Monday, October 06, 2008

Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th August

Written about 10 days later.

About midnight we came out of the tunnel; the men on stretchers had already been carried out. One man, with a grey, wet face, had to be left behind at the last...
As we crossed the quay to the waiting barge, the AA guns all around, opened up.
No bombs fell. The barge crept out – bright moonlight bathed the bay – to where a dark destroyer waited at anchor.

The Royal Navy. Confidence. Security. HMS “Jervis” One of the very latest and fastest. As they helped me down below I took a last weary look at Tobruch. Lovely white buildings, the glistening sea, the full moon and the non-silvered hills. But I'd been there too long to be taken in by that evil beauty. Bloody Tobruch!

AA guns were still roaring. Fitting “curtain” to a hated place.

“Goodnight!” said a cheerful sailor, “You'll be in Alex. by tomorrow afternoon.”
“Jervis” moved at 29 knots and docked at Alex. in less than 13 hours.

I felt very tired. Ambulance through city streets to the Naval Hospital. A large old building among trees. There was a cricket match being played on a green... Within an hour I'd had a hot bath and was in bed. Through two of the ward windows, I could see leaves trembling on a tree.

At last! I thought, I can rest and get well, mentally as well as physically!
(But they moved me to another hospital, a very different place down in the desert, within 36 hours!)


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