April 11, 1941
Well, here I am again a little late, but will do my best to make up for lost time. We had our tank shoot on Tuesday and must say I was very disappointed with results. I was particularly annoyed as I was the layer and took particular pains to be accurate with the sights, but due to the stupidity of our new sergeants, who didn’t have sense enough to observe the shots and give the necessary range corrections, our shots fell short. We also fired three rounds during a battery shoot on the same day, but with these there is very little personal satisfaction, as the shots land about five miles away.
The N.A.A.F. I mentioned was exceptionally good though the jokes were pretty crude at times. So far, we have been very fortunate as, to date, we have had no rain, though it’s been bitterly cold and windy. From what I gather, we finish our shoot this afternoon and return to our billets on Sunday. I passed another layer test yesterday with 74% out of 80, which makes me feel pretty good. Oh, by the way, the “Stonehenge” is just a mile from camp, so I plan on paying it a visit tomorrow, weather permitting.
Well, things have really opened up in the Balkans, haven’t they? It seems that the Canadian First Division is doomed to the monotonous home defence assignment, so I guess our share in the scrap will be, as much as yours, confined to reading newspapers, with the possible exception of a few scattered bombs. I go on leave again on the 24th of this month and as yet haven’t decided where to go, but have been toying with the idea of visiting Scotland.
Last night I stood guard at the wagon lines from 6:00 to 8:00 and from 12:00 to 2:00 a.m. and during the last shift heard dozens of Gerries droning overhead, presumably on their way to Bristol or Southampton, as this camp lies in the path usually taken by the raiders when raiding the two mentioned spots. You know, sometimes I get pretty badly fed up, as we sit here month after month doing nothing, while the rest of the Imperial troops fight for their lives.
The boys like to sit around the huts at night describing the dishes they would be having if they were home. My mouth often waters for a juicy steak or a roast of beef, or any one of a dozen common items of food at home which are almost impossible to buy for love or money these days.
Don’t think for a minute that we don’t get enough to eat, because this is not the case, it’s just that all the fun has been take out of eating, and bare necessities are the rule. Every time you eat an onion, or a piece of lemon pie, or raisin pie, just smack your lips twice for me. Well, so much for tummy, and so finish this manuscript. (I feel like a horse that has fed all winter at a straw stack, due to the bread and spuds we eat in lieu of meat and dainties).
We finished our shoot today and will prepare for our move tomorrow. Today is Good Friday and Alan’s birthday, so please wish him Many Happy Returns for me. We had hot cross buns for supper tonight to celebrate the day. Oh, by the way, I finally persuaded the dentist to replace my lost tooth, so I will have a photo taken in the near future.
With regards to the farm, I think your idea of selling the equipment a good one, but wouldn’t advise putting the proceeds back into the farm, unless you can get at least dollar for dollar. As far as the farm as a home is concerned, I think you and Dad will soon feel the need of a warmer climate, so I wouldn’t put too much into the farm for this reason.
I don’t know yet what I will do after the war, but unless farming conditions are considerably improved, I wouldn’t consider a farm. I can say all this at a distance without a second thought, but must admit I would probably feel differently if I were on the spot. You would most certainly hate to leave, as under your care, it has grown from a run down and dirty homestead to a show place.