By Peter Wilkinson
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Extra resources for Foreign fields : the story of an SOE operative
44 foreign fields The previous autumn my application for three months’ approved language leave to study German, followed by attachment to a German regiment, had been turned down by my colonel on the reasonable ground, which I accepted, that for the time being I was needed in the battalion as a machine-gun and anti-tank gun instructor. However, I continued working for my German interpretership exam. I had already taken my French exam in which I had gained 93 per cent and a first class and if I could not obtain official sponsorship I proposed to take my German exam in the same way, though in this case I would forfeit any chance of the attachment to a German regiment on which I had set my heart.
She herself spent most of the time with dressmakers as she was to be presented at Court that summer and needed what she insisted on calling a robe de style for the occasion. Under pressure, however, she took me to the Folies Bergère which I found sadly disappointing; also, to a performance of Tannhäuser at the Opéra. That evening was spoiled for me by her insistence on humming the betterknown arias sotto voce but audibly, to my embarrassment and the annoyance of our neighbours. Also, I was wearing an Eton collar with a ‘saw-edge’ which was lacerating my neck.
I also witnessed a motor cycle rally in Garmisch and, talking to one of the participants, I learned that although it was being organized ostensibly by a civilian club, they were in fact all army reservists and were carrying out a military exercise testing the use of motor cycles and side-cars in severe winter conditions. Encouraged by my colonel who had formerly been a military attaché, I wrote short reports on both these subjects which he forwarded to ‘higher authority’, though I cannot believe that either was of the slightest interest.
Foreign fields : the story of an SOE operative by Peter Wilkinson