Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday 17th October 1942

8:30p.m. inside K truck. A bitter cold wind has been blowing, is still blowing. The draught even penetrates into here. Nevertheless, after two days in the open, it is wonderful to sit in a sheltered space, able to enjoy a cigarette. Have just heard that reveille is at 5:45 tomorrow. Ready to move by 9a.m. Does this mean we are going further west, towards where we hear the grumbling of the guns on windless nights? Probably. It may even be “the push.”

The last two days have been hellish. K went to Cairo yesterday morning, leaving me here i/c the returns and vehicle documents etc. There was a high, cold wind which developed into a pukka dust storm about 3p.m. We (too many of us) cowered in the fragile exchange tent in the evening. It seemed likely to carry away at any moment, dust showered in on us, and icy blasts of wind entered via various holes. Then it rained furiously. And the rain dripped in. Half an hours' peace and the wind rose again, more savage than ever. There was no dust now for the rain had soaked the whole desert.

I slept edged between M1 and the tent, fully clothed less boots, with my greatcoat over my head. It rained in the night but I didn't know; being in the lee of the truck, the wind-driven rain did not penetrate my blankets. The cold awoke me at 5 o'clock or so. It was hell to get out of bed and stand-up, at reveille (6a.m.).

Regimental drill order. God! It was cold in the front of M1! We went about 20 miles into the desert. We were bogged down a dozen times and had to be winched out by a gun-tower each time. Miserable hours. As the sand dried, it became dusty again. Always it was cold and terribly windy. How I hate the wind in these bleak open spaces, where there is no protection! That's why it is so heavenly to be sitting in K at this moment, fairly un-cold, with the electric light giving a semblance of snugness.

Tyrer brought me a bar of chocolate from Cairo. This was almost ambrosia to me...
I ought to clean my teeth before I huddle into my blankets. But it is too cold!

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