Saturday, January 03, 2009

Thursday 25th March 1943

Now that I am an “A” patient, I am allowed to possess my own plate, and bowls and cutlery – including knife, razor and razor blades! Also I went along for pay parade in the canteen, where I received the handsome sum of £S5.0 (about 10/- English). In the RHA queue was a sergeant from RHQ of the 104th. He stared at me, no doubt thinking my face was familiar. I looked at him blankly, with no sign of recognition; he decided he did not know me, after all.

Each morning I get up before reveille and make my bed and heat a mouthful of tea on the stove (saved from the previous evening's meal). By the time I have made my bed, the tea is hot. Then I drink it, light a cigarette and go off to shave. By the time my cigarette is finished, my shave is finished too, and I wash. When I get back to the ward, most of the condemned men who sleep therein are still stinking in bed – except old Paddy Young, he gets up about the same time as I do. This is my own routine, and it is very nice.

I don't converse with the other patients much, and the Sergt. Major hasn't bothered me, either. He is well established in the kitchen which therefore saves him from interfering with the patients, as he did once. Besides, I'm not often in the ward. The laundry work (I'm now i/c collecting dirty washing, and deputy i/c issuing clean washing!) keeps me busy until about 10a.m. Then after dinner I go among my old friends collecting orders for the canteen. Subsequently I check the accounts (I keep the pay of three patients) and another job which occupies ½ hour or more is filling the oil stoves. So one way and another, I'm able to potter about independently.


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