Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday 28th July 1943

I was out in the garden after dinner, watering the flowers, when I glanced up and saw Jack coming up the garden path, sunburnt and cynically grinning. Yes! Jack Chenery, the Trapper.

He was in Haifa, on a weeks leave. The 104th Regiment was still in Syria, he said, and everyone was still fed-up. 2 1/2% had been sent home so far. The Colonel was one of these (his MEF service included 2 months active service and a DSO). Since the new Colonel took over there had been one change, remarked Jack – they had stopped putting “bleach” on the respirators and now scrubbed them instead. The Sister kindly provided tea for Jack, which he ate sitting on my bed on the shady but wind-swept veranda.

We sat in the orange groves awhile and then I walked back along the road, almost into Sarafend, with him. Just outside the Garrison he got a lift from a Military Police truck, and thus we parted.

It was long after supper time when I got back to the hospital, but cocoa and a plate of pickles, brEad and tomatoes had been saved for me. William Lias is now in the ward kitchen with Keys, for Smithy goes away (homewards!) tomorrow. Three out of eight remain.

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