The guard turns out to be a farce. At 2.00am I knocked-off in order to pack my kit. At 3.00am we had just got into bed when we were dragged out again to exchange our revolvers for Sten guns and to be briefed. We snatched an hour’s sleep between 5.00 and 6.00am. Then we were up again preparing to catch the train to our unknown destination. We actually left Bury St Edmonds in a special troop train at 8:30am. Passing through London, we saw quite a bit of the damage done recently by flying bombs. Families were sitting having dinner in their backyards by the side of their ruined houses, and they cheerfully waved to us as we passed. London certainly gave us a good send off. People all along the line ran to their windows to wave to us. They must have known that we were going to France.
No one knew our destination until we pulled into Fareham station. I never expected to see this place again. The last time I was here was when I was attached to the Marines just before D-Day. This time we went to Transit Camp A6. Within two hours of arriving, we had been issued with Mae Wests,  24-hour pack rations, paper bags to be sick in on board the boat, chocolates and cigarettes and given a hot meal and sleeping accommodation. All our paper money has been changed into francs - two hundred francs to the pound - and we were paid two hundred francs. I now possess eight hundred francs in 100-franc, 50-franc and 5-franc notes and seven shillings and six pence in English silver. Today’s paper has startling news from France. General Eisenhower has ordered seventy-two hours of complete secrecy for the great attempt to ‘wipe out the Germans in France, once and for all’. A big offensive is about to start, and startling news is expected within the next few days. By that time, I shall be in France. The German 7th Army of three hundred and fifty thousand men faces encirclement by a large pincer movement from Caen and Le Mans. Von Kluge’s forces must stand and die or retreat and risk a rout. In Italy we have taken Florence.
. A ‘Mae West’ is a life-jacket that was named after the famous film star of the period because of her generous figure.