July 7, 1940
This being a Sunday morning and I being on guard, I thought it a fine time to drop you a few lines. Since my last letter we have made yet another move, this time about 75 miles from the last stop. At present, we are encamped in a dense forest and sleeping out under the stars. It reminds me of stories of Robin Hood and we lead a life quite similar, just loafing around and waiting for gosh knows what. The only trouble being that there is a lot of guard duty, as it comes around to me about every other day. It rained heavily yesterday, so I was forced to move into the back end of my truck and spent a somewhat restless night suspended between the two seats which are provided for the two signallers who travel with the Major and I. However, it was quite dry and, apart from feeling like a stiff old horse, got up at seven this morning none the worse for wear.
I had quite an interesting experience the other day when I was called upon by the Major to drive him into London. This was really quite a trip and perhaps you don’t think I had fun driving in the traffic. In the process, I saw Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral, all out of the corner of my eye as I dodged trucks, buses, trams and pedestrians. It is a marvel to me the way these blokes dash around with apparent unconcern. I think I got a few extra grey hairs, but I did manage to get back to camp without having as much as scratched the paint on the fenders. They tell me that the traffic is considerably less than in peace-time but I thought they still had plenty at that.
Well, the sun has decided to favour us again and, at present, the bright sunlight is filtering through the heavy foliage which forms a complete canopy in most places. Some of the trees are about six feet in diameter and have huge spreading branches which trail to the ground. We have over 130 vehicles hidden in a rather small area, but I wager that a plane could fly back and forth for hours without catching a glimpse of us. The other afternoon, we heard a dull explosion, followed by the roar of a high-flying bomber. We thought nothing of it, until we saw about twelve Spitfires go streaking up to give chase. The weather was very cloudy with small openings of blue between and it was fun watching the bomber play hide and seek with the fighters. We later heard that the raider eluded the fighters, only to be shot down a few minutes later by a squadron of fighters returning from a patrol.
This was my first view of an aerial combat and I only wish it had been fine so that we could have seen Gerry crash. Well, it’s ten minutes before nine and, as my shift starts at that time, I must close for now and start to don my harness, but will continue when I can find time again during the day.