October 1, 1941
We didn’t leave our first position until 10:30 p.m., and after an eight-hour drive reached our next, nearly sixty-five miles away in Windsor Park. This was the actual beginning of the manoeuvre and at 10 a.m. Tuesday we were on the move again. We didn’t, however, encounter any opposition and took up a fresh position thirty miles from Windsor. Last night we moved again without lights and after travelling fifteen miles, took up a night position and the guns were made ready for action.
The infantry which we are supporting called for help just after 12 p.m. and the guns went into action, firing several rounds of blank ammunition. I was on the machine gun when the Spitfires dived on us, representing dive bombers and, believe me, they really put on quite a flying exhibition, swooping within a few feet of the ground, then climbing almost vertically at top speed. They really are wonderful machines and put you in mind of swooping seagulls as they swing and manoeuvre. I would certainly hate to be any Gerry running into these boys when they are really mad.
I’ve just finished supper and am at present watching the gun position, while my fellow gunner has his. These blasted midges are really going to town tonight, and believe me, can pack an awful bite for their size. Four large troop-carrying transports have just passed overhead, but, as no parachutists were dropped, we must treat them as friends. There is much activity at the Command Post as the regiment is preparing to advance, our enemy having retreated. The boys on the gun crews are busy “boiling out” the guns and pulling them through. This is quite a job as blank ammunition leaves a mess in the bore which closely resembles fresh tar.
I forgot to mention that last night was perfectly clear with lovely moonlight which made our night march much easier. It has been threatening rain all day, but seems to be clearing nicely, with every promise of another moonlight move. Well, I must close now, but will give you more blow-by-blow descriptions of this manoeuvre , so cheerio.