Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday 14th June 1942

4p.m. The “Llandovery Castle” glides on towards Alex in stately fashion. Now I'm here, I rather wish I were not! It's rather a desertion to have left the others so soon. I'd got a good section which was beginning to work well... and of course I'm not war substantiative – a lance stripe never is and I haven't held that three months yet – so I'll revert to bombardier shortly. Still, that'll be restored again eventually. But I feel really guilty about sneaking away and leaving the gang there, gloomily eating bully and biscuit stew, waiting for Stuka raids.

Jock Fleming, Quick, “The Duke” ie Whacker Newton, Tom Gibbon... Sid Hollows, with his glasses and cockney voice and wit, who's been through it all and never once been down to Base Depot... and Jock Forbes, my quaint friend whom I'd got off the guns and into the Sigs. after many abortive efforts. No one, except me, thought he'd make a signaller. And now I'm not there to look after him and teach him...

The “Llandovery Castle” has no escort vessels. At night, all lights are blacked -out, but the Red Cross signs are brightly illuminated. Apparently we trust Jerry.
It seems we keep our part of the bargain too; suspiciously I asked a member of the staff if the ship carried cargo on it's outward voyages? Ammo? or NAAFI stores perhaps? But no, he said not even the latter were put in Red Cross ships, they went up empty unless there were essential medical supplies aboard. “They're very strict on that,” he said.

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