Have been 2 or 3 days at Wallington. Saturday night’s blitz could easily be heard there – 45 miles distant.
Sowed while at Wallington 40 or 50 lb. of potatoes, which might give 200 or 600 lbs. according to the season, etc. It would be queer – I hope it won’t be so, but it quite well may – if when this autumn comes those potatoes seem a more important achievement than all the articles, broadcasts, etc. I shall have done this year.
The Greek-British line seems to have swung south, hingeing on Janina, to a position not far north of Athens. If the newspaper reports are truthful, they got across the plain of Thessaly without being too much damaged. The thing that disturbs everyone and is evidently going to raise a storm in Australia, is the lack of real news. Churchill in his speech said that even the government had difficulty in getting news from Greece. The thing that most disturbs me is the repeated statement that we are inflicting enormous casualties, the Germans advance in close formation and are mown down in swathes, etc., etc.  Just the same as was said during the battle of France… Attack on Gibraltar, or at any rate some adverse move in Spain, evidently timed to happen soon. Churchill’s speeches begin to sound like Chamberlain’s – evading questions etc., etc.
British troops entered Irak° a couple of days ago. No news yet as to whether they are doing the proper thing, wiping up German agents etc. People on all sides saying, “Mosul will be no good to Hitler even if he gets there. The British will blow up the wells long before.” Will they, I wonder? Did they blow up the Rumanian wells when the opportunity existed? The most depressing thing in this war is not the disasters we are bound to suffer at this stage, but the knowledge that we are being led by weaklings…It is as though your life depended on a game of chess, and you had to sit watching it, seeing the most idiotic moves being made and being powerless to prevent them.
 Orwell’s suspicion that German troops had not been ‘mown down in swathes’ was well founded. For details of losses, see War-time Diary 3.5.41. Peter Davison