Sunday, January 25, 2009

Friday 25th February 1944

Tonight, feeling more miserable than usual I could write pages of despondency. But I must try and hold myself in. I don't tell any of the family how things are, now; why should I inflict my troubles on them? I keep thinking the authorities here make things so awful because they want to break me and make me go crazy. But I must not think of things like that; such thoughts develop into delusions.

I'm not much cheered by the fact that I have started losing things – or else they have been stolen. Two articles most precious to me have gone this week – first one of my two “emergency ration” tins and secondly, an even greater tragedy, the petrol lighter April sent to me at the time of El Alamein or just after. That petrol lighter was one of my treasures. Some other bastard is using it now.

No pay today, although I waited for it until 5:15p.m. Not my fault; someone had forgotten to put my name on the list... I'd been out of barracks all day, working at the RASC Depot, with an RASC private in charge of me. I was a sort of salvage scavenger. My job was loading pieces of cardboard, stinking, filthy rags and dirty old sacks onto lorries. I've got the hell of a cold and my mouth and nose are sore and my head aches.

One bright spot – I recklessly bought supper and a cup of Horlicks at the Soldier's Home and had a hot bath! God! It was heaven to lie in that steaming water and feel warm! And wonderful to be clean again, too!

From tomorrow onwards, first parade will be at 6:30 a.m. and we must wait and be marched to breakfast at about 6:45a.m. Last parade is still at 4:30p.m. It makes a pretty long day. They tighten up the Regulations and at the same time we cannot get so much sleep at nights because of the raids, which are becoming a regular nightly occurrence. I never get out of bed – most people do – but it's impossible to sleep because of the noise, and men talking and going in and out of the room. There is a lot more I could say about Woolwich but I must hold my pen.

But heavens! How helpless I am! There is nothing to be done about it.

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