Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wednesday 26th August 1942

“CHURCHILL'S STIRRING MESSAGE TO EGYPT”

“Everything will be done to drive back the enemy”

Thus cries today's “Egyptian Mail”

And: “BIG NAVAL AND AIR BATTLE IN SOLOMONS”

Also: “GRAVE THREAT TO STALINGRAD”

Tonight there was a muster parade of the whole training wing. We were allowed to sit down and smoke. The OC told us there were a lot of rumours about a Jerry attack on the aerodrome near here. By parachutists of course. We were given instructions as to what to do in case of an alarm. I expect the buggers will stage the usual Army “rehearsal” one of these nights. A pity, because we all know what to do, and a “rehearsal” in the middle of the night will only dampen our enthusiasm. “If you are in Cairo and hear of the alarm,” said the OC, “I rely on you, as gentlemen, to come here as best you can and as quickly as possible.”

Remember “pigs” and “sub-human animals,” I thought things must be pretty bad when an OC called us “gentlemen!” However, he's perhaps a different type of officer to the others.

There is a rumour, as yet unconfirmed, - but mentioned by the OC himself at tonight's parade – that Rommel started an offensive in the desert at dawn today.

The last period today was devoted to Ohms Law problems. Dewhurst, Bronsdon and I sweated and puzzled sympathetically on our joint table. Common denominators and other mysteries! Current = voltage divided by resistance? OK! But what if you don't know the resistance?

“There'll be blue birds over
The white cliffs of Dover...”

This is one of the latest songs, says Bob Dewhurst, who came out from England only a couple of months ago.

“There'll be joy and laughter
And peace ever after...”

And very nice too, I'm sure!

In my tent, beside the bugs, and Bronsdon and Dewhurst, are Harry Burt, Leonard Burrons and “Sanders” Simmons. Friends of a few weeks. We'll never meet again after the course finishes. Dewhurst and I seem to have been together, in some mysterious way, ever since the course began. “Are you two married?” asked Bronsdon (of Birmingham) yesterday. “You sit together in class, go to meals together. You even go to the latrines together!”

We also came to this canteen together and go to Cairo together on our half holiday. And share our money! Nevertheless, we also, will probably never meet again after the course has ended. The MEF is very large.

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