Friday January 1st 1943: New Years day finds us still at Hamadan, 6,000 feet above sea level and a cold winter here and a much colder one ahead. It has been snowing a little and the day was cold.
To work as usual; almost a bad start because signals came along and started to install a telephone but eventually came back again and dismantled all their work.
Had very quiet evening in the mess: all the N. C. Os except Foster went to the Cinema in town and the remainder sat around the stove reading and listening to the Radio. I started a good book called Spanish House and am anxious to finish it. Listened to some good continental music for a short time. Owen returned from Kermanshah the day before and stays here until Captain Chettoe or his F. 0. F. W. returns back to Takistan.
Saturday January 2nd 1943: Not quite so cold today. A little official mail from Teheran. Received a letter from Alan telling me what a hell of a place and what a shower 21 Corps seemed to be too much of a change for him. Rather a dirty trick on A. J. R. Hill’s part.
The pond is frozen over (the pond en face to the office) and Dobby, having tested it well for the past few days decided to slide across it. It held quite firm and everyone became more brave and dared to walk across it.
Read more of “Spanish House” – getting quite interesting.
Sunday January 3rd 1943: Today very busy in the office in the morning. Imprest Account, Strength Returns, Field Returns, Despatching – all make one very busy. Frisbach gave me a calendar diary – then said to Kenneth that he had intended it for the drawing office – thus causing a certain amount of bad feeling – I must “see” friend Frisbach in the morning.
Saw Frisbach and obtained a further calendar memo pad – he seemed only too willing!
Wrote letter to Frank and to Campbell Herod in afternoon. Have to bed very early.
Monday January 4th 1943: Still very busy at work. Plenty to do. Arrange to go to see Josephine in the evening. Preparations many and varied: shave: spruce up: collect photographs to show the family.
Leonard and I arrive at Josephine’s house, and enjoy a merry evening. Dance to the gramophone (each dancing in turn with José or dancing with Sandy). Play bridge afterwards. Jose’ partnered Dobbie and I Sandy who was relieved by his mother. We won the three games played.
Returned home at 11 o’clock. Everyone in bed. Doors locked! For 15 or 16 minutes we throw snow balls packed with twigs at the window. Richard (who claims to be a light sleeper is fast asleep) damn! At last by repeated efforts at the Sapper’s window we wake up Bill Blyth who lets us in.
A very nice evening.
Tuesday January 5th 1943: Still very busy at work: long report on progress. Typed without one error!
Mess meeting in evening. Rather short. Dalgelty becomes mess caterer. Taala becomes Bar Caterer.
Read book by Stacpoole. Off to bed at 9.30. Stove going very well. Wind has changed direction.
Wednesday 6th January 1943: Not quite so bust at work. Heard we may get 6 No. M. T. R. A. F. Drivers.
Evening to cinema. First we all three Richard Dobbie and self have our haircut: the hairdresser didn’t make a very good job of it. Late for cinema, but saw main part of feature – a Russian film about Lenin and the last war and Russian Revolution. Russian dialogue of course. Some of the shots were real good and the characterisation of beer drinkers in a beer cellar were excellently done. The montage effects were perhaps a little slow and “laboured” but one certainly has to hand it to the Russians who seem to have a technique of their own.
We came back with Q. M. S. Fawcett, Ken Foster and George Dalgelty: we remembered that on passing the IRAN Hotel there were vehicles outside and guarded by two Yankee swadees who seemed to take the patrol seriously they prowled over the convoy with loaded Tommy guns. We decided on a little “bull shit” the six of us marched in perfect step past the convoy. Just before we reached it however, we past three Indians who seemed to enter in the spirit of the affair and fell in behind – we knew but the three seniors in front didn’t and so we marched most of the way past the convoy in good style. At last Ken looked round and was disgusted when he realised what had happened and he immediately fell out to the edge of the road – we were convulsed with laughter.
Much warmer tonight. Had a double whiskey and lime and fell to sleep in a chair: awoke and went to bed.
Thursday January 7th 1943: Fairly steady day at work; at 3.30 I roamed down town and took my shoes to be repaired; my gloves to be repaired – three days time – for tomorrow Hamadan Census takes place and all business will be at a stand still.
It was quite a change to go down Hamadan on one’s own – the town seemed quieter somehow – the weather looked threatening and it was slushy and muddy underfoot. A drink in the coffee shop and so home to dinner.
Finished H. de Vere Stacpoole’s book and so to bed.
Friday January 8th 1943: Very little to report: very ordinary day – except weather looks a little more threatening.
Saturday January 9th 1943: Busy enough day. To town in the evening to have a bath. No hot water so the 3 of us adjourn to the coffee shop to await the water getting hot. We go back in half an hour and then have to wait for almost another hour until the water gets hot. Quite warm walking back although it is trying hard to snow.
Sunday January 10th 1943: A good deal of snow fell during the night – 8 or 9″. Not on duty at work – so off down town to fetch shoes from repair and also gloves. Dobbie and I go down together. Very slushy under foot coming back. Evening in mess – trying to read: early to bed.
Monday January 11th 1943: Ordinary day at work: Wind blowing very hard – snow still here and fairly cold. Six RAF MT drivers arrived in afternoon – they stayed and Rest camp and it was arranged for them to put up in the billet tomorrow. Read a little in the evening – could not get interested in the book – watched ‘em play bridge – Richard went five hearts and lost five tricks – doubled! No mail today. Two whiskies and so to bed.
Tuesday January 12th 1943: Strong wind blowing – reaches gale force – windows rattle and snow drifts across the fields – biting wind and flurrying snow make walking difficult and unpleasant. No mail again. Six RAF blokes have interview with Colonel. Area Commander goes round to billet with C. R. E. and Q. M. S. Fawcett to inspect – everything O.K. although the old man tells Bob that the billet could be more tidy – said it looked “scruffy”. We have two R. A. F. fellows in our room.
Wednesday January 13th 1943: This evening Leonard and I go to Josephine’s. We were rated for not going before and made very welcome. Usual tea and cakes and afterwards we danced until eleven o’clock.
The Dr.’s wife asked me to call on George Penman and Victor Nickolas and ask them if they would like to join a party on January 23rd. We said we would call on Sunday the 17th and let them know on Tuesday the 19th. It was arranged to ask Mr. Villum Hausen (our Aerodrome Section Engineer) and his wife and also Mr. Hormstäätt (Colonel Hill’s Section Engineer) & his wife. We look forward to a very nice supper party on Saturday 23rd January. We were not locked out this time.
Thursday January 14th 1943: Busy at work. Making out Pay etc. To town in evening to take a bath. The Colshon baths are closed and the other bath looks much too dirty. Coffee and cakes. And finish up playing dominoes and listening to the Radio in the Shafagh Hotel.
Friday January 15th 1943: Town out of bounds from 5 o’clock tonight as the locals start making whoopee beginning their local “Xmas”. They are Mohammedans and it is said they run amok, tearing their hair and clothes and scratching themselves and when they get really worked up – stabbing the nearest person to them – preferably a Christian if they can lay their hands on one.
[Little did I know about the Shiah]
Read “No Walls of Jasper”. by Joanna Cannan and drank two whiskies and so to bed.
About 12.30 I was awaken by Richard who came to bed. We talked for a little while and he got into bed and didn’t say much more so I presumed he was tired (he was violently sick ½ hour afterwards. 1/3 of a bottle of whiskey was the cause).
Saturday January 16th 1943: Town still out of bounds. One drink and so to bed.
Sunday January 17th 1943: Afternoon off. Richard, Dobbie and I decided to settle our argument about water running up hill.
We finished dinner (on Sundays we have dinner at noon) and went around to the office – collected the level – (dumpy) and the staff. Five minutes brought us to the cause of the argument and we set out the doings. The level was not quite correct – (very difficult to set, the bed on the tripod was not true) but it was not sufficient to cause any real variation; far too infinitesimal. Richard took the first reading Leonard holding the staff on the surface of the water from point “A”.
I checked the reading, which was 16.60cms. Leonard then proceeded to point “B” and the reading was 24.60cms. The next reading from C was 23.40cms, which I also checked. Dick accused Leonard of holding the staff up side down and so I took the staff to point “B” and we obtained a similar reading because Leonard had the staff the right way up after all – (he should have – he’s a draughtsman).
Dick began to work it out and attempted to Bamboozle me on figures – saying that it rose – 1 yard in the 60 that I had paced from A to B – (I took 68 paces, but as I don’t pace quite a yard I considered it would be nearer 60). Eventually we worked out the figures, which resulted in a decision that the river-stream actually dropped a 1 yard in 60.
I won fifty rials that I had gambled with Leonard and bought drinks to the tune of 48 of it.
Water does not run uphill.
This testing the water business took about half an hour, after which we took the tackle back to the office and I visited C. R. E. 115 mess (now C. R. E. 29).
Here I had a great surprise I went to invite Penman and Nickolas to Dr. Khanashu’s for supper on Saturday evening. I found that Penman was away in Teheran. This is what Nickolas told me: “Penman went to Teheran early in the New Year and went into the continental “blotto”. He insulted an officer who dealt with him leniently at first but who put him under close arrest when Penman repeated his insults. On January 9th Penman was court-martialled and the finding was that he remained Q. M. S. (W. O. II) but the date of probation started from January 9th i.e. He has nine mouths to do before he becomes war sub again. Called on Endy who was out; left a note to say I would call in the week.
Monday January 18th 1943: Went down town for a bath. Coffee shop as usual. Cinema closed. Home to bed at 9.30.
Tuesday January 19th 1943: To Josephine’s tonight. Cliff gave me a letter (sent from Kermanshah) to give her. Took ½ kilo of chocolates Played bridge for an hour then danced. It was decided that José would ring up on Friday and say if Saturday night was O.K.
Wednesday January 20th 1943: Night in mess – off to bed early. Stove burns well these days.
Thursday January 21st 1943: Down town for a haircut. Bought various items – hair lotion – boot polish – then coffee in the Mina café.
Left Dick and Dobbie and called on Endy who was in the library – busy. We talked business for half an hour and then I breached the subject of a dance for our boys. Endy said she would approach the Hammands, Barister, Hormstäätts etc and get all the gen on the Persian club. And let me know next Thursday. She invited me round on Friday evening to minced meat pies and coffee but I had to refuse. O. C Hamadan and Chavarin people were to be there. I didn’t feel in a very sociable mood.
Friday January 22nd 1943: Slack at the office. Sent a note to Clifford Coops. Dick, Dobbie and self down for a bath; a quick one & straight to the cinema – cowboy serial – I expected it would be a bore but somehow it was so ridiculous but packed with action that it held an interest somewhat.
Met Youska who looked half starved ten rials made him much happier.
Called on Jose on way back.
Invited for tomorrow evening although the others were not expected to be there
Very strong wind blowing and very difficult to walk up main road. I was tired out when I had struggled almost the two miles to the mess.
A single and orange and so to bed.
Saturday January 23rd 1943: Lazy day in office. Heard that Full Sergeant should come off O.K. Dobbie and I went to Josephine’s. Nickolas rang to say he couldn’t get due to pressure of work (now poor young Holden has gone, then Penman, he is having more work to do than he has ever done before).
Played bridge for an hour – lost the rubber – want three hearts & was 3 down, my partner put me up to 2 hearts on the bare 7!!!
Dancing in rubber shoes was very hard on the Persian carpet. Discussed the possibility of organising a dance for the Sergeants. Rather tired and almost glad when I got into bed.
Sunday January 24th 1943: Busy morning: Afternoon on duty; feel too idle to write letters. Messed around and sketched.
Monday January 25th 1943: Busy day in the office. Heard that my “Sergeant” had come through but I couldn’t be made up until posted to a works section. Wrote to Cliff about records.
Early to bed.
Tuesday January 26th 1943: Still busy in office. Josephine rang today asking when we could go down to see her again – promised to go on Saturday night. George not yet back from Kms.
Wednesday January 27th 1943: Down town to night to get out of the mess a little – want to see Endie & got a letter of introduction: still busy at work: Fellows coming in from O/S: mess now full of people. – George brought me ten records back from Kermanshah. Taylor sent up 10 and asked 350 for the lot. Looking forward to Saturday night
Thursday January 28th 1943: Asked for 600 rials this week nearly had a row over it. Went to Cinema saw the same blasted film! However we shall go next week.
Friday January 29th 1943: Still no mail, as busy as busy can be in office. To town; Richard bought a watch. “Chronometer” which the watchmaker insisted no cleaning while we waited.
Had a bath.
Dobbie in better mood.
Saturday January 30th 1943: To Josephine’s; took her the records. Only 4 are a real success. Two are lousy! Had a very nice evening. Came away at 11.30, to go again next Saturday.
Chatted with Dobbie all the way up. Some walk! Very tired and so to bed. Had a letter from Alan.
Sunday January 31st 1943: Very busy morning; always is. Richard & Dobbie went to church.
>Busy all afternoon on conservancy, sewing on buttons, mended my bed, did all manner of small jobs. Town out of bounds from today until next Thursday! Something on? Turkey?
Heard about Roosevelt & Churchill meeting at Casablanca!
Read and so to bed.
Monday February 1st 1943: Heard Dobbie gets full Corporal when I get my Sgt. but still no news.
Tuesday February 2nd 1943: Went to Endie’s. Lt. Colonel Stafford; Signals and his major also to dinner. The officers “unbent” after a time and we all had a very nice evening.
Wednesday February 3rd 1943: Busy at work. Looking forward to C. E. Lath Army giving the O.K. for my promotion.
Thursday February 4th 1943: To Cinema to see 3rd episode of “The Lone Ranger”.
Friday February 5th 1943: Put my three tapes up on my overcoat and B/Blouse. Full sergeant. Write home to mother a letter card.
Saturday February 6th 1943: To Josephine’s tonight. Dobbie and I first went to the hospital to see part of the cinema show – full so walked round to Josés. Played bridge – won 4 hands – José and I played José’s mother and Leonard.
They didn’t recognise we had been promoted until we started dancing.
Home at 11 59 hrs exactly. Very tired.
Sunday February 7th 1943: Up a little later. Gave Cook implicit instructions of how to make teacakes for Sunday tea. Cook balled ‘em up – made a sponge cake mixture.
To town in evening. Bath and spent an hour over a bottle of dry wine in the Rashwan Hotel.
Wrote to Alan about his move.
Wrote to Pat – three pages – but it must not be posted for four days.
Monday February 8th 1943: Should have afternoon off but John (Taala) Hennah had to go to Sultanabad with a lorry load of wheat so have tomorrow off instead.
Tuesday February 9th 1943: Busy in office.
Wednesday February 10th 1943: Went to Josephine’s at night: Had a real wonderful time. Arrange to go on Saturday Feb. 20th as Jose is off to Teheran for a holiday.
Thursday February 11th 1943: To town this afternoon. Shopping. Walked through miles of Bazaars – real Persian bargains. To Endie’s in the evening – tete á tete.
Friday February 12th 1943: To town. Bath. Cinema (free – no one in pay box to take money). Freude und Arbeit.
Saturday February 13th 1943: Started darts match. (Freude und Arbeit)
Sunday February 14th 1943: Town out of bounds so just talked in mess. Dobbie repaired his bed.
Monday February 15th: Wrote to Peter Clark and to J. A. C. Six tins of State express tobacco arrived.
Move into room with John Hennah and Tom Cook. Dobbie in with Ken and Bob. Whilst our room has the floor repaired.
Tuesday February 16th 1943: Only a few of us in the mess these days. Works on the bedrooms floors going well; Mr. Strong making big improvements.
Lively arguments in the mess – enjoyable. Stanley Williams is lucky enough to get a trip down to Cairo with the Colonel and the adjutant.
At 12.45 Tuesday, Captain Hatcher came in to wish us goodbye, he said he would make the best of the job in Cairo – (he will get his majority out of it) and that he hated leaving 2 C. R. E. after being with it so long (3 years). We in turn said that we hated him going, and I said that I hoped to see him again soon. He shook hands in turn and it was agony for him to not show emotion – and the same for us!
Wednesday February 17th 1943: Colonel Chevis, Captain Hatcher, S/Sgt. Williams, Driver Blyth & Driver Cowburn set off for Cairo via Baghdad.
In the evening we made a folding chair to Ken Foster design. Jack Strong proved what he knew about carpentry – made a good show. Tommy Cook put up some shelves and to me, it seemed that he has been a rather rougher type of worker than Sgt. Major Strong.
Wrote to John.
Thursday February 18th 1943: Dobbie is going on the trip to Basra in Ken Foster’s place, lucky young devil – I could have gone if there had been more clerks in the office. I should have enjoyed the trip.
Dozed off on evening – wrote a draft to Frank and went to bed. Wrote to Eileen.
Friday February 19th 1943: Moved into Reg Brice’s old room – the floor isn’t quite hard yet but I put hessian on the floor and we put our beds on 8″ brick squares. – 64 square inches will not make the floor as would iron feet of my bed and the pointed feet of Dobbie’s bed. Very comfortable. Bath in evening. (Freude and Arbeit)
Saturday February 20th 1943: Reg Brice returned last night with the three drivers and two trucks. Only one egg for Breakfast: Stan Pickford forgot to purchase me 50 eggs yesterday.
Sgt. Major Strong, Cpt. Dobson, Driver, LAC Caldicott and Driver Clephan left for Basra, picking up L. A. C Hadingham at Kms.
Bob Fawcett and Ken moved in with me whilst the floor of their room is re-muttied
Sunday February 21st 1943: Went down town in afternoon with Ken and Bob. They went for a bath while I looked around shops. Went shopping in Bazaar. Called for Hats but only George Dalgelty’s was finished – not a bad effort.
In evening after tea decided to go to cinema – showing a Russian film (war) quite a good effort. About 8 o’clock I was sat in the cinema when two M. Ps told me the town was out of bounds to all troops. They had my name and number & unit but as I told them we had no notification they implied that I should hear no more about it.
Called on C. R. E. 29. Sergeants on the way home. They had reinforcements in that very day. Notchy Knight, Bailey, Hickman, are the only original members. Nickolas has gone to Kermanshah to Major Reed. Q. M. S. Hill now taken over. Lance Sgt. Robertson is in D. C. R. E.! (Dexter) office. They have two Lance Corporal clerks and two more staff sergeants – one a friend of Mc Neil’s.
Bailey told me that he expected a direct commission within a couple of weeks and that Penman may get posted to 111th workshop and Park Coy C. E! My first company!
Monday February 22nd 1943: Town out of bounds so cannot see Josephine: not many in the mess so have a lazy and comfortable chair in which to read Robert. C. de Soe’s “The Devil Thumbs a ride” – very good little novel.
Tuesday February 23rd 1943: Town still out of bounds – again. I cannot go to see Josephine! Damn!
Dalgelty after humming and ‘arhring’ let me have a pair of battle mess trousers.
Not many in mess early to bed. Had to move the bed roof leaking like hell.
Wednesday February 24th 1943: Awoke to tune of drip-drip-drip. Roof leaking very badly. Had to dodge raindrops when washing and shaving. Each room upstairs exactly the same.
Got to office and found the G. E’s room “swimming” with water. Coming in two places in the general office; drawing office only in two places – C. R. E. room not a drop!
Damn these Persian builders, and their mutt flat, roofs!
Thursday February 25th 1943: McNeil – the S/Sgt. Mechanist turned up today with Captain Young from Sultanabad. Manchester is his home.
Piss up in the evening. Mac drank himself sick. Young Stevenson L. A. C. drank whiskey and port mixed neat, and in trebles! Johnnie Hennah tight for the first time for long time. Fos and I danced a minuet to the radio. (Had a letter from Alan.)
Went down town and had a bath. & m. Freude and Arbeit!
Friday February 26th 1943: The Colonel still away at Baghdad. Mr. Bryte paid us out today & read the riot act to us and also a pamphlet about conservation of rubber.
Saturday February 27th 1943: Went and saw Josephine in the evening – she had just returned from Teheran and was still travel stained when she met me she excused herself and came back looking gay and refreshed from her toilet. We sat talking for an hour – Sandy, got bored and sloped off and the doctor’s wife disappeared.
Jose and I had a lovely time dancing together for two hours – although we forgot to dance for a long time . . . . . . ..A long way to come back very lovely walk but very inspiring.
Sunday February 28th 1943: On duty this afternoon. Wrote a long letter to Frank. (Copy kept). To town in evening with Bob to have a bath and a coffee. Found a new coffee shop, which is not well known yet as we spent a quite half hour without rowdy troops pouring in & out.
Monday March 1st 1943: Have a heck of a cold. Harry Owen came in from Takistan to work in H.Q.
Tuesday March 2nd 1943: Town again out of bounds. Learnt that S/Sgt. Hickman of C. R.E. 29 had died of Typhus (infection by lice) and was thoroughly startled and surprised.
Wednesday March 3rd 1943: Town still out of bounds. Talks and chats in mess
Thursday March 4th 1943: Town out of bounds. Radio – good music.
Friday March 5th 1943: Dobbie came back from Basra having lost his cap – and spoon – and looking fit & well but browned off.
Saturday March 6th 1943: Went to see Josephine with Leonard. The house servant told us they were not in and tried to inform us in Persian that they had all gone to the Baths. We went to the cinema and saw. Having a Jolly good Time. With Ginger Rogers & Douglas Fairbanks – junior. Came home somewhat disappointed.
Sunday March 7th 1943: Dobbie & I went to town in afternoon. Walked around and I went to see if I could find the sword stick in the Bazaar – I found the place all right but the Persian told me he would have one to show me in two days time.
We went for a bath but full of Levies – Dobbie would not wait but I had a bath and was half and hour late for tea, which was a good one.
Mess meeting in the evening. Ken Foster became Bar Caterer & Harry Owen took on mess Caterer.
Talked all evening and sat talking to Mac until 11.45.
Monday March 8th 1943: Went round to Endy’s place and had supper. Mrs. Hormstäätt was there, Miss Winckleman and Dr. Zeckler. John Michael Rippengald arrived about seven and although I didn’t recognise the name I wondered who he was and I suddenly realised who he really was!
Had a very interesting talk.
Rang up Amiri Garagazlon and arranged to see him some time on Wednesday. But I will ring him to fix exact time.
Tuesday March 9th 1943: Lazy day in the office nothing much to do. The Colonel is still away. Learnt that Colonel Hill has gone and that Trott has taken his place & become Lt Colonel. John Hennah is going out to S. T. B. with a section (76) very soon.
Wednesday March 10th 1943: A most momentous day!
Morning: – Carried blankets down to M. E. Coy and disinfestoned ‘em. Stopped down all the morning and helped Kenneth and Dobbie to do all the unit blankets. Felt particularly lousy after all this and required a bath. Rang up Amiri and arranged to meet him.
Afternoon: Went and had a bath.
Called at the Governor’s house and saw Garagazlon. Had a long discussion which lasted all afternoon, Mr. Avonesk was called in and we arranged about the dance, the preliminary arrangements whereby we hire the Boshgar etc. were made.
Evening: S/M Strong and S/Sgt. Cook decided that it would be a good thing to initiate a “Cardinal Puff”. S/Sgt. Foster was the Senior Cardinal but as he was attending to the Bar he let Cook become chairman and S/M Strong as second Cardinal. He went through all the ritual and I volunteered to be first aspirant. I failed on several things but as I became tight – (I could feel myself getting drunk, each time a mistake is made one has to drink two whiskeys and pay for the Cardinal’s drinks.) I made stronger efforts to do the whole thing correctly and passed. I became very tight and almost got expelled from the Cardinal Puff circle I smashed the stew of my pipe and eventually went to bed.
Thursday March 11th 1943: Had a terrible morning. At eleven o’ clock I felt quite ill and had a very bad hangover. Recovered in afternoon and felt better.
Friday March 12th 1943: Went to town. Bought a pair of brown shoes. 400 Rials! (£3/4/6). Had a bath and so home to bed.
Saturday March 13th 1943: Had a special mess meeting in the evening to decide the possibilities of running the dance. It was decided that a dance was the unanimous decision of all members. I informed the mess in general of what the Boshgar would cost and of the difficulties one had in inviting the Europeans and other nationalities to the same dance.
Sgt. Owen suggested inviting all American girls and as this suited my plans most admirably I recommended his motion – I shall invite the Hausens and José.
Called on Josephine in the evening she was in bed with a temperature with a doctor in attendance – who said she would be normal again in three or four days time.
Met Rippengald and had a short chat. Home to bed at 9.45.
Sunday March 14th 1943: Snowing this morning. Mac went up on the roof in his pyjamas and fiddled about with the chimney. He came down and lit the stove and there was a roar and a flash of flame four feet long from the stove – the carbonious gases had collected in the stack pipe and thus the blowback covering the room with soot.
Monday March 15th 1943: Went to cinema with Dobbie. Saw a Buck Jones film. Went to fetch my brown shoes from the shoemaker’s
Had to sleep downstairs in living room water pouring in, in my bedroom. Dobbie had to sleep downstairs to and so did all the drivers.
Mac and Harry Owen stayed up in the bedroom but got very little sleep owing to the continual drip-drip, splash – splash – plonk – plonk of the water drips.
Freude und Arbeit.
Tuesday March 16th 1943: Not raining in the General Office; rain coming through the G. E’s room and in the drawing office. Cleared a little in afternoon and sun shone quite brilliantly.
Chatted with John Strong in the evening about design and interior decoration.
So bed upstairs.
Wednesday March 17th 1943: John Hennah left for Stb to join and actually form 76 R. E. W. S. Jasper let the cat out of the bag in talking about works sections G.1098 When he said it was possible Owen would be switched for me in 78 R. E. W. S.
What’s been going on? Has some one been “getting at” Jasper to try and get Owen into 78 section and put me with Twist again?
Went with Leonard to see Josephine who was up for the first time, the fever had left her with a pale face and she lacked the “joie de vivre” that she always had. We did not stay long but said we would go on Monday and José arranged to ring me up on Monday morning, and let me know it if was convenient; if not Tuesday evening.
Billet still leaking so slept in large mess room.
Thursday March 18th 1943: Had to move down into Simon’s office and the Colonel moved into Hausen’s office.
Had a row with Harry Owen who acted most childishly over my placing a chain near to his desk.
Type the Colonel a questionnaire paper – stencils (4) and duplicated 20 copies.
Friday March 19th 1943: Went to call on Garagazlon: not in – he had gone to Qom for the New Year festival.
Called on Anto next who was out too. Had a bath and went to Russian Café. Bill Blyth and
L. A. C. Curtis came in bought them their coffee – chatted for a while and came to home with them.
Saturday March 20th 1943: Cinema show at 20 B. S. S. Hospital. The three stooges and Joan Bennett and Franchote Tone in “She knew all the answers.” Good show. Bailey & Notchy Knight gave me a lift in their “droskhi”. Colonel and all the officers were there.
Sunday March 21st 1943: Busy morning. On duty in afternoon. Designed two air graph Birthday Greeting cards – one for mother and one for Sydney.
Monday evening, March 22nd 1943: Dobbie and I proceeded to Josephine’s: called in at the Boshgar on the way and saw the janitor (one Jon or John) and enquired of the vice-president.
Also remembered I had left my scarf and asked for it and Jon gave it to me.
Eventually found that Ameri was still here in Hamadan. Called on Ameri: found Major Hobbins there, the governor of Hamadan and a third person – whose name I didn’t catch (probably some government official or large land owner – his opinion was sought in many matters). [This turned out to be “The Saad Akram”]
Finished of my business with Garagazlon and promised to see him later. Left them discussing price of bread.
Visited Josephine – Dr. Kuanishu came in and said good evening.
José is still weak and the fever has left her so thin. However she is looking forward to the dance at the Boshgar on Wednesday evening and hopes to go. Promised to go again on Saturday.
Slept downstairs in the mess room, as upstairs is still very damp and wet.
Monday evening & bed.
Tuesday March 23rd 1943: Wrote an air letter to mother. Sleeping downstairs in mess room again. Talked, drank, listened to John Strong shooting the line about Basra, Bahrein, Kuwait etc and went to bed.
Wednesday March 24th 1943: Had the afternoon of and went down town. Called on Avonesk but he was not in: took my pipe to be repaired but all the shops were shut: went to the bazaar to collect my sword – stick but all the bazaars were closed.
Decided to call on Madame Cohenga or (Cuenca) but didn’t know where she lived, decided to ask the Turk but his shop was closed; decided to ask Seinon or Ria in the Russian Café, but drew a blank; went and saw our friend the haymaker who was open and who sent his domestique to show me the way. Went at the back of all the bazaars and eventually came upon Madame Cuenca’s “L’Ecolo d’Israelite”.
Found her busy entertaining friends from Teheran, but amid conversation spasmodic though it was, I invited her to the dance, and, as neatly as possible, although it did seem very clumsy I managed to borrow her 20 records.
I made my adieus and left promising to ring her up later.
Pauline Navarro, her niece or protégé was much more charming, and was indeed rather amiable.
Had a coffee in the Mena Café and up to mess for dinner.
Dobbie and I to cinema in evening to see Russian film re Revolution last 1919. Jasper there – he stood at the back.
Called in the café en face to Mena for supper.
Thursday March 25th 1943: Busy in office all morning typing. Busy until three o’clock with class B account. It is now almost finished; at three Bob and Harry went up to mess to pistol practice.
At 3.55 Harry came to relieve me and I went and shot off 12 rounds. First 6 – full six. 2nd shot I was too eager to be fast on the draw and only got one bull.
In the evening instead of covering the lanterns, which Mac had made for the dance, I had to leave them because we decided not to use the paper streamers in the mess but purchase some down town. I came back to the office and had to knock knock-knock but could not get a reply. The two stupid old night watchmen were almost asleep and I climbed over the compound wall. – I climbed the tree outside the office gate and spread the branches over until they touched the wall I made my way across these and gained the wall and dropped down to the other side. I had to leave my jerkin behind but I nearly frightened the life out of the two chowkidars. Should have soundly chastised them had they have been younger men but I was in so bad a temper I just yelled and raved for a full minute and shook them into life by more abuse of bad language.
Friday March 26th 1943: To town. Bath night. Snowing like anything. Freude und Arbeit.
Saturday March 27th 1943: Night in the mess. Rather Dull – “no booze”
Sunday March 28th 1943: Went with S/M Strong and Dobbie to see Madame Cohenga at the L‘Ecole de’ Aliance only Pauline Navarro was at home – but she promised the loan of records and gramophone.
Called and saw if my swordstick was done – not done.
Tea at 5.
Owen elected to go to Basra to hand over truck to Major Kassell.
Monday March 29th 1943: Leonard came with me when I went to the consulate to invite Major Hobbins and his partner.
The A. C. O accepted but asked for an invite for Colonel Fletcher and for his A. D. C, Lieut. something or other. M/Hobbin’s also asked if we had invited Sadar Akram Garagazlon – the Governor of Hamadan.
I said I would send along an invitation.
Went to see Amiri Garagazlon he was not at home but we waited and in the meantime chatted to his partner. Amiri returned at 9 o’clock and we fixed up everything.
Went to Josephine’s and got scolded for being late: Dr. Kuanishu & Mrs. Kuanishu & Josephine accepted for the dance.
Passed 3 M. P. on the way home.
Tuesday 30th March 1943: Down town to see Avonesk: not in – to go tomorrow. Down town to have bath – Colshon Bath closed but another “Hammam” at the back of the Colshon on a side street was open.
Home at 9.30.
Wednesday 31st March 1943: Harry Owen let us down; he promised 20 partners for the dance but not one of them will now turn up.
Talk of cancelling the dance. Fawcett was agreeable to cancelling the dance there and then I refused to listen to such talk and immediately wrote to Endie and asked her to bring Gertrude – a rotten trick – very low, for I had not intended to invite her or Gertrude because we were having booze etc.
Sent off Sada Akram’s invitation.
S/M Strong fetched the records from the L’Ecole d’Aliance. Le de Israelite
Thursday April 1st 1943: Went to work, looking forward to the dance. Everyone feverishly preparing their toilet and making themselves look so very smart.
I got to the Bashgar about 7.20 and everything looked so very well. Mac. Had the radiogram fixed up and the spot light over the unit Crest. The hall looked very cosy and inviting.
Captain Routley arrived with Mrs. and Jean Bannister, Touiance (the manager of the Oil Company) brought his lady friend, and the Colonel arrived with Mrs. Hammond. I was beginning to get hot under the collar and eventually Jose and her mother and father (Dr. Kuanishu) arrived. Josephine looked charming and her mother looked very nice indeed have dressed her hair Edwardian Fashion (upwards).
Hobbins arrived with his stooge Lieut. Grouse & Sada Akram [Said Akhram] Garagazlon (The Governor of Hamadan). The Governor did not bring his wife and daughters and I was beginning to get upset. Endy and Gertrude did not turn up Madame Cohenga and Pauline Navorro did not turn up and I thought it was going to be a complete flop.
However Amiri Garagazlon and his uncle decided – upon the instigation and prompting of Dr. Kuanishu to fetch Mdme Garagazlon and her two daughters. They came – Blyth fetched them in the car and they had a good time.
Everyone was happy, but due to the fact that so few ladies were present a good many had a little more drink than was good for ‘em and Jasper Routles and Ken Foster were rather soaked. Tommy Cook was sozzled but behaved himself like a gentleman – in fact he was supporting Jasper half the time. Jasper went and knocked the stove pipes down – everyone had a good laugh.
The C. R. E was rather a sm’oggle at the end – no one did it correctly.
Leonard & I walked up home. Leonard – actually quite a little gentleman was rather disgusted with the end when one or two got too tight.
Friday April 2nd 1943: Everyone had hangovers. Some had to have T. A. B. re inoculations. The Colonel was in a good mood more over he said to Mr. Strong that we may run another dance.
Saturday April 3rd 1943: Leonard left for Takistan to take over from Perham while he has leave. A letter from Endy saying she was sorry she could not come to the party. Had an inoculation for T. A. B.
Lovely day – I think the snow has finished now – all the Persian have a holiday today to go picnicking – I am told that if they stay indoors they consider it to bring them bad luck.
Went a walk up the mountain with Frank Mc Neil.
Sunday April 4th 1943: Feeling rather groggy – I must have caught a chill at the dance and it has developed in my back and kidneys. However I feel a little better this afternoon.
We had dinner on the lawn. John had both dining tables put outside & the wireless was playing full blast. We had meat pie and rice balls with hot treacle for a sweet. The sun was very hot and the swimming pool look very inviting. Who would have thought there is a war on?
Monday April 5th 1943: Mess meeting.
Tuesday April 6th 1943: Busy at work. Went back after dinner and wrote a letter to Alan.
Wednesday April 7th 1943: Wet. Bath in new bath and off to bed
Thursday April 8th 1943: Walk with Frank and John Strong. Called in Persian club & had a vermouth & vodka. Called on Endy – she was entertaining six American officers – including ice cream! Locked out at 9.50! George let me in.
Friday April 9th 1943: Pay today – by Colonel Chevis, he enjoys paying out or censoring letters whenever he gets the chance. Reg Brice in a devil of a stew all over the Area Commander – Lt. Col. last telling him he was “the dirtiest British “Private” in the army”! Reg has since gone to work dress up to kill. Amenities arrived from Kms.
Saturday April 10th 1943: To hospital C. O. Matin to obtain more “cough cure” for my “Bronchitis”. To go again on Tuesday. Went for a walk in Evening. Wrote to Pat – green envelope.
Sunday April 11th 1943: Busy all morning in office. Not feeling too well. Jack Strong had a horse sent up for 2.15 – originally had 2 horses arranged and Mac decided to go with him. Maleesh arrangements to go walking with me! However only one horse came but Mac went walking by himself.
I walked up to the village right up at the back of the Elvand. I climbed about 800 feet and walked slowly back.
Sgt. Davies came in the evening and we had a shuyar booze up.
Village called Dareh Morad Beg.
Monday April 12th 1943: Still up in the mess, town out of bounds. Hopeless. Sat talking to John Strong, (R. S. M.) and Ken Foster until 12 o’clock and so to bed.
Tuesday April 13th 1943: A letter from Lawrence sent October 11th: How I wish this war over and 1938 years forever with out the shadow of war. But that can never be!
Wednesday April 14th 1943: A letter from Peter Clark. A letter from Eileen & Sydney.
Thursday April 15th 1943: Leonard, Tom Cook, Q. M. S. Perham, Clephan arrived. Dobbie had had a day in Teheran. Mac & I walked to village of Dareh Mordad Beg, climbing about 1,000 feet. (7,000 feet AMSL).
Friday April 16th 1943: Endy called with Gertrude to see the Colonel about some Isfahan work she had ordered for him and asked him to call round tonight.
N. A. A. F. I. Stores arrived about 6pm and every one had good booze up. We had some crème de menthe (Palestinian) it was not over good any way it is a woman’s drink.
Saturday April 17th 1943: Major Kassell O.C.78 R. E. W. S. and Driver Abbott arrived at Hamadan from Kermanshah.
Sunday April 18th 1943: Had afternoon off. Conservancy. Darned all my socks. 6 pairs. Sorted out a little kit. Had a bath. Walked with Mac after tea to U. R. C. C and back and so to bed.
Monday April 19th 1943: Major Kassell had a little chat on moving section to Kms. He decided that I should go down on Monday April 25th with Lieut. Rowse, Stevenson & Curtis.
Had a chat with George on stores matters – George when he is in a good mood is really a decent and likeable fellow, but my God his dark moods are unbearable!
Went a walk with Mac and Eddie Hadingham up the mountain.
Drank a couple of crème de menthes and off to bed.
Had a letter from William
Tuesday April 20th 1943: Major Kassell went to Takistan intending to return on Wednesday evening April 21st.
Went a walk: read part of “And Life Goes on” by Vicki Baum.
Wednesday April 21st 1943: Major Kassell did not turn up at Hamadan neither did W. O. 1 Strong.
Went for a walk in the evening, alone, up the mountain a really wizard sight.
Came back and had a bath.
Read “And Life Goes on” until 10:30 and fell into a contented sleep.
Thursday April 22nd 1943: Designed and duplicated 25 invitation cards for the dance. Took all morning. Bob Fawcett had the afternoon off. Office very still and quiet. Wrote a letter card to Mother. Called on Endy and said Goodbye.
Friday April 23rd 1943: Bob Fawcett and Sergeant Major Strong went off on a short tour of Sultanabad & Qom with Major Kassell. I am acting Chief Clerk; had to do pay parade. Capt. Boyte off tomorrow to TTN.
Saturday April 24th 1943: A lazy day in office; sky overcast and cloudy, an electrical storm is hovering around the mountains; Harry Owen took the day off. Dobbie and I sat chatting in office, although I had much work to do in afternoon. Freude und Arbeit!
Wrote to The Manager Barclays Bank Mansfield re my account.
Sunday April 25th 1943: In office all morning, busy doing returns, packed and so to billet.
Afternoon spent in packing, bathing. Tea time: Tommy Cook, and Tommy Waters came in sozzled, they brought with them for tea, their host, one Fringee, with whom they had spent the entire afternoon, boozing. They went out again in evening down to the Dhobies. Ken Foster, Dobbie, Q. M. S. Brice, Cowburn and self all sat listening to the Radio, drinking more gin than was good for us. Dalgelty & Owen had also been to the Dhobies (Easter Sunday today) and came back rather merry. To bed at 12 o’clock.
Monday April 26th 1943: Up at 6.30. Packed up bed & bedding. Said goodbye to all, and down to yard. Went around to the office and packed up the stationery boxes and off to Kermanshah. Arrived at G. E’s Palatial Residence at 2.30. Had a wash and lunch and a little chat. Checked off G. 1098.
Evening spent in playing all Captain Taylor’s records. L. A. C’s Terry and Ronald, Ginger Caldicott & Cpl Cowburn came upstairs into the officer’s mess. To bed at 10.30.
Tuesday April 27th 1943: Checked all G. 1098 stores in morning. Afternoon in office. Col. Chevis and Col. Panet arriving tomorrow evening – they should have some “Gen”.
Evening spent in mess listening to Mr. Rowse expound “Christian Socialism.” & the State of England après la guere.
Lt. Rowse a member of Acland’s Commonwealth Party. The Intelligence Branch had a fat file on him! I liked Rowse and got on well with him.
Wednesday April 28th 1943: Morning spent in chasing D. A. D. Os. H. Q Sub Area – and going to N. A. A. F. I. Bought a sheet at N. A. A. F. I. 110 Rials. Colonel Panet and Colonel Chevis arrived at 3pm en route for Hamadan. Major Kassell and Driver Abbott arrived in utility about 1.30.
Evening spent in discussing post war reconstruction.
Thursday April 29th 1943: All day spent in office busy with everything. Colonel Panet & C. R. E. inspected airfields and left for Hamadan at 2.10.
Evening spent in mess listening to O. C discussing the possibilities of a dance. A mess meeting to decide how we three new members, Major Kassell, Lieut. Rowse and self are to enter the mess.
To bed at 12.10.am.
Friday April 30th 1943: In morning out with O. C to D. A. D. O. S. getting contingent allowance soap & towels also camp kettles and two tyres & tubes. Afternoon busy in office.
We go into K. D. tomorrow. Went a walk with Clifford (who put his three stripes up today) in K. D. shorts!
Saturday May 1st 1943: It is the day to go into K. D. in we go brave and bold into shorts. I contracted a very severe cold in the stomach and felt very ill indeed.
Sunday May 2nd 1943:
Feeling very low spent a disturbed night, slept fit fully, had to leave my bed five times – went upstairs to mess in Battle dress.
Out for a walk in the afternoon with the two L. A. C’s.
Evening: to bed at 8.30.
Monday May 3rd 1943: Much better today: still wearing battle dress, wore slacks, feel better.
Dalgelty came for NAAFI stores.
Tuesday May 4th 1943: Dalgelty left at 1.30 for Hamadan. G. E Staff preparing feverishly for dance at Kms. Went to D. A. D. O. S., N. A. A. F. I., P. O. & M. E. Coy. Got a pain of B. D. trousers from M. E Coy.
Wednesday May 5th 1943: Party in mess; a dozen American, Assyrian and Persian girls turned up with only about half a dozen escorts. A real nice dance was had by all, plenty to drink, plenty to eat, and jolly good company. To bed at 2pm, very tired, but very happy.
Thursday May 6th 1943: Working until 12 o’clock. Off to Hamadan at 13.00 hours.
Major Kassell, Abbott, Coops and myself in utility, Terry Curtis and Ron Stevenson with all kit in the Fordson truck.
Uneventful journey up to Shah Pass, when having climbed about 1,700 feet we had a choked petrol lead. It took Abbott about an hour to fix it and we arrived in about 6.15. Up to mess at about 6.50 and had dinner, as all my K. D. was wet I put it out to dry more, and pressed it about 8 o’clock.
Arrived at the dance about nine o’clock, it was in full swing. Met Frank Lloyd, who was looking his old self again. Josephine had not arrived. Dobbie went for them in the car. Far too many officers were there, uninvited as usual. Had a good time; however Pickford & Wilson messed up the evening by becoming most objectionable.
All the officers returned to the mess to have a drink. Roultey as ever was out for the count.
Friday May 7th 1943: Up with the lark, at 8 o’clock! Not feeling too bad. Went round to the office and cleared up all outstanding matters. Went round to the stores and collected a bicycle and Emall stores.
Left Hamadan at 2.15 with L. A. C. driving Colonel Panet and Major Kassell in the C. E’s car. Myself – Abbott and Coops in the utility, & the two L. A. C’s with stores and kit bringing up the rear.
(Three people will not sit in the front of a truck so sayeth – Cheeves.)
Back at 6.10.
Colonel Panet most amusing in his after dinner chat about Indian rail roading days back in the 20’s.
To bed at 10 o’clock.
Saturday May 8th 1943: My Mater’s birthday today. Col. Panet left at 8.10 after shaking hands and saying goodbye. Busy morning. Kit inspection tomorrow. Heard that Tunis and Bizerta had fallen. Went up to American Mission to hear news but failed to get any good reception. A pleasant repast and after dinner chat.
The lights failed for an hour or so but have just come on again; a storm is blowing up outside.
And so to bed.
Sunday May 9th 1943: Walked round to American Hospital to listen to news. Bizerta and Tunis fell today!
Monday May 10th 1943: Capt. Shaw. Q. M. S. Perham & Driver Clephan arrived with Mr. Garton.
Tuesday May 11th 1943: To Ordnance to collect summer clothes and get gen on boot repairs.
Wednesday May 12th 1943: Lecture by M. O in senior mess at 3 o’clock on Anti Malaria Precautions and V. D.
Dance tomorrow night.
Thursday May 13th 1943: Dance, most of the usual crowd turned up. Except the two nurses from the American Mission. A. J. S. T. decided NOT to invite the junior mess as a reprisal. The dance proved a failure because of the lack of spirit due to the junior mess being left out.
Friday May 14th 1943: Lecture by Captain Shaw on the Thompson Sub-machine Gun. V/interesting I left early with Ron to do a round of the D. A. D. O. S. Sub area etc.
Saturday May 15th 1943: Played a football match against the Persian employees on the Aerodrome. We won 3 – 0, playing was not bad, but could have been better if one or two of us knew the game!
Sunday May 16th 1943: At 11.20 started off on a walk to the mountains at the “back” of Kermanshah.
Major Kassell, Capt. Shaw, Lieut. Rowse, Q. M. S. Perham, S/Sgt. Hindle, Sgt. Hill, Cpl. Coops, Driver Abbott and Driver Clephan made up the party.
Battle order, and revolvers were worn, water bottle, mess tin six sandwiches and ground sheet. After a steady walk we climbed to a height of eleven hundred feet(1,100) above Kermanshah, (a.m.s.l.) 4,400; total 5,500.
The O. C. had two bad blisters on each foot and was forced to take off his boots and wrap his round his feet. Lieut. Rowse took a party on ahead, Capt. Shaw and I with Abbott stayed behind and walked slowly back with the Major, who showed “grit and guts” and walked the whole way back in his stocking feet!
Monday May 17th 1943: Major K. Capt. T. Hindle, Wakefield, Coops and Abbott and Clephan went to American mission for “Dessert”.
Tuesday May 18th 1943: Went for a walk in evening alongside of Persian Barracks, saw all the recruits doing a pukka German “goose – step”. A N. C. O of the Persian Army requested me to move on as my presence “un-nerved” his recruits. I responded with a smile and obliged him I did not wish to cause him any trouble, he seemed rather embarrassed at asking me to move at all.
Wednesday May 19th 1943: Major Kassell, Capt. Shaw and L/Cpl. Abbott left for a trip to Isfahan. Q. M. S. Perham, with Driver Clephan proceeded to Basra to collect 3 typewriters. Stores for Captain Boyte and various small tools for the section. Q. M. S. Perham took one dixie one two-gallon tin, and one small bivouac.
Thursday May 20th 1943: Captain Taylor ill in bed with a temperature. A busy day lettering 30 odd “open” files. Went to call on Endy and Miss Lamme at American mission met Dr. Bastiker and wife, Miss Foulton, Mr. Watson and two Americans who were passing the through to Hamadan.
Chatted in mess until 12 o’clock.
Friday May 21st 1943: Cleaned up all stores, cleaned drawing office tools and instruments. Went to see Endy at Miss Lamme’s
Saturday May 22nd 1943: L. A. C’s Terry and Ron were “browned off” at not being able to go to American Hospital – I gated them because they broke bounds.
Sunday May 23rd 1943: Major still away at Isfahan. Sgt. Philby of 4/5 Royal Sussex Regiment came after lunch to instruct us on Unarmed Combat and Bayonet Fighting – he is here for a week.
Monday May 24th 1943: Went to H. Q.31 Ind. Inf. Bgde. (old Sub Area) and got L. A. C’s shoes repaired – also indented for extra K. D. trousers. Sapper Jackson here out of hospital, waiting to be returned to Hamadan.
Tuesday May 25th 1943: Major and Captain Shaw Returned from Isfahan. Sgt. Philby still having a good time with us.
Wednesday May 26th 1943: Unarmed combat after tea. Coopy and I fall and tumble and get thrown all over the place. Heard Len has got his S/M/F/W thro!
Thursday May 27th 1943: Dance this evening. Pleasant affair. Jim Perham came back with Q. M. S. Walter and John Willie Young. Arrange for them to go back tomorrow. Miss Foulton brought her three little nurses, Mrs. Amiri, Jean and her gang were there. Good time by all.
Friday May 28th 1943: Ronald took Q. M. S. Walter and Staff Young and Jackson back to Hamadan. Returned at 6.10. Lectures finish on Bren Gun Boys Anti tank rifle as Philby is going back tonight. Philby stayed on to dinner and said a very short but heart touching few words of farewell – we gave him a big bunch of roses to take back to the Sergeant’s mess.
Saturday May 29th 1943: Started packing up stores. D helped and showed great interest. A damn nice fellow – so reliable – steady and so likeable.
Sunday May 30th 1943: Extremely busy at office – finished off most of the stores.
Monday May 31st 1943: Captain Shaw off to Hamadan with Clephan.
Tuesday June 1st 1943: Very busy with month ending correspondence. Oliver typewriter is working much better these days.
Wednesday June 2nd 1943: Went and saw Janet and had a chat with her regarding the juniors visiting her nurses.
Thursday June 3rd 1943: In office all morning could not get settled. Had an early lunch 12.15 and started for Rifle Range at Bisotun at 1 o’clock. Arrived at 2 o’clock: shot on 100, 200 and 300 ranges with rifle, grouping application and rapid fire. Did very poorly.
Next, fired Bren gun. – did a little better, very moderate with Tommy Guns. Fired five rounds from Boys Anti-tank gun, rather afraid of it at first, but after the first shot gained confidence. The mountains echoed and re-echoed from the continual banging, very much like a heavy thunderstorm.
Packed up all gear, returned it to 4/5th R. S. Bu and brought Philby back with us. Arrived back at 7.15. very tired. I was so brassed off and out of sorts with myself at the thoughts of another dance on top of this hard day that I went to bed and slept until 9.15. I woke feeling much better, and washed off all the grime and dirt – I still did not feel clean so I dashed into the Hammam and had a good hot shower.
I appeared at 10 o’clock feeling fresh and clean. By this time the party was in full swing – it had been flat until about 09.45 pm. The first person I saw was Neyem, she seemed to hang on to me all evening. We took a walk into the garden. – I met her downstairs. I had a very nice time; a good time was had by all. Party broke up at 3 o’clock.
Friday June 4th 1943: No money at the Bank! Not so very busy at office.
Saturday June 5th 1943: Colonel Chevis came through stayed the night. Major K. & Capt. Shaw returned. Mr. Gaston staying here for a time.
Sunday June 6th 1943: The Colonel pushed on to Baghdad with Blyth, hopes to come back with loads of gen.
Monday June 7th 1943: Section played football with 4/5 Sussex Bu; lost 3 – 1.
Tuesday June 8th 1943: Collected 35 2 gallon water cans from D. C. R. E. Kms.
Wednesday June 9th 1943: Dance tomorrow.
Thursday June 10th 1943: Mr. Rowse to No. 7 C. C. S. We held another party, quite a success.
Friday June 11th 1943: Feeling very blue, play all the good orchestral records after lunch. Feel browned off.
Saturday June 12th 1943: 2 Drivers arrived today from 2 Reinforcement and Training Centre. Drivers & Price J. L. & Masters, Leonard. W. Nearly all section went out on a walk; set off at 10.30. walked all the way up the valley had a really good time. Returned at 5 o’clock not nearly so tired as last time.
Played Bridge all evening.
Sunday June 13th 1943: Busy with “casualties” (* A casualty – referred to a W. O Form for posting – promotion, whatever) for Mr. Rowse and the two drivers.
Pay at 2.30 everyone mighty pleased to have some d’argent to pay their mass bills.
Tavikoli went to Bissitune.
Monday June 14th 1943: I went for a walk at 4.10 and walked to the back of Kermanshah. Stopped off in an orchard and spoke to the owner and stopped and chatted. His son, one, Sadããt a rather intelligent youngster offered me small quince berries of which I ate a few. I tootled of down the orchard as the older fellow wished to be alone to pray, it was now about 5 o’clock p.m.
I came upon four Persians in a garden and stopped off to have a chat to them. I spoke as best I could with them for over an hour and they insisted that I had tea, Persian fashion. I left about six thirty and had almost reached the mills on my way back when I was hailed from a garden.
An half intoxicated pseudo Persian babbled about being half drunk and would I visit his party the sound of which rather intrigued me and I condescended. What a party! About twelve men and one woman. There was a Persian officer, and a Persian soldier, who played a violin, and was a good fellow. There was a small collection of small fry and one bright youth who spoke in French we got on rather well for he was not so tight and I could understand him and he, me. After drinking plenty of Zib bib and vodka and watching the dancing I had to come away in time for dinner.
I got back and had plenty of time to wash and change for the football match team had not come in from practice.
To 31 Ind. Inf. Bde. to take back mosquito nets and Bivouacs.
Section played soccer with local Persian team on airfield, came unfinished as one of the Persian fell in the goals and sustained concussion in the head. This local Persian team played rather dirty the score when the match was abandoned was 1 – 1.
Tuesday June 15th 1943: To Sub area to post parcels get N. A. A. F. I. chit altered and take boots to be repaired. Lt. (Q. M.) Clark now 0/1/0 stores at H. Q. came with Dalgelty driven by Hadingham. Colonel Chevis came back from A. H. Q and G. H. Q and told us of a small job we had on land before we moved. Move will not be for some time yet as far as I can see.
Wednesday June 16th 1943: Ahmed Tavikoli told Coopy he would call at 5 o’clock on Friday.
Thursday June 17th 1943: O. C. Recei‘d site.
Friday June 18th 1943: Leonard Smith Dobson – came down with Caldicott to stay for survey. Brought levels and instruments etc. Tavikoli called but O. C. kept at it all day!
Saturday June 19th 1943: Survey party up at 4.30 and out on sites. Lack of co-operation leads to some unpleasantness and ill will.
Sunday June 20th 1943: Coops to hospital – 7 C. C. S. Price came out of 7 C. C. S. – has 3 days convalescent. Survey parties out.
Freude und Arbeit.
Monday June 21st 1943: Parties out, coming in very tired.
Freude und Arbeit!!
Tuesday June 22nd 1943: Parties out, and worn out!
Freude und Arbeit!!!
Wednesday June 23rd 1943: All survey parties & O. C. stayed in to check levels. Major off to collect rations etc. W. J. C Aneino arrived at 12.45; flying visit to N. A. A. F. I.; seemed in happy mood, returned at 3.15. to Hamadan. Tavy called at 7.45! Len fell off his horse.
Thursday June 24th 1943: All parties out at 6 o’clock. Up at 4.30 am. Checked sandwiches and cook house staff. Busy but boring morning. Dressed Leonard’s arm and he reported sick and had T. T. inoculation.
Friday June 25th 1943: Up at 5 am. Breakfast, supervised sandwiches for surveying parties.
Had a cold shower, a little conservancy and up to lounge. Worked hard all morning. O. C put in a full day. Pay at 5.30. O. C. saw Webb – Price and master.
Saturday June 26th 1943: Tavakoli did not turn up. To Sub area collecting bits and pieces.
Tolhurst arrived with one Walcott (Capt.) to 77 Section.
Sunday June 27th 1943: Maydi brought his horse (a roan) around; I had a ride up the high street, and set her in a canter. The canter was too awkward and bumpy and so I put her into a gallop and she went flat out! With her filly neighing behind her! She took some pulling up, during which time I was wondering if I should fall off or remember a few points of horsemanship.
Hausen came and Denes goes back tomorrow. Hadingham and Caldicott brought Hausen?
Tolhurst called in on his way back to H. D. N.
Monday June 28th 1943: Len and I walked up to the Barracks to try and borrow two horses – we almost had ‘em too except that the Commandant referred us to Colonel Fletcher – to apply thro’ him. Survey party had a holiday.
Tuesday June 29th 1943: Survey parties off at 6 o’clock this morning. Q. M. S. Perham and Cyril Hindle took a tent 4 cans, a cooker and a lamp and camped out on the site.
Our new office (in Reves’ old room) is working admirably.
Substantive Rank today.
Wednesday June 30th 1943: Had notice to quit today!
Brigade Commander said we have to move to camp area at 31 Ind. Inf. Bde. Duggie went to see Col. last and low and behold he fixed it for us to stay! subject to the Brigadier’s approval.
Thursday July 1st 1943: Price took over in cookhouse; improvements taking place right and left. Every one seeming more happy junior mess had a P. U. and I couldn’t get to sleep until 12.30 – but they had a good time.
Friday July 2nd 1943: Got the Imprest account away. Cy Hindle and Jimmy Perham came in to stay over to-morrow. Everyone has a rest tomorrow.
Went to Hamadan.
Saturday July 3rd 1943: Everyone busy in office checking levels etc. Jimmy Perham told me he officially wishes to go the whole hog with his d/affair. Lieut. Garton, S/Major Strong, and four R. A. F. laddies came down at 1.30.
Ginger Caldicott, Eddie Hadingham and Cpl. Torrance are in the Rest camp awaiting to go back to Habbamya. Lieut. Garton returned to H. D. N. on same day at 3.15 in Twist’s R. A. F. truck with Twist’s L. A. C. Jack Strong is staying down here for some time.
Medical Inspection at 5.30.
Sunday July 4th 1943: Parties back on the survey. Had a chat with O. C. about Dobson etc.; which seemed the lesser of two evils; a very difficult state of affairs when juniors of long standing suddenly get promotion (i.e. Pickford etc.).
Monday July 5th 1943: Dashed around to D. C. K. E. 92. collected pastry board; saw Alf Murrell – he has now one pip up. To Sub Area in afternoon to collect lacramatory capsules and borrow Pay Regs from Chief Clerk.
Taylor, Strong and Wakefield a la ville saus khaki.
Tuesday July 6th 1943: On 24 hours notice! Made out plan of campaign, again
Wednesday July 7th 1943: George rolled up in afternoon with 3 tonner and two drivers. Preparing for party.
Went to see Tavikoli and asked him around at 6.45 – he arrived at 7.45 so asked him to stay to dinner. Worked from 9 to 11.15 pm on letter for O. C. 4 Tents returned to D. A. D. O. S.
Thursday July 8th 1943: Preparing for party. Helping Price to make sweets and prepare the supper – busy until 7.45. Janet brought five companions, four nurses and a niece of Busticker’s. Joseph brought Fannia; Neyem had a fever so could not come. Jean came along with Rosa and her sister Amiri brought Mrs. Amene. Cooper brought three people at the tail end of the dance. Good show. Everyone got almost tight. Good time had by all. Major to Hamadan and back in 10 hours.
Friday July 9th 1943: Busy in office. I was told that Leonard was to go back Hamadan! What a war; promises mean nothing at all! Now he has to go with Tolhurst. Rotten temper. What’s the use? This was the day I slammed the door in Duggie’s face!! He was taken aback!
Saturday July 10th 1943: Leonard off with Abbott at 7am. Said “Expect to see me back this evening” – but I knew he would not come. What’s the use?
Sunday July 11th 1943: Busy in office – Capt. Shaw returned from 7 C. C. S.
Monday July 12th 1943: Signalled H. Q. 2 C. R. E. arriving on Tuesday 13th July. Went to
D. A. D. O. S. had a chat to Dow.
Tuesday July 13th 1943: Busy in office seeing to work for Wednesday and Thursday. Went to N. A. A. F. I. (mobile Cinema) “Shipyard Sally”
Wednesday July 14th 1943: Up at 7 o’clock – off at 8.15 for Hamadan. Major Kassell driving. Capt. Shaw Abbott and self.
Delayed somewhat by the car behaving badly. Carburettor choked with dust and sand.
Arrived at about 1 o’clock.
Sgt’s have now a mess of their own. Saw Leonard: slept in Fawcett and Fosters room. Went to town in evening – full of Yankees; called in Mena Café had ice cream 40 Rials – cakes 10 rials in total 50 rials! Went round to office in afternoon.
Thursday July 15th 1943: Went round to office at 8.30. Had a chat – designed a house for Jack Strong! or rather a bungalow. Dobbie not coming back.
Friday July 16th 1943: Settle down to work – plenty to do.
Saturday July 17th 1943: Quick trip to ordnance in morning. Fetched repaired boots back.
Sunday July 18th 1943: Went for a quiet stroll. Not very far. Mess meeting – Capt. Shaw became mess caterer.
Monday July 19th 1943: Tolhurst’s Driver – L. A. C. arrived with the sapper from CRE who is returning to base. Ron and Terry go back tomorrow.
Tuesday July 20th 1943: Ron and Terry went back to Habb. Sorry to see them go for they seem so much part of the family now.
Wednesday July 21st 1943: Thomas Cook came from Hospital in Khanaqin. Staying until O. C. goes up to H. Q. In with me.
Thursday July 22nd 1943: Preparations for dance. All new people invited. Juniors not coming – they went to Concert at C. C. S instead.
Friday July 23rd 1943: Nothing much to do. Busy doing nothing!
Saturday July 24th 1943: Went to see Desert Victory at the 7. C. C. S. Most of senior mess went: we took deck chairs and everyone had a comfortable seat. Came back and stayed up until 12.30 discussing the war.
Sunday July 25th 1943: Achmed Tavakoli invited me around to a small party he was throwing. Went along at 8.30. Nicholas was there from Kerind and Stevens of 92. Tavi’s friend and his sister a very charming little girl she is too; Tavi’s sister Nora as pleasant and pretty as ever. Had a nice time, Tavy played his gramophone and I danced with Nora.She promised to come to our next dance. To see Tavy on Tuesday.
Back home at 11.45. Very tired.
Monday July 26th 1943: Major to Bank to collect money: came back with news that Mussolini had packed up and the little Victor Emmanuel and Bagdolie have now the reins.
Tuesday July 27th 1943: Little news of import. Over the radio Spent an hour in Bisitoun – met S/M of C. M. P. who had come to take over.
Wednesday July 28th 1943: Had a shoot with rifle in the morning. Not a good range: Master’s rifle completely u/s. (Poor Masters died in Burma of scrub typhus ’45.) Spent night in Bisitoun Hotel Borne loaned us a Radio, small short wave set. Met Nora and Tavy.
Thursday July 29th 1943: Went to visit Cpl Cooper of 77 who is at present in Kms. C. C. S. Spent evening in Bisitoun. Henry Durrer came back from H. D. N. and I. R. N.
Friday July 30th 1943: Not feeling too well – difficult to breathe – indigestion trouble. Feeling generally low.
Saturday July 31st 1943: Very busy in office: end of month; all work finished before Major goes to Hamadan.
Sunday August 1st 1943: Still busy in office: Off to see Cpl. Cooper in afternoon at T. C. C. S. He’s ready to leave. (Communist propaganda?)
Riots in town stupid Persian agitators storming up the populace. Hooligans going round the Bazaar breaking up the shops and windows. Town out of bounds, trucks are “stoned” when proceeding up the main street. Abbott and I came through O.K.
Met Dalgelty outside C. C. S. Dalgelty and Lieut. Clark couldn’t get through because of riots; in the afternoon Dalgelty did eventually manage it, and he brought Hannaby who had been at the rest camp for three days!
Monday August 2nd 1943: Major Kassell, Captain Taylor, S/Sgts Hindle – Wakefield and Cook to Hamadan taking two young females from the American Mission and Tadwasian.
Not feeling very well.
Tuesday August 3rd 1943: Still feeling rather low: Webb in bed with suspected sandfly fever. Lunchtime Lieut. Rowse, Jimmy Perham, Micky and S/Sgt. Blackbourn (new, for 77) arrived. Blackbourn in my room.
Wednesday August 4th 1943: Went to D. A. D. O. S. who was a little difficult over question of W. E. T. (he had got out of bed the wrong way). Got what I wanted more or less. This fellow Blackbourn is rather untidy and really a bore on talking.
Thursday August 5th 1943: Made out Remittance for £50 to self (Bank). All the stationery arrived here and we got it in good time and good condition.
Friday August 6th 1943: Major, Taylor, & Abbott came back from Hamadan. No news. With Henry Durrer to party. Joan, Rosa and Ellen were there. Had a very pleasant but quiet evening. (This was a special party in American quarter of town out of bounds)
Saturday August 7th 1943: Hindle Wakefield, Jack Strong came back in afternoon from Hamadan. Captain Harris, Walters & Driver from Hamadan. Staying over. Signal re move: Warning order.
Sunday August 8th 1943: Hamadan people still here. Major makes some start of packing and ordering sequence of move. Busy Day.
Monday August 9th 1943: Balls up over kit inspection – Perham seemed to think it was a job for a “Sergeant Major”.
Tuesday August 10th 1943: Busy in office. To C. C. S in evening to see an English film Old Mother Riley’s Ghost.
Wednesday August 11th 1943: Received instructions to be at X, must be off at mid-day tomorrow. Bags of work to do before we can move. Working until 12.15 – then had to stop because the electricity was turned off.
Thursday August 12th 1943: Up at 6.30: packed – a heck of a rush to get all finished. Jim worked the miracle in packing all the stuff on to the three trucks. Finished at 2.30
All the servants heartbroken, Maunche, Mohamed Aly; Kaka and even Aly Hussain. Little Hussain looked very sad. (He will no doubt now have to do his Military Service).
Off to H. Q. at 3 o’clock a little trouble on the way – the oil feed to Price’s truck bust and swilled oil all over the place.
Arrived at Ham. At 11pm. they had Ohai and hot mocomnoay ready. Fixed up my bed under the old workshop and slept until reveille – 4 am. C. R. E. unit in quite a flap – really getting balls’d up. C. R. E. himself was very dismal.
Friday August 13th 1943: Packed a few things on board C. R. E. truck – kept a list. Started off at 6.15 to proceed to Khorramabad Captain Shaw became lost? Passed C. R. E. and pulled up at Petrol point.
C. R. E. more cheerful:
R. H. S will never live down his convoy leadership. Major as importable as ever.
One of Twist’s trucks had to be towed. Seems to have been that the distributor wiring was incorrectly fixed – bad language as usual flying about.
Our Section quite happy and cheerful. – Why not?
Section had lunch and swim in river C. R. E and Twist’s section joined in together with Major Chettoe. C. R. E now almost happy – the seat of his pants torn right across – a real wide tear.
rrived at Khorramabad and filled up: eight outside, beyond, we pitched camp. Hannaby, and Webb did guards.
Slept well: Reveille at 4.30 – the guard woke us at 5 a.m.
Saturday August 14th 1943: Capt. Shaw’s truck developed a knock (big end) and had to be towed by Q. M. S. Milne.
Very bad road for about a hundred miles – all mountain country – the country of Tamerlaine.
Stopped at filling station 2 way and had lunch and a bathe.
Started off at 2.45.
Very poor time: still mountain road.
Passed no 76 section:
They passed us:
Night at Andimesh.
Sunday August 15th 1943: 133° in shade! On to Ahwaz at 1 o’clock. All day in camp. Train party there. Shaw by train and some G. 1098 as well.
Monday August 16th 1943: Still at Ahwaz. Move to Khorramshahr at 9.15. A really good convoy quite pukka Douglas worked well.
Tuesday August 17th 1943: 133½° in shade. Arrived at Margil at 7.30. Had a shower and breakfast. Packed all G. 1098 to ship.
Wednesday August 18th 1943: All water cans and explosives to 7 B. O. D thro’ Fletcher. Working for Robert Fawcett all morning in the office. We are on board at 7 tonight. On board the Cap Turrain.
Thursday August19th 1943: Loaded ship with cordial typed and duplicated ships orders.
A hell of a day. Slept on Deck.
Friday August 20th 1943: Sailed from Basra/Margil at 05.00 hours. Sea v. smooth. Humidity terrific, never have I seen chaps sweat so much. Slept on Deck.
Saturday August 21st 1943: Len went sick. Everyone swelting in the humidity. It is deadly. Half way down Gulf. Slept on Deck.
Sunday August 22nd 1943: Felt quite ill on waking this morning – comes over me in fits and starts one minute I feel quite well and then suddenly very low I think I am going insane. At times this humidity is awful. A L/Cpl. (BOR) died early this morning – he was buried at 11.00 hours – poor fellow – to feed the sharks. Had to go below and rest, typewriter made me feel ill.
Monday August 23rd 1943: Waiting off Bahrein Island, for convoy to sail from. In hospital with heat exhaustion.
Tuesday August 24th 1943: Still waiting for convoy to sail. In the hottest and most humid place in all the world. Persian Gulf.
Wednesday August 25th 1943: Seasick.
Thursday August 26th 1943: A little better. Held down a little food.
Friday August 27th 1943: Still no sight of land but we dock tomorrow.
Saturday August 28th 1943: Reached Karachi India at 11.30. Disembarked at 3 p.m. Carrying off kit! Reached Bhustpore Transit Camp at 9.30.
Sunday August 29th 1943: Finding out all about ourselves. Leonard and I to Karachi city all evening – had a good meal and cinema.
Monday August 30th 1943: On guard over G.1098 all morning. To town with S. M. Strong and all the W. O’s in evening. Good meal and cinema. L/Cpl. Abbott to Hospital. Karachi
Tuesday August 31st 1943: To Hospital to see L/Cpl. Abbott this morning.
Wednesday August 1st 1943: Gen that we go to Ch. confirmed. To dentist – one back tooth drilled and filled – quite a large cavity – to go again on Saturday.
Thursday September 2nd 1943: Webb to Hospital. Masters to Hospital – Karachi. On guard on G.1098 in morning. To town.
Friday September 3rd 1943: To N. A. A. F. I. in evening – money running out. To bed early.
ANNIVERSARY OF FOUR YEARS OF WAR
Saturday September 4th 1943: To dentist to have another tooth drilled and filled. To go again on Tuesday 10 o’clock. To town but not to a cinema.
Sunday September 5th 1943: Out to town and restaurant each evening. S/Sgt. Wakefield to No 1 G. H. Karachi
Monday September 6th 1943: As above with variation.
Tuesday September 7th 1943: Ditto! Webb and Masters out of dock.
Wednesday September 8th 1943: Ditto!
Thursday September 9th 1943: Ditto!
Friday September 10th 1943: Ditto!
Saturday September 11th 1943: Left Karachi. Started at 19.00 hours. On board an American troop train in a compartment for Len – King and self.
To bed in bunks at 10 p.m. – no sleep until 12 p.m. – everyone, fooling around – plenty of clean fun. Passed thro’ scrub, semi desert, land. Slept fitfully.
Sunday September 12th 1943: Awoke to find the train travelling along at a respectable speed of about 40 miles an hour. Had a sore throat, gargled with Dettol. Had a wash in tin in bunk space.
Passed Gambat and made a dixie of “char” (tea) and enjoyed it, apples, an orange and bananas kept away hunger until about 11 o’clock when we stopped at Rohri Junction and had breakfast. American Ranks, B, O. R’s and B’officers all stood in line for breakfast of bacon, tea, bread, marmalade and fruit salad, – very good and filling. Still have sore throat.
Off at 2.30 o’clock after taking on ice and water and drinking cups of tea.
Reached Reti. At 4.45 pm. after travelling across scrub land under a hot sun.
Reached Khanpor Junction 20.00 hours! – Starving – our last meal at 11.00 hours this morning – eating every orange banana and melon we had.
Train very slow.
Reached at 1.30 pm on the 13th. My throat very sore – had a cup of tea when I awoke from a tea wallah just outside my bunk window at 2 in the morning. Garwood scalded his foot.
Monday September 13th 1943: Had breakfast at Montgomery at 10.30.am. Passed thro Okara. 12.15.
Passed thro Lahore Cantonment at 6.30 p.m. stopped messing about in siding for an hour and one half, it seems that we will not go into Lahore now.
Passed thro Sari – now very hungry. Two meals a day is stupid.
Stopped for a meal. Good – potatoes, bully, pickles and boiled onions, tea, bread, and cheese.
Heard we change trains on 16th.
Tuesday September 14th 1943: Awoke – to find we passed thro Amritsar – 07.45 hrs. Countryside very English. Luscious verdant fields dotted with trees, ditches half filled with water, telegraph lines, cattle.
Breakfast at Mustafabad– 09.00 to 10.00 hours – Bacon – tinned fish, tea. Not so good.
Thro’ Sahanap Ur at 11.45 hours passed through lovely countryside extremely rich and fertile.
We made a lunch of teacakes (which we bought at side stall and had tea cake and salmon – and tea and mixed fruit) at about 1.30 p.m.
Passed Ganges – near Balawali at 5 p.m. Previously we stopped in siding and picked up about a dozen coaches of R. A. F who are going to Calcutta. Our car stopped opposite a tap and most every one had a quick wash under it; a few of us did a little washing.
Dinner on a siding.
Sat on steps of car and watched the most beautiful cloud and sky effect I have seen for some time.
The train is now so long that the small engine will only pull out at a speed of about six to seven miles per hour about 750 yards long. 1/3 of a mile.
The yanks started to jump off and on the train. One fellow tried it and the train gathered a little speed and only by frantic effort did he manage to leap on the last coach.
Our Mr. Clarke tried it and fell flat on his back – lost his shoe – and had quite a time trying to get on.
Wednesday September 15th 1943: Awoke in station at “Baierly”? and washed under tap outside the car. Washed some underclothes and a towel. Had breakfast and left at about 10.30. Passing through fields and country side comparable with Ducal Estates and pasture woodland and parkland back home.
(“Sarahanpu”) check this spelling.)
Shahjajnapur reached by 13.15 hours.
Dinner at a siding – monkeys in woods feeding. Reached Lucknow at 21.00 hours and everyone swept into the Restaurant Room for a snack – a real mêlée.
Had a shower in the upstairs BOR quarters of Lucknow Station – but was so jittery about the train moving off that I finished off under a tap opposite the coach – nude on the platform.
Left Lucknow about 11.30. Made my bed down and slept well.
Breakfast rather poor. Soya bean sausages, Tea, Blackcurrant jam, Bread and Pineapple rings.Thursday September 16th 1943: Awoke, train stationery – went to sleep again and awoke with train ‘moving’ – she stopped for breakfast at 8.30. in a siding, found I had a ‘dobie rash’ under crutch.
Still passing through marvellous countryside – a large number of old ruins now prevalent.
Friday September 17th 1943: Arrived Mokameh Ghat at 6 o’clock. Left train. Embarked on Benares Paddle Ship, crossed Ganges to Bawani Junction. Entrained on metre gauge.
Saturday September 18th 1943: Changed on to Broad Gange at Phabatipur.
Sunday September 19th 1943: Arrived at Se-aldah station at 3 o’clock. Calcutta.
Monday September 20th 1943: Calcutta. In the siding at Se-aldah Railway station.
Tuesday Sepember 21st 1943: 03.20 hours pulled out of Calcutta. On to steamer at Chandpur? Crossed Ganges.
Entrained again for “Argatala”.
Wednesday September 22nd 1943: 06.00 hours changed trains. Arrived at Ackhowra at 6 o’clock on Wed. 22. (See below).
Thursday September 23rd 1943: *Arrived at Ackhowra at 6 o’clock after a train journey from station of a few miles. Hung about until R. A. F. transport collected us. Placed in No. 6 Camp – (an Indian Camp) in Bamboo huts. Usual Balls up and moaning about the Officers looking after themselves first. Eventually sorted ourselves out. Hired a bearer between 3 of us. On guard with 3 of my section.
Friday September 24th 1943: The Parade this morning was:
H. Q. – 1 W. O as marker – 1 S/Sgt. 1 Cpl. 2 Sprs.
76 – 1 W. O ” ” – 1 S/Sgt. 1 Sgt. 1 L/Sgt. 2 Sprs
77 – 1 S/Sgt. ” ” – 1 Sgt. 1 Drv.
78 – 1 W. O. ” ” – 1 S/Sgt. 1 DVR.
I watched the parade from the window of my hut and almost laughed my sides off. Jasper didn’t even attend it: such a pity.
Perham told me he wants Pickford instead of Dobson and made no effort to show that he disliked Dobson because he had been in the C. R. E. drawing office. We shall see; we shall see.
Poor old Dobbie Downhearted and very cut and disappointed in Major Kassell for not keeping his word. But even more so am I. Dobbie will go to 76 I think.
Saturday September 25th 1943: Still browned off. Pickford will come to us as a Cpl.
Sunday September 26th 1943: All Suco’s helped to make a stove in cookhouse.
Monday September 27th 1943: Q. M. S. Perham admitted to R. A. F. Sick Bay.
Heard we go to Dacca. Haines staying back at H. Q. J. Strong coming with us.
Tuesday September 28th 1943: Check on hospital. Took Jimmies kit to R. A. F. Sick Bay.
Wednesday September 29th 1943: Q. Perham to Dacca to Hospital. Must check with R. A. F. sick Bay. Price went sick and given M&D.
Thursday September 30th 1943: Sent letters ordering Forms and Books etc. Price admitted to R. A. F. sickbay with a temperature, suspected Malaria – now 40% casualties.
Friday October 1st 1943: Saw Price in hospital – he expects to come out very soon.
Saturday October 2nd 1943: Major Kassell, Lt. Rowse, W. O.1. Strong. S/Sgt. Hindle off to Decca on a Recce, expected back on 4th. Fell down 6ft slit trench and slightly sprained my right thumb. G.1098 arrived.
Sunday October 3rd 1943: Price came out of hospital. R. A. F. sick Quarters. Webb now working for me on typing.
Monday October 4th 1943: Still working hard on the R. A. F. Pamphlet: Did casualties for BORs. Went to opening of R. A. F. Cinema.
Tuesday October 5th 1943: Major not yet back. Finished off the R. A. F. Schedule and Scheme of works. Harry Owen put in his apply for Commission to Twist. Time opportune or in opportune?
Wrote to Elsie; to her Birthday.
Captain Harris and Q. Brice with 12 drivers went to Calcutta to collect transport.
Wednesday October 6th 1943: Major Kassell and S. Major Strong returned from Dacca.
Thursday October 7th 1943: Packed G. 1098 on 3 tonner. All kit and off to Dacca at 11.30. Arrived at 5.45. Mr. Rowse and Cyril with 3 x 3 tonnes but no labour. Packed up 3 Tonnes & came to camp. Lost our way in the dark and lorries got bogged. Eventually found camp and made ourselves a meal and unpacked.
Friday October 8th 1943: All day spent in settling in. Got the office ready.
Saturday October 9th 1943: Webb and I settle down to routine work. Hannaby on rations.
Sunday October 10th 1943: Major Kassell has had a temperature for 24 hours – still 102.9°. Struggling thro’ work and trying to organise in spite of terrible weakness and bad feeling of futility.
Monday October 11th 1943: Major Kassell to hospital with temp. Suspect Malaria. (NO DENQUE.). Self to see M. O. re rash – suspect impetigo.
Tuesday October 12th 1943: Self to Hospital – 62 I. G. H. Dacca with Impetigo – hope to be out in a few days because I think I have checked this in time. Lackh’s of work to do.
Wednesday October 13th 1943: Had a good night’s rest. Jimmy Perham came over with S/Sgt. Hindle & Pickford Cyril brought me 30 chips. I am to go out on Friday.
Thursday October 14th 1943: This hospital will drive me mad. The system just isn’t typically Indian & we can’t change the system – not yet. Had inoculation for cholera.
Friday October 15th 1943: At 8.30 attended the “Colonel’s Parade” – discharged from 62. I. G. H. (BT) DACCA. Arrived at 78 Camp and found things almost exactly as I had left them.
The future looks dark. I still have patches of impetigo, I am not fully cured but I will cure myself. Worked until 22.00 hours. Oh for the Major’s return!!
Saturday October 16th 1943: About 8.30 started work each turning unfolds a darker picture. Still plodding along.
Sunday October 17th 1943: Went and saw Major in hospital, obtained his signature. Tried to thrash out the method of paying the staff.
Monday October 18th 1943: To town still trying to trace the policy we must adopt. We shall have to write to C. E. Air Barrack pore for policy.
Tuesday October 19th 1943: To see Major again on question of policy.
Wednesday October 20th 1943: Trying – oh trying – oh trying.
Thursday October 21st 1943: Wrote letter on reorganisation.
Friday October 22nd 1943: Major Kassell from Hospital. 62 I. G. H. Getting down to it. Lieut. Garton Captain Fletcher. F/Lt. Brydges from H. Q. 2 C. R. E.
Saturday October 23rd 1943: “Shorthand typists.”
Sunday October 24th 1943: Captain Fletcher and F/Lt. Brydges returned to Argatala.
Monday October 25th 1943: Colonel expected Lt (Q. M.) Clarke arrived in his stead he came on stores matters.
Tuesday October 26th 1943: As busy as hell. Mr. Clarke still here.
Wednesday October 27th 1943: Mr. Clarke still here. Busy as hell.
Thursday October 28th 1943: Col. Chevis arrived at 6.30 brought mail with him. Mr. Clarke returned to HQ.
Friday October 29th 1943: Colonel cleaned up many points.
Saturday October 30th 1943:
Sunday October 31st 1943: Quite busy. Things settling down somewhat. Mr. Clarke and S/Capt. called 8.30 pm.
Monday November 1st 1943: Had a hair cut.
Tuesday November 2nd 1943: Put up commission.
Wednesday November 3rd 1943: G.E. moved office into another Bashene.
Thursday November 4th 1943:
Friday November 5th 1943:
Saturday November 6th 1943:
Sunday November 7th 1943:
Monday November 8th 1943: Never have I worked, strained and devoted every hour of the day and night to loyal devotion to try and unwind this one glorious mess. And I get no thanks for it only a cold-shoulder because I asked for my commission to be put up.
Tuesday November 9th 1943: Hannaby to be Cpl. w.e.f. 21.6.43.
Wednesday November 10th 1943:
Thursday November 11th 1943:
Friday November 12th 1943:
Saturday November 13th 1943:
Sunday November 14 1943:
Monday November 15th 1943:
Tuesday November 16th 1943: Hannaby made up to L/Sgt.
Wednesday November 17th 1943: Went to Cinema in Dacca with Peter Woodrow on m/cycle – made a midnight supper.
Thursday November 18th 1943: Granny Brice arrived here. Lt. Woodrow to H. Q. 2 C. R. E. to see Colonel.
Friday November 19th 1943: Went shopping bought a pair of K. D. trousers Rs25/ -! Lovely stuff! Ha. Ha.
Saturday November 20th 1943: Work.
Note: From here on these paper “cut” and destroyed by the censor. They refer to the time I spent in Delhi at Army H. Q working on Operation “BROWN”. The preparation for the construction of an airfield on the “Clunies Ross” Islands in the Indian Ocean. It was abortive anyway. Whilst we were scatting around putting it on Top Secret Paper the Americans moved in with then “Sea bees” bulldozers and built it! Anyway they had the equipment we didn’t have any at all. Douglas Kassell was made C. R. E. See papers in file. Afterwards I was posted back to C. R. E. 2 and ran the unit office as a W. O. II. until I was repatriated. These pages also had reference to 2 WEEKS glorious leave Dobbie & I had in Darjeeling & Sikkin in ‘45.
But our time in Persia and India was nearly over, like the war and we would soon all be back in civvy street after 6 long years.