Letters From Bill – Wednesday, March 1, 1944

November 30, 2011 by Dan Black

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando:

…Things have been quite busy these last two days. Yesterday, there was an inspection by our new Brigadier as well as a rehearsal for the show today. The new Brig. seems to be a good sort of fellow and isn’t a no-good like the one that left. There wasn’t a man in the whole brigade who liked him and it isn’t much wonder. This fellow we have now, Brigadier Lett, was the one who led the Essex Scots into Dieppe. He was very seriously wounded but got better and has just arrived back from Canada.

This morning we were inspected by the big “hero”, General Montgomery himself. Yes, I saw the old boy in person. I never saw so many big shots in one place before, there was Monty, Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes…four brigadiers, five colonels and more majors than you could count. Monty looked us over and was very pleased with the turnout. You may see some pictures of the show because there were three war correspondents there taking pictures. They were mostly of Monty, but there were a few with the Essex Scots as a background. I don’t imagine you will see me in any of them because I didn’t want to steal Monty’s show. Did I hear you snort?

After the inspection he gave us a short talk on our job in the near future, as he put it.  All I hope is that it is going to be half as easy as he said it would be and then everything will be OK. He made it sound as if it were going to be a pushover. I sure hope he is right. He is just a short little fellow, but boy he looks as if he can get awfully mad. There were close to 3,000 troops there and about half as many civilians. Everybody for miles around came to see our “hero.”

Next week we were told we were going to have a visit by a very distinguished visitor and the major told me it would be the King. I don’t know for sure if that is right or not but it does sound logical since every other distinguished visitor has had a look at us….

This afternoon the colonel held one of his inspections but it wasn’t too bad. He was real pleased with the show we put on for Monty so he gave us half a chance. The curse of the soldier’s life—these darn inspections. If it is the King who comes next week I guess I’ve seen them all.

Last night we had our first air raid in four nights and it didn’t do much damage. It was just a hit-and-run attack and quite some distance away from us this time. It looks like he was taught his lesson the hard way.

I have been busy lately, but I finished the signal course which is a great help. This weekend coming is going to be swell for me. The platoons are going out from Friday until Sunday and I will be the only one left behind. You can bet Bill is going to get some sleep.  That darn P.T. (physical training) has started again at seven in the morning. Boy do we ever hate that stuff and it is so darn cold out in shorts and shoes…. We were told that after the first of April no more privilege leaves would be granted so it looks like the second front is not so far away….

Give my best regards to everyone, and all the best to the swellest folks a fellow ever had. Write soon.

Lots of Love to All,

Bill
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