October 30, 1942
At the moment, we are in an artillery camp about two hundred and ten miles from our winter quarters. We made the trip by road and it took the better part of two days. The weather has been cold and wet but I suppose we must expect it at this time of year. We passed through the county of Oxford and found it very delightful. Later we found ourselves in Gloucester and passed through that city. A heavy ground fog hid most of the county for the last lap of the trip so there is little to tell.
Our new camp here is quite comfortable though there is mud in every direction. We are scheduled to go out on the ranges for an anti-tank shoot this afternoon, so this letter won’t be too long. As I understand, we will be here about eight days and will be firing every day. This, of course, makes a great deal of extra work as the guns must be cleaned every night, washed down, and the piece cleaned thoroughly. We are near a fair-sized town but I haven’t bothered to go out yet as I understand it is a typical Welsh town, so must visit with some of these Taffies before we leave.
As you can well imagine, we are getting fed up with waiting for something to happen, but expect our chance is coming soon. I expect to go on leave again about the middle of November and will certainly pay Sir E.D. a visit this time. He seems to be a grand old chap with a very active, modern mind, in spite of his age. He still writes leading articles for the papers and is still considered an authority on tank warfare.
I had a nice letter from Aunt May last week in which she told me Bob had been promoted and sent to Iraq. She was very pleased as he won’t be in much danger there. I expect this leave will be the last before going into action, as I can’t see we can stay idle much later than the New Year. In Dad’s letter, he mentioned the Dieppe raid and was wondering whether it was worth the candle. I have often wondered about it too and, the more I think of it, the less I like it. It seems stupid to me to risk so many men and so much heavy equipment just to test the enemy defences. You can bet that if our high command learned through their mistakes, so also did old Fritz and you can depend on it that the next operation will meet with even heavier opposition. At the moment, our air forces in Egypt seem to have broken loose again with some success. I firmly believe that instead of a lot of loose talk about a second front, we should get busy and clean up North Africa, including the Vichy Dakar. If this were done it would, in my opinion, be a simple matter to knock out our friends the Wops in a short time.
Well, I think this is enough “chair strategy” for one letter and enough is enough.
Did you hear General Smuts speak? From the newspaper accounts it was very good and made a favourable impression. I also see from the papers that two new warships, the Howe and the Anson, are now in service. They should make a welcome addition to the fleet and Mr. Tirpitz had better stay out of range if he wishes to remain a surface craft.