I´ve just finished reading the excellent diary lent to me by Tim Luard, the son in law of a guy called Colin McEwan, a special ops guy to planned and led the escape as far as Waichow. Firstly, Alison, I certainly know where you get your looks from - you´ve got your dad´s cheeks, smile and eyes! It´s fascinating to read someone elses account of the same experience and to be able to recognise the similarities between to the two accounts.
Colin´s diary is much more comprehensive than my grandfather´s, but a few points stood out to me:
1) Colin talks about being on watch on MTB 11 one night (that was grandad´s boat) and how lots of the men spoke to him like and old friend and opened their hearts and spilled their feelings to him. I wonder if my grandad and Colin had one of these conversations and what they would´ve talked about?
2) Colin also mentions the packing of kit by inexperienced sailors who loaded 50lb packs on to their backs and then had to shed it after a few hours when the going got tough - grandad talks about all this as well. Wonder if he was overloaded and what kit he shed?
3) Colin refers to Mike Kendall´s (fellow SOE member) (in)famous cry each morning of "Ready to March". Grandad mentions in his account of how he grows to hate to hear this call! I guess all the guys were fed up of walking by then. They were sailors after all and not used to land based `tabbing´.
4) Finally there´s also the account of scuttling (making unusable) the MTBs. They had to take axes to them and to load the boats with rocks to sink them.
This has shown me just how much information can be gleaned from these type of diaries and why it is so important that the more that are found are shared. They´re so interesting to read too.