Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday 22nd November 1942

A good deal warmer here than in the desert – during the sunny hours. I discarded my battle dress and felt quite warm enough in KD shirt and ancient white slacks. Did not get up until 7:45 this morning – a luxury after so many early stand-to arisings in the desert.

We had a fairly hard day's work, erecting tents, but no-one really grumbled, for it was all very chummy. Captain Gardener, Captain Adams and Sgt. Major Counell were working alongside us, and at break time, by mutual consent, we all stopped work for half an hour and went into the NAAFI – officers as well. As Cliff remarked, this small-family life is very nice. It will not last much longer. Signs of it's end are two EPIP tents looming outside this old cook house (which is at present the quarters of 2 officers and 3 other ranks), for the two EPIP tents are for the Officers' Mess.

Yesterday, on the Cairo-Alex road, we passed an artillery Regiment, coming down. The men all looked very neat and clean – typical of a “Blighty mob” and their cap badges (like ours, not the ordinary RA badges) were quite unfamiliar. They were obviously “new boys”, for one battery was halted and only four trucks had a brew on! However, we were struck by their excellent march discipline and road courtesy – they were really most an unusually helpful sort of people and everyone commented on this and wondered who they were.

Now I find they were the Leicestershire Yeomanry! The LY. I have seen them twice before – about 12 years ago. Once, with their horses, in camp near Stoughton (thrilled youth on bicycle, watching from roadside!) and once at a Remembrance Day parade in Victoria Park. (Swords! And the bugles wailing “Last Post” under the high arch of the Leicester War memorial!) so, now, I have met the Leicestershire Yeomanry again. I feel quite an interest in them for Leicester does seem more my hometown than most of the places in which I have dwelt awhile.

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