January 14, 1942
We had our first fall of snow yesterday and the weather has been quite cold. Everything is very lovely now with its white blanket of snow (about two inches). From my window, the view is very much like the country west of Tofield, only the fields are smaller and the country a little more settled.
Our work here goes on much the same as usual, the only change being the route marches which come every other day now. They seem to want to get us into fighting shape as quickly as possible now and are actually going about it in a business-like way for a change.
The last route march was one of eleven miles which we did in two hours and forty minutes, not including two stops. My feet gave no trouble whatsoever and I came in as fresh as the proverbial daisy. Our practical artillery work is much more sensible now, too, and we do, on the average, one complete barrage each week. These are paper schemes of course, but cover all the actual work we should do if laying down the real thing. I had a letter from Liulf, the first in about three months and must answer it soon. He mentioned his fight and seemed quite cheerful about everything in general. I think, as you do, that he is subject to moods and we mustn’t take too seriously his laments.
Tell Dad that I enjoyed his letter and his views on the situation in the Far East. Things do look very bad there now and I shall be very much surprised if we don’t lose Singapore too. Poor Australia is really worried and with every reason too. It certainly seems a crime to me that because of a few old fools in charge, we lose possessions worth untold millions for their strategic or raw products, particularly when you remember how much it cost us to get them. The Russians are certainly doing very well and I think they will do a great deal more before Spring.
The papers are all full of the news of heavy German concentrations of troops and materiel on the Western front. There are many conflicting views on the real reason for this, but there seem to be two which are equally possible. One is a heavy attack on Malta along the same lines as that on Crete, or, the second, an invasion attempt here. In either case, the situation calls for considerable thought.
I see by the papers that at long last, after much argument and indecision, the Government has finally decided to give the airports adequate protection in case of invasion. It drives home to me very forcibly, in spite of all the losses and reverses of the last two years, our Government is still miles from reality. The whole thing is just this: England is the last stronghold of Democracy within striking distance of the enemy and, for this reason, if for none other, no stone should be left unturned to make it safe against an attack in any shape or form.
The trouble is that this Island hasn’t been invaded since 1066 and few people believe yet that any enemy could successfully do so now. Personally, I think we could repel any invasion, but I do feel that, unless the authorities “smarten up,” German parachutist troops could land and cripple our war industries before being destroyed. Every paper you read these days is full of accounts of thousands of glider craft being built by the Germans in preparation for a possible invasion attempt and I sometimes find myself wondering if our leaders are awake to the danger. Oh well, so much for this screwy old war and so on to other topics.
We had a rather unusual occurrence across the road from us last week. A Land Girl disappeared and, after an extensive search, her body was recovered from a swimming pool on the premises. All indications pointed to suicide, as a rope was found tied to her neck. It isn’t very pleasant, as we can look down on the pool from our sentry post at the gate.