Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wednesday 21st October 1942

We are now at an assembly point in the echelon area of the central sector. There is little to do at present. We have been here 20 hours now and have not seen one single enemy bomber or fighter. There is, as one might have expected, a big push pending (or as the BC calls it “a party”). The intention, he told us optimistically, is not to drive the enemy out of Egypt; or to take Tobruch. The intention is to end the war in North Africa! The first five, or seven days of our job will be “pretty bloody”, he told us. We don't start until the second phase of the battle. The first phase will be a colossal artillery barrage and a four div. infantry attack somewhere else – not here. So when we hear the barrage start, we'll know our time is short. No-one knows when phase one will occur. The whole scheme seems to have been carefully planned so, as the Major says, we must do our damnedest and all should be well. Meanwhile, it looks as though we shall have a pretty steady time until the “do” starts.

I was awakened this morning by Cliff Hanley, who had been on guard. “Awake!” he cried, - “For Morning in the bowl of Night, has flung the Stones which puts the Stars to flight!” I opened one eye. All was still dark; there were no streaks of red in the eastern sky. “It ruddy well hasn't,” I mumbled, referring to Morning, presumably, and huddled into my four blankets again.

It is cold in the early mornings and late at night, but otherwise the weather is just fine.

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