Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday 8th June 1942

Oh! 339, tanks and infantry all rushed back again last night. They had been temporarily used to re-enforce a hard pressed sector. The defence was successful.

Breakfast this morning was jam and biscuits, tea, and fried bully and sausage (four-fifths of a sausage per man!) It was interrupted half way through by a call to the command post as usual. Subsequently we spent a pleasant though tiring morning on the OP line. It was broken several times by tanks. We found a new minefield being laid, so loped the wire around it – about a mile extra. It was very quiet there and no one could shout for me. So we settled down for a peaceful brew of coffee, by the minefield. Not tea! John Hatch had some tinned cafe au lait.

I strolled across, whilst we were waiting for the water to boil, and tapped in to the OP line, to see what was “on”. “... Where's M2?” a voice was demanding. “They're still out, maintaining the line,” said another voice, the troop telephonist's. “M2 here, Dawson speaking,” I interposed dramatically. “You're to come up to the OP,” said the first voice. “We may be moving and “Norman” (Captain Gardener) wants you here for reeling in the line.” “Well, I'm in the minefield now,” I said cunningly, thinking of that brew, “But I can reach the OP in about ten minutes...” “That'll do, Steve, no hurry. “Norman” says to leave your vehicle well below the crest here.” “OK”

The brew was luscious! Such a fresh taste after mass tea!

When we reached the OP, “Norman” said the panic was over. No need to reel in. We came back to the troop in M2. Since lunchtime (tea, biscuits and bully), I've been sitting peacefully in the cab of M2, unhampered by bombers or calls to the command post, writing up pages and pages of this diary. Never known such a quiet time!

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