There had been one other letter in Mr Crouchback’s post, which saddened him though it presented no problem. His wine merchants wrote to say that their cellars had been partly destroyed by enemy action. They hoped to maintain diminished supplies to their regular customers but could no longer fulfil specific orders. Monthly parcels would be made up from whatever stock was available. Pilfering and breakages were becoming frequent on the railways. Customers were requested to report all losses immediately.

—Guy Crouchback’s father in Sword of Honour by Evelyn Waugh, afflicted by the pilfering of British railway workers during the second world war. To hear about their French counterparts at the same time, come along to our seminar tonight with Ludivine Broch.

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