D +17 Friday 23.6.44

Fine day. Stood by expecting to move nearer to “front”. Plenty of work on tank, preparing for action. Fed on 24 hour packs. Received details of our role in impending battle. Plenty of air cover all day. Haven’t seen a Nazi plane yet, but much of our AA towards coast. Saw a burned out Sherman: it received about four hits from 88’s. Indescribable wreckage. Letters from home!! One from Jess: Also Kath & Plowman. Wrote Jess & Plowman. Also sent Jess my first field service card. Cannot let her know I am here, but she will guess. (Click here to see the field service postcard. Note that it bears the words, very small in pencil “I am in Caen”). K’s letter included details of Bob’s ordeals before his final flight. (Bob was the husband of Kath.) He went through hell alright…& made no complaint to K. Something inspiring in K’s story. Felt better for reading it. Happy news from Jess about “Poppet”. How could I carry on without her letters to look forward to? Feel terribly afraid when I think of immediate future: suffer awful depression… but am better when I can switch my thoughts to home, Jess & Poppet… & possible happiness in store for me.

Later. Now confirmed no move tonight. To bed once again in hole beneath tank. All tank crews doing guard throughout night. Bed midnight.

D +18 Saturday 24.6.44

Started feeding from “Compo” packs this morning. Beautiful morning, but cold at 6.0am. Banged my head on tank bottom getting into bed last night…just where grease had been slapped on for dump valve. Awful blob of grease stuck to my hair: slept with knotted hanky night cap to keep grease off blanket. Had to wash my hair in petrol this morning.

Later. Boiling hot day & cloudless sky. No work…just awaiting battle orders & eating & writing. Received further orders tea time…Moving nearer front at midnight. Don’t feel so good about this: we appear to be destined for a fairly hot time during next 3 or 4 days. Can’t imagine myself being “bumped off”: too much to live for.

Saw a newspaper today – last Wednesday’s! The “front” doesn’t seem to have shifted much around Caen. See what we can do about it! No incoming mail today so far. Wrote to Kath…& sent official P.C. to Jess notifying change of address to B.W.E.F. from today. (Click here to see the official card.) Received further 3 days food supply today. Don’t know what the hell to do with it all. Am sure we could live for a month on present stocks: all tinned & “ersatz” stuff, but reasonably good. Hard biscuits are main trouble…no bread.