Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thursday 17th February 1944

After a dismal day, a cheering thing happened in the late afternoon. (The skies leaden and the wind bitterly cold.)

On Orders I saw: “Africa Star. The following have been awarded the African Star with 8th Army clasp. The ribbon may be obtained by the under-mentioned, at the RQM stores, on quoting as Authority Part 2 Orders no. 35/17 of February 10th 1944...”

Gloomily I glanced at the half dozen names which followed... “Bdr. Dawson SJ” !
And it was simple to get it, too. I just walked into the RQ stores and gave my name and received 2 ½ inches of ribbon. Sand for the desert, red for the Army, dark blue for the Navy, light blue for the Air Force. I'll wear that and be proud of it, for it stands for fighting, not this ghastly business of soldiering.

And half of the ribbon shall go to April for her Valentine. Nearly 30 years ago Sergeant Aiken sent his Violet a sentimental little card from Cairo. A rhyme was printed upon it, and in the corner was a dark ribbon and a scrawl: “My Anzac ribbon darling.” The daughter of Violet shall have something like that, too.

Slipped quietly out of the gate this evening and, wandering about the streets, found a magnificent cinema called the “Granada” The time was only 4:30p.m.; I went in. It was a huge place – I nearly got lost between pay-box and balcony! The price of my seat was 2/9d but it was worth the money, for I saw two very good films and an hour of stage variety. It was getting on for 8:45p.m. when I came out and had supper in a cafe before returning to barracks.

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