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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Diary Entry - 29th September to 10th October, 1917

The boat was to sail at eight a.m. But it did not actually sail until two p.m. And, while we whiled away the time on board, a Hun plane came over pretty high, but whether with evil intentions we did not know. As he drifted over us, the archies let him have it and I was more frightened of them than the bombs that might be dropped. He went straight on his course due west and we never saw him again. We eventually lobbed at Victoria at five thirty p.m. or thereabouts and, on going to the Carlyle Club, found Sanger there. We dined together after I had bathed and it seemed extraordinarily quiet in the streets as there was a raid on and all th people were packing into tubes or underground grill rooms. We tried to get into the Regent's Palace Grill, but people were lining the stairs there and it was packed, so we went to the Monaco - or the Anarchists' Retreat as I call it. I experienced three bombing raids my first three nights and was surprised how badly the people took it. The tube stations were disgracefully crammed with people and the majority of the people were men – Russians, Greeks, Italians, et cetera. I really think if the Hun had kept it up there would have been riots in London. They even went so far as to mob an RFC man on one of the tube stations. About the middle of the week I got the lend of Foster's car and drove Mim down to Farnham Common in it, where we stayed at Highlands with the John Manifold family. The car was a 10 hp Swift and gave a certain amount of trouble before I eventually handed it over to Foster at Huntingdon when he had returned from his Cook's tour in France. Anyway it was a novelty to have a car to drive about, especially in such times as these. At Huntingdon, on Tuesday, Foster took me to his Wing HQ and showed me over a squadron and, although I only got a glimpse of it, it was all very interesting. I tried to get back on the 10th, but there was no train from Victoria. It was rather annoying of them not to have let us know at the Grosvenor Hotel, as we got up at six a.m. I saw some good theatres while in town, amongst them, 'Maid of Mountains', 'The Boy', 'Arlette', 'Bubbly', 'Cheap'. On Thursday the train went all right and landed me back in the usual way, without any delay. While on leave, I saw Spud Ritchie and Uncle Bell and Beecher of our lot and Chettie, Johnnie Webster, Bob Giles, Clive Currie and his wife.  

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