Sunday 29 December 2013

25th & 26th January, 1948 - The Socony Co benefits from Ron's watchfulness and he gets to know his Army comrades

Sunday, 25th January, 1948
The beginning of another week and a new series of “Static Guards” of “Stags” as the army call them.  This week I am guarding the filling station of the American “Socony Vacuum Co.[1]”  Alternating, one day I do from 7am to 2pm the next from 2pm to 10pm.  This post is in the zone in which our billet is situated and as it is so near we are walked to and from duty accompanied by a sergeant.  Why I do not know.
There is a certain cult existing among the sergeants who try to make all our live as regimental as possible.  Fortunately they do not succeed as they are balanced out by other more sensible men.  We are paraded by the former type, a quarter of an hour before proceeding on duty.  The roll is called.  Certain men are detailed to draw Thompson Machine Guns for which no less than three books now have to be signed.  After this we are “fallen out onto the truck or duty sergeants”

Monday, 26th January, 1948
I made the most of my morning off this morning, the first for a week, to lie in bed until eight o’clock.  After breakfast I had a few games of table tennis – a very popular game here – then I dressed and took a walk to the Y.M.C.A. where my friend (a friend indeed) stood me a cup of tea and two of the fancy cakes to be had at the counter there.
It was quite warm when we went on duty at 2 p.m. and chatting with the army guards – a more intelligent lot than was our lot last week – the two hours passed very quickly.  At four we were relieved so that we could get our dinner.  We returned to our posts at 6pm.  It was a full moon this evening and there was a great deal of traffic on the road.  I am actually guarding the Socony Vacuum Petrol Co.  while my friend is guarding the Shell Petrol Co. between us is a French Co,  we were invited into the tent where the army guards sleep while off duty and we were given a cup of tea & made as much at home as could be.  Their only advantage over us lay in the fact that they possess an oil stove.

[1] The SOCONY Vacuum Oil Co (Standard Oil Company of New York) was later to become Mobil now a subsidiary of Exxon

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