paraded and were taken down to Alexandria, but the rest of us are confined to camp! It is comic! There's no NAAFI, so it's lucky that Charlie Perry has managed to rig up a petrol lamp out of a cigarette tin, a guy line and some petrol from a lorry.

Scott has just told of an amusing incident which occurred whilst we were waiting at the railhead, on Xmas Eve. There was a sudden clatter as someone fell over their cans, (water, two gallon,) outside the tent. “Oy, oy, there!” yelled Scott indignantly. They heard the tins being replaced. “Where is Regimental Headquarters?” asked a refined voice. “No idea!” answered Scott. “This is 339!” “339?” said the voice outside, “I thought as much. Bloody half-wits.” It was the Adjutant!

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