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"John Brook in front of a destroyed Hun 88 gun, Alamein"

6/8/42 Thursday.  [Alamein] A holiday? Things are so quiet that our troops are taking it in turns to have a day off and visit or do odd jobs. Had a lovely shave and a bath and am taking my water bottle and a few biscuits before going in search of John Brook, a mile or so back. I was very lucky. There was an ack-ack truck just near our guns with a sergeant I knew, and he had the truck run me back to where John was. I would have been all day looking for him, as it was nearer four miles.
     Passed dozens of burnt out Hun trucks and 88mm guns. Wicked looking things on wheels with the barrels split open like a banana skin by our engineers. Other calibre guns too – it must have been a Hun strong point.
     Gave John a great surprise when I poked my head in the back of the truck. I arrived at 10.15am and spent the day with him, going around the guns and we had a grand yarn. Met Stu Callander too, so the BNZ Dunedin staff were together. He drove me back to my hideout again. The 4th Brigade is supposed to be ‘Mafeish’ now, except for the artillery so we may take only defensive roles.
    8.30pm Back again after a grand day and loaded with scran. Boy! What was waiting for me. The missing No. 32 letter frpm home and two parcels. A grand big one from Uncle Lindsay and one from Poll Lodger, Invercargill.

7/8/42 Friday.  Busy opening the parcels.
    10.30am Three air bursts above us and a spotting plane. Look out for fireworks.
    10.45am First salvo whining and snarling all around us and there are three big craters 30 yards away. Shrapnel goes over our heads like angry bees.
    10.50am Two more salvos, but 80 yards further on.
    11.10am Another salvo past us.
    12.00am The whole area between here and the next troop, 200 yards, is all grey scorched earth. 80 yards shorter or longer would have cleaned a troop out.    
     8.00pm We expect a further shelling before dusk.

8/8/42 Saturday. No shelling last night. Week’s leave has begun, and it will be a long time before it works down to me. Have made a super fly catcher, at least, I think so. What the fly has to say, remains to be seen. Very quiet day.

9/8/42 Sunday. We are going up about half a mile to do some patrol work and come back at night. Do this for six days, I believe.
    8.10am Guns have gone, and a truck comes back for us.
    9.45am In our new day positions at the shallow circular head of the ‘wadi’. I am right beside one of our burned out Quads. First bombing raid for over a week at the back of us.
    6.45pm Small raid by fighter bombers and four bombs dropped. No damage. Back to our former positions after dark.

10/8/42 Monday. 9.00am Plenty of clouds above. Stuka sky.
    10.00am Dogfight on, can’t see, too many clouds. Hurrah! A Hun plane down, what a lovely blaze.
    11.00am Sand storm. H G Vivian and W N Carson, NZ cricketers, are in this troop.

11/8/42 Tuesday.  Going up to our day positions again. Most of us are staying behind to dig gunpits. I am lucky. The 32nd Anti Tank Battery I was once in has been cleaned up. Rumour says Jerry is to make an attack soon. Sandstorm again.

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