distribution of lukewarm weak tea & war-made biscuits. A
two 5 mile march (or more) by a circuitous route brought the fed up warriors to No. 2 Camp, Parkhouse. It is now 3.30 p.m. on the following day and we have so far had a most exciting (?) time attending various parades in the rain, scrambling for food and visiting a couple of Y.M.C.A. & Church Army huts. It is raining steadily and the joyful (?) news has been circulated that there will be absolutely no leave in England before sailing. It is rumoured that the 1914 batch leaving before us has been torpedoed but nothing is definitely known. Everyone is generally fed-up and more chaps are taking the 75 days in England instead of going home. It is a jolly shame that we are being so fooled about that men are taking their leave in England to get away from it all. There are a couple of spare Generals knocking round the camp somewhere inspecting the 1914 men. A parade was ordered for two o'clock but it was raining so hard that everyone wandered back to their huts.
Sat. 19th Oct.
Through a little pressure being brought to bear & a rush of applications from the chaps for leave, the heads at last took a tumble and commenced to give short leave to those giving a good reason. I was lucky enough to get away with the first batch on Wed. morning & was granted 36 hours. Caught 7.35 a.m. train from Tidsworth, [Tidworth] changed at Andover and was in London (Waterloo Stn.) at 10.15 – the journey being 77 miles. I did not leave London until 3.15 p.m. the following day and was back at Parkhouse at 6.30. Stayed in London the first morning & afternoon & went down to Wallington (Surrey) via Streatham & Croydon in the evening. Came up to London next morning & paid a hasty visit out to Bayswater. Went down to Streatham for lunch. London did not appear any different to when I was in it 21 months ago – the same sober grey old city with its busy streets. In Trafalgar Square there was a supposed-to-be devastated French village with a few camouflaged heavy guns – all to encourage the sale of war bonds. A big Red Cross appeal was going strong in front of the Royal Exchange. This short spell of leave was very welcome & has stopped a lot of grumbling – in fact some chaps have withdrawn their application for 75 days leave in England after getting the few hours granted. The country is looking splendid – green meadows & plenty of fat cattle although not so much land under cultivation as in France.
Yesterday evening two of us walked along