Monday, October 06, 2008

Sunday 13th July 1941

The Liverpool Protestants in the wadi (Scott, Wetherall and The Duke) celebrated their big day yesterday – July 12th (Orange-Man's Day) which in their beloved Liverpool is always the time for pitched battles between King Billy's heroes and the hated Paddy's bastards! Wetherall sang their song. Each verse ended: “We are the sons of Billy, And to hell with Popery!” July the Twelfth apparently is the glorious anniversary of the day when “King Billy” (William of Orange) crossed the Boyne.

Yesterday also, I was in a swimming party which for some reason was taken to the beach by a most circuitous route – via Tobruch harbour. As we were jolting along at the water's edge, I was wondering how many more ships would have to be sunk before the harbour was absolutely full of wrecks. Whilst I was thus ruminating, an unseen, unheard bomber, high overhead, released a stick of bombs. It was quite unpleasant. I suddenly saw a great puff of black smoke appear about 50 yards ahead. We cowered in the bottom of the lorry. Crash! Crash!! CRASH!!! (Nearer! How many in a stick? They've got me this time I thought gloomily) CRASH!!!! Silence, except for the popping of AA guns (only four in a stick, apparently). All the bombs fell in the water, otherwise the blast would have got some of us, doubtless. Nevertheless several men were hit nearby, apparently by splinters. Subsequently, everyone lit cigarettes except myself. I had none!

Today the Duke and I were cooks for the ten men now attached to M1 for rations. During the forenoon I gave Newton a lesson on Geography. He's keen on maps. He was rather baffled by latitude and longitude. It seemed strange to the Duke that Liverpool, which appears at the bottom of the map of NW England should have a latitude North of the Equator!

Morale is high this evening, for another NAAFI issue arrived! The second within 7 days after six or eight weeks with nothing coming in! We each receive 1 box of matches, 60 Craven “A” cigarettes and two tins of beer. On top of this (it never rains but what it pours) there was a large issue of washing water and we all had a good wash and laundered our clothes.

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