A SOLDIER'S DIARY
DOGS, FINES, RAFFLES,
No matter where true Britons are when they hear their nation's call they answer it. Casual inquiries to- day revealed that besides men claim- ing each of the six States of Australia as their homes, our unit has members from New Zealand, South Africa, New Guinea, Thursday Island, Ire- land, Canada, and Scotland, with a generous sprinkling from England.
A military camp, for some reason I can't explain, seems to be a refuge for all.the stray dogs in the land. Up to now it has been a safe refuge. In fact, some of the boys in merrier moments or when the spirit of kind- liness was especially strong, were wont to pick up strays in town and bring them home. But those days have gone.
The camp now has its own "dog- catcher" service. An enclosed waggon is driven round, and by cajoling, pet- ting or force stray dogs are gathered in. Many and strange are the howls that come from the cage as each new catch is thrown in.
WEDNESDAY We have some unfettered spirits in our army. I struck one today while writing a letter at the Y.M.C.A. hut. He told me, in a burst of confidence, that in the six months since he en- listed he had been A.W.L. for 89 days. He still owed £19 in fines. He did not tell me this as if he was proud of it. He seemed properly ashamed
of his bad records.
His O.C., it seems, is trying new methods to reform him since fining him has failed.
His O.C. got hold of him this morn- ing and offered him leave for the rest of the day, putting him on his honor to be home on time. .
"The O.C. is a much better bloke than 1 thought. I'll let him see that I can come home on time in future," the wayward soldier told me.
A new-way of raising money for week end leave was used in our unit this morning. Two privates had 10/- between them. They decided to raffle it. In less than an hour they had
sold 68 tickets at sixpence each. A
nice profit !
Our regiment is composed of men from many States: After the invasion of Norway some wit, a Queenslander, coined the name "Taswegians" for the men from the apple State. It has stuck.
I am looking forward to week end leave. The kindliness and hospitality
of people who have offered their
homes to troops on leave has made leave enjoyable and heartening even
for men who are hundreds of miles from their homes. The actions of such people, individually and through the agency of the welfare organisa- tions working among the troops, have been appreciated more than any halt- ing words of thanks from those of us who have received the kindnesses, could possibly convey.