Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday 7th December 1941

Well, bugger me, here we are, dug-in – after a fashion – and line laid in a position several miles outside the wire. It is now 4:30a.m. The panic was resumed at 8 o'clock last night – an hours notice to move. At 8:30p.m. came PTM (thank heavens the moon was up) and at 9:30p.m. we set out. Nobody knows yet what exactly is in the wind. A battle may be pending or this may only be a routine move, or we may be here for some small task. In any case, since our troops are now in Wadi Belgassem, there was little point in staying on the Eastern Sector. Strange to be on the flat miredam again after so long in the wadi lands.

On the way here we saw a cheering sight – 200 Iti prisoners marching into Tobruch, guarded by 6 jovial Tommies. Presumably they had been captured in The Wadi Belgassem. There are many parachute flares hovering above the enemy positions. We have not been troubled much by shelling but there is almost constant aerial activity. Just now, a load of bombs somewhere, shook this place. The planes are so low that they are clearly visible, although it is a cloudy night. They appear to be 3 engined Iti bombers. Now I'll try and have an hours snooze, sitting here.

6:30a.m. On duty again now. Still all quiet – comparatively. I've just had a nice long chat over the lines with old Pop Parker at the 414 exchange nearby. It's a bit cold. At 4a.m., by the way, I managed to brew five mugs of tea on the primus. This was appreciated by all ranks including myself. at such an unconventional hour and when one is cold, tired and hungry, the “brew” is doubly magnificent!

10p.m. By jove, I'm sleepy! Only another hour to go, unless something unusual happens, then I'll retire to the snug M1 tent nearby. “A party” or “a show” as it is sometimes called, has been in audible progress since 9p.m. exactly. Our infantry is making an attack on the escarpment. So far they have not asked for artillery support, apparently trying to use the element of surprise. For the past hour however, there has been a good deal of enemy gunfire – a barrage in fact – and considerable machine gun fire. It seemed rather contradictory, therefore, when the FOO came through just now and reported, “Situation is unchanged. Still no noise.”

We've moved about cautiously here, all day, as we are visible to the enemy on the escarpment, in this position. No shells have fallen in the battery area, however.
It is quite pleasant to have a change of scenery but my God, I am sleepy!


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