January 12th 1940 – in camp near Puttur


Still in this bloody camp and about another fortnight to do. I have been safety officer on some field firing exercise and a bit of umpiring, but I might just as well be in Madras for all the work I’m doing here. On Friday went out 12 miles, spent the night and marched back yesterday – at least the Wilts did, but I went out in a lorry and back in the Doctor’s (Keyes) car. Spent the night with Jos Redman who was the ‘enemy’, near Nagari, I being the enemy’s umpire. Had dinner at Battalion HQ and drove out to where the enemy were spending the night, round a good fire. He lent me a blanket, as I only had my cardigan, and it was about 8 or 9 feet long, so I was able to warp up pretty well in it.

We drink whisky for a couple of hours before turning it, and we discuss marriage, he being engaged and due for splicing in a few months. A bloody cold night, and up at 4.30. Very few chaps slept owing to the cold that night, but I did fairly well, and on the Battalion getting back at about 2pm a lot of the young officers departed to bed, had supper there, and appeared again the next morning for breakfast. Attam Khan asks what’s wrong with them, having only spent the one night out, and what would happen if there was a war on (?!) and they didn’t get any rations for a couple of days.

A lot of holy monkeys round here, who live in the trees, and are known to climb up the tent ropes and then slide down the canvas sides. Also flying foxes. At last got licenses for my shotgun and a .22 Colt, with 500 free cartridges, though I hate to think what the price of them will be just now at P. Orr’s. No hope of getting back to Madras early, as some of the regiment are coming here on 26th as enemy, but I am the only one here who can speak the language. Captain Crocker, Inniskillins, known as ‘Hobo’, is the other umpire.

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