Sergeant 3459648 Albert (Mac) McQuire
WORLD WAR II
Thought you might be interested in the attached picture. I made a display cabinet for my father in law's memorabilia. My wife and I discovered the items after his death, I had not seen them before. The item at top right is the King’s head carved from a halfpenny. His diary shows that it was carved on January 2nd 1942 as the troopship taking the Battalion to India approached Capetown.
Bernard Boden(son in Law)
(Mac) McQuire was born in 1912 at Hunslet,
in the Royal Tank Regiment and took part in the Normandy Invasion.
(Mac) McQuire died in 1992 at
is survived by his only daughter Avril who lives with her husband Bernard
(Mac) McQuire served with the 10th battalion from it’s formation in 1940 and
went on to serve in
Typically, Albert throughout his lifetime was extremely reluctant to talk about his war time experiences. However, during a visit made by Avril and Bernard to his Lytham St Annes home about two years before his death Albert began for the first time to talk about his war time experiences. He was asked to ‘write something down for posterity’ and during a subsequent visit, Albert handed Bernard the following written account.
It is repeated here exactly as written……………..
REMINISCENSES OF SERGEANT ALBERT E. MCQUIRE
As promised, I relate to you the happenings as I remember them. Don’t forget, my memory can play tricks and 50 years is rather a long time. I suppose I should start at the beginning, but I only intend to tell of the parts that could interest you and just mention the outstanding events or I would need more than a few sheets of paper, nor do I intend to relate any of the events that I wish to forget as you know and Avril knows I rarely talked about my war, and I am of the opinion those who do are relating events they heard about, not partaking in. So here is all I will tell you.
I was recruited in Airdrie, Scotland and after so‑called training with no rifles only pick shafts, clothes that did not fit, only my buttons, boots that were too tight, I became a soldier ‑ unpaid Lance Corporal.
soon learnt Army ways; never complain to an officer, I did about a caterpillar
in my food, put on a charge and had to report to Commanding Officer next morning. Seven days washing cabbage then cutting meat
but I rebelled. I ensured that by altering
the shape the officer’s cookhouse got tough meat and our chaps the best. We
were, after three months, issued rifles, etc. and sent down to
were inspecting barbed wire on the cliffs in winter and German planes took
a delight in letting us feel their presence, one lad fired his rifle and it
exploded, the barrel was choked with mud! I was then put into the Carrier
Section after they found I could drive, and we enjoyed getting used to those
ungainly machines, you steered by joy stick, by slowing one track you steered
quite effectively. I had a tommy gun,
you got a leave, 7 days, mine came six months after joining and Helen accused
me of not wanting to come home. We
were later equipped to go abroad, down to
There would be about 40 ships set sail together with an old
Battleship to escort us, and right away it started being rough and I mean rough. Our battalion of 900 men plus many hundreds of others must have been more sea sick than any in the Army. The wash rooms were over a foot deep in sick, you could not get on deck to be decently sick so imagine a thousand men being ill at once except ME. I wasn't. The rough sea was our salvation, no submarines could hit us, but to see a huge ship suspended, apparently 100 ft. above you and then you were 100 ft. above the next ship in line was quite alarming.
eventually arrived in
natives came to us in canoes some filled with various fruits and bananas which we had only dreamed about. Others, divers, you used to wrap silver paper around halfpennies, the natives expected silver shillings and they knew all the rude words when they came to the top. The sailors bought fruit to sell to us! exorbitantly,and as a parting gift to the natives emptied there slops over the canoes. Oh yes they loved the English!
then set sail and finally got to
were allowed ashore daily while awaiting sailing orders. We had forgotten what summer clothes looked
like after wartime
marched with bands playing to the rail head and after a week on the train
We had inherited 3 very bad lads who were in prison, awaiting court martial, one expected to get 5 years, he wasn't bothered he said he would escape the war, not so us. His associate was in for striking an officer! We had also inherited the previous battalions vehicles all pre 1918 vintage, or so it seemed. I'd never have believed the British Army in India to be so badly equipped, however, we were sent up to Afghanistan to train in mountain warfare we erected tents on the edge of a desert near small mountains and the tribesmen came to stare and to show us their prowess in shooting, they had Russian rifles and also long
Native guns firing home made bullets, they were very good at targets in the hills.
about 3 months we were sent back to
The forward Japanese were somewhere ahead and we had no
experience. No idea of what lay ahead. We having carriers, i.e. track vehicles were able to go up this ex railway track to scout. Two or three days elapsed until one morning the leading carrier caught a cold, the crew killed, my pal driving it, had it! I turned on a sixpence and the last carrier too and came back to report as instructed as we only had light guns. The battalion advanced and engaged with mortar fire and after weeks and making little headway returned to Cox's Bazar.
After re‑equipping tried different tactics. Now all large
had been destroyed or sunk to prevent the Japs entering in force to
They had stopped at a river crossing. On the opposite bank was a crowd of coolies coming the opposite way! However they had a large raft about 20 at a time and pulled from side to side with ropes, but confusion prevailed. They all had poles and sacks and I couldn't tell which was mine and found out later they just went for the ride! Getting tired of this I had one of my men go across with about 10 and hold our coolies till another group got across. Eventually all my coolies were over, soon losing sight of the last pair.
Towards night I arrived at a forward base and was informed we had done well only losing 1/4 of the supplies. The next day we had to find our way back to base and nobody to show us through the jungle. I knew the approximate way to the river so made tracks for that. After various mishaps arrived and followed the river but it was so hot and little food, after a long time came across a native village and persuaded a boatmen by bribery and promises of hundreds of rupees to take us downstream to Cox's Bazar. So we laid in luxury in the canoe, the boatman demanded payment. We had no money so sent him to the big chief who would gladly pay!
Poor fellow, he's still waiting.
Later, we got orders to advance. Our Major took 4 men in a boatup river to investigate.He didn't come back. Having still got our carriers we used them as scouts, lovely beaches hard sand. I was second carrier, everything lovely, sun shining, then all hell broke loose concentrating on 1st. carrier, the crew wiped out. I turned on a sixpence hearing bullets hitting the carrier and gotaway. I'm so brave, or lucky! On arrival to report found one of the rubber centre wheels was minus a tire, our adventures had
started, and so it went on.
We soon found out that the Japanese well entrenched, we lost too many men so we were forced to retreat! We were so badly equipped.The push was known as the battle of the Arakan.
Then followed a period of equipping and re‑reinforcements. We went farther back to the mainland. Daily visits from the Air Force (Japanese),but this time there were no carriers, justyour own two feet and a great big knife to slash your way through the undergrowth. The thorns were making it almost impossible to advance. The monkeys enjoyed watching us and the Japs too. They were everywhere, especially in the high trees, but we learned.
They used to shout to us in the night "Come on Johnny" or "Give up Johnny". After weeks of this it was decided that I and others return to bring carriers up and meet at the junction of a railway which we came across (note the railway was non existent,just an embankment, no sleepers, no rails) it had been dismantled earlier.
The idea was that we could follow this "line" and match the Jap's miniature tanks with heavier weapons than we had so back I went the way we had come. I was loaded with heavy mortars, shells, etc., and set off back up or on this embankment. Coming to bridges there were no rails, nothing to guide me and very high.
All I had was a little slit for viewing. Anyway I was young,little fear, and crossed frequently, safely. We camped once,this side of a tunnel, being daylight you could see the end in the distance. Suddenly it vanished, got back in our carrier for safety and to our surprise a herd of elephants came charging out. They used this tunnel to get to water and we were in the way. Wasn't it lucky we were in the carrier.
We eventually met up with the main crowd. They were able to make headway with mortars and shells. We were then sent scouting in he carriers, always us, to report any activity up front.Later, much later, we had been sent on a track that had been quiet! It was lovely low hills, gentle valleys, we decided to hide the carrier behind a cutting on a bend in the track.
Next morning, beautiful, and in the valley a pool. Being a Sergent, went first to was and shave, stripped off, washed my shirt, had a shave and went back to the carrier and just then several trucks came and 100 yards away the first went up in an explosion. The following trucks just kept coming till a huge pile up with explosions to follow. The Japs knew that these trucks came at a certain time and laid preparations. They had watched me go down to the pool, watched me doing what I did but they wanted bigger game. As I came back to the shelter, the other carrier that had been sent up ahead came back.
In the meantime a family of natives had found shelter with us. The carrier crashed right into them, killing most. I with others sprayed the trees with Bren-Gun fire seeing one or two bodies fall out, then all went quiet. I sent one man to the rear of us with a message for assistance but he only went 100 yards, so sent another one. He got trough and an officer came up on a motor bike. He said “now then, what’s happening? I can’t see anything” climbed up on the carrier and immediately fell down with a hole in his head.
About an hour after, mortar fire started coming from our base.They must have sent someone to report by radio the results and the first shell fell short of target, the next one just in front of us. They were trying for 50 yards ahead and we were right in the way.
Anyway they managed to find the range but the Japs had gone. I got back again and later was detailed to destroy the dump we had worked so hard to build. I took my crew and found there were thousands of tins of bully beef, biscuits (hard) 6 inch square, etc. and best of all stacks of tins of tobacco (officers for the use of) and whisky. We loaded the carrier with this lovely loot, well the tobacco mainly, and poured petrol on the rest and left
in a hurry with a blazing rag as a parting gift.
Another time, 3 carriers, me in the middle (my favourite spot)had been sent scouting and ran into heavy fire the leading carrier taken by surprise swerved, probably driver killed, wentdown a ravine overturned with crew inside. We could see a hand and an arm sticking out, obviously trying to attract notice quietened off. We crawled down to help and on the sheltered side, scraped a hole in the soil and gradually was able to free a man, badly hurt but alive, nobody else. We got back into the carriers and in the 3rd. one sent the injured man back. We later heard that the recovery lot salvaged the carrier and bodies and
received a medal for their efforts, but not us. You have to be een by an officer. That's probably why I disrespect medals.
were just everyday happenings. Towards
the end of the campaign in
and Avril have provided the following document which must be unique and of
enormous historical interest. It is a day by day diary of the journey undertaken
by the 10th battalion from Unsworth Mills, Whitefield to
It is reproduced here with the original annotations made by Bernard Boden who transcribed it from the original hand written diary.
3 DECEMBER 1941
2 FEBRUARY 1942
Following is a transcript
of a diary kept by Albert E. McQuire of the 10th. Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers,
during a journey from Liverpool in Northwest England to Quetta, India via
Glasgow, Sierra Leone, Capetown, Durban and Bombay.
The diary has sustained water damage and consequently some of the handwriting is difficult to decipher.
The diary covers
only the period in this transcript. However,
separate notes describe incidents that took place in the jungles of
Wednesday Dec 3rd 1941
Marched to Whitefield ....
traveled to Aintree then
Thursday Dec 4th 1941
Reveille 6-30 what a fight to get washed and shaved 4 washbasins to 130 men. Afterwards rolled hammocks up and had breakfast piece of fat bacon, bread and tea. Still at dockside, what's left of it, every dock warehouse has been blown up as far as I can see. ?A.M. tugs come alongside and pull us into midstream, fussing about for two hours. Dinner 12 o' clock, stew, potato and cold rice pudding. Tugs leave us 2 P.M. Bought cigs in canteen 50 for 1-6, tobacco 4 ozs for 1-6 and good quality. Plenty of chocolate but its all queuing for hours. Tea 4 P.M. small teacake and 1/2 pint of tea. Lovely evening quite mild, supper 6 P.M. cheese, bread and pickles with tea. Same old fight for hammocks. Life jackets issued.
Friday Dec 5th. 1941
Still here - breakfast: kipper,
bread and tea. Quite cold and showery
until 11 A.M. when we raised anchor. Destroyers all around us we are third
from last in convoy of about twelve ships so far as I can see. Last thing I saw was
enjoyed it very much. Boat rocking quite a lot. Few sick. Sailing without lights at good speed wonder where we are going. Lights out 9-30. Boys soon asleep. No pay today. Canteen much quieter.
Saturday Dec 6th 1941
Revielle 6 A.M., same old
fight for space to dress, found my pack, and lost lifejacket, can hardly keep
a thing five minutes. Breakfast: sausages,
we appear to be off the coast of
Sunday Dec 7th 1941
Breakfast, bacon, porridge and fried potatoes, went on deck until 11-30. Still in river, snow has fallen thinly during night and all the hills are covered, very pretty but cold. Big battleship about 1/2 mile astern and destroyers chasing about. Medical inspection 10-30 A.M. O.K. Can write letters but when can we post them? Dinner time 12 o'clock, roast lamb, spuds and peas with barley soup and an apple for dessert. Went on deck for smoke. Scenery lovely, hills all around us white topped, just like a picture. Steamer just crossed our stern. It was the Lady of Mann and full of troops. Very cold on deck, so bought this book and rewrote all my notes. Spent all afternoon writing. Tea 4 P.M. Went on deck saw seal playing about in water. Canteen full as always. Raffled lighter 7-6, not bad. Selling tea in canteen. Bed 8-30. Expect to sail any time, hope we do, getting bored now.
Monday Dec 8th 1941
Breakfast very poor indeed, glorious morning just like an
oil painting, sea very calm. 10 o' clock boat comes alongside with fresh water, and several naval launches,
appears to be some movement now amongst the ships as though
they are taking up positions. Thousands of seagulls swarm around the ships
as waste food is pumped overboard. Lifeboat
drill 11 A.M.. Dinner stewed rabbit,
saw submarine repair ship, looks as though it is cut in two.
Went in the ... and fell asleep on floor. 3P.M. played cards .... lunch tea and jam. Went on deck.
Barge brought barrage balloon, fastened it on stern. Huge battleship crossed our front, wonderful
sight. More troop ships maneuvering
in place. Trouble in Far East with
Tuesday Dec 9th. 1941
Ship moving, low speed. Breakfast liver. Very dull, slight rain but very bracing on deck. Met an American, interesting conversation. Ship rolling very bad, many of men sick. Not affected myself yet. Dinner very poor stew. Borrowed book from library, had sleep for 1/2 hour. Can see about 30 ships from ours. Tea time, men getting worse, sick all over the place. Stew again for tea, upset men more than ever Averaged good speed since noon, bed early.
Wednesday Dec 10th. 1941 180
Good nights rest, men very
ill, good breakfast, potatoes and scrambled eggs, still stormy, waves nearly
high as ship and can hardly stand in wind.
Dinner not so good. Tempers getting frayed. Difficulty in getting clothes washed and dried.
Heard by ships news bulletin that two battleships "Prince of Wales"
and "Illustrious" had been sunk off
Thursday Dec 11th 1941 297
Reveille 7 A.M. owing to clock being altered back. Herrings for breakfast. Still wild. Last night one of ships caught fire but was soon put out. Many rumours as to distance traveled. Popular one is 625 miles to last night 12 P.M.
Saw seagulls this morning,
bought 1/4 pound bar of chocolate for 1s. plenty of chocolate,
oranges and sweets aboard. Saw airplane
high overhead leading destroyer fired on it but too high.
Stew for tea, very nice. Up
to now more than twelve hundred miles out.
Todays news says over 100 survivors landed in
Friday Dec 12th.1941 274
Another hour back. Breakfast liver, on guard today 24 hrs. R.A.'s had concert this morning on deck. Weather very bright, huge swells, running into better weather today. Dinner good. Pay day, 10s. Wonder how Helen and Avril are. Wish I could hear from them. Miss them ever so much. Stood guard all night. Tried to sleep in officers passage, too disgusted at the class distinction so slept on deck. Not cold but extremely windy.
Saturday Dec 13th. 1941 287
Came off guard 7 A.M. Breakfast potatoes and fried egg. Saw school of porpoises jumping out of water
just like rabbits, 10-30 A.M. Boat
drill 11 A.M. All ships started firing
their guns, must be airplanes about. Heavy
barrage. Huge light cruiser on our
port side; changing course every few minutes.
Have just seen ... gyro compass, wonderful instrument, following course
of 190 degrees. Cruiser crossed our
course and signaled that we had a transmitter on board, search made, one of
crew put in prison. Captain of Empress
of Australia died today, buried at sea. Plenty
of "card sharping" by crew. "Crown and Anchor". New successes in
Sunday Dec 14th 1941 314
Air putrid below decks, very warm on deck, showery, calm sea, service on board but didn't go. Took underclothes off Most of men sleep on decks during afternoon, stew for tea, had open air concert in pitch darkness, looking over side brought memories and thoughts of home. Just bet Helen is at the pictures, it would be 9.30 now, 7.30 here. Sea is like mill pond and can just make out silhouettes of companion vessels. Phosphorus lights very bright now. Nothing much to write about, getting very bored.
Monday Dec 15th 1941 307
Lovely morning, had early
tea in canteen, breakfast fried spuds.
Ship sailed about 287 miles in previous 24 hrs Somewhere between Azores and
Tuesday Dec 16th 1941 318
Rather dull first thing, later glorious, sea a blue I have never seen before. Just like an advert, hardly a ripple.... did P.T. on deck. Everyone brighter, about 30 ships now, one battle cruiser and three destroyers amongst them. Breakfast sausages, dinner good, wrote letters home, no. 4.
Wednesday Dec 17th 1941 320
Marvelous sunrise, great gold ball, rose quickly out of the ocean of blue with the rays streaming into the heavens. Promise of hot day. Noon just like summers day, laid in sun all day in shorts. Did 1/2 hrs P.T. Concert at 4.15, very good.
Thursday Dec 18th. 1941 309
Rather cold first thing till
about 11 o' clock, then very hot. Drew
topees and tropical shirts, gym shorts, no P.T. so fell asleep till 4 P.M. Concert again. Should be about Avrils bed time now, how I long
to see her. I hardly dare think of
Helen how I love that girl she means all to me.
I only hope and pray that she never forgets me. It must be so easy for a girl in
Friday Dec 19th 1941 311
Went on deck 6-30 to watch sun rise, saw Catalina flying boat circling round convoy, must be near land now. Convoy passed us going back home. Wish I was. Saw flying fish, thousands of them.
Saturday Dec 20th. 1941 297
Hot again this morning, heading east now towards Sierra Leone. On guard today 24 hrs. Planes flying around all day, many porpoises about. Very hot at midday, sweltering, several birds flying about. Should see land tomorrow I hope. On guard below decks, nearly collapsed with stench and putrid air.
Sunday Dec 21st. 1941 204
Engines stopped 5 o'clock
this morning, quite dark, clock advanced one hour.
10 A.M. started moving again, can just see coast of
Monday Dec 22nd 1941
Slept outside on deck. Had anti mosquito ointment given us last night, makes one sweat
so much. Very dull today but also very hot and clammy
with mist rising up from the land. Opposite
us is the mainland with hills rising from the sea. Vegetation grows right to the waters edge, very
dense. Water boats come alongside us.
Natives come again, same old cry: bananas, oranges, limes, divers shouting
Tuesday Dec 23 1941
Quite cool first thing but just so hot as day goes on. Had good concert last night till 10 P.M. Gave native 2d for West African penny. Still clamoring round boat side, men swap all kinds of junk for fruit but can't twist the natives. Can hardly write this for sweat dropping on paper, better chuck up.
Wednesday Dec 24th 1941
Boiling hot today, just imagine tonight is Christmas Eve and the sun is burning hot, my shorts and shirt are wet through. but worst thought of all I wonder how my little one is tonight. I can just imagine her hanging her stocking up, her innocent little face looking up the chimney but I know she will get plenty, my sweetheart I cherish the thoughts of her. I hope it won't be long before I hear from her. Please God make her happy this day and brave to carry on give her strength dear God she will be sorely tried in the next year. How I worry when I know I have no need but even the niggers are happier than I, they have their homes and families. I hope I am remembered tonight at my mothers. I know Dad will, he has done what I am doing now.
Thursday Dec 25th 1941
Christmas Day! in
Friday 26th. Dec 1941 290
Slept on deck as usual but got caught in tropical rainstorm whilst asleep wet through in seconds. Out at sea today should be near equator today. Pay day 10s. Surprising how it gets spent but it goes.
Saturday Dec 27th. 1941 294
What a life, nothing to pass
the time away with. Just eat, sleep
and play housey housey. Very big change
today, windy cold on deck even though we passed the equator last night. Had lecture on life in
Sunday Dec 28th. 1941 304
Nothing much to write about, very windy but sun very strong. Ye Gods, how fed up I am, How I long to be home with Helen and Avril. When will this war be over. I've been away from home over 18 months now. It seems like as many years and now going to the other side of the world. Please God bring us together again and quickly. I can't stand the separation much longer and God grant our love stays strong enough but even an iron link rusts and breaks in time: yes it's a real test of true love but it will never break for my part. How I long for a letter, some news from home. Have I really got a home, a wife, a baby. Or has it been a dream. I wonder but I suppose every man here feels just the same. How I loath the name of Hitler damn his soul. I had a surprise after tea, Father Neptune came aboard and we had plenty of laughs at the celebrations after all.
Monday Dec 29 1941 310
Same routine, inspection and afterwards PT. quite cold today can't understand it, shall sleep below tonight.
Tuesday Dec 30 1941 319
Cold again, everyone fed
up, who wouldn't be cooped up like this for a month. We are now more than six days out from
Wednesday Dec 31 1941 302
The last day of the year. I hope better things are
in store for
us, the news is very good from
Thursday Jan 1st. 1942 324
New Years Day. Cold and windy but very hot in the sunshine. Boxing on deck, good meals today for a change. Wonderful sunset and beautiful starlit night , lovely sight to see. Convoy in bright moonlight. Wrote Helen and Avril letter number 5.
Friday Jan 2nd. 1942 314
Getting rougher as we get
Saturday Jan 3rd. 1942 329
Everyone very depressed, food getting terrible, quite rotten sometimes. No use complaining. Spent day ironing and polishing. Nothing to report.
Sunday Jan 4th. 1942 318
Rather bright this morning. No parades today. Slept most of day. Half convoy left at 5.30 P.M. to go to Capetown.
Monday Jan 5th. 1942 319
Lovely morning, can see
Tuesday Jan 6th. 1942
Dull today but warm, had inspection in tropical shorts ...,puttees and socks, jacket and topee. Very tired today.
This is our
... day at sea since leaving
Wednesday Jan 7 1942 300
Misty in morning with slight drizzle. Land in sight but traveling down coastline yet.
Thursday Jan 8th 1942
Sand quite near, 7 A.M. started
moving to harbour. Arrived at
Friday Jan 9th 1942
Shore leave again from 3 P.M. what a wonderful city. Huge sky scrapers, marvelous shops. Wealth in evidence everywhere all people seem to have luxuries. American cars. Canteens are free to troops, much food as you want. No rationing, even every variety of English chocolates, etc. Spent whole day in the city.
Saturday Jan 10 1942
We are 12 miles away from
2 rashers of bacon sausage and chips, fruit salad, cream ices, tea bread and butter 9d. and don't pay if you can't. But troops spoil themselves, drink and behave like lunatics.
Sunday Jan 11 1942
Went to Esplanade for free car ride, waited 2 hours,hopeless so went bus ride on outskirts, lovely views, free meals all day. Walked until footsore.
Monday Jan 12th. 1942
Last day on shore, free meals again. Bought carving. Sent cable home 2-6. Spent afternoon in native quarter. Very interesting. Had photo taken in rickshaw. Went to pictures at night, had lovely day.
Tuesday Jan 13 1942
Raised anchor 9 A.M. good-bye
Wednesday Jan 14th. 1942 345
Very hot today can't understand why we get stew every meal. Wet through with sweat. Plenty of flying fish here. Making faster speed this trip. Put clock back again.
Thursday Jan 15th. 1942 445
Very hot first thing, several chaps fainted with heat but turned out very wet, heavy rainstorm today. Regular tropical gale, vivid lightning, brighter than anything at home.
Friday Jan 16th.1942 425
Pay day 10s., terribly hot felt sick with heat and am breaking out in boils. Don't know how I shall go with this itch of mine.
Saturday Jan 17th, 1942 401
Saw school of whales quite
near porpoises and flying fish by the thousand.
Sea just like molten glass never a ripple and the sun so hot.
I can only compare it with being under a magnifying glass. At 12 A.M. the leading cruiser
Sunday Jan 18th, 1942 419
Very hot today, wrote home again how I long for a letter some news from, Helen, nearly eight weeks now, sick tired and fed up. Breaking out in boils. Big one under arm now, very painful, food terrible.
Monday Jan 19th. 1942 401
On guard today 24 hrs, too
hot to breathe. Oh for a sight of
Tuesday Jan 20th. 1942 406
Big boil or carbuncle in
pit of arm troubling greatly. One of
ships stopped to bury one chap, this makes the fifth death since leaving
Wednesday Jan 21st. 1942 403
Land in sight as we round
the cape towards
Thursday Jan 22nd. 1942 403
Up till noon yesterday we
have traveled 10982 miles since leaving
Friday Jan 23rd. 1942 349
Pay day again. Altered clock.
Saturday Jan 24th. 1942 315
Not far to go now, wrote Helen again. Hope she writes me regularly. Sent her photo. Altered clock again.
Sunday Jan 25th. 1942
Packing our things now, goodness knows how, dress parades.
Monday Jan 26th. 1942 353
Collected all money for exchange to rupees, 2 pounds thirteen. Altered clock!
Tuesday Jan 27th. 1942 200
Sighted land 6 A.M.
Wednesday Jan 28th. 1942
Traveling all day - slept
in train on racks, one blanket, very cold in night, every station natives
come, char Sahib, cigarettes from 1 anna packet, Woodbines 2 annas, Players,
etc. 3 1/2 annas. Matches
Thursday Jan 29th. 1942
Friday Jan 30th. 1942
Traveled through mountains, awe inspiring but bleak, marvelous railway.
Saturday Jan 31st. 1942
Rather cold at night, snow
on mountains, natives live on nothing. Called
at Sibi, besieged by beggars, last big town before
Sunday Feb 1st. 1942
Camp new, town bare and 3 miles away surrounded by mountains, not a tree or a blade of grass just pebbles and stones, spent day getting settled.
Monday Feb 2nd. 1942
Settling down to same routine, wearing thick clothes, food moderate, amusements few. May the Lord help us and shorten our stay. Troubled by sciatica and abscesses.
23rd March 1943
The above extract from Albert’s Diary is from the final page and lists the various places
he visited during his