Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday 29th October 1942

Still the guns thunder, all day long. Around dusk they become quiet for a bit – the blessed relief of that sudden silence! - then, between 9p.m. and 10p.m. every British gun in the sector seems to open up and they fire for several hours. At first the Jerry artillery answered briskly but yesterday afternoon six flights (of 18 bombers each) of Bostons attacked them within an hour. Since then the Jerry guns have been quieter. There have been many raids by Stukas and high-level bombers on our guns, too, but this battery has been lucky – so far.

Yesterday morning, we heard “RC” - the C Troop armoured car calling on it's wireless. Messages that were obviously in a rough sort of code, but which no one here could understand. The Troop Commander himself used the W/T set; his voice very cool and deliberate ... “Charlie orange x-ray. I cannot go to Robert. Do you understand me?”.... “Robert does not exist any more. Robert is no longer in existence. Tell the Big White Chief...” The distant wireless suddenly stopped sending.

“RC” is now 30 hours overdue. The infantry has no news. They lost the whole of a battalion – less 30 men who “did not cross the ridge,” during Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Still no news of the crew of “RC”. They may even now turn up, but we've written off the armoured car. In that car were, I presume, the usual people – ie. Jack Tabor and Wog Gregory...

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