Day 79: Tobruk
Ray nods sagely. 'It's 100 per cent propaganda from start to finish.'
He's not the only one who's written about his experiences. Frank Harrison, once of the Royal Signals, is a painter and a poet as well as an author. Partly disabled after a recent stroke, he's here with his wife. He talks almost lyrically about the appalling conditions they endured. Any guidebook I've ever read about desert survival emphasises the vital importance of drinking several litres of water a day. Frank and 25,000 others like him were expected to live, work, and, if necessary, fight on one cupful.
'And that was for everything.'
Far from complaining, Frank suggests they developed a sort of evolutionary adaptation to the conditions.
'The surprising thing was, none of us grew beards. I don't know why, but it's true. I don't think I had a day's illness in the nine months I was in Tobruk. We were fit. We were terribly fit.'
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