Well love after quite a few days without any mail I get three airmails
on Sunday, one each from you, mam and Mabel and I had written
to you all in the previous three days. I'm sorry about your V24
letter love as I forgot to post it the night I wrote it so I expect
you will get V24 & V25 together.
I hope Edie's Harry gets on OK though he's had a rough time of
it in the last few months.
I hear from the wireless you have not had such good weather for
Easter as I hoped you would from the weather here but you could
expect that with Easter Sunday being on April 1st. it was my day
off and I went to communion in the morning and stayed for the
morning service afterwards. There was a big congregation and there
was a collection in aid of The Red Cross Children's Relief Fund
which amounted to over £12.
Afterwards I went to see the semi-final of the sub depot cup.
After dinner I went a walk with Tom Mansfield and took my PT shorts
and towel hoping to get a bathe in but the waves were much too
big for a novice like me and we contented ourselves with throwing
stones at various objects while walking along the beach.
On our way through the orchards where the fruit trees were partly
in blossom an 'Itie' stopped us to pass a few words and ask us
for a cigarette. We gave him one and he asked us if we could sell
him any but when we said 'non impossible' he asked if we would
exchange some for oranges. We said we would look at the oranges
first and decided to have four off him for the same amount of
cigarettes. Actually they are unable to get decent fags and the
civvies we work with say the black market price for English ones
are 10 lire or 6d each. Still oranges are dear at this time of
the year so we made a good swop.
Dick brought the football snaps from town and I enclosed them
in a letter to keith with letters I'd written to Edith Evans and
Gladys Wills and if the green envelope containing the lot happens
to come by air addressed to Keith perhaps you'll send the others
on for me.
According to the 'Union Jack' today all service airmails to England
will be sent free of charge also all other letters under 1oz in
weight will be sent by air so I should be about 1/6d a week better
off. They must think the end of the war is close love so they
don't have to pay the cost for long. In about a months time (May
14th) I shall get a 1/- a day increase on completing three years
in the army, longer than I thought necessary when I joined up.
Michael then was an uncomfortable possibility then love wasn't
he and though he's not as old yet as Sheila was when I left, by
all accounts he's a proper young loveable tough guy. I am going
to have a busy time answering all his questions besides those
of Keith and Sheila and besides them wanting me to go outside
wanting to play their latest games with them. I'll love it all
love but I don't think you'll get your nose pushed out much. Daddy
will no doubt be a bit of a novelty for a few days but they always
turn to Mummy when they don't feel so well and know she will put
I expect sometimes you don't find letter writing easy love with
as much on your hands, and wanting a quiet half hour when you
have managed to get all straightened up, but your letters love
and descriptions of the little things that happen and the
things the kids come out with have kept me with a real picture
of you all and even Keith's untidiness makes me smile and think
we will never make a neat Sunday school boy out of him but as
you say a grand lad for all of that.
It always reminds me of 'Our gang' on the pictures where there
was always one boy who had a nice parting in his hair, a clean
suit and generally the exception to the other lads. Sheila seems
as old fashioned as ever but I think I've lost love that little
girlie of 21/2 years that looked so loveable and so pitiable
when she was poorly. Instead I will meet a modern young miss who
won't come running to daddy to play and lark about with. I'm not
grumbling love only thinking for about the 100th time what it
means to be separated from all we love for so long and how much
Hitler is responsible for and how many families have had much
more suffering and trouble than we have.
Well on Monday we had to go to work even though it was rather
a quiet day and at night we had another go at whist. I only got
65 in the first half and won 40 lire (2/-) and 20 fags for second
half highest score. Today we have had the civvies in after their
holiday (by the way I didn't se any processions over Easter) and
tonight I went first house cinema to see ' Champagne Charlie'
with Tommy Trinder but it was a poor do. I came across here about
8.30pm and see the lads are still battering away across the Rhine.
It said at dinnertime on the wireless there had been a landing
behind enemy lines on the 8th army front but there was nothing
more on tonight's news.
I don't remember having heard Albert Silvers address but if you
get his number and full address I will drop him a line to see
if he is anywhere around these parts.
Well love once more we must stop our little talk and it's near
Good night sweetheart, sweet dreams and God bless you and the
Well love it's Friday night and I am just trying to get cracking
on this about 7.40pm. I was pleased to get your airmail dated
April 1st and posted on the 3rd today and hope your cold is better
and the weather is more like ours is here and hope you enjoy your
weekend at Dicks home in Birmingham.
I thought when you mentioned about Michael bumping his head about
the time you did the same thing and hope he felt OK the next day
and it has not made him poorly. He must be a tough guy as he seems
to stand plenty of knocking around. I am glad you have had a photo
taken of them and look forward to getting it soon as under the
new regulations letters under 1oz come by air the same as letters
I see Keith's bike is likely to be in dock with tyre trouble
and hope you are able to get a new one for him as I expect he
will be riding it a lot this summer.
Ethel hasn't wasted much time finding a boyfriend has she and
I hope she doesn't want to get married and have him to live
with her after the war or we will be a bit crowded out I'm afraid.
I don't think I'd bother with a Yank love, you might think what
a dull husband you have now and I'd come home to find you'd found
your wings and fluttered off to America. I don't think though
love there's any chance of that on either side, we have built
up too much together to be parted now.
I am sorry Keith has had nervous bout again and it's funny that
yesterday I was telling one of the chaps here about that night
when I had to hold him in the shelter for about half an hour after
the bomb had exploded.
I have not started to buy the kiddies anything yet for when I
come home but shan't forget as I'd hate them to be disappointed
in their daddy. Sheila has a keen pair of ears and a good imagination
I think talking about cows milk for her baby and I bet she gives
you lots of laughs and surprises. She'll have lots of sweethearts
all her life and I'm longing to dress up myself in a decent civvy
suit once again and take you all out and be able to speak English
to everyone we know.
Well love the days have passed this week much the same as usual
and picture shows have been on Tuesday, Wednesday and tonight
in camp. We also had a concert in camp last night which was fairly
good though the BOD band was awful. The violinist played a solo
and it reminded me of the time I heard Sid Banyard's brother Edgar
play "The Blubells of Scotland" after he had been learning for
about a week. I am sure the chaps that clapped only did so for
We have had one or two lots of French beans lately with our dinners
though it's been mostly spam, sausage or bacon for breakfast and
prunes and rice is a favourite dinner sweet still.
I guess the war seems longer finishing now it's in its final
stages but the end is coming soon as a look on the map will convince
anybody and I am pleased Russia seems to be getting firmer with
Japan and I hope decides to help put her in her place when the
time comes. Wouldn't it raise our spirits even more if Japan were
to pack it in suddenly and we knew Jerry's end would see peace
in all of the world once again. You never know love and stranger
things have happened.
I've got Aberavon in the sweep this week as they have not had
a buster since Dick and I won it between us.
We heard today that the army was issuing a booklet to all members
of the forces telling them of all the plans which have been made
for their release and just what to expect till they issue the
release ticket. It's wonderful what the army does to make or try
to make everyone feel he has had a square deal. My only grouse
is that they should call up all men up to the age of those still
in the army or release all those over the 35 age limit. I hate
to think of those over 35 who have dodged it as some of them have,
now can sit at home knowing they are safe. I think I will write
a nice little letter to a paper about it. There must be thousands
feel the same way and Percy Brown would back me up I bet.
I am off from work this week and shall have a lazy day I think,
church and a walk in the morning, watching the final of the BOD
cup in the afternoon and a quiet night here in the evening. There's
something you can pretty well rely on the weather though it's
still cool at 6am with the hour on to make me feel like another
five minutes in bed before having a dash around. Dick has had
to move into another billet as they detailed two corporals to
a billet and I now have another chap on the upper bunk who a few
short weeks ago was in blighty. I still feel a novice or rooky
out here but not as he does I bet.
The sergeant here had a photo of his wife and baby today and
although the baby girl is 19 months old he hasn't seen her yet.
Well love it's time to say goodnight again, pleasant dreams and
hope that peace will soon be with us and the day is not too far
distant when I see you all waiting on the platform for me.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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Well love, once more I'm sending you a few more lines. Every
time I write I think that it is one more letter nearer to victory
and the time when I don't have to say in writing what I am thinking
in my heart. Some lads here say that the war will never finish
because Germany did not collapse like a pack of cards when our
lads crossed the Rhine. She is taking a terrific beating and it's
only the fact that until the whole of Germany is conquered and
controlled by the Allies, the war cannot be consider to have ended.
I think myself that another three weeks will see the end and
although that doesn't mean everything is back to normal immediately,
the longest part will be over. We shall then have to see how long
the Japanese can stand up to the combined might of three quarters
of the world against her.
I've managed to write a few letters since I wrote to you last
including one to Harry Quinn in reply to one I received on Saturday.
I also heard from Jack Richardson who is in the South of England
somewhere and he says he hopes he can send the kiddies some chocolate
soon. I also received a batch of leicester Chronicles from Gladys
Wain and No. 7 of the Faire Brothers magazine. which included
Keith's snap along with others. Edith Evans looks the same as
she did when I joined the firm 23 years ago next August.
It seems a long time when you see it in print, love, doesn't
it but I can clearly remember starting there in my short trousers
to gaze in wonder at all the different samples of braces in the
range and wondering if I would ever remember all the designs.
Still I'm not living in memories of the past much but I am looking
forward and dreaming of the future together with you and the kiddies
again. I comfort myself when I think of all the letters which
have passed between us and how that will make our life together
even more precious.
I nearly forgot to mention that I received Keith's short letter
in which he told me that Sheila and Michael would not eat their
tea as he had brought then some ice cream. Tell him that it was
a very nice letter though the boat he drew which he said was bringing
the letter took a long time and next time draw a Spitfire or a
Mosquito and I should get it in three days.
Thank Sheila for her lovely drawing of an aeroplane on the ground.
I hope she send me some more when Keith writes again. Has he had
my letter yet. The football snaps were inside but they will come
Well love I understand you went to Mrs Dickinsons this last week
and hope everything went aright for you I expect it was a job
getting the family and everything ready and you were feeling hot
and bothered by the time you had got on the bus and the train..
I hope the weather was kind and you all enjoyed the outing.
I've spent a quiet weekend and the high spot was Aberavon, the
team I mentioned in my last letter, who earned me £3-5-0
by scoring eight goals. Stop rubbing you hands together. I'll
see what I can do for you. As a matter of fact the officers
where we work were asking when we last had leave as they though
it was time we had a weekend at the rest camp so I expect in the
next two or three weeks I shall have seven days lounging about
in comfort with eggs and bacon for breakfast and plenty
of time to write to everyone I know. I don't suppose Dick and
I will get it together as we work in the same job but it will
be a pleasant change to forget work and to be able to relax..
Don't worry, it doesn't mean we are being sent on anywhere. We
are supposed to have one every 12 months but it's been 21 months
since my last break.. I saw a film in the open on Saturday night
'Murder in Sheridan Square' which was very good if a bit creepy.
Sunday was my day off and I had hoped to see the B.O.D. cup final
in the afternoon but I went to town with Mack and Fred in the
morning and found when I got back for dinner they had played the
match in the morning. As it managed to rain after dinner, I decided
bed was the best place to be so I had a couple of hours kip. It's
been a long time since I went to bed on Sunday afternoon, isn't
it love. Still we might try it when I get back, what do you say
? OK ?
We went to the Palladium in the evening to see and ENSA show
composed mostly of Ities but it was one of the best shows I have
seen over here and a packed house gave them a fine reception.
It was on for two nights and there was a big queue waiting again
tonight to see it. We had some more chaps arrive in our billet
tonight and one had his dog with him he had had for almost two
years. It was like a small edition of Peter and can do plenty
of tricks. Tell keith and Sheila I'll tell them all about the
dogs in the camp in my next letter.
Your loving husband
Well love, although I've not had a letter from you yet this week
I heard through Dick that you had been visiting his family and
I expect you have been too busy to get cracking. I hear you all
had a great time together although the weather could have been
better and hope it hasn't been too much for you with the kiddies
and you are not feeling too fagged out now.
We heard today of the death of President Roosevelt and it seems
hard that he should miss the victory which now seems to be so
near. We shall hear any day now that Berlin has been entered and
the way the Allies are driving all over Germany it must all finish
before long. We shall then have to see what attitude Russia takes
towards Japan and if she decides to link up with the Allies then
I don't think it will take long to put Japan into her place.
I expect you will have noticed that we don't have to put stamps
on our airmails now and understand that letters under one ounce
from home will reach us by air in three or four days, just like
airmails. perhaps I shall get an increase in letters from friends
from whom 6d was too much to pay.
Well love since my last letter written on Tuesday evening the
most exciting thing I have been doing is listening to the news
bulletins at night with all the news about the allies. They are
about 50 miles from Berlin.
On Wednesday, Dick was told he was being moved to another part
of the depot at Traffic and a corporal was coming from there in
his place. He has not gone yet but expects to do so in the next
day or so. I shall not see as much of him as his billet will be
little way from ours. I think the other chap had a spot of trouble
where he worked and Dick happens to be the one selected to change
places with him. There might be a chance of promotion in it for
Dick if he likes the job.. I don't know the chap coming here but
it will seem strange after working with Dick for so long.
On Wednesday night we went to the pictures but they showed a
different film 'The Life of Mark Twain' which I had already seen
but it was a decent film so I didn't mind too much. We came across
afterwards to hear the news and I was in bed by 10.0pm.
Thursday was a fine day as usual and NAAFI night. I had a nice
2oz block of chocolate you know, love. like the broken stuff we
used to get from Woollies. I wish I could send it home for the
kiddies.. I did have a shower earlier and went to the whist drive
but didn't do any good.
I had my first drink of Vermouth for two months as I went across
to the canteen with Rusty, the chap in the next bed,. They didn't
have any glasses though so we had to fetch our mugs from the billet
and took half a mug each back to the billet. I'm glad I didn't
have more as what I did have made us both talkative. We sat for
half an hour talking about home and I bet your ears were burning.
Today was busy at work and we saw in orders our boss Capt. Wilkes
is now a Major. he is away from the offices till Monday and I
bet when he comes back all the civvies will give him flowers like
they did when Capt. Tucker was promoted from Lieutenant. The Italians
are a very excitable lot and if one gives flowers they all do
the same, they are so jealous of each other.
I went to the information room after work to hear the 6.0pm news
but they didn't give much fresh news, most of it was about Roosevelt.
They are showing 'Song of Bernadette' in the camp tonight. I've
seen it twice already so I had a mug of soup about 7.15pm and
here I am.
It's my day off tomorrow and I'd arranged to go with Tom and
a party to Vesuvius but we have to attend the cinema to see a
training film in the morning so the trip is off. I hope to go
to town later and as I have about 2000 liras (£5) in my
pocket I'll see what I can buy with part of it for you. I might
end up just with a box of lemons so don't get too excited.
By the way I don't know if there are any bathing shorts on sale
in Leicester, cheap as the football shorts I have to wear are
rather long. What are my old ones like ? have the moths got at
them ? They want about 25/- for a pair over here and it breaks
my scotch heart to have to pay so much. I expect in a month's
time we shall be able to start our regular dips in the sea again..
Dick's wife in the last letter addressed it to 'Dear Redder Tummy'
as she had heard from you that he had got red from the sun after
We had a nice easy afternoon on Thursday as our offices were
sprayed with DDT and we were not allowed in for one hour so we
sat on the balcony eating walnuts which we acquired through a
hole in the next door store room.. Afterwards we went to collect
our pay so most of the afternoon had gone What a cushy life, eh
love !. Still there is plenty of work as a rule so it made a nice
Well goodnight love, Lots of kisses to you all.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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17th April 1945
I was pleased to get your letter date April 11th together with
a letter from Keith. I'll forgive you for the delay as I know
you have had a busy weekend at Brum and would need a day or two
to get over it. I understand all letters under 1 oz in weight
can now come by air with a 2d stamp on and as your only too 3
days it seems just as fast.
I'm afraid I shouldn't recognise the places you saw in the film
'Madonna of the Seven Moons' as I've not been there but if the
film should be down our way I'll let you know how life there compares
with this part,
You are getting to be a boozy trio with Mrs. brown and Mrs Woodcock
not even making going to the pictures an excuse for dropping in
to the local and I can see we husbands will be left at home with
aprons around our waists wondering whether or not to bath the
kiddies before putting them to be
I hope you enjoyed your outing though, love, though if you do
have a drop more than you need to quench your thirst, then you
have to expect a thick head in the morning.
Thanks for the pansy which is now in my diary though a part of
the colouring came off on your letter but when we read the letters
together we'll see the stain and remember how it happened.
I'm pleased you received the box of lemons although three of
them didn't survive the journey. I see you say you are broke this
but I hope you will take a nights entertainment out of the wardens
10/-. I think you deserve it more than I do. I can't remember
when Mam's birthday is and I always get mixed up between hers
and Dad's. One is April 26th and the other May 12th and I got
it crossed last year. Would you see that few flowers are
put on the grave for me for Dad's birthday.
I'm hoping to go on leave in the next week or so so don't want
to send my credits home until I have then. I have I understand £10- £11 and I may find something nice while I'm on
leave which I can send you.
Well love I couldn't get into town until Saturday and could not
find anything in the shops so I bought some more packets of figs
and two or three kilos of sweets and shall be sending them off
in two or three days when I've got them packed up.
Sunday was a work day and I spent last nigh covering Keith's
budget and enclosed cards for Sheila and Michael. The assortment
of picture cards is small and I hope I've not sent ones they have
I had to smile at Keith's drawing of the Greenhill with Jesus
on the cross and the two thieves on the crosses each side. I know
it's how their minds work it out but to see two arrows pointing
to the crosses and the word 'Crooks' It means all the same
when all is said and done but it sounds quaint and a modern way
of expressing it. he seems to write better letters each time and
tell him I'm sorry I did not return his magic puzzle but managed
to help the boxer through the ring.
I can't answer his question about how many soldiers there are
in this camp as that's one thing we are not allowed to mention
but there are lots and I will be glad when I can see a lot of
men with civvy suits on including myself. As long as everyone
doesn't choose the same design because we will then all look the
same as we do in the army.
Yesterday, Dick had to move to another job in the depot so there
is another corporal here now. I saw Dick last night when he came
here for the picture show and said his new job was not a patch
on the job he had left and was fed up already.
he's having to sleep on a wooden slatted bed like we did when
we first arrived and he says his job could be done by a 15 year
old.. We saw a picture in camp 'To Have and to have not' with
Hunphreyt Bogart in the lead and it was quite good although it
was shown in the open and we needed our greatcoats on to keep
I've not heard the news tonight as after writing some of this
letter I went to the Whist drive and had a good night. During
the first half I won a tube of toothpaste also a bar of soap and
ended up with 40 cigarettes as well and 50 lira. (2/6). My luck
must have been in. I scored 96 the first half in 12 hands. Not
bad, eh love ?
Dick came in and he is still browned off with his job. By the
way I said I expected the civvies to buy flowers for our officer
who is now a Major but they bought a polished ink stand instead.
Well love time to say goodnight. Dream of me and may both our
dreams be of the future.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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I was pleased to get your airmail written on the 16th and posted
on the 17th. I'm sorry your leg is aching though your arm seems
to be getting on well and I think the war must be carry on another
week or two to allow your arm to get better by the time peace
is declared.. From all accounts it looks as if peace as we know
it will take a long time and there will be no official surrender
but when the allied armies meet and have cleared or occupied Germany
they will leave a certain amount of troops in possession and concentrate
Lets hope though that real peace is not far away and like you
I sometimes feel so lonely without you and the kiddies and thank
God that the day when we will be together again is getting nearer.
I see that the walnuts have turned up and today I posted two
more boxes of mixed nuts and figs with another to follow in a
day or two. Don't forget to wash the figs before you eat them
in case there are any maggots inside them. I think there is one
packet of figs in each box I have sent and there are two in the
next one so you may be able to give your Mam some of them.
I see from my diary that I sent the postal order off to the wholesalers
on March 1st for the barley sugar etc and they should be arriving
any time now.
You sure have been very busy in the garden love and I wonder
sometimes how you manage it all. I'm please Keith and Sheila like
their letters and guess by now they have got those I posted on
the Sunday. I generally put a bit of propaganda in my letters
to Keith saying how I want him to look after you and the others
and he may be taking a bit of notice.
I've not seen the booklet yet about demobilisation and all I
know is my release group is number 30 so until I see in the newspapers
the dates of the various release groups I can't estimate how long
it will take to reach my number. I think you had better start
a publicity campaign at your end to find out and why after May
1st they are not calling up any more men over 31 when men over
40 carry on in the army perhaps for a long time yet !
Till then it's time we started saving money to give our children
a decent education. The War Office seems more concerned about
ending you forms of all descriptions. I should ask the Post Office
folk if they know anything about form you had about the court
order. I can't see what you want that for unless they are trying
to sting me for more taxes. They will have a job I think. I don't
want to have to leave home again when I get back although sometimes
I think I would come home even just for one day to see just how
you and the kiddies are and how Mam is as she seems off colour
quite a bit lately. It must as you say, be the strain on her of
having to be continually among the noise with the lads however
well they behave.
Well my love since my letter I wrote on Tuesday night things
have been much the same as usual here. The sun still shines each
day a bit warmer and it was a surprise last night about 5.0pm
when we had a shower, the first for three weeks, I think. I rained
again for a few minutes again tonight but it seems close and stuffy
now. It is just getting dark and there is a picture in the open
air at 8.30 so I shall go and look if I have seen it before. We
don't know the title of the film yet.
On Wednesday night there was a film at the Palladium but I had
to go to the second house as earlier we drew our KD in readiness
for the summer. I expect we shall start wearing them in two or
three weeks time but I've got to get mine shortened by about 6".
I shall look as though I shall be wearing three quarter length
Tomorrow night we start using our mosquito nets to sleep under
although it's a bit of a nuisance, it is necessary and I don't
want a dose of Malaria. I expect we shall have to start taking
the malaria tablets as well. It's a good job I have a good swallow
as they taste very bitter and it's a job to get them down.
The picture on Wednesday was Tall in the saddle' with Bob Wayne,
at least I think that was his name, in the lead. I think Keith
would enjoy it. Thursday was bath night and later on I came over
here to write to Mam and Jack Robinson. I've got quite a few letters
to answer and yesterday had a letter from George Henderson who
is now in India. Like me he find there is no place like home.
I also received a letter from Graham Evans thanking me for the
football snap of Frank Hull and myself and telling me to watch
out for No 8 of Faire Brothers magazine.
Dick seemed to be more cheerful tonight about his job but says
it does not compare with his job here. Still the army doesn't
have time to think about such things I guess what it says goes
and you just have to make the best of it.
Well it's time to close again. Give the kiddies lots of love
and kisses for me.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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23rd April 1945
Well love it's not over yet but I bet you are listening like
I am to at least one news bulletin every day so you don't miss
the announcement when it does come off. The last great assault
is nearing it's end and Hitler and all that he stands for will
soon be a thing of the past.
I expect you feel like I do that if only Japan would collapse
at the same time we could celebrate fully but I don't think she
will last long on her own and then we shall be reunited again
I know it's second nature for you now to keep your chin up and
you will get your reward love, as far as it is in my power to
give it to you.
I hope you and the kiddies are well and are having decent weather.
here it has been a fine weekend and on Saturday we went
with 10 others to see Vesuvius. After a dusty lorry ride we arrived
at the closest point the lorry could take us and from where we
stood we could see for miles around the lava fields spread out
around us and a darker patch where it burst down the side of the
mountain last year.
We had a guide who told us it was an hours climb from where we
were to the top. We actually took about an hour and a half before
we reached the summit. I felt like packing it in well before we
reached the top and haven't felt so old for years. Still we made
it and when we stood on the top and looked down we wondered how
we had managed to do it in the time.
The crater was about 100 feet in diameter and about 100 feet
deep and very much like an old slate quarry with all rubble and
stones at the bottom. There was no sign of life in it, no steam
or smoke pr lave although the ground which we sat down on around
the rim was quite warm. we could see Naples stretched out in front
of us and one or two planes came circling around.
We came down in about ten minutes as we followed the guide's
example of sticking our feet in the loose gravel which was about
a foot or two deep down the side of the mountain and half slid
and half skated down. we had a drink of vermouth at a little stall
at the bottom and although they charged double the normal price
we would have paid whatever they had wanted as we were thirsty
We stopped alter for some tea and cakes at the YMCA and got back
to camp about 8.0pm. I bought a glass tube filled with some of
the stuff that feel over the countryside after the eruption which
I was going to send to you but I pulled it out of my pocket with
my wallet and it broke. so the floor so that was that. I have
asked another chap to get me another one when he is there next
There was a film at the camp, 'double indemnity' which I had
seen before but it was a good picture. Sunday we were at work
and I found plenty to do. At night there was a special picture
show in camps called 'Kismet' a proper old timer with Malene Dietrich,
Ronal Coleman and Edward Arnold in Technicolor and the chap in
charge warned USA to expect a few breakdowns as it was an old
print. he was right, it was like watching a serial. There were
at least 15 breakdowns before it finished. Still we have to be
thankful for small mercies.
Dick came up on his return from the same trip we had on Saturday
and said there was a lot of cloud about so he didn't get as good
a view as we did.
I hope to go to the opera next Saturday if the shop can get the
tickets for us unless of course the war is over by then and we
are confined to camp for our own celebrations. From the news today
things seem to be going well all round and the link up between
the Allies and the Russians should take place any day now. Berlin
seems to have had it and if Hitler stays until the end as he says
it would be the best way of finishing him off.
I think I told you in my last letter I had sent off two
more boxes of nuts and figs to you and hope they don't take as
long as the last box of walnuts. Don't forget to examine the figs
before you eat them as there may be a maggot in some of them.
I wish I could send you some of our chocolate rations but expect
I would get puled up if I tried to
Well love I didn't finish this last night and in a way I'm glad
as today I received the latest family photograph and it's a grand
one and the best yet of you all. Sheila seems to have altered
most to me and seems to be more grown up and a little slimmer
in the process. Keith and Michael look well and Keith has the
same smile he had in the previous photo six months ago. You get
even younger looking and when I show it around the lads
can see why I'm not interested in the female sex here with such
a lovely wife and family. I do feel more homesick though h when
I look at you all and realise what I am missing. You have done
a wonderful job on your own for the last three years looking after
them so well and still keeping your own good looks. I can see
that you will be blaming me if a couple of years after I get back
you start to get lines on your forehead. Still I will try to keep
you looking young.
All my love sweetheart and keep smiling.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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26th April 1945
I was very pleased to get your letter yesterday which you finished
on Sunday afternoon and as you see ordinary letters come as quickly
as airmail letters so you needn't worry whether you have an airmail
form or not.
I'm sorry love you are having trouble with your leg again and
know how discouraged you must feel after getting it about right
again. I hope love it will make steady progress this time and
clear up properly and guess it is how my bottom would have been
if that had healed over. Don't let it get you down though love
will you and try to rest it as much as possible though I know
it is easier said than done. You had better ask Dr Mann for a
full report for me as I am sure you need me at home to help more
than some folks who have their husbands at home on compassionate
postings. Still the war is drawing to its last few days I think
now and any day now the bells will ring out for peace in Europe.
I'm glad in a way that two drinks are enough to finish you off
as I was wondering how I should be able to take you out when we
get settled down again on my normal spending money
I can imagine the time you had with the kiddies during the storm
and it's a job to think up a reason for it that they can understand
to keep them from being nervous. I guess Keith thought that being
the man of the house he had to set an example and I should tell
them that where daddy is we get storms just the same but everyone
who lives here likes them because the rain makes the food grow
and the lightning ripens the corn. The kiddies don't like the
sound of the thunder but know if it doesn't thunder the rain doesn't
fall as fast and the plants and flowers won't grow as quickly.
When you have another storm love, if it's at night, show them
the garden the next day and say how much the flowers and plants
have grown, especially anything they have helped plant. I'm full
of good ideas aren't I love, some good and some not so good.
I hope Harry is progressing after his operation. He's had a rough
time of it altogether and will take a long time to get back to
good health again. Remember me to him and tell him I wish I could
send some of the sunshine home we are having. Tell Keith daddy
is OK and hopes to be the best in the house when he gets home.
I remember bringing some newts home that we used to catch against
the walls just above Ingle Street School and I hope he has his
wish of one of each sex so that he can breed with them.
As regards leave love I have heard nothing more yet but round
our way we don't have charming hostesses to make it like home
for us. They may have them in Rome but so long as I can spend
a week relaxing and energising myself back home that will suit
me. The only pleasures I will expect are late breakfasts with
eggs and bacon, swims in the sea when I feel like it and plenty
of books and writing materials. By the way love you photo has
been duly admired by all of the staff in the office, civilian
and military and most of them think that Sheila is like you and
Keith and Michael like me. That makes it two to one in my favour
but I don't think somehow you mind love and don't want another
daughter to make it two each, do you? The photo takes pride of
place on my table so I always feel near to you.
Since my last letter I finished on Tuesday the most exciting
words have been the war news etc. and I am expecting the whole
lot to be over any day now. I see in the papers that a lot of
housewives still feel nervous about leaving the windows uncurtained
after dark and I guess it's strange to see the lights on everywhere
after so long. There should be a few good bonfires soon when the
time comes to burn all the blackout paper etc. Shall you have
the shelter taken away or put outside on the lawn for summer teas
and a shady relaxing place on a Sunday afternoon.
Tuesday night was our weekly whist drive night but I didn't repeat
my success of the previous week. I did mange to get three 11's
in the second half but also three 3's so that didn't help much.
On Wednesday after a nice shower I went to the open air picture
show in camp. The title was "San Diego I love You" and Buster
Keaton had a small role in it but it wasn't much good.
We heard today that Milan, Genoa and another Italian place had
been taken over by Italian patriots from the Germans and if it
is right the campaign on this side will soon be finished.
I'm glad you will be able to get some flowers for dads grave
on Sunday and I hope to send a postal order along love which will
pay for them and also buy mam something from me for her birthday
on May 12th.
I've not sent the other box of nuts home yet but will do so before
the week is out. I know you like a good munch at them now and
again. The lads here say my wife must be fed up with nuts as they
see me taking boxes to the P.O. not only mine but boxes for the
chaps at the office who live down there so I post their boxes
Well love it's time to say goodnight once more. Tell Michael
that daddy had the kisses he wrote on your letter and they were
real sloppy ones.
29th April 1945
Well love I hope you didn't get drunk on the strength of the
rumour that Germany had surrended, like we hear a lot of people
in the U.S.A. did. Still it won't be long before they surrender
to the whole Allies and we shall feel a lot nearer that reunion
we have talked about so much and the thought of which has kept
us carrying on.
We have heard that Mussolini and some of his gang have met with
a quick end at the hands of their former subjects and of course
there are rumours that Hitler has gone mad (I thought he had been
that way for a long time), he's dead, that he's still in charge
of Berlin's defence (or what is left of it). However true these
rumours are it shows Germany is on the point of collapse and I
don't think she will be in such a position again to cause the
damage she has over the last six years.
I suppose it feels more like peace time at home with all the
lights on and with summer coming everybody planning summer holidays.
Have you thought where you might like to go love to celebrate
our second honeymoon. I bet the kiddies would enjoy it at the
seaside this year and you and your two cronies the Mrs. B &W
will have to hire a Midland Red (Bus Company) and take the families
to Mablethorpe for a week. I'd bet you would have a time with
9 kiddies between you to watch. You'd have to take it in turns
to nip across the road for a quick'un.
I hope love you are not having a bad time with your leg again.
I can't tell you how low I feel about it sometimes. My being here
only able to write words which must seem always the same to you "stick it" "try to rest it" etc. knowing you have done the first
and find it impossible to do the second as you are fixed. If I
thought the army could give any special treatment to wives of
soldiers I'd stir things up. It will always get me that there
are as many with less responsibilities by far than your have and
still have their better halves with them to help them have a good
time. Still love we'll look on the cheerfull side and eat all
the sweets and things ourselves and make them jealous. Perhaps
they will make their husbands volunteer so they can send them
some nuts. I guess if I had been one of the lucky ones who didn't
get called up I shouldn't look at it like this and it must be
a case of sour grapes.
Well love I managed to get down into town yesterday and buy something
which I think you will like when you get it. As a matter of fact
I went into the military gift shop and spotted some table centres
painted with views of Italy at each corner they seemed reasonable
at 420 lire each, about 21/-, so I bought two one for you and
one for mum for her birthday. Feeling in a tender mood I also
bought a pair of gloves which may or may not fit you but I hope
I've sent off today three registered envelopes, two to you containing
your gifts and one to mam. If you are lucky and they come by air
you should have them in a couple of days. Otherwise I expect mam
won't get her birthday present until a fortnight or so after her
birthday and my lovely wife will have to itch with curiosity for
the same length of time. We find very little to spend our hard
earned wages on and you'll be able to show the neighbours how
lucky you are to have a husband overseas. There I go again love
- I always was sarcastic wasn't I.
We went to the opera again -quite a fan nowadays - and this time
were five floors up but still had a good view. The weather wasn't
too good as it rained on the way into town and we had a thunderstorm
on the way back. Yesterday it was on orders that until we change
into KD shorts for the summer in about a months time we should
go to work in short sleeve order, that is without jackets. A lot
of chaps got wet coming back to camp at dinnertime. I had to go
work the same way today and it seemed quite strange to walk along
with sleeves rolled up and a belt round my waist instead of braces.
I took my gas cape with me as it has been cloudy all day and rained
The gardens and fields here are full of plants and they seem
to grow as you watch them. If I eat many more salads I shall smell
of onions for the rest of my life. We get vegetable salad, including
carrots, peas, potatoes and onions on average every two
days and I've eaten enough prunes, stewed usually, to save
me buying salts for the next few months. We get a lot of marmalade
here as I expect they use a lot of the oranges they can't export
to make into marmalade. You'll have to watch me at home with the
jams love as here we just grab a jar and plaster it on about an
inch thick. Don't tempt me though with any dehydrated potatoes
if you want to keep me love as we get them served all sorts of
ways and I am just keeping my mind, as I gobble it up, on some
nice new potatoes and garden peas with a bit of lamb and mint
sauce. We did have Yorkshire pudding today with our dinner to
remind me a bit of home. Still we managed to get a tin of grapefruit
on our NAFFI issue last week so two of us demolished it for supper
(it was a big tin).
I hope the kiddies will not think I have forgotten them love
in this letter but I will have to send them another letter each.
I still get plenty of compliments about you all from the family
photo on my desk and how lucky I am to have a nice family waiting
for me. I'll envy nobody when that day arrives.
Goodnight sweetheart, god bless.
I was very pleased to get your letter dated April 29th today
also the one from Miss Mason. I couldn't think for a minute or
two who in the world Miss Mason was until I realised we
had a very beautiful Miss Mason ourselves and I'm hoping when
I finish this letter love to send Miss, Master and Master Michael
a letter each in reply.
I had a letter from mam yesterday and she said she felt a little
better though it seems her chest is wheezy and as the weather
even here is cold I expect you too are having a cold spell after
your early taste of summer.
You don't mention your leg at all love so I hope it isn't troubling
you too much or don't you mention it in case I worry. The snaps
are nice and Michael with his cap and coat on looks a real boy
and as you say love I guess I've had his baby ways. Still I think
I shall find plenty of fun with the family I come home to and
I don't think you will have to worry about having to go
through any more trying times in that direction. We've just got
the family we want and please god we'll live our lives happily
with them in peace before very long.
Sheila looks a bit wistful in the snaps but I can't say her mother
looks the same. I guess people will be asking if you are my daughter
if you keep it up. By the way love does Keith have to wear his
glasses all the time? I showed Dick the snaps tonight and he has
one with his wife holding the baby and she looks a big'un for
two years or so though very much in the baby stage compared with
Well love while I was in the cinema tonight they announced the
German armies in Italy had surrendered so another chapter of the
war ends. I don't know quite what to believe about reports of
Hitler's death. It's possible he has been killed, died, been murdered,
poisoned or isn't dead yet but in any case I wouldn't like to
be his successor. I think the end is near love and it seems on
the 9pm news that is on as I write the allies are meeting very
little opposition and soon there will be very little of Germany
I see Keith wouldn't mind me having to go away from home again
if I came home on leave and I expect he does feel a bit lost without
his dad and it's a good job he understands why. I think though
love that I would feel more upset than before even about leaving
you a second time though sometimes I feel I'd stick another year
anywhere just to be with you for a month. I can't see Japan lasting
long on her own and naval and air power must already be moving
over to the east and Burma is nearly liberated.
I often wonder if George Reeves is on the Malay peninsular near
Singapore hoping before long to be freed as so many have in Germany.
It is now four years since he was captured and I hope he has kept
his health. I had a letter from Graham Evans yesterday and was
sorry to hear Brian Kendall, a lad from the Haby Dept. who was
a lieutenant in the R.A. I think has been killed on the western
front. I don't think you knew him love but may remember his father
who at one time was a mechanic after Jim Goodbury left and worked
with Bill Griffin. He went to S & B later on.
I think I had better tell you how I am getting on before it is
too late. Before I forget I checked up on the date of my letter
after V33 and find it was sent off four days afterwards so it
might have taken longer in the post. I guess you've got it by
now also my V35 written on Thursday and possibly today V36 I wrote
on Sunday evening. I suppose it is to much to hope that the registered
envelopes have gone by air but if they have you should get them
this week. Otherwise you will have to wait a month.
We had our shirt sleeve order on Monday, the weather is still
cool and yesterday we had our jackets on again till the weather
improves. We saw a good picture in the camp on Monday night called
'The man from Down Under' with Charles Laughton and it was quite
good. Tuesday was a dull day with rain falling pretty often and
at night was our weekly whist drive, Dick won the gents prize
of 10/-. I had a reasonable score but not good enough. Today we
were able to book or rather hand in our names hoping to get seats
for the Opera to hear Gigli who by all accounts is the most famous
Italian tenor and as it cost us 10/- for a seat he'd better be
as good as they say he is. It is just to be able to say I heard
him like the trip to Vesuvius.
I have heard nothing more about my leave but until the weather
clears they can keep it. It has poured with rain most of the day.
Were getting onions at least twice a day at the moment and I am
full of wind from dusk to dawn.
Well love it's time to leave this writing room time 9.55pm and
time to say once more Goodnight love, pleasant dreams and god
bless you and the kiddies. Look after yourself for me.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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Well love this might be the last letter written while we are
at war with Germany and I guess you are also listening to all
the news bulletins to hear when it is all over. I heard on the
7pm news that it is expected to be all over in the next two or
three days and although it's not an automatic ticket back home
immediately we know the hardest part is over. About 7.15pm on
the same programme, as I was writing an answer to mum, the radio
played "You'll be so nice to come home to" and I sat without writing
anymore for quite a few minutes day dreaming of what it will be
Until the government start issuing the release groups we shan't
know just where we stand and so will not feel as excited at the
announcement of peace in Europe as we should have done in the
last war. Still love we have stuck it so far and I know your love
is with me as mine is with you.
I am glad there will be no more sirens, risk of plane crashes
with bombs and restricted lighting etc. and things you've had
to do without will be coming back into the shops again. There's
one thing there should be enough ships around to take everyone
out here home on leave and although I don't want to leave you
again, even for a short time love, I long so much to see you and
the kiddies again. I've not seen a photo of Sheila yet with a
big smile on her face though I think she is a bit nervous of the
I hope you have been luck and received the table centre and gloves
by air I sent by registered envelope. I expect I shall hear from
you in a few days if you have. I haven't heard anymore about the
7 days leave I'm expecting and it had better come quick or else
I shan't have any credits left to spend on it.
It will be three years a week tomorrow since I had to report
to Chepstow and start eating out of a mess tin with a thousand
others in the same boat. I think there should be an increase of
1/- a day in my wages, unless as usual the army balances it in
the army fashion and it is only an increase on paper. By the way
did you hear anymore about that form you had to fill in asking
if you had a court order against me etc.
I had a letter from Roy Lacey on Friday and he said he had been
Bluebelling in Swithland Woods (with his fiancé I expect)
and walked home through the fields to Anstey. It takes my mind
back to the Hikes we had in our younger days (sounds like we are
getting on in years) and I shall enjoy just as much picnicking
with the kiddies doing the picking and us relaxing. According
to him the name of Faire Brothers stinks a bit around Leicester
but I'll be glad to get my bottom on the stool again.
I went to town yesterday with Sam Mead from Leicester and Tom
Mansfield and once again had a do at the opera, this time it was "Madame Butterfly" I'll stop for a minute love, here is the 9pm
news, are you listening with me love.
Well love it's 9-10pm and it seems all over bar the shouting.
I'll be listening again with you love each night at the same time
and am saving half a bottle of stout to drink your dear health.
Have one for me love at the same time.
Well as I was saying love we had a good seat in the stalls for
2/6d and when we came away from there we had tea and Tom
took snaps of the group which I hope to send along when they are
We had a cinema show on in camp on Friday night "Lost in a Harem"
with Abbot and Costello and it wasn't too bad. The weather is
getting warmer again after the colder and raining spell and next week should see us in shorts. I've not been for a swim yet
as I have been to town on my day off the last four weeks but will
be doing so soon I expect.
I hope Keith Sheila and Michael get their letters and cards and
are satisfied with them. I never know if the sums I set for Keith
are OK but I asked him to send me a sample of what he does at
school to put me wise.
Well love I think I'll have an early night tonight so I can dream
a little longer with you. I've got a nice corned beef sandwich
waiting for me in the billet but no cocoa worst luck.
God bless you all.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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9th May 1945. VE
Well love I was pleased on VE1 day to get your letter dated May
3rd and posted on May 4th They arrived together with one from Mam
just after we had had a short service in the square in the barracks
and to see the snaps of you and the kiddies on the lawn with the
bikes in the background made me long to be with you.
I expect you have had an exciting two days and the kiddies have
had a good time with plenty of singing , bands, processions and
ice creams. I have been listening quite a lot to the radio and
we had a laugh today when the announcer gave the weather forecast
for today and spoke about our old friend the depression. Also
today when they were describing the scenes in London and saying
that the dogs took no notice of the fireworks as they were already
Well love I hope you had a good time and not spent it worry about
how long it will be before I'm back home. Actually none of us
know what the government and the army will do. We are all waiting
to see if they release some groups and give others leave and then
send them back or what scheme they have.
The camp is very quiet at present. On Monday rumours were floating
round all day, first it was over then it wasn't and we heard it
first hand on the radio officially at 7.40 p.m.. I had saved half
a bottle of stout from the NAAFI for the occasion and drank to
your health and said a silent prayer that we would soon be together
Afterwards I walked across to the canteen with a pal about 8.0
pm and we had a couple of Vermouths to drink each other's health.
There was an open air show on camp 'Captain Courageous with Spencer
Tracey in so we watched that and then went to bed not knowing
if we would be working the next morning or not.. Nobody seemed
very excited and the canteen closed at 10.0pm as usual with very
few unsteady on their feet.
Reveille was at 5.45 as usual but the orderly sergeant came in
and said work is off and we could sleep until 7.0am. I got up
at 7.30 and had breakfast and we had an informal parade at 9.0
when the RSM said there was a service at 11.00 and afterwards
free drinks in the canteen for two days..
We had the service but then there was a dive for the canteen
by those who wanted to get lit up quickly.
I was with Dick and we managed to get a bottle of beer each and
I read you letters while sitting outside in the brilliant sunshine.
We had been told to celebrate in camp if possible but after
dinner decided to go for a dip in the sea so I have my first bathe
this year getting back about 5.45. We were late for the cinema
show in the Palladium so came back to the barracks to listen to
the wireless and after a glass of vermouth at about 8.0 we heard
the wireless again until about 10 pm. The wireless was outside
and we sat there listening to the King's speech while across the
square in the canteen the lads were having a rousing sing song
with 'Bless them all' the favourite although they don't use the
work 'bless' I was in bed by 10.30 but from then until about 1.0am
I could hear various chaps returning to their billets singing
as they came.
Today was also a rest day and this morning Dick and I visited
the British Canteen where Dick took a snap for a momento. The
soldier in charge there said he had had four years burying
and tending graves right from El Alemein onwards and he hadn't
seen his daughter now four years old. He made Kraft cheese before
he was called up and it certainly sounded a big change from his
civvy job. When we got back we watched football match between
the B.O.D teams and then came back to the camp for dinner. Some
of the lads went swimming again this afternoon but I decided to
change into my shorts and went to the information room to write
some more letters.
The only thing in the camp tonight is another sing song in the
canteen so once again I'm in my usual writing spot.
Well love, that was our victory celebrations, quiet weren't they
? When I come home we will celebrate properly, I promise.
God bless you and the kiddies.
11th May 1945
Well love I was pleasantly surprised to get you letter dated
the 7th and am glad you liked your little gifts. It's a good idea
to put the embroided cover under a glass tray and I mentioned
what you have done to Tom Mansfield who also sent one home and
he is writing home to tell them to do the same.
I'm sorry Sheila is poorly and hope she will get over it. I expect
with all the noise and excitement of VE day you feel just about
done in. Tell her daddy has sent her an extra kiss to make her
We have now been told we can send pictures home of where we are
so I'm going through my souvenir snaps and postcards to send some
to you so everyone can see what a beautiful country daddy is in
just now. I had a word with the officer about my leave today and
hope to go to Maiori a week next Monday for a break. It is lovely
there for bathing so I can forget the daily routine for a week
and daydream about the time we will be back together again. We
don't know when that day will dawn but we have managed to keep
our spirits up so far which is the main thing and that day will
be the best we have ever had.
You say you don't mind being kept in on VE day as long as nothing
stops you from meeting me at Leicester Station. I think you would
be there, love, even if you had to break out of hospital wouldn't
you and I feel happy knowing that we mean so much to each other.
I did have a letter from Agnes and I think she was being an optimist
when she said she thought I would be playing cricket for Faire
Brothers before the summer is out. I don't think some of the folks
back home realise how long some of the lads have been out here
without getting back home. There is also so much to do even though
the Germans are finished.
A lad in our office has been here for four years and his release
group is 36. We have heard rumours that 1-20 or 1-24 age groups
should be released in the next six months but all I know is that
we are supposed to start being educated by the Army during our
spare time (if any) so I've put down for shorthand and Interior
decorating so I can have a go at spring cleaning the house when
I do get home and back to normal living.
Well last night we saw a very good ENSA show, "Pocket Varieties" an all Italian show which lasted about two hours and the house
We have booked to hear Gigli the best known and by the price
of the seats, the highest paid, tenor in Italy and the Verdi opera
House in Salerno will be packed. The seats are priced from 5/-
to £1 and we have ten shilling seats. I have seen quite
a few operas at the San Carlo, Naples and the NAAFI there is housed
in the Royal Palace which is a first class place. When we were
there last, Tom Mansfield took a snap of us on the balcony which
I will send to you in due course.
We are now allowed by the censor to mention places we have been
to and it was at Naples 16 months ago where we landed. We were
for a time at Nola which you can find on the map about 20 miles
from Naples. before coming in March 1944 to our present location.
Well love, now we don't have to limit the number of blue
triangle letters we write each week I shall be writing more often
so good night sweetheart, carry on the good work a little longer.
All my love, Eric.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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Well how are things now? Are you able to settle down for
a bit longer. I hope you haven't been knocked up with Sheila being
poorly. I've had a letter from mam today which says Sheila seems
a bit better and as she says there are a lot of feverish colds
about. Does she still look a pitiful little thing when she is
poorly. I remember she used to look that sorrowful and unhappy
when she was off colour.
Mam says she hopes to get her present from me put in a tray like
you mentioned in your letter and we will have something to remind
us of Italy when we have settled down again in our proper life
Well love my last letter to you was on Friday and here is an
account of myself since then. As a rule on Saturdays I have a
day off but I had to work for a change and have Sunday off. Saturday
evening there was a show (picture) so I was more or less up to
date with my correspondence. I went and so passed one more evening.
On Sunday, which was our first day in shorts, I went to a thanksgiving
service in the church here and am saving the programme in my wallet
for that day when we can read together our letters etc. again.
Afterwards we got one or two sandwiches and went for a swim. Afterwards
we did a bit of sunbathing and I did my best about keeping from
getting sunburnt about my body. I forgot to pay as much attention
to my legs and about 5pm when we got back to camp they had started
After that I went to see Gigle, the Italian tenor and he was
very good in "The Masked Ball". It was about 12pm when we got
back to camp.
The ration corporal went on leave on Monday and I have taken
over the rations for a week. It is a change and as I hope to go
on leave myself next week with Dick I'm afraid my normal work
has gone to the dogs a bit. There was a good picture on in camp
at night called "And Now Tomorrow" with Loretta Young in
the lead and it was quite warm outside watching it. I put some
vasolene on my legs when I got back to my billet. Today to be
on the safe side I put my long trousers on instead of my shorts
and now tonight I am about OK again.
A lot of chaps have underestimated the power of the sun and got
burnt a bit, my knees are a lovely brownish pink and my arms are
skinning a bit as we have to have our sleeves rolled up during
Tonight after we finished there was a bit of a do for the 'Ities'
who work with us so it was about 7.45pm when I left. They were
having a dance on the square when I decided to sneak away but
it beats me how they are able to dance so fast with the weather
so hot. Every waltz is about twice as fast as an old fashioned
English waltz and their quick steps make them dance so fast.
There are about 40 chaps and 7 or 8 girls so they made each dance
an excuse me so each one got a chance. I tried one dance
but gave it up as bad job as I think I am getting a bit old to
go at that pace. I went across to the writing room to write this
but it was closed for the evening so I had to sit on the side
of my bed so if the writing is a bit scrawly please forgive me.
Before I go on I forgot to mention that yesterday was my third
anniversary in the army so I will be handing in my pay book to
get the extra 1/- a day plus I think 3d a day for the third year
increment. I guess the army in their quiet way will give it me
with one hand and take it away with the other so if my wage increases
and yours goes down you will have to let me know so I can send
it on now and again.
It is now 10.20pm and while I am writing this there is an argument
going on about state control,children etc. nearby, so as I have
to join in now and again I will have to hurry to finish by lights
I've not fished out the views I have to send home but hope to
do so tomorrow or Thursday. I don't know what to buy Keith for
his birthday as the toys are too big (what are worth buying) but
if I am unable to get anything I'll have to let you know and send
the money on.
Well love it's time once more to say goodnight. I know there
is not much interesting happening to put in the letter but it
is the usual daily routines here
17th May 1945
I was very pleased to get your letter today dated the 11th of
May and I'm relieved to hear Sheila is a bit better and hope the
weather will allow you to go out with her and help put the roses
back in her cheeks again. Poor kid, I bet she was in a state with
her ulcerated mouth and bet she was in a lot of pain. I've wondered
about if it affects the teeth and from what I remember it can
be caused by drinking from another persons cup and the sergeant
I work with said they had a case on gingivitis in their mob in
Scotland and the army authorities sent them about 120 tubes of
I am sorry about your leg still being sore love and it must have
decided not to heal until I come home. We have been discussing
the release group plans and it looks like another 8 months or
so before the army give me my ticket. Whether or not I get home
on leave in the meantime rests I suppose on the usual shipping
situation, how many men have to stay on the job here and in relation
with the war against Japan.
I see Churchill has said that men needed for Burma will get leave
at home first if possible and though I think I shan't be going
out that way it seems the only certain way of getting leave at
home. I expect they will still have the L.I.A.P. draw for chaps
with over 2 years service abroad and on August
11th I shall be eligible for that so you never know. Someone has
to be lucky and it might be me. I do understand I shall
be going on local leave for a week next Monday so I'll have plenty
of time to get up to date with all of my letters.
Since my letter on Tuesday night life has been going on much
the same here. We had a thunderstorm last night at the time we
should have been going to an outdoor picture show and so it was
held in the 'Palladium'. It was about the closest night we have
had so far. The sweat was rolling off of us as there was a crowded
house and the picture ' Song of a lonely Soul' or something
like that with Percy Grant as Ernie Mott a London Cockney in the
lead role took two hours to show.
I lay in my vest with one blanket only on top and was still too
warm. I went back to short trousers today as my legs are OK again
but my arms have started to skin and itch like the devil. I had
a very nice shower tonight, changed my underwear and after our
NAAFI issue, which included 3 half pint bottles of Italian ale
per man, it was about 8.30pm and I came over here.
By the way I see my sums to Keith are too easy for him and am
waiting for him to send me a few examples of what he is able to
do. I expect it is a queer sort of peace for the kiddies with
so many things still rationed and especially for those who still
have to wait for their daddies to come home before things are
like they remember them before the war.
Mabel and Bernice have done more for us than we can repay
though I know they don't want any such thing and we will try to
find some way to show them how much we love them for all they
have done. I hope Mabel is getting better now and is able to give
up work and have a good rest at home. Norah seems to thrive on
work at the Fosse Cinema and expect she's glad of the money it
brings her. With the kids growing up and still all at school I
don't expect she is able to put much away and it will help when
Eric starts work at August I should think.
I don't think I will be able to taste your early potatoes this
year love do you, but save a few shallots as they will go well
with a bit of cheese and a nice cup of cocoa. Happy days love
I have always kept before me and always will till we start an
even happier life together with the added knowledge of how much
we mean to each other.
We were given the army booklets on the release plans and the
government plans for making super men before we enter civvy street
again by educating ourselves etc. still it must be handy for the
chaps with five years service already and the prospect of another
18 months like a lot have. I see Bevan still says he won't call
up any more over the age of 30 and it's about time John Bull wrote
him an open letter regarding all the chaps much older who have
done their bit and not had the chance of making a nice bank balance
to educate their families while the lads who were only 25 when
the war started and shot into reserved jobs can sit back and rub
their hands and carry on making their money. I wonder if he has
a son just over 30 who may have been affected
Well love I talk like this as it seems unfair not just to me
but all of the lads.
God bless you and the kiddies
Well love at last I am on 7 days leave and as Dick managed his
at the same time we are both tonight sitting outside the house
which is the unit rest camp on our first night away. It has been
a lovely day today and we had a swim and a good sunbathe. I had
spent one or two days before coming here on the beach so am already
a nice brown.
I am making it a real quiet holiday and hope to get right
up to date with my correspondence. I expect the mail from
you will take a day or two longer to reach me as it will no doubt
go first to where I work before being forwarded on. I didn't know
till this morning it was Whit Monday and so, unlike Leicester
which is not having a holiday at Whit I am taking it easy.I hope
love you are well and that Sheila has got over her gingivitis
so you are getting your rest again and the kiddies can play out
Out here the main topic is the demobilization plan and they say
the up to group 26 will be out this year. That sounds as though
it will be February or March before I get my ticket but I'm hoping
Japan will continue her peace offers and accept unconditional
surrender long before then, before her islands get blasted to
kingdom come. Of course new schemes may come in besides to release
older men from the services so we always have a hope in our hearts
to keep us going
I see we shall have plenty of ribbons to wear with the army civvy
suit with the 1939-45 star, the defence medal and Italian medal
and think I shall have to apply for the ARP medal as I got three
years service in before the army found I was necessary there.
Still I can't see me wearing any but the kiddies might like to
play with them.
There is another LIAP draw tonight at the camp and in another
three months time my name will go in. You never know your luck
love and as groups 1-18 are excluded as they will be returning
home in the next three or four months. Of course by August they
will have extended the number of groups that are excluded from
leave and if they do exclude up to group 30 I know it wont be
long before my turn comes.
We had grand meals today as there are only about 30 men here
and it is always easier cooking for that number rather than 2000
men. I understand we can get eggs for breakfast at 20 lire (1/-)each
so although it no doubt seems dear to you I shall be getting my
strength up during the week. We had our annual egg in camp on
Sunday morning so it was a good start. I went to communion at
8.30am and afterwards went with Tom Mansfield down to the beach
for the day.
Inflation does not seem to have
applied to eggs. Currently they are 49p for ten in the
local Lydl store which makes them 1/- each in 'old' money,
exactly the price Eric was paying in Italy in 1945
All last week I was on civvy rations going by lorry to draw them
and then issuing them later in the day. It was a change and this
weather its nice to get out for a ride instead of being inside
all of the time. By the way love I see our beds have sheets on
so I doubt if I will sleep very well after being used to army
blankets for so long. We also have tablecloths on the dining room
table, cups with handles and saucers and our food is served on
plates with no queuing up. During the week I hope to visit once
more the place I bought the needlework for you from last year
and also I hope to get Keith something for his birthday. If I
can't I'll be sending home one or two P.O.'s for you to get him
I keep getting put off this letter as Dick is nursing the cat
and it keeps sticking its claws into him and playing about and
he keeps wanting me to watch it.
I drew 4,000 lire (£10) today so I shouldn't be short on
leave but today I've not spent a cent. I certainly won't spend
it on wine as it has to last me until a week on Thursday in any
case as we miss the usual fortnightly pay parade next Thursday.
I am hoping Keith will be sending me another letter soon telling
me what he does at school as he seems to have earned his chocolate
too easily. By the way I don't suppose you have had any of the
South African stuff yet but it should be coming along any day
Give my love to both Mams and dad and I'll be writing them all
in the next day or so. I hope Mams asthma has about cleared up and she is able to get out again, also your mum is getting over
Well love it's getting dark, time to say once more goodnight
sweetheart, sweet dreams and god bless you and the kiddies. I
spend my days and nights thinking of you all and longing for that
day of all days to dawn.
Well love I have now been here three days and have had grand
weather all the time so far. As a matter of fact it is too warm
sometimes and I've managed to burn my legs quite a bit more than
is good for comfort so parts are skinning. Still it is very restful
and I am eating more eggs than I have had for the past 12 months,
I should be fit by the end of the week.
We spent the first day on the beach having a dip and a sunbathe
and (excuse the blotches love there are a few drops of rain falling,
heat spots I think and I'm sitting on the wall of the promenade
writing this) at night we wind up at the club.
Tuesday was even hotter and most of the time we lounged on the
beach sunbathing and swimming, more of the former as I am not
such a hot swimmer but manage to splash around for about ten minutes
at a time. I find it is difficult to sleep at nights as it is
hot and the noise of the sea seems to keep me awake.
There are a lot of fishing boats here and night they go out with
big lamps on the front of the boats which they say makes the fish
blind and they swim into the net. With nearly a full moon at the
moment it looks a treat and if you and the kiddies were with me
at the moment I should be happy.
The sands are not the golden colour we see at home partially
because of the ash from Vesuvius laying about still and mixing
with the sand. It gives it a dirty grey look. Some of the kiddies
are as brown as berries and spend most of their time in and out
of the water.
On Wednesday we decided to walk to Ravello, the beauty spot in
the hills where in peacetime many rich English people have their
villas and it was and it was there we went for a day last September
and I bought the needlework. It was rather hot walking but we
saw some grand scenery on the way. We arrived there at midday
and decided it was time to quench our thirst.
We went to a very nice hotel with an open verandah where the
proprietor, who had learnt English very well, looking after visitors
for 35 years, said wine was better than lemonade as a thirst quencher
so we had a bottle between us. After the drink he took us to a
really well fitted bathroom for a wash and brush up and then we
decided it was time to eat. We had two eggs and chips followed
by cream cheese made from goats milk and another bottle of white
Needless to say we we felt nice and tired by the time we had
finished and we sat in the deck chairs for about an hour daydreaming
and wishing it was peacetime and we were properly on holiday with
you and the children. Afterwards we went round the villas we had
visited before, also the monastery. A young novice took us round
and I found the wine I had had enabled me to talk fluent Italian.
When we came out he gave us little discs with the crest of the
monastery on and it surprised me when he asked if we had a cigarette,
not for him as I thought at first, but for the priest. It was
a new one on me and we had to laugh.
We started back to camp at 4pm and got back in time for dinner
at 6pm. I had dropped my watch in the sand the day before and
it had stopped so I took it to the watch repairer and he hopes
to get it done by Friday for a cost of 10/-. We had some
snaps taken and called for them from the photographers. There
are three or four with me on and you will see love I'm trying
to keep young for you although I notice my grey hairs are getting
I received today my first mail since coming here, three
copies of the Leicester Chronicle from Mabel which I haven't
studied yet, Faire Brothers magazine No.9 which includes my snap
taken with Frank Hull and a letter from Jack Turvey.
Later today after I had started this letter I was pleased
to get yours dated May 18th and am pleased to see you had a nice
time at the Culver Road party.
I know how you feel about some neighbours and I feel the same
way love but it is as well not to think that way too much but
thank god the war has not hit us as hard as some. We don't know
how long it will be before we are together again and I know the
children must be a trial to you sometimes. I bet the front room
looks a lot bigger without the shelter and I am wondering how
Michael is going to kiss his daddies photo. He'll have to blow
kisses in future
I can't find any good photo's of Vesuvius yet for Keith but I
hope to get some before long.
I'm sorry I forgot to say how much I liked the goodnight snap
of Sheila and Michael and it will be a grand day when I can carry
them up to bed. Goodnight love, god bless you all. The shelter which is refered to consisted of a metal top table under which we spent the night when the air raid sirens sounded. If the house collapsed, the theory was that the table would be strong enough to stop those underneath being crushed.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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27th May 1945
Well love once more I'm back in camp after my leave and after
some time getting my kit etc. straight again. Here I am in the
writing room about 7.30pm to talk to you dear.
The time has passed quickly during the last week and it doesn't
seem five minutes since I started my holiday there. I am sending
in another envelope some views of Maiori and Amalfi also some
of Ravella and you will see how from them how hilly the country
is around that area
on image to enlarge
There is one view showing Amalfi with a lift to a hotel in the
foreground and Keith would love to see that I'm sure. I've sent
him in another envelope a little booklet of snaps of Vesuvius
taken during the eruption last year and they were all I could
get. Tell Sheila and Michael I will be sending them a picture
card in a day or two so they won't think daddy has forgotten them
when he sent a letter to Keith.
Dick has taken some good snaps during our leave and I'll be sending
them on when the copies come through. I got well tanned during
the week as most of our time was spent in bathing costumes on
I went round the shops at Maiori to try to find something for
Keith's birthday but couldn't find anything so will be sending
a P.O. for £2 and you will have to get something for me
love. I did buy a tie which I'm sending and also a couple of bottles
of brillantine which I thought were scent when I bought them.
There are also three little handkerchiefs and a bracelet, which
if you think Sheila would like with one of the links off she can
have or if you like it for yourself love, have it and I'll try
to get a smaller one for her.
On Friday we decided to learn how to row. I took it out across
the bay, being an experienced oarsman (?) after practicing on
the Abbey Park (remember, love) and then Dick took over and after
a shaky start got on pretty well. After dinner we decided to visit
Amalfi grotto and cavern under the sea with pillars of rock and
an entrance, besides of course the one we entered by, about 30ft
under water so the sunlight reflecting through the water in the
tunnels made all the water in the grotto a wonderful emerald colour.
We had walked from the rest camp to Amalfi where we hired a boat
and after an hours journey around the coast we reached it. The
water was not rough but had a bit of a swell on but I didn't feel
sick for once.
I think we must have got boats on the brain as Saturday morning
we decided to try a spot of fishing from a rowing boat. We had
had our usual two eggs for breakfast, I had altogether 14 eggs
in 6 days, and once again the sea had rather a heavy swell which
was OK as we were rowing out but while fishing my stomach began
to feel uneasy. We stuck it for over an hour but didn't catch
anything so we gave up. When I got back to the billet I
thought I'd feel better if I gave up my breakfast which I did
and felt much better afterwards.
I didn't have a lot of mail while I was at the rest camp, one
from you on Thursday and one from mam on Friday together with
Faire Brothers magazine and some Leicester Chronicles from Mabel.
The only letter waiting for me on my return was one from Jack
Richardson and a Leicester Chronicle from Gladys Wain.
I see the children have had a good time at the various street
parties and hope you enjoyed your little outing to Coalville on
Monday. I hope the weather at home now is better and you are still
wearing that smile love and have the family once more in good
health. I hear Keith's tummy had been off so no doubt you had
a bit of extra work with his pants.
I guess this waiting is getting you down now and again love and
I feel the same wishing with all my heart a miracle would happen
and I could find myself on the way home to you. When my thoughts
dwell on what I am missing every day I am away from you I feel
rotten knowing a lot of chaps have to come home before me and
you must carry on alone however your health is. Please god may
that day dawn when we can be together again. I love you so much
dear. Goodnight sweetheart, sweet dream and god bless you and
29th May 1945
Well love it's only two days since my last letter so I expect
I will have a job making it interesting but I know even if there
is little to say you like me to say "hello love how are you" as
often as possible.
I hope you are keeping well love and your leg is getting on more
now or else you will need a longer holiday than I shall with all
the sleep you are losing. I think the government aught to give
mothers a days holiday with pay for every month they have had
to do double job on their own. The hardship on the home front
seems to have been divided very unequally and those who have not
had the extra work to do don't seem to realize how luck they have
been. Still love we have found out in a way that they can't know
how much we mean to each other and so have much more to look forward
I started the daily routine work on Monday and it seemed a long
day. Actually our hours of work have been altered so we now work
an extra ¼ hour each day and an extra hour on Saturday
morning, finishing at 1pm until Monday morning so we have the
Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday off. It will enable us to
go for a Saturday afternoon swim if we wish although the last
two days it has been raining on and off and tonight it looks as
if there is a storm brewing.
We have just been listening to the fight on the radio between
Roderick and Dawkins and from the chaps expressions as they listened,
they enjoyed it as much as the spectators at the ringside. I wondered
if you were also listening and possibly Harry Langdale had come
It's a pity one of the many chaps still at home can't put those
spuds in for you love as they are always a good standbye for the
winter months. Don't try to do them by yourself though love, its
too much for any woman let alone one who has too much on her wheel than she should have. I know you often do things which have to
be done however tired you feel, but that is not one of them and
I'd rather the potatoes stay in the sack and went rotten than
you should be knocked up. Perhaps Mr. S wants instructions in
how to set them the right way up. They should certainly know the
number of times they have watched me over the garden fence or
from the bedroom window. Still I wouldn't worry about it love,
just look after yourself, that's the main thing.
When I got back from my leave I heard that some ATS had been
posted here but they are away at another camp and none work at
our office or in the vicinity, though the few I've seen wouldn't
cause you any anxiety love. Some of the chaps that like entertainment
in that direction may feel happier through their coming but I'm
only interested in one person love who I always loved and wanted
to be with and you should know by now who I mean. We have kept
faith so far love and always will. I long for love but with you
dear when that day dawns. It raised a faint hope when you mentioned
about Faire Brothers doing what they could to get some of us released
but I doubt the government will release many men out of turn and
after all I suppose it's the fairest way of release for those
men in the army as it is. Not that I'd refuse release love.
We had a chap from the Ministry of Labour here yesterday lecturing
about the blue booklet on release and we were able to put questions
to him in writing for him to answer. I asked him about the maximum
age of 30 for call up and a lot more must have thought the same
as out of about 20 questions, 8 were on the same subject. His
reply was that the war office could only train so many men in
the twelve months after the defeat of Germany and the Ministry
of labour could supply those from the under 30,s. nobody seemed
very satisfied with the explanation but it had to stand as we
were not allowed to discuss his answers.
I expect you will be voting for me before long love in the general
election and I'll let you know later what I think. Perhaps you
will let me know who the candidates are when they are announced
for our area.
I have sent off tonight a picture postcard each to Sheila and
Michael and have posted the various little gifts I mentioned in
my last letter. I've just got to get a 'free of duty' label tomorrow
and hope to post it tomorrow night. I'm getting the £2 postal
order for Keith but if it doesn't arrive in time will you get
something useful for him love and take the money when it arrives.
Well I filled this love and feel I could carry on much longer
now its about filled.
We saw a film ' Meet me in St. Louis' last night in camp and
it was lousy. I guess that's the lot. Goodnight dear, pleasant
dreams and God bless.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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2nd June 1945
Well love we have now entered the 6th month of 1945 and no matter
how slow the time drags it does keep on and each day brings us
nearer reunion. We don't see much change here than before the
war finished as there is enough work to keep us going though we
have just had the hours adjusted so we work a bit longer each
day and finish in time to get Saturday afternoon off and also
Sunday so we do get a bit more time to ourselves.
We have started classes on hobbies etc. in the evenings and on
Wednesday night I started shorthand so that when I get back I
can take down in shorthand everything you have to tell me. I should
think it would be enough to fill a book if you can remember it
all. I expect when me meet we will both be tongue-tied and just
look at each other and wonder if it is for real.
The news about John Mantle who I think must be Mr. Mantle of
F.B's has come as a shock and I hope to hear it is not him as
he will be badly missed there. If it is him no doubt one of the
chaps in the office will write to tell me.
I'm sorry you couldn't go to 'Gussies' dance and know Bill has
an irritating way of getting your back up now and again but we
know he has always been the same and perhaps it's a good job he
doesn't' live in Leicester else he would drive you crackers sometimes.
On Thursday it was warmer again but not warm enough to bathe
after work. I wrote a letter to Mabel at night as it is some time
since I wrote to her. Friday was our cinema night and though it
was an old picture 'Strike up the Band' with Mickey Rooney and
Judy Garland it was pretty good.
I forgot to mention that on Wednesday after our shorthand lesson
we saw a picture at the 'Palladium' called 'Arsenic and old Lace'
which was a really good film and fairly recent I should think.
The place was packed for both houses.
We have arranged at the office that the chaps who sleep down
there do the weekend duty clerk so I'm off every Saturday afternoon
This weekend it has turned out fine and I went on the LCO bike
with Tom down to the beach for a bathe. It was a bit rough but
most of the time we spent laying on the sand or rather shingle.
Afterwards we went into town and saw Bette Davis in a film.
As you can see I didn't finish the letter on Saturday and when
I returned to camp there was a letter waiting for me from Edith
Evans who told me about MR. Mantle. Apparently they had elected
three new directors in the morning, Mr. Coates, Tom Burnham and
Frank Fewkes and later they had lunch at the Grand Hotel to celebrate
it. Mr Mantle complained of feeling unwell and died suddenly
while he was being taken home. It will be a big shock to all at
F.B's and I feel very sorry he had to go. He was always
one you could talk to and was very good to me when I saw him after
I was called up. I think he will be missed more than anyone else
in the firm and wonder whether Mr. Wright in the counting house
will take his place. Of course there is Mr. Partington who may
do so but either one of them will have a job to carry on his job
I'm pleased to hear of Mr. Coates promotion to directorship and
know I have a good friend in him. I expect he will still carry
on his corset travellings and he may keep the department busier
than ever. I shall have to drop him a line of congratulations
and I bet the girls are kidding him about it. Whether he will
take over the suspender and brace departments as nominal manager
I don't know but I expect he will need a desk of his own.
I have at last got the free of duty parcel ready and will send
it off tonight. Tom don't seem very lucky at the moment with the
parcel from Durban and it must be coming along near Keith's birthday
so don't make all the jelly's up before then and have one left
for his party.
We hope to attend a race meeting this afternoon, but as all the
runners are donkey's or mules I guess there will be more laughs
than anything else.
Dick has just come in to the billet to have his Sunday morning
shower and if he can get in the truck after dinner he is going
with us. It is a lovely day and I wish you were here with me love.
It will be the first race meeting I have been to. Dick hoped to
get the snaps back this week of our holiday in Maiori but they
are waiting for paper and so will be a few days yet.
I hope Keith liked the Vesuvius snaps and I have asked one of
the chaps who is going to Naples today to see if he can
get some more views of it so I may be able to send a few more
off. Did you like the views of Amalfi, Ravella and Maiori
or have they come sea mil and not arrived yet.
Don't think love I am enjoying life out here that much that I
don't care how long I stay. I try to get as much enjoyment as
I can while I must be here, but always in my heart is the prayer
that before long I will be able to come home to you for good and
it will be more pleasure to sit by my own fireside with you and
the kiddies than anything that happens here without you. We can
get out in the summer but when it starts to get darker and colder
at night the only thing we can do is stay on camp most nights,
relying on picture shows etc. to keep our minds occupied.
Before I forget love, thanks for the bathing costume I have just
had. I christened it yesterday but found two small holes in it
in a private part which I shall have to get mended.
Tom forgot to put my name on the address but it was addressed
C & E so found me OK.
Goodnight sweetheart, sweet dreams and roll on that day of days.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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5th June 1945
I was very pleased love to get your letter today dated 29th May
and posted on the 31st. and before I start telling you about myself
love I will just straighten out the points you raise in yours.
Well love the place we went to on leave Maiori is on the coast
about 10 miles north of Salerno and the road to it winds round
the cliff side and there are two or three small bays which the
road follows round before getting to Maiori. Our camp at San Antonis
is about 9 miles south of Salerno and about 1 ½ to 2 miles
from the sea. It takes us three quarters of an hour to reach the
nearest point of the beach from here. Inland from our camp about
four miles away the hills and the mountains start and they look
grand and rugged and on some of the higher ones there was snow
until the middle of May.
This district is a fruit producing area but at the moment the
crops of wheat etc. are ready for harvesting. Tomatoes plants
are showing signs of a good harvest and the orange trees are beginning
to blossom. Round Maiori they seem to concentrate on grapes, lemons
and nuts and the lemon trees(they look more like vines) are full
of lemons now as they get two crops a year I understand.
About four miles north of Maiori in the next bay is Amalfi, where
there is a cathedral and it was from there we took a boat to visit
the Blue Grotto.
Ravella, a prosperous village about as big as Long Buckby is
up the mountains between Amalfi and Maiori and most of the big
Gardens etc. stretching for two or three hundred...... (Corner of letter missing)
To the edge of the mountains belong to wealthy......
Some Italian and some English. You will....
from the views I've sent along and I hope...
other views soon. By the way the snap Dick took of the VE day
service didn't show me as I was on the far side. The Colonel wants
a post card enlargement of them so he must think they are good.
Eggs love cost us 1/3d each not 1/- as you mention and it's cheap
to what they were(1/9d) two or three months ago. Tell Evelyn you
have done enough laying in my opinion and yours too eh love, we
don't want any more children hatching out.
I've written to Mr. Coates about his promotion and I thought
when I heard the news I wonder if Olive thinks I might get his
traveling job. What did you say love?
I see you have had to do the gardening yourself after all and
perhaps MR. S is saving his energy to hoe the spuds up for you.
I hope you have set plenty of lettuce love so you can give them
some. I don't quite get ' I think there is something out of place
at their own home' and as I am curious perhaps you can explain
more. I may be dense unless you mean he must get every little
weed up etc. in his 'massive' garden before he can tackle ours.
It seems funny to hear 'Bob has been off from work' when it doesn't
seem long since I was writing to him from England and him in Gib.
I shall feel a real old sweat if any more of my nephews and nieces
take up family life. The grey hairs in my head don't seem to grow
any less in number.
Well love I seem to feel a cheerful note in your letter with
you in such good spirits as you can with so much to look after
on your own and I guess the kiddies good behaviour (I hope it
lasts) sometimes helps.
Top of page missing
I think I mentioned in my last letter I was going to the races
on Sunday afternoon and I went with Dick and Tom and Mac from
the office and we had a very pleasant time. The racing was at
Persano about 20 miles south of our camp (you want a good map
of Italy to follow this) and we went by lorry.
All of the runners were mules and there was a tote taking bets
of 5/- and 25/-. We all had a race card and picked out a mule
that we fancied but kept the money 2/6d each and the one with
the winner took the lot. I picked two winners and ended up 7/6d
in hand. Of course all the mules didn't run according to plan
and there were 15 in each race.
At night I wrote to Mr. Coates and mam and went to bed by 10pm.
Yesterday, Monday I managed I maaged to send off the parcel of
little things I 'd bought on leave and registered the parcel so
it should arrive OK. It has a free of duty label on so don't pay
any duty on it love will you.
I had some Chronicles from Gladys Wain and last night we saw
a film in camp I see was on at the Odeon a month ago "Wilson" and as it didn't start until 9pm it was 11.30 before it finished.
Today we have been on civvy pay once more and as it's now 9.25pm
Mr. Attlee is speaking on the wireless and he seems worse than
I've got to have a shave and then to bed to dream I hope of you.
So goodnight sweetheart, sweet dreams.
Go to next letter from Olive....
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9th June 1945
Well love I was pleased to get your letter on Thursday and although
you are quite right when you say the views of various parts of
Italy are pretty good, that is not enough to keep a family man
contented and especially when he loves so much that family.
It is now Saturday and at 1pm I will be finished for the weekend.
The weather has been fine all week and looks as if it will continue
so. I'm pleased Keith liked the Vesuvius photos and I had
to smile at him saying it is a good birthday present. I've asked
for a £2 postal order which I am sending on to you to buy
something for him. I am also sending a birthday card in an envelope
addressed to him which if it turns up before his birthday perhaps
you will hold it back till then unless of course he sees it first
and you have to tell him it must have come by a very fast plane.
I had a letter from Harry Quinn yesterday telling me about the
collection of furniture by the wardens. It was about their last
job I think, so I don't suppose you will be getting anymore little
gifts to have a sip of Guinness to drink my health with. Still
I know you have enough money in your stocking to get such necessities
when the occasion demands a livener and hope you don't get too
fat on them now I suppose the supplies gradually increase.
I suppose you have heard on the wireless about the changes in
overseas service etc. and the only thing that will interest me
about it all are the possibilities at some future date of getting
a short ten days leave in England when my turn comes and how long
I shall have to wait before group 30 is released. Of course now
chaps have only to do four years abroad a lot of chaps here will
soon be returning home for a months leave although afterwards
they can be sent to France or Germany instead until their release
group comes along.
I haven't your letter in front of me love as I'm writing this
in the bosses time in a quiet moment so if there is anything I
forget to answer in this letter I'll reply in my next epistle.
Well love since my last letter on Tuesday evening the days have
gone on in much the same old way. Wednesday evening I attended
my second shorthand evening class from 7.30 to 8.30pm before seeing
a cinema show in camp. The title was (This
is missing and Eric meant to put it in later bur forgot) .. and was very similar to 'Gaslight'.
The nights are not so good now and we find two blankets sufficient.
Thursday should have been writing night but we didn't get our
NAAFI issue till about 8pm and I found by the time I had written
to Harry Quinn it was about 10pm so I gave it up. Friday passed
the same way with a cinema show on at night. I forgot to mention
that there was also a short film on Wednesday night about the
concentration camps in Germany which seems too horrific to be
true even with the evidence of the films.
Fridays picture was not too bad but wouldn't be considered a
first class picture at home. Before the film they drew for the
next lot of leave. Tom Mansfield and Mac in our office will be
due for repatriation in a months time and both are beginning
to feel a bit excited.
I don't think I told you how I came to this place. You
remember I went back to Donnington on August Monday and after
about five days messing around in camp I was put on the next draft
and on August 11th about 10pm we all marched to the station and
boarded a special train which too us through the night to our
embarkation point on the Clyde. We had had a few minutes break
at Carlisle for a cup of tea and it was about 10am on the 12th
August when we boarded the Durban Castle. We moved down the Clyde
and anchored till the following Monday when off we started in
convoy. We had six or seven corvettes and a small aircraft carrier
as escort and although I expected to be rather sick on the journey
I was OK.
After passing Northern Island, we only saw the sea for about
five days except for some grey birds like big gulls skimming the
water. We had a quiet journey although I often thought about U-boats.
We made a wide half circle till on the Sunday we sighted Gibralter
and passed it during the evening. We were told we would land at
Algiers but instead we landed at Phillipville where we started
our life abroad.
Talk about sweat love. I never thought I had it in me as the water
was scarce we could only get one swill each day. We slept in tents
on the sand and we didn't need any blankets most of the nights.
In January 1944 we came over to Italy with the GRTD and landed
a few days later in Naples. The port had been knocked about a
bit but the town itself wasn't badly damaged and we went by electric
train to Nola where we were in barracks. It had suffered quite
a bit from the war but it had a decent NAAFI and garrison theatre.
I met Frank while I was there as he was waiting to get back to
We moved in March to Naples and watched Vesuvius starting its
eruptions. On the Sunday we came by Pompeii and Salerno to our
present abode 8 miles south. Just after we arrived Vesuvius flung
up her ashes and the ground was covered to a depth of 6-12 inches
in one day with fine ashes. Afterwards there was white dust and
then brown earth mixed with rain. I hope to get a tube of the
various stuff that fell. I broke the one I had when I pulled it
out of my pocket.
Well love I will have to close now. I hope you enjoy the South
African fruit jellies and chocolate which I hear from Mabel's
letter you have received. Don't forget to give Keith an extra
bit for getting his sums right.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
12th June 1945
I'm sending this letter this way so I can enclose the £2
PO which should be enough to get Keith something for his birthday.
I had a letter from Mabel telling me that you received the cash
wholesaler's stuff and it was funny that I also had on Sunday
the acknowledgement from them. I know you will get some enjoyment
from them and I'll have to put in another order in to follow on
when I've saved a bit more.
Well love, we finished work for the week on Saturday lunchtime
and I made a dash round when I got back to barracks as I had put
my name down on the list for the lorry which was taking the chaps
to see the FA touring team playing the CMF football team at Naples.
There were plenty of internationals in both teams and there was
a crowd of 30,000 to see it. It was a draw 2-2 and we did
hear it was being broadcast on Naples Radio.
After the match we came home along the Autostrada and stopped
at a YMCA which was in a very nice big house standing back from
the road and after a rest of about half an hour while we had tea
and cakes we carried on back to camp which we reached about 10.0pm.
Sunday was also our day off and we had put down for Mairo where
we had spent our week's leave and we started off by lorry at 9.0am.
We arrived about 10.30 and after dumping our small pack with our
sandwiches at the club we had a grand bathe in the which was like
a millpond. After an egg and chip dinner back at the club
we decided to walk up to Ravilla by a short cut which was mostly
steps. We started off about 1.30pm and before we had gone half
way up we were sweating like pigs. We found a shady spot for a
five minute rest and kiddies bought us lemons in exchange for
a few cigarettes. After getting our wind back we carried on and
arrived at Ravilla at 2.30pm. We went our usual stroll around
the villas and it was ideal to lie down for a rest on real grass.
After another egg and chip tea served with real tea and brown
bread we walked back to Maiore by road and after waiting an hour
for the lorry eventually started back to camp at 10.0pm and arrived
just in time for lights out at 11.0pm.
You ought to hear the sirens we have in barracks for lights out,
reveille, hankers, work parade etc. The first night they sounded
it at lights out, I had already been to sleep and it woke me up
and I thought it was an air raid. I still feel funny in my stomach
when I hear the siren even now when it doesn't have any connection
with air raids.
I've just been reading your letter again and hope Keith has got
over his fall off his bike. I'm sorry your mam is cracking up
and I'll try to get a letter off to her tonight. I have not answered
Harry Q's letter. I shouldn't bother about disposing of the cot
as it may come in handy if we have visitors anytime and
a cot is needed.
As regards how long I stay out here if Mr and Mrs Stevens bothered
to read the papers they wouldn't talk so much drivel about being
home any day now. I don't qualify for PYTHON which is for four
years overseas. LIAP is leave at home for a month and Grieg the
War Minister has already stated that 7,000 men per day come home
from France on leave whereas 2000 men per month come home from
CMF. I cannot stand a chance in this for another two months at
least and the chances are about 400 - 1 against being lucky. I
don't know if the British army will stay over here for another
twelve months but I expect so and the chief hope of getting home
is the short leave scheme starting in the autumn and travelling
home possibly by plane. Of course some will have to be given to
those men due for Burma and though I hope I'm not picked I am liable being over the 24 release group and less than two
years abroad. As Burma overseas service is now down to 3 years
4 months it would mean I couldn't have to go for more than one
year after leave but in my case 30 release group should be due
Sometimes I feel I should be pleased if I came home so that I
could be with you for one month as although it no doubt be hotter
there there's not much difference as regards being with you. Here
the Italians are not friendly as we understand friends, perhaps
because the English soldier has a low opinion of them and they
have being used to asking a favour for doing a favour all their
lives. Still there are so many men will be returning home for
discharge and also having completed four years service that what
are left will be needed for a long time yet.
Dick has just bought the snaps taken on our leave and I'm putting
them in another envelope just in case they make this too heavy
for Airmail. I have marked the backs so you will be able to see
where they were taken. I'm sending three of me which seem about
the best one is for you and will you give the two mams one each..
I'll see what I can do about a comb or two but the stuff in the
shops is tripe. I have two small NAAFI combs but if I can see
anything reasonable I will send them along.. I've had Bernice's
letter completed by Mabel and two Chronicles, one with pictures
of VE day. I looked to see if there were any street parties in
but there weren't.
Well love must close down. It won't be long before we are once
again together for good and can once more live our lives together
in peace and happiness. We needn't worry about any breaking up
of our home.
PS Vote conservative for me.
My father voted Conservative
all his life even after being made redundant in the first
year of the Thatcher regime from the firm he had worked
for since he was sixteen. I have never voted Conservative.
14th June 1945
This letter was written not to Olive but to his Mam and Dad
Dear Mother and Dad
I am sorry in the delay in writing to you but I can only
blame it on to two things, the leave I had recently when I felt
too lazy to write to anybody and the warm light evenings which
seem to put me off sitting down writing letters and after I've
written the one to Olive I've had it for the night.
I understand you've not been very grand for a little time
now and I don't suppose the weather you have had lately has
helped to get you right again. Here we could do with a shower
or two for a change as the sun is a bit too warm for comfort
in the daytime and the roads are very dusty.
I had a very nice change at a place called Maiori on my
leave and the bathing was grand as the water is quite warm and
clear. I'm not much of a swimmer but manage to do enough to
make it worthwhile.
We have been on a few different trips on Sundays on our
day off and the other Sunday we went to the races, where all
the runners are not horses but mules and it is harder to pick
a winner as you never know how a mule will behave. I finished
up 7/6d which wasn't so bad.
Another day we went to Naples to see the English Touring
tam play CMF at football and there were 30,000 spectators to
se it, all soldiers, sailors and airmen and it was just like
going to see City at Filbert Street. I've finished football
for this season and hope to get a game of cricket later on.
The different fruits are just coming on and I've already
had fresh apricots and peaches and soon we will get as many
fresh tomatoes as we want as the fields around us are full of
them. lemons are also cheap and plentiful so we can't grumble.
We can get egg and chips etc. ate the café's but
two eggs and chips cost 5/- so it isn't very cheap. An egg in
the shops costs 1/3d and in the winter they were 1/9d each.
A bit dear aren't they. I sent a snap of myself taken at Ravello
on the balcony of a villa where Greta Garbo liked to be alone
and Olive will be bringing it to you no doubt show you the other
snaps I've sent her.
The scenery in parts of Italy is certainly very nice but
I'd willingly change it all for a glimpse of Culver Road.
I get letters from friends who say they expect to see me
home anytime but I'm afraid it will be some months yet before
I come home for good and all I can hope for is a chance of a
short leave under a new scheme which starts in the Autumn. I
know how tough it is for Olive on her own with the kiddies to
look after and I hear today that Keith has no doubt got German
Measles and the others will follow I expect so she's well in
I hope you liked the jelly Olive has given you from the
parcel I sent and I wish I could bring them instead of sending
It seems strange hearing from Olive that Percy or Bob have
called in to see you when I remember Bob in Gibralter when I
was still in England
Well I guess I will have to close now, keep smiling and
I'll be round to see you one of these fine days in a nice new
army civvy suit.
Best love to you and all at home. God bless and keep you
safe for many years yet.
17th June 1945
Well love another weekend is nearly over and I have just got
up to date with my diary which wonders of wonders I am still keeping
and am in the writing room of the barracks hoping to get about
four letters written.
I have had letters from Mr Coates, Ethel Evans and Agnes and
Gladys Wells unanswered for a few days and I will have to send
them a collective letter to them all.
I was very pleased on Thursday to get your letter dated the 11th
and to see the chocolate etc. from Capetown was well received.
I can't remember saying it cost me £2 love as I think the
total cost was 22/6d but even if it had cost £2 its just
a little gift I like to send to you love now and again and as
long as you enjoy what I send that's all that matters.
I see the family's had one more complaint but hope they are all
about OK again by now. They say don't they love that it is worse
if an adult gets German measles and once a child's had it they
don't get it again.
Don't bother what the grass looks like at the back love. There
will be bags of time for me to have a real good do at this and
my hands are itching to have the chance. The house will need a
good overhaul I know but it has had to wait so long a bit longer
won't hurt it and there's one thing love I won't have to take
out another small mortgage to borrow £10 less 37/6d for
lawyers expenses. Remember love? We'll need an evenings hard work
reckoning up how we stand.
I don't suppose you have got the registered parcel I sent yet
but no doubt have the snaps and hope you liked them, also the
small comb I sent.
I shall have to write to Roy to thank him for the toy soldiers
etc. as a matter of fact he told me in a letter he sent me a few
weeks ago he was going to give the kiddies these things but asked
me not to mention it as he wanted it to be a surprise. It shows
how good I am at keeping a secret doesn't it love
We saw on orders a day or two ago that the L.I.A.P. draw is now
in two parts (1) Men 2.1/2 - 3.1/2 years overseas and (2) Men 1.1/2 - 2.1/2 years overseas so my name goes in the next draw.
Of course love the chance of being lucky is about 400-1 so I will
need a double whisky if my name does come out to stop me fainting.
I didn't like the crack at the end of your letter love " I expect
to see you before next years out". It doesn't sound long
when you say it quickly does it but I'm hoping twelve months at
the most will see me out of the army and if the new 14 days leave
scheme is anything at all which it should be, I should get home
before then in any case.
We just heard a little bit in the 7pm news that all troops except
a few garrison troops should be out of Italy and the Mediterranean
theatres within 12 months of VE day so unless we come under the
troops still needed for stores etc. I shouldn't be here this time
I know you'd like a nice peaceful army life love though I think
you'd get browned off after a time and long to be back home again.
We get a bit more time off nowadays and the warmer weather and
swimming etc. make such time off more enjoyable than it
is in the winter. I can't say I like the Italian people though
as you can't feel any of them are genuine and they are as liable
to shop their best friend to help themselves a bit as any uneducated
race. They will give you an orange or some fruit and five minutes
later ask you for a cigarette.
I gave some kids on the beach a packet of sweets the other day. There were about seven of them all dressed in bits of rag or nothing
on at all and they had been brought down by their grandfather
to paddle. A little later on they came asking for a cigarette
for momma or granddad and when I gave one of them one for him
they all wanted one.
We didn't have any shorthand classes this week and you'll know
doubt think it's one long round of entertainment when I tell you
how I have spent the evenings since my last letter. Well love
Wednesday was as normal picture night and also free issue ration
of cigarettes, which were a godsend as I had finished last weeks
issue by Tuesday morning and had to smoke my pipe which I still
can't get really used to.
I expect it is light at home until about 11pm just now but here
it gets dark by 9-9.15pm. We have the cinema show in the open if
it doesn't rain and on Wednesday the picture " Here come the WAVES" with Bing Crosby in wasn't as good as most of his pictures.
Thursday evening I wrote letters to your mam , Bernice( a reply
to one half from her and half Mabel) and mam. It seems hard writing
letters with the weather so warm.
San Antonio has had a festival as each day is named after a saint
as you can see from the calendar I am enclosing and the village
which has only one street was all lit up with electric signs and
there was a procession starting from the village and going about
a mile out of the village by our camp and then returning. The
priest and choir headed it and behind several men carried a life
size effigy of San (or Saint) Antonio. They were followed by a
band of about 30 and all the villagers about 6 abreast, all in
their best clothes and all the smaller girls in white. They sang
as they went along and when they returned there were all sorts
of stalls selling necklaces etc. still I wasn't interested and
saw the cinema show in camp. Friday there was another picture show and then I was ready for
our weekend off.
Dick had borrowed 220 lire (11/-) while we were at Ravella so
I had only 2/6 left to last me until next payday on Thursday.
I went bathing at the beach on Saturday afternoon and when we
came back about 5.30pm we hitch hiked to Salerno and had tea in
the NAAFI tea garden on the front. Tom paid and later on at the
YMCA the other chap paid for ices. We finished up at the garrison
cinema to see "Bowing to Broadway". Today I've had a bath and after dinner a bathe once more.
Well love I hope you can read it. Goodnight sweetheart and keep
safe and well for me.
Go to next letter from Olive....
Go to top of page
20th June 1945 Dear Olive,
Well love it was a pleasant surprise to receive you letter written
on the 14th so soon after your previous letter and to hear that
the things I sent along travelled by air and reached you so quickly.
I'm sorry my packing resulted in the bottle of brilliantine getting
broken. I bet Sheila will like her box and hopes the bracelet
suits you and doesn't tarnish too quickly. Don't take any notice
of the value on the outside of the parcel, as a matter of fact
you would be shocked if I told you how much they did cost. I had
given up the other box of nuts as lost but I hope you enjoyed
I shouldn't worry about losing your sex appeal love, I think
rather you must be saving it for me. No love I don't think we
will add to our family and we will have quite enough on our hands
seeing that what we have been blessed with get a fair start in
life. I bet Michael will be thrilled to start school although
I can't see you letting him start after Christmas when the weather
is so cold.
Well love according to the proposed schemes for leave for chaps
out here, there does seem to be a chance that my turn will come
before Christmas. I understand 4000 men are going to be sent home
each day from the CMF and when you realise that only 2000 per
month are sent home on LIA it is about 60 times as many and should
mean about 250 a month going from this unit alone. The scheme
will be worked on longest service abroad although those with over
3½ years may not go in the next few months they will go
home anyway. Seriously love, I think the 30 release group will
get out about next May but it would help if between that time
we got a couple of leaves in. You had better keep a bottle or
two of raspberries in hand but knowing the army by now don't expect
too much will you. So many things can happen to change these paper
plans at a moments notice.
According to the Union Jack today, Grieg, the minister of war
had a lot of questions to answer in the houses of parliament and
I think they know now a bit more about how the chaps out here
I am surprised the S's have started an allotment and if you are
not careful they will be bringing you some produce and telling
you how well their stuff grows. Still I bet our garden will give
good results after the work you have put in to it.
I hear that the weather is at last hot and hope it is not too
hot for you. Here it is still warming up and last night I was
quite warm enough in bed with just my singlet and one blanket
over me. Monday was pretty busy and the hottest day of the year
so far, we had all had enough by 5.pm. There was a picture on
in camp and as it did not start until 9pm I managed to write to
Agness and Gladys and now only have Jack Turveys letter to answer
and I shall be more or less up to date. If you see Kath ask her
to tell Jack I've not forgotten him but I like to have quite
a bit of interesting information to tell him and with life as
it is it is weeks before I have enough to fill a letter.
The picture took about two hours to show and it was about 11.30
before we got to bed. As usual I've forgotten the title but I'll
fit it in before the end of the letter(I hope).
Tuesday we had quite a nice salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions
for tiffin and this weather I enjoy it more than a hot meal at
5.30 when we get back to the billet from work.
There was an Italian musical at the Palladium at night and as
usual it was a very good show. They certainly are good at putting
over variety efforts though they sound a bit comical when they
try to sing songs in English.
Today we finished early and as Tom is on leave at Rome this week,
I shall take his place on the lorry watching the fences and going
round the camp with it. It will be a change and I will enjoy it.
The picture tonight is 'Murder my sweet' with Dick Powell and
it is 9.pm I am sitting waiting for it to start and can hardly
hold the paper so if you can't read it blame the light. I will
be writing to Keith tomorrow night but if it doesn't arrive in
time for his birthday wish him a very happy return from his daddy
and tell him I will be thinking of you all on that day and wondering
if you are having a party.
Goodnight, sweetheart, sweet dreams.
The picture on Monday was 'Roughly speaking'
Eric always enjoyed football and played as
well as watched
The injury to his knee was caused when he fell
on some lava from Vesuvius which had erupted near to where he
Go to next letter from Olive.... Go to top of page
I was very pleased to get your letter today started on Monday and
finished on Thursday. I see the postal order and snaps arrived safely
and hope Keith found something suitable in town yesterday for his
birthday. About this time 6.45pm as Arthur Askey is on the air in
the next room, I expect his party will be in full swing. I'm glad
you managed to save his birthday cake so he gets it tomorrow.
I'll have to try to get you a decent comb, love, so Sheila can
have the one which I sent. She's got enough sauce for anyone twice
her age, hasn't she ?. I'm wondering how she will greet her daddy.
Most likely 'Hello pop' or some other Yankee expression.
You ask me if there are a lot of married chaps out here untrue
to their wives. Well love I look at it like this. It takes all
types to make an army and the chaps who did or would do the same
sort of thing in civvy street before they were called up, carry
on the same without of course the risk of being found out, as
A few others may have found the strain of being away too much
without messing about here and there and no doubt some have, during
their service, found their homes have been broken up by the wife
going off the rails but the numbers in the case of married men
in a unit of this sort is very small
I don't know about the fighting units whether the tough time
they have been through makes them more liable to get their pleasures
where they can when they do get a break. If you were with me just
now, love, you would see the chaps in the writing room here, all
writing letters home while the sweat makes you arms sticky. No-one
writes just because he feels cooler doing it .
We have a canteen in camp which is well patronised though you
rarely see a drunk, three picture shows a week on Mondays, Wednesdays
and Fridays in the open air and often an ENSA show on Tuesdays.
We also do our letter writing in the evenings as there is not
much chance at work these days.
I am pleased you Mam is well enough to get to Yarmouth for a
holiday and hope she gets the benefit of a nice week's weather.
I see you are still doing your stuff in the Garden and getting
some dividends out of it. The potato situation seems bad all over
England and I'll have to send some dehydrated ones along to see
if the kiddies will eat them. I would certainly like some new
potatoes for a change !
I think I had better turn architect and send you a plan of how
I think the garden would look laid out. I doubt though if we would
get any cement for concreting or paving stones for some time with
the housing question as acute but we might get one or two fruit
My tummy still gets a bit upset when the siren goes. It always
makes me think of those nights in November and December 1940 when
it always went after tea.
I had a letter from Mam today also one from Bill Chambers who
is now back in India from Burma. He is now a Sgt so he is doing
rather well. His demob group is 33 and he says he is due for repatriation
in July 1946 and sounds quite pleased it is so near,
I'm glad you liked the snaps love, perhaps my legs are a bit
fatter after their airing for six months of the year. They certainly
seem a bit hairier and of course have a lovely brown tan. I'll
have to wear shorts when I get back home just to show them off
We've heard nothing more about the leave scheme but I don't see
why all the chaps shouldn't get home for 14 days at least before
the year's out.
I'm please the terrible three are still getting their night out
and can see you forming a society for 'ex serviceman's' Wednesday
night out' after we get back to mind the family that is they take
any notice of us after we have been away for so long.
Dick has gone with a party from 'traffic' to Capri today and
I should have loved to have gone but of course only chaps at traffic
could go. If there is a trip from our barracks on another Sunday
I shall be there. We saw two good films this week,' Murder my
Sweet' with Dick Powell on Wednesday and 'The
face in the Window' with Edward G. Robinson on Friday. They both
seemed up to date pictures.
Well love it's time to kiss and go to sleep. Goodbye love, sweet
dreams. Keep your fingers crossed, it won't be too long now.
Well love its Saturday night, the last day of another month and
at the moment about 8.30pm I am sitting in the office where I
work thinking of you love, wondering what you are doing and what
sort of day you have had. I had a letter from Bernice in which
she said you were all down last Friday night and Sheila and Michael
wanted me to tell you they had lots of pennies and Keith had gone
for some chips for you all. We get chips sometimes with our mid-day
meal but they don't taste as good as they would at home and when
I think of all the little things I am missing at home with you,
I get real homesick and in a frame of mind that if I wrote any
letters that night I would be accused of being the grumpiest man
in the army.
I had better tell you what I have been doing the last few days
and you wont get the benefit of my morbidness.
Well love on Thursday, sorry Wednesday we had our second picture
show in camp this week and before the show they drew the LIAP
which included 18 men from 2.1/2 - 3.1/2 years and 5 from 1.1/2
- 2.1/2 years. Needless to say my name wasn't drawn out in the
latter 5 though for 5 minutes or so whilst they were making the
draw I had hopes. Afterwards we saw 'Saratoga Trunk' with Gary
Cooper in and it wasn't a bad show.
It is real hot nowadays and before the days out our KD shorts
are sticky with sweat. After two days of wearing them they are
ready for the wash and I expect it will be the same for the next
Frank Hull came in yesterday to see me and he said he will be
returning home in the next two or three weeks as he has now been
abroad for over 4 years. He is coming in again before he goes
and he promised to come and see you and give you an eye witness
account of how I am looking and what sort of life we lead here.
Did I tell you I weighed myself in the ration stores and weigh
about 13 stone - stripped.
Dick brought the proofs of one or two more snaps taken on our
leave and I'll be sending them on when he has had the copies made.
I'm staying this week back at the office as Fred and Mac have
gone with Capt. Flynn to a weekend camp run by the Battalion and
it meant Tom would be staying here on his own. We are doing the
weekend work between us so shall be getting a day off during the
week to make up. He has just returned from his leave in Rome and
has had a real sightseeing holiday judging by the number of views
he brought back. He said he was glad to get a rest when he came
back as it was a lot of work touring round, though it was worth
it. I don't suppose I shall get a chance to go there for some
time as I had my leave in May though there are a lot going and
I may be lucky.
Well love I was telling you before I drifted off what I was doing.
Thursday was NAAFI night so after I had drunk your health with
a bottle of Itie beer and cleaned myself up I went across to the
writing room and wrote a letter to mam. We had just read in the
Union Jack that the revised probable release dates are up to 21
by the end of the year and 22-26 by May 7th 1946. of course I
felt properly in the dumps about the idea of at least another
year in the army and I bet mam thought I was a proper misery.
Afterwards I had an early night and went to bed by 9.45pm. I lay
on my bed in my singlet and underpants and dropped off to sleep,
waking about 5am not even cold.
Friday continued sultry and I had a shower when I got back to
camp. Afterwards I went across to watch a basketball match as
we are having an inter-billet league. Afterwards I joined in a
game of volley ball which is played like deck tennis but a football
is used. I sweated like a bull after playing for half an hour
and my vest was wet through. Later we saw a film in camp "hangover
Square" which was one of the British English thrillers which would
have had a job to be a big picture at home I should think.
We had heard on the wireless about soldiers from BLA, who couldn't
watch the cricket at Lords as it rained and being given
an extra days leave to make up for it. It's things like that that
make the chaps in this theatre wonder why the lads from France
and Germany seem to get all the breaks.
Frank Hull was saying Arthur had been home on leave and returned
to France and shouldn't be surprised if he gets another one before
I get home.
I have put my name down for cricket and Tom and myself have had
a bit of practise this afternoon in the courtyard as the sports
office is here and we can easily get hold of the kit. We had a
gang of barefooted youngsters fetching the ball for us and we
gave one of them a bat. I don't think they had seen one before
and it was comical to see them trying to hit the ball. Once more
I had a good sweat on but Mac had told me there was a bottle of
beer here I could have so I've fetched it out and put it on the
desk with a pint mug so I will feel better in a little while.
Well love that's it for now. Goodnight sweetheart and tell the
kiddies I shall spank their bottoms if they have not looked after
you and kept you happy.
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