Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday 7th March 1943

MO's rounds: “Please, I want to go back to my company,” says Hamad, “Your name, Captain Soon.” “What?” asks the MO, startled. “You, Captain Soon. Always say “soon,” “soon.” Please (consulting a document covered with Arabic writing) what is your age?” “My age?” “Yes,” says Hamad sternly, pencil in hand, looking like a clerk taking particulars, “Your age?” “Fifty,” says the MO solemnly (adding in an aside to the Sister - “If he asks my mental age, that's 90!”) “Fifty,” says Hamad, “OK.” and writes it down laboriously.

“And why am I Captain Soon?” enquired the MO anxiously. “Every time I say I want to go to my company. Every time you say “soon,” “soon.” Captain Soon, yes.” And he smacks the back of his head.

My God, the Leading Seaman is no pale ghost now! He's been up all day, spick and span, with colour in his cheeks, chatting and joking. He laughed loudly just now when I told him my experiences as a waste on HMS Broke. Now, he's quietly writing a letter, in a neat hand. What an amazing recovery! He had hardly moved or spoken for a month before I arrived here.

Purzitts left us today, for a hospital near Tel-Aviv. He seemed a little better. I think he is by nature a silent, depressed man, but he brightened up a good deal this last week!


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