Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wednesday 1st July 1942

At No.2 Con. Depot. I left hospital a few hours ago, with some regret (played out by the gramophone with “Fools Rush In”). This gloom was justified, for the hospital stood for civilisation and some indefinable quietness and placidity. This is a grim, bleak, dusty place.

Soon after arrival I moved into a dusty Sergeants' tent. No bed vacant so I'll have to kip on the floor awhile. The occupants of the tent seem very gloomy, both about the war and this camp. There's no supper served here and three stripes precludes the NAAFI, but they later took me into a cheerless building (the mess) where we each had two cups of tea. I managed to scrounge a crust of bread, some margarine and a small portion of cheese, in addition.

“What do we do here?” I asked.
“Get up about quarter to seven. Wash and have breakfast,” was the reply.
“Yes – and then?”
“Meditate until lunch time.”
“No parades?”
“Not for sergeants.”
“What happens after lunch?”
“Meditate until tea time.”
“I see. And in the evening you meditate again?”
“Yes. Unless you go to the cinema.”

Actually, I shouldn't think it is quite so bad as that here!

News: The enemy is past El Daba and still coming! They're stated to be within 70 miles of Alex!

The first person I saw when I stepped off the lorry here this afternoon, was Lance Sgt. Rogers – lean, gangling, ex-Regular, fair-haired, dry-witted, cynical and pixilated! He was a “C” Troop no.1 and in my tent at Mena. Promoted the same day as myself. He went into hospital, sick, just before we moved into the desert in May.
A few minutes conversation before we were separated. He'd met Captain Gardener in hospital, suffering from slight burns. “Norman” had seemed reluctant to give any news but said that his OP tank had caught fire and that the two wireless signallers had been killed.

That would be Newby and Morgan, I suppose. My God.

Hanbrook, who was injured on the ranges on May 24th, is here, waiting for a boat home. He is minus one leg and the other is still in plaster.

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