Thursday November 20 9.30 pm [1941]

Another wet Nov day. We have started an offensive in Africa, Libya and it is going according to plan says the wireless news today. Let us hope it is the beginning of a successful end. All the army heads are being retired at 60 now to let younger men who have learned more of the mechanised warfare take charge.

Ron was home again yesterday, the Selby camp won’t be ready before Feb and in any case he expects he will have to go on another course of instruction soon, probably to Aylesbury. He has changed his next leave with Vic so that he can get it in before moving so hopes to get home, at least to start his leave on 13 Dec. He does not think he will get the night of next Tues but hopes to get home Wed for his birthday. Jean has got him a Bakelite travel ink well and a writing pad and envelopes. We expect to go to Sk[egness] to-morrow to collect his case, if they have not got a blue one in he will have the brown one.

Have got some G[round] almond substitute but could not ice the cake today as I had no fresh egg! Rene did not get yesterday as Mr. A has pleurisy, Dr says several patients had bronchitis and then pleurisy as I had. My asthma is rather troublesome now I have got over the other. Expect it is all the wet we are having and some days it is quite mild and that does not suit me. The damp seems to settle on my chest. I am able to do my work much better tho’.

Rene has not been today again but it was so wet we hardly expected her. I am sure she is fed up with ailing people. She got a new hat last week when she went to Sk. I must have one too before long. Jean collected the “Blue Danube Waltzes” which Emmie had ordered for her and is practising them. They are rather difficult for her but she is getting on well with them. Skegness realised over [£]110,000 for battleship week Jean thinks, they aimed at [£]70,000.

Have started to read “Strategy of Suzanne” by Mabel Barnes and rather like the name for a house suggested by Suzanne. It is in Switzerland so don’t know if the language is Sw. French or what but it means Happy House Gailagia [? unclear]. Think I will read a little longer, have a cup of tea and one aspirin as I have taken 2 ephedrine tablets since tea and I find they make me wakeful. Then Jean and I will see us to bed. Father is on watch until 2 am. Have been taking tablets from Dr. this last week and never knew when he came to bed last night. They have made me sleep longer except last night I woke at 4a.m, but my asthma is as bad or worse than ever when I do wake. However they are done now and my medicine too. I got a new exercise book last week, 6d and not a very fat one either.

The Allied forces had taken an initiative in the North African Campaign with the launch of Operation Crusader on 18th November 1941. It achieved some success in what had become, and continued to be, a protracted backwards and forward struggle between the opposing sides.

Vic Morrall was Ron’s ‘pal’ within the RAF.

Mabel Sarah Barnes-Grundy (c 1880 – c1950) was a novelist whose work spanned first publication dates from 1902 to 1946. Strategy of Suzanne was published in 1929 (London: Hutchinson & Co.).

Ephedrine (‘eph’) tablets were prescribed for asthma and bronchitis.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

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