Monday, December 01, 2008

Wednesday 11th November 1942

10:45a.m. of what we once called the “remembrance day.” This was the day on which we used to stand in silence for a moment, remembering our million men, who “died in war that we might live in peace.” The men who died for nothing, after all!

Still The Road is chocked with traffic, moving towards Sollum, where the fighting is now in progress. If the battles of Libya add up to a victory for us, the people of England – not the big shots and politicians, but the dear, plodding ordinary people – will have played their part in it too. If the factory workers of England could see what I see now – new guns, new tanks, new lorries all streaming westwards in a dense mass with the planes of the RAF swooping to and fro overhead – they would be able to say proudly, “Well, the boys have got the stuff from us this time.”

The Colonel gave a lecture to us again last night and said the campaign was going well, thanks chiefly to the work of gunners and engineers. He apologised for keeping us here but said we should soon be in action again. (“We must reach Tripoli before the Yanks, what?”) Just before the battle he told us we might be “home for Christmas”. That old joke was greeted with cynical amusement by we old Yeomen. It will be our third Xmas in the desert. Last night, however, he said (as though he were offering us something better!), “Perhaps instead of having Xmas at home, we'll have it in Sicily, or Italy or Southern France.” This evoked about the same response as his former statement.

All Colonels seem of a type. There are degrees of course. Todhunter treated war as fox-hunting, Matthews as a smashing of “the boche” and this Colonel says, “It is just like a game of rugger football”!

We are quite near 339 Battery, here. Stan Ling and Jack Chenery have been across to see me and tonight I am going over there – unless we have moved by then. We are under four hours notice now.


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