I'm starting my victory series of letters for 1945 with number
V1 and with a bit of luck we should be able to keep tag of our
correspondence. Well love I was pleased to get your airmail
started Christmas eve and finished on Boxing night and you talking
aboutthe kiddies waking at 4.30am. It reminds me of when I was
a kid and we woke up before it was light and ate about all the
chocolate which was in our stockings before wegot up
I'm glad you had a good time and enjoyed the nuts. One of the
chaps had heard from home that the ration of nuts was 1/2lb
per family so it was a good job they arrived. I hope you had
a drink for the sender. I think I told you there is a box of
cobs and one of lemons on the way and as I see you don't get
many oranges I'll see about sending someof those as well,
I'm afraid my credits are nor rising as fast these days as
these boxes cost about five shillings all told but I think you
would prefer a few boxes of fruit and nuts to a few pounds or
two in money.
I bet Michael looked a rogue when he was shouting "not tonight'
to Keith and you all had a good laugh. You know it made me think
that the kiddies will be saying and doing things just like you
and the old man will have a big handicap against them when he
wants to do anything his way as they will say 'it's this way'
( meaning the way mummy has done it without opposition) I expect
I will have a job convincing them that my way might be best.
I was never very successful against just you so I think I will
have to start some written propaganda with them to keep the
old man in the picture.
I'm sorry you have been troubled with the sirens again and
I should think it was when some of the V2 rockets were sent
against the North of England. You may have heard one but I understand
they make an arc and if you did they would have landed within
about twenty miles.. There is little you can do against them,
dear, in the way of shelter unless you hear some bumps and then
the shelter is the better place but as you say with the kiddies
colds it is difficult to know what to do for the best.
I expect Ethel is back with you now isn't she, love, and I
expect you will feel better with company. I notice you have
not mentioned you leg in the last few letters and I hope you
didn't think you were saying too much about it. When I wrote
and you said you felt that you were being told off it was because
you said you felt as though you were going a bit screwy and
I didn't want you to brood, dear. I know you have had more than
your share of trouble in life and must feel down now and then.
Your letters recently seem to make me think that Ethels company
is doing you good, you sound more like you old self and not
thinking how long the war might last but content to see it through
with your chin up until that day dawns.
I guess the German push was a shock to most people but it will
still stop a lot of
armchair critics talk about it ending any day when everyone
knows that the big bang has yet to come. They should put their
back into things more and talk less. I bet you get fed up sometimes
don't you when some who haven't felt any of the real hardships
of the war start letting off steam about when and where the
war will end. I was shocked to hear about Aunt Molly and Aunt
Beckie passing away so suddenly and it will be a big shock to
Mam. You say she wasn't well on Christmas Eve and hope
that the big shock of hearing by wire on Christmas day hasn't
made her worse.
I always looked on Aunt Beckie as someone a bit more than just
an Aunt and she did look forward so much to that holiday with
Jim and his family when he got back. The lads will all miss
her and I'm writing to Jack and Pat tonight. We have always
had a good welcome when we have been there and life will never
seem the same without her and Aunt Molly. Ivy's husband Arthur
came in to also tell me the news about ten minutes after I got
I am sending a letter to the Woodies thanking them for the
10/- they have sent. I hop you enjoy my little present to you
of the tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk. I would love to be
there to share the thrill of the expressions on the kiddies'
faces and in knowing that I'm one of the parents of such a happy
Well last night we had an ENSA show called 'Men in Shadow'
and tonight we saw Bob Hope in 'Let's face it' and it was a
good laugh. I'm just going to listen to the 9.0pm news with
you love so I will say goodnight.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well love, today has been another for rain and I doubt if you
could beat it at home. I am in the writing room again about
7.0pm wondering if I shall find enough to fill the letter. I
hope you are well and the kiddies are getting over their colds.
I've not had a game of football this weekend but with the weather
as it is just now I'm not bothered. We should have played on
Friday but it was cancelled.
I had two Christmas cards on Thursday, one from you and one
from Keith with a letter enclosed from him. Thank you very much.
They have been added to my store of treasures which we will
read together one of these fine days. I bet Keith put a lot
of time and patience into the making of his card and the picture
of the house looks just like Culver Road if the path had led
round to the side gate.. I can understand that he felt proud
of it and I've shown it round to some friends. I guess sometimes
they think I'm always trying to show how clever my kiddies are.
Well love, Thursday was the second day making up pay envelopes
and before the day was over I had had quite enough of calling
out wages for Dick to count. At night we went to a whist drive
in the camp. Last Friday saw us finishing off counting the wages
for another fortnight so we can get back to our normal work.
At night there was a concert in the 'Palladium' given by the
Norfolk's Regimental Band and we came out about 8.45 pm. We
saw a lot of lightning in the sky and as we walked across and
the news just came on, the lights started going off due to the
storm that was brewing up. The storm was on for about an hour
and a half with almost continuous lightning. It seemed to go
away but came back later so we had a very disturbed night
Today is the Italian Epiphany which they celebrate like we
do Christmas at home so most of the civilian workers had the
day off. There is a football match I want to see on my next
rest day as Stan Aldis the Wolve's centre half and Bryn Jones
of the Arsenal are playing.
I shall try to get another box or two of fruit to send
home and will let you know when I do send them. By the way,
love, nobody's folks seem to have received the Australian stuff
we paid 5/- for and the NCO who handled it is writing to try
and find out what happened to the parcels. I don't expect there
was very much in the parcels but every little helps and I know
that you like the pleasure of receiving them.
I've been wondering how Mam took the news of Aunt Molly and
passing away and I hope it hasn't knocked he up. I shall be
writing to her in the next day or two if I don't get time tonight
as I don't think I have written since Christmas. I have written
to Jack Richardson thanking him for the chocolate which I'm
pleased to see you received on Christmas day.
I hear Peggy's baby has a small swelling in the neck and wonder
if it's similar to Eric's. I suppose she will find that married
life is full of trouble though even though I'm thousands of
miles away I wouldn't want to be single and fancy free. There
is so much to live for with a family and to know that when the
time comes, the home is there, the wife and the children waiting.
No single chap can look forward in the same way.
I forgot to tell you in my last letter about how the army are
trying to make us feel we are back in civvy street. I think
I told you that we are now allowed to wear ties off duty and
the other day we had to give in two blankets and were given
an eiderdown. When we married I said I would not have one on
the bed, now the army gives me one. They are Yankee made and
as big as a full sized blanket and just the job in this weather.
I don't suppose the front line troops will get them as I should
think they would be a job to dry out if they got wet.
You say that the news is not very exciting but I do think that
Jerry is having his last fling and once he has been turned back
from his present offensive, german morale will go down to rock
bottom and spring with the big allied offensive will see the
end. I heard on the radio about the infantry in Holland laying
out all night in the snow before making their attack and I think
everyone must be saying prayers for them in their hearts.
We get a lot of chaps here who have had an overdose of fighting
and it's difficult to realise what it means to be there knowing
they must keep on fighting for a long time in primitive conditions.
Well love 'Music Hall' has just come on the radio so my letter
will sound worse than ever as I try to write and listen. Tell
Keith that the answer to his question 'What people live in Holland'
is Dutch. Ask him what their shoes are made of and to draw me
one in his next letter. I like his drawings very much. He seems
to have gone off trains. Perhaps Sheila draws them now. Can
she ride Keith's tricycle yet and how is he getting on with
his bike ? I suspect the weather is against him at the moment
and he is more likely to be sliding on the ice.
Well love, it's time to say goodnight. All my love and sweet
January 10th 1945
Thanks for your letter dated 1st January. I hope you cold has
run it's course and thekiddies and you are getting back to normal
again. By all accounts you are having some lousy weather including
snow and I guess you are having a job making your cash last.
I'Il will be sending you two boxes of oranges soon but they
may be a bit ripe when you get them. I have already sent boxes
of lemons and figs. so you should get them soon.
Talking about Sheila dressing herself, do you remember when
Keith first did the same and how proud he was. I shall have
to ask for another photo of them in the spring so I can keep
up to date.. We can get our photo's taken in the NAAFI in town
now so I'm going to borrow a tie and have one taken for you
one of these days.
I don't think I have altered much, love, maybe a few extra
grey hairs and a bit deeper frown that I'll lose the day I see
you at the Midland station in your swell get up but you better
go careful with it as I don't suppose your clothing coupons
will run to another one for some time.
By the way, I hope you can read this OK as I've got into the
habit of writing small so I get a lot on each page.
I'm looking forward to my Christmas cake and if the weather
here does not improve, the scarf will come in handy until I
give it away to some deserving case. We listened in to Monday
Night at Eight yesterday as I was in bed pretty early. Sunday
night we had been out on the razzle with one of the chaps who
was going home after 4 1/2 years overseas so it was about one
in the morning before we got to sleep.
I'm banking on Germany cracking up this spring or early summer
so the army can get on with the demob. The O.C. told us there
are five leave places for this unit this month but 400 men so
the names will go into a pot and the first five drawn will go
so you can see what little chance I have. Afterwards there was
a concert in the Palladium given by the RA's and it was one
of the best shows I have seen out here and even included a miniature
pantomime between Red Riding Hood in which the wolf was a CMP
tracking Ities who were pinching WD clothing and Red Riding
Hood was the Itie maiden trying to put him off the track. It
was really a very good show and it was about 11.0 am before
we got into bed.
Today we had a shock as we lost out comfortable beds and they
have installed double decker beds in the billets with wood slats
instead of canvas and I can see us washing in the morning with
bars across out bodies. I think they must have thought we were
getting soft what with the eiderdowns.
Well love, I'm writing this after the first night in the new
beds and they are just as
hard as I thought they would be and it took me hours to get
to sleep as I just could not get comfortable and warm. It has
snowed heavily during the night on the hills and this morning
it is cold and dry. The civilians are all starved to death mortals
as usual where we work. I'm afraid this letter is not very interesting
but sometimes it is difficult to make it so. All my love to
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well love I didn't know if I shall manage to fill this letter
as it is only two nights ago since I wrote my last and you have
heard from me frequently how little happens here.
I have received your letter dated 9th March and posted on th 10th
so it has taken only three days again and with a little bit of
luck you might get this for the weekend.
I'm sorry the box of walnuts hasn't turned up yet but don't
give up hope as one box may have just caught a convoy .and the
other waited a week or two before the next one sailed..They
were packed pretty securely I think so should get home OK
I see you have been busy spring cleaning & its just like
you love to carry on and finish it even if you don't feel like
it. Ethel dose not seem much help but just the fact of her being
there in the night in case you need to take the kiddies in the
shelter is I'm sure a subconscious relief to your mind
I'm sorry to hear mum is not as grand again and I think like
you she worries more than she says about things like sirens
etc .and I suspect with her weak heart she is terrified at the
possibility of a sudden shock. I don't think though love that
jerries V2 bombs will be directed against Leicester even with
their longer range as there are bigger and more important targets..Like
when Leicester had one or two odd bombs early on there might
be the odd buzz bomb land where it was not intended to but the
chances are so small that they are not worth thinking about
It is funny sometimes to think that Sheila wasn't even born
when we had the worst of the bombing and she is now 4.1/3 years
old..Thank god the tide turned when it did and although Germany
is only getting back what it deserves, I can't help but feel
sorry for the mothers and children who have had to go through
such a terrible ordeal which must affect their whole life. That
one man could bring such misery and suffering to the world in
the 20th century seems unbelievable ..and I pray the coming
push from east and west will speedily finish the European war..How long Japan will last out we cannot guess but the longer
she does the more destruction will be caused to her cities when
the whole allied air forces are concentrated against her. Still
we wont worry about that yet and once Germany's. finished the
worst parts over and you will be able to burn the blackouts
and know that every night will be a peaceful one.
I expect you wont want to part with the shelter ,its become
by now one of the pieces of furniture and the room will look
lost without it .I'm pleased you haven't washed off the kisses
from my photo and don't mind if my face is smothered with them.
As regards the tie love, no we have not been issued with one
although the one I borrowed from a chap he said I could keep
so now I have two. I've not been using them for dancing though
as I haven't been to one for a couple of months but I wear a
tie every day now as office workers are allowed to do so..It's
a low ball love saying I'm lucky getting a break here but I'll
prove when I get back what a break I've considered it. When
I was parting my hair at dinner time I noticed the number of
grey hairs had increased quite a lot and you will be calling
me snowball when I get back.
Thank Sheila for her message and tell her daddy says he knows
she must have looked lovely in her coat with the doggie on..What
must seem to you love sometimes a blessing when they are off
to bed and asleep would be heaven to me love nipping up the
stairs just to put them alright again after a scuffle between
Sheila and Keith or a bit of cheek from Michael.
I see you are still gadding about as the three musketeers and
hope you all enjoy your milk stout and evenings out..It's
a change you need sometimes love and you all deserve your relaxation.
I think I shall have a Mr B & W co-op society after this
lots all over and with the same families we should have the
same problems and chances to have a real good time. A small
charabanc would be needed to take us all out but we all have
saved so much shan't notice an odd pound or so.
I've had a letter from Graham Evans and he tells me besides
Wally Yates, George Belski and Bill have bennin and he expects
to see Norman White soon..He hopes my turn will come soon but
we are not quite as lucky as the blokes in France and until
Jerry's finished and they perhaps send blokes home via France
from here I must like you love carry on knowing our love will
be there at the end of it all
Your ever loving husband Eric
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well as I expected love the morning after ending my
V4 letter I received your airmail dated the 8th so here I am in
my favorite spot in the writing room to answer it two days later
on a Wednesday evening time 8.40pm after a day of rain, rain and
even more rain. Still that's Italy all over at the moment except
the higher ground gets snow instead sometimes.
I'm glad to see you've managed to keep my letters as we'll
have a few evenings fun reading over our replies to each other.
I'll send those I have before long but will let you know when
I see Keith's play was only for the schoolchildren but I bet
he enjoyed it and of course was bound to be good with the parents
he's got eh love. I've not had his letter yet with the picture
on the back but from what you say, King Alfred who burnt the
cakes is the only one I can think of. Is that the guy you mean
love? His lexicon game should be good practise for him although
I expect it is an effort for you sometimes just when you want
a quiet half hour in the armchair for you want him to play.
Still that's life love.
I'm pleased to see you got a box of lemons including two oranges
and as usual it set me wondering just when I sent them as the
last box I sent off three or four weeks ago were supposed to
be just lemons and at the same time I sent a box of cob nuts
I see Tom is training again and should be in line for a quiet
job after his experience. I'm afraid there are a lot of blokes
in the same boat and it will take some time even after the war
to get their nerves back to normal.
See you are lucky regards bursts and hope for your sake you
don't get one in the house or lavatory. I see your having a
time with your cold love and at the moment my nose is bunged
up and I've had that tickling cough at night that you used to
like so much when I'd had a cold drink of water and you wanted
to go to sleep.
I see you don't want me to do anything about getting my 'stripes'
love. I don't think I would stand much chance anyway. I shall
put in for my class 2 clerk and see what happens regards pay.
I shall be thinking of you about the time this letter gets to
you about you having the elastoplast off, but don't forget love
its like having a tooth out, its always worse in your thoughts
before its actually pulled. Dr Mann seems a decent sort to us
and he will save you as much pain as possible. The bit, do I
think the war will ever end, seems to be answered by news from
the Russian front and tonight I hear they are only 20 miles
from the German border. You never know love what will happen
in this war.
9 stone 11 stripped is a nice weight love and you are keeping
plump enough to keep me warm at nights. Thank Michael for drinking
a toast to me with his lemon juice. It's funny I've only had
a couple of glasses of lemon juice here and there's plenty of
lemons about. Hot water and sugar is the problem with the army.
So Bill Parkers a major. He's certainly doing well and he'll
be wondering whether to take it up as a career after the war.
Well love Monday was a cold day but it didn't rain and after
the usual working day we went to see a unit concert party which
I am sorry to say was a bit of a flop and we gave it up about
9.45pm and went to bed. I am about up to date with my correspondence
so on Tuesday that was as wet as Monday had been dry we went
to the whist drive but I was nowhere near the prizewinners this
I've sent a postal order for £2 to Egypt for my shoes
and am after the Q.M. on Thursday to try to change my trousers
as there's a hole in the seat and also near the bottom of the
legs. Today it's continued raining and it's a job to keep our
feet dry as army boots after mending don't seem to be waterproof.
I saw a bit in the Union Jack about men in Italy not getting
home for 12 months and it was stated by some know-alls in the
House of Commons there were very few. He ought to come to this
unit and ask here. I'm not near the top of the leave rooster
yet and I haven't had a days leave in the last 18 months.
I hope you manage to see Wal Yates when he gets home so you
can tell me if he has put on any weight. Is he home on this
'passionate leave' business.
We have had a picture show on in the cinema tonight but I've
forgotten the title so I'll have to tell you in the next letter
love when I've consulted Dick. He puts it all down in his diary
which reminds me I haven't entered anything since Sunday and
will have to get up to date tomorrow somehow.
Will Hay is on the wireless at the moment and it's a job to
stop my thoughts getting mixed up. I guess you feel the same
when writing to me and the kiddies are knocking about. By the
way we had a double issue this week so got 100 cigarettes instead
of 50. Just the job as I like to keep a few in hand. I've got
drunk on my half bottle of beer which this week is Italian brew
and like all things Italian just weak and wet.
I'm sorry to hear your mam's poorly. I wrote to her a day or
two ago and hope to hear she is getting better. I expect she
feels this cold weather at her age and it's a job to get rid
of stomach chills.
Keep that chin up a little longer love and stick with it. Goodnight
darling, sweet dreams and god bless you and the kiddies.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
21st January 1945
Well love I suppose today is an anniversary for me as it's
a year ago today I landed in Naples so I've had a taste of the
weather all round now. At the moment and for the past few
weeks which no doubt you have noticed from my letters the weather
has been more mixed than it is in England. One day it is as cold
as charity and by evening it has started to rain (snow on the hills) with plenty of high winds, thunder and lightning. Most
of the girls only wear short socks even now and I think part of
it is a pair of silk stockings cost 50/- a pair and are scarce
anyway. We have a fire in the office, or rather a stove and even
then they are always complaining about the cold.
I thought I might get a letter from you today but was unlucky.
This week has been a bad one for mail for me and I don't think
I've had one all week, so I am right up to date with my correspondence
for a change.
I' ve not had your piece of Christmas cake yet but it could
be here anytime now. Are you listening in to all the news bulletins
like we are love, to see how far the Russians have got in their
drive on Berlin. It seems to me that Jerry is going to have a
job to stop them at all and I'm wondering whether to start saving
my weekly half bottle of NAAFI beer ready for victory night. Still
as long as we don't get over confident and feel depressed afterwards
if they get halted for a little while. Anyway it means Germany
has had it this year internal revolution and the overthrow of
Hitler will bring about their collapse before either Russia or
the allies get to Berlin
It was my day off today and after first parade at 8am when
the RSM for recreational exercise, took us about a mile up the
road and back, I went to town by lorry to watch 537 BOD
play an Italian professional team, there was only one team in
it and that was the I'ties. They showed our lads how football
should be played and won 4-1. I met Nicola the interpreter there
but didn'tt go for dinner and returned to camp.
This afternoon bed seemed the best spot as after changing my
clothes for Monday wash I got under the eiderdown for a couple
of hours until teatime. I had a really goods tea with two
slices of luncheon sausage which made two sandwiches, one sandwich
of sardines, a piece of bread with marmalade and a cake with some
cream on. I needed two mugs of tea to wash it down.
I have now washed, showered etc. and the time now is 7.15pm and
I am with you love thinking of you just about having got the kiddies
to bed except perhaps Keith and getting ready to face another
week of work and perhaps sitting down to write to me.
I expect you are about due to have your elastoplast off and looking forward to it (?). Never mind love you have been through
lots of bad times and stood everything so well, I\rquote
ll see you get your reward when the time comes. To know our loved
ones are carrying on so well means so much to us out here and
we know our after war years will mean even more to us due to the
parting. Perhaps we see more here than you do at home how much
it does mean to us, where the lads show each other their photos
they have just had of their families, some of whom they haven't
seen for over three years, but they all have the same thoughts,
as long as the wife and kiddies are all right and out of danger
they just carry on until its their time to rejoin them.
We are a mixed lot in our barrack room now with chaps from
all over the British Isles and a lot of chaps including myself
are called after their home town or sometimes if they are ex R.A.
or R.E. chaps bomber or gunner. One of the chaps, a lad of about
24, 5 foot tall has a dog he has been allowed to keep. It is a
little white one and he has had it over 2 years. It will
not make friends with anyone else and he looks after it like a
parrot. Today he bathed it and he has a little coat to put over
it. You daredn't go near his bed when he is asleep as it
sleeps at the bottom of his bed. He said when he was in Africa
it cost about 8/- a day to feed it and it goes on parade and to
work with him.
I didn' t have any luck in the sweep this week as I got Watford
and West Ham won it with 10 goals. I went to an HQ dance on Thursday
night in town and had to borrow one chaps shoes and anothers tie
as I have neither yet and everybody nowadays wears a tie as it
is allowed when off duty. There was the usual crowd of civilians,
whose chief reason is to get as much food down them as possible
and fill their bags for carrying home. We had one or two Vermouths
when we had a chance of getting to the bar and as there
is no heating in these places they do keep you warm. We landed
back in camp about 11.30pm as the trucks bring us back when the
dance finishes at 11pm and the usual liberty trucks leave the
cinema at 10pm.
Friday was cinema night in camp and we went first house
to see 'By Hook or by Crook' not much but passed the time
and afterwards of course listened to the 9pm news to see if Russia
had finished off the war.
Dick had Saturday off so he went to put the films in for
developing, each print costs 1/3d so if any with me come out OK
I shall just send one of each home and if you want any extras
I think it would be cheaper to get prints in England. I spent
my time last night over here listening to the wireless and if
you could see us sitting around the fire in a big half circle,
some trying to read as well, you'd either say we were lucky, (which
we are compared to the lads at the front), or lost orphans of
the storm compared to the lucky blokes still back at home, especially
chaps my age who weren't even called up. Still it's just your
luck and everyone has a grouse sometimes. I thank god I have so
much to do my bit for and to know I have so much love to return
to. Goodnight sweetheart and all keep safe for me.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
I was very pleased to get your letter.I was pleased to see
you are getting over your cold. I am hoping so much to see you
again and share all those little incidents that are a big part
of married life.
Mam was telling me in an airmail how well the children are getting
on and what a fine lad Keith is. I can hardly believe he will
be eight in June. I guess he is having the time of his
life at the moment with the snow but I can see from the news
that it has been a hard winter for everyone. We heard today
they were cutting off the electricity in the South of England
and parts of the Midlands at certain hours. I can see you having
to get the old gas ring out or go in for community cooking.
I'm sorry to hear that Michael is off colour. Mam says she thinks
he has a cold in his kidneys.
I expect you are worried about your Mam as well but she is not
the sort to give up when she can move around.. No doubt she
would be a lot better if she could have a week or two in bed.
and have a good rest. Give her my love when you see her and
tell her not to worry about answering my letters. It must be
hard for her to write.
I'm please that Percy has been up to see you with Mabel and
their kiddies must be quite grown by now.
Tell Sheila and Keith I will write to them and I hope the postcards
arrive soon. I see at least that you have had the Canadian parcel
and for five shillings it doesn't seem too bad as it would cost
1/6 postage to send it from here and dried fruit is pretty expensive.
I hope you think of me when you make a Roly poly pudding with
some of the fruit. and spotted dick with the raisins.
(See the Food page for details
of a recipe for these traditional English puddings)
I could just eat some now as I missed supper by going to the
first house of the pictures. I see Mrs Brown might just as well
be on active service being away from home for 15 weeks and I
imagine she will be in longer if she has to have her tonsils
out. It is still a wonder to me, love, how you wives at home
stick it with all the worries and troubles you have cropping
up all the time but keep up the good work as the news is good
and the day we will be together again gets nearer. The Mason,
Woodcock and Brown cooperation is doing well and I can see that
not much gardening will get done on a Sunday morning when we
are all home but a lot of over the fence gossip.
I hope you enjoyed the pantomime with the kiddies and if I
owe you anything for chocolate etc let me know. I'll put it
aside out of the £130or so Faire Brothers have put into
the bank for me. I shall want your help in spending it but don't
start thinking of motor cars and all that for a year or two.
It will help to get the kiddies the things they need to give
them a chance of going to the Wiggy (Wyggeston)
or some other school without all the while having to scrape
to make ends meet
|(In fact Eric bought his
first car, a second-hand Triumph Mayflower, in 1960, fifteen
years after the end of the war)
Well I'm please to say I'm pretty well apart from a sniffy
nose. Monday was cold and for the first time this winter a few
flakes of snow fell here. There have been heavy falls in the
mountains but none down here and the Italian civvies all rushed
out but after a few flakes it was all over.
We went to a whist drive last night after I managed to get
a new pair of trousers out of the QM. They are a good fit but
the material is a bit thin but the weather will get warmer soon.
I did not do any good at whist only getting 124 in 24 hands
and we all played in our greatcoats as it was so cold.
The weather today started wet and mild but the rain stopped
after dinner and now it's a nice clear night. How do you fancy
a walk around Evington, love, with some fritters and chips at
your mam's house later. I can almost taste them now.
We saw the first house of the Vagabond Kid with James Cagney
tonight but it wasn't too hot and nowhere near as good as his
old pictures.I came over to the writing tent afterwards to write
to you and fill in my diary which I do about every three days
keeping track of how much farther Stalin's boys have travelled
towards Berlin. They certainly see to be keeping up the pressure
all round and makes victory seem certain some time this year.
Then we all thought it would have ended by last Christmas and
Goodnight sweetheart, pleasant dreams and god bless you and
the kiddies and keep you safe and well for me when the sun shines
on a peaceful England with us once again together dear with
all that means to us.
All my love, night and day
your loving husband Eric.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well love it's a cold, cold night tonight and if you can't
read my scribble before the end of the letter it's because I
have frostbite. Actually I don't suppose it's as cold as it
is at home according to the news where you seem to be having
about the coldest winter on record. I hope they don't shut off
the electricity at the same time you run out of coal. I expect
the kiddies are enjoying it even if mummy isn't too keen and
I think I heard ice breakers were being used on the Grand Union
Canal in Leicestershire and also had to close some schools as
the children couldn't be kept warm.
We have had pretty mixed weather since my last letter to you
on Wednesday last but haven't had any thunderstorms. I had yesterday
off for a change this week and although I missed my breakfast
and stayed in bed till 10am we managed to get a quick lift into
town in time for cakes and tea at the NAAFI about 12.30am. Afterwards
we went up to the games room and had about an hours exercise
at table tennis.
Dick had asked me to call in for the snaps which we had taken
in to be developed and included a few of me last summer. They aren't too bad and I will be sending you one of each with
me on. Afterwards we sat on the front and the sun was very warm.
It was one of the nicest days we had had this year and after
another dose of tea and cakes we saw for the second time 'The
Sullivans'. I don't remember if you said you had seen it or
not but it is well worth a bob (or is it 2/-) love out of your
I saw another picture on Friday night in camp called 'The Adventures
of Mark Twain' which is a long picture made longer through one
of the bulbs in the apparatus breaking down for half an hour
and the lads who queued up for the second show had to wait until
after 9pm and didn't get out until 11.30pm. it was a cold night
so they had the worst of the deal.
I seem to be going backwards love as I haven't mentioned Thursday
night when we spent a quiet night in the writing room here.
I had had an airgraph from Alec (the first letter I have had
from him) and he told me George Beloki and one or two others
besides Wall Yates were home either on leave or long overseas
service. He's sending me some fags along he says so I can see
myself well off. How I am going to manage on 10 a day after
20-25 a day for so long I don't know but I shall be glad when
the time comes to curb my smoking to the household purse.
I also received three Leicester Chronicles for December which
I couldn't see who had sent them, whether Mabel or Gladys Wain
but in one of them was a picture of a country house in Rearsby
which was a land girl hostel and the girls went on strike for
a day as they were being turned out to make room for the Italians.
Why they don't post the Italians back home to work in their
own country instead of conscripting the ATS for overseas service
I don't know. Dick wrote a letter to the Chronicle about it
so you might see his letter in one of them sometime in March
if they do publish it.
The high spot of the day for the last two weeks has of course
been the 9pm news so we can hear how the Russian army is getting
on in its drive to Berlin. Each day there are rumours flying
about saying how far they still have to go, this dinnertime
one chap heard 95 miles and at teatime another 65 miles but
I think they are still 120 miles away. Still that's not much
further than from Leicester to London and I'm glad we were spared
the horrors of a German invasion in 1940. I can't see them lasting
very long once Berlin goes especially when the British and Allied
troops get cracking from the west.
I and everyone else I suppose will be itching to see the age
group releases coming along though there are a lot of lads in
lower release groups than I am. So long as they don't send me
to Burma to start an unemployment exchange there. It's bad enough
trade testing the 'Ities' who are up to all sorts of tricks,
but we do understand their lingo enough now to tell them where
they get off.
I received my shoes yesterday, quite nice really but a little
on the big side so I shall have to get a photo taken with tie
and shoes to see if you think I look like an officer.
I wrote a reply to Alec last night and also a letter to Jack
Turvey. Besides little letters to Keith, Sheila and Michael
though I expect they will go by sea and take three or four weeks.
I've given Keith a few sums to do but I don't know whether I
have made them too hard or too easy. Still square it for me
love which ever way it is. I've not received his card yet that
you have to hold up to the light but may get it soon.
My mail has been on the small side lately and I am about up
to date for a change. I held this letter over until tonight
as I hoped I might get one from you but I was unlucky. Never
mind love if I get one tomorrow or Wednesday I will be writing
again on Wednesday and will answer all your questions then.
I expect your not feeling too grand after having the elstoplast
off and I hope love it did good. I hope Mrs. Brown is about
OK again and hasn't had to have her tonsils taken out and you
mam is getting well again. In another months time we will be
looking forward to the spring and even now the days seem a bit
longer, although it's a job to get up about 6am in a cold barrack
Well goodnight sweetheart pleasant dreams and if we can't meet
just yet in the flesh I often dream we are together again in
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well love your letter dated Jan 19th and posted on the 22nd duly
came to land yesterday and although there has been about seven
days without any news from home I know you have had a lot on your
wheel and would let me know quickly if anything was wrong.
I'm glad to see you've had a few letters from me and hope they
now reach you regularly as letters coming here at the moment seem
to arrive in batches.
I'm sorry to hear your leg was causing you too much pain to
have the elastoplast off but hope by now it is feeling a little
better. I know you want me home love to look after you for a
bit.I had the F.B> magazine in that I am quoted as saying I
want my desk at work, a cheese cob and my family. All very true
love but they put my wishes backwards.
Talking about shoes from Egypt, Harry might feel a breath of
the last war when smelling the soles which I understand are
made from hide cured by camel dung and certainly smell that
way but otherwise are a very good pair and the smell has almost
died away already. It is certainly a pleasure at night to change
into them from the army boots.
The crack from Peter Roobi I hope didn't make you think things
love about if I'd been to Pompeii he would gamble I hadn't told
you all I saw. As a matter of fact, although I've been by a
time or two, I've not been for a look around the place but Dick
did tell me they had some rather crude objects in stone on view
which Peter might be referring to.
I see the kiddies enjoyed the pantomine with you and although
the shilling you have over won't get you much of
a drink love I know the thoughts as you drink it would be worth
a fortune. I heard the wireless programme the other Friday night
and I bet our thoughts were the same as they mentioned the places
over here I know.
I'm pleased you still have a temper love as it shows
you haven't given up the struggle and I expect you feel better
afterwards. I'm sorry I haven't been able to get any wages off
yet but see you've managed to get a few more on the rations.
I should think the cold weather will freeze out all the colds
everybody has had and I see the snow and ice just suit Keith.
I guess it makes a lot of work for you love drying out his boots
etc. but I was no doubt the same at is age and mam used to threaten
all sorts of things if I didn't keep them dry. Of course as
I went next door to Ingle Street School I didn't have as much
chance to slide in the street but we used to have a good slide
at night after throwing down the pavement a few buckets of water
Well love Tuesday was cold and it had taken me about 2 hours
to get my feet warm in bed on Monday night. Don't break that
stone hot water bottle love whatever you do.
Well love it's now Thursday as I was unable to finish this
last night. In camp on Tuesday night there was an ENSA show,
all Italian except for the English compere and it was quite
good. It turned milder on Wednesday and we went to the camp
cinema at night, first house, to see ' Double Indemnity' quite
a good picture with a good idea for getting rid of husbands.
It was quite long and as I had gone there straight from tea
I had to make my bed etc. before going across to the writing
room and it was just 9pm as we got there and the heard the Russians
were 68 miles from Berlin. Today Germany says they are just
40 miles from Berlin so you never know love although I think
he will stay there and there will be a two way drive from east
and west to finish him off.
I'm playing football this afternoon and as that means a half
day off I'm doing my best to finish this off before we go.
I was surprised and pleased to get at dinnertime today your
airmail dated 28th January and though I'm sorry to see your
leg isn't better yet love the removal of the elastoplast wasn't
as painful as you expected and it seems to be progressing if
It was a pity the pub had stopped serving just when you could
have done with a warmer but don't worry love perhaps they
are saving it all up for victory night.
I'm sorry I made a bloomer with the card I sent Keith. Actually
I have sent them all a letter since but will write him an airgraph
to make up. I see Miss Sheila is as saucy as ever and I hope
the nuts arrive soon so she can say 'Good old Daddy'. Your mam
seems to be having a rough time and I hope to hear soon she
is getting better again.
By the way love our daily ration of onions at the moment is
6oz so each dinnertime we get two big ones besides fried ones
sometimes for breakfast so you can see I am enjoying my meals.
I think I am cured by now love of having sugar spread on top
of my porridge and no milk as nowadays I just take the porridge
and milk and mix a spoonful of jam and marmalade in it and down
it goes. We are getting all dehydrated potatoes at the moment
but they disguise them in various ways so they are eatable as
By the way I am finishing this about 7pm and I am afraid we
went down 3-1 to the bottam team in the league so are going
Well love it's time to say goodnight sweetheart, sweet dreams
(of me I hope)and god bless you and the kiddies until that day
arrives. It seems very close now doesn't it
February 4th 1945
It was my lucky day today as I had
an airmail from you dated January 31st and other airmails from
Mam and Mabel, besides a sea letter from Graham Evans. I'm working
today and after a busy time up to 4pm decided to start this although
I don't suppose I'll get much done before it is time to knock
Well love, I'm pleased to hear all the little bits of news
about you and the kiddies and please apologise to Miss Sheila
for calling her a saucy little minx and say that daddy now thinks
she is a beautiful young lady. I'm glad Michael talks such a
lot to me and hope he won't be too disappointed when the original
turns up. I can see I am going to be fully occupied at nights,
showing Keith how to do sums, reading Sheila a bedtime story
or putting her dolls to bed and playing a game of 'Devil among
the Tailors with sonny boy, besides trying to help you clear
up so we can have a quiet hour together love.
Mabel says in her letter that your leg is slowly healing up
and is much better than it was a few months ago but I guess
you were disappointed the elastoplast wasn't wholly successful.
Still life's full of worries and disappointments isn't it love
but it makes the time when worries etc. are over more precious.
I had a nice little reminder of Christmas at home on Friday
when your parcel with the Christmas cake, scarf and fags arrived.
I shared the cake with Dick and we both enjoyed it thoroughly.
I only wish I could get home as easy as the cake got here. I
shall keep the scarf by me for a bit although the weather you
hear on the news from Italy is usually from the front line and
although we have had more than our fair share it has not been
as cold as in the hills were they get the snow. The last few
days it has been quite warm during the daytime and like the
usual army way we have been told to wear greatcoats on all parades.
We are lucky as we don't have many parades but a lot of the
lads must sweat when marching down to work in the mornings.
We saw a picture show on Friday called 'He (or I ) wanted wings'
and it wasn't too bad. We heard the 9pm news afterwards as usual
and see each day brings Hitlers doom nearer.
About the children's schooling love, I know there have been
many suggestions about every child having the chance of higher
school education but I think it is still up to the children
to pass the exam and parents to bear the cost of keeping them
at school. I'd like the kids to have a good education and the
money Faire Brothers are putting aside should help.
Mabel said in her letter she had to laugh about you crowning
Keith with his pudding and reminded her when Bill threw some
dinner at me when we were kids. Mam says he's getting a big
strong boy and I guess he must be growing fast and that has
thinned him out a bit. So long as he's well that's the main
thing and I expect he will feel too old to listen to bedtime
stories again on his daddies knee.
We had a funny incident t the office yesterday. It happened
while we were away at dinner and our 'Itie' civvies driver was
teaching a girl who works in the office how to drive a jeep.
Apparently she sat in the driving seat and he switched the engine
on and somehow it started and she put her foot on the accelerator
instead of the brake.
About ten yards in front of the jeep stood a one storey building
with double wooden doors that we use as a school for testing
civilians for various types of work and the jeep hit the doors,
smashed them down with the supports and carried on through the
school until a table with two typewriters on stopped it. The
hole it left behind was big enough for a tank never mind about
a jeep. We had just had the windows in the building fixed and
a fireplace put in and now half the side of it is down.
When we got back the place was a shambles and the girl was
sitting on a chair in the school looking frightened to death.
I doubt if she will try that again as both her and the driver
were dismissed. If all the buildings in Italy are built like
that then one bomb would flatten the whole street.
We had a busy day on pay yesterday and last night we came across
here to write. I wrote a letter to Keith and sent it by green
envelope and I also wrote an airmail to mam so will you thank
her for the one I had today as I won't be writing again for
a week or so.
I am glad your mam feels a bit better and hope the weather
improves soon so you can go and see her yourself. I hope you
don't get any water through the ceiling from the snow in the
roof ( There was no felt in the roof like nowadays and the snow
used to blow into the attic.) but I think I should get Mr Saunders
or Harry Quinn to have a look for you to see how much there
is. I remember when I fetched two or three buckets of snow from
there and it shouldn't be a big job for one of them to clear
it. Don't you try though love, will you.
By the way I am sorry I haven't sent any oranges but I was
told by the civvies here it was c doubtful if they would keep
for the month or six weeks it takes to get them home and I think
the best plan is to send some lemons off when I am in town next.
I shall be having a day off during the week through working
through the weekend so I will see what I can do.
I hope the letters I send the kiddies don't take too long so
Sheila gets her letter from daddy and hope she is pleased with
it. If we were stationed somewhere handier I could no doubt
get more coloured cards to send them.
Well love this letter doesn't tell you much I know but we have
the same usual daily routine and so it goes on till the day
I can write to tell you the day has arrived to start my journey
home to you dear.
Thank god I've got so much to come home to. I'll be the proudest
and happiest man in the world when I once more greet you and
Goodnight darling and god bless.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
7th February 1945
Well love how are you now/ I hear that the snow has been
washed away and I hope it did not cause wet ceilings in the bedrooms
and more work for you.. I know that our lively trio make enough
work for you as it is.
Well love on Sunday evening in the Palladium they had a draw
for home leave as there were four or five places this month
for this unit. About 400 names went into the hat of chaps who
had been out here for 2 I/2 and 3 3/4 years (Those over 3 3/4
years wait for repatriation after 4 1/2 years or just before.
As I wasn't one of the names in the hat I didn't go as if I
had I would have had a shock as a Private Mason was one of the
winners. Instead I did some more letter writing. I wrote to
Mabel and told her I'd try and write a few lines of poetry about
Harry if I had the time when I had finished her letter and found
myself with only five minutes to finish it.
I scribbled a few lines out but didn't have time to write it
properly so if she can't read it translate it for her, will
you as you should be able to understand my scribble by now.
We have another officer with us now who has seen service in
Palestine but was in England only last Saturday. He came from
Dick's old depot although Dick cannot remember him. They had
a good chat about chaps Dick had known there when he had to
leave to come abroad. Apparently a lot have gone East, much
further than we have and are now enjoying India.
Monday was busy with the finish of pay in the morning and plenty
of other stuff in the afternoon. We saw a very good ENSA show
in the Palladium at night, a play 'The Late Christopher Bean'
given by the Birmingham Repertory Company and it was packed
on Tuesday night when they gave a repeat performance. It was
after 10.0pm when we came away. I just made a piece of toast
on the stove in the barrack room and so to bed.
Tuesday turned out to be a bit drizzly but the two chief items
were the wireless announcements about Churchill's meeting with
Roosevelt and Stalin and the gratuities to be given to servicemen
after the war. At the moment it means about £16 extra
and I shall see that we will have a nice little nest egg when
I come home. Just make a list of what you want and we will have
a great time getting those things which we have not been able
to afford. I'd like a garage building on the side of the house,
I think and a few alterations to the garden besides a new wireless
and a decent piano and I guess you could do with a good electric
sweeper and a few other things to make your work easier..
I did have a very nice letter from keith giving me a list of
toys in their stockings at Christmas. I shall be writing to
them again soon but tell them that Daddy says they are very
lucky children to get so many nice toys and to look after them
so daddy cane see all the books and dollies when he comes home.
I wrote a letter to the Jack Richardson at night also one to
Aunt Nora at Northampton in reply to her Air Mail.
Today was my day off and I missed breakfast (One of the chaps
brought me a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea in bed) and got
up about 7.30 am. It happened to be my turn to be billet orderly
so I wasn't ready to go out until about 9.0am. I put on my tie
(our shirts are the yankee type with attached collars) and the
brown shoes I told you I had from Egypt and went to the office
to call fo Tom Mansfield as he was also on his day off. We went
into town about 10.0am and of course our first point of call
was the NAAFI for cakes and tea. Afterwards we tried to get
a game of billiards but it was booked up so we played darts.
After a few more cakes and a listen to the orchestra we went
to see if the pictures were on but we were unlucky so
we had a look around the shops and a walk along the front. There
were a lot more seagulls than I have seen here before and as
the sun was quite warm we sat and watched them for a while.
I wondered how long it would be before I could take you and
the children on holiday to the seaside and felt very homesick
as I always do when I start day dreaming.
We were lucky and got a lift back to camp in time for tea.
Tonight was cinema night in camp and we went to the first house
to see 'Dance Lady Dance' but apart from some good skating wasn't
much good. We were out by 7.45 and I got my mug and dashed for
supper. It was curry soup and they must have put the curry powder
in by the handful as it almost burnt my throat out.
I am now waiting for the 9 o'clock news to see is Stalin has
got much further.
I'm glad the marmalade was OK and you all liked it also the
raisins. I don't mind how you eat the stuff love as long as
you enjoy it. I wish they had a similar scheme every month.
I shall have to close now. Remember me to all at home. All
.Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
10th February 1945
Well love I see you have managed to get of my letters in one
day and eight days for a reply is pretty good going. If my letters
to you took only as long as yours to me we could get replies
in six or seven days. I received today your airmail dated Feb.
7th which is only three days and I feel close to you love when
it takes so little time to hear from you.
On Wednesday when you were writing your letter I was having
a day off in town, no doubt playing darts in the NAAFI.
You say Keith is having a ride round on his bike before dinner
and suppose it's his two wheeler, or is it? Then you mention
about Sheila washing Michael's pants and Michael finding Keith's
hat too small. You know love little incidents like that make
me realize more than anything else how our family is growing
up and what a surprise I am going to have when I see them, even
though I keep up to date with their progress through your letters.
I think when the spring comes you will have to get another photo
of them all for me.
Talking of photos, Dick took the negatives of the snaps we
had taken last summer into the shop for further prints and so
in a few days time I hope to mail them on to you. I think you
will recognize me easily enough although one view which was
taken in the lovely garden which had sensitive plants whose
leaves folded in when touched will need a magnifying glass to
pick me out.
As you don't mention of any trouble with the snow in the rafters
I take it you were lucky. I hope you were fortunate on Wednesday
night when you went out the club with Harry and managed to drink
my health. So long as you didn't try to drown me love.
I'm pleased you mother is a lot better and as you say the weather
must catch both her and your dad at their age. I expect he's
getting a bit of pain with his chill and hope he is OK again
It must be a rotten position for Ethel at the moment and I
think a divorce is the best way out. I don't think you need
worry love about having a life like that and you'll be
getting on to me to go out for walk as you see too much
of me. I am nearer a teetotaler than I have been for the last
18 years or so and if I'm to have any celebrations or reunions
you'd better get some new wallpaper for the bedroom walls. Remember
what happened to it love after the cricket dinner night. You
needn't say it love I know what you are thinking. I don't suppose
I will get into faire Brothers teams after the war anyway after
leaving the game alone for so long and me getting to middle
Keith must be like me for onions and I'll see we have plenty
to hang up when the time comes.
I'll be looking forward to the lighter all the more as they
seem to have forgotten us lately on the NAAFI issue. It
costs a fag each time you ask anyone for a match and it's a
good job fags are so cheap. Do you realize love I smoke about
150 a week, a civvy cost in England of 17/6d. as we get 50 free
and 100 at 10 for 4d the cost to us each week is 3/4d which
isn't too bad.
Well love I hope your leg progresses and keeps it up until
there is one less worry on your mind. Remember me to Mrs. Brown
and tell her she's a lucky Mrs. B to have a man to shop with
her for a fortnight. Tell her not to overdo things as I think
all our families are about the right size now and it would be
too big a round at the Blackbird if there were any more for
biscuits and lemonade.
Wish Peggy all the best from me and when this lots over to
bring his boat around the Med to bring me back without delay.
If that's not possible perhaps MR W could send an aeroplane
for me. What a life eh love.
I hope the next delivery of nuts, which should be walnuts if
I remember correctly, will reach you before the others have
gone and I'll have to get a few more on the way in the next
few days. They say walnuts are very fatty so you'd better ration
yourself love else you will be needing more coupons for OS dresses.
I seem to be taking all of this letter replying to yours love
so I will tell you what I have been doing the last three days.
Thursday was another nice day and you would have loved seeing
the early morning sun shining on the snow covered mountain peaks
a few miles away. It was a really beautiful sight and for a
moment you forget the squalor of the village about a hundred
yards behind you. The villagers have to fetch their water from
a kind of overflowing spring at the end of the village and you
can see small children carrying jars on the top of their heads
or tins or pails which seem bigger than they are. I saw a woman
with four kiddies who would be from two to six years old, sitting
in the courtyard behind where we work. I sent them a piece of
chocolate each by way of one of the kids who work here and they
loved it. I can't send it home to my family and it makes me
feel it's a gift from Keith and the others to them.
Thursday night was the usual weekly whist drive and I nearly
got second prize, loosing it by the cut, mine was a 2 and highest
took the prize.
Friday was fine part of the day and Frank Hull came in to see
me. He's looking well and hopes to come home for August after
four and a half years are up. We should have played them at
football but it was cancelled once again. We saw a film at night,
Gracie Fields and Monty .. Who was in Pied Piper, in "Holy Matrimony" and was surprised she didn't sing, still it was a good picture.
We had a violent thunderstorm at night which lasted about four
hours, well after lights out. Today I've worked hard and am
listening now and again tonight to Music Hall with your favourate
Arthur Askey on.
Well goodnight sweetheart and god bless you and the kiddies
and keep you safe for me. There won't be many more days and
nights love I'll have to think of you from as far away. What
a day we have to look forward to dear, keep smiling and all
my love to you.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
14th February 1945
Well love how are things with you? Are you like me getting
a thrill out of the continued advance of the Russian's and beginning
to feel at last the end of Germany is in sight and the next
two or three month's will see victory.
I hope you are keeping well love and the leg is still progressing
well. You've had a private war with it for some little time
now and had you setbacks but I think when the worry of the war,
which is on our minds however much we try to forget it, is over
you will find it heals up so much quicker. Everyone is more
or less war weary and will thank god when peace and normal conditions
are with us again.
Well love the weather has been much warmer the last two or
three days since I wrote you last and tonight love in the writing
room it is quite mild at 8.30pm.
I've been to the first house pictures in camp to see "Dangerous
Blondes" which tries to follow the style of "the Thin Man" but
the actors or the story isn't a patch on William Powell.
On Sunday it was my day off and I went to communion at 8.30am
and stayed for the free church service afterwards. Then I called
in at the office for my morning cup of tea and returned to camp
before dinner. A short thunderstorm followed about 1.30pm so
I decided to have a quiet afternoon reading and dozing on my
After our usual Sunday tea of fried tinned herrings and cheese
with a piece of cake I came across here to write a letter or
two. As a matter of fact I'm now about up to date again except
to reply to Jack Richardson's airmail I received yesterday.
He said he had heard from you thanking him for the chocolate.
He says he has been moving about a bit lately but his knee is
wonky now and again and I am doubtful if he will get sent abroad
Monday was a nice day and we played football in the afternoon.
I played right back and we managed to win 4-3 after a good game.
I got a nice graze on my knee as there is still a bit of Vesuvius
grit on the ground and with there being no grass. You only have
to slip once to take the skin off.
It was the weekly whist drive on Monday, for a change I thought
I was going nicely for a prize as I had scored 131 in 18 hands
but went down with a bang after that. I had some Leicester Chronicles
which I think Mabel must have sent as the address was hand written
and Gladys Wain's are typewritten labels.
One of the chaps in the billet, we all call "Wigan", for the
same reason I am called Leicester, likes to see them when
I have finished with them and is always on about the number
of Yankee weddings taking place. He says Leicester is now th
47th state of America. At any rate thank Mabel for them as I
also received some on Tuesday and one of the packets were hers.
Tell her to put the number of her house on the top of the front
page and then I'll be sure in future.
We've been having more than our fair share of M and V lately
with dehydrated potatoes most dinnertimes. Still they are better
than the real Italian ones which seem full of slug holes that
the spud peelers (Italian as a rule) don't bother to scoop out.(
I get like this sometimes love complaining about the food but
it is generally when I think of the cooking I am missing at
2 Culver Road.) There's one thing I drink plenty of tea
during the day as I find I have 6 pints each day so if we are
still on rationing when I come home the 2oz won't go far. I
think I will have to bring my army mug home as there won't seem
much in an ordinary cup.
Tuesday was fine but I felt sleepy as I had an uncomfortable
night with my knee which kept catching the rough army blankets.
Such is life. We had our normal rush day at work and at night
I read the Chronicles and afterwards came across here to change
my library and had a nice long read and a listen to the Brains
Trust on the wireless. I was in bed by 10pm but some of the
lads in the billet came in soon afterwards from the canteen
and decided to have a spot of harmony till lights out at 11pm
so I didn't get the extra sleep I anticipated.
Before I forget tell Sheila, Keith and Michael I am sorry I
forgot to put their kisses on the last letter and here they
are KEITH xxxxxxx SHEILA xxxxxxxx MICHAEL
xxxxxxxx FAMILY ONES xxxxxxxxx. I remembered as soon as I stuck
the letter down and hope they haven't told me off. I know Keith
would if he noticed.
I managed to get a new pair of underpants on Monday as they
had worn in the usual place. I wonder why? Also they have
put some extra chairs and tables in the writing room here and
at the moment there are about 30 chaps writing away, besides
the increasing number coming into the next room to hear the
9pm news in another 20 minutes time.
Dick has not been to town to collect the prints yet of the
snaps but I am saving a green envelope to send them in when
I get mine.
I hope the kiddies have got the other letters I sent them and
if I get down town this weekend I'll see if I can find some
more cards they will like.
Goodnight love pleasant dreams and all my love to you dear
day and night.
P.S. did I tell you I got Everton in the buster and so far
they have scored 5 goals so check up on Saturday to see if they
scored another 6.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page.
17th February 1945
Well love after a few days without mail, two airmails arrived
today, yours and mams, both posted on Wednesday so that is not
too bad, three days, and if this reply comes back to you at
the same speed we should establish a new record.
Do you remember the name I had in the 'Buster'. If you have
forgotten it I don't think I'd better tell you as you will want
a half of my winnings.. Yes love, I won half with Everton 4-1,6
= 11 and expect to win about £4. Guess who has won the
other half, my better half, Corporal Duckman and you should
hear the remarks floating around the billet.
I think I shall spend a good part of it on boxes of figs, nuts
etc to send to you. I knew I was going to win as I forgot to
draw my pay this week and as we are only paid every fortnight,
I'd only got about twelve shillings and sixpence to last me
for the next two weeks (60p !).
I see Keith did the sums easily in my last letter and it gives
me some idea what sums he can do next time. I don't think I
ever learned 'The Song of Winter' but with the war going so
well, I hope I will be home to hear him recite it to me before
he forgets it.
Poor Sheila, I bet she'd love to have he daddy walking out
with her card as you say love, we can't guess what thoughts
that pass through their minds. No doubt the same thoughts were
passing through a lot of kiddies minds when their daddies were
overseas and I was at home. From what a lot of chaps I know
that a lot of kiddies haven't seen their daddies for three years
I see you have a liking for Nut Browns (A
popular bottled beer of the time), and as it used to
be one of my favourites too, we shan't waste any if one
of us has a drink we can't finish. I doubt if I shall be able
to keep up with you and you will have to slip yourself an extra
one while I'm taking sips of mine.
I'm pleased to see that your leg is improving also you arm
and your mentioning
measuring Sheila's wrist makes me wonder if you are anxious
about it and hope it soon clears up. Dr. Airy should know what
it is though and I bet you breathed a sigh of relief.
You have plenty of news about the family all round and I'm
pleased that your Mam and dad are getting well again. Your crack
about sending me a large Christmas cake next Christmas makes
me feel gloomy as I hope to be at home sharing it with you and
the kiddies. Still you always were an optimist but there are
so many changes in the war all the time while we might even
see Japan crack before she gets blown to bits.
Well keep going love and I hope the snaps which Dick will be
collecting from town tomorrow will make you feel closer
to me when you get them. I do look as if I could do with a brassiere
but you can only get them on the Black Market !
Well love the weather for the last few days has been really
nice and we were saying as we were walking across the parade
ground, wouldn't the folks at home like a few days of it. It
is like early May and I should be shaking off my flannels if
I was at home, that is if they still fitted me which I doubt,
wondering whether to wear them.
Thursday night we had a concert party of RA's here to give
us 'Tons of Money' and the chaps dressed up as girls looked
the real thing, much better in fact than the majority of Italian
females. It was a really first class show and there was a crowded
house to give them a warm reception.
There was a repeat performance of 'The Phantom Lady' in camp
on Friday night but I had seen it so I came across here to write
letters to the kiddies. Dick and I an Nicola, the interpreter
have an invitation to the house of a professor of music who
found he couldn't keep going with his shop and came for a test
as a clerk to our place. he is now working in the camp
and I suppose he wants to thank us in his own way, listening
to him play as I understand he is a very good violinist. We
are not going until about 6.30 pm so we can say we have had
our food at the camp. I'm not taking any more chances on Italian
food after the amount I had to get down me the last time.
Well love I hope you are listening to 'Music Hall as I am.
A chap has just sung a song about going on 10 days leave and
the welcome waiting. I know my welcome will be waiting. Your
loving husband, Eric.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page....
20th February 1945
I'm starting this letter tonight love but don't expect to complete
it until tomorrow night as we are going to an ENSA show in the
'Palladium' in another twenty minutes time and it usually takes
about an hour to write a complete letter to you.
Well love I have just had my half of my 'buster' winnings and
after the organizer had been given his 10% I had £5-12-6d
to draw and Dick had the same. I think it must be my lucky week
as I hadn't drawn any pay by mistake so it comes in handy and
gives me a nice little nest egg to buy you something.
Well love in addition on Sunday morning whilst at work, our
officer Capt. Wilkes said he was thinking of upgrading me to
clerk class 2 which would mean another 9d a day. On Monday though
I was told by one of the chaps I was on an interview with the
adjudent for a possible first stripe and this morning
I had it after spending last night spit and polishing. If I
did make Lance Corporal I think it would mean 1/3d a day extra
so I don't know if I am in for either or both. If both I should
get 2/- a day extra and should be able to save quite a bit unless
the army take it off as allowances. Still we will see love,
but if it means with a stripe I get guard duties then I'll hand
it in. I'm not that bothered about it. They call the L/Cs the
lowest of the low anyway so I would have to try to get another
I was working over the weekend so I have a day off to come
in the week so I might be able to get a box or two of nuts from
On Sunday Dick and I went into town as we had had an invitation
to the house of one of the clerks in the depot. He came to the
office a few weeks ago and we called him for work a week later.
He is about 60 years old and a music master and I suppose through
the war he found he couldn't earn enough teaching so had to
find other work. I suppose he was grateful and we didn't like
to disappoint him and we spent about an hour and a half listening
to him playing the piano. He wasn't too good but we said 'Bravo'
and clapped our hands after each piece and he seemed pleased.
We went to the second house at the Garrison theatre in town
to see 'Standing Room Only' which I had seen before but it is
a decent picture and we couldn't get the lorry back until 10pm
On Monday we were on pay so I got the interview on Tuesday
morning. I cleaned my buttons up for once and trimmed the rear
part of my gaiters. I don't think I knew too much about the
regimental side and if I do get a stripe it will be in spite
of my lack of knowledge in such matters and not because of knowledge
in other things.
By the way it has been as cold these last four days as it was
warm last week. It generally changes for the worst when we play
football and as we played on Monday it turned really cold with
a high wind and actually a few small flakes of snow. We managed
to win 3-2 which puts us in the middle of the table.
Last night Tuesday as mentioned in the first half of this letter,
we saw the ENSA show 'Eve on Leave' and it was surprising how
many officers turned up to see it. When there is a band concert,
even with some of the top military bands, only one or two turn
up but when a show with a few females in, they all turn up.
Actually the show wasn't too bad, though I've seen many better
and as it was 10pm by the time we came out I had an early night
and straight to bed.
I was up in good time this morning and managed to wash and
shave before going to work.
The wind is still cold and we were thankful of our stove in
the office. One of the boys bought me a box of oranges from
one of their trees so I have one or two each day. They were
lovely big ones but he said they would not last the time it
takes to send them home. I'm pleased to see love that you have
had a few from the shops lately and hope by now my nuts have
I got the other snaps that Dick had printed and have sent them
to you in a green envelope. I don't know if any are suitable
for enlargement if you want any but they are robbers out here
in the photographic business.
Well love I am afraid this letter is a bit mixed and you will
have to sort it out. It's this L/Corporal business getting on
my mind I suppose together with a generally browned off feeling
about the war and the end which seems so near but takes so long
to come. Each day I think another day gone with my family growing
up and our life together still deferred. Still I guess we all
get like this now and again and tomorrow will feel different.
I want you so much.
All my love to you and the children night and day. Give the
kiddies big hugs for me and don't let any touch of the willies
get you down. You have had the worst end of the stick and still
kept your chin up so I'm sure I can.
Go to next letter from Olive.... Go
to top of page.
Well love here we are again. I was pleased to get yesterday on
my return from a day out your airmail dated Feb. 18th and posted
on the 19th. As a matter of fact I had Thursday off for last Sunday
and Saturday for today so my week has really been split up
On Thursday I went down into town and spent the day very quietly
playing table tennis and darts with another chap who came in
after dinner and we returned by bus about 5pm. There was nothing
on in camp at night so I spent it quietly in the writing room.
Friday passed as usual and I went to the cinema in camp at night
to see (Eric forgot again to name the
film) ..... which passed an hour or two away. It couldn't
have been any good as I have already forgotten the title and
will fill it in later.
At the moment a chap in the billet is smoking a very nice cigar
and it smells just like Christmas. You would think it was spring
here at the moment as regards weather as it is really warm during
the day. I had a grand day out on Saturday when I went with
Tom Mansfield on an organized trip to visit the place we landed
at. We spent about an hour looking around the shops before dinner
but the more I look for something decent for you the more hopeless
it seems. I think the only thing I can do love is send a P.O.
for you to treat yourself with.
We visited the opera in the afternoon and had a bird's eye
view from the gods. Still it was worth the visit and every Italian
in the audience was I feel sure imagining himself as the principal
character. We left at 6pm and so weren't too late back at camp.
I found your letter waiting for me. It took longer than the
last one and so made a bigger gap between. I also had some Illustrated
Chronicles which I will write and thank Mabel for.
Sunday was of course work and when I got back to camp and started
this letter one of the chaps asked if I would make up a four
for bridge, as I said before I would like to learn the game.
It was too late to finish this letter when we packed up so I
am making sure of it tonight. Before I go to the whist drive.
By the way love I see in your letter you don't mention my winnings
so I don't suppose you checked up each week on my team. Still
you know now love from my last letter.
I got three boxes of nuts ready for censoring and hope to get
them off tomorrow night. I thought of sending you the big box
and your mam and my mam the others. The other boxes I sent about
six weeks ago should be about home by now. I asked another chap
if his had arrived that he sent off about the same time and
they hadn't so there's still hope and the boat must be a very
Before I go on I must thank you for the parcel I received today.
The lighter is the envy of all the other chaps in the office,
military and civilian and they want to know who my friend is
in the shop world is as it is obviously not a utility effort.
I'm already using it and the good supply of flints will be a
godsend. Here the civvies have to pay 1/6d for one so I could
do a roaring trade and make my fortune. Still I would sooner
save them as no doubt I shall be using my lighter frequently
for mine and other peoples cigarettes. The tie was a very pleasant
surprise and as Dick was taking a photo of us at work this afternoon
I wore it in honour of the occasion and will do so every day
in future as we wear ties any time we are working in the office.
The soap will be useful but I shouldn't send any more love unless
I ask you too as we get our washing done with military soap
and as a rule get a tablet a week for washing ourselves.
I've heard nothing more about getting a stripe so wouldn't
be surprised if it was a false alarm. Still I'm not worrying
about it and you'll know by and by if it comes off.
I see Keith wants a bit more garden and I think it would be
a good idea to let him have it so he can have a bit for flowers
and a bit for other things. It will keep him interested and
no doubt be able to really help the old man on a Sunday morning
so I can finish earlier.
I think I had better leave Sheila's schooling to you love as
she is no doubt a big help playing with Michael and to be away
from home from morning till teatime would be a long time for
her at 4 ½ . why not split it and try her at Whit.
I'm writing this bit during a break from the whist drive (no
luck only scored 161). I asked Dick what he thought about schooling
and he said let the kiddies have a bit more fun at home till
the summer. So there you are love.
I can just imaging Michael's face when you found out about
the crocuses ( should it be croci or crocus) and all flowers
must have a fascination for kiddies about two years old.
I forgot to thank Keith for his very nice letter and I shall
be writing giving the answers to his sums and giving him some
more to do.
I see I am worse than you when it comes to asking how you are
but I am hoping the way the war is going to see for myself how
you have been looking after yourself for me.
Well love goodnight and give the kiddies some big hugs and
kisses from me.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
We seem to be getting up to date with our correspondence and
it seems that air letters only take 3 or 4 days regularly now.
It's a lot better than it used to be with 1 airmail only per
week issued and aigraph taking 14-16 days.
I've just had my NAAFI issue, including some chocolate beans
which I would love to send home but am afraid that the powers
that be frown on our sending NAAFI stuff home.
Tell Sheila daddy thought that big whopping kiss was lovely
and hope she will be able to save one, an even bigger one when
she meets me at the station. Thank Michael also for his cuddly
kiss and Keith for his you haven't mentioned because I expect
he forgot to tell you to send me one and he sends me plenty
when he writes me.
Keith is certainly getting on planting the shallots and it
must be his way when he is awkward. I guess most kids act that
way when they don't want to do something or other. Still I will
help you take them all in hand before long love and although
spring is on the way and it is quite nice at the moment my thoughts
do not lightly turn to thoughts of love, not over here anyway.
It means I suppose KD's once again, dusty roads, a bit of bathing
and I hope victory against Germany.
I know Ethel likes to air her troubles but I expect you have
been glad of her company and saved you many a dull night on
your own, when you've needed company to stop yourself from brooding.
You know love your like the elephant that never forgets. "Love
is to man a thing apart" seems to have stuck in your mind but
however true it is, it is a far bigger part than I realized
when we first saw it on the pictures (at the Palace I believe
or am I wrong).
I'm sorry your mam is off colour again and hope you found her
better if you managed to get round on Saturday. I'm pleased
my mam is feeling much better and hope Sunday was a fine day
for her visit. I had a letter today from Glad and she said she
had been to see you and had done a bit of digging. I can see
things will have changed by the time we get back and the husbands
will be cooking Sunday dinners while the wives do a spot of
gardening and gossiping over the fence. What do you think love?
The best news in your letter was that your leg had healed over
at last although you will probably find it will still discharge
a bit until the underneath has finally healed.
You seem to have done well for fruit lately and I hope the
walnuts arrive soon. I sent another box of them off yesterday
and I'm sending off tomorrow night the other boxes to Mabel
and mam. I've not forgotten you in parcels love and today
got two postal orders to cover the cost of two parcels from
South Africa like the other I got from there. I shall have to
address one to Mabel like I did before and you'll have to treat
them to a jelly or two out of them. I guess they will take about
two months but I'm sending the order off tonight by airmail
so you may get them by Easter if it's not early this year.
I received a box of Woodbines from Alec on Saturday and they
will come in handy as this week something went wrong with the
NAAFI and everyone in this area got 25 instead of the usual
100 so they will come as a godsend and keep us going.
By the way love I think it will be me asking you to come to
bed when I get back as if I'm up till lights out at 11pm I get the feeling I've had a late night. Still we will see and
in any case, bed will look very inviting don't you think.
Well love I think I got up to Monday in my last letter and
at night we went to our usual weekly whist drive. Dick, who
won half the buster when I did, won another 11/6d on the football
sweep on Saturday(it wasn't a buster this time) and carried
on to win 10/- at whist so is well in funds. I had an even average
I had my second night instruction at bridge, I got the hang
of it better and we didn't pack in till 10.45pm just in time
to get to bed before lights out.
Wednesday we were due to play the top team in the league at
football and the weather was grand. Usually when we play it
is either cold, windy, raining or all three. We lost 3-2 but
it was a good game. I felt a bit of an old man when it was over
and I have a nice bruise on my knee, a blister in the ball of
my foot and my big toenail which has been black for about two
months is now nearly off. I had a good shower and then came
across to write to you. Unfortunately love I had left my pen
at work and couldn't get another on loan so went to the second
half pictures to see for the second time "For ever and a Day".
I was back in the billet too late to shave so this morning I
had to get up at about 6.10am to give me time to have a shave
before going to work.
It is still keeping fine although the sky tonight is cloudier
and it looks as if we might be in for some rain. The natives
are busy in the fields getting the ground ready for their first
crops and I've seen quite a lot of mimosa flowers already.
Well love it's getting near time to close once more. Tommy
Handley is on the wireless at the moment and it is 8.40pm. The
room here is crowded with blokes industriously writing away
and before long I shall be imagining you listening with me to
the 9pm news so put a few chips in love and get the cocoa ready.
Goodnight sweetheart sweet dreams and God bless you and the
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well love Sunday night again and after a days hard (?) work
here I go again in my favorite corner of the reading room to
have another little chat with you. I reckon you must think sometimes
I talk more to you through letter writing than I used to at
nights at home, don't you love as you used to say you couldn't
get a word out of me some nights. I've had letters from Mabel
and mum both telling me how your leg is getting on and mum tells
me what a nice day she had at home on Sunday and how well Keith
got the tea with the silver teapot and real butter for grannies
I see you will have to have a special kissing photo for Sheila
and Michael though the news is that good that I still hope Germany
will be defeated before Keiths birthday. By the way I didn't
think until tonight that it was Mabels birthday yesterday and
I wrote an airgraph to her without mentioning it. Just wish
her many happy returns for me love will you and say I'm sorry
I forgot. Knowing my memory she'll understand.
Before I go on I will give you details of the postal orders
etc. I've sent off to Cash Wholesalers, 90-96 West Road Durban
for them to send off to you 8 one pint jellies - 2lbs barley
sugar, and another as before via Mabel for you - 2lbs mixed
raisins and sultanas - 2lbs chocolate. The total cost is 22/8d
and the P.O's w225711065 for 20/- and 972c 602664 for 2/8d so
in about six or seven weeks time they should turn up. You'll
have to treat Mabel with a jelly and a few raisins etc. for
being an accommodation address. I've also sent off today a box
of mixed walnuts and cobs to mum and your mum and tell your
mum I'm sorry the civvies in the office printed the name and
address on the box for me spelled the name JONSON but the address
is OK so it should land OK.
I hear from Tom Mansfield in the office that parcels he sent
soon after Christmas have just landed so I'll hope you'll be
lucky as well. I'll see what I can do to let you have
a box every two or three weeks so you can enjoy your evenings
by the fire. I wondered about sending a box of figs but wouldn't
like the family to give you a lot of washing through dirty pants
after having a good feed of them. As a matter of fact we had
fig jam at tea yesterday and I only just made the lav in time
this morning. You've beat me on grapefruit as I've only had
one I think over here but I eat at least one orange every day
and often two or three. One of the lads in the office often
brings them in and I generally treat him to a cigarette or two
during the day.
We had a shock this week as something went wrong with the NAAFI
cigs and they didn't turn up and all we got was 25 each. I was
lucky as I had a package from Alec containing about 300 'woods'
I think. So I am OK although I don't think I will become a Woodbine
fan like Harry. I may have to after the war if I can't keep
my smoking down but we will see about that when the happy day
I had an airmail from Edith Evans and Gladys Wain combined
and they tell me daffodils were fetching 21/- a dozen when they
first came in. I hear Elsie Burnham is still dashing in to see
Agnes and Gladys Wells, who tells me in her letter she and Ivy
went to the Savoy with Elsie and they had to sit in different
places, as the place was full. Apparently Elsie went chasing
around the cinema with an usherette looking for her as Gladys
says everyone in the cinema must have known her name before
they found her.
I heard on the news the other night that there had been a serious
fire in Georgetown and the National History Museum, where Phil
Peberdy is curator, was gutted. It said it was one of the first
museums in N.America and it must have been a big shock to him
after all the work he must have put into it. If you hear any
news of him you might let me know. I thought about dropping
him a line myself but I did write a while ago but have heard
nothing back so don't know if he got the letter or not.
The news today said there had been air activity over North
and Southern England and 6 Jerry planes bought down and I hope
even if there was a siren there were none around the Midlands.
I know they bother you love and wonder what to do for the best
if the kiddies are asleep. There's one thing Ethel will be company
as I know you would feel worse on your own. It seems to me to
be a bit of a last gasp as the allied troops are now at the
Rhine and the bombing of Germany must be terrific.
I've just heard the 8pm news and hear there is a shortage of
rice and I suggest they send all they have out here for the
troops back to England. I'm sure nine out of ten chaps would
agree with me as rice pudding made the army way isn't quite
the same as we made in an electric stove at home.
Well love I've rambled on as usual and here's a brief outline
of my doings since the last letter. Friday was the beginning
of civvy day again and we didn't have much time for a
smoke. At night I wrote airgraphs to Gladys, mum and Mabel so will you tell mum I'll answer her airmail in a day or two.
Afterwards I went to see Merle Oberon in 'Dark Waters' but didn't
think much of it. Dick went into town to get some snaps and
I've ordered four of a group of the military staff here so you
can see how handsome I look when you get them.
Well goodnight love and remember we are still young enough
to have a lovely time soon.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well love the letters take so little time getting here that
I feel one of these days I'll be reading them the next
day after you post them. I received your letter of Friday March
2nd on Monday, only three days in transit and guess my V16 would
reach you the day after you posted your letter.
I'm pleased you liked the snaps, nuts and the kiddies their
letters. I didn't know Keith liked sums so much and I promise
when I send the three copies of the snap we had taken of the
chaps working here, which Dick hopes to collect on Friday I'll
enclose them in a green envelope with a letter to him and will
see he has plenty of sums to keep him busy. I hope Sheila has
got over her shock and just imagine Michael having his chin
wag with daddy with the letter in front of him. I bet he thinks
he's got a wonderful daddy and I'll try not to let him down
love. The only thing is if you boost me up too much you'll
find them thinking whatever daddy says goes and mummy will have
to take a back seat.(perhaps). Anyway love I'm proud of you
all, you the most for bringing them up as well, when sometimes
as you said it doesn't seem worth the struggle . The reward
will come later on love don't fear and we will both find the
struggle worth it.
Thanks for saying I look young love but not as you say not
too young for you love. It is because I know how well you are
looking after our house that I don't let things worry me and
once we are together again we will feel plenty young enough
to enjoy ourselves. I've just been turning up my diary and find
after I sent the first box of nuts you have just had, I sent
another box of walnuts a few days later which should also be
in your possession by the time you receive this.
Well love before I go on any further I'll just tell you how
I've been getting on the last three days since my last letter.
Monday was a nice day up to midday but then turned dusty. There
was an ENSA show on in the camp at night "Hit and Miss" but they (to put it a bit vulgarly) started off the title with
the wrong letters. There were six girls and two men in the show
and I think ENSA must have a lot of fifth rate chorus girls
they don't know what to do with or they got the job under false
pretences as it was a lousy show. The shows given by army concert
parties are much better even with 'imitation' chorus girls.
I had a very nice day off on Friday and after an extra two
hours in bed, getting up about 8am, I went into town about 11am
and after taking some negatives of Dicks to have further prints
made I bought a box of lemons, raisins and shelled almonds. I've not got them censored yet but hope to get them off tomorrow
night. Its one way I can send you a share of the winnings and
you should get them soon after Easter. I think I told you I
had sent off a box of nuts back to mum and your mum, who I hope
is feeling a little better now although she must feel tired
easier at her age and we have been used to seeing her carrying
on with her work like a younger woman it doesn't seem like her
to have to take things easier. I hope Tom is getting over his
flu and Walter his boils and he has my sympathy with them as
they quickly make you feel out of sorts all around. I don't
suppose the war diet contains enough of some things and is responsible
for certain ailments.
Well love to continue, I returned to the NAAFI for cakes and
tea and then sat in a nice easy chair in the quiet room about
three stories up on the balcony with the sun shining strong
enough to make me put a newspaper on my head while I dosed for
an hour. Afterwards I met another chap and we had a game of
darts before a wander around the shops. I bought a new strap
for my watch and after another half hour on the front we returned
to camp by 6pm just in time for last tea. I had promised to
play bridge at night so as usual we were in till 11pm and it
meant I had to get up at about 6am to have a shave before going
Dick had told me the wireless news was very good and I see
from today's paper everything is going well. Today has again
been fine but I've had to hand over my ticket for the opera
as we are playing Frank Hulls team on Saturday afternoon
and I don't want to miss that match. I should have liked a snap
of the two of us together but Dick will be taking his camera
on Saturday I expect. Tonight should have been picture night
in camp but the projector is under repair so after a shower
I came straight across here. The time is now 8.30pm and when
I finish this it will be getting near news time again.
It made me think love when you said Keith had bought a repair
outfit and I can see the time he used to sit on my knee for
his bedtime talk will be gone for ever. Still Sheila and Michael
will no doubt want a bedtime story before I help Keith
with a few sums. Let him have the pencil and anything that is
in my repair outfit. If Les isn't using the bike he would have
the bill unless you unless you think it makes him feel more
independent saving for himself to buy it. I hope you manage
to get the tricycle done for Sheila and its been a real good
bargain for them. You will have to learn to ride love and I
will have to have a saddle fitted to my crossbar to carry Michael
and off we'll go into the country.
Your mentioning the lights on the bombers reminded me when
I was with Bill Chambers waiting for the lectures at Daventry
and about 30 came over I hope Saturday nights raid by the Jerries didn't come near home and as I've not heard any more since on
the news I hope it was only a raid for propaganda purposes
.Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
Well love its Sunday afternoon about 4.30pm and I've just had
tea, a slice of corned beef, a piece of cheese, what they call
'Russian Salad' ( a cold mixture of peas, carrot and onion etc.)
a piece of cake, an orange, bread butter and jam and a mug of
tea, quite a spread eh love and as its my day off I'm across
in the writing room a bit earlier than usual. I was hoping I
might get your last letter as the last one I had was last Monday
but as usual it will turn up I expect tomorrow when I have posted
Well love the weather here is very nice at the moment, a bit
of a nip in the air but for the last few days the sun has shone
from an almost cloudless sky. Thursday passed quietly as most
days do love and at night there was our usual whist drive. Unfortunately
only about 20 chaps turned up, not enough for an official drive,
so we each put 20lire in and had a drive on our own, the winner
taking the lot. I scored 173 which is good scoring but not good
enough to win.
It still gets cold at nights and as we had no tea laid on we
were about perished after sitting in the room for about 2 hours.
I was thankful to get into bed and get warm. Friday was also
fine and I got the box of lemons and the box of figs, almonds
and raisins addressed ready to send off ( I'm sending them off
tonight by the way, both addressed to you so hope they arrive
safely in due course).
There was a new film on un the camp at night called 'The Conspirators'
which would have been which would have been better if they had
made the talkie apparatus a bit louder and the lighting a bit
stronger. I heard it has not yet been shown in England but in
a good cinema it should be OK.
We heard on the news of the new crossing of the Rhine and Russia's
successes around Danzig etc. Military reports seem to think
the war may be over any day now but I think it will be another
three months and Japan's still not beaten. And until she is
we can't sit back in peace again.
I think I told you in my last letter that I'd changed days
off with Dick as I was playing football on Saturday against
Frank Hull's team and so couldn't go to the opera. Dick actually
missed the lorry which started off before he expected and he
came to see the match in the afternoon He had a new film in
his camera and took a snap of the HQ team and also Franks team
and at the end of the match another one of me and Frank which
I might send a copy of to the Faires mag
They beat us 3-2 after a decent game and about 5 minutes
from the end I managed to rub my knee into some Vesuvius grit
which gave me a nice raw patch all over my kneecap. I
went to the sick quarters afterwards and of course they put
plenty of iodine on it and then soaked a pad of lint in some
more and bandaged it up. I spent a very uncomfortable night
in bed last night and this morning I went to the office and
at about 10am strolled or limped rather to the M.I. room where
the chap took the bandage off to reveal a nice yellow patch
stuck to the lint. After a good soaking in hot water he removed
the lot and coated it all in powder and bandaged it up again.
We have another match tomorrow but it will be the first one
I've missed. I suppose it will be OK in a few days time though.
I received 3 snaps from Dick of the new LCO group and I've
sent them off in a green envelope addressed to Keith with a
letter to him with some sums in. I hope they will satisfy him
a bit more than my drawing did and tell Sheila and Michael daddy
will write them another letter soon in case they are jealous
because Keith has had one and they haven't.
We have a revue in camp tonight which looks as if it should
be good. I'm sure we will have to queue for an hour to be sure
of getting a good seat. Just like days gone by love when Ronald
Colinson was on at the Granby.
By the way I forgot to tell you that when I was talking to
Frank Hull he had had a letter from Eva and she was very disappointed
Arthurs leave had been postponed until May. No doubt she is
hurt but I wish I could look forward to a return to you love
in 2 months time. Still I want to come home and stay when I
do come and not have another parting. I'm hoping Japan
will realize that she can't hold the allies while they still
have Germany against them, she dosen't stand a chance on her
own. Still we shall see and all I think of is roll on that day
and the train to Leicester Station. I can see it so clearly
some days that it must be very near at least I hope so.
Sam Mead a Leicester chap who works here was telling me Leicester
had a siren about a fortnight ago which was when I suppose those
planes came over the east coast. He didn't mention any activity
so I hope you weren't disturbed.
Well love this letter is not much in the way of news I'm afraid.
Mail has been quiet lately and the only change is the longer
days and the warmer sun, the stll rising prices in the shops
which the shopkeepers think will still attract the soldiers.
All my love Eric
March 16th 1945
Well love as they said on the wireless this dinner time the
weather over here has been very nice for the last week and guess
if I worked out in the open I would quickly get tanned again.
I was noticing the gardens today and the broad beans, which
look quite healthy are 6 inch and the peas 3 inch high. The
onions are like what we pull for spring onions and the produce
is generally about 3 months in advance of vegetables in England.
The trees are also blossoming and it reminds me that it is about
a year since I came to this depot. I think when we turn up our
old letters with you love after we are able to sit back together
in the evenings I shall find I told you about the same things
as last year. The dust has started blowing off the road every
time a vehicle goes by and as we have about a mile and a half
walk to camp and back we never have very clean boots.
Since my last letter on Tuesday things have carried on much
the same. Wednesday was cinema night on the camp with a really
mixed programme. The first was a V.D. film which was enough
to stop anyone in their right senses going after the wrong type
of woman. Afterwards were two Mickey Mouse shorts both with
canaries in and then a community sing song which would have
been much better if we had known the songs. It always makes
me laugh when it comes to parts for girls only to sing
and all the blokes sing falsetto. The big picture ' My Pal Wolf'
was very slow to start off with but got better later on and
on the whole wasn't too bad. It was 8.45 when we came out the
first house and after hearing the 9pm news it was about time
I'm still going every morning to have the dressing on my knee
changed. Each time it sticks to the dressing and they keep putting
on Vaseline and aqua flora. I think I will have to go sick one
day just to let the M.O. see it. He might suggest some other
treatment to heal it quicker or give me a couple of days off
to ease it. I may leave it until Monday as tomorrow is civvy
day and we will be busy again. If I had treated it myself in
the first place it might have been OK by now but the army like
spinning it out a bit. If we were in shorts which is not
until the start of May I think the sun would soon heal it. I
guess I've not half the patience you have with your leg love
Well love Thursday we had two half pint bottles of stout which
I think you would enjoy more than I although I shall be drinking
your health about 10pm tonight when drinking one before I go
to bed. I played bridge for about 3.1/2 hours last night and
am getting the hang of the game now and enjoy it to spend the
evening. I never bothered to go into town in the evenings, only
on my days off which will be during next week now as I
expect I will be working on Sunday to straighten my ordinary
I thought we were in for a real good storm last night as the
sky turned a purple colour and I expected a sudden clap of thunder
anytime. We had a few spots of rain but it passed over and we
escaped. There was a concert on in the ' Palladium' but we had
seen a show given before by the same mob and that was very poor
so we skipped this one. Tonight there has been a cinema show
but the talkie was very bad and after trying to strain my ears
to catch what was being said for about an hour I gave it up
and came out. It was called ' One Body To Many' with Jean Parker
and would have been a decent film if we could have heard it.
Still it gave me the chance to write this love.
The 'high ups' have altered the overseas period bible for leave
and it is now 2 years - 4 years continuous service. They give
4 places in proportion to men with 3-4 years, against I have
2-3 years. Tonight they are drawing for 5 places with about
1500 I understand interested in it so you have as much chance
as winning the Irish sweep. Still it does not affect me until
August and by then I think Jerry will have had it and the position
will have altered altogether. I never thought I would do 3 years
in the army or as I expect spend my 38th birthday in it and
I think I shall write to the minister of war asking why they
are not calling up any more men over 35 and yet keeping in plenty
of blokes well over that age who have already had a good spell
of it. It doesn't feel very fair although there's such a lot
of chaps with 5 or more years service and now getting on. We
shall feel we have done our bit though if that's any comfort.
I heard on the news tonight about the peace overtures made
by Germany and it does show even the German government have
realised they have lost the war and trying to save their skins
before it is too late. Well its nearly too late now I think
love and the 22,000lb bombs must make whole districts shudder
when they drop. Thank god Germany didn't have them during the
Well love its another goodnight and tell Sheila and Michael
I will be writing to them.
I am still keeping a day or two in advance of my normal nights
for writing letters and although I wonder each night when I start
whether I will find enough to talk about I usually manage it as
time goes.Well love the wars not over yet is it but all the leaders
who should know tell us the next three or four months will see
the end of Jerry and with Japan getting a taste from bombing of
what is in store for her we may well see her packing it in not
long after hope so and then we should all know it was just a question
of waiting for the release group numbers to come out
I hear your leg is not quite healed and be you use some nice
words to it now and again. It's a deal more awkward to heal than the abscess on my bottom
was but I, being in the
army could take things easy eh love.Dick went into town on Saturday
to collect the
snaps and the football team has come out pretty good, also the
snap of Frank and
myself and I shall be sending copies to you when we have had some
printed. You will
be able to see from the snap the graze I got on my knee which
I have been moaning
about in my last letter or two. I took the bandage off to have
my weekly shower on
Saturday evening and I think the washing must have done it good
as today it is much
better and I'm hoping it will be ok by the weekend as we have
a cup match on Sunday
I want to play in. when dad used to tell me off for playing with
St Augustines or the
Jimmies when I had a bad cold or already had an injury somewhere.
He used to say
you must be daft.
I played bridge on Saturday night as I rarely bother to go into
nowadays unless I am on a day off. Sunday I went into work as
we had been in on the
Saturday and actually had a busy day. I did start about 4.30pm
to write a letter to
Sheila but gave it up and think she enjoys picture cards better
so I'll get one or two in
town to send her and Michael and enclose the snaps as well. I
think I shall have
Wednesday off if I can and try to get another box of goods
to send off to you.
I hope the other box of walnuts has turned up by now although
you can never guarantee the
parcels getting home. Your ? parcels (one of which I think I told
you I had sent to
Mabels address as before) may land soon after Easter and I hope
they are able to send
as ordered.Has Keith had his letter via the green envelope with
the snaps of the chaps
in the office. They didn't cost us a lot for snaps(25 lire or
1/3d each but a postcard of
one costs 7/6d so if you want any enlargements it is cheaper
I received an airmail from mum on Saturday and also one from
Roy of all people. His conscious must have frightened him I think
as its ages since I heard from him. He is still at the
BTH and from his weight which he tells me is 14 stone he must
be getting plenty of
liquid refreshment still from somewhere though I guess he's on
the regular list of more
than one pub. He says Jesse Goodyear who used to take me to me
to Cheltenham (
When playing for Cheltenham Town) in his car is working and he
must have done a
quick change from the Chilprufe where he was a van driver. He
may be a good
mechanic but it makes you think sometimes how much dodging has
gone on all around
to keep a civvy suit on.
I hope you are getting a nice share of the sunshine which has
continued here for a week or two. The only thing about the warmer
weather over here it brings the dust with it and as they cultivate
every scrap of ground possible you rarely see any grassland and
with all its sunshine give me our English summer evening anytime.
I'd give a lot love to be able to sit in the deckchair on the
lawn, idly watching the kiddies enjoying themselves or you doing
a spot of clearing out the flower beds.
I've not given up my idea of making the garden into lawns with
a few fruit trees and I
think I shall enjoy planning it all out when we have settled down
from our holiday
honeymoon. In another three weeks time I expect the firm will
be putting another £40
or so for me and it will come in very useful when we start planning improvements.
Today is San Josephs day here who being the earthly father of
held in very high esteem in the RC religion and is normally
a general holiday. They
have a lot of feast days in a year with special masses in
the churches and with the
biggest one in two weeks time at Easter. I don't know if we will
get any time off as at
Christmas we only had Christmas day and even had to work the day
before on a
Sunday to make up for it.I am hoping to go to the opera again
on Saturday unless of
course we can't get a seat on the lorry. We shall soon start Sunday
morning training I
expect so trips will be off. I want to go to Pompeii during the
next two months if
possible, just to say I have been although by all accounts its
not a lot to shout about.
We should have had our weekly whist drive tonight but the chap
who runs it has
cancelled it for this week as the last few weeks have been so
poorly attended so when I
have finished this I am going to have another go at bridge. The
chap has just been
across here to bully me into it although I'm pretty up to date
with my correspondence
and the and the wireless here is out of order at the moment so
I can't listen in with you
love to the 9pm news. If they say the wars over you had better
send me a cable.Well
love I'll have to close now so keep yourself and the kiddies safe
and well for me.Your
ever loving husband
23rd March 1945
Well love it is now Friday night 8.25pm and I am here in the writing
room in the barracks to have our little talk again. I received
your airmail started on the 13th finished on the 15th and post marked
the 17th on the Thursday the day after I'd sent my last letter to
you and I am so pleased to hear your arm is getting on so well.
You'll have to be quick to get it healed before the war ends if
they keep battering the Germans like they are at present. The wireless
is off at the moment but I hope they manage to get it going before
the 9pm news. You never know what sensational news you might miss.
I am pleased to see you have received the box of cob and walnuts
and hope the box of lemons and another box of figs and nuts I
sent off about ten days ago get home as quickly. I had an airmail
from your mum's today saying she had had her box of nuts
so hope my mam's box has arrived as well as I sent them off at
the same time.
I see Oliver now has a Jenny and it's a new name for the family
as far as I can remember. I hear she is a very nice girl and we
should have plenty of fun after the war celebrating our various
nephews and nieces with their better halves and in about six cases,
isn't it, their children. Thanks for Dick's address but I'll keep
it by me for a bit before writing in case you send me his more
or less static address as the one given is and APD, one like I
had when I first came out and any letters didn't reach me until
I am sorry to hear Harry has been so seriously ill again and
hope he is well on the way to convalescence.
Your mum seems pretty cheerful in her letter and said she was
hoping to come and see you on Wednesday afternoon so perhaps like
us you have had a spell of nice weather which has cheered everyone
up. I see you have another issue of Faire Brothers magazine so
I'll get mine in about three weeks time.
You mentioned you felt a little depressed when it mentioned that
release groups over 25 were liable for Burma. We heard rumours
on the same lines here but there is a lot of difference between
liable and going. I know the army does some queer things and that
some chaps have to go out there in any case otherwise we would
be in the army for years but I hope my age in any case bars me.
I see they are calling up another 225,000 at home and it will
all help to fill the boats for India. I just want to catch a boat
back home from here to see you love unless with Germany's collapse
we are able to travel through France and get home quicker that
way. I guess this place will carry on for some time after the
war but there won't be the same urgency about things and there
should be some quick release groups which will make us all feel
nearer civvy street again.
I expect you are getting some disturbed nights with the number
of our bombers that go out night after night and it's hard to
believe that over a 1,00 planes could be over Germany in a day.
You mentioning a shed love is one of the first things we do want.
We might spot one somewhere that somebody wants to sell. In any
case if they are not too dear we could do with a decent one now.
(An Anderson Shelter eventually became
our shed). Perhaps if Stan has a few bricks in hand
he could make us a garage and we should only want a car then.
I expect FB's, if they have made the same profit this year will
be putting another £40 or so to my credits and if so I should
have about £135 to my name besides the hundreds you have
in yours (what did you say love) and a few certificates besides.
We should have quite a bit put away for a rainy day and get those
extras we would like in our home. We will no doubt need some of
it to help the family at school and it seems hard to believe that
Keith is nearly 8 years old. I think you had better let me know
love what kind of sums he can do now and what he's learning at
school as I can't remember what I learnt at his age.
Well love I have not told you much about myself so far ut it
has been that kind of week. Since I wrote to you on Monday the
weather has been fine and clear and chaps who are working out
of doors are tanning fast. Tuesday evening I had my evening at
bridge as there was nothing else on in camp and had expected to
have had a day off on Wednesday but one of the blokes went in
dock and I couldn't have it off.
My leg is OK again and I have promised to play for HQ on Sunday
in the first round of the knock out cup. Don't worry love I will
make sure I don't get the skin knocked off my knee again.
We had a cinema show in camp on Wednesday night and afterwards
I wrote an airmail to mam. Thursday was different to other days
for two things. We had an egg for breakfast, the first for months
and drew our mosquito nets in the evening, the first sign summer
is on the way. I played bridge again and tonight we have had another
cinema show "Canterbury Tales" which is not a picture to suit
most people and is rather drawn out we came out about 8pm and
I came across here soon after. I hope to go across to the opera
tomorrow and will let you know in my next letter., perhaps on
Sunday night, what it was like.
By the way love I have had another Easter card from your mam
and if you see her before I write will you tell her and thank
her for me.
Well love I can see you having a quiet read of the paper with
the wireless playing "Did you ever see a dream walking", what
they are playing as I write.
Goodnight sweetheart, God bless you and the kiddies as always
and hope you are safe until we can say " Hello love" to each other
when that day dawns
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
26th March 1945
Well love you will no doubt receive this letter with V24 as when
I came to sort out my writing materials to bring across here tonight
I found V24 which I wrote on Friday night and forgot to post.
Sorry love and I hope they get home quickly so you don't think
I am neglecting you.
You start off your letter mentioning the fairy lights and I guess
yesterdays news of the crossing of the Rhine explained it as for
the last week the RAF have been flattening everything in the area
opposite the troops. I found your letters postmarked 20th and
21st waiting for me last night when I got back from my trip to
the opera and it was a pleasant surprise as I got one on the Tuesday
I'm glad your leg doesn't pain you now love and my knee is OK
too. Unfortunately while we were on the lorry yesterday going
to town some of the chaps were sitting on a bench which tipped
over on my left shin when the lorry went round a sharp corner
and gave me a nice graze. Still I took the bandage off my right
knee and covered it up and it looks OK today. At any rate I played
football today but we lost the match 2-0. I played left back but
it was very hot and I really felt my age by halftime. When we
got back to camp I had a good shower and just let the water spray
on me for about ten minutes before I started to wash myself.
We had spinach for dinner today and I tried a bit for once but
wasn't thrilled. We have had it for four or five days now and
the must be trying to turn us into 'Pop Eyes'. This afternoon
I took it easy, sitting out in the sun on a form reading for about
an hour, drank half my pint bottle of NAAFI beer (or near beer
I should say, it is an Itie brew and very weak) and then had a
read inside the billet on my bed. I had tea consisting of a slice
of corned beef, a slice of cheese (I saved this with a slice of
bread for supper) cold veg salad, a piece of cake and marmalade.
Don't we feed well in the army. I think I shall have to sign on
for another ten years as I can't fancy things like fritters, cheese
and cocoa after the way we live. What did you say love (sour grapes)
I only wish I could have the choice of bread and water even at
It means something to us love doesn't it we never really thought
about, always being at home, but we will never forget just what
home means after this. The garden you mention on my snap (thanks
for the compliments on my good looks love) is really a cross between
a field and an orchard just behind where we work and the chaps
from left to right are Cpl. Fred Varity from Leeds, E.M., Pt Tom
Mansfield from Maldon Essex, Sgt. Carter from London and Dick
(without specs.) I am glad to hear you are going to spend a day
or two with his wife and family and shouldn't worry about Keith.
He'll behave and tell him I will expect a letter from him and
Sheila about what they play at with Dick's two children. I am
hoping to receive soon their letters you say you have posted and
will try to set him some more sums and things of interest if you
give me an idea of what he is learning at school.
I don't think we will go out to many bridge parties love though
we might try it at home like when you first learnt solo.
I don't think there would have been much chance of my coming
home on sick leave with a grazed knee love and didn't even go
sick with it only attending there for dressings. I could do with
a spot of leave and although we shan't get any at home just yet,
I may get a week at the rest camp not far away and should be able
to lounge about and write you plenty of letters. Still with the
war going so well you never know love and we'll just have to keep
our fingers crossed and hope for that day to dawn soon.
We heard a rumour that when Germany packs it in we will all be
confined to barracks for 48 hours to avoid the lads getting drunk
and in trouble outside. I expect there will be plenty of drink
to be had in camp over those two days for those that feel that
way inclined but I think I will keep the biggest part of my celebrating
for the time we can celebrate together.
Some of the lads attend a dinner and concert in the 'Palladium'
last night as one of the officers was leaving so it was about
midnight before we got to sleep. By the way love they are just
playing on the wireless, time 7.20pm "Love could I only tell thee
how dear thou art to me" and I feel the same way just now. One
day I will be able to tell you love.
I'm glad the nuts to mam and mum have arrived and I had an airmail
from your mam on Friday besides an Easter card a few days ago.
I tried whilst I was in town to buy some Easter Cards but couldn't
get any so I didn't know if you could hoodwink the kiddies by
getting some and pretend they came from me, though I guess Keith
would spot it. I shall be thinking of you on Easter Sunday especially
when I am at communion in the morning. I haven't been for three
or four weeks as I have been working on Sundays but next week
I expect most of us will be off on that day. We might get Easter
Monday off as well but have heard nothing so far.
I forgot to mention the opera we saw yesterday was called "Il
Trovatore" and we had really good seats. We get English programmes
so we can sort out what it is all about and of course many of
the songs we know especially in this opera. It is one of the spectacles
the war has allowed me to see I should never have seen outside
the army but we need entertainment like this to make up a little
for all we should not have missed without the war. Still we manage
to carry on even if we do grumble don't we love.
Goodnight darling, sweet dreams, Happy Easter and lets pray for
that day of days to arrive soon.
Well love it looks like Jerry is on the run all round now and
you aught to see the crowds of chaps who gather around the wireless
here for the 9pm news each evening. I think they have the feeling
that one of these nights we are going to hear the news we have
been waiting so long for and I expect you also love listen just
The chap in charge of the maps has a job to keep it up to date
with the news and before we know where we are we will hear about
General Paton's army linking up with the Russians. Montgomery's
men seem about to break out all over the place and if Gerry lasts
another month let alone three months I shall be surprised.
I hope you are keeping well love and your arm and leg are getting
on as you'll have to hurry to get them well before the war is
over. Do Keith and Sheila ask you many questions about the war
love and do they expect me home the day after peace is declared.
I guess it will be a while before they reach my age release group
but we should have a better idea how we stand and there should
be plenty of room for leave instead of as present bout 1,000 to
1 chance each month. I'm pleased to say I am OK love in body at
any rate although my mind gets a bit depressed now and again.
I think of you and the kiddies wondering how much they have grown
and how much they have changed their ways and if I shall be expecting
the same little family I left behind me. Somehow knowing that
keith is now a big boy and Sheila who was just a saucy little
miss is now almost ready for school, I feel I have been cheated
out of what is perhaps one of the happiest periods of married
life. To be able to share all our worries and anxieties about
their health, talk together as what is best for them, share with
them all the love that young children have and which changes as
they get older and get their own pals round about. Still that's
my morbid self love talking and I thank God that I have got you
love to make me feel so close and knowing we share our love with
each other. Roll on release day and lets have a party. Have you
decided where we shall go to celebrate our second honeymoon love?
I think we shall have to have two, one on our own and one with
The lights are having a game with themselves at the moment love
going on and off so if this doesn't get finished tonight you will
know why. Well love it has been a quiet week with good weather
getting warmer every day and no rain for sometime. I went to the
Palladium on Monday night to see "White Cargo" an ENSA play about
how white men in West Africa gradually let themselves go as the
years passed with such a lonely existence, but you needn't worry
about me here love, I've got you with me all the time and that
is what a lot of chaps haven't. The place was packed and it was
very well acted. I am trying to save the programmes where I can
so they'll remind me when we come to the time when we read over
our letters together. It was shown for two nights here but last
night Dick wanted to go down town so I went with him and we saw
another show, this time a film called "Pin up Girl" with Betty
Grable. It was in technicolour and some of the scenes were far
beyond any I've seen before in films but outside of that there
wasn't much of a story in it. Apart from that there was a short
of a bit of extracts from the old Mack Scanett comedies of the
silent days and it got the chaps laughing more than the up to
date comedies. There were the Keystone Cops, Ben Turpin and loads
of others with bags of custard tart throwing.
We were back in camp for 10.30pm to find there was a lot
of new chaps in and a few weeks ago they were setting off from
England like I was 20 months ago. I bet they feel they are in
for a good stretch out here or further on.
Today the officers decided to have a good spring clean all round
and the Italian civvies have been having to work for once. Of
course as a rule when a man or woman is a clerk they don't expect
to do anything but write and if there's none of that to do they
just sit still or chatter. If they were told they would have to
go in munitions they would have a fit.
There is a film show on in camp tonight but it's Dick Powell
in "Meet the People" which I have already seen two or three times
I forget which so I'm having a go again at getting up to date
with my correspondence. I shall have to drop a line to Graham
Evans although I shan't post it until I get the snap for the mag
of Frank and myself on Sunday.
Easter to us is a normal working week so I shall only have Saturday
or Sunday off. I shall go to communion on Easter Sunday morning
and will be thinking of you love.
Goodnight sweetheart, keep smiling and give the kiddies big hugs
and kisses from me.
31st March 1945
Well love Easter Saturday, work done and a day off tomorrow to
look forward to with usual work again on Monday. The civvies are
having Sunday and Monday off with Monday being the day they will
all go picnicking in the country though I don't think they will
get as much fun as we should a picnic at home with so many green
fields and different ways of enjoying ourselves. Here a trip in
the country means a walk down dusty lanes perhaps towards the
hills where although the scenery is beautiful doesn't allow you
to roam about (especially with a family) or lounge around on the
non-existent grass. I really miss the green fields love and it
would suit me fine on a day off to go a walk and relax for the
afternoon in a nice meadow. I expect they have to use what land
they have for cultivation as there are so many hills and mountains
where the land is unable to be used.
I hadn't heard the 6pm news tonight but apparently it is still
good and we shall hear one of these nights just how near Monty's
army is to Berlin. In my opinion there seems a race on between
the various armies to see who can get there first. In any case I don't think it will be long now.
I expect love since you heard that the over 24 release groups
being liable for Burma you have been worrying in case I have to
go there first but I wouldn't bother your head about that love.
It's just put out to remind everyone the war isn't over yet and
not to expect everybody to be demobbed as soon as Germany collapses.
Three parts of the war will be over with Jerry out of the way
and there will be such a terrific force let loose against Japan
that if she doesn't make up her mind to save what she can soon,
there won't be a city left standing in her homeland when all the
air, sea and land forces get cracking. She's losing now with half
the Allied forces in Europe and must know there is only one ending
I shall be going to communion at 8.30am tomorrow and will be
thinking of you dear. Dick had his day off today and had a swim.
His face was as red as a turkey cock when he came back, through
the sun and salt water. We shall soon be in shirt sleeve order.
Well love before I give you details of my last few days I hope
you are still keeping well and have your leg and arm better by
the time the war ends. You've got to hurry love though no doubt
the war news has been a good tonic. I had a game of football on
Thursday but all I got out of it was a big black toenail on my
left foot due to the boots being too small so in time that will
come off. We lost 1-0 by the way so have finished with the cup
competitions. I played bridge at night so didn't do any letter
Good Friday started with fried egg and bacon for breakfast which
was a pleasant surprise anyway. It tried to rain about midday
but soon gave it up and it's been cloudless ever since.
I received three Leicester Chronicles from Mabel in the afternoon
and as I told Mabel in the airmail I wrote her last night, I was
busy when they came and the civvies had a look through them first.
What interested them the most was the number of wedding photos
of Americans with English girls and as one said " it's a good
job you got married before you came abroad" so you needn't worry
if there is a girl left for you when you get home. I don't think
there are many chaps marry Italian girls though I walked to work
the other day with a chap who had done so. We had a hot cross
bun with out tea, the army's really thoughtful lately and at night
I went to the first half cinema show to see " English without
tears" but found I'd seen it already. Afterwards a wandered over
here and decided it was time I wrote to Mabel so I sent her an
airmail and Sheila an airgraph. I hope Keith won't be jealous
but I'm writing him a letter when I have finished this and sending
it off tomorrow with the football snap of our team and also Frank
and myself as Dick has gone into town tonight to get them.
Today the civvies have been going around shaking hands with everyone
saying something which means " Here's to a happy holiday". There
are about 30 work with us and everyone comes to shake hands. I
expect tomorrow there will be the Easter parades and if I see
one I will describe it in my next letter.
I am trying to picture my family all stepping out tomorrow all
dressed up for the occasion and I bet you look a lovely bunch
love. I am a proud man here showing off my family photo so you
can guess how proud I'll be when I'm one of the parade.
I understand we lose and hours sleep with the clocks being put
forward but it means it will be light until after 8pm.
Have you and the other two boozers Mrs. B and Mrs W got
your bottle of stout in to celebrate when Jerry's finished. I'm
keeping half a bottle of Itie beer for two nights in case.
Well love it's time to say goodnight sweetheart again, sweetdreams.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page