Monday, January 05, 2009

Saturday 15th May 1943

People are rallying round my frail and tattered flag nowadays: this afternoon I had two letters and a cable! The cable was a Marconi, marked “Sansorigine” but obviously from my Father. Very quaint, and containing a Latin phrase which I eventually got translated:

“Sorry so ill doing all possible get you home dum spiro spero (while I breathe, I hope) all well here. Dawson.”

Well, it is awfully nice of him to try, anyway. (When I was a boy, I remember, I once went tramping across the fields, trying to reach the foot of the rainbow...)

If I could afford the money for a cable, I might send a reply to the four sections of my Father's message thus:

“Maalesh (stop) Maalesh (stop) Yimkin (stop) Hamdililar”

(1982: “Never mind. Never mind. Perhaps. If God wills.)

I also received a very depressed letter from Crazy Crew down on the farm. There was one brief note of forced gaiety: “Anyhow, the news is good, isn't it?” This caused me to make enquiries and I discovered that the North African campaign ended two days ago!

Poor old Field Marshall Rommel is magdnoon, like me; he was sent home, suffering from a nervous breakdown, about a fortnight ago. And eventually Von Arnim got fed-up too, and surrendered with a fantastic number of men, guns and tanks. I won't quote the figures here, because I got them second-hand, and they certainly sound improbable!


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