The Wartime Memories Project - Africa



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Trace your family's war heros now!

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The picture of Marble Arch brings back one hell of a memory for me!!and for those who ever had the experince of winding up 8 mile behind German lines in trying to find the 3rd rtr in the dark with a right clever sh**e officer whose name I will not tell...but began with a P...WHO THOUGHT HE COULD NAVIGATE IN THE DARK and had no idea where we/he was.. here's a little story!!!

I was a driver operator on a replacement Grant endevouring to return to the regiment..prior to the general movement forward of the front line..during darkness hours our CSO(clever shite officer)decided he would navigate...having personally survived the Battle of El Alemien and many other surrounding battles I was overuled in regards to our position...Our CSO instructed us to proceed and continue forward in the darkness.. I noticed that the directional verie lights were miles behind to the south and after "much" conversation and discussion we decided to stop !! I could hear in the distance the sound of a movement of large tanks to which our CSO told us all they were ours!We decided to bed down for the night ...within the next 2 hours around 2am in the morning the reminants of the 21st Panzar division passed within yards of us without noticing we were there!!Thats when I knew I was born lucky! At first light we found we were entirely on our own ..we were in the marble arch area and from the south 3 scout cars of the 11thHussars (cherry pickers)came into view gradually stalking us until shouting distance..when the asked us to recognise ourselves.....Their Sgt told us they were the most advanced recon of the 8th Army and that overnight we must have been at least 6/8 miles behind enemy lines!!We eventually got back on the div access and the Marble Arch was a delight to see. After this experience with a rookie CSO I was fortunate to be able to change crew!

For those who are interested I am 83.. I survived not only the western desert but DDay Gold beach until I was wounded on Hill 112 Caen..then I was posted to Military govt in Hannover on the day it fell..also had the unfortunate experience of going into Statt Belsen in the very days of its repatriation...How's that then for a twisted war !!The b******s aint got me yet!!To all my comarades I send my regards and best wishes and boy do I know some more stories!!

Trooper Jack Hodgkins. 3rd RTR 8th Army



My father was in the 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats) and was at the seige of Tobruk in 1941. In January 1941 the British took over the headquarters of an Italian commander and turned it into the Head Quarters for their North African Campaign. My father found a photograph album which contained pictures of a girl from birth in 1936 until October 1940. He had always hoped to return it to the owner after the war but to no avail. He still has the album and I would love to be able to return it to the family on behalf of my father. The child would now be 66 years old. I believe her first name was Fola and as a baby was taken to Soresina, Italy and Tobruk between the years 1936 and 1939.

Does anyone know the name of the Italian commander whose home was used by the commonwealth forces as head quarters after the fall of Tobruk in January 1941. My father tells me the house was in the city and contained a room that had a large plaster table top model of the Italian defenses in Libya. The house also contained personal belongings of a family.

Val Caudeiron



I personally did not live through the war but I have my Grandfathers case which is full of 2nd WW memorabilia, he was stationed in Cairo and saw front line action. His case contains photographs of his soldier friends and also women he met in the other English forces, I have also got 3 complete day to day yearly diaries of the action that he saw and his feelings at the time. If I can assist in anyones study by way of my little treasure I would be pleased to. Mrs Nicci Crabtree


"JUST A SO-SO DAY"

"Just A So-So Day" has been compiled virtually word for word from the notes and diaries that my father penned during the whole of the period from leaving England in December 1940 to his returning home to Wickersley near Rotherham in July 1945.

It gives an account of life during the Second World War as seen through the eyes of a Dental Mechanic in the Royal Army Dental Corps travelling with a Mobile Dental Unit attached to the famous 8th Army and the Long Range Desert Group.

Sometimes sad, often humorous and certainly a love story as far as he and my mother were concerned. Reading through them, I found myself becoming involved in his daily life and I began to feel quite sorry for my father towards the end of the war. A number of his mates were going home early but this was never to be his luck.He had to stick it out to the bitter end. As one entry says, "missed the boat"!

"Just A So-So Day", as he would often begin a daily entry, is I believe quite unique in its content. It is a genuine and completely honest account.

"......... felt pretty bloody awful today so eased off work. Tummy upset. Taking tablets. Just after tea, Jerry came over with eight 'planes. A bit of fun was seen, bombs, ack-ack, but nothing was brought down.........a quiet night".

THE DIARIES OF A ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS DENTAL MECHANIC THE WESTERN DESERT 1940 - 1945

These are the War Diaries of Private Steve Lonsdale, 7538963. The Army Dental Corps 131st Mobile Dental Unit, 8th Army MEF & later with the LRDG, RAMC & ADC Corps Base Depot MEF & 64th General Hospital Alexandria. Later as Corporal Steve Lonsdale, No5 Field Dental Lab from 5th December 1944.

To my wife Una This diary is about my journey east from England to Egyptand later in Genifa, Alexandria and many other places in the Western Desert. During the period from December 1940 to July 1941, the facts were as I remembered them writing in Cairo during July 1941. The remainder as I saw daily life during the war in the desert. I hope someday she will read them.

Steve Lonsdale

Steve Lonsdale

1940 - 1941 10th December. Everything naturally all in a rush. Arrived Maidstone after tea, got eventually to Tudor House at night. Did manage to get to bed around 12.30am. Next day a rather disappointing start, got tickets made out for Leeds, was laughing, but no it was not to be, they were changed for Boyce Barracks. Set off for Fleet, stopped on the way at Beckenham to visit the home of Stan Mole. We had a grand dinner and an hour or two with his people. Then on to Fleet. Boyce had not altered at all. That was 11th December 1940.

The weeks at Boyce were just lousy, the most miserable of my army career. Xmas day was spent there. No Xmas leave, we were supposed to be leaving any day. The dinner was really marvellous but even that could not make up for the heartache I had. Typical kit was collected, had one day to parade unit, it was colder at Boyce than I have known it for years. Imagine tropical kit with inches of ice everywhere. The army sure do think of everything. While there had my foot x-rayed. Did manage to get out of drilling.

In the cold grey hours of 5th January 1941, to be exact at 4.00 am, we left Boyce for Aldershot and after a nightmare ride in a lorry, boarded the train and left Aldershot at 6.00 am. By the way, I posted a letter for you at the station but I do not know if you got it. Arrived at Liverpool after a cross country run at 4.30pm, not so bad considering it was non stop. It was not until we got to Liverpool that we knew where we were going.

Spent two days in Liverpool at a so called rest camp. I think I can pass over that. One bright spot, the Dental Corps got out each night. One thing I must mention, all day Monday 6th January we stood by from early morning all packed up and ready to move, but did not go. Another thing I must mention, I did not think it possible to wash and shave in such a small quantity of water. Then on 7th January we did move down to the docks, stood there for hours and eventually went on board the Windsor Castle. My heart sank then, for up to the last I hoped against hope we should not go. On board and into a grand cabin and then up anchor and out into the bay of Liverpool.

For a day or two we stood around and then off, good and proper. Sailing again into the unknown, we could only guess where to. On board I became batman to Sgt Stonehouse and Sgt Thomson, both Dental Officers and very nice chaps. That got me out of a lot of other unpleasant duties. The food was good, everything was nice, no, the heartache was still there. I had no doubt that It will go sometime. You will probably remember your letter to me at Boyce, I got no card from you at Xmas, then the letter, well it just broke my heart. I know dear you had had a bad raid, but you just took it out of me, I forgave you darling, I made allowances for everything but my heart was just about breaking. Everything was all right, the food continued good, was not sea sick, I must confess, though, I had some bad headaches.

Then after a week of nothing but sea, sea, everywhere, we had to leave our cabins and were put into a 2nd Class smoke room. This was on deck level, at first it did not seem too good, but later proved okay. For eighteen days it was just the same routine, batman, on deck, look at the other ships and the sea. When the weather got warmer nearer to the Equator we were glad to be above deck. At night it was terrible, a strict blackout being observed. In the smoke room, or should I say, our billet, it was terribly hot, one just sat and sweated. The first sweat of the day was the worst it just poured out. It was good to have a dip in the pool on deck. I was in every morning early. At night I sat on deck with Stan, we just talked of things gone by. My heart was with you all the time. Wondering all day long what you were doing.

Then after eighteen days we saw land. On 25th January we got to Freetown and anchored there for four days. It was very interesting. The bum boats, with natives trying to sell fruit and all sorts of things and watching them dive for money. It was good to see land again though we did not go ashore. The nights were grand, all the ships lying around lit up, the moon was up, lights twinkled all over the bay. It was a real tropical moon, made for love, if only you had been there my darling.

Then on the 29th January, we left Freetown to run into even hotter weather as we got nearer the Equator. Again nothing to see but sea. No incidents at all, no shocks or anything unpleasant. I never gave a thought of anything happening, though I must confess before I started from England I was a bit windy but nothing happened. Thank God.

On Friday 31st January we reach the Equator and had the ceremony of crossing the line. This was very good to watch. The weather was now extremely hot. Then after another week or two of sea, we came to another stop. One thing I must mention, the much vaunted Southern Cross, that according to our authors, (whom I have doubts if they have ever seen it), "hangs from the sky like a flaming jewel". Well l was disappointed, or maybe I expected too much. Then on 11th February we reached Durban. Before getting there we had sports day on board, it was very enjoyable.

We stayed at Durban for four days. Every minute ashore I enjoyed. It was good to be on land again, I had quite a lot of cash saved from my batman job. I went with four more of the boys. Luck was with us, we were picked up by some people and taken along to dinner. All our time was spent in their company. The hospitality of the South Africans was wonderful. As I write this the wireless is playing "When my dream boat comes home". Sure, that will be the day.

Our first dinner with the Smith's was grand, eggs, steak, potatoes, kidney beans, rice and custard and pineapple, loads of breads and heaps of butter followed by tea. Our hostess apologised for a make-shift meal. Gee! after the pig swill on board the Orbita it was a banquet. (I am running ahead of my story). It was the third day in Durban we changed to the Orbita (I have learned since that both the ships we came over on have been sunk). One thing, the sinking of the Orbita, has certainly saved a few thousand heartaches.

On to Durban again, the Smith's had a car which we went out in, or rather set out in, to go to an open air dance place, the Athalone Gardens. Eight of us crowded into the car, my pal Stan Mole was driving. The car was pretty old, we had not gone very far, in fact we were driving down a main road, one with an island in the centre set with trees, a really beautiful thoroughfare. We attempted to overtake another car and I must confess that disaster nearly overtook us. The other car swerved in front of us, Stan pulled out to avoid it and hit the island in the middle of the road. Then started the most hectic few minutes of my life. We got into a violent skid, went tearing right across the road, just about to crash then skid right back again. It was just like one sees on the films, just about to hit something and then across the road again. In the middle of one skid the back tyre burst, the car rocked right over on one side, righted itself and turned completely round facing the way we had come! Those few seconds when the car rocked, I thought my time had really come, but it was the last skid and the car finally stopped right outside the Durban Cricket Ground where the Test matches are played. A huge crowd gathered round and told us how lucky we were. (Didn't we know it).

However, we got a spare on and returned home. No dancing that night. Finished the evening up with a drink.

Each day of our shore leave we spent with our friends, every day having a grand feed. Troops by the way, travel free on the buses. Durban is a wonderful place and I shall never forget the wonderful hospitality of our friends, but like all goods things it came to an end.

During our stay in Durban we changed ships on to the Orbita, a positive hell ship. A terrible ship, stinking and rotten, one had to sleep and eat on the mess tables, crowded and herded like cattle. The first two nights we had to sleep where we could. I got curled up on deck, it wasn't too bad seeing we had Durban to sweeten it. Then on Saturday 15th February, the day to leave Durban came. We had our first dinner on board, IT WAS CRAWLING WITH MAGGOTS, my God, what a start. Mutterings were heard from all tables. The Officers came, complaints were made, talks of leaving the ship were heard. Then, headed by the Dental Corps, all the chaps trooped on deck to leave the ship. An Officer blocked the gangway, it looked like being good, one man did get off. It all quietened down and the ship put off in a hurry out of the dock.

We were promised better food but it was terrible, dysentery broke out, hundreds a day going down with it. I had a touch of it and believe me it is no joke being on the run all day and night. The tea wasn't bad, the meat you dare not touch, so I lived on a bread and butter tea. Potatoes all went rotten, more than two hundred sacks were thrown overboard and tons of black slime that had once been spuds scraped up and slung. The whole ship was in a filthy state, the decks all filth and flies. We were told that the Air Force had got it in that state. Before we left it was looking like a ship. I still carried on with my batman job. Had to clean the things in the officers cabins, no room anywhere else.

Moving round the Red Sea, the heat was terrific, I did not think it possible to sweat as much. On board we had washing parades. Had to wash our clothes on deck owing to the water shortage. When one thought of the number of good ships that had been sunk and a ghastly wreck like this had missed it all - well it made one wonder if there was any justice. However, good things and bad things must end, and on 8th March, we arrived at Port Tufay at the entrance to the Suez Canal and on the 9th March we disembarked. The disembarking and the getting on the train was the quickest move I have ever made in the Army. We got straight on the train and were away within the hour. At the station we were given tea and a cake, it was very welcome. Then we started on our journey into the unknown.

The Egyptian trains are no picnic but it was something new. All the way, hawkers passed up and down the train, all of them having a licence to do so. We came onto native villages, then hour after hour of nothing but desert. One part was extremely pretty, had I seen it on the films I should have said it was not real. The sand hills looked almost like a stage back-cloth. Then without any warning the whole scene was transformed from desert to green fields and trees, land under cultivation, houses, it was hardly believable. We were nearing the end of our journey which turned out to be none other than that wonderful city of Cairo. Right into the centre we went on the train then back again, side-tracked to a big military depot where all the troops unloaded.

This was Abyassia. The native houses were remarkable, made of mud with flat roofs or flat tops. Roofs were no where to be seen, it looked for all the world like a land mine had gone off and shattered them, how anyone can live in such hovels is beyond human understanding. Then we were conveyed on lorries to Helmich Camp which is the RAMC and ADC Corps Base Depot. This is a few miles out of Cairo. It was funny trying to imagine what sort of place it would be. After running around for quite a long time, the driver having lost his way, we did eventually get there. It had no doubt at one time been desert as it was all sand. The barrack rooms were built of brick and plaster, which was a relief for me as I had expected tents. There were roadways and laid on water so really it was not too bad. It would be about 5.00pm or round that time when we had our first meal there and what a feed. Chicken, baked spuds, spinach, Yorkshire pud, custard and fruit and tea. The question of the moment was would it last. Unfortunately no! In fairness I must say the food was not too bad as far as food goes. I did not go out that night, I was not feeling too good, having a terrible headache.

The first day there was not too bad, the usual kit inspection, etc. Then the day after it was drill, fatigues and all the other lot one expects from a Depot. The drill I soon put a stop too, also PT early morning. I went sick with my foot and got an exemption from both. Some of the mechanics went to No1 Dental Lab to work, at first I was not so lucky. Then started postings. The boys went to various places, Sudan, Alexandria, Greece and other places. My pal Stan Mole went to the 9th General Hospital at Heleopolis which is only a mile or two from Helmich, so I was able to see him everyday. After a week of mucking about I went into the lab to work and was there until I was posted.

Now a little about Cairo. It was a bus ride into Cairo and what a ride. Unless you have ridden in a Cairo bus you haven't lived. The traffic by the way is on the right hand side of the road, which took quite a lot of getting used to. The first ride on the bus into town just simply put the wind up me. The bus careered all over the place, missing things by inches, I was pleased when it was all over. I got used to it later. Cairo is a wonderful place, (I realise this now as I write this, for I am on the edge of the desert). There are some wonderful buildings. The Egyptians, some in native dress, others in modern dress. The cars, donkeys, goats and cattle, everything all mixed up and some really beautiful women, Greek and French mostly. Open air cafes, bars, picture houses and street hawkers. I must make special mention of the hawkers for they were a dam nuisance. You could not move without something or other being thrust in your face.

Another place I must mention is the "Birker", the Regimental Brothels in Cairo. They are situated in one street, Birker Street. There is a PA centre attached where one goes for treatment after going with one of the women. This by the way is encouraged out here but thank God I kept off them. I have been round them, believe me it is an education. The women sit in various stages of undress waiting for their clients. The price being 20pt. What a sample of women, not a decent one amongst them. Most of them were coloured. Some of our boys went to see an exhibition. It was really funny, though disgusting to see chaps mauling them about and then go into the rooms with them, an education without a doubt. Another thing one visits in Cairo are the Pyramids and very wonderful they are. I went along with one or two of the boys and was conducted round with a guide who explained everything. The Zoo is another interesting place, also the School of Hygiene which is more than interesting.

On the 29th March, I was posted to the 15th Scottish Hospital along with Bob Murray. Harry Butler was already there. It was for temporary duty. Eric Farrel was the mechanic attached to the unit so that made four of us there. It was the happiest part of my stay in Cairo. The hospital was at Guava on the banks of the Nile. Gizera was just across the water with a wonderful sports club. What a treat to see green grass again. I spent a lot of time there playing cricket umpiring for the hospital team and also watching Gizera play. I saw one or two County players there. Wally Hammond and F.J. Brown being the two most famous. At cricket I did pretty well considering I have not played for such a long time. An interdepartmental competition was run, the Dental and Labs won it. I had some wonderful successes with the ball.

 May 1941, Gizera Sporting Club, Cairo, the worlds richest club. L to R - Steve Lonsdale, Eric Farrell and Harry Butler.

May 1941, Gizera Sporting Club, Cairo, the worlds richest club. L to R - Steve Lonsdale, Eric Farrell and Harry Butler.

 May 1941, Gizera Sporting Club, Cairo, the worlds richest club. Steve Lonsdale, with Bob Murray and Harry Butler.

May 1941, Gizera Sporting Club, Cairo, the worlds richest club. Steve Lonsdale, with Bob Murray and Harry Butler.


The food and conditions were grand at the hospital. Plenty of denture work to do. I started at 6.30am until 1.00pm, the afternoons and evenings being free. Most weekends I went into Cairo to a show and supper. But alas like all goods things it came to an end. One very interesting thing I recall was a visit to the Path Lab in the hospital. There I saw some human 'innards'. One was the heart and lungs with a big cancer between the lungs. These had been taken only a few days before out of a patient that had died. Also the bladder and the accompanying parts of an Italian that had been shot through the bladder. I was invited on many occasions to witness a post mortem but declined with thanks, although I should very much have liked to have seen one.

May 1941. Taken outside the Dental Lab in Alexandria. More of the dental boys. L to R - Steve Lonsdale, Cpl. Kelly, Alvey, Farrell and Butler.

May 1941. Taken outside the Dental Lab in Alexandria. More of the dental boys. L to R - Steve Lonsdale, Cpl. Kelly, Alvey, Farrell and Butler.

May 1941. Taken at the hospital, Alex. The dental staff. L to R - Farrell, Steve Lonsdale, Butler, Alvey, Cpl. Kelly and Gordon Anderson

May 1941. Taken at the hospital, Alex. The dental staff. L to R - Farrell, Steve Lonsdale, Butler, Alvey, Cpl. Kelly and Gordon Anderson.


Then on the 6th July, Capt. Johnson the Dental Officer brought the sad news that I was to be posted to Genifa to the 19th General for temporary duty until the opening of the No4 Dental Lab. Harry Butler and I left Cairo at 6.15pm on the 8th July having had two days rest before starting. The journey was the same as all Egyptian journeys, pretty awful. Hard wooden seats. It was interesting enough the new places we passed through. At 10.00am we arrived at Ismailia and changed trains. It was midnight before the train left there, that part of the journey being completed on the platform of the train owing to half of the train being reserved for prisoners of war. They sat, we had to stand. Very nice indeed! Then at 1.00am on the 9th July, the train arrived a Fayed, a one platform stop in what appeared to be the middle of the desert. It was a beautiful moonlit night. We had to wait around for half an hour before an ambulance came to pick us up. It was about 1.45am when we reported at the hospital and were accommodated in the reception room for the remainder of the night. I slept on an operating table.

After the usual completion of toilet, we met the boys at the 19th Lab and quite a decent crowd of fellows. Our first breakfast was quite good, all the meals there were good but nothing like the 15th food. It was the following Monday 14th July that we moved to the new lab and were attached to the Infantry Base Depot for rations. Tuesday morning we started work. Monday being spent unpacking equipment and setting it out.

Genifa, well, all I can say is it is a lousy place and could be called a semi-desert station. The Syna Mountains run right along one side of us, this by the way, is the Syna Desert. On the other side about three miles away is the Suez Canal. The part against us is Lake Bitter, the swimming there being quite good.

A few meals at the IBD proved how rotten food can be. Never enough and on the whole pretty lousy. It was cooked outside in field boilers fed by wood, As one can imagine nearly everything tasted of wood smoke. Tea is about the best thing they make apart of course for 'Mayfeesh' sugar and occasionally tasting of onions. Feeding in a tent with that kind of food brings a chap down nearly as low as possible.

There is always some interesting shipping on the canal, destroyers, cruisers, etc. and an occasional aircraft carrier. August Bank Holiday Monday was just another day, the same work routine. One thing to remember it by, a big raid on Ismailia, they certainly dropped some stuff but nothing near enough here to cause any upset. Naturally all of us were awakened. These raids are nearly every other night.

7th August 1941. This is more or less up to date. Today has been the same as another day, the same amount of work etc. I have had a terrific headache all today, last night I slept very heavy. It was the only nights sleep I have had for three weeks. What with the heat, the bad food, lack of sleep, well I am just about feeling all in. If I have anymore sleepless nights I shall go sick. If you only knew how I am missing you dear. I am well fed up with everything but I think I can stick it out. That is all for today.

Friday 8th August. Just another day. The only difference it was pay day. At night I went to the Gaff but was unlucky again, the air raid warning went and had to come out. There was a raid during the night, nothing near here, the planes passing right over. A few bombs were dropped and plenty of ack-ack in the distance.

9th August. A Saturday, work as usual in the morning. The afternoon free, went for a swim, it was glorious, just swam lazily about under a tropical sun. What a welcome change after a week of sweating by the bench. The heat is terrific, sunbathing is out of the question, to sit in the sun is to ask for trouble. Saturday evening went to the Gaff, first house, with Fred Cooper, RAOC boy from Sheffield, using the same tickets as the previous evening. Did manage to see the show though but what a wicked show it was. The apparatus is very bad, if you can hear one word out of twenty then you do well. Saturday finished nice and quiet with no raid. Stood half an hour for a drink of tea, then it had all gone. This is just one of the small trials of life.

10th August. Sunday today and a day off. This morning I stayed in bed a little later. The sun is just shining on the Syna Mountains giving them a wonderful effect, to see it does break the monotony just a little. It is a place that grows on one. Ismailia after its raid of the other night, I hear, has now practically emptied of Arabs. Most of the shops having closed. Went after dinner for a swim, it was really grand, swam around for about half an hour. Another warning during the night, nothing near on.

11th August. Just another ordinary working day. In the evening went to the Gaff, listened first to a chap playing the piano in the Scottish Church Club, he was very good indeed, played many beautiful melodies. Took me back home in thought. Air raid warning again in the night. Ismailia had another heavy bombing. I did not lose much sleep. Thank God I am sleeping better these days. The sleepless nights were just about driving me crazy.

12th August. Nothing of any importance during the day. In the evening stayed in. A raid again during the night but nothing to get worried about.

13th August. The day passed without incident, cig issue at night, went to the Gaff, had a few minutes on the piano at the Club. Raid again during the night. Ismailia was dive bombed for two hours. Sleep was not disturbed during nightly bombing.

14th & 15th August. As usual just work during the day and no raids at night. Went to the Gaff on the Friday night.

16th August. On duty today so could not go out for a swim. Played darts most of the time, another quiet night.

17th August. Day off, went swimming and sunbathing, very enjoyable. Went to the Gaff at night. Another quiet night, no warnings.

18th to 20th August. Just humdrum days, pretty boring nights. Went to the pictures to pass away the time. On the 20th I sent a cable for your birthday darling. I hope you got it. On the 19th I got Jean's birthday card, it was very nice. I was very much touched with it. The day brought back many pleasant memories of those saner days. At the present I am very worried, not having received any word from home (apart from the card) for three weeks. Shall have to send a cable to see what is wrong. I hope to God everything is all right, for if anything happens to Jean or you darling, I'll go stone crazy.

21st August. I still await a letter. Work as usual. Things are shaping towards a new surgery being made. We are to move into tents. I have volunteered to sleep in the lab at nights to look after the place. I do not fancy a tent at all. A most noteworthy event- a few drops of rain! Received letter from home on the 21st. I was very pleased and much relieved to know that everything was all right. One thing pleased me very much, Jean had started to go to Sunday School and Church, how that kid must be growing up. I do miss her, as for you darling, I miss you more than I dare say.

22nd & 23rd August. Friday was payday, one outstanding day of the week. Went to the pictures at night. Saturday afternoon is a day off, was going swimming but fell asleep. Must go Sunday without fail. Quite a lot of new chaps have passed through this last few days, all happy and cheery. Wonder how long it will be before that smile is wiped off their faces. Wrote a letter card in answer to your letter darling. Quite a shaker about Freda. Certainly thought they were marking time for a bit. Don't think it will be a boy, I hope not. For why? Goodness only knows. If I still had been at home dear, I wonder if you would have wanted another one.

24th August. Went down to the beach soon after 9.00am and had a really good day in the sun. Came back at tea-time. If you could see me now darling all sunburnt, I'm sure you would fall for me. What a day. A lazy swim, then laid out in the sun, a cup of tea. Oh. Gee! if only you had been there darling. It was a well deserved rest after a week of work. Finished the day off by going to the pictures.

25th August. Your birthday darling girl. Wonder if it was a lonely one. I am with you in thought, do so hope darling you have got the cable I sent . A very puny present but under the circumstances all I could do. I know you will forgive so small a remembrance. I received today four postcards and two letters. They were dated April. It is good to get some news through, especially good news. Have not been feeling too good today. Got a nasty pain in my chest. Fancy it may be indigestion, shall see the MO tomorrow.

26th August. Did not feel too good today but did not go sick. Everything just the same work as usual. Just seen a tent on fire. Tomorrow we start to dine at the DID lets hope it will be better food. Had a really good nights sleep last night, maybe shall be a lot better with a few good nights. There have been no raids for a few nights, there being no moon. The new moon is just coming up, so can expect something later. There was a warning at night but nothing to disturb me much.

27th August. Heard of a most remarkable thing. A patient in the hospital got his sight back suddenly after being blind for eight months. Another raid during the night. Hit an ammunition train 15 miles away from here. Killed a few Arabs. The food is certainly excellent. It is absolutely of the best and no wonder, it is the place they distribute the food and everything all round the district. One outstanding thing is butter, no wagon grease like we have been having. If this continues I'll get as fat as a pig. Have got a real fat tummy now.

28th, 29th & 30th August. Just three more days, ordinary everyday days. The food continues to be excellent. On Friday night there was a warning but nothing at all new here. Saturday just all quiet, had dinner at 12.30pm then just fell asleep after it like a big fat pig. Went in the evening to the Gaff, all quiet during the night. Received newspaper dated 4th May 1941.

31st August. Sunday, the best day of the week, it means a few hours away from the bench. Went down to the beach for a swim and a laze. Came back for a dinner for the grub is far too good to miss. Tried to sleep in the afternoon but the flies would not let me. Another air raid warning during the night.

1st September. Of course a day to be remembered, our wedding day darling. I wish I had sent a cable, it was stupid of me not to do so but I was with you in thought. I learnt that a plane had crashed on Sunday. One of ours. Just behind the hills. I heard the crash and saw the smoke but did not know what really happened. Went to the Gaff at night. Three parts of the picture there was no sound at all. A quiet night.

2nd September. I must confess that I am having trouble with my eyes. Today they have been considerably worse. Went to see the doctor and I am going to see an eye specialist on Thursday. It was a hard struggle working today. I hope there is nothing seriously wrong but quite frankly I am worried, very worried indeed. L/C Nicholson arrived today.

3rd September. Just another day. Work did not go down too well today, my eyes were not too good. Air raid during the night.

4th September. Went today to see the eye specialist. Tested my glasses, they were okay. My eyes are strained, got three days rest, excused duty. Went across to Fred the ROAC boy and slept most of the day on his bed. Another raid in the night at Aba-Swah. Plenty of ack- ack.

5th September. Had a newspaper this morning dated 14th June. Had another good rest all day, slept most of the time. Air raid at night around Mouska.

6th, 7th & 8th September. All quiet days. Raid on Saturday night. Can only be expected owing to full moon. Went to see MO again on Sunday. Got another three days rest, Big raid on Suez district. Ack-ack and bombs - very heavy indeed. Monday went down to the beach and had a sleep in the morning. Just mucked about in the afternoon.

9th, 10th, 11th & 12th September. A little variety crept into things these past few days. Moved the lab to the other end of the building. Had the Arabs in the building, they made a hell of a noise but at least it was a change. Started work again on Wednesday. Raids each night, except Friday. Three planes fetched down in the district.

13th September. Saturday morning, work as usual. Spent the afternoon doing a buckshee job. A heavy raid at night over Suez.

14th September. Just stuck around all day and finished of my buckshee job. The cash I am getting for it I am sending to you for Xmas. A quiet night for a change. The weather is getting much colder, mostly at night.

15th September. Received first aerograph from you. Was most upset to hear Jean was not well, hope to goodness it is not serious, should go mad if anything happened while I am out here. Raids during the night but nothing happened.

16th September. Had a letter from Una and a card from Jean. Everything just the same during the day.

17th, 18th, & 19th September. Ordinary days with nothing exciting happening. Raid on Thursday night over Suez, nothing to worry about. Only event of Friday is pay day. Went to the Gaff at night and had a few minutes on the piano at the Club.

20th September. Really and truly outstanding day or should I say night. We threw a farewell party in the lab for Jimmy Lamb who is leaving us to go to the ENSA concert party as a sketch artist. What a spread we have. Steak, beans, tongue, some new fancy meat (tinned), fruit and cream, beer, whisky and gin. It was a real slap up do, cooked by one of the boys. Loads of cigs, in fact five hundred buckshee. It is amazing what one can get when you know the right people. I got two hundred cigs the other day for 10pt. We had a nice little concert with a chap on his mandolin. Everything went well and we finished at 11.00pm. Truly an outstanding evening.

21st to 30th September. Just an ordinary week regarding work but one or two changes have occurred. First my pal Harry Butler has gone to Palestine to work in a lab there. Now I am more or less on my own. He was my only real pal here. Jimmy Lamb has also left to take up his ENSA job. To counteract all that, two new Dental Officers and a new clerk have arrived straight from England. Capt Reed is to be in the new lab, he is a decent chap, seems to take an interest in us. I received a card from Jean, very old but welcome. Have not heard from you darling for two weeks now. On Tuesday I got card from Nelly dated 28th June and a letter from Capt Johnson, my old DO and 'photos taken at 15th Scottish. It is a letter I shall treasure. It is a letter to Harry and I. Capt Johnson was a real toff, now on his way home, good luck to him where ever he lands. Up to the time of writing we have not had any raids, although the moon is pretty well up. Today, Tuesday, I sent you some money. I hope you get it okay darling.

1st to 12th October. Quite a few days have passed by with nothing much to report. Work as usual. One or two warnings at night. One night, the 7th, two planes were fetched down in the district. The most interesting day was Sunday when I went to Suez with Duff and Eric. We set off at 8.00am, travelling by lorry from the DID. I was a bit disappointed by the trip, it was all through the desert. Arrived at Suez about 9.00am and wandered into town. After the desert, the stink here was terrible. The buildings seemed to be on top of me but after a while I got used to it. It was good to see a woman again, even though most of them were Egyptians. I was very disappointed with the place, I expected something like Cairo. The only resemblance was the smell, only ten times worse! Wandered around the shops. The streets are narrow, filthy, fly ridden and crowded with dirty Arabs and children. One sight I will never forget was a meat shop with the counter thick and black with flies. No wonder disease is rife there. In one street I put my foot on a dead chicken, it sickened me. In yet another street, a dead cat lay there covered in flies. What a horrible, filthy place it is. Came back by train and was glad to get out of it. The rest of the week has just been so-so. Did get off on Friday to watch a football match. Next week I hope to play myself. Received on the 8th three cards and a newspaper. Was very upset to hear you are not well. I hope you soon get right again.

12th October. On duty today, just stuck around the place, had a sleep in the afternoon, it's terrible just to be in alone. Most of the boys are at Suez.

13th to 22nd October. Just ordinary days. On the Tuesday I played my first game of football for the DID against the Internee Camp. Although we lost 2-1, I managed to impress them a little. On the 18th I received a post card that took only twelve days to get here, the quickest I have had. On Sunday the 19th I played football again against the CTC at Karbret twenty miles from here. It was actually a washout as we were late getting there and only played ten minutes each way, after which we were losing 2-1. Played again on the 21st, the bakery this time and we drew 1-1. There was a lot of money on this game. At night we had an air raid warning but nothing happened. Football seems to be the only thing to look forward to now. Up to now my foot has held out but oh dear my poor knees. I have skinned them each game and they are very sore. All the kit is provided for by the clubs. Tuesday the 21st marked the end of the Arab Festival of Ramadan, being their Xmas there was a lot of feasting and no work. On the 25th set off for Cairo on leave with some of the boys. Took a lorry to Ismailia and got a train there. Left about 10.30am and arrived at about 4.00pm after a pretty lousy journey. Had to change trains in the middle of the line but did get a seat, with the Officers standing for a change. Got some really good digs, B & B for 21pt. Went to a show in the evening.

26th October to 2nd November. Started off by going to the Pyramids. Went inside, half way up, then climbed right to the top of the big one. What marvellous view. Took snaps which all turned out very well. I saw more of Cairo in a week than I did in the whole four months I was stationed there. Monday we visited the Zoo, finishing the day with a show. On Tuesday spent a good day at the Delta Barrage, two hours each way down the Nile. What a wonderful place, like a real English park. Obtained some more good snaps. The Bazaars were very interesting, visited the leather and silver works and many places of interest. Visited a lot of Mosques, what wonderful places with roofs inlaid with gold. What a pride the Egyptians take in their places of worship, the Alabaster, Blue and Royal Mosques, all very wonderful. Some of the streets are only about fifteen feet wide, with scents and spices and all weird and wonderful things. It was a marvellous week, a very pleasant change. I saw things that I shall never forget. Someday, if I ever have a lot of money, I would like to bring both Una and Jean out here. I wonder if I ever shall? For all its splendour, beauty, filth and smells, I would trade it all right now to be at home. When will it all end, I wish I knew. The week finished, like everything else and back to the humble desert we came.

3rd November. Today has been just another day, the same grind but harder still than ever. Tomorrow I shall have to settle down to it. Football seems now to be the only thing here to interest me.

4th & 5th November. Another ordinary day. Work is certainly not going down very well. The 5th was really a day of happenings. I received today an airgraph that had taken twenty five days to get here. How I welcomed that mail, the first for three weeks. I was interviewed today by Col McCullam and Col McGeorge regarding my trade test. McGeorge was not very helpful but my interview with the 'Big Shot' McCullam certainly was successful. I was informed later in the day that I was to be transferred to some place to take my test. Finished off the day at the Gaff.

6th November. Was informed this morning by Col McGeorge that I was to go to Helmich for my test. This really is good news. Whether I get back here I don't know. I hope so, if only for football and grub. In the past few weeks I have put on seven pounds. Today I feel very homesick, lots of little things have cropped up to make me think of home more than ever. Don't I just wish it was all over.

7th to 13th November. Still no news of going away. On the 8th I went to Ismailia to play football against the Royal Marines. Lost again but had a good game which is everything. Stayed in the joint until 10.00pm. Didn't see much owing to it being dark. The most outstanding day was the 11th, we had a party for Major Symons farewell. What a party it was. Two hundred pints of beer, six bottles of whisky, gin, loads of soft drinks and bags of food. As usual I did my stuff and raised a few laughs. Col McGeorge congratulated me and said I ought to be in the ENSA concert party, which is an idea I am seriously thinking of. I met Capt Thomason of the Dental Corps from Sheffield. He qualified with Oswald Menie and knew me through Menie. I am going to see him one evening. I had loads to drink and went to sleep just curled up on a stretcher. Some I understand got very drunk and it developed into a rough house. All the Officers there were real toffs. The next day I knew all about it with a head like six. Major Osman arrived to take over. I wonder how he will turn out. The rest of the days were just so-so.

14th & 15th November. Received two airgraphs today dated 20th & 26th October. One from you dear and the other from Jean. Was informed today that I should be taking the trade test here and not going away. Start next week. Went to concert at night. The 15th just an ordinary day. Went to the Gaff at night.

16th & 17th November. Played football again today. The first game in the league. We won 7-1, the first win this season. In the evening went to the Gaff. It passed time that's all one can say. The 17th was another working day. Tomorrow I start my test, my fingers are crossed. On duty at night so no pictures tonight. The weather is getting quite cool. Batt le dress is to be worn tomorrow.

18th to 21st November. Started test today, Tuesday, a part upper. It went quite well, got 95% for it, a good start. Thursday, I set up for a full upper and lower. Made a slight mistake and got only 75% for it. Friday, I finish off the upper and lower and got 95% for both of them which made 88% for the whole test. I finished third out of the six of us that took the test. Got through okay, so now I am a First Class Mechanic.

22nd to 24th November. Played football again today in the league and we drew 2-2 after being two goals down at half time. A good feed was waiting for us after the game. Sunday being a day off I went to see a football match in the afternoon. By the way, on Friday, Eric and I won seven games of tombola and we picked up 35/- between us. Went to the Gaff at night. On the Monday I received a letter from my darlings at home and what a charming letter it was. Booked an order for a gum shield for the famous boxer Frank Hough who is in camp.

25th November. Finished off the gum shield for Frank Hough and got an invitation from him to go to the pictures. Got an order to make him some teeth, not a bad weeks work. Heard today that I was going to Moascar on temporary relief duty for a couple of weeks.

26th to 28th November. Ordinary days, nothing happened to write about. Played tombola on Friday and managed to win 45pt. Paid the expenses for the night.

29th November. Played football again today against the 77th DID and won 4-1. Got a nasty kick on the shin. Had my posting to Moascar held over to Sunday. Two boys arrived from Suez, two of the boys from Uckfield. All the old crowd have now gone abroad. Went to the Gaff at night after I had packed my kit.

30th November. Left for Moascar by lorry early morning and got taken right to the door. The Dental Centre is within the hospital, the only inhabited place around the hospital, the rest having evacuated. It's a very nice place. Went into Ismailia in the afternoon buying a few things I needed. The prices of everything are astounding. Two vests cost me 10pt each( making 4/- for two), a pair of suspenders were 10pt and the biggest shock of all, a reel of cotton was 6 1/2pt (1/4d). It is hardly believable to pay that for a reel of khaki cotton not thread. Everything that is necessary is so terribly dear. Shaving soap 1/- a stick, boot polish 9d a tin. A good job I had a few shillings from buckshee jobs.

1st to 3rd December. Started work today with very little to do. The food is not too bad but not as good as Genifa. The nights are the worse, there is nothing to do. The 2nd was a busy day, ten impressions to do, it passed the time away. The 3rd another busy day with eight impressions to cast. Today, after tea, it rained quite hard for a time. The weather is now much colder, almost like that at home.

4th to 6th December. On Friday, Duff came over from Genifa and we went to the pictures with him. Saturday went over to Genifa to play football. Picked up a lorry quite easily. Xmas card, cake and four papers waiting for me, the cake was in good condition and tasted very nice.

7th December. Went to play football against HQ and we won 3-1 so we are still at the top of the league. Had another lot of luck by winning 15/- on the football sweep. Went out at night to the Gaff.

8th December. What a day. Set off from the DID at 8.25am for Moascar, got there at 9.00am but nothing was said. The place was crowded with orderlies and Officers. Saw Col McGeorge and he told me to come back to Genifa straightaway, just packed up and went. Picked up a DID lorry after waiting about an hour. Did over 60 miles by lorry in a few hours. Real glad to be back.

9th &10th December. No place on the bench for me, so I helped Major Osmond in the surgery. Took some bites and fitted some dentures. Helped him quite a lot. Wish I could keep the job regular. Sent an air mail letter home. Have not had a letter from you dear for a little while but I am living in hopes.

11th to 14th December. Thursday just another ordinary day. Friday I had three post cards, one from you dear and one each from Gert and Nelly. Gee! it was good to hear again from home. Played tombola again on Friday. Won one house and two lines, we cleared 1pt each on the night. On Saturday I received an airgraph from you darling. My luck seems well in. Played football in the afternoon and got a surprise. Only managed to draw 2-2 with a supposedly poor team. Went to the Gaff at night and saw a good show. On Sunday I got another card, the quickest yet, just thirteen days to get here. Did another buckshee job and went of the Gaff again at night.

15th December. Started at the bench again today, not so hot after a month away from it. Wrote to you dear at night and also to Gert and Nelly.

16th & 17th December. Received an airgraph today posted in early November, all well at home. Work as usual but not feeling too well. Nasty pain around the appendix. Woke in the morning feeling pretty rotten, a bad head and I still have the pain. Head cleared off after dinner and pain not so bad. Got two airgraphs, both early November. One from you darling and the other from ma and pa.

18th to 21st December. Felt much better on Thursday thank goodness. Had two parcels today. One from you dear and the other from the church. I was so glad to get them safe. I do appreciate your parcels dear and one day I will repay you. Friday just another ordinary day. On Saturday played football against HQ but lost 2-0. The first league game we have lost this turn. On Sunday went to Moascar for a run and saw the new lab. It is a fine affair. A letter for me when I got back, air mail, dated 18th October.

22nd to Xmas Day 25th December. Just ordinary days, plenty of work. Xmas Eve went into the canteen and had a few bottles of beer. Xmas Day we worked in the morning. Dinner was a most marvellous 'do', the best yet in the army but I felt oh so sad. I was terribly home sick and nearly in tears. The festivities kept on until well after midnight. There was loads of stuff to eat but my heart was not in the party. I told one or two jokes after dinner. Never before have I heard such filthy songs sung and all by regulars. In the evening I went to the Gaff, it was a buckshee show.

26th to 29th December. I was feeling much better Boxing Day. Work as usual. Saturday we played football and lost 4-0, however, I managed to play a decent game. On Sunday played football again but I'm afraid it looks like being my last game for quite a while. I twisted my knee during the game but it did not feel too bad until night when I had a terrible time with it. Could not sleep for pain. On the 29th I reported sick and was told that I had torn a ligament in the knee. I shall have to keep having it dressed until it is right again. Received another airgraph again dated 30th November.

30th December to 3rd January. The 30th, Jean's birthday. Still visiting the doctor with knee. New Years Eve we had a little party. A few bottles of beer some whisky and two whole legs of lamb, was a nice little do.

1942 4th to 10th January. Received a letter from you darling with 'photo of Jean. What a big fine girl she is. Also a letter from Gwen with 'photo of Jill, she too, I must remark, is a fine baby. Continued seeing the doctor. Nothing much else to report. 11th to 14th January. Saw the doctor again on the 11th and was told that it was my cartilage that was wrong and I had to see a specialist at the hospital. This does not sound too good. Tuesday 13th went to the hospital and wasted three hours. Saw the MO there and he said it was a torn cartilage and it would have to come out but it was too swollen to do straight away. Advised to rest for two weeks and he gave me fourteen days Attend C, which means excused all duties. Said I must have operation in two weeks. Rested all day in one of the tents.

15th to 17th January. This resting is a lot harder than I expected, in fact it is boring. On the 17th a sandstorm raged all day. What a day. One could only see a few yards, if one dared to open ones eyes. On Saturday the storm finished about tea-time. What a hell of a night. Tents blowing about, sand to eat and drink. This is not my idea of fun and games. Still no mail. I am getting a little worried again.

18th to 22nd January. Still going all right. Came into the lab to to a bit even though on the sick list. Knee gets no better, will not be right until it is done. Received airgraph on 19th and was jolly pleased to hear from you again darling and to know everything is okay. On Thursday had quite a change in the shape of an air raid warning at dinner time. Nothing happened, not a sight nor sound of a 'plane. Went to the Gaff most nights. Only thing to do around here at night.

23rd to 27th January. The only thing of interest was some new mechanics arriving at the lab. Owing to pressure of work I have to work six and a half days a week for a month. Went to see specialist again and was told to come into hospital at tea-time. Had my first go in dock! Got Tuesday night over all right in a room of my own.

28th January. Saw the doctor this morning, gave the knee a good going over, waited around all day expecting it to be x-rayed, nothing doing. Saw the doc again at night and is sending another one to see me. What a load of cheerful chaps in here, even though badly messed up. Most of them from the desert. Not as bad as I expected in dock, food not too bad.

29th to 31st January. Just routine days with plenty of rest and attending for massage. MO says that knee is improving. Now five weeks since it was done.

1st February. A new month is with us, never expected being in dock. Thank goodness knee is improving. Had a nice job sweeping up. It is remarkable how cheerful all the chaps are in spite of being so badly hurt.

2nd to 5th February. Just routine days. Massages, plenty of rest and reading. Go out tomorrow, shall be rather sorry. I am just beginning to like it.

6th to 8th February. Went for massage again. The knee is coming along nicely now. On Saturday was discharged from hospital but have to go for treatment for another week. Went to see the MO on Sunday and got another week off work. I learned a lot in hospital. What a brave crowd of chaps they all are. Good luck to all of them.

9th to 21st February. Quite a long spell to try and remember. Had a quiet week off work. Went each day for a massage (electric). Started work again on the 17th but did not go on the bench. Helped the Major in the surgery. Just a nice easy job. Took over room the Sgt one day and managed quite well. Got a lot of newspapers and Tit-Bits through, but very little else in the way of mail. Got a letter from Les Hudson in Uckfield and one from Stan Mole in the Sudan. Another airgraph from home and a card from Nelly.

22nd February. Had a very sore toe today caused through walking on the side of my foot because of the knee. Had to have it dressed. Today had a Court of Inquiry on my knee, this was necessary owing to the hospital saying that the injury was serious and may interfere with my future service. Lt Frost and two of the team came as witnesses. All went well and the finding was that it was an accident and done while on military duty. This clears me all right. Wrote an airgraph today.

23rd February to 3rd March. Work not going down too well. On the bench again. Two chaps gone back. Managed okay. Shall soon get used to it again. Got a little information this week. Stand a good chance of being made up. I do hope that it comes off. Shall know more later. In the early morning of 3rd March, had an air raid. Not had one for months. It was at the airfield about 15 miles away from here. Quite a lot of bombs were dropped. Understand two 'planes were brought down. Got an airgraph dated 13th February.

4th to 8th March. Another raid early in the morning, lets hope that it is not going to become a habit again. Quite a distance off here but the bangs disturbed my sleep. No more raids at night, everything just as usual, work in plenty. Received air mail letter on the 7th with snaps in. I think the snaps are very good. Played tombola at the IBD on Saturday. Picked up five houses and won 6/- between us.

9th to 15th March. Just a so-so kind of week with plenty of work, etc. No raids to report. Spent most evenings in the IBD canteen playing table tennis and darts. During the week received three cards and one airgraph. Sent off air mail letter. Heard that Cpl Harris was coming here. Very disappointed. Certainly the nearest I have been to promotion. However, all I can say is "Ma-leesh", and better luck next time. Got a very sore toe, having to have medical attention.

16th March to 3rd April. Quite a long jump. Nothing really exciting happened in the meantime. Refereed a football match. Went down to the beach and continued to make friends in the IBD One night during the week, Paddy and I were having a drink in the Company Office with the CAMS at 10.30pm when we met a chap who claimed to be a relation of the Bratley's in Rotherham! I must see him later when he is sober. Fixed up to go on leave to Alex'. Something at least to look forward to. Received a little mail. Work has increased tremendously. Thank goodness I am well again and can get finished the same day. Have been off colour for a week or so now. Today is Good Friday, what a shock I got when I found out. Did not realise it was Easter. Had a sailor, a Rotherham boy, called Bacon up to see me. Chatted with him for about three hours.

4th to 7th April. Easter weekend but just another weekend. Toe is about right now. First swim upset knee a bit. Started working from 6.00am to leave the afternoons free. Getting quite warm. If this keeps up it is going to be as hot as hell in the summer. Received post card on the 6th saying Jean was much better. What a shock I got. I did not know she was ill. Wrote home on the 7th, hope it gets there.

8th to 19th April. Just ordinary days, awaiting leave to come round. Set off with Paddy on the 10th for Cairo. Got a lift by lorry all the way. Had a weekend in Cairo and then on the 13th went to Alex'. After a four hour train ride, got there okay and put up at the St. Andrews Hostel. What a smashing place, clean white sheets and nice beds. A cup of tea in bed each day and very cheap. o1 for six days B & B, showers and tea included. Had a very nice time there. The most interesting being a morning on the docks. Never seen as many ships before. Saw all types of naval vessels, from small torpedo boats to the Queen Elizabeth, the newest battleship, subs and destroyers. Considering the heavy raids of the previous week, there was very little damage done. Only the brothels seemed to have been hit, what better target could they have hit. Stinking filthy holes. What a colossal place Alex' is. Never seen so many big buildings in so little room. Visited Stanley Bay, one of the most famous Med seaside resorts. Saw some very good films but was disappointed I could not stay to see Bitter Sweet. Like all good things it came to an end. Back again on the 19th to the lab.

20th to 22nd April. Back again to work. Airgraph from my darling awaiting me. Sent o5 home to my sweetheart on the 21st. I do hope it gets there okay. Received five cards, three from home and two from Nelly. So pleased to hear that Jean is getting well again. 22nd, received Jean's birthday cake in good condition. Have just eaten it and it was good. Was very pleased with card inside it.

22nd to 25th April. Just everyday sort of days. Big changes are in store, a new Major is due. The 25th, my birthday has come around again, 35 years old today making my third birthday in the Army. I hope to God it is all over before my next birthday. I played in a darts match to-night against the ROT. The game was stopped by an air raid. Quite a number of thrills. Was stood outside the lab with Paddy when a plane came over machine gunning. I dived under a water tower. They came too near to be really healthy. I gave my knee a real crash as I dropped. Thank goodness he missed me!

26th April. The new Major has arrived with big ideas. One thing is certain, if he increases the staff as he says so, there will be no room to work. Today, I regret to say, I hit a chap for the first time in my life. We have a very nasty piece of work, a Clerk Orderly, new out here, 30 years old. Today I collected the mail being eager to get your cable. He was very annoyed and gave me a shower of abuse. I threatened to slap him down, I just removed my glasses and hit him dammed hard. He is about one of the nastiest pieces of work I have ever met. My only regret is I did not hit him hard enough.

27th to 30th April. The frenzy started today. What a lot of shouting and running about, like a lot of lunatics. On Tuesday things were a little quieter, just running about and no shouting. I am, of course, referring to the new Major and his henchmen. Thursday was a day of surprises. Heaps of papers arrived by sea mail but no letters. Charlie Lee turned up, also Arthur Day, an old pal from Uckfield.

1st May to 2nd June. I have let this go for a whole month so it will be mostly guess work. More changes have taken place. The lab has been altered and Noah Lab is being opened up here with No4. Again I have just missed promotion. Another chap got it because he was older than me. It is very disappointing, however, my time will come. Many new faces in the lab. Bert Mountain has arrived here. Have had three games of cricket at Moascar. The Canal Area is forming a team to tour around. In the first game I took 5 wickets for 9 runs, in the second 1 for 22 and in the third 1for 10. I wonder if I shall be picked. I don't suppose so, there are too may Officers hanging around. However, I shall get a game with the DID at the weekend. My mail is coming through very poor.

3rd to 22nd June. Everything pretty much the same. More new faces, more of the old ones going. Expect I shall be going myself quite soon. Had one or two games of cricket. Still plenty of work.

23rd June. Well it has come at last. Today I move to No5 Lab at Alex'. Did not know what to think about it. It looks as if my promotion has gone to the wind moving into another district. Left Genifa about 7.30am by truck. Got to Ismailia for the 9.40am train. Met a chap I knew on the way to the new lab at Mona, Cairo. What a job with two kit bags and pack, however, I let the locals do the carrying for me. Got a seat all right on the Cairo train. Arrived at Bank and changed there. On the Alex' train at 1.10pm and away. What a hell of a journey. Arrived in Alex' about 4.30pm, or rather Sidi Gaber, which is near Mustapha Barracks my destination. Tried to ring up for a truck but could not get through. Went to the place on foot, about five minutes walk and left the kit at the station. One of the boys went in an ambulance for it. Just got in in time for tea, fish and chips. Got fixed up with a bed and settled down for the night.

24th June. Started work today, just nice and steady. It is a nice lab, gas and electricity and very clean. There is a nice club room for the Corps with books, table tennis, darts, etc. Went to a very posh cinema at night, what a change from the Gaff. 25th to 28th June. Getting quite used to things now. Went to the famous Stanley Bay for a swim on Friday evening but it was too rough for me. Saturday we had a day off. In the morning I went to the Bay, had a lovely swim and sun bathe. What a lot of beautiful women about, but they take no notice whatsoever of the soldiers. What a crowd there, but it is the holiday season. I was coming here on leave this weekend. My pal is coming up so I shall be all right. On Saturday afternoon I got a game of cricket with the Alex' Area Dental Corps. I have no doubt whatever that I shall get a place okay. The Canal Area are coming here in a week or two. Made 5 runs with the bat. Only had two overs with the ball and took 2 wickets for 6 runs. Had a run into town at night just to have a look round. Sunday was just a lazy day, in the morning went into town to send a cable, swimming in the afternoon and pictures in the evening.

29th June. Received a cable today, was very pleased. Things here are getting a bit sticky. Air raids, etc. Everyone confined to barracks after 8.00pm. Things certainly are looking bad. Talk of evacuating.

30th June. Today a bigger scare than ever is on. Have learned that we are one of the few to run when the time comes. Everyone is standing by. No one allowed out at all. The Germans are a lot less than 100 miles away. Something will have to be done quite soon.

1st July. Ordered to get kit packed and ready for a quick move. Rations have been drawn. A telegram came at dinner time to say the stand-by was off but to be ready to move at one hours notice. At this stage it is very hard to say what will happen. It is a nasty thought to think that Jerry could be here in two hours. If we go, goodness knows where we will finish up. Any place rather than in the hands of the enemy. So dear, though things are a little black, I still have every faith in God and I know I shall come out all right. Goodnight my love and God Bless.

2nd to 31st July. Well dear, we are still here and things are more or less settled down again. Jerry has been well held up the 'Blue' and the flap is just about over. This month has been the busiest I have ever had. Finished eighty two new jobs and sixteen repairs. Keep having air raids but nothing to worry about. I'm afraid this month has been all work with an occasional run into town. The work slackened off toward the end of the month and we were lucky enough to have three days holiday.

1st & 2nd August. No work today. Saturday morning I spent swimming, the afternoon I played cricket against a NZ team. Got 2 wickets for 24 runs. In the evening had a run on the front. On the Sunday had a morning on the beach at Stanley Bay. My, what a crowd of hundreds of beautiful women. In the afternoon played cricket again against GHQ and managed to win this time. Got 2 wickets for 27 runs. Again a run on the front in the evening.

August Bank Holiday 1942, Stanley Bay, Alexandria. Some of the boys from No.6. Steve Lonsdale on far right.

August Bank Holiday 1942, Stanley Bay, Alexandria. Some of the boys from No.6. Steve Lonsdale on far right.


3rd to 5th August. Ordinary days, some mornings on the beach. Not as many people there now. The sun is getting to me quite a lot. It is terribly hot.

6th August. IN THE DESERT. George Iles and myself left Alex for duty on 'B' Mobile Lab with 14 Field Ambulance in a forward area. Left at 11.00am and got a truck, picked up field equipment and off up the 'Blue'. A nice journey up the coast to Burgel-Arab, turned south about 4 miles, then about 6 miles along the level of the coast. Just before getting to the destination, three German bombers dropped bombs on an aerodrome a mile or so from the truck then flew over us. Had I got the wind up! Arrived at Mobile Lab and got a good welcome. I am about 25 miles from the front line, right in the desert but I shall get used to it. The food is not too bad. What a night. Slept outside under a tent flap.

August 1942. In the desert. On the right of the truck is the surgery. The other side is the lab. The tent flap on the right of the surgery is where I sleep.

August 1942. In the desert. On the right of the truck is the surgery. The other side is the lab. The tent flap on the right of the surgery is where I sleep.

7th August. Was awakened at 3.45am this morning by German 'planes. Flares were dropped a few miles away. I was out of bed in no time. Two fires were started, one burnt for hours. One very heavy bomb dropped and I could feel the wind from it. Started work. Not too bad. Plenty of sand on everything. The lab is in a tent. A pretty quiet evening. Played cards for cigs until it got dark then bed at 8.30pm. No raid during the night.

8th August. Work all day as usual. This morning plenty of activity. Two 'planes came over and gunned the road about 200 yards away. Hit two truck drivers. Came over once or twice during the day. Hear that Winston Churchill is up the front line. Plenty of heavy gunfire from the front in the early evening. The night was very quiet. The food here is marvellous.

9th August. Working all day today. Everyday is the same. Pretty quiet today. Jerry came over once or twice but nothing happened. Heavy gunfire started at tea-time. Another quiet night.

10th August. Today has been very quiet. Very windy at times, as a result a lot of sand was blowing about. Everything in the tent got covered. I was covered all over with fine dust. It will take a lot of getting used to. In bed by 8.00pm. Rather under the weather today. Another quiet night.

11th August. Gunfire could be heard today. A dog fight took place this morning with some good bursts of gunfire. Four loud explosions in the distance, may have been bombing the rail head. Another quiet night.

12th August. Rather a dusty day. Quiet until after tea then Jerry came over and the ack-ack (new in the district) opened up on them. Shrapnel fell near to the cookhouse. All night long gunfire could be heard and 'planes were over all the time.

13th August. Pretty quiet day. Gunfire intermittent during the day. After tea, a crowd of our fighters came in very low, a couple of minutes afterwards a dozen Jerry's just played around at a great height. No guns or bombs. About 11.30pm, some Yank in the ambulance unit started playing a trumpet. A good player, but not appreciated at that time of night! Otherwise very quiet.

14th to 16th August. Just quiet days and quiet nights. On Sunday lunch time, a dog fight took place but was soon over. Had the afternoon off. Did washing and read.

17th &18th August. Monday was a quiet day and night. Today, Tuesday, I am really fed up. No mail and a hell of a lot of sand blowing about. Eating it and drinking it. What a bloody mess. Another quiet night. Tried to rain in the early hours.

19th August. Another quiet day but very sandy again. Had a letter from Ernest with snaps in. George Iles found a scorpion in his bed this morning! Heard news of an invasion in France. Hope that this is true. Quiet night but very rough, thought I was going to be blown away.

20th August. A nasty rough day with great dust clouds blowing about. Jerry came over this morning but was soon driven off. A quiet night again.

21st & 22nd August. Still no mail and getting a little worried. Friday during the day was very quiet but at night Jerry came passing over. For a long time the guns opened up and a barrage went up as big as I have ever seen. On Saturday after dinner, very heavy gunfire could be heard from the front. No doubt the push has started again. Learned later this was a heavy artillery duel. Quiet night.

23rd August. This morning witnessed the cheekiest thing yet. Ack-ack opened up and a Jerry flew very low overhead. What a shock when I saw the black crosses on it. Did a spot of washing. Had a bottle of beer at night, first for three weeks. Wakened during the night by ack-ack fire.

24th August. Received some mail today, been sent to 'D' Mobile. Gunfire heard intermittently during the day. About 9.30pm we had a parachute warning. Jerry was expected to attempt a land by air or sea. Had to sleep fully dressed. Nothing happened. Jerry came over and got a hot reception. We were instructed to try if possible to attack parachutists with picks or shovels, failing that, show Red Cross arm bands!

August 1942. The boys on the unit, including an orderly from the Dental Centre of the 14th Field Ambulance and the lorry driver. This is how we dress during the day.

August 1942. The boys on the unit, including an orderly from the Dental Centre of the 14th Field Ambulance and the lorry driver. This is how we dress during the day.

25th August. Una's birthday today. Hope she has got my cable. Ack-ack busy nearly all morning. Bad dust storms in the afternoon, worst yet. Was wakened during night by heavy crash of bombs, otherwise quiet.

26th August. A very quiet day. Heard that Jerry push was to start. Also heard that the Duke of Kent had been killed. One or two bangs during the night but otherwise very quiet. Still no attempt at landing.

27th August. Received airgraph, everything very quiet, almost too quiet day and night. I see that PT has started out here in the evenings, what a load of tripe. A Cpl Collins returned to unit. Why must I suffer so.

28th August. Still nothing to report during the day. A little gunfire could be heard later in the afternoon. My God what a night. The gunfire from the front was terrific all night. Then to top it all, Jerry was over all night. For two hours the ack-ack near here was terrific, shrapnel falling all around us. It was 11.15pm before we dared to turn in and we were in and out again twice before 1.00am and again at 5.00am.

29th & 30th August. Friday was a quiet day and night thank goodness. Saturday was quiet during the day, Capt Liggins arrived to take over from Capt Powell. Not so quiet at night. Jerry was over and we were out of bed two or three times. At 5.00am a terrific barrage went up and shrapnel fell all around the lab.

31st August. At 7.00am the day started with the cheekiest raid yet. Ten Jerry fighters came in very low and strafed the aerodrome. The ack-ack was terrific, the road was machine gunned and they all got away. Learned that seven planes were brought down during the night about 30 miles away. It was quiet during the night but very rough.

1st September. Today is our wedding day and what a start. At 4.00am Jerry came over and with utter disregard for the Red Cross, machine gunned the camp. My God, did I get the wind up. Fortunately all the bullets were on the other side of our outfit. The Officers Mess was wrecked. Everything that could break was broken. A lot of other tents hit but nobody hurt. More of our planes than I have ever seen went up forward. A nasty day with sand blowing about. The night was disturbed by Jerry again. Bombs fell near but nothing to worry about.

2nd September. Learned today the 'plane that machine gunned the camp was brought down, two were killed and the Sgt gunner was brought into the hospital here before moving to a POW cage. Almost every hour today from early morning, our bombers and fighters have been going over in big flights. The push we hear is on in all sectors. Heavy gunfire heard during the afternoon.

3rd September. Heard that Jerry had pushed through in the south and was only 18 miles south of here. Later they went back. Activity during the night. Broke my glasses diving into a slit trench.

4th & 5th September. Things very quiet, plenty of our 'planes over, nights not too bad. Jerry pushed back on all fronts. Another very cheeky incident after tea. Twenty six of our fighters were playing about. Two minutes after they had gone, a Jerry 'plane glided in and dropped a stick of bombs across the aerodrome. A quiet night.

6th September. Received three postcards, taken forty seven, fifty one and fifty seven days to get here. Dinner time today, four 'planes nipped in and had a go again at the aerodrome. Early this morning, one Officer and thirteen Italian Marines made a landing a few miles from here and put a mine on the railway track. Three trains and the ambulance train passed over it but did not go off. Then they gave themselves up to an Arab. Another quiet night.

7th September. Received another card today. Jerry came in again this afternoon behind about twenty of our fighters and had a go at the aerodrome again. Very heavy artillery fire could be heard about 6.00pm. Another quiet night.

8th September. Today Jerry came in behind our fighters and shot one down but one Jerry crashed during the day to level matters up. Five 'planes raided the aerodrome again but were driven off. Was kept awake at night, not by planes, but bloody dogs, they really drive me crazy.

9th to 13th September. Received airmail letter, took seven weeks to get here. All days and nights very quiet. Sunday received cable. Sunday morning Jerry came over and dropped a few bombs around the district.

15th to 16th September. Pretty quiet days and nights apart from dogs. Monday night ack-ack went up. Wednesday morning Jerry came in and bombed the aerodrome again. About 9.00am Jerry came in again but a terrific barrage went up. Quiet during the night.

17th to 22nd September. Very sandy during day. Ordinary days. Jerry made a few trips over. Thursday night had a good booze up. 'C' Mobile arrived on Friday. Monday and Tuesday very quiet in the day. At night, loads of our 'planes went over.

23rd September. Today three years service is up. Jerry came in this morning and dropped a beautiful stick across the aerodrome. The ack-ack missed again as usual. Not so quiet during the night. Jerry came over and dropped some bombs near to the camp. Quiet after that.

24th September. A pretty horrible day, windy and a hell of a lot of sand blowing about. A day to brown anybody off. Received a long letter at night which cheered me up.

25th to 27th September. A bit of activity. Saturday night was the worst up to now. A terrific barrage went up almost every half-hour. Hardly slept at all. On Sunday I was inoculated and am feeling the effects of it now. I hope it is a quiet night. Received two newspapers. Felt pretty rotten during the night.

28th September. Feel pretty near okay today. Received airgraph. Jerry was over around 6.00am. The worst day yet, wind started blowing about 8.00am and visibility was nil until the middle of the afternoon.

29th & 30th September. Ordinary days. Feel off colour at present. Went to see the doctor on Wednesday. Had a good examination. Heart and chest very good. Right kidney not quite so good. Doc suggested leave, said I was run down.

1st & 2nd October. Felt pretty bloody awful today so eased off work. Tummy upset. Taking tablets. Had a decent nights sleep for a change. Friday did not feel too bad. Just after tea, Jerry came over with eight 'planes. A bit if fun was seen, bombs, ack-ack, but nothing was brought down. A quiet night. Had another good nights sleep.

3rd October. A queer day. Thunder and rain and also very hot. Learned that I am going back soon.

4th to 6th October. Just so-so days, each night a real good electrical storm. Tuesday we moved a matter of 500 yards and became attached to a NZ CCS.

7th to 10th October. Received quite a bundle of mail during this period. One letter and eight cards. The food is really marvellous, the new site is much better, miss all the sandstorms. Had thunderstorms for two days with plenty of rain. On Saturday, got a new set of dentures fitted. At last I look quite respectable. Has been very quiet during the nights.

11th to 14th October. Just ordinary and very quiet. On Tuesday, went into Alex' for the day. Stayed overnight and returned Wednesday morning with a bad hang-over. Saw one of our 'planes crash on the way back. The pilot was not hurt badly at all.

15th to 18th October. Experienced the worst sandstorms and rains up to now. Inches of sand everywhere made work impossible. On Saturday went into Alex' again. Had a run to the pictures. Returned at night, heavy raid. Took the best part of an hour to clear up the sand in the lab.

19th to 22nd October. Weather quite good. Tuesday, went into Alex' again returning at night. Each day, big crowds of our 'planes went over all day long. Jerry over Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. On Thursday, big formations of our 'planes over again all day. Nights very quiet again.

23rd October. Today was the day for the big start at 10.00pm. (The Battle of El Alemein). At 9.45pm the artillery opened up with a terrific bang which kept me up nearly all night. Hundreds of 'planes went over during the day and night.

24th October. Everything went to plan. The first casualty arrived in. arrangements made to treat four thousand a day for five days in all the CCS's. 'Planes over non-stop all day, as many as sixty five in one lot.

25th October. Did some denture work until 2.30pm then went to the reception station to help until 9.30pm. Heard many interesting stories. The push seems to be going as was expected.

26th to 28th October. No dental work. Went again to lend a hand. Some work in on the Wednesday. A few dentures to do.

29th to 31st October. Still pretty quiet. Thursday did not have a single job to do. Doing nothing in the desert is pretty tough. Had a job on Friday. Things quiet in the hospital so no help was needed. Saturday still no work in the morning. Had a job in the afternoon and finished it.

1st to 6th November. Very quiet period. Just a little work to do. Heard Wednesday that everything was going very well up the front.

7th November. Packed up ready to move.

8th November. Moved off 100 miles up, stayed the night near Fuka.

9th November. Moved up another 40 miles. Stopped and CCS opened up at Garuala near Mersa Matru.

10th to 12th November. Just wandered around the desert. Try to find some loot but not very successful as yet. Expect to move up again anytime now.

13th to 15th November. Started work today, just a few jobs. Went for a swim. On Saturday went to Matru for a run. A decent place apart from the stink and the flies. Swimming in afternoon. On Sunday a spot more work and more swimming. Rationed to two pints of water a day.

16th to 19th November. Some work in the morning. Started raining. Went to Matru again. Heard we were to move to Tobruk. On Tuesday we started to pack. It poured with rain in the afternoon. On Wednesday started to wear battle dress. The next day, after lunch, we were off and moved up 80 miles.

20th November. Off again early, another 113 miles. At about 1.00pm we went over the famous Hell Fire Pass some 450 feet high.

21st November. Off again, on last lap, stopped and opened up 10 miles or so from Tobruk. Planes over all night and ack-ack fire.

22nd to 27th November. Had a run to the caves today. Quiet night. Went into Tobruk. Started work, plenty of patients. After lunch on the 27th, packed up ready for off.

28th November. Moved off about 20 miles past Tobruk up the Derma Road with the 5th Light NZ Field Ambulance. Started work straightaway. Rained hard. Received some mail. First for many weeks.

29th & 30th November. Plenty of work to do. The food is really excellent. Played cards, won 4/-.

1st to 4th December. Still plenty of work. Air raid on Tobruk on the night of the 2nd. Saw one 'plane come down in flames. Heard we were to move again.

5th December. Started to pack to move to Benghazi. Received three postcards. Poured with rain, got flooded and had to stay until the next day.

6th December. Moved back to 1st NZ CCS.

7th December. Moved off to Benghazi and eventually arrived there at 1.45pm on 9th December after a 350 mile journey.

10th to 13th December. On the road, a long trip, past Agedabia. Ran around the desert for days. Finished up with the Highland Division Field Ambulance. Rained hard most nights, got wet and hellish miserable. The truck broke down several times.

14th to 17th December. Opened up and started work. Received some mail and papers on the 17th.

18th December. Packed up and moved up 15 to 20 miles. Now about 40 miles from Agheila.

19th to 24th December. Very busy, plenty of work. Food not too great. Only less than half a mug of tea each meal.

25th to 29th December. Worked all day on the 25th. Not by any means the best Xmas. Did get some beer and cigs. The meal was so-so. No mail or parcels, just one card from Nelly.

30th to 31st December. 30th, Jean's birthday. Moved up again 52 miles, 12 miles past 175th ADS Ageila. For two days we ran around the desert and finished up 2 miles back!

1943 1st January. A New Year but just an ordinary working day. Very cold. Received quite a bundle of mail. Jerry 20 miles away. Previous night bombings.

2nd to 5th January. Plenty of work. Very windy and cold. The 3rd was a terrible day with thunder and lightning, rain, gales and a sandstorm. Had to pack up work. Conditions impossible. Two tents blown down but lab tent okay. Received Xmas parcels from home. Weather much better. Rumours of moving again. Getting really fed up with things.

6th January. A much better day. Sun quite warm. Hear we are to move up again 100 odd miles to Serti. Still plenty of work to do. Had a bad headache all day. Still no mail. Hear that the parcels I sent in October may have been lost.

7th January. Each day is very much the same, just bed and work. Each night and morning the massed bands of pipes and drums of the Highland Division can be heard. Very cold indeed at night.

8th & 9th January. Heard that we were to move on our own. That will be much better than going in convoy by desert track. No mail again. What a heartache it is when the other boys get theirs and I don't. Sent air mail letter card home. Received a letter from Gwen, replied straight away. Still no news from home. It is intensely cold morning and night. Colder than I have ever known it at home.

10th January. Received two Rotherham Advertisers. Still no other mail. The ADS has moved out leaving us on our own again. Had a grand dinner, cooked by the driver. Still very cold. Do not expect any mail for a long time now.

11th January. Clearing up the work. We are having really good food on our own. Had a bottle of beer at night and a real good old sing song. The harmony was really good. Stayed up until nearly midnight. It was the best evening I have had on this unit. At night the roar of the sea can be heard quite plainly.

12th &13th January. Did not get up until 8.00am. Finished my work by lunchtime and read in the afternoon. It is no good writing letters, it will be a week before I see a post office. Must send a cable when I get to the new site. Started to pack on the 13th ready to move. Very rough in the afternoon.

14th January. Struck camp and moved off at 9.45am. Passed under Marble Arch at 11.30am. Roads very bad. Pulled in for the night just past Nufilia, 100 miles up. Had a very good nights sleep but very cold in the early morning.

15th January. Up early and off before 8.00am. Covered 100 miles in less than four hours. Passed Sirte. Received Xmas cable. A pretty bloody journey across desert. As usual, chasing around, no where to go. Finished up with NZ CCS 20 miles back. Jerry came over at night.

16th January. Pitched tents in the morning. Had a good wash down after lunch. Wrote an airgraph home. The food is very good. A quiet night. Very cold again. Have now got three Clerk Orderlies again. The blundering D Corps. George got his First Class through. Wish mine would hurry up.

17th January. Sunday. Did a bit of washing. Started on a new upper denture for myself. Only one job in so far. Picture show in the evening but could not get in. Started a long letter home. Pretty quiet, but during the night heard a bit of machine gunning. Found out First Class pay was 1/6d a day extra.

18th January. Heard that we had entered Tripoli today. Finished and posted my letter home. Finished off my teeth. Had a kick about at football in the afternoon. Another quite night.

19th January. Heard we were to move again. Rushed through some jobs. Started to pack up ready for the off. Going to the LRDG. Not sure about my knee. A quiet night. Still no mail. It may be weeks now before I get any.

20th January. Off again back to Nufilia, over 100 miles, then south into 30 miles of desert track. Had a bloody puncture. Left two Clerks at 14th CGS. Joined the LRDG convoy. All of them with long beards. Had dinner in transit camp. Rained a little at night. Journey to take four days over 400 miles of desert.

21st January. Pulled out back to main road, then back to Marble Arch. Not a bad trip. Distance 100 miles. Pulled into desert for the night. Watches set to the sun. Told no shaving or washing. A good dinner with rum and coffee. Later passed under Marble Arch at 5.00pm.

22nd January. Set off early across a trackless desert plotting course with a compass. Truck got stuck several times. Another puncture. Passed over desert that had not been gone over before, making new tracks. Remarkable how the trucks got through. Dinner then rum and tea. A good night.

23rd January. TRIPOLI ENTERED. Off to an early start, 7.00am sun time. At 8.30am found the track. Passed through a most wonderful waddie. Reached Fort Tagrif at lunchtime. Truck got stuck several times. Had to dig out. Finished the day 200 miles inland. A really amazing day with wonderful sights.

24th January. Off again towards Zela. steep hills and soft sand held things up at the start. Two trucks on tow. At 10.45am, struck Zela to Hons track. Another puncture in afternoon so a day of wheel changing and digging. Three trucks pulled in at the Oasis Waddin. Other trucks went on. Very cold during the night.

25th January. Intensely cold early morning. Only 20 miles to go. Arrived at Hons at 9.30am. A wonderful modern town. Got fixed up in the hospital. Running water and electricity. One would never imagine such a place 200 miles in the desert. A game of darts at night. Wrote home. A good nights sleep.

26th & 27th January. Started work this morning. Two chaps got in yesterday having walked 250 miles! Good lunch. A game of darts after. A good wireless set. What a grand place this is. A wonderful dinner. Rained in the evening. Went to recreation room and played darts. On the 27th did not feel too good. Had a dose of Epsom Salts. Feel much better now. Had a real good dinner of goats meat. Rained in the evening. Had a game of darts and felt much better at night.

28th & 29th January. Started denture work for one of the men who did the 250 miles walk. Work coming in nice and steady. A wonderful dinner at night. The food is really excellent. Keep hearing some marvellous stories from the chaps. Next day just ordinary work. The food gets better. Had a grand feed of meat and potato pie. Just curled up and slept all night.

30th & 31st January. Had a walk on the Saturday around the native quarter. Very interesting. Met Spud Murphy who use to be with 14th UK Field Ambulance. Had a real bath. First in two years! Some beer provided by Spud. On Sunday worked all day. Tried doing a gold inlay for Spud but not very successful. Wrote air mail letter home. Still no mail. Goodness knows when I shall get any. A quiet night.

1st February. Just a steady day. It is getting nice and warm. Food is excellent. A game of solo at night with a rum and lime. Won 2/6d at solo. This place grows on one more and more. Too many land mines about to wander far.

2nd February. The LRDG led the 8th Army into Tripoli. This is the 'pukka gen'. That is of course when it fell a week or two ago. Played solo at night and won 10/-. Food still very good. Eyes not so good today.

3rd February. Today a native boy was brought in with an arm that had been broken twenty eight days. It was amputated owing to gangrene. George watched it being done. Played solo again at night. Game not finished. 8th Army still not in Tunisia as they are waiting for the LRDG to find a way in.

4th February. Nice steady days work. Had a good dinner of the old favourite meat and potato pie. Finish off game of solo from previous night and won 1/6d after starting 3/- down. Had a nice hot bath. Another rare treat.

5th February. Ordinary day. Steady work. An Indian got two fingers blown off. The place is lousy with mines. Started long letter. Posted air mail card. Played solo again and won 5/-. Food still really good.

6th & 7th February. On Saturday went to native village for some cigs. Finished and posted long letter. Heard some beautiful singing on the wireless. Made me feel very home sick. How I wish I was back home by the fireside again. Spent a pleasant evening with the Heavy Section playing darts with a spot of rum thrown in. Spot of work on Sunday morning. Went to village for cigs. Had a read and sleep during afternoon. Very windy and dusty. Evening was pretty appalling. Went to bed early.

8th February. Just ordinary. Had a walk into village. Just one job to do. Tummy a bit upset last few days. In bed early again. Will not be long before we are finished here.

9th February. Approx. credit o13. Had some pay today. Drew o2. Still no mail. Don't expect any here. A colossal dinner of egg and bacon pie, spuds, peas, cabbage, rice and tea. Fixed up a dart board. Had a game of darts and read a decent book.

10th February. Had a full set to do. Got cigs, chocolate and sweets issued this lunchtime. Today the ex-driver of the Mobile, now in the LRDG left here for Tripoli to fly home. A good dinner but a nasty sick headache prevented me from enjoying it.

11th February. Felt pretty rough this morning. Stayed in bed until 10.00am. Eyes and head had cleared off a bit later on. Went to Heavy Section at night and played darts. No rum this time. Head cleared off during night.

12th February. Very rough and dusty today. Not too warm. Very heartbreaking today. The rest of the boys got mail but I was unlucky. Can't understand it, it is very upsetting. Made ready for a darts match but other team did not turn up.

13th & 14th February. Just a steady day. One or two jobs. Still no mail. Got one or two buckshee jobs to do. Went to Ordnance to play darts and got hopelessly beaten. Got a packet of cigs as losers. A quite night. Worked Sunday morning. Refereed a football match. Could have played but did not care too owing to knee. Had a good dinner with Yorkshire pudding. Windy again.

15th February. A steady mornings work. Referee in a football match again in the afternoon. Played RADC at darts at night in the hospital. Managed to win this time. Still very rough and not too warm.

16th February. Today has been very nice, quite mild and warm. Had a walk into village. Got a souvenir cig case. Smashing dinner. Patrols left for Casablanca. Wrote long letter home. Still no mail.

17th February. Another steady day. Saw a pair of wonderful hand made slippers in village which I may buy. Plane came in today but no mail for us. A quiet evening. Finished a book and turned in early. Tummy a bit upset.

18th February. Went to village to buy slippers, he wanted 30/-. Will have to try again. Turned quite rough and cool. Had another quiet night. Heard the Yanks had had a cracking.

19th to 21st February. No work today. Just laid around and read. Heard a convoy was on the way, may be some mail. Played a darts match with the REME in the evening. On Saturday did a little work in the morning. Went to village in afternoon but all the shops were closed. Had a look around. It is astounding. On Sunday had two jobs. Wrote home. Letter should go Monday. Played darts and read in evening. Went to try and buy slippers but shop closed again.

22nd February. Went in morning for slippers but had left it too late, they had gone. Rather a pity. Spent a quiet evening. Keep bringing in men blown up with mines. Today two Indians, one dead, the other badly hurt.

23rd February. Finished off two jobs this morning. Heard we were to stay another week. Referee another football game in afternoon. Another Arab blown up. Fingers and one eye gone. Knee felt a bit groggy. Started letter.

24th February. Finished long letter and posted it. Had to strap up knee. Yesterdays fall upset it. Rested most of day. No work to do. Watched football in afternoon. Read all evening.

25th February. Went to Socna in morning for a swim. Lost my little scissors. Watched a football match this afternoon. Still no mail on the convoy that has just come in. Another quiet evening.

26th February. Saw the doc about my knee. To keep it strapped up for a few days. Went to village to try to see a dance, but they had finished. Read all that evening. I fear that money and parcels I sent are lost. A list of mail has been on orders.

27th & 28th February. Quiet morning no work. Read and played darts. Refereed a football match in afternoon. Played Ordnance at darts in evening. Quite a pleasant time. Beat them this time. On Sunday heard we are to move on Wednesday. Refereed football match in afternoon. More LRDG men got in today after a few hundred miles walk. Played darts in the recreation room at night.

1st March. Got a job today, a steady days work. Had a bottle of beer from Tripoli. What horrible stuff it was. Read and turned in early at night. Moving on Thursday.

2nd March. Finished off job then more work came in. Drew rations for the trip on Thursday. Boys had to put off football to work. Wrote home, pretty strong letter. A wonder it got past censor. Had a nice hot bath. Played darts in evening.

3rd March. Did a spot of washing this morning. No knowing when we shall get another chance. Started to pack up and get the truck loaded. Went to recreation room at night & heard a good forces programme from England. Off to Tripoli tomorrow.

4th March. Set off by 8.15am to the coast and did 100 miles by lunchtime. Very rough going. Pulled up for night 8 miles from coast. Saw a number of trucks that had hit mines. Spot of rum and then to bed early.

5th March. Off at 7.45am, reached coast at 8.00am. Arrived at Misurata 10.45am. Left Misurata after lunch. Sent a cable. Passed through very nice country. Pulled up for night at a wayside house occupied by Italian peasants. Not a very good nights sleep.

6th March. Left early, arrived 2 miles from Tripoli at 10.00am. Received some mail dated 20th January and 14th February. The others must have gone astray. Pulled in at 131st Field Ambulance and put up in a garage. Distance 410 miles. Poured with rain all night.

7th March. Still raining heavens hard. Wrote and posted a letter home. Went into Tripoli, not at all impressed by it. May get some scent tomorrow, one bottle 52/-. An air raid at dusk. The most terrific barrage I have ever seen and heard.

8th March. Went into town and bought some presents. Received more mail. Went to NAFFI, saw picture show. An air raid again at night but not very heavy. Not too thrilled with Tripoli.


 March 1943. Tripoli.

March 1943. Tripoli.


9th March. Wrote home and sent a parcel. Went into town morning and afternoon. No mail for me today. Started long letter. Went to a show in the hospital, Hello Happiness, saw this two years ago.

10th March. Finished and posted long letter. Filled in forms to send home o10. Went to town and met all the boys from No7 Lab who have just arrived to start a lab. A quiet night.

11th March. Went to 48th General Hospital to help Mechanic Bert Warner. Got a shock when I got back, the unit had opened up for work so our rest is over. Airgraph from Jean. Air raid at night.

12th March. Started work today in the garage. Did not go down too well. Airgraph from home. Had some of the boys from No7 Lab across. Wine and a good sing song.

13th & 14th March. Plenty of work on the Saturday. Received two airmails both dated early March. Wrote home. Had a walk in the evening, a quiet night. Sunday work as usual. Saw Col McGeorge about my trade pay. He is seeing to it right away. Went to a local unit concert party. Pretty terrible. Started a long letter home.

15th March. Finished off my work and long letter home. A quiet day. Two raids at night, a terrific barrage. A big piece of shrapnel came through the roof. Fortunately it missed us all.

16th March. Wrote to ma & pa. Went into town to a show. Projector broke down so did not see finish. Had to come back to pack up ready for off. Terrific air raid at night. Saw three planes fetched down. Very unhealthy while it lasted.

17th March. All ready for off, money changed to francs. Set off about 10.00am. The road was bad in places, saw an Indian lorry turn over. Pulled in for the night after 110 miles. Thunder, lightning and rain all night. Miserable.

18th March. On the road early, crossed the Tunisian border early morning. As usual ran all over the place. After about 190 miles, arrived 10 miles past Medenine at the 14th CCS and within a few miles of the Mareth Line. Rained when we put up the tents. Rain and gales all night.

19th March. The food is lousy. Wrote home to Nelly. More rain in the morning. Went to see mechanics on 3rd CCS. One of our boys to help Dental 14th CCS. The driver cooked us a good meal. Bed early. Gunfire heard all night.

20th March. Wrote long letter home. Heard that we were to move again to 174th Field Ambulance HD. Had a raid at night and the unpleasant experience of being machine gunned. Could see the barrage going up on the front line.

21st March. The push was to start this morning. Set off at 9.30am to the 174th HD. Some 19 miles. Opened up in the afternoon. The push did start and our boys broke through. The food up to now is good. Spent the night in and out of a trench. Another big barrage on the front line.

22nd March. A whole heap of work. At tea-time, told we were to move again 6 miles up and within 10 miles of the front line. What a bastard, Jerry over all night. Slept in a slit trench.

23rd March. MARETH LINE PENETRATED. Started packing up early. Heavy gunfire heard. Moved up 9 miles to only 5 miles from the front. Jerry shells fell nearly all day. Saw tanks and guns moving in. Big barrage at night. A few bombs dropped. Slept underground.

24th March. Plenty of work. Jerry dropped shells over most of the day. Can see his ack-ack fire on our planes. Div Photographer took snaps of me and the boys at work. Wrote home. Good barrage again at night and could hear machine guns in the line.

25th March. Changed into shorts today. A pretty quiet day. A few shells over now and again. Rough and a sandstorm. Quiet night, just a few guns going off. Things going very steady. A decent nights sleep.

26th March. Twenty two years in dentistry completed today. Again, not much artillery action. Very rough again. Not too bad during night, a little activity but did not interfere with sleep. Heard Jerry had retreated.

27th March. Plenty of work. Artillery going on most of day. Heard again that Jerry had gone. No mail through as yet. Pretty quiet night. Heavy artillery heard early evening.

28th March. This morning, heard that Jerry had gone from the Mareth Line. Still no mail. Very dusty again. It appears to be true, Jerry has gone. Fifty of our fighter bombers went over. Picture show at night.

29th March. We are to move again today. Packed up, moved up 7 miles and opened up again, still with the 174th. Gabes fallen, fifteen thousand prisoners taken. Slept in tent at night. Rained very hard. Quiet night.

30th March. Seven days pay stopped. Packed up again to move to Teboulbou. After messing about as usual, pulled up after doing 33 miles. A few miles from Gabes. Ack-ack early evening, otherwise quiet.

31st March. Opened up with 174th HD Field Ambulance, for how long? Went into Gabes in the afternoon. No shops open. Knocked about badly. Still civvies in. A quiet night. Wrote airgraph home.

1st April. Plenty of work. No mail for me, all the other boys got it. Heard we are to move tomorrow. 174th Field Ambulance moved today. Everything is moving up. Started a long letter home. A quiet night.

2nd April. Received mail. Packed up and on the road by 9.00am. Moved up 13 miles to Aquinet and ready to start by 11.00am. Jerry still only 10 miles away. Can see his ack-ack. A few shells keep dropping near by. Jerry over twice. One shot down. Saw pilot bale out.

3rd April. A nasty cold day. Jerry over in the morning. Air mail letter card from home. Shells coming over at tea-time. A bit nearer than usual. Posted long letter home. Jerry came over at dusk and dropped anti-personnel mines in the hospital area and on the road. An ammunition truck went up.

4th April. 8 miles from front line. Jerry over early morning, not too pleasant. Came over again twice in a few hours. Received a bundle of old mail and papers. What a hellish night. Jerry dropping shells over very close. One fell in hospital area only 100 yards away.

5th April. Jerry over during last night and dawn this morning. Wrote to Gerty. There is this air of tenseness that precedes a big battle. Early tomorrow morning the show starts. Jerry over during the night.

6th April. The show has started this morning just before dawn. A terrific barrage. Can see our boys in action. Two planes down. Barrage on from 4.00am to noon. Plenty of prisoners through. Jerry over just after tea. Too close to be happy. A hell of a raid during the night. Received airgraph dated 14th March.

7th April. The ADS received a hit. Jerry started again about 7.00am. One of them nearly lifting me out of my hole. Jerry is on the run again. Hundreds of our 'planes passed over during the day. Usual dusk raid by Jerry. Over again during the night.

8th April. Col McGeorge visited us at 6.30am. Jerry came over at dawn. Wrote letter home. Letter came about trade pay, eight months wrong with dates. A quiet day and night. No Jerry's over. Everything going well. Heard the two armies had joined up.

9th April. No dawn raid today. Hear we are to move on Monday. Letters from home, latest dated 29th March. Hear that Sfax has fallen. Another quiet night. Wrote air mail letter card home as Jean is ill.

10th April. No mail today, a quiet day. Wrote home and sent 300 francs. Hope it gets through all right. Sfax fell at 8.15am. More work coming in and to stay until it is done. Another quiet night. Expect we shall move to Sfax.

11th April. Still plenty of work. Went for a swim in afternoon. Jerry driven past Sousa. Work just finished off. Ready for moving on Tuesday. Another quiet night. A treat to get a good nights sleep.

12th April. Finished off work. Packed up in afternoon ready to move. No mail again today. Wonder how long it will be before I get any. Quiet night. Very little to do in the evenings.

13th April. Finished packing and on the road by 8.30am. Pretty slow journey but good. Covered 74 miles finishing with 174th HD Fld Amb some 4 miles from Sfax. Wrote home. A quiet night. A very nice green site.

14th April. Went sick with a septic hand, not too bad. A lousy day, raining and not too warm. Still no mail. Plenty of work. A nice site in a field of barley with marigolds, poppies and night scented stock. More rain during night.

15th April. Went sick again, hand going quite nicely. Still no mail. 'F' Mobile pulled up on the way up and stayed the night. A Jerry came over. Heard he was shot down by a night fighter. Otherwise quiet.

16th April. Still plenty of work but no mail. Looks like being a few days before it comes through. Hand about right now. (I hope). Had a film unit round today. A quiet night.

17th April. Plenty of work. Mail came through. Airgraph and two air mail cards dated 4th and 8th April. One from Nelly. Wrote long air mail letter and card home. A picture show now running in Sfax. A quiet night.

18th April. Up very early and had a bath. Wrote airgraph to Nelly. No mail today. Still plenty of work. Very quiet around here. Three more Mobiles in front of us. Another quiet night. Apart from writing, there is nothing to do at night.

19th April. Nice and warm today. Received birthday cable and airgraph. Cable came in six days. Ack-ack over Sfax during afternoon. Wrote to Una and ma & pa. The place is lousy with mosquitoes, non malaria type, so the powers that be say!

20th April. Will the last big push go in with the moon? Heard later that push started yesterday. Thyner is the name of the place here. No mail. Another quiet night but rained most of the time.

21st April. Received cable from ma & pa today, taken twenty days to get here. Wrote airgraph back. Got new khaki drill but it did not fit. Heard we were to move again. A quiet night.

22nd April. Had a run to Sfax. Chased after kit this morning. Airgraph from Una. Saw a train pass by, this is an event. Getting khaki drill altered by an Indian tailor. Poured with rain, thunder, etc. Quiet night.

23rd April. Good Friday but just another day. What a treat to see scores of Yankee bombers going over. No mail. APO moved up, Fld Ambl moving tomorrow. Useless writing home, will not get away. We are to move in two or three days. Quiet night.

24th April. Hear that all is going well, only expected to last four more days? Got a new truck today. Wrote airmail letter card to Una. The usual rush to finish work. Don't look like seeing Sfax, what a devil. Can't get time off. Quiet night.

25th April. Many Happy Returns of your Birthday Dear. (This must have been written in the diary by my mother when it was purchased. My father then wrote in for that day as usual). To which I say THANK YOU DARLING. GOD BLESS.

26th April. Packed up and on the road by 8.30am. Joined 174th HD Fld Amb again after travelling 102 miles. Exact place not known but is near Enfidaville, 30 miles from front line. Another nice green site. A pretty quiet night. Could hear guns in front line.

27th April. Started working today. Barrage on most of the day. Hear a push is to start again tonight. Wrote long letter to Una. Don't think the push did start, too quiet a night. Rained a little during night.

28th April. Work still pouring in. Received newspapers and Tit-Bits today but no letters. What a treat to see our 'planes going over. Hundreds of them. Rained again. A barrage started during the night otherwise quiet.

29th April. Planes started at dawn, hundreds passed over during the day. Jerry must be getting a real hammering. Still no mail. Wrote airgraph home. Got posted to 132nd Mobile Dental Unit. What a shock!

30th April. Set off by truck at 9.00am to Mobile Hospital at Sousse. Had dinner there and left by ambulance along with wounded to Sfax. Arrived about 6.00pm. Had another dinner. Unit to move on Sunday. Had a good nights sleep.

1st May. Had a walk into Sfax in the morning. Learned I was to return to Tripoli when finished on this Unit. Packed up in the afternoon. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. This is not much of a place. Shall be glad when we get to El D'Jem.

2nd May. Up early ready to start. Left at 9.00am and arrived at El D'Jem before lunch after 40 miles. Unpacked and set up with an ack-ack unit on an aerodrome. Wrote, or started a long letter to Una. Had a nice nights sleep. Very heavy dew.

3rd May. Work poured in as usual. Dug a little slit trench after tea - just in case. Finished long letter. No mail through yet, expect it will be weeks before I get any. Turn in pretty early.

4th May. Big squadrons of bombers left the aerodrome this morning. Hear the raid was successful. One 'plane was lost. Col McGeorge came today. Hear I shall be going back to Cairo soon. Another quiet night.

5th May. Still more work coming in. The crowd we were with moved off after lunch leaving us on our own. Heaven knows when I shall receive any mail. Another quiet night.

6th May. Hear I am to go back to Sfax on Saturday. Received airgraph dated 16th April and long letter dated 20th October, 1942! It is nice to get news again. Wrote air mail card to Una. Hear I am to move on Sunday. Heard that Tunis should fall tomorrow.

7th May. Finished off what work I had. Managed to get my mail away. Hear things are going very well at the front. Should be over anytime now. Rained during the night.

8th May. Heard Tunis fell yesterday 12.30pm also Birzerta and Ferryville today. Finish off work early. Did a spot of washing. No mail. How long will it be before it is really all over?

9th May. Scores of bombers left the aerodrome early this morning. Packed up for off. Got to transit camp at Sfax and got away within a few minutes on a truck for Tripoli. Pulled up at Telboulbou for the night, after a 160 mile drive. Had a good nights sleep.

10th May. Hear that fifty thousand prisoners have been taken. Should reach Tripoli sometime on Tuesday. Roads very bad, a rough journey of 142 miles, then pulled up at Pisida on the sea shore. Still another 94 miles to go. Another quiet night.

11th May. Cooked breakfast this morning. Stopped at Zuara for a wash and shave. Arrived in Tripoli at No7 Lab about 2.00pm. Total journey was some 430 miles. Got settled in all right. Lab very near to the sea. Had a good nights sleep. Quiet in the night.

12th May. Started work today doing some vulcanising. Put in for o15, hoping to send o10 home. Went for a swim in afternoon. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Work is7.30am to 12.30pm and then 5.30pm to 7.30pm. A quiet night.

13th May. At last the fighting is finished. This is really good news. Went for another swim and a spot of sun bathing. Jerry came over during the afternoon. No mail. Quiet night.

14th May. Plenty of work to do. Did not go swimming today. Went on pay parade and drew o15. Must send o10 home tomorrow. Wrote long letter to Una. Ack-ack for a short while, otherwise quiet.

15th May. Went to the bank and sent home o10. Went into Tripoli in the afternoon. Got measured up for a pair of hand made shoes. Pictures in town, then a show in the camp.

16th May. Work in the morning. Went into town to have khaki drill slacks altered. Came back for dinner. Very hot today. Just hung about all evening. Expected a show in the camp. No mail. A quiet night.

17th May. Work today as usual. No swimming as I am on duty. Started on the bench this afternoon. One chap gone sick. Ack-ack at night. Played cards. Quiet night.

18th May. Started on the bench in earnest this morning. Work did not go down too bad. Too cold to go for a swim. Wrote to Una. Still no mail. Rained very hard during the night.

19th May. Plenty of work. Getting settled down all right. Still no mail. Saw a show in the camp at night. It is a grand sight to see the moonlight on the sea.

20th May. Just another day with plenty of work. Felt a bit rough so turned in early. Like all places, there is not much to do after work. It is too late to go to a show. No mail.

21st May. Work as usual. Feel much better today but still not quite right. Lots of troops and ships passing through. Turned in early. Another quiet night.

22nd May. Work in the morning. A really lovely day. Went into Tripoli to see a show. Still no mail again. Saw a show in the camp at night. A quiet night.

23rd May. A Sunday, but worked an hour or two in the morning. Went for a swim then into town again to a show. Received newspapers. Started long letter to Una. Quiet night.

24th May. Work as usual. Went into town for shoes. A lot of ack-ack in the morning. Finished long letter to Una. A quiet night.

25th May. Heard I was to go to 3rd CCS so I went sick with my eyes and have to go into hospital. Admitted to No2 General Hospital in the evening. Had a good nights sleep.

26th May. Saw specialist and ophthalmic doctor this morning. Eyes no change. Had to bed down, sleep treatment. Slept for most of the day. Keep having a sleeping draught. Wrote air mail letter card home.

27th May. Started sleep treatment. Doped three times a day. Only managed to sleep an hour or two. Smoked three cigs during night.

28th May. Have a terrific headache today. Had some more 'Stuka' juice this morning. The food is not so good. Just slept most of the day. No mail.

29th May. Still more sleep. Today I have a headache worse than ever. Slept all afternoon. Had a pretty fair night. Still no mail.

30th May. More sleep today. Had two of the boys to see me. Still no mail. Started long letter to Una. A real decent nights sleep.

31st May. Another day of sleeping. Finished off long letter to Una this morning. More dope and more sleep. 1st June. Another day of sleep. This is my last day. I wonder what treatment will follow this? Today, I had the best dinner since I came here. More dope at night.

2nd June. Finished with dope today. Saw a Major Palmer, what a lot of poppycock he talked. Just lazed away the afternoon. Played cards at night and had a good nights sleep.

3rd June. Collected my kit ready to go out. Going into convalescent camp tomorrow. Head just about cleared off now. Still no mail. Wrote to Una. Had a good nights sleep.

4th June. Up early, getting ready to leave hospital. Set off to the convalescent camp in an ambulance. Arrived during afternoon. Slept in garages on stretchers. Had a good nights sleep.

5th June. Went to see Dental Officer and MD Got fixed up to go to Dental Lab to knock around. This will be better than fatigues. Went to a concert at night and quite a good show. A good nights sleep.

6th June. Went down to the lab this morning. Slept most of the afternoon. Wrote to Una. Played tombola but no luck. Another good sleep.

7th June. Down to lab again, morning and afternoon. Did a spot of work. Went to a concert at night, a really excellent show. A good night out.

8th June. Lab again. Went swimming in afternoon. A picture show in evening. No mail.

9th June. Lab again morning and afternoon. Still no mail. Finished long letter to Una. Played tombola but did not win.

10th June. Lab again. Still no mail. Feeling much better. Had a good nights sleep.

11th June. After lab in morning, paraded to see Major Palmer. Wrote airgraphs to Una and Nelly. No mail. A quiet night.

12th June. Did a spot of work in the morning. Received air mail letter card dated 27th May. Swimming in afternoon. A concert at night. Very quiet.

13th June. More work in the morning. Swimming and sunbathing in afternoon. Received air mail letter card dated 24th May. Pleased to hear that all the cash arrived home safely. A quiet night, wrote home.

14th June. In the lab again in the morning and afternoon. No mail. Went to a concert at night, a good show. Feeling much better.

15th June. Lab in morning. Major Palmer's inspection in the afternoon. No mail today. Played tombola at night and managed to win.

16th June. Went into lab in morning. A big 'do' in Tripoli on Saturday a lot of 'Cons' to line the streets. Do not feel inclined to go on this. Swimming in afternoon. Played tombola but no luck.

17th June. Down in the lab again in the morning and afternoon. Big show on Saturday is off. No mail. Wrote airgraph to Una. Went to a concert at night.

18th June. Major Palmer's parade and interview. Got another week here. Wrote to Una. Played tombola at night but no luck. Quiet night.

19th June. Lab in morning, swimming in afternoon. No mail. Concert at night. The King is in Tripoli. Shall give a turn next week lining the streets.

20th June. Went down to Tripoli for the day. Looked around shops. Went to pictures. Was pleased to get back. Nothing to eat in town. No mail.

21st June. Went down to Tripoli to line the streets for the King. Went by ambulance. Had to stand for hours. Saw him twice. No mail. Played tombola but no luck again.

22nd June. Went to lab in morning. Interview with Major Palmer. Have finished at last. Wrote long letter home. Air mail letter card from Una.

23rd June. Lab morning and afternoon. Wrote to Una. Refereed a football match at night. Two letters from Una. Quiet night.

24th June. Busy morning, FFI Colonels interview. Big shot around inspecting the camp. Wrote airgraph to Una. Went to see a football match.

25th June. Went to lab in morning, move out in afternoon. Left at 3.00pm and went to 2nd General Hospital. Hear that I may go to base in Cairo again. Slept in Dental Centre. A good nights sleep.

26th June. Went to No7 Lab in morning and saw the Major about getting back there. Watched a cricket match in the afternoon. Two new Mobiles pulled in for the night. No Mail. A quiet night.

27th June. Did a spot of work. Not heard anything yet about a move. Slept all afternoon. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Started and finished long letter. Went to an open air cinema show given by the Yanks.

28th June. Went to Dental Centre and finished off a job. It looks like I will be going to Cairo. Went to No7 Lab and collected four letters. Wrote to Una. A quiet night.

29th June. Did a spot of work at the Dental Centre. Not heard about moving yet. A little work in the afternoon. Read all evening. Another quiet night. No mail today.

30th June. Lab again in morning. No news of move. Only five in pool now. Order to move came just before dinner. Left about 1.00pm for docks to board HS Talamba an Indian boat. Pulled out at 5.00pm and slept on deck.

1st July. Spent all morning playing solo. Food very good, a real nice, clean boat. Still playing solo all afternoon and night. Lost 10/- all day. Had two bottles of beer at night.

2nd July. Spent all day playing solo. Not too lucky. Arrive Alex' tomorrow. Two hot meals a day.

3rd July. Up early, packed and ready for off. Arrived in Alex' at 9.30am. Disembarked at 3.00pm. Played solo all morning. No luck. Went to Mustapha transit camp for the night and then into town. Saw a good picture.

4th July. Left at 9.00am on train to Cairo. Hell of a crowd as usual. Arrived 12.30pm, at base depot at 2.30pm. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Went to the lab, did not know anyone. No cigs. Good nights sleep.

5th July. A day messing about, here there and everywhere. Got fixed up in No1Lab while I am here. Went to Cairo and saw a show.

6th July. Went down to lab all day. Got trade pay fixed up. Played cricket after tea, managed 2 for 32 off 6 overs. After tea there was a wonderful sight. A star almost touching the moon. Found out later this was a close conjunction of Venus and the moon.

7th July. Started twenty four hour fire picket at 8.00am. Found out later it was telephone duty. Went to lab in morning. Received letter dated 8th November 1942! Wrote long letter home. Went on duty at 10.00pm. Went to camp cinema. Pretty terrible show. Had a decent sleep.

8th July. Did not get relieved until nearly 8.00am. Down to lab in morning. Moved into a tent at dinner time. In lab again in afternoon. Went into Cairo at night and saw a show, bottle of beer and a feed. A good nights sleep.

9th July. Down to lab, had a couple of jobs to do. Pay parade at dinner time. Trade pay was in. Went to Helopilis. Had a few drinks and a show.

10th July. TODAY SICILY WAS INVADED. Worked in the morning. Afternoon went to the zoo and had a grand time. Pictures in evening and a bottle of beer. Good nights sleep.

11th July. Finished off two jobs in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Nelly. Wrote to Una. Played cricket for Base Depot in afternoon. Went to camp cinema. A good nights sleep.

12th July. Lab in morning as usual. Arranged to have o30 sent home. Received air mail letter card from Una. Finished off a job in afternoon. Went into Cairo at night to order snaps. Saw a show.

13th July. Not much work to do in lab today. Wrote to Una. No mail. Went into Cairo for a film. Saw a good show, a really cheap evening.

14th July. Hear some chaps have gone home including Dental Corps. A Corps man who was beaten up a week ago has died. No mail today. Sleep in afternoon. Went into Cairo again at night. Another show. A very cheap night.

15th July. It is too late to send Una a birthday card, will have to send a cable. Down to the lab again. Received two air mail cards and one airgraph from Una. I am still puzzled and worried about this compulsory allotment? Got to get it settled up. Wrote air mail card to Una and airgraph to Nelly.

16th July. Went again to the lab. Slept all afternoon. Did not feel too good. Went into town again. Saw a good show. A nice cheap evening. Nobby, an old 1939 pal, came to see me. Now a Sergeant.

17th July. Went to the lab in the morning. In the afternoon went of Gizera. A grand time. Loads of ice- cream and cold drinks. Went to a good picture show at night. A really good day but expensive.

18th July. To the lab in the morning. On messenger duty in afternoon. Wrote long letter to Una, surface mail. Went on duty at 5.00pm to 6.30am Monday. Wrote airgraph to Una. Good nights sleep.

19th July. Went down to lab again in the morning. Air mail letter card from Una. Taken eight days. Read all afternoon. Dashed to Cairo to collect snaps and straight back to see a show, the famous Will Fyffe in person. A good show.

20th July. Lab again in morning. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Went into Cairo at night to an open air show. A decent evening. Good nights sleep.

21st July. Down to lab in morning. Hear that some of the boys are going home. Wish it was me. Read all afternoon. Went to a South African concert in camp. The best show I have seen out here. No mail today.

22nd July. Down to lab in morning. Posted to No17 Dental Centre near Alex'. Arrived Alex' 9.00pm. Transport to Amriya at 10.45pm. Stayed the night at Dekheila.

23rd July. Left Dekheila for Noah Lab, Alex'. Posting to No17 Dental Centre was cancelled. May be posted to 64th General Hospital. Went into Alex' at night to an ENSA show. Not so hot. A good nights sleep.

July 1943. In Alex. Steve Lonsdale.

July 1943. In Alex. Steve Lonsdale.


24th July. Hear they are busy at the 64th General. Looks like I will be going? Went to Nusa Garden in the afternoon. Dinner at the NZ YMCA and a show. Back to the lab. A game of darts and then bed.

25th July. Posted to 64th General Hospital. Went back to Mustapha to play cricket. A few drinks at night back at the hospital. A decent billet on the roof overlooking the sea.

26th July. Started work this morning. Right now I am on the beach but just cannot enjoy it. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Feeling very restless today. Wrote a long letter to Una. Just hung around the NAFFI at night.

27th July. Did a spot of work this morning. Watched a cricket match in afternoon. Collected some mail, three letters, two airgraphs and an air mail letter card. Wrote to Una. Turned in early and read. A good nights sleep.

28th July. A bit of work in the morning. Read and slept in the afternoon. Airgraph from Una. Walked along the front at night. Had a bit of supper out. FFI early morning.

29th July. Kit inspection early morning. Got a dose of 'gippy' tummy today. Feel half dead. Went down to the pictures in the evening after running and resting all day. Feel much better.

30th July. Pay this morning. Cricket in the afternoon against the Officers. Lost the game. Went down to Noah Lab but no mail. Just hung around the rest of the evening. Turned in early.

31st July. Spot of work in the morning. Should have played cricket this afternoon but got caught out for stretcher party. Went into Alex' and bought some foreign stamps for Jean. Collected some very old mail.

1st August. Work in the morning. Went down to Noah Lab. Walked along the prom, very nice. Got a letter from ma & pa. Went to pictures at night. Still got a gippy tummy.

2nd August. Work in the morning. On stretcher party again in the afternoon. First anti-typhus jab after tea. Went down to lab. Walk along the prom. A glass of beer, spot of supper and then back to the hospital. Air mail letters to Una and Jean.

3rd August. A spot of work in the morning. Received airgraph from Una. Went to pictures in afternoon. On police patrol at night. My shift is 2.00am until 6.30am. Had a marvellous supper and got a couple of hours sleep.

4th August. Did a full upper this morning. Had a sleep after dinner. Went down to Mustapha for tea. A good show at night. Had a good nights sleep.

5th August. Worked all day. Went to pictures at night. No mail today. Settling down to things all right but wish to God I was at home.

6th August. Work in the morning. Lazed about all afternoon. Went for a long walk at night on the front, a drink and a spot of supper. Quite an enjoyable evening. No mail.

7th August. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote straight back. Went to the races, the first time in my life. Only lost 4/-. Started long letter to Una.

8th August. Worked all morning. Finished and posted long letter to Una. Received airgraph from Una and air mail letter card from Nelly. Went to Mustapha and walked on the front. A spot of supper, a couple of whisky's and back to hospital.

9th August. Finished off two jobs. Went to Alex' in afternoon and sold some gold and got 32/- for it. Wrote airgraphs to Una, Nelly and ma & pa. Had another anti-typhus jab. Had a walk and turned in early.

10th August. Work in the morning. Cleaned up in afternoon ready for a big shot from England tomorrow. Received long letter dated 4th July and an air mail letter card dated 14th July. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Went to Alex' to the pictures.

11th August. Cleaned up this morning ready for the General. Waited all afternoon but had not arrived at 6.00pm. Waited until 7.30pm but did not turn up. Went to a concert in the hospital. Very good.

12th August. The big shot did not turn up. Did a spot of work in the morning. Read most of the afternoon. Went to the pictures at night and saw Bitter Sweet, a very beautiful show.

13th August. Did a spot of work this morning and got paid. Attended mess meeting early evening. Went to a concert in the hospital. Very poor indeed. Turned in early. No mail.

14th August. Work in the morning. Went to the races again in the afternoon and won 76pt. No mail. Went to Mustapha in the evening to an open air dance and had a few drinks. A good evening. Only had one dance.

15th August. Work in the morning. Went to races in afternoon but no luck. No mail. Had a run into Alex' at night. Turned in early.

16th August. Made myself a new denture today. Received three air mail letter cards from Una. Wrote air mail letter card, airgraph and long letter back. Had another anti-typhus jab. Turned in early.

17th August. SCIILY IN ALLIED HANDS. Posted long letter and sent cable.Went to meeting of concert party. May get into it. Turned in early. Nobody allowed out today.

18th August. Must send cable for Una's birthday. Received some newspapers. Spot of work in the morning. Went to Mustapha in the afternoon. Down to Alex' at night to the pictures. A real good show. No mail.

19th August. Worked in the morning. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. No mail today. Went to hospital cinema at night. A rotten show and a deadly evening all round.

20th August. A spot of work during the day. Received airgraph and air mail letter card from Una. Down to Alex' at night and saw a good picture. A pretty deadly place if one does not go to a show.

21st August. Work in the morning. Went to races in afternoon. Wrote airgraph to Una. Down to Mustapha at night and walked on the prom. Down to town for cakes, etc.

22nd August. Work in the morning. Received two airgraphs from Una dated 3rd and 9th August. Went down to Mustapha for tea. Down to Alex' at night to a show. Back quite reasonable. Just another day.

23rd August. Worked all day today. Wrote long letter to Una. Just hung around the hospital all evening. A pretty deadly pastime. Turned in early.

24th August. Work in the morning. Hear that a new draft of Dental Corps have come out. Just lazed around in the afternoon. Went to Alex' at night to a show. Had to wait over half an hour for a tram.

25th August. My darlings birthday. I hope she is very happy and next year we are together again. Applied for a pass for the Fleet Club. Went into Alex' to a show in the afternoon. Lecture at night on Christian Marriage. Very good. Sent cable for our wedding anniversary.

26th August. Work in the morning. Down to Mustapha for tea. Back to the hospital at night to a concert. Nearly all women, plenty of leg! No mail.

27th August. Dental Officer back at work today. Hear one of us has to go to 8th General Hospital to work. No mail. Went to Alex' in the afternoon. A show at night. An accident held up the trams. Took an hour coming back.

28th August. Work in the morning. Down to Mustapha in afternoon. Walk on the front. Down to town early evening to try to get a prayer book for Jean. Back to hospital to see a really good show by an RAF party. Received airgraph from Una.

29th August. Work in the morning. Talk of men going home with four years service. Went to races in afternoon and finished up straight. Walked on the front at night. Wrote airgraph to Una. Turned in early.

30th August. Work in the morning. FFI at 6.30am. Down to Mustapha at night and walked on the front. Received cable from Una. No other mail. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

31st August. One of the boys posted to 8th General Hospital. Wrote long air mail letter. No mail today. Just hung around the hospital all night. On duty so could not go out.

1st September. Our wedding anniversary. Newspapers and air mail letter card from Nelly. Worked most of the day. Went into town to celebrate. Had a good feed. Saw a real good show and finished the evening with two double whisky's, the best in town.

2nd September. Work all day. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote one home. Wrote airgraph to Nelly. Had a walk at night. Finished up at the pictures.

3rd September. ITALY INVADED TODAY. Worked all day and finished a Kalodent upper and lower. Went down to Mustapha and a walk on the front. No mail today.

4th September. Work in the morning. Down to the races in the afternoon and won 9/-. A band concert in the hospital. Received air mail letter card. Taken only six days. Also airgraph from Una.

5th September. Work in the morning. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Races in the afternoon. Last meeting. Lost 4/-. Called in Royal Arms at night. Had one dance. Pretty poor. No mail.

6th September. Worked all day, busy making a gold tooth. Went to Sidi Bish to play tombola but no luck. No mail.

7th September. Work all day. Went to town at night to the pictures. Just an ordinary day. No mail today. Noel Coward is coming on Friday.

8th September. ITALY PACKED IT IN TODAY. Company dance off on Friday owing to visit of Noel Coward. Wrote long letter to Una. Stayed in all evening on duty.

9th September. Worked in the morning. Finished off a little buckshee job of a gold tooth for 35/-. Went to town to the pictures. Pretty poor show. No mail.

10th September. Worked all day. Company dance at night, a really good do. Danced nearly every dance with Sisters. Had a hell of a lot to drink. No mail.

11th September. A filthy hangover today. Feel half dead. No mail. Felt much better after tea. Went with Doug down to the pictures. Had a good nights sleep.

12th September. Worked in the morning. Received airgraph. Waited an hour to hear Josephine Baker the singer but she did not turn up. Went to Fleet Club at night to tombola. No luck.

13th September. Wrote airgraph to Una. Work all day. Down to Mustapha at night. A walk on the front. Back early. Capt Manton the Dental Officer is to leave.

14th September. Work all day. Down to the pictures at night. New Dental Officer has arrived, a Capt Armitage. No mail today. Just a so-so day.

16th September. Work all day. New Officer on the job today. Received two air mail letter cards. Wrote one to Una and started long letter. Play tombola at night. No luck.

17th September. Wrote airgraph to ma & pa. Received airgraph from Una. Wrote airgraph back. Worked all day. Down Mustapha at night and walked for miles on the front. Returned dead tired.

18th September. Work in the morning. Received newspaper. Heard and saw Noel Coward at the hospital. Very good. Down to town at night. Went to a show.

19th September. Work in the morning. No mail. Went to Methodist Chapel at night for the first time in this country. Social afterwards with free tea and cakes and sing song.

20th September. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote straight back. Went on night patrol. A quiet night, did not patrol at all. A good supper.

21st September. Work in the morning. Rested in the afternoon. Received newspapers. Down to town at night and saw a good show. Back early for a good nights sleep.

22nd September. Worked all day. Saw a show in the hospital at night. An ENSA party. Just passable. ATS fresh from England in the NAFFI.

23rd September. Four years service. Worked all day. Down to a show at night. Started a long letter. Received air mail letter card.

24th September. Working all day. Down to a picture show at night. Received newspapers. Wrote air mail letter card and finished long letter. On parade, OCS in the morning.

25th September. Worked in the morning. Slept most of the afternoon. Received airgraph from Una. Wrote airgraph straight back. Went to dancing class in hospital. Started buckshee job for o2.

26th September. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card and wrote one straight back. Went down town in afternoon, bought dressing gown for Una, o4. Dancing at Royal Arms at night.

27th September. Worked all day. Two more buckshee's in hand. Air mail letter card from Nelly. Went to town to a show. Saw Romeo and Juliet. Back early. Finished of a job.

28th September. Work all day. Buckshee job started and finished, 35/-. Received newspaper. Wrote airgraph to Nelly. Stayed in all night. Fitted jobs. Got o2. Turned in early.

29th September. Work all day. Quite a few jobs in. One of the mechanics posted to Cairo. My luck is still holding. Stayed in again. A bottle of beer and a tinkle on the piano.

30th September. Work all day. Received eight bundles of Everybody's. Wrote long letter to Una. Another night in on stretcher party. Turned in early. 1st October. One mechanic posted to Cairo. Worked all day. Down to town at night. Saw an ENSA show. Very good. Broke my glasses. Received air mail letter card from Una.

2nd October. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Went to town, had dinner then on to a show. Rained very heavy. Worked all day.

3rd October. Work in the morning. Don't feel too well today. Nasty pain in side again. Went for a walk at night. Back into bed by 8.00pm. Terribly hot this past few days.

4th October. Still continues hot. Can hardly breathe. Sent parcel to Una. Still feeling pretty rough. Received airgraph from Una. TAB jab at night. Felt pretty shaky.

5th October. Feel pretty rotten today. Work in the morning. Wrote airgraph to Una. Laid down all afternoon and evening. Turned in early to bed.

6th October. Feel much better today. Work all day. Put in for weekend leave to Cairo. Went to town. Saw a show. No mail.

7th October. Worked all day. Received newspaper. Went to a town to see a show. Feel so much better today. Put in for a travel warrant for weekend.

8th October. Work all day. Drew o5. Got pass through all right. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. No mail. On stretcher party at night. Two hours in the theatre carrying patients.

9th October. Called out early morning to move a body. Off to Cairo, arrived 1.00pm. Went to Helopolis to army graveyard. Back to Gizira for tea. Saw a film at night. Not a very good nights sleep.

10th October. Went to the Citadel into the Mosque. Very wonderful. To Gizira for lunch. Back to station for 3.15pm train. Did not arrive in Alex' until 10.30pm. Stopped at every station. Almost spoilt the weekend.

11th October. Work all day. Buckshee repair, 10/-. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote one back also long letter. Stayed in all night. Another job on the way.

12th October. Work all day. Down to town at night to a show. Back early. No mail. Just a so-so day.

13th October. Work all day. Wrote air mail letter card. Back down to town to the pictures. Back fairly early. A good nights sleep.

14th October. Work all day. Down to town at night to a show, just so-so.

15th October. Parade this morning. Work in morning. Down to town for Xmas presents. Unit dance at night. Danced most of the evening with the Assistant Matron. A good do, did not get drunk.

16th October. Work in the morning. Rested in afternoon. Down to Mustapha at night. Got some snaps. Dental Officer posted.

17th October. Work in the morning. Down for a swim in afternoon. Pictures at night. A lousy show. Back early.

18th October. Work in the morning. Officer left today. Refereed a football match in evening. Received air mail letter card and airgraph. One from Nelly. Wrote long letter and air mail letter card. Stretcher party duty.

19th October. Work in the morning. New DO started, Capt Boothroyd. Just hung around in afternoon. Going to start football again. Pictures at night. Back early.

20th October. Worked all day. Went to town at night, had a few beers and a good feed. Back pretty early. No mail today. A lot of four year men going home.

21st October. Work all day. Received air mail letter with photos. Wrote straight back. Went to town to a show. Thunderstorm at night.

22nd October. Posted Jean's parcel. Worked all day. Down to Mustapha at night. Back early. Clerk got posted today. Four in the area posted.

23rd October. Four year men left unit for home. Work in the morning. Watched football match. Heard Solomon the pianist. Went to town to a show and good feed. Received air mail letter card from Una.

24th October. Work in the morning. Watched a football match in town. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Back early. Nasty night, raining. Spent evening in NAFFI.

25th October. Received papers. Work in the morning. Played football in afternoon, drew 2-2. Down to town at night to a picture show. Feel very stiff. Knee held out.

26th October. Posted parcel to ma. Work all day. Down to town. Wrote long letter. Concert in hospital at night. Just a so-so day.

27th October. Work in morning. Went to watch a hockey game in afternoon. Down to town at night. A good show and a good dinner. Back pretty early. Have to move into barrack room.

28th October. Work in morning. Played football in afternoon, drew 3-3. Knee went in first few minutes. Pictures at night and a decent feed. Received airgraph.

29th October. Received Jean's photo's. Worked in the morning. Received two air mail letter cards, wrote straight back. Just a few jobs to do. Wetton posted back. Concert at night in hospital, pretty lousy. Turned in early.

30th October. Work in the morning. Wrote airgraph to Una. Received airgraph and papers in eleven days. Refereed college game, got 3/-. Down to pictures at night. Won sweep, 32/-.

31st October. Work in the morning. Watched two football matches in afternoon. Down to town at night to a club for dinner. Back early. Could not get any beer. Clocks altered. Extra hour in bed.

1st November. Wrote airgraph to Una. Sent Xmas cards and Jean's birthday card. Wrote long letter to Una. Played football, won 4-2 against the hospital 2nd team. Moved into barrack room. Stayed in all evening.

2nd November. Worked in the morning. Watched a hockey match in afternoon. Down to town at night. Saw a good play. Back fairly early. Thunderstorm and heavy rain during night.

3rd November. Work all day. Put in for nine days leave and was granted it. No mail today. Stayed in at night and played solo, lost a few shillings. Buckshee job, 30/-.

4th November. Work in the morning. Played football in afternoon, won 1-0. Back to hospital at night. Fixed up for extra pay. Went to picture show in hospital. No mail again today.

5th November. On OC's parade today. Spot of work in the morning. Card playing in afternoon. Down to town at night to a show. Received air mail letter card from Una, took eight days. Wrote straight back.

6th November. Started leave. Down to town to play football in afternoon, won 3-2. To a picture show at night. Sleeping at the lab, Mustapha. A good nights sleep. Air mail letter card from Nelly.

7th November. Up to the hospital and back to town in the morning. Lunch in town. Hospital in afternoon to finish a job. Stayed in at night. Too tired to move. Wrote to Nelly.

8th November. Down to town. Played snooker in Bath Club, Sidi Bishr. Hospital in afternoon. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Pictures at night, Reap The Wild Wind, a good Show.

9th November. Town in the morning. Up to hospital before lunch. No mail. Wrote long letter to Una. Watched a hockey and football match in afternoon. Hospital at night to hear a Palestinian orchestra. Very good.

10th November. Up to hospital in the morning. Walk back part of the way on the front. Watched football in afternoon. Dancing at night at Montgomery House. A very nice evening. Airgraph from Una.

11th November. Jock McClure posted. Up to hospital early to see Mac, back to town for lunch. No football, cancelled. Wrote airgraph to Una. Pictures at night. Poor show.

12th November. Went walking in the morning. Up to hospital at dinner time to finish off a buckshee job. Back to town at night to a show. Received air mail letter cards from Una and ma. Wrote back.

13th November. Wrote airgraph to ma & pa. Went to hospital and watched two football matches. Back to town to a Girl Guide social and dance. Pretty lousy, had four dances all night.

14th November. Hear that I am to work at No6 Lab. Up to the hospital, stayed and watched two football matches. Down to town at night to a show. Back to hospital, leave finished.

15th November. Work in the morning. Down to town in the afternoon. A spot of work after tea. Wrote long letter to Una. Stretcher party duty. Just hung around all night. Photo to Una.

16th November. Worked all day. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Hospital concert party at night. A pretty deadly show. Some turns good, others awful.

17th November. Work in the morning. Football in the afternoon, we won 10-0. Dance at night at Montgomery House, very nice, stayed two hours. No mail.

18th November. Work in the morning. Watched football in the afternoon. Anti-typhus jab. No mail. Got silk for Una, 5/-. Stayed in hospital all evening. A beer and picture show.

19th November. Working all day. No mail again. Down to Mustapha at night. Back very early. Played piano in NAFFI but a poor evening.

20th November. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Played football against College and won 8-2. Down to pictures at night.

21st November. Work in the morning. Football in afternoon. Unlucky again, got kicked on the jaw and knocked out. Took no further part in the game. Jaw x-rayed. Stayed in at night, felt very rough. Stretcher party duty.

22nd November. Worked all day but felt very shaky. Watched a football match before tea. Down to Mustapha and then to a show. Received newspapers and Everybody's.

23rd November. Work in the morning. Wrote long letter to Una. Down to town with the boys in the afternoon. Back to hospital after tea. Turned in early. Feel much better today.

24th November. Work all day. Down to Montgomery House dancing, almost a dead loss. Glass of beer on the way back. Back fairly early. Wrote airgraph to Una.

25th November. Work in the morning. Played cards in the afternoon and lost 6d. Sent parcel of silk to Una. Played cards at night, won a few coppers. PAD night.

26th November. Work in the morning. A spot of card playing in afternoon then down to pictures at night. Still no mail from home.

27th November. Work in the morning. Cards after dinner, won 7/-. Watched a football match. Down to pictures at night. Air mail letter card from Nelly. Still no mail from Una.

28th November. Work in the morning. Stayed in on duty all day and evening. Still no mail from Una. Wrote long letter to her. Watched football match. Saw a play at night in hospital.

29th November. Work in the morning. Watched football match in afternoon. Air mail letter card from Una, wrote back. Stretcher party at night.

30th November. Work in the morning as usual. Down to Alex' and back by truck. A good RAF show at night in the hospital. Wrote to Una.

1st December. On parade at 6.30am. Work in the morning. Geraldo and his band in the afternoon. Part of the show broadcast home. Wrote airgraphs to Una and Nelly. Stayed in all night.

2nd December. Work in the morning. Down to town, dinner in Fleet Club and a grand picture show. Back pretty early. No mail.

3rd December. Stretcher party evacuation, up at 4.15am. Work rest of morning. Rested in afternoon. Tombola at night in NAFFI, no luck. No mail. PAD night. A good sing song in the NAFFI.

4th December. Work in the morning. Down town to a dance, dinner and then the Fleet Club dancing at night. Received air mail letter card and airgraph from Una.

5th December. Work in the morning. Watched football in the afternoon. Stayed in at night, PAD duty. Started long letter to Una. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

6th December. Work in the morning as usual. Watched football match in afternoon. Down to Mustapha at night. Back early. Turned in early, a decent nights sleep.

7th December. Work in the morning. Sleep in afternoon. Received air mail letter card from Gerty. Wrote airgraphs to Una and Gerty. Stayed in all night. Band in NAFFI. Best sleep for months.

8th December. Arab Xmas, Bahram. Work in the morning. Received long letter and Xmas cards. Football in afternoon, won 3-1. Fleet Club at night dancing. Not too good. A few drinks.

9th December. Work in the morning. Received some very old papers. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Stayed in all night. PAD duty. Air raid warning during night, but nothing happened.

10th December. Work all day. Down to Mustapha for tea then to town at night to a picture show. Back pretty early. A good nights sleep. Very cold during night. No mail.

11th December. Work in the morning. Down to town in the afternoon to Montgomery House for tea and a dance or two. Back to the hospital early evening. No mail.

12th December. Work in the morning. Watched football match in afternoon. Did not turn out at night. Fell asleep. Sleeping much better now thank goodness. No mail again today. Very hard to find something to do at night.

13th December. Work in the morning. Watched football match in afternoon. Received air mail letter card from Una, wrote long one back and also a long letter. Picture show at night in hospital. On night stretcher party duty.

14th December. Work in the morning. Played football in afternoon against 8th General Hospital, lost 4-1. Stayed in all night. Played tombola, no luck. Another good sleep.

15th December. Una has received parcel of silk. Work all morning. Broke my glasses again. Fleet Club at night dancing. Pretty good evening. No mail today. Had a few brandy's to drink. A real good nights sleep.

16th December. Work in the morning. Rained heavy and very cold. Pictures in town in afternoon. Still no mail. Stayed in at night. Should have been a concert. Still rainy and very cold.

17th December. Work in the morning. Football in the afternoon, won 1-0. Tombola at night in hospital, won 40pt. Air mail letter card from Una. Still cold and wet.

18th December. Work as usual in morning. Down to town with the boys. Pictures followed by dinner at the New Zealand YMCA. A few beers at Delices. Back early. Dead tired. Air mail letter card from Una.

19th December. Work in the morning. Watched football match in afternoon. Received Xmas parcel, air mail letter card and newspapers from Una. Wrote back, also wrote airgraph to Jean. Started long letter. Turned in early.

20th December. Work in the morning. Played football in afternoon for hospital third team, won 8-0. Finished long letter to Una. At night, received an old newspaper. Turned in early and slept well.

21st December. Work in the morning. Just hung about all day and read. Tombola in the NAFFI, no luck. Turned in early. Poured with rain all night.

22nd December. A lovely day? Poured with rain! Work a little in morning. Down to pictures in afternoon. Dinner in NZ YMCA at night. Back to hospital to see a concert party, no too good. Rained all night.

23rd December. Rain stopped today, a treat to see the sun again. Work in the morning. Down to Mustapha for tea. Back to the hospital at night for concert party, quite good. Received four Xmas airgraphs.

24th December. Work in the morning. Down to No6 Lab at night to a party. A wonderful do. Everything really grand. Played the piano all night. Just about drunk! A good sleep.

25th December. Started the day with a few drinks of brandy provided by the Dental Officers. Played football in afternoon, won 3-2. In the evening I played the piano in the wards for the patients.

26th December. Today was our Xmas Day. Went down to Mustapha early and had a drink. A really excellent dinner. Watched football in afternoon. A smashing tea. Then down to Alex' to the pictures. A grand day.

27th December. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and airgraphs to ma & pa, Nelly and to Blackpool. Received cigs and air mail letter card from Una. Wrote airgraph and long letter to Una. On stretcher party duty, three patients to move, otherwise a quiet night.

28th December. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una and letter from Church. Down to Mustapha, then to town. Pictures at night. A quiet evening.

29th December. Work in the morning. Watched football in afternoon. Played tombola at night, no luck. On night patrol, walked around for one and a half hours. Very cold, was dead tired.

30th December. My darling daughters birthday, nine years old. God Bless her and make her very happy. I hope she has a nice party and likes the present I sent for her. XXX Wrote air mail letter card to Una. In bed very early.

31st December. So we come to the end of another year. It was finished with a dance, not as good as the other ones, as my thoughts strayed home. The New Year came in with the hope that soon I should be home.

1944 1st January. Work in the morning. Played football in the afternoon, not very happy, lost 6-2 with a hospital team against College boys. Dinner in town at night, then to an ENSA show at the Globe. Back early. No mail. Both knees very sore.

2nd January. Work in the morning. Watched two football games in afternoon. A marvellous Yankee concert party in the hospital at night. Knee still very sore indeed. Still hear rumours of going home in a month or two. No mail.

3rd January. Work morning and part of afternoon. Watched football in afternoon. Down to town at night to a picture show. Back fairly early. Still no mail. Still rumours of hospital moving.

4th January. Worked most of the day. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Still no mail. Tombola at night, won 2/6d. Concert in hospital pretty lousy, everyone walked out. Vaccination at 5.00pm.

5th January. Work in the morning. Down to pictures in the afternoon to see Random Harvest. Dinner at NZ YMCA. Went to Montgomery House but did not dance. A glass of beer and back early. No mail again today.

6th January. Work in the morning. Watched football in afternoon. Just hung around all evening. Still no mail. Finished long letter and wrote airgraph to Una.

7th January. Worked all morning and afternoon. Rush job. Watched boys play football. Tombola at night in NAFFI, no luck. Band in NAFFI afterwards. Turned in early. Very cold. Still no mail.

8th January. Work in the morning. Linesman in cup tie and referee in afternoon. Received air mail letter cards from Una and Nelly. Stayed in all evening. Heavy rain and very cold. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

9th January. Work all morning. Down to town in afternoon. Dinner at NZ YMCA and then to pictures. Received newspapers. The other mechanic here is posted. Awarded Africa Star Ribbon.

10th January. Work in the morning. Buckshee job in afternoon. Watched football for a while. Reported to MI room at 5.00pm for vaccination. Took okay. Stayed in all night and turned in early.

11th January. Work in the morning, was very busy. Down to Mustapha in the afternoon. Back to hospital at night. Played tombola and then a very fine concert of light classical music. Really enjoyed it all. No mail.

12th January. Work all day today. Received air mail letter card from Una. Wrote air mail letter card and long letter back. On night stretcher party duty. Stayed around all night. Weather wet and cold. Did not get called out.

13th January. Changed duty day to today. Worked all day up to 6.00pm, very busy for a change. Air mail letter card from ma. Wrote airgraphs to Nelly and ma & pa. Wetton left today. Still wet and miserable. Just read all evening. Turned in early.

14th January. Work in the morning. Still very wet and cold. Down to Mustapha in the afternoon. Heard and saw Pushinouf the famous pianist in hospital. Pictures at night. Intensely cold. No mail today.

15th January. Work in the morning. Refereed two football matches in the afternoon. Stayed in all evening. Had a bottle of beer and turned in early. No mail today.

16th January. Work in the morning. Still very cold. Watched football in afternoon and then was a linesman in a cup tie match at 3.15pm. Stayed in all evening. Too cold and miserable to go out. No mail.

17th January. Work as usual. Still no mail today. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Started and finished a Kalodent denture for the Orderly. Worked until 9.30pm. Still intensely cold.

18th January. Work in the morning. Capt Boothroyd the DO, went to Cairo on a course. Received two air mail letter cards from Una. Down to town for dinner and then to pictures. Very cold, was pleased to get back. Judy Shirley was in hospital tonight. A gale during night with heavy rain.

19th January. Work all day. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Still very cold and wet. Finish a buckshee job for 25/-. Went to a concert in the hospital. Poured with rain most of the night.

20th January. Work in the morning. Down to Mustapha and then to a picture show. Still intensely cold and wet. No mail today.

21st January. Worked in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Gwen. Started long letter to Una. Sat around a stove all afternoon. Played tombola in NAFFI and won 19/-. Not a bad evening. Still very cold.

22nd January. Work in the morning. Watched football in the afternoon. A game I should have refereed was called off. Down to Sidi Bishr Bath Club at night to play tombola but no luck. Had supper there and walked back along the sea front.

23rd January. Work in the morning. Refereed a football match in the afternoon. Had to stay in at night on stretcher party duty. Finished long letter to Una. Just read all evening.

24th January. Work in the morning. A fair amount of work in. Watched football in afternoon. Received two air mail letter cards from Una and wrote back straight away. Down to town at night to the pictures.

25th January. Worked all day. Buckshee job in afternoon for 10/-. Another one started for 35/-. Tombola at night in the NAFFI but no luck. Shouted some numbers out in a few games. Wrote air mail letter card to Gwen. Poured with rain.

26th January. Work in the morning. Down to Mustapha in the afternoon. Back at night to see a really fine play at the hospital. No mail today.

27th January. Work in the morning. Down to town in afternoon to the pictures. Back early evening. Played darts in the NAFFI all night. Col McGeorge came in and was surprised I had not gone home.

28th January. Work in the morning. Down to Mustapha in afternoon. Cpl from lab has gone home. Tombola at night in the hospital and picked up 25/-. Shared it with Doug. A grand play later in the evening. No mail.

29th January. Work in the morning. Refereed football match in afternoon and watched another game. Stayed in all night and played darts in the NAFFI. Received some newspapers but no mail. On night stretcher party duty.

30th January. Work in the morning, was very busy. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote straight back. Tombola at Fleet Club but no luck. Had supper in town.

31st January. Worked all day until 5.00pm. Started long letter to Una and finished it. Stayed in all night and played darts in the NAFFI. No mail today.

1st February. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una that rather upset me. Wrote letter then tore it up. Refereed football match in afternoon. Concert in hospital at night.

2nd February. Work all day. Received air mail letter card from Nelly. Wrote one to Una but not quite as strong as the one I tore up yesterday. Stayed in all evening. Did a buckshee job for o1. Darts in the NAFFI.

3rd February. Work until 3.00pm and then down to Mustapha and then to town to a show. Back fairly early.

4th February. Work all day. No mail today. Shouted numbers at tombola at night, got 10/-. Just hung around the hospital all night.

5th February. Work in the morning. Refereed two games in the afternoon. Pictures in town at night. Air raid warning.

6th February. Work in the morning. Down to stadium to see a big rugby and football game. No mail again. Wrote airgraph to Una. Feel pretty lousy. Nerves really bad. Stayed in all night and turned in early.

7th February. Work in the morning. Played football in afternoon for hospital. A very poor game for me. Shall give it up altogether. Down to town at night to a picture show. No mail.

8th February. Work all day until 6.00pm. Tombola in the NAFFI, no luck tonight. Just hung around the rest of the night. Terrific thunderstorm during the night with the heaviest rain I have ever seen.

9th February. Work all day. No mail. Concert in hospital. Very good show. Still very cold. Just a so-so day. Wrote airgraph to Una.

10th February. Work until 6.00pm. Received two air mail letter card's from Una and one from Nelly. Wrote air mail letter card back to Una. Had a walk on the sea front at night. Supper and back to hospital.

11th February. Work in the morning. Refereed two games in the afternoon. Did not see Harry Roy. Tombola at night, no luck. Received newspapers.

12th February. Work in the morning. Refereed two games in afternoon. Hospital concert party at night. Not very good. On night stretcher party duty.

13th February. Worked in the morning and for one hour in the afternoon. Refereed match in afternoon. Down to pictures at night. Back fairly early. No mail today.

14th February. Work in the morning. Walk on the sea front in the afternoon. Very nice. To Bath Club at night to play tombola. Finished up 6/- in pocket. Walked back on sea front. No mail. Capt Boothroyd is back.

15th February. Work until 4.00pm. Down to town at night to the Alhambra, a new picture house. Back by 10.00pm. Received air mail letter card from Una.

16th February. Work all day. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and finished long letter. Shouted numbers at tombola at night and made 11/-. Turned in early.

17th February. Work until 4.00pm. Down to town to Fleet Club for tea, then on to pictures with the boys. Sandstorm blowing all day, everything is covered. No mail.

18th February. Company Officers Parade. Work in the morning. Hung around all the afternoon. Shouted numbers at tombola at night. Concert in hospital. No mail.

19th February. Work in the morning. Refereed football in the afternoon. Tombola at night, no luck. Yankee concert in hospital at night.

20th February. Work in the morning. Down to town, dinner at NZ YMCA. Then on to a symphony concert. All pictures full up. No mail.

21st February. Work in the morning. Watched football in afternoon. Down to town to picture show. Still no mail.

22nd February. Worked all day. Wrote airgraph to Una. Down to Sidi Bishr to tombola and won 15/-. Had supper then back to hospital. No mail.

23rd February. Work in the morning. Refereed football match in the afternoon. Tombola at night in NAFFI, no luck. Still no mail.

24th February. Work in the morning. Down to town and straight back in afternoon. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly. Wrote air mail letter card back to Una. Tombola at night, no luck.

25th February. Work in the morning, very busy. Down to Mustapha in the afternoon and played tennis. Air mail letter card from Una. Tombola at Sidi Bishr but no luck. Wrote airgraphs to Una and Nelly.

26th February. Work in the morning. Refereed two football matches in the afternoon. Down to town to a show at night.

27th February. Work in the morning. Refereed football game in afternoon. Down to pictures at night. Weather getting nice and hot during the day.

28th February. Work in the morning. Wrote long letter to Una. Down to Sidi Bishr for tombola but no luck. Back early.

29th February. Work in the morning. A walk on the sea front in the afternoon, very warm. Dance and supper at night, very nice. Tickets 5/-. Back before mid-night.

1st March. Worked all day until 6.30pm. Shouted numbers at tombola in NAFFI. Received cable form Una. Feel pretty rough today.

2nd March. Work in the morning. Feel really ill today. Tummy upset to make matters worse. Down to Mustapha in afternoon. Felt much better at night. Tombola at Sidi Bishr, no luck.

3rd March. CO's Parade today. Feel much better. Worked in the morning. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Concert in hospital. A real good show. No mail.

4th March. Work in the morning. Refereed a football match in afternoon. Down to town at night to a show. Still no mail.

5th March. Work in the morning. Received three air mail letter card's. One from Nelly and two from Una. Wrote back to Una. Started long letter. Watched football. Turned in very early.

6th March. Work in the morning. Football game in afternoon. Down to town at night to pictures then on to see a show, The Merry Widow. Was not impressed, seat not too good. Back very late.

7th March. Worked in the morning. Carol Lewis in hospital in afternoon. Shouted numbers at tombola, a very poor house. Play at night in hospital, was very good. On night stretcher party duty.

8th March. Received some cigs. Work in the morning. Watched the boys play football in afternoon. Down to Sidi Bishr to play tombola, no luck. Back early to go on night stretcher party duty again. Wrote airgraph to ma & pa.

9th March. Work in the morning. Walk on the sea front in afternoon. Sidi Bishr at night to tombola. Walk back in the moonlight on the front. Supper out and then back to the hospital. No mail today.

10th March. Work in the morning. Down to town in afternoon, tea and a picture show. Back fairly early. Wrote airgraph to Una.

11th March. Work in the morning. Refereed football in afternoon. Very hot. Sidi Bishr at night for tombola, no luck. Wrote airgraph to Nelly.

12th March. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote straight back. Went to church at night in Stanley Bay. Walked back on the sea front.

13th March. Work all day. Received air mail letter card from Una. Watched the boys play football in afternoon. Down to Sidi Bishr at night to tombola, no luck. New mechanic arrived.

14th March. Work in the morning. Big shot expected around. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Down to Mustapha for tea then back to tombola at Sidi Bishr. Concert later in hospital.

15th March. Work in the morning. New Colonel from England around. Not very hopeful about going home. Refereed football in afternoon. Weather very hot. Wrote long letter to Una. Had bottle of beer in the NAFFI and then turned in early.

16th March. Work in the morning. Down to town in the afternoon. Back to Sidi Bishr at night to try to win some cash but no luck. Back fairly early. Turned in early.

17th March. Work in the morning. Watched the boys play football. Everybody confined to hospital today. Tombola in NAFFI at night, no luck. Received air mail letter card from Nelly.

18th March. Work in the morning. Down to town to buy some new glasses, 18/-. Refereed football match in afternoon. Down to pictures at night, supper and back to hospital.

19th March. Work in the morning. Watched football all afternoon. Wrote air mail letter card to Nelly. Stayed in all night reading. Turned in early. v 20th March. Work in the morning. Watched the boys play football. Down to town to a picture show. Still no mail.

21st March. Worked in the morning and most of the afternoon. Watched the boys play football. Concert at night in hospital, Fol-De-Rols. A very good show. Still no mail today. Getting worried again.

22nd March. Work in the morning. Wrote airgraph to Una. Went to town to a picture show. Saw Col Blimp a very good picture. Had supper and back early. Still no mail.

23rd March. Work all day. Still no mail, getting very worried again. Sidi Bishr at night to play tombola, no luck. Walked back on the sea front.

24th March. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote straight back. Down to town, dinner in Fleet Club then to pictures. Back to ATS Mess for an hour to a dance.

25th March. Work in the morning. Refereed two games in afternoon. Down to Sidi Bishr at night. No luck at tombola. Walked back on the sea front.

26th March. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card's from Una and ma & pa. Down to town to see a football match. Fleet Club for dinner, a walk round and then back.

27th March. Work in the afternoon. Refereed Sgts cup tie in afternoon. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and airgraph to ma. Down to Sidi Bishr to tombola but no luck. Weather very stormy.

28th March. Work in the morning. Wrote long letter to Una. Played football in afternoon. Concert at night in hospital.

29th March. Went sick. Have to go into hospital next Tuesday for an operation on a rupture. Received air mail letter card from Una and lots of papers. Cinema show in hospital at night.

30th March. Work in the morning. Down to town in the afternoon to see Phantom of the Opera. Dinner in town then back to the hospital. Turned in early. Feeling pretty rough.

31st March. Work in the morning. Wrote airgraph to Una. Watched football in afternoon. Should have refereed a match at 3.00pm but did not as feeling too rough.

1st April. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly. Watched football in afternoon. Tea in NAFFI afterwards given by College. Down to Sidi Bishr then back to a concert in the hospital.

2nd April. Work in the morning. Hung around all afternoon. Down to town at night to a show. Back straight away. Not feeling too happy about going into "dock".

3rd April. Work in the morning. On to the beach in the afternoon. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Down to Sidi Bishr to tombola but no luck.

4th April. Admitted to hospital. Dinner, well one look at it was enough. In bed all day. 'Prep' in the afternoon with more cuts than enough. A decent nights sleep.

5th April. The day started at 4.15am. A day in bed reading. Received newspapers. Another 'prep'. Spent all evening reading. This is getting a bit deadly.

6th April. Awakened at 4.00am for final 'prep'. The first record of the morning on the radio, "I'll See You Again", our favourite! Went out very nice. Came too feeling fine at about 3.30pm. Received air mail letter card from Una. Slept most of the day.

7th April. A reaction set in today. Feel pretty rough but got through the day all right. Had plenty of visitors.

8th April. Did not feel too bad today. Got a cough that is causing trouble. Had a decent nights sleep. Still on fluids.

9th April. Feel much better. Tried first meal at dinner time. Managed the chicken but the sight of the rest made me ill. Turned pretty rough later in the day.

10th April. After a shaky start, feel pretty good. Had a decent dinner. It is getting hellish laid in bed. Must write a letter when I can sit up. Was pretty rough early evening. Had a good nights sleep.

11th April. Bad spell of coughing early in day but was okay later. Had a decent dinner. Still feeling okay. Was carried outside into the sunshine. Cakes and sweets brought round by civvy workers. Had a good night.

12th April. Chest getting much better, did not cough as much today. Feeling so much better in myself. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote straight back. The day passed very slowly. A good nights sleep.

13th April. The day began at 5.00am. Felt okay first thing. Was carried outside into the sunshine. Wound started hurting a lot. Had a decent night.

14th April. Feeling quite well today. Received air mail letter card from Nelly. Outside in the sun again. Wrote airgraph to Nelly. Felt really hungry. The food is pretty bad. A good sleep.

15th April. Still feeling pretty good. Drew 10/- wages. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Doug came to see me and several of the boys dropped in.

16th April. Feeling good, had stitches out this morning. Started making a leather dog. Writing long letter to Una. Good nights sleep.

17th April. Still feeling good. Went outside all afternoon. Played cards to pass the time. Received birthday card from Jean. Played cards at night. Good nights sleep.

18th April. Wrote airgraph to Jean. Still feeling all right. Civvies around with cakes and sweets. Played cards in afternoon and night. Another good nights sleep.

19th April. Still okay. Finished off leather dog. Received newspaper. Just read all day. It is getting pretty deadly.

20th April. Two weeks today since operation. Feeling pretty good. No mail. Outside all afternoon. Doug and Mick came up to see me at night.

21st April. Still okay today. Outside all afternoon. Had first smoke for sixteen days. Still no mail. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. A good nights sleep.

22nd April. Just another day. It is getting very deadly laid reading and listening to the radio. Nothing at all to report. On the whole, pretty deadly.

23rd April. Some Greeks brought in early this morning, shot up badly, the result of mutiny. Outside all afternoon, feeling pretty good. Just read all night, not a very good sleep.

24th April. Billy Turtle, English jockey brought in. Awakened at 3.30am, some patients being evacuated. Hope I don't have to go. Moved from B Ground to Hut 6. Quite a nice change. Received cable. Had a good sleep. Shall be glad when I can get up.

25th April. Many Happy Returns My Dearest. Thankyou my darling. Today laid out in the sun. Met an ex-jockey from Wentworth called Ray Simpler. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. A good nights sleep. Received two air mail letter card's.

26th April. Feeling pretty good. Outside in sun until 7.30pm. Finished off a dog for Jean. Get up tomorrow. Getting on well with Billy Turtle.

27th April. Still okay today. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly. Got up today, put in a bath chair. Went to the pictures at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

28th April. Up today after dinner walking. Felt very shaky. Had a haircut and wandered around. Was glad to get into bed after tea. Hope to go to the races on Sunday.

29th April. Feeling pretty good considering still shaky. Watched cricket match in afternoon. Concert at night. Good nights sleep.

30th April. Just a so-so day. Very cold with rain now and then. Got a dose of gippy tummy. Supposed to be going out on Tuesday.

1st May. Saw the Colonel first thing, then a Major. Fixed up to go to convalescent camp then back to UDF rest home. Received air mail letter card from Una, wrote straight back.

2nd May. Left hospital for convalescent camp but on arrival was not too thrilled with it. May get used to it. Tents and sand. Received cable from ma & pa.

3rd May. Spent all morning seeing doctor and dentist. Afternoon on the beach. Picture show in the evening. It is going to take me a long time to get used to it. Too much sand for me.

4th May. Raining, cold and miserable. Sun through in afternoon but still not too warm. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Turned in early. No tombola.

5th May. On kitchen fatigues, not too bad, plenty to eat. Nothing doing at night, pretty deadly. No mail through yet.

6th May. Just a so-so day. Laid out in the sun. Met Jimmy Lamb an old pal, now with ENSA. Show at night. Air raid warning during night. Ack-ack pretty heavy.

7th May. Laid on the beach in the morning. Races in Alex' in afternoon, won o1. Back to picture show at night. No mail.

8th May. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Sunbathing in the morning. Just rested in afternoon. Getting really fed up. Pictures in the evening. Air raid during night.

9th May. Re-graded this morning. Still Grade Four. Went fishing in afternoon, caught a few small ones. Received two air mail letter card's from Una and wrote one back.

10th May. Lecture first thing this morning. Rather a shock this afternoon, detailed to move tomorrow to No2 convalescent camp in the Canal area. Went to picture show at night.

11th May. Up at 5.30am. Left Alex' at 9.00am and arrived El Ballah at 4.00pm. Pretty deadly place. Only just managed to get a bed.

12th May. A morning of parades. Going to have special physiotherapy. Dental Officer made arrangements for me to sleep in dental centre. Went to pictures at night, a good machine and place. Had good nights sleep.

13th May. Up early soon after 5.30am. Parade at 7.15am. Dental inspection then physiotherapy. Got to go to the gym on Monday for exercises. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Slept all afternoon. A walk at night.

14th May. Only one parade today. Did some washing and ironing. Slept most of the afternoon. Wrote long letter to Una. A walk to the Lido at night, supper and then back. Some good fishing in Canal.

15th May. Started exercises in the gym. Slept all afternoon. Sandstorm after tea. Went fishing when storm finished but no luck. Supper and back to camp. Good nights sleep.

16th May. Up early and off to a good start. Gym at 10.30am. Did a spot of work in the lab. Read and slept in the afternoon. Fishing at night, no luck. Supper and then back. No mail through yet.

17th May. Exercises in the gym. Shall be glad when I get away from here. Reading and sleep in afternoon. Too hot to go out. A walk in the evening then supper and back.

18th May. Received air mail letter card from Una. Gym in the morning. Reading all afternoon. Pay after tea. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. A walk to the Lido, supper and back to camp.

19th May. Received letter from Capt Boothroyd. Exercises in Gym. Went swimming and sun bathing in afternoon. A walk to the Lido at night, supper and back to camp.

20th May. No mail today. In the gym in the morning. Asked about getting away from here. Swimming and sunbathing in afternoon. Down to Lido at night, some supper, back to camp and the day finished, just like all the others.

21st May. Received air mail letter card from Una, wrote straight back. Wrote to Doug. Went fishing after tea, caught seven fish and one crab. Had supper and back.

22nd May. In the gym at 8.00am. Read all afternoon. Weather stinking hot. Fishing after tea, caught one. Terrible night, too hot to sleep.

23rd May. Gym at 8.00am. Very hot today. The Khamsin wind blowing, it is unbearably hot. Fishing in the evening. Only caught two. Still very hot.

24th May. Received papers this morning. Sunday routine, no gym. Went swimming in the afternoon, did twenty minutes non-stop. Umpired cricket match in evening. Turned in early.

25th May. Gym in the morning. Gave Jock a hand in the lab. Pay day today. Sleep in afternoon. Fishing at night, no luck. Supper and back to camp.

26th May. Gym at 8.00am. Received air mail letter card from Nelly. Helped Jock in the lab. Rest in afternoon. Fishing at night, no luck. Very rough and cold. Supper and a good nights sleep. No mail from Una.

27th May. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and airgraph to Nelly. Helped Jock this morning. Rest in afternoon. Fishing at night but no luck. Supper and back to camp. No mail.

28th May. Dodged around all morning. Swimming in afternoon. Fishing at night, again no luck. Rather cold and rough. No mail.

29th May. Work in the morning. Got Third Grade. Sleep in afternoon. Fishing at night, no luck again. Still no mail.

30th May. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Physiotherapy in the morning. Helped Jock all day. Fishing at night, plenty of fish about but could not catch them. Supper and back. Buckshee job on.

31st May. Work in the morning. Received letter from Doug in Alex'. Dodged around in afternoon. Cricket at night then down town fishing but no luck. Supper and back to camp.

1st June. Work in the morning. Sleep in afternoon. Picked up o2 for a buckshee job. Pay after tea. Fishing at night, no luck again although plenty of fish around. No mail.

2nd June. Helped Jock in the morning. Wrote long letter to Una. Sleep in afternoon. Fishing at night, still can't catch any! Supper and back to camp. No mail.

3rd June. Work in the morning and some physiotherapy. Swimming in afternoon. Fishing at night, not even a bite. Supper and came back to camp. No mail.

4th June. ROME ENTERED. Went to Port Said for the day with Jock. Quite a nice place. A change from the camp. Back at 7.30pm. Still no mail.

5th June. FALL OF ROME? Just the same routine, physio in the morning and a spot of work. Reading and sleeping in afternoon. Fishing at night. Still no mail.

6th June. D-DAY INVASION STARTED. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Apart from being the invasion day, everything just the same. Received newspapers.

7th June. Regrading this morning. Asked to go out. Leaving here on Saturday. Got forty English Players cigs issued today. Dodged around all morning and afternoon. Fishing at night, caught three nice ones. Supper and back to camp. Still no mail.

8th June. Physiotherapy this morning. Did a buckshee job in afternoon. Fishing at night, caught two. Pay day today. Got 15/- for buckshee job. Still no mail.

9th June. To see Colonel tonight. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Helped Jock in the morning. Fishing at night, caught one. Colonel's parade okay. Received papers.

10th June. Everything packed up, off back to Unit at 8.00am. Left El Ballah at 9.00am, arrived 4.45pm. Went out for a drink.

11th June. Running about most of the morning. Went to a cricket match in Alex'. A charity show at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

12th June. Saw Dental Officer, got seven days leave granted. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and sent parcel to Jean. Pictures at night.

13th June. On leave at St John's rest home. A grand place. Food good and good beds. 1/- a day.

14th June. Went to town in the morning. Walk on the front in afternoon. Show at night.

15th June. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and long letter. Sleep in afternoon. Doug up for dinner. Received air mail letter card from Una.

16th June. Town in the morning, Mustapha in afternoon, pictures at night.

17th June. Swim in morning. Races in afternoon, no luck. Show at night.

18th June. Advance party leave 64th today. Read all morning. Races in afternoon, no luck. Hung around in evening.

19th June. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Pictures in afternoon, dinner and back to hospital.

20th June. Air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly. Dodged around all day. Down to town to dinner and a show.

21st June. Air mail letter card from Una, wrote straight back. Dodged around all morning. Down to town. Two glasses of beer. A walk round. Started packing up.

22nd June. Hung around all day. Pictures at night.

23rd June. Received old mail and papers. Train loading today. Got job of directing lorries. Tombola at night, no luck. Supper and a bottle of beer.

24th June. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Packed kit and dodged around. Town and show with Doug in evening. Whisky and soda as goodbye drink. Air raid at night. Plenty of gunfire.

25th June. Off this morning to new place. Excellent arrangements with food and coaches. Very hot. Left hospital at 9.30am, arrived Alex' at 11.15am. Arrived Quasin (Kasasin) about 8.00pm after a quite a decent trip. Hot meal laid on. Good sleep in tents.

26th June. Parade at 9.00am. Got put on police duty. Did two hours in sisters quarters. Boys unloading train all night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote one back.

27th June. Airgraph to Nelly. On duty from 8.00am to 10.00am. Boys working until 3.30am. Police duty 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Shall we go home or open up here? Laid down after dinner at night and slept. On early turn in morning.

28th June. On from 6.00am to 8.00am. On sisters gate 12.00pm to 2.00pm. Off until 6.00pm to 8.00pm. Had airgraph returned for putting in "sand and tents"? Walk to a canteen. Received air mail letter card's from Una and ma & pa.

29th June. Day off today. On picture house duty tonight. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Did extra turn 2.00pm to 4.00pm at sisters gate. Still in doubt about opening. Did picture house show duty, have seen film twice before. Turned in early.

30th June. On sisters gate 10.00am to 12.00pm and main gate 4.00pm to 6.00pm. Still stuff coming in but nothing about opening yet. Pictures at night buckshee. Received newspapers.

1st July. Sisters gate 8.00am to 10.00am and main gate 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Extremely hot. Went to pictures at night, nothing else to do. Wrote to Nelly and to ma & pa. No mail.

2nd July. Sisters gate 6.00am to 8.00am. Went with Dental Officer to see new department. Duty 12.00pm to 2.00pm. Sleep in afternoon. sisters gate 6.00pm to 8.00pm. Went to pictures at night.

3rd July. On duty 8.00am to 10.00am. Rest of the day off until 9.00pm then police on cinema. Read all afternoon. Duty pictures at night. Wrote to Doug. Received papers.

4th July. Hear we are to move again? Sisters gate 10.00am to 12.00pm. Sleep in afternoon. Police 4.00pm to 6.00pm. Pictures at night. No mail.

5th July. On duty 8.00am to 10.00am sisters gate. Played cricket in afternoon, lost but made 5 runs. Pictures at night. Still many rumours flying around. No mail.

6th July. On duty 6.00am to 8.00am at sisters gate. Still nothing official about moving. Things shaping up for a move. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote one back.

7th July. Off duty day today. On picture house police duty at night. Informed by Dental Officer at 11.00pm at night that I was being posted with the other mechanic. Is this good or bad news? Received some newspapers.

8th July. On duty 10.00am to 12.00pm and 4.00pm to 6.00pm. Learned I was to be posted. Got issued with a beret. No further news of posting. Received air mail letter card from Una.

9th July. On duty sisters gate from 8.00am to 10.00am and main gate from 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Posted to No3 Dental Lab. The usual medical inspection. Pictures at night. Will this move turn out for the best? Wrote to Jock Mein.

10th July. Left for No3 Dental Lab. Arrived there about 10.30am. Not too impressed. Food pretty decent. Just hung around all night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

11th July. Started work this morning. Sleep in afternoon. Renewed old friendships at night with chaps I met in 1941. Had a couple of beers. Got a lift back in a Jeep.

12th July. Not a very happy day. Nothing would go right. Had a beer at night.

13th July. Not too happy today either. Worked all day. A beer at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote one back.

14th July. Again the Officer seems to want a lot of pleasing. How long before I flare up?

15th July. A bit better luck today. Managed to do something right! Did a bit in the afternoon. Laid down most of the time. Had a run out in a truck at night.

16th July. Day off today. Reading and sleeping all afternoon. Stayed in all night reading. Wrote long letter to Una.

17th July. Not too happy again this morning. Had to work all day. Sat out in the cool evening breeze. What a pastime. What a deadly place. Turned in early to read. No mail.

18th July. Today must be my lucky day. Got two jobs right first time! Went to the 64th to say goodbye to the boys. Received air mail letter card from Una.

19th July. Things went a little better today. Finished soon after 3.00pm. Had a little party at night, one or two beers and a drop of sherry. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

20th July. Things much better today. Pay day. Reading all afternoon. Pictures at night.

21st July. Settling down to things much better. Doing a lot of reading. Sleeping much better.

22nd July. Work all day today. Read all afternoon. Things not going too badly.

23rd July. Went to Ismailia and saw the boys in the lab. Played tennis in the afternoon. Very hot. Pictures in the evening. A very nice change.

24th July. Work in the morning. Read and slept all afternoon. Should be getting some mail any day now.

25th July. Work all day. Pictures at night. Extremely hot today. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and received one from her.

26th July. Working all day. Read and slept all evening. This is pretty deadly.

27th July. Work in the morning. Learned I was to go to No8 Lab. This is pretty terrible. Really fed up.

28th July. Off to Genifa early this morning. Left on post truck, got lift all the way. Arrived about 11.00am. What a big difference in the place. Had a beer and brandy at night. Did not sleep very well

29th July. Work in the morning. A bit of cricket practice in the afternoon. Reading all evening. Turned in early. Had a decent nights sleep.

30th July. No work today. Suez in afternoon to play cricket, lost but had a good game. A really marvellous tea. Back about 9.00pm.

31st July. Work not gone down too well today. Finished long letter to Una. Just hung around all night. No mail.

1st August. Things gone much better today. Worked on steadily until about 3.00pm. Sat all evening in canteen reading. Must write to Una tomorrow. Still no mail.

2nd August. Work all day. Had interview with Col Gentleman about home. Took all particulars and advised me to put in application and also to try and get home on medical grounds. No mail.

3rd August. Work in the morning. Played cricket in afternoon, lost by 1 run. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Still no mail.

4th August. Work gone very well today. Typhus inoculation in the evening. Reading in the canteen all night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

5th August. Work in the morning went very well. Cricket in afternoon, lost again. Had a nice tea. Sat around in canteen all night.

6th August. No work today, hung around all morning. Played cricket in afternoon with RTC, lost again. Reading again all night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

7th August. Work went well. Finished by dinner time. Had a sleep in afternoon. Reading again all evening.

8th August. Work a bit behind this morning. Played cricket again this afternoon, lost again. Wrote long air mail letter card to Una and received one from her.

9th August. Work went well today, finished by dinner time. Reading and sleeping in afternoon. Sat in canteen all night reading. Nothing else to do.

10th August. Finished work early again by lunch time. Reading and sleeping in afternoon. In canteen again all night. A couple of beers, one with the boss. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and received one from her that took only four days.

11th August. Work gone well again, finish by lunch. Sleep again in afternoon. Pay day today, o5. The evening was again spent in the canteen. Listening to the radio, reading and drinking pop!

12th August. Finished work by lunch time. Received some old mail, one from Jean and Nelly and two from my pal Doug. Jean had received my leather dog on 7th August. Another evening in the canteen. Wrote to Gerty, Nelly and Doug.

13th August. No work today. Just lazed around all day. Spent evening in canteen. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and received one from her.

14th August. Work okay today. Alf White arrived today from Alex'. Spent evening in canteen. Had a few beers and brandies. Felt real good. Slept in lab, a very poor night.

15th August. All behind today with work. Alf gave me a hand. Canteen at night. Received old air mail letter card from Una. Sent o2 by registered air mail to Una.

16th August. Work went down much better. Got job finished just after dinner. Sleep in afternoon. Reading all night in the canteen. The only thing there is to do.

17th August. Finished work by dinner time. Just hung around all afternoon. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and received one from her.

18th August. Work just so-so today. Feel rather fed up today, maybe it is the place getting me down. Spent evening in the canteen. Had a good nights sleep.

19th August. Got a bit pushed today with work. Everything much the same. Just one deadly routine. Sat all evening in canteen drinking pop and reading. Best nights sleep for a long time.

20th August. Did about an hours work this morning. Just lazed around all afternoon. Sat in canteen reading all evening. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

21st August. Work a little behind today. Played cricket in afternoon, made 19 not out. Went to ENSA show at night. Quite a nice change. Sent cable to Una.

22nd August. Just a so-so day. Had a terrific headache. Went off during afternoon after being on for two days. Sat in canteen reading and listening to the wireless. Had a really good nights sleep.

23rd August. PARIS FALLEN. Just so-so again. Worked all day. Canteen again all night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

24th August. Work all delayed today. Played around most of the afternoon. Sat in canteen all night and had a few bottles of beer. Quite a change.

25th August. UNA'S BIRTHDAY, 34 YEARS. How I wish I was home to wish my darling Many Happy Returns. Just a so-so day. A quiet night in the canteen.

26th August. Work went well, got finished before dinner. Went to Ismailia for the weekend. Went to the pictures at night, an open air one. Slept at the YMCA on the veranda in the fresh air.

27th August. Had breakfast early and then on the beach all morning, some swimming and fishing. Sent to the French Gardens in afternoon. Got back at 8.15pm. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

28th August. Got a move on this morning with work. Cricket in afternoon, managed 5 not out. Started long letter. Turned in early, did not feel too good. Received air mail letter card from Una.

29th August. Very busy today. Finished about 4.30pm. Finished and posted long air mail letter to Una and sent a cable to her. Had a couple of beers in canteen.

30th August. Work went okay today. A bad sandstorm just around tea-time but cleared up after half an hour. Received air mail letter card from Una. Sat reading all evening. Address is now No8 Field Dental Lab.

31st August. Just a so-so day. Finished work after dinner. In canteen at night. Had a bottle of English Guiness. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

1st September. Our wedding anniversary. Just an ordinary working day. Sleep in the afternoon. Spent a quiet night in the canteen, reading and listening to the wireless.

2nd September. Just a so-so day. Reading and sleeping in the afternoon. Evening in canteen. This is beginning to be just an existence. Received air mail letter card from Una.

3rd September. No work today. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Just hung around all morning and slept most of the afternoon. Received a letter from Harry Rusholme in Italy. Canteen all night.

4th September. Work finished just after dinner. Read most of the afternoon. Canteen at night and a few bottles of Guiness. A bit merry.

5th September. Work steady, two jobs did not come in. Just hung around all afternoon reading in canteen. Just a so-so day. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

6th September. Very busy today. Did not finish until late afternoon. Reading all night. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly.

7th September. Finished work by dinner time. Sleep most of the afternoon. A beer at night in the canteen. Wrote air mail letter card's to Una and Nelly.

8th September. Got finished by dinner time. Just hung around again all afternoon. Once again in the canteen at night. Wrote to Doug.

9th September. Worked steady all day, very busy. The same old routine, just hung around. All day and all night so much the same. Received air mail letter card from Una.

10th September. No work today. Just hung around. Sleep in the afternoon. Received letter from Roy. Finished long letter in evening and wrote airgraph to Roy.

11th September. Work nice and steady. Got finished after dinner. One of Mechanics posted to Alex'. Canteen at night. Doug Ducat arrived during night as a Corporal.

12th September. Work went down okay today. Pleased to have Doug working with me. A few drinks at night in the canteen. Received air mail letter card from Una and sent one back.

13th September. Work as usual today. Finished just after dinner. Reading and dodging around in afternoon. Reading most of the evening. Received newspapers.

14th September. Work okay today. Finished before dinner. Cricket in the afternoon but did not bat. Corps won for a change. A few drinks at night in the canteen. No mail.

15th September. Work very much behind today. Worked most of the afternoon. Played darts at night in the canteen and won two bottles of beer. No mail.

16th September. Must write over this weekend. Work steady most of the day. Darts at night in canteen. Received air mail letter card and newspapers from Una.

17th September. Wrote home to Una. In afternoon went down for a swim. Evening to RASC Base Depot to see a play reading, "French Without Tears." Very good and a nice change. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

18th September. Work finished just after dinner. Just lazed around all afternoon. Darts match and party in canteen at night. Plenty to drink and eat. A really good do and a very nice change from the deadly routine.

19th September. Just an ordinary day. Plenty of work. Knocked on steadily all day. Just a so-so evening. A bottle of beer and just hung around.

20th September. Plenty of work today. Finished in afternoon. Canteen in evening. Everything pretty much the same. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

21st September. Well ahead today with work. Worked all day. Darts at night in canteen. Only lost one game. Had plenty to drink. Received newspapers.

22nd September. Not too busy today. Cricket in afternoon. Just hung around in the canteen all night. Game of darts and a drink. Received air mail letter card and papers from Una. Wrote straight back.

23rd September. Just a so-so day. Finished soon after dinner. Had a sleep. Everything is so deadly and so much the same. Started long letter to Una. In canteen all night.

24th September. Just a very lazy day today. Reading most of the day and sleep in the afternoon. Finish long letter to Una in the evening.

25th September. Not so good today, had a slight mishap with a job. Got finished in afternoon. The same deadly evening. Dinner, canteen, beer, darts and bed. What a life. Received air mail letter card from Una.

26th September. Everything okay today. Just a so-so day. Canteen at night, a bottle of beer and a game of darts. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

27th September. Got on very well today. Another buckshee job. Worked most of the afternoon. Evening just the same. Canteen, a drink, game of darts and that's that.

28th September. Just a so-so day. Spent all afternoon starting a new set of dentures for myself. Evening a game of darts and a glass of beer. Turned in early to read. No mail.

29th September. Everything okay today. Two more buckshee jobs. Messed around all afternoon. Usual evening in the canteen. Received air mail letter card from Una. Wrote back to her and sent airgraph to Nelly.

30th September. Work as usual today. A buckshee job in the afternoon. Went to the pictures at night for a change. Was pretty ghastly! Received an old, wrongly addressed air mail letter card from Nelly.

1st October. Played around all morning. Reading and sleeping in the afternoon. Went to another play reading in the evening, not too hot but made a change. No mail.

2nd October. Work as usual. Worked through the afternoon. Evening in canteen. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote straight back.

3rd October. Work went well today and finished soon after dinner. Messed around all afternoon. Evening just the same in canteen. No mail.

4th October. Just a so-so day. Finished off work in the afternoon. ENSA show at night for a change. No mail. Staff Sergeant was posted.

5th October. Work all day. Finished by dinner. Just so-so in afternoon kicking a football about. Canteen in evening, a few games of darts and a bottle of Guiness. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. No mail today.

6th October. Just a so-so day today. Pay this morning. A spot more football practice in the afternoon. TAB inoculation not so good. Canteen at night not so hot. No mail.

7th October. Don't feel so good today as a result of the inoculation. Work all behind. Worked most of the afternoon. Just a usual evening on the canteen. Still no mail again.

8th October. Played about all morning with a buckshee job. In afternoon just hung around canteen after writing to Una.

9th October. Work just so-so. Finished off about 3.00pm. Darts match in canteen at night. Three Officers were there. Plenty to eat and drink. Made a nice change. Was very late turning in. New rates of pay entered.

10th October. Work as usual during the day. Finished in afternoon. Pictures at night for a change.

11th October. Work just so-so. Finish by dinner time. Refereed a football match in afternoon. Dental Corps lost 3-1. Canteen at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

12th October. Just another so-so day, finishing work in the afternoon. Usual evening in canteen, a bottle of beer and a few games of darts. Received air mail letter card from Nelly and wrote back.

13th October. Again just so-so, finished in afternoon. Mail very bad, had nothing since last Sunday. Canteen in evening. Received some newspapers but no letters.

14th October. Just an ordinary day. Finished just after dinner. Watched a football match in the afternoon. Went to pictures at night. Arabs around again during night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote one back.

15th October. Did nothing at all today. Reading all morning and sleeping all afternoon. Making up for lost sleep. Went to a play reading at night and enjoyed it very much. Received papers.

16th October. Work as usual. Finish soon after dinner. Went to watch a six-a-side football match in afternoon. Canteen at night. Turned in early. A very poor nights sleep.

17th October. Finished work at dinner time. Refereed a football match in afternoon. Dental Corps lost again 3-1. Went to the pictures at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. No mail again.

18th October. Finished work today before dinner. Just hung around all afternoon. Darts in canteen at night. Started long letter to Una. Still no mail. One a week seems to be the average.

19th October. Got a bit behind today. Did not finish until 3.00pm. Had a walk in afternoon. Same routine in evening, canteen, a game of darts a drink and so another day is done. Still no mail.

20th October. Very busy day today. Meeting for Xmas Day festivities. On football committee. Canteen at night, a bottle and darts. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Still no mail.

21st October. Finish off work by dinner. Refereed football match in afternoon in Genifa. MFO drew 2-2 with BBSC. Went to pictures at night. Received newspapers but still no letters.

22nd October. Set off to go to Ismailia but after waiting for two hours could not get any transport. Slept all afternoon. Canteen all night. Still no mail. Very worried.

23rd October. Finished work by dinner time. Sleep in afternoon. Wrote a letter to Una. Darts match at night, won again. Received air mail letter card from Una. Sent Xmas cards.

24th October. Finished work by dinner time. Reading and sleeping all afternoon. Canteen at night. Just so-so. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

25th October. Worked most of the day. Finished off before tea. Weather getting cold. Usual evening in canteen. All just so-so. Received papers.

26th October. Worked all day and got ahead. Darts match at night in the Sgts Mess, won again. Quite a pleasant evening.

27th October. Felt pretty rough this morning, too much to drink last night. Sleep in the afternoon. Quiet night in the canteen. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly and wrote one to Una.

28th October. Work as usual today. Finished off by dinner time. Went to Ismailia with Doug and had lunch at the YMCA. Did a spot of shopping and came back by 6.00pm. Got a birthday card for Jean. Canteen at night then turned in early.

29th October. Did odd jobs this Sunday morning. In afternoon watched a good football match. In evening went to a play reading, a good show and a pleasing evening. Altogether a good day.

30th October. Finish off work just after dinner. Just hung around in the afternoon. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

31st October. Rain in the morning. Quite heavy for a while. Cloudy and showers for most of the day. Watched the boys play football, lost 5-1. Canteen in evening, darts and a drink. Got a new Aussie battle dress. Clocks put back one hour tonight.

1st November. Work finished just after dinner. Went to see one of the boys in hospital. Saw a good football match in afternoon. Evening spent reading most of the time. Average dull day, not much sun.

2nd November. Not so busy today. Finished before dinner. Reading and sleeping in afternoon. Pictures at night, first house. Saw part of an open air show on way back. Had a drink and turned in early. No mail.

3rd November. Finish work before dinner. Linesman at football match in afternoon. Reading and canteen at night. Drew o5 wages. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

4th November. Finished work just after dinner. Watched football match in afternoon. Concert at night. Started long letter to Una. Received air mail letter card from Una.

5th November. Just hung around all morning. Went to Moascar to see a football match. Pictures at night to round off a good Sunday. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and sent some money.

6th November. Finished work before dinner. Sleep in afternoon. Darts match at night. First defeat this turn. Heavy storm in evening. Received air mail letter card from Una.

7th November. Heavy rain early morning and extremely cold. Finish work just after dinner. Played football in afternoon and won 3-0. Pictures at night. Very cold during night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

8th November. Just so-so this morning. Refereed football match on the B...........? ground. (I am unable to read this word). May get more to do. Started long letter to Una. Canteen at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

9th November. Finish after dinner. Much warmer today. Darts match at night in canteen, we lost. Sent long letter to Una.

10th November. Just a so-so day. Play football in afternoon, lost 3-0. Afraid I may have damaged the leg again. In canteen all night playing darts.

11th November. Finish work before dinner. Watched football match in afternoon. Leg much better but very sore. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

12th November. Arabs were around during night, stole one of the boys clothes and pay book. Watchmakers shop robbed at mid-day of o300 of watches. Refereed football match in afternoon. Canteen at night.

13th November. Arabs around last night. Work finished after dinner. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

14th November. Stacks of work today. Watched football match in afternoon. A real feed of bacon and eggs in the lab. Big shot around again. Canteen at night. A real good nights sleep.

15th November. Bags of work today. Finished off around tea-time. ENSA show at night, was very good. On picket duty 12.00pm to 2.00am. Nothing outstanding during night.

16th November. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Finished work soon after dinner. Watched football match in afternoon. Pictures at night. A good nights sleep.

17th November. Finished around 3.00pm. Just a so-so day. Darts match at night. Won again. On picket duty 12.00pm to 2.00am.

18th November. Received Xmas cards. Arabs in Doug's tent early this morning, stole his clothes and money. Did not finish work until 4.00pm. Stayed in canteen all night. New Staff Sgt was mistaken for an Arab during the night and was lucky not to be seriously hurt.

19th November. Received Xmas parcel. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Just dodged around all day. Canteen at night. Turned in early, on picket duty from 4.00am to 6.00am.

20th November. Received stacks of newspapers. No incidents last night. Just a so-so day. Work as usual. Felt pretty rough at night. Had a double brandy and turned in.

21st November. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Finished work just after dinner. Busy with tents in afternoon. Canteen at night. Sent airgraph to Jean.

22nd November. Received air mail letter card from Una. Very busy today. Everything behind. Did not finish until after tea. Darts in canteen at night. On picket duty from 2.00am to 4.00am.

23rd November. Had a really bad headache today. Cleared up after tea. Pictures at night. Just so-so. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

24th November. Picket duty 4.00am to 6.00am. No incidents but was hellish cold. Finish work in afternoon. Canteen at night. A few drinks and a game of darts.

25th November. Just a so-so day. Refereed a league game in afternoon. Caused a hell of a stink when I awarded a penalty. Went to pictures, first house. Turned in early, on picket duty at midnight.

26th November. Arabs around all night. Finished off Saturdays work. Just hung around all afternoon. Play reading at night, was very good. Slept in the lab at night owing to picket duty being off. Best nights sleep for months.

27th November. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote one straight back. Just a so-so day. Finished after dinner. Just hung around all evening.

28th November. Work as usual, knocked on all day. Everything much the same. Canteen at night. Doug is going to 19th General as Sgt.

29th November. Work All behind, just could not get going. Knocked off to watch a football match. Canteen at night. Heard I was to be promoted to Corporal.

30th November. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Knocked off work and watched the boys play football. Finished work after tea. Canteen at night. No word yet about going.

1st December. Everything okay today. Work went down well. Went to the APO to play darts. Had a really grand night. Did not get back until after midnight. Still no mail.

2nd December. Knocked on steady all day. Did not finish until after tea. Evening in canteen. Still no news of my posting. Still no mail.

3rd December. Received two air mail letter card's from Una. Worked all morning. Went to Moascar in afternoon to see a football match. Stayed there until 9.00pm. Poured with rain. Had dinner at the YMCA.

4th December. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Promotion through tomorrow. Finished work after dinner. Darts match at night in canteen. Paid for all the drinks to wet the stripes!

5th December. Officially Corporal today. Went to No5 Lab. Did not work, just wandered around getting my bearings. Just hung around all evening.

6th December. Started work today. Finished just after dinner. Not too bad a start. Went to see a really good show, How They Are Back Home. Went there and back in a Staff car. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

7th December. Finished work about 4.00pm. Albert Elvidge arrived today, one of my pals from 1939. Went to a concert at night, then to the NAFFI for a drink and tombola, no luck.

8th December. Just a so-so day. Finished work around 4.00pm. Went to the NAFFI at night. Had a beer and played tombola. Settling down very nicely.

9th December. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Finished work at dinner time. Watched a football match in the afternoon. NAFFI at night, a drink and tombola but no luck.

10th December. Received cigs from ma & pa and two air mail letter card's from Una. Wrote back to ma & pa. Just dodged around all morning. Went to Genifa in an ambulance, a nice run out. NAFFI at night and a bottle of beer. Wrote long letter to Una.

11th December. Work as usual. Finished at tea-time. Settling down okay. NAFFI at night. Pictures in the camp are not so hot. Pretty difficult to find something to do at night.

12th December. Just a so-so day. Enough work to keep me going. Food is really grand. NAFFI at night and then to the pictures. Very hard to find something to do at night here. The town is rather a long walk.

13th December. Nice steady day. Finished soon after dinner. Played around with a gold inlay for one of the boys until 8.00pm then went to the NAFFI. In bed early. Rained very heavy.

14th December. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Again just a so-so day. Finished in afternoon. No mail thought yet, must be held up. NAFFI at night, a drink and a game of tombola but no luck again.

15th December. Received papers and air mail letter card from Nelly. Finished by dinner time. Watched football in afternoon. Tombola at night. Wrote letter to Nelly.

16th December. Received cigs from Una. Work in the morning. Refereed a football match in afternoon. NAFFI at night to play tombola but no luck. Hear that some mail has been sent on.

17th December. Messed around in the lab all morning. Watched the lads play football in afternoon. Met Doug and some more of the boys. NAFFI at night. Had one bottle and then came back. Turned in early.

18th December. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Knocked off at dinner time. Refereed football match in afternoon, a poor game, waste of time. Work again in the evening. Pictures at night.

19th December. Work until around 3.00pm. Just hung around the rest of the day. NAFFI at night, just so-so. Still no mail, am getting very worried.

20th December. Received airgraph and papers from Jean. Finished just after dinner. Had a bath and changed and then a run to Kantara in the ambulance. Still no letter from Una.

21st December. Received two air mail letter card's from Una and wrote back. Heard that my pal Doug had drawn a home leave. NAFFI at night and tombola.

22nd December. Worked all day, just so-so. NAFFI at night. Tombola a dead loss again. No mail today. Everything is going okay. Sleeping much better.

23rd December. Received Xmas airgraphs from Nelly and Gerty. The Colonel was around this morning. Worked until dinner. Watched a football match in the afternoon. Dance at night, met three people from Wickersley.

24th December. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Just hung around all morning. Went to see the Canal Area play football. Played solo from 8.00pm until 3.30am. Won 3/-, a good evening.

25th December. Received two air mail letter card's from Una. Chasing around all morning for some beer. Got three dozen, no buckshee issue. A wonderful dinner and a good evening followed. Kept sober! Really very nice day.

26th December. Had a walk to town in the morning. Watched a football match in the afternoon. Pictures at night, not too bad. Wrote air mail letter card's to Nelly and Gerty.

27th December. Plenty of work today. Knocked off at 4.00pm. Twenty one days completed as Corporal. Started long letter to Una. Pictures later, a buckshee show on King Farouk.

28th December. Sent long letter to Una. Not too busy today. Finished before dinner. Down to Genifa in the ambulance with a patient. Tombola at night, no luck again.

29th December. Work until dinner time. My lucky day today. Got 10/- for a repair, won o1 at tombola and 10/- at cards. So the luck has come at last!

30th December. JEAN'S BIRTHDAY 10 YEARS OLD. Received newspapers. Poured with rain all day.

31st December. Received three air mail letter card's from Una and wrote back. Poured with rain all morning. Just hugged the fire. The rain stopped about 7.00pm after forty one hours continuous downpour. Saw the old year out. Won 16/- at cards. So goodbye to 1944.

1945 1st January. So this is the start of my last year out here. Received papers. Won 30/- at tombola.

2nd January. Extremely cold today. Worked all day. Pictures in town at night. No mail.

3rd January. Still very cold. Pictures at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. No mail.

4th January. Three new mechanics arived from Blighty. Won o2 at tombola.

5th January. Just so-so. No mail. Tombola at night. No luck.

6th January. Work in morning. Pictures at night in town. No mail. Won 5/- playing cards. A good week on the whole. Plenty of luck.

7th January. A run in the ambulance. Crossed the Suez Canal. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

8th January. Just a so-so day. Tombola at night but no luck. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly.

9th January. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Ordinary day. No luck at tombola tonight.

10th January. Just an ordinary day. Worked until 5.00pm. ENSA concert at night in the garrison cinema.

11th January. Just so-so. No luck at tombola. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Jean, wrote back to Una.

12th January. Sent o15 to Una. Run into town afternoon. Tombola at night.

13th January. Work as usual. Refereed football match in afternoon. Town at night to a show. Not a bad week apart from a really bad cold.

14th January. Work in the morning. Referee football match in afternoon. NAFFI at night to an ENSA show.

15th January. Work in the morning. Received air mail letter card from Una. Went sailing in afternoon. Won 35/- at tombola at night.

16th January. Fishing in afternoon. Caught quite a lot. Tombola at night but no luck.

17th January. Fishing again. Got a real nice soaking. Fell in the water! Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

18th January. Work all day today. NAFFI at night, a couple of beers and tombola but no luck. Received air mail letter card from Una.

19th January. Worked in the surgery today. Fishing in afternoon, caught four. Tombola at night, no luck.

20th January. Sent 4 lbs of sweets home. A spot of fishing. No luck. Tombola at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

21st January. Fishing all day. Brought back twenty three fish for the lads. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

22nd January. Worked until dinner time. Fishing in afternoon, only caught three. Pictures in garrison at night.

23rd January. Fishing again after dinner, caught four. Tombola at night but no luck. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

24th January. Work in the morning. Fishing in afternoon, no luck. Pictures in town at night.

25th January. Two new mechanics arrived today. Went fishing and caught two fish. Won 18/- at tombola.

26th January. Worked until dinner. Fishing again, caught three. Won 13/- at tombola again.

27th January. Work until dinner. Fishing again but not one bite. Tombola again at night but no luck this time. Not a bad week. Off each afternoon. Tombola luck good but mail poor.

28th January. Went fishing all morning, not a single fish. Received two air mail letter card's from Una and one from Nelly. Wrote long letter to Una.

29th January. Worked all morning in surgery, lab in afternoon. No luck at tombola at night.

30th January. Work until dinner time. Fishing in afternoon, no luck. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

31st January. Worked in the morning. Football in afternoon. Very windy and sandy. Received air mail letter card from Una.

1st February. Very cold today. Worked all at. Tombola at night but no luck.

2nd February. Still very cold again. Work all day. Tombola at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

3rd February. Work in morning. Fishing in afternoon, caught a few. Tombola at night. Weather extremely cold all week. Mail pretty good.

4th February. Fishing all day. Quite pleasant but not many fish. Pictures in town at night.

5th February. Work until dinner time. Went fishing for an hour in the afternoon. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Nelly. Wrote back to them both.

6th February. A lovely day? Rained on and off all the time! Made initials for Jean's case. Tombola at night.

7th February. Not too good a day, plenty of rain. Tombola at night, no luck.

8th February. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Worked in the morning. Just hung around the rest of the day. ENSA show at night.

9th February. Bought a music case for Jean. Tombola at night but no luck.

10th February. Work in the morning. Fishing and tombola, no luck at either. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Luck dead out this week. Mail not too bad.

11th February. Fishing in the morning was a dead loss. Wrote a long letter to Una.

12th February. Just a so-so day. Sent home some sweets. Three mechanics posted. No luck at tombola.

13th February. Started work on the bench again. Not so good. Just hung around all night. Wrote airgraph to Una.

14th February. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Work not too bad.

15th February. Just a so-so day. Worked all day. Tombola at night, no luck.

16th February. Work as usual. Dance at night in gym. Not bad at all.

17th February. Worked until 6.00pm. No luck at tombola. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

18th February. Fishing in the morning. Went sailing in the afternoon, really good. Pictures at night in the garrison.

19th February. Worked all day. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

20th February. Work in the morning. Refereed football match in afternoon. Tombola at night.

21st February. Went sick, cold in the ribs. Massage twice a day. Pictures at night.

22nd February. Feel much better today. Refereed football match in afternoon. Tombola at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

23rd February. Work all day, really busy. Tombola at night but no luck. Feeling okay now.

24th February. Very cold and wet today. The Prime Minister of Egypt has been shot. Looks like trouble. Egypt could come into the war. Big trouble looming. Confined to barracks. Went into town at night

25th February. Had a run out in the ambulance. Everyone confined to barracks. Pictures at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

26th February. Worked until tea-time. Confinement to barracks lifted. Will be working in the surgery tomorrow. NAFFI a night. No mail today.

27th February. In the surgery today. Just messed around in the afternoon. Pictures at night. Still no mail.

28th February. Still no mail. Worked until dinner time. Went fishing for an hour, no luck. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

1st March. Received air mail letter card from Una. Worked until dinner time. Refereed football match in afternoon. Tombola and a couple of beers at night.

2nd March. Work as usual. Watched football in afternoon. Concert at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

3rd March. Working in the morning. Just hung around all afternoon. Pictures at night. Not a bad week. Mail okay at the end of the week.

4th March. Fishing in the morning. Received cigs and air mail letter card from Una and wrote back. Watched football in afternoon.

5th March. War established today. Went into town to celebrate.

6th March. Received air mail letter card from Una. WS today. Work in the morning. Refereed football match in afternoon. Worked until 11.00pm on a denture.

7th March. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Work all day. Pictures at night.

8th March. Work again all day. Tombola at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

9th March. Sent airgraph to Nelly and wrote to Una. Worked until dinner time. Hung around all afternoon. Tombola at night.

10th March. Just a so-so day. Got photos, very good. Tombola at night and won 14/6d. Mail not too bad this week. Everything else so-so.

11th March. Sent photos home air mail. Had a walk into town in the morning. Watched football match in afternoon. Pictures at night.

12th March. Just a so-so day. Pictures at night. No mail.

13th March. Work in the morning. Messed around all afternoon. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

14th March. Just so-so. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

15th March. Work in the morning. Messed about in the lab all afternoon. Won just over o1 at tombola. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

16th March. Work all day in the lab. o2 for a buckshee job. Tombola at night but no luck.

17th March. Working, or rather messing about all day. No luck at tombola. Mail not too bad this week. Tombola luck fair.

18th March. Fishing in the morning but no luck. Football match in afternoon. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

19th March. A really heavy cold, feel very rough. In bed all afternoon and evening. Had a good going over at the MI room.

20th March. Feel much better today. Shouted numbers at tombola, made 24/-. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

21st March. Just a so-so day. Went to town to pictures at night, not too bad today.

22nd March. Twisted my knee rather badly today. Won over o1 at tombola. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

23rd March. Worked in the lab and surgery today. Tombola at night but no luck.

24th March. Received some cigs and newspapers. Work as usual. Messed around all afternoon. Won o1 at tombola. Quite a good week for money and mail not too bad.

25th March. Wrote airgraph to Una. Town in the morning and bought myself a pocket watch. Sleep in afternoon. Town at night to pictures

26th March. Work as usual. Rained very hard and was cold. Stayed in the lab all night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

27th March. Worked all day. Several jobs on. Tombola at night but no luck. Received air mail letter card from Una.

28th March. Working all day until late evening. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

29th March. Work all day again. Really busy. Tombola at night but no luck this time.

30th March. Good Friday and a holiday today. Waked into town in the morning. Was very sultry all day. Tombola at night.

31st March. Received air mail letter card from Una. A nasty day, windy and a sandstorm. Worked all day until 2.30am on Sunday morning. Won o2 at tombola. Not a bad week all told. Mail was fair.

1st April. Just hung around all morning. Football match in afternoon called off. Pictures at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

2nd April. Work as usual today. Dinner in town at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

3rd April. Working as usual. No luck at tombola at night. Three mechanics posted to Cairo.

4th April. Work all day again but why worry. Started long letter to Una.

5th April. Work all day. Tombola at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and sent long letter to her.

6th April. Worked all day again. Had a beer and played tombola at night. No mail.

7th April. Worked all day, getting very warm. Tombola and then a run into town with some RAF boys. Rheumatism in back not very good.

8th April. Town shopping in morning. Sailing in afternoon. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

9th April. Feel really off colour today. Worked as usual then went off sick with muscular rheumatism.

10th April. Just a so -so day. Plenty of work. Feel a little better. No luck at tombola.

11th April. Attending for massage today, think it is doing me good. Work as usual. Received air mail letter card from Una.

12th April. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Work all day. Rheumatism just as bad. Got buckshee tickets for tombola but no luck.

13th April. Working all day. A small win at tombola. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

14th April. Working in the morning. Watched football in afternoon. Tombola at night. Received some papers.

15th April. Got khaki drill in the morning. On duty all day. Pictures at night. Wrote air mail letter card to Una and received birthday card from her.

16th April. Work in the morning. Sailing in afternoon. Pictures in town at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

17th April. Work all day. No luck at tombola. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

18th April. Working all day. In khaki drill again today. Pictures in evening. Had a drink in the NAFFI later.

19th April. Work in the morning. Swimming and sailing in afternoon. Won share of house at tombola, 13/-.

20th April. Working in morning. Swimming and sailing again in afternoon. No luck at tombola.

21st April. Work all day. Tombola at night again but no luck. Received two air mail letter card's from Una and wrote long letter back.

22nd April. Went fishing in the morning. In town in afternoon to buy some shoes and slippers for Una. Shouted numbers at tombola and made 19/-.

23rd April. Work in the morning. Run into town in afternoon to change slippers. Pictures at night.

24th April. Sent Una's slippers and shoes. Worked in the morning. Went sailing in afternoon. Won 21/- at tombola. Sent air mail letter card to Una.

25th April. Birthday today. Worked all day. Went fishing after tea. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

26th April. Work all day again. Tombola at night but no luck. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

27th April. Work as usual. Tombola at night, a small win.

28th April. Work in the morning. Sailing in afternoon, a real thrill. Club at night. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Gerty. Wrote back to Una.

29th April. Had a bad tummy today. Went fishing all morning. Slept in afternoon. Fishing again early evening, caught five. Pictures at night.

30th April. Finished work by dinner time. Fishing in afternoon, caught seven. Went down again in the evening. Did lab books at night. Received a letter from Gerty.

1st May. Worked all day today. Tombola at night but no luck. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

2nd May. Work in the morning. Fishing after dinner, no luck. Worked after tea. Pictures at night but too cold so came out.

3rd May. Very busy today, worked until 5.00pm. Won 24/- at tombola. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

4th May. Work again all day. Another win at tombola, this time 7/-. Received air mail letter card from Una.

5th May. Work all day again. No luck this time at tombola. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

6th May. A good day out in the sun. Fishing a dead loss. No luck at tombola either. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una.

7th May. WAR WITH GERMANY FINISHED. Had a few drinks in town. Wrote a long letter to Una.

8th May. No victory celebrations here today, worked as usual! Town at night. Received two lots of cigs.

9th May. VICTORY DAY CELEBRATIONS TODAY. Swimming and then races in afternoon. Sgts mess at night celebrating. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

10th May. A nasty morning, rain and wind. Rained all afternoon. Dance at night almost a washout.

11th May. Worked all day. Dance at night in HQ, another washout. Wrote to Una.

12th May. Work again all day. Tombola at night, just bad luck. Wrote to ma & pa. No mail again. More rain this week than I have ever known.

13th May. A funny day, terrific rain storms, was marooned in town at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

14th May. Terrific hail storm followed by torrential rain and thunder.

15th May. Worked all day. Tombola at night. Wrote letter to Una.

16th May. Big shot around all morning. Worked in morning. Received two air mail letter card's from Una and wrote back.

17th May. Work all day. Won 10/- at tombola.

18th May. Worked in the morning. Swimming in afternoon. No luck at tombola. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

19th May. Work in morning. Swimming and sailing in afternoon. Went into town with Doug at night.

20th May. Swimming all day. A small win at tombola.

21st May. A terrible blow today. I am not going on this python. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

22nd May. Work all day today. Two small wins at tombola, 7/- in pocket.

23rd May. Worked in morning. Cricket in afternoon. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

24th May. Worked until the middle of the afternoon. Was supposed to be on holiday. Tombola at night but no luck.

25th May. Work all day. Tombola at night, no luck. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

26th May. Work all day again. Tombola and a few beers. Received air mail letter card from Una. Could anything in the world have happened worse this week - missed the boat.

27th May. Sailing all day, quite nice. Tombola at night, won 10/-. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

28th May. Work all day today. Pictures at night. Stinking hot all day.

29th May. Work as usual. Tombola at night, picked up 8/-. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

30th May. Work as usual. A picture show at night, Our Teeth. Then to the Gaff. Received air mail letter card from Una.

31st May. Worked all day. Tombola at night but no luck. Wrote letter to Una and received air mail letter card from her.

1st June. Worked as usual. Small win at tombola.

2nd June. Working all day then to town in the evening, made 10/- at tombola. Had a party at night.

3rd June. Feeling pretty rough. Had a run into town. Pictures at night. Sgt and staff left today. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

4th June. Work as usual. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

5th June. Worked all day. No luck at tombola. Received papers and a letter from Gerty.

6th June. Kit check in the lab. Very busy. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

7th June. Work as usual. Tombola at night but no luck again.

8th June. Work all day. In pocket by 10/- at tombola. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

9th June. Worked all day. Tombola at night but no luck.

10th June. Went swimming all day today. A small party at night.

11th June. Work all day as usual. Pictures at night. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

12th June. Work as usual. Shouted numbers at tombola at night.

13th June. Worked all day. Town at night for a drink. Received air mail letter card from Una and wrote back.

14th June. Work all day again. Tombola at night, another small win. Received air mail letter card from Una.

15th June. Work all day. Won again at tombola but not much. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

16th June. Worked until dinner time. Made o4 on buckshee job. No luck at tombola. Received air mail letter card from Una. Not a bad week for cash and mail.

17th June. Swimming in the morning and again after dinner. A couple of drinks and then to pictures. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

18th June. Finished off work by dinner time. Started with a gippy tummy. Was ill all night.

19th June. Packed up today ready for the off tomorrow to Cairo. Tummy still bad during day but felt better at night. Received air mail letter card's from Una and Jean. Wrote back to Una.

20th June. Arrived in Cairo at 1.15pm after a tortuous journey. Had a few beers and then played tombola. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

21st June. Messing around all day. Kit and medical inspections. Pictures at night.

22nd June. Down to the lab all day. Tombola at night and won 10/-.

23rd June. In tents as from today. Went into Cairo and bought some presents for home. Pictures at night. Hear that we are to move next Tuesday.

24th June. Went into Cairo again to pictures and a good feed. Wrote air mail letter card to Una.

25th June. Hung around all morning. Down to Cairo in afternoon to pictures and some food.

26th June. Again just hanging around. All of it very upsetting. A couple of bottles at night and then to the pictures.

27th June. Still no news of moving. Met Capt Muntus from Rotherham. Tombola at night but no luck.

28th June. Still no news. The waiting is pretty deadly. Had a beer at night and then to the pictures.

29th June. No news again today. Went swimming in the afternoon in Helopilis, was quite good. Won 70/- at tombola.

30th June. The good news today, we are to move in the morning. Wrote air mail letter card to Una. Busy packing up. Bought a present for Jean. AT LONG LAST THIS IS IT!

1st July. Left Cairo at 7.15am. Embarked 2.00pm at Port Said. We sailed at 6.30pm.

2nd July. Just lazed around all day. Not too thrilled! No luck at tombola.

3rd July. The usual reading on deck. Should be in England in one week. Sea got a bit rough in the night.

4th July. Just so-so. Lazed around on deck. Getting cooler. Should pass Gibraltar tomorrow.

5th July. This is getting pretty deadly just sitting around. Passing the North African coast all day. Some rain. Concert at night.

6th July. Getting much colder. Battle dress out today. Should be passing Gibraltar tonight. It is hard to pass the time away. No luck at tombola.

7th July. Passed Gibraltar at 3.00am this morning. Getting much colder. Played cards at night. The sun shone until after 10.00pm. Should arrive in England on Tuesday and disembark Wednesday? A long weary week.

8th July. Passing through the Bay of Biscay. Rough and cold. Won 28/- at tombola.

9th July. Should see England today. There was a partial eclipse of the sun. Did not see Blighty. RAF Officers to disembark tomorrow.

10th July. Pouring with rain. Arrived Southampton at 10.30am. Disembarked at 1.30pm. Arrived Boyce in the evening. Still raining.

11th July. Running around all morning for new kit. Leave in the morning. ENSA concert at night and a glass of beer.

12th July. Pay this morning. Left Boyce at 12.00pm. Arrived in London at 1.30pm. Arrived in Rotherham at 8.30pm.

13th July. Just getting things organised. Lunch in town. Got some new glasses.

14th July. Just so-so. Kiddies party at night. A few drinks.

15th July. Church this morning. To Grandma's in the afternoon.

16th July. Sheffield for lunch and to pictures. Back at tea-time.

17th July. Just so-so. A spot of gardening.

18th July. Down to Rotherham to see Winnie and Clifford.

19th July. Down to Far Lane to see Gerty and Tom.

20th July to 27th July. On leave. Went to Bridlington. Good journey. Good trip back home on the Friday.

28th July. Just so-so.

29th July to 10th August. On leave. Gainsborough on the 31st. Huddersfield on the 7th. Back home in evening on the 8th. Doncaster on the 10th. Quite a nice leave.

11th August. Packed up ready for the off.

12th August. Left Rotherham at 9.00am. Arrived London at 2.45pm. Left London at 5.00pm. Arrived Fleet 6.00pm and Boyce at 6.30pm. Had supper and a drink. Wrote post card to Una.

13th August. Posted to York. Polishing brass all day. Wrote letter to Una.

14th August. Cleaning all day. Finished a night. A drink in the NAFFI.

15th August. V.J. DAY. Big inspection parade and medical. A drink in the NAFFI.

16th August. Left Boyce for York. Arrived London 10.00am. Boarded the Flying Scotsman, arrived York 2.15pm. Pictures and a drink at night.

17th August. Pay today. Interview with an Officer. Walk into town. Posted to Dental Centre. Home on a long weekend.

18th August. A run into town. Pictures in afternoon. A drink at night.

19th August. Church in the morning. Lazed around all day. Long walk at night.

20th August. Cut grass in the morning. Left Rotherham at 6.15pm. Arrived back in York at 7.50pm.

21st August. Posted to Leeds Dental Lab. Pictures in town. Bottle of beer.

22nd August. Left York at 10.00am, arrived Leeds lab in afternoon. Cricket match and some beer.

23rd August. Work today. Just steady. Pay at 5.00pm. Left Leeds for home at 7.15 on V.J. leave.

24th August. Stayed in most of the day. Raining in afternoon. Just so-so in evening.

25th August. UNA'S BIRTHDAY. Went to pictures and a firework display.

26th August. Drink at dinner time. Stayed in all day. Set off for Leeds, then turned back again.

27th August. Left Rotherham at 7.15am, arrived Leeds 9.00am. In lab at 9.20am. Nothing said. A good days work. Pictures at night. Wrote to Una.

28th August. A steady days work. Got cigs and chocolate. A walk at night and a couple of drinks.

29th August. Work as usual. Rained at night. Went to pictures, saw a good film, Waterloo Road.

30th August. Received letter from Una. Just a so-so day. Wrote to Una. On NCO picket duty tonight.

31st August. Work today very steady. Finished at 4.00pm. Pictures in town at the Odeon. Had a couple of drinks.

1st September. WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. Finished at 12.30pm, home by car. Sheffield Empire at night then celebrated. A wonderful wedding anniversary.

2nd September. WAR OFFICIALLY OVER TODAY. Day at home. Back by train to Leeds at 9.00pm. Nothing to drink.

3rd September. Work just steady. Pictures at night. A few drinks later. Wrote post card to Una.

4th September. Received letter from Una. In town at night to the pictures. Wrote letter to Una. 5th September. Left Leeds for York this afternoon. Pictures in town at night.

6th September. Chased around all morning. Went to the races in the afternoon. Pictures at night.

7th September. Medical today and release book done. Home tonight. Arrived Rotherham 7.40pm.

8th September. Just a so-so lazy day. Down to town to a picture show. Back home early.

9th September. Church in the morning. Lazed around all afternoon. Stayed in all night.

10th September. Left Rotherham, arrived York 9.10am. Lecture in afternoon. Pictures at night and a glass of beer.

11th September. A spot of work. Home for the night. Arrived Rotherham 5.45pm.

12th September. Back to York by 9.30am. Pictures and a few drinks.

13th September 1945 THIS IS IT THE GREAT DAY "DEMOBBED" UNA CAME TO YORK

-------------------------------------

That was the last entry in the diary.

In 1968 my father was diagnosed as having lung cancer. He died two years later aged 63. In 1988, aged 78, my mother died of a heart attack.

Stuart Lonsdale



We had left England (27th Oct '43) (or to be exact Greenoch, in Scotland) about three weeks previously ( not without incident ) and were now on our way along the desert road to join 54 RSU in Benghazi.

Whilst we were having a break at Mersa Matru about five of us went for a walkabout to 'stretch our legs'. One of the chaps spotted a small black object protruding from the sand, we had been warned to watch out for anti personnel bombs which could still be 'hanging about' and might detonate with any vibration. We got some bits of stick that were dotted around then we formed a circle, some eight to ten feet from the object. Lying on our stomachs we began to inch in towards it with the intention of setting it off with the sticks, (IDIOTS). We finally got close enough to bash it but nothing happened. We dug it out from the sand to find it was only some sort of electrical socket. We looked and felt like a right bunch of 'nannas', all the same we had a darn good laugh at ourselves but not daring to tell the other 'bods' when we got back, we'd never live it down.

I remember the trip to Benghazi was a fantastic experience which, unknown to me then, I was to repeat a few more times before I returned to Blighty.

Doug Storey.



Doug Storey
Doug Storey, 54Rsu/136Mu in Benghazi 1945.

Doug Storey, centre front, with a few of his mates before celebrating his 21st Birthday 54Rsu/136Mu in Benghazi 1945.

Doug Storey, centre front, with a few of his mates before celebrating his 21st Birthday 54Rsu/136Mu in Benghazi 1945.

This is how it all began.

My workmates insisted on a party to celebrate so I commenced to make arrangements for 'B' day. The first thing I had to do was to get the piano, that was housed in the Camp theatre, transported to the NAAFI where the 'do' was to be held. I asked the Flight Sergeant in charge of our hangar if he would release a few of my mates to move it. At first he was reluctant until I told him it was my 21st. He seemed quite amused but said permission would only be granted on one condition - it being- that I invited him into the NAAFI for a drink. I accepted with appreciation. So the chaps and myself carried out the removal and transportation.

Now the NAAFI was normally shut down at about 10 or 10.30pm so my mates suggested we try to get a late extension. This was going to be a problem as only the CO could grant such an order. Oh well! Nothing ventured nothing gained so I decided to see the C.O. I went to his Office where the Adjutant met me - I requested a meeting with the C.O. "For what purpose?" he asked. I explained fully but his answer was quite negative - in that "The C.O. will not consider such a request". Having gone so far I would not accept his answer. "But will you please ask him" I said - feeling it was my right to get an answer from the C.O. himself. The Adjutant gave me a tiresome look but did go into the C.O.'s room.

I waited anxiously, he returned shaking his head unbelievably - he spoke "I've been in the Air Force for years and I have never - "

"The C.O. has granted the extension up to midnight and ---- pause------- " He wishes you a Very Happy Birthday

When I told my mates they were chuffed and could hardly believe it. We got to the NAAFI as soon as we could to organise the tables, which were soon filled with bottles of beer donated by the lads. Needless to say the party very soon got under way. The beer flowed freely and was constantly being replenished as more Bods joined in the B day celebration.

The party was well on the way, and the beer was taking its toll on some of the lads, when someone brought a wheelbarrow into the NAAFI. One of the chaps got into it and was drenched with beer as he was being wheeled around the room.

I may mention Chiefy (Flt Sgt) did turn up for the drink I had promised him. He too had a great time and an equally great thirst. We gave the Airman's chant, 'inviting' him to sing, which goes like this.

We call on old chiefy to give us a song

We call on old chiefy to give us a song

We call on old chiefy to give us a song

So sing you B-----d sing

Or show your ----ing ring.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Being more than slightly inebriated and reluctant to sing he chose the latter amid cheers and whistles from the chaps. I must say the fellows did me proud on that day; it was most certainly a day I shall always remember and a shiny example of the comradeship that existed in those long gone but not forgotten days.

WE HAD A SWINGING TIME!!

Doug Storey

Fairwell Dinner Menu

Fairwell Dinner Menu

I was stationed on 54 RSU at Benghazi until it was disbanded in 1944 and became 136 MU. Above is the Menu of our farewell dinner. Was any reader present and can you put a name to the now very faded signatures ?

Doug Storey



The Marble Arch, between Benghazi and Tripoli

A photograph of "Marble Arch", one of Mussolini's constructions, between Benghazi and Tripoli. Taken by myself in 1946 en route to collect some 'dannet' wire for our use at Garibaldi Barracks in Benghazi.

Many of our chaps must have passed beneath it during the many battles, as the road on either side was still mined even in 1946.

Does anyone know what happened to it?

F J Swann.


The Beauty Contest.

“Would you like to be a judge in a beauty contest?” The leading seaman was addressing me in the naval transit camp on the sea front at the edge of Durban in November 1941. I put on my face an expression of what I hoped was delight at being asked, mixed, in the proper proportions, with disbelief. Disbelief in my luck, that is, not disbelief in my superior’s trustworthiness. Facial expressions of that kind were defined in Admiralty Fleet Orders and King’s Regulations as dumb insolence, or silent contempt, and qualified the owner of the facial expression for at least a few days running up and down holding a rifle above his head. Still, there was room for manoeuvre. He had asked me, not ordered me. “This is not the piano trick, is it?” I asked cautiously.

Rather than throwing doubt on his trustworthiness, with that question I was acknowledging his intellectual superiority and paying respect to his mastery of the black arts of manipulation. We all knew the piano trick. Any man who can play the piano three paces step forward, march. Into file right turn. Double march to the wardroom and shift the officers‘ piano.

“Its not the piano trick” he assured me. “I need twelve men to be judges in a beauty contest next week for the beauty queen of Durban. You don’t have to do it. I’ll easily get twelve men. You are the first one that I have asked. There’s free beer e very night, and on the last night when you make the final choice there will be a big party with all the contestants there.”

I felt flattered. I was the first one he had asked. I studied his face, his steadfast expression. I looked deep into his wide spaced, honest, sincere eyes and searched his soul. And I knew. This was a man without artifice. A man with whom I could entrust my life.

“I’ll do it” I said. “Where do we judge this beauty contest?”

“In the Metro cinema. Every night for a week. And don’t forget, the free drinks.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. No. I hadn’t changed. I must have charisma after all. I went in search of my oppo, Stoker Betty from Liverpool who I had chummed up with in the camp, to tell him the good news. “Scouse” I said, and I told him about the beauty contest. “If you hurry you might get on the list”. He was off like a shot to put his name down, and in a few minutes he was back, panting, “I’m on it”. We congratulated ourselves.

On the Monday morning the judges of the beauty contest were piped to fall in outside the regulating office. Lined up, the eager beavers were addressed by the Leading Seaman. We were, he told us, going down to the Metro cinema to meet the organist Mr McLennan, for rehearsals. REHEARSALS!!! Twelve alarm bells went off simultaneously. What is there to rehearse about judging a beauty contest?

“I don’t know. Don’t worry. It will all be explained by Mr McLennan when we get down to the picture house.” Reassured we piled into the back of the wagon.

At the cinema Mr (call me Tommy) McLennan explained the purpose of the beauty competition. The local WVS were raising money for the ‘Tuck for Tommies Fund’ which sent parcels to the troops in North Africa. “So how do us judging who is to be the beauty queen raise money”? somebody asked.

“You’re not judging the beauty contest” said Mr McLennan. “I don’t know what gave you that impression”. I got an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach about that piano, and experienced feelings of responsibility for Scouse. The patrons would judge who was to be the beauty queen, he told us. And how would they do that? In the foyer of the cinema there would be a number of collecting boxes. Above each collecting box would be a photograph of one of the contestants. The patrons were invited to put money into the box underneath the photograph of the girl they judged to be the most beautiful. At the end of the week the money would be counted and the girl who had attracted the most money would be the beauty queen of Durban.

“So why are we here?”

“You are going to be on the stage as an added attraction, singing”.

We looked at the killick accusingly. Mr McLennan explained. “You all sit in the fourth row from the front. In the interval after the first film the girls parade around the stage in bathing costumes while I play a ‘Pretty Girl is like a Melody’ on the organ. As I finish playing, the organ will sink into the stage, the girls walk off and you move into the aisle. Then, as the organ comes up again, I will be playing a nautical melody, and you march on to the stage and sing ‘Sons of the Sea’. We looked round for the escape route but the door was locked. The Leading Seaman, he of the wide spaced honest sincere eyes and steadfast gaze, was looking his usual innocent self. Scouse looked at me reproachfully.

“Right! You got that ?” said Hookey.

“But we don’t know the words.”

“You will. You will” he said in the tones of the prophet. “Now get over into that aisle. That’s the row you sit in. As the organ comes up for the second time I’ll order quick march. You follow me up the steps on to the stage in single file. I’ll order ‘mark time’. Then ‘halt’. ‘Into line left turn’. Do you hear that? Left, to face the audience. Not right. I’ll order ‘Off Caps’. And then you sing. With the organ.”

We practised.

That night, the first night, we marched on to the stage and turned left as ordered. Except Scouse. He turned right. He was a stoker and hadn't spent twelve months on the parade ground at HMS Ganges so I suppose he could be forgiven. But he got us a laugh we could have done without. Then we sang. The merchant seaman sitting in the front row rolling with laughter didn’t help, but we didn’t see him until we were being marched off the stage. But the audience loved it and we got a lot of applause.

Each night we each got a bottle of Castles lager and then into the wagon and back to the camp. Saturday night was promised to be the big night, a big party with the girls, the money counted and the winner announced. It was going to be great. All the embarrassment of marching on to the stage night after night to sing ‘Sons of the Sea’ was going to reap its reward. We looked forward to it with great longing.

At breakfast time on the Saturday morning the Leading Seaman came to me “You’re on draft”, he said.

“When?” I asked. It was not a lot of fun being in barracks ashore with no money, so I wasn’t displeased.

“Ten o’clock.”

“Ten o’clock? This morning? “ I said in disbelief.

“This morning.”

“But I can’t go on draft. I’m singing tonight. Remember. I’ve sung Sons of the Sea every night for five nights. Tonight is the last night.”

“Hard luck.”

“But you need me”.

“We’ll manage".

“I’ve sung ‘Sons of the Sea’ for five nights and now I get a draft chit.”

“It’s not my fault. I don’t give the draft chits out.”

“What can I do?”

“You can get your bag and hammock and be outside the office at ten o’clock. The wagon will pick you up and take you to the docks.”

And so it did. At the docks I joined a coal burning trawler T16 , the ‘Hoxa’, converted for minesweeping, to take passage to Singapore to join the ‘Repulse’. That evening as the ‘Hoxa’ slipped out of harbour I looked back at the bright lights of Durban and thought of the Castle’s lager, and the beauty contest and the good time being had by all.

Before she slipped her moorings the crew were told we were short of a fireman and trimmer and volunteers were sought. Ordinary Seaman Sampson, a bearded regular member of the crew and a peacetime fisherman volunteered to be the fireman. On hearing that firemen and trimmers were paid an extra three pence a day, I volunteered. I couldn’t afford to turn my back on big money like that. And it was a change from scrubbing decks.

Sam and I became great pals. The trimmers job was to shovel the coal out of the bunkers on to the deck in front of the fires for the fireman to feed the fires. As the days passed I had to crawl further and further into the bunkers to reach the coal. Sam shared the trimmer’s job with me so that I learned to become a fireman, feeding the four fires and cleaning them. We shared the job of pulling the ashes up on to the upper deck and throwing them overboard.

One night I was on watch in the boiler room when the chief engineer came through from the engine room. “ You won’t be joining the Repulse”, he said, “ a signal’s just come through, she’s been sunk”.

On Christmas Day the skipper, a fisherman in peacetime, invited all the crew into the wardroom for a drink. As the favourite drink amongst regular officers seemed to be gin and lime, I tried that to see what I was missing. In that hot weather it was beautiful beyond description.

Some Christmases stick in your mind. Christmas Day 1941 I was sweating it out as a trimmer cum fireman on a coal burner in the Indian Ocean. I missed the last night of the beauty contest, but for the first and only time in my life a Naval Commanding Officer invited me into the wardroom for a drink. That is a thing to remember..

I left HMS Hoxa in Colombo in 1942 and was in the naval barracks HMS Lanka, a converted aquarium along the Gaulle Face Rd. A lot of survivors of the Repulse and Prince of Wales arrived when I was there. I enquired from them about a close school friend of mine, Jackie Anderson who was on the Repulse. They told me that he had survived and I wrote to his mother to say I had heard that he was OK. She wrote to tell me that Jackie had been killed in a shooting accident in Singapore. Another class mate of mine, Victor Hawken went down on the Barham. Amongst the survivors from the Prince of Wales who were in Lanka barracks were two boy seamen who were twin brothers. They both got a draft chit to the cruiser HMS Exeter which was sunk on the first of March 1942 by Japanese cruisers in the battle of the Java Sea. I have often wondered about their fate.

I have a number of memories of Colombo. In the barracks, which were not large, I remember the bugs and the Bombay toast. Bombay toast was a jam sandwich fried in deep fat. It was delicious and a favourite sweet of everybody.

The bugs got into the joints of the iron bed frames on which we slept. We would dismantle the beds and kill the bugs with a blowlamp and Izal but next day they would be back and biting.

One of my duties was sentry on some offices facing the harbour. I was armed with a .45 revolver. There was a jewellers shop on the ground floor with an elderly Sinhalese watchman. One night he asked me if I would like a cup of tea from a local street stall. That cup of tea was the most delicious I have ever tasted. How the stall holder made it or what he added, if anything, I do not know, but I would like to know the secret. I was on sentry duty there on Easter Sunday when Japanese aircraft flew in at rooftop height machine gunning and bombing. They sank the destroyer HMS Tenedos and a liner which were in harbour.

One day I was on the top floor of the Fleet offices where I had gone to request a draft to sea and I was standing with some other seamen at the lift. We had pressed the button but the lift continued downwards to a lower floor. So we pressed it again and it started to come up. Then it stopped at another floor and started down again. Then a battle commenced. Somebody in the lift wanted it to go down. We wanted it to come up. Finally we won. The lift came up, the door opened and there stood a four ring captain his face aglow. The door closed again. Its perhaps unnecessary to say that the door closed with us on the outside.

In Colombo I met Petty Officer diver Charlie Lemon (pronounced Leemon) who I had known on the Revenge. He was a good friend to me. He introduced me to a small cafe, which sold beer, and the waiter, Matthias, a young man about my age. We all got on great and after Charlie got a draft chit Matthias and I knocked around together. He took me to parts of Colombo which I would never have seen by myself. Sometimes I would get a rickshaw back to the barracks.

My request to go back to sea was granted and I joined the modern destroyer HMS Lightning. She and her two sister ships, Laforey (Captain D) and Lookout were terrific ships. A feature of these three ships was that they had enclosed 4.7 inch turrets, unlike others of the same class which had the open gun shields.

I was an able seaman AA3. My cruising station was on the pomp poms, but defence and action stations the point five inch machine guns. The three ships engaged in exercises off Addu Atoll (the Maldive islands) with aircraft carriers. My memory is hazy as to how many carriers there were, but one of them was the ‘Indomitable’. The aircraft were ‘Swordfish’ and one a day when they were practising dive bombing the wings fell off one of the Swordfish as she dived. Lightning was crash boat. We picked up the survivors and our upper deck was heavily stained with green dye and blood.

‘Lightning’, ‘Laforey’ and ‘Lookout’, escorted the Indomitable to Gibraltar for the Malta convoy code named operation ‘Pedestal’, in August 1942. We steamed at high speed, about 30 knots, and turning the Cape we ran into heavy weather. In such weather the destroyers would have had to slow down so instead of acting as escorts we steamed in the Indomitable’s wake.

One night, off the coast of West Africa, a lookout spotted a light. On investigation this turned out to be two boats full of merchant seaman, Norwegian, I believe, survivors from a ship that had been sunk by a ‘U boat’. They had a dog, which reminds me that ‘Lightning’ had a white dog for a mascot, named ‘Big Do’. I remember seeing him one day on the upper deck standing, gazing out to sea, just below the four inch gun amidships when the gun fired in a practice shoot. Poor old Big Do just about jumped out of his skin. He leapt into the air, seemed to turn round in mid-air and ran for the safety of the messdeck.

At Gibraltar the convoy and a large fleet was assembled. ‘Lightning’ was in the port screen. At noon on the 11th of August we had just sat down to dinner when we heard a series of thuds. The alarm rattlers went and we rushed to action stations. When I reached the upper deck the ‘Eagle’, on our port quarter, was listing heavily. She had gone outside the destroyer screen in order to increase speed to fly aircraft off for Malta.

She sank very quickly. ‘Lightning’ dropped a few depth charges, but was not involved in picking up survivors. I recall seeing one or two fighter aircraft being flown off another carrier, the Furious, for Malta, and crashing into the sea beneath the ship’s bows as if they didn’t have enough lift off.

During the day we saw an Italian reconnaissance aircraft on the port side being attacked by our fighter aircraft and shot down.

High level bombing attacks by Italian aircraft commenced but they failed to hit any of our ships. The first attack by German dive bombers came one evening as the light was beginning to fail. There were not many of them and they dived through a veritable curtain of tracer that filled the sky. It was an incredible sight. Their target was the ‘Indomitable’. They secured no hits, to our relief, and one German bomber was hit and dived in flames into the sea. To be truthful I felt sorry for him and I thought of his mother, which seems a curious feeling to have, given that he was trying to kill British seamen. Other members of ‘Lightning’s’ crew who were on the upper deck cheered, which was probably more sensible. I didn’t tell anybody my feelings. They would have thought I was mad.

We had a clear view of the ‘Indomitable’ from our position in the screen. When she was being bombed, which seemed to be continuously, there were numerous near misses and huge curtains of water were flung into the air completely obscuring her from view. Time and time again it seemed that she must have been sunk and the relief we all felt when her bows, after what seemed like an eternity, eventually emerged from behind the mountains of water as she steamed relentlessly on would be difficult to describe. The day that she was hit was just like that. Mountains of water and a huge flame reaching up into the sky. That time it seemed she must sink, but on she came again. The hit seemed to be on her port quarter. I learned later that the bomb hit a turret killing a large number of royal marines.

My action station was on the multiple point five inch machine guns, on the port wing of the bridges. A lot of the air attacks were being made on ships a long way from us so we could not see clearly what was happening to those ships. I recall seeing the ‘Wolverine’, one of the old V and Ws, after she had broken her back ramming a submarine.

Able seaman Tibble, a Doncaster man, was recommended for a Mention in Dispatches for succeeding with an oerlikon gun in compelling a German bomber to break off an attack on ‘Lightning’.

We turned back at the Straits of Pantellaria, to escort the main fleet back to Gibraltar. That night we could see the tracer from the ships that continued to Malta, and wished them well. On the way back a lookout spotted an object which turned out be a dingy with one fleet air arm pilot in it. He had been there for two days, I believe. He was so relieved and grateful to have been picked up, (he was despairing of ever being seen), that he rushed up to the bridge to ask who sighted him and to shake the lookout by the hand.

In Gibraltar ‘Lightning’ tied up astern of the cruiser HMS Nigeria. She had been hit by a torpedo. The next time that I was on leave I learned that an old school friend of mine, named Roberts, had been killed on her. On my previous leave I had met him at a dance in the Assembly Rooms in Middlesbrough and he was then still a civilian. In Gibraltar launches were continuously going out to sea carrying the bodies of men killed, for burial at sea.

HMS Lightning was a happy ship. She was a canteen messing ship and the food was very good Because I was a Pompey rating I was sent on draft to Pompey when ‘Lightning’ returned to Chatham. ‘Lightning’ returned to the Mediterranean and was torpedoed by Italian motor torpedo boats off Algeria and sank with heavy loss of life on 12 March 1943.

Bert Ward.



My father, John Hammond, now deceased was in the "Argylls" during the 2nd WW in the North African Campaign, Invasion of Sicily, Italy and the Normandy Landings. He was mentioned in dispatches, and received the Oak Leaf.

He spoke of a number of incidents.

He was wounded at El -Alemein in 1942. Some one dug a trench in the sand which he rolled into and he laid there for 24 hours until the red cross came to pick up the casualties. The wounded were taken to field hospitals in the desert which were under canvass. He was in some ways relieved to have been wounded by shrapnel, as all hell was breaking out just before he was wounded.

The battle attack had stated at about 10.30pm, and there was total confusion will heavy bombardment , bullets and shrapnel flying everywhere. Lads who were wounded were crying out for help( and their mothers.) My father also mentioned that the smell of battle was very pungent, particularly the smell of cordite.

No one was where they should have been,so companies that had separate objectives were becoming intermingled. One of the reasons for this was that from the moment that they went into battle they walked far too quickly( a direct result of fear) This resulted in some of the lads being caught by allied artillery fire.

Anyway back to the field hospital.

When they took him back to the Field hospital all the wounded were laid out on stretchers and were tended to by Red Cross nurses ( who were number 1 in his books). Everyone, Germans , Italians, British and Commonwealth troops were treated exactly the same. My father found himself laid next to a German. There swooped Cigs. The German soldier said that he was there because he had no choice ( he could speak good English as he had studied in England before the war). My father said that he also had to go into battle and had no choice. He thought that it was ironic that just twenty four hours before they were trying to kill each other and there they were swapping fags. The futility of war!

When he recovered form his wounds( he was moved from the field hospital to a hospital in Alexandria) he rejoined his company in the desert some where near Tobruk.

They were told that Churchill was going to review the victorious troops. On the morning of the review they had to wake early. They were issued with brand new kit ( there existing uniforms being louse ridden). So they set about polishing their new kit etc. They then paraded before Churchill who went by in an open top car. Afterwards they had to give back their new kit and were given back their original louse ridden garb. As my father said "you never saw that on Pathe News".

Towards the end of the war whilst the company were well into German territory a number of his colleagues either deserted or shot a toe off. There reasoning being that they had come through so much since el-Allemien, i.e. the Sicily invasion, the Italy invasion, and Normandy. The logic was that there were not many of them were left from the originals who made up the company and therefore they would be lucky to see the end of the war ( a bit like Russian roulette I suppose).

He and his mates did not condemn these lads who deserted or who deliberately injured themselves. They had all been through a lot together. Indeed everyone clubbed together to give them rations before they deserted. Needless to say they were all captured by the MP's and imprisoned, and stripped of their war records.


David Hammond.

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