Wartime Letters

Who's Who
1944 letters
1945 letters
Childrens Letters
Other Letters
Afterthe war
1943 letters
Food and Drink
Book List
History of Leicester
Childhood Memories

3rd October 7th October 13th October 18th October
20th October 25th October 1st November 9th November
* 11th November 15th November 24th November
29th November 6th December 12th December 15th December
21st December 26th December * *
3rd October 1943 

I am starting to number the letters from now as I have been forgetting to put a number on sometimes. It's mother's birthday today. Our Aggie had a surprise last Saturday. She had a telegram to say Ernie had arrived in Sheffield. He is now in Sheffield hospital and we still don't know what is wrong but she was seeing him today. I will let you know next time. I hope you are alright love and that your cold is better. I am sending a parcel today so let me know when you receive it, if you do !.

 We have been having some fun today playing at hide and seek. We were hiding a bobbin. Sheila still wants to give the game away. Bernice once put it on my head and I was holding Michael and I couldn't keep still for laughing. Sheila spotted it and yelled 'on mummy's head'. Another time I had it in my belt at the back and kept trying to draw Keith's attention to it. I even knelt on the floor and although he got on my back and then he didn't see it.

 Keith was very pleased to get your letter and took it to school to show his teacher. He seems very fond of her, he always takes the register to Miss Bamford and you know that pleases him. Sheila gets quite a little Mrs. and I am afraid I shall have more to put up with from her than I do from Keith and that's saying something. The other day she told Keith to get on with his tea before she had to smack him. Keith still plays with his mineral cases and bits of wood. Somedays it's an aeroplane, tramcar, house, roundabouts, rowing boat, maypole, or telephone exchange so you can see your son has plenty of imagination. I think he will be an architect. Sheila is usually put in the middle of whatever he makes and told to sit still.

 I hope I shall hear in your next airmail that you have started to receive our letters as I know how rotten it is for you love. It's two months since you came home and it seems like years to me. Goodness knows how I shall feel at the end of twelve months if you don't manage to finish Hitler off in that time. Still as long as you come home safe and sound we mustn't grumble.

 Harry L joined the Home Guard this morning. I shall have to lend him the pram to fetch his kit in. Mrs. Gill came out of the Royal Yesterday but doesn't seem too well today. Gladys had the best week last week since she has been married with her being away. Our Gladys spent a week at Liverpool and thoroughly enjoyed herself. I had better just mention that I have recovered from my cold and feel more myself. I certainly felt lousy last week. I have spring cleaned the sitting room ready for when you come home. 

Keith has bought a book from the John Bull with the birthday money he had in hand. It has 320 pages so there may be a bit left for you to read to him. I have bought myself a new skirt to go with my green coat but find the moths have been feasting on my one and only jumper. Michael is getting a fine boy and I'm keep trying to knock his bottle off but he is very fond of it especially the early one and he yells and wakes all the rest so it6s easier to give him one and shut him up. He likes Keith to build things and then knocks them over for him. Well love I'm getting to the end of this letter. Look after yourself and let's hope that this separation won't be quite so long after all and we shall be able to enjoy the family together while they are quite young. I don't think I would lose my patience so much if all this mental worry wasn't there as well.

 Goodnight and all my love

Go to next letter from Eric.... Go to top of page

7th October 1943

My Dearest Eric, I have just finished telling Keith his story and got him off to bed and the blackouts are down as blackout time is 7.05 now. The nights are long now and Bernice is not able to get up. I have plenty of odd jobs to do though, sometimes I go to bed early and hope for a letter when the morning comes. I was hoping I would get one today but no luck, it was a week yesterday when I had your last Airmail but I expect it's late being delivered and perhaps tomorrow.

 I haven't sent any newspapers this week but will send some next Monday. I posted a parcel off to you on the 6th October and Mrs. Silver said they take about one month.

 Well love your daughter has been a real imp of mischief. Today I went to see if your mother had heard from you and Sheila said she was going to stay and sleep with John. I believe she would as well. I was singing two little nigger boys sitting in the sun when she said that's not right, it's two little nigger boys sitting in the rain. Then I was putting some powder on and she wanted to know what I did that for. I said it was to make mummy a pretty girl and the saucy little puss said made mammy dopey ! I think I had better send her out on the next boat and see if you can train her, I know though you would just spoil her altogether.

 Keith has been weighed at school today and he is 3½ stones. I don't know if that is good, I shall have to look it up. He is being a very good boy at present and for over a week he has eaten all his dinner up. There was a water main burst against their school and the water was a foot deep down Buckminster Road. Of course he had plenty to say about that and I had to rake up all I knew about water mains and the reasons for quick bursts and the mending thereof. I think mothers are supposed to be books of knowledge. I'm glad I'm not too dumb !

 I met Ernie Chappell yesterday. He says the war will end next March with the jerries and he gives the Japs about three months so love I'll probably be seeing you this time next year. I hope so as it seems ages now and it's only two months. I'm beginning to think I must love you a little bit somehow or I should never miss you like I do. I keep carrying on but my heart doesn't seem to be in what I do and I sometimes wonder if it's worth cleaning when there is no-one there to appreciate it, not that you ever showed that you did, but you know how it is. I feel I am living only half a life, I often feel thankful that you did not volunteer when you wanted to at the very beginning.

 Michael has just woken up . I think it was my fault, I forgot whether he got his wind up or not at six and apparently he didn't, you know Me. I hope by now you are hearing from us. Mr. Plaskett handed over your letter to me also ten shillings from the post. What do you want me to do with that ? 

I seem to have made a long letter of this so as I want to get Bob's done tonight and a bit of ironing I'd better say goodnight. Goodnight love, god bless you and keep you safe for me.

 PS Received airgramme 3

Go to next letter from Eric...Go to top of page
13th October 1943

I have forgotten which number to mark this letter so I had better leave the margins plain in future. I had 3AG, 4AG and 4AM this week. I missed your letter last week. I am so glad you are getting them now, it makes writing so much more pleasant.

Well love, the children and myself are well. Michael is busy about some more teeth. I took him to have a photo of him twice this week and at the finish I had to sit with him so I'm afraid I spoilt the picture as I look really fed up but I'll send one along for you to pass judgment on. I hope it won't make you want to stay out there for good. I had one of Sheila too but I don't know how I shall get one of Keith but I expect I shall somehow. 

I feel tired today. I have been into town twice and set forty spring cabbage. At the weekend I limed the garden and took the bean poles down and did a little weeding Harry doesn't show any sign of doing any and now he is in the home guard it looks pretty hopeless.

I have the kiddies in bed a bit earlier now as Keith likes to go before it's dark because he doesn't like the blackout down as it makes his mouth dry. I had a game of Sorry with him before he went to bed and also read some of Percy Pig. Sheila was in bed just after six as she didn't have a sleep today. This morning when she woke Keith was in our room and she said she didn't feel very well so I told her he would bring her breakfast up to her but he said he wouldn't be able to carry her tea up. She was soon down though and he told her off because I think he would have liked the job but I'm afraid I should have had a bit of washing to do afterwards.

I don't suppose you have had the parcel  I sent yet. Have you received the newspapers ? I'm sorry I haven't sent any for a fortnight but I'll get some this weekend without fail.

Mabel still brings me a Guiness on Sunday and Mam brings one on Wednesdays Bernice comes up while Mabel and Harry go to Suttons. I think I told you that Ernie was in England. He is getting along nicely and hopes to be out of the bed before long. He was wounded in the thighs and has had two operations on them. The Doctor said it was lucky it wasn't an inch or two higher or he would have lost a leg at least.

Cathy was thrilled to see him and cried all the way to the hospital, they thought her lungs would burst., poor kid she didn't know what to expect.

Keith went to Bradgate on Saturday with Nora and Alf. There was nine altogether. Ethel Burton took her two nephews and they all had a good time, it was a glorious day. Bernice and I went on the car up to mother's. It's over two months since I paid them a visit. They were quite surprised and pleased.

The cabbages you planted at the top are doing well. I looked after them and took the dead leaves away as they said on the wireless.

Well love, now we have Italy as an ally. Well let's hope it might help to shorten the war. Are you staying where you are or are you likely to be moved anytime ?. Try and let me know. If you had been here you would shortly be on leave again. It does seem a long time love and I often wonder if I can carry on without becoming a bitter old woman. Iris told me on Sunday I was beginning to look old and then the photo today was proof of it. Still Eric, I guess there are plenty of people looking older than they should and everyone will feel a lot better when this lot is all over. Just as long as you keep loving me that's all that matters. We will pull through as you say and enjoy ourselves at the seaside with our lovely children. I think we shall be able to afford it. I went t other bank today and added another fourteen so now I've got to save for the painting if it ever gets done. Well love, it's almost nine and I'll have my supper, hear the news and get off to bed early. 

All my love.

18th October 1943

Dear Eric,

 Sheila and Michael have gone to bed and are asleep now as they haven't been to bed today. I took them out this morning to do my shopping and Mam came this afternoon but she has to go earlier now as it gets dark sooner. Keith is washing himself ready for bed. He has just had some wheat flakes which he got ready by himself. He seems rather pleased with himself and has made a model of Holland this week and it looks very nice too, with the windmills, tulips, children bathing, a lady and trees and water all about. He cut it out after he had drawn it and then painted it and stuck it all together. If you hurry home you will be able to see it Keith has also finished his big sheet for you. You will smile when you see it and I hope you are able to understand it all, you will have to get and interpreter to help you. I shall be sending it on Monday along with my photo if it comes out alright.

 I said to Keith this morning "Oh, I thought I would get a letter from Daddy today" so he calmly said "That's nothing fresh, you always expect one." He makes me smile some of the things he says. I did have a letter this morning, anyway, love. The post was late as the letter was dated the 10th. I see you have been having some nice food (fish cakes) and I hope you haven't felt too stiff after your game of football. I don't seem very lucky with my housepainting as I've already told you. I sent a letter to Fishers but had no reply. I also sent to Parrys of Groby Road a week last Saturday and so far haven't heard from them. I shall give them until Saturday and then write to someone else or else it will be too late this year. 

I have seriously thinking of new curtains but they would cost at least £3. What do you think, love, shall I leave them until things are a bit cheaper and there is more choice. Mrs Quinn mentioned the bike the other day and said now that John felt better they were taking him into town to get him a new one. What should I do ? I don't fancy giving her the price I was asked for in the first place, now that they have had so many months more wear out of it. What do you say, do you suggest leaving it and Keith having a new one after the war and you are home to teach him how to ride it. I think I'd better save all my money and then we will spend it together, it will be more fun. I want a new dress. They have some lovely one in town and they are quite cheap, anything up to 28gns.

 You haven't mentioned if there is anything you would like. I think I had better make a parcel for Christmas now after all. I cannot see you being home by then, worse luck.

 Sheila went to the pictures with Bernice and there were three fellows on a tank and Sheila pointed and shouted "There's my" and then stopped. I think she realised it wasn't you after all. Michael is going to be lefty I think as he often eats with his spoon in his left hand and throws a ball with his left hand as well. Each day he says something new. He has been saying "Look Grandma" this afternoon. I do hope you get home before he is out of his baby ways.

 Sheila and Michael have been playing at Mothers and Baby today and I've been Auntie Olive. Michael has been Marlee (Molly in Sheila's language) and he's been acting like a tiny baby and letting Sheila pick him up cover him over and knock him about a bit. Anyhow she has taken him to the park and he hasn't been allowed to go too near the water.

 Well love, I almost forgot to tell you that we had a siren on Friday night at 10 o/clock although only for 15 minutes but it made me a bit worried as we don't want flying bombs here and on Saturday night I was woken up by the planes going over. I have never heard them so heavy or so many and it made the houses vibrate. I was very alarmed but they were ours so the Germans must have quaked knowing that the bombs they carried were for them. There were 1500 that night and they carried 12,000lbs of bombs.

 My leg still hurts but it looks a bit better at least. All my love to you, look after yourself, Your loving wife and family.

My Dear Eric,

I had your airmail No.5 on Tuesday and am pleased that you are keeping well and happy as we are at home and just waiting for you to come home to us. The poor goldfish died yesterday, it had a sore for about a fortnight on the top of it's head. I don't know if that had anything to do with it dying.

Bernice has been to keep me company tonight and Mabel has just been up to fetch her. Peggy and Les came last night, that's why I'm rather late writing this. I am going to see Dr. Airie on Friday. Keith is going to Mabel's for his dinner and I'm going to Nora's. It's alright once in a while but I couldn't do that every time but I'll let you know what he says. I have to be there by 1.30.

I had my usual Guinness tonight and I had to go upstairs and tell Sheila to be quiet. She just looked at me and said "What you been having eh?. Drink of beer?" She must have a good smeller as the width of her bed was between us (even better than her mother !)

Well love I had to leave off last night as I felt too tired to write a letter of interest. I've been reading your letter through again today and I'm wondering whether you are going to have a rude awakening when you come back home. You seem to paint some pleasant thoughts of us all and your home but you know love it's not all honey. The kids still cry and fall out and I still lose my temper, more at times than I used to and you love, won't show me how much you love me as you do while you are away and can express it on paper because as you say, you are not made that way. I sound a bit morbid but these things have to be faced it's no good just wishful thinking.

I must say that Keith is improving, he seems quite grown up at times. I think I have already told you that he had your letter and I expect by now you have already had his airgraph. I don't suppose you have had the parcel I sent you yet, we are getting another one together for you for Christmas but I want to get a photo of Keith first.

Michael gets a proper lad when I put him in his cot, he turns over before you can wink and I just have to leave him until he is asleep and then cover him up. He chews his pillow case until it's soaking sometimes. I left him on the rug while I went to change the beds the other day and when I came down he had pulled the guard and the front of the grate out. He just moves along on his bottom but doesn't crawl yet but I don't think he will be long. He's a grand baby, love, and loves to be cuddled. Sheila seems to grow and is a mischievous little madam, she is in to everything. Olive came today and Sheila said to her "My daddy is a long way away" She was giving your photo some big kisses tonight and then Keith rather shyly wanted to do the same.

Ernie is now at the City General and is getting along fine. He gets out and has been to see Mam. He had only been in Sicily ten days when it happened, it was the first of August. I wrote to Bob and let him have your address so I expect you will hear from him shortly. Mabel and Bernice have sent an Airmail this week. Bill is home this week and I expect I shall see him up here tomorrow,

Well love, they seem to want plenty for a handbag, don't give high prices for anything for me. I know if you could you would send something but if you can't, I'll know that you are thinking of me just the same.

We had a siren last week but I didn't get the kiddies up. It was just after nine and there was nothing around, only our planes with lights on. It was about half an hour.

The spring cabbage I set last week looks wel. Il think it's rained every day since I put them in. I got the chance of a gabardine mac for Keith so now I've washed his winter coat and let the hem down  and it's as good as new so I shan't have to buy a new one now.

Thanks for you birthday wishes. I had A.G.6 as well on Saturday. Airgraphs take about a fortnight and air letters anytime around ten days but I'd sooner have it a week before than after. The words were sweet and I really think you mean them. Well it won't be very long now once we can get over the winter.

I had quite a shock the other night. It was raining and blowing and at about 11.45 I heard a man's voice calling upstairs 'Mrs. Mason, your front door was wide open.' After I had gathered my thoughts together and donned a dressing gown I found Mr. March at the bottom of the stairs. He said he was passing and saw the light on the landing and the door wide open. He had a good look round for me but on parting said that there had been burglars around Anstey Lane recently. It was not a very wise thing to say to me and I couldn't get to sleep for ages. If Mabel had been nearer I would have fetched a sleeping partner. I must have left the door just off the catch and the wind had pushed it open. I have found it off twice since then but am trying to be more careful.

I took Keith to see a musical comedy at the Opera House on Sat but I wish I could have had a better seat as we went up in the Gods. It's 2/- now. We went to Mabel's for tea as usual and we were in town by five. Mabel then took Sheila and Michael home and got them off to bed. She is such a good pal to me Eric, we shall never be able to repay her. I think I shall give Bernice one of those brush sets as there is one for Sheila and I don't think we shall get another daughter. Well at least we have our family now.

I went to see Dr. Airee on Friday about my arm. He said it needed a lot of attention and started by giving me one injection for a trial and I am to go again in three week's time. He asked me if I was going to have UV  light again but I told him it would be too much for me at present. He said it would be alright. I feel a lot easier in my mind now about it. I shall be sending your parcel off this weekend love, so I hope you get it safe. There's a lot of oranges come to England this week and I shall get two pounds each for Sheila and Michael and one pound for Keith. Not bad, eh, and I might even get some for Olive.

When Michael finished his dinner today I said 'all done'. He said it after me in his way and he says 'hello' after us as well. I think he will walk early. Madge and Bill came yesterday. They thought he was grand and Madge was surprised how he had altered and thought he was the finest baby she had seen lately. Doesn't that make you feel proud ? Well love it's now 10.30 Tuesday night and I have just finished ironing and had my supper. It's late but I feel I'm with you when I'm writing so I'll try and finish this tonight. Keith has written and Airgraph tonight but it's not as good as the last one. He did it while I was bathing Sheila and Mrs Saunders was here as well and I think he was rather tired. He says in it I'm tired but I don't know where he gets his news unless he thinks I am always tired.

Ernie is coming home for 14 days leave on Friday. I have been listening to the prisoners coming in today on the wireless and I had to shed a tear. let's hope that you never come home like that. There was one RAOC man who was badly wounded. We had a siren about a fortnight ago, I think I told you about it. Old Jerry has been over the south and the SE and the London area for a few nights running but not in great strength.

 Gladys is coming for the day on Friday as the kiddies are having a holiday. Tom has his first leave on the following Friday. You would have been on your if you had been in England. Do you get any kind of leave there, if so mind how you spend it. Well love, I think I will rest my weary head and dream of you. Hurry up and come home, love.

PS. I put Michael in the playpen today for the first time. He looks as if he will soon pull himself up as he likes the beads. Sheila thought it was great fun.

Go to next letter from Eric...Go to top of page

NOVEMBER 1st l943 

I had your most welcome air mail letter dated 23rd October this morning. I am pleased you are keeping well and enjoying better weather than we are at present. Today it hasn't stopped raining all day and the kiddies have a holiday from school. They had from Thursday till Wednesday and they only had two decent days. Keith went to get a photograph taken on Friday. Les took him but they were unlucky and so they went this morning and after three hours waiting managed to get one alright so now I can make up the parcel for you. They should be in today for Christmas delivery so love if you don't get yours you'll know there is one on the way.

We are not allowed to send food you know love so there won't be any tasty bits. It is a job to know what to put in but I hope you find our little gifts useful. Mabel, Peggy, Les, Mrs. Quinn, Your mam, my Mam, Keith and myself have all put a little. 

I didn't get any medicine last night as Harry isn't well so Mabel won't be able to come up. She has been up tonight tho' and says Harry is a bit better. He was all of a sweat when Mabel got home yesterday afternoon and it seems on his chest and I think her thoughts were of pneumonia. She hasn't been to work today

We all had a walk to the cemetery yesterday with your mother and then Bernice came for tea. Winnie and Iris came as usual about six, they have been now for a few weeks. Gladys came and brought John and Allen on Friday and stayed until Saturday afternoon. Dad seems a bit better. He keeps saying he will pack in work. Ernie is home on fourteen days leave and Cathie has fourteen days compassionate leave and ten days privilege so she is going to stay the extra ten days with Winnie and see Ernie in the afternoons and visit him for half an hour each evening at the City General. Ernie is getting on well.

Well love we drank all the champagne up and ate the lovely birthday cake on Sat. I had seven cards and your Airgramme and Keith has been telling me ever since that he thought his card was the best. He wanted me to send it to you so that you could see it but I have cut out a bowl of flowers from it and stuck it on the wall so that you will see it when you come home. That pleased him.

Sheila has been full of mischief today and Michael is getting as bad. I gave them all a bath on Saturday night. Bernice was here and I put Michael to bed. He just turns over and starts to chew the pillow so I left him. I bathed Sheila and then you should have seen him lying across the cot, legs up in the air minus nappy which was wet when I found it so I changed him and snuggled him up but he was over again and by that time Sheila was asleep so Bernice had to keep her laughs low. He saw her laughing and gave her a raspberry. She almost exploded. We just left him and straightened him when he was asleep. He puts his hand up and says' co-ee', he's a darling.

Does the Att H2 mean that you may stay there love, or are you just waiting to be shipped off to somewhere else a bit more lively, sometimes it seems never ending. It makes you think that in peace time we never realised how well off we were. We are all keeping quite well. I think my Iron Jelloids are doing me good. Have you heard Night and Day on the wireless lately. I wondered if you were listening, God bless you and keep you save for your loving wife and family.

Well love I seem to get later than ever writing to you. I try to manage two a week but have only managed one this week as in the first place I don't get this form on Fridays as usual and went yesterday morning and all day I just didn't feel I could write and at night I was so tired I hadn't had a very good night's sleep for two nights as Sheila had been sick a bit on Saturday and then on Sunday first I had the cramp and then I was out as Michael cried and I seemed to be awake on and off all night long but Sheila is alright now. I gave them both a dose of syrup of figs last night. Keith was sick in the middle of the week and Michael; was a week ago so there's only me and we shall be finished. I had your airmail dated 1.11.43 and Sheila had her airgraph this morning. She was thrilled and Keith read it to her and she has been kissing it and showing it around. I took her to let your mother and Nora see it when Keith came out of school,

Mrs. Saunders has seen it and so has Mrs. Brown and Mr Pentegrass and his wife who came this afternoon and brought my lovely gift from you. I think it's grand, love, and I'll be sure to make myself look pretty with it when I hear that you train is about to arrive in Leicester. He stayed quite a little while and talked about you and said they put you up at Phillipville but guessed you had gone on a bit further and said it was nice there. If you could only stay there he had only just got home and was only on four days leave so it was good of him to make a special journey here. He told Sheila her daddy was on his boat and she said daddy went on a puff train, Sheila see her daddy go on a puff train. Then to make it right she told him that you took her on a boat. He thought she was sweet but still, everyone does. I bet we will have plenty of lads after her when she grows up. 

I'm wondering now, love, when I shall get the lemons. I wished you had sent a few oranges as although the kiddies have had about sixteen I didn't like to rob them as they are few and far between.

You had my last letter very quickly. Hadn't I told you in one of them that Mr. Saunders had finished digging and had limed it and took the beans down. He also set 40 spring cabbage plants. The onions are alright but I think I had better send them to you as I have gone right off them but I'm saving them so someone can have them when they are in short supply. At present there are plenty about, it's carrots which will be short. We haven't any and a chap told us he had sown six lots and hadn't had a B one. I shall let Harry have one or two lemons.

By the way you never told me what to do with the 10/- I had from the post for you. I felt sure that I had mentioned it before. We can get the photographs on an Airgraph here, I think they cost about 3/6. Mrs. Silver sent her husband one.

The news has just come on and Mr. Churchill seems to think that we have a hard struggle but promises us victory. He says the Germans still have 400 divisions. I should have thought they would have had less the way the Russians have been polishing them off. It made me feel that the end is a bit further off still.

Still love, I'll tell you a few items of home news. Michael waves his hands when he says 'Coo' and pat-a-cakes for us. He still hotches along on his bottom and gets what he wants and where he wants. I shall have him weighed on Thursday. He chuckles with delight whenever he sees Keith and of course that pleases Keith. I have had the playpen out but they all want to go in and that makes Michael seem very crowded out. 

We went to meet Keith out of school the other day and when we saw him he was crying  and his face was covered in blood. It gave me a shock. I thought all sorts of things about his glasses. He had fallen down and cut his forehead, scratched his nose and grazed his knee and only bent the nosepiece of his glasses. He looked better when the blood was all washed off. He said today people had been asking him how his head was. I asked him what his teacher had said and he said nothing but Mrs Bamford asked him if he had had a fall. He said she knows everything. He does seem to be growing up. Glad and Tom came up on Sunday afternoon. The first day he was at Liverpool a spitfire crashed into the hut next to him while it was training. Well love, god bless and keep you safe.

I have been to the Infirmary today and had just one more injection. I wish they could give me more as it means a lifetime job at one at a time, still let's hope this war will end soon and then I can get down to proper treatment. I don't suppose they would release you for twelve months would they, still you had better not trouble them, I'll manage.

Have you had my first parcel yet ?. I bought Cathie and Ernie half a dozen desert spoons today. It's twelve months since they were married so our present is a bit late but I guess it will still be welcome. Nora's neighbour Mrs. Sutton gave Billy and Sheila a lot of Xmas tree decorations today. Sheila had a dozen and they are grand, big ones about sixpenny ones in peacetime. Keith was very thrilled and wanted the tree down when we got home but I've promised we will have it down on Sheila's birthday so he wanted to know, how many days.

I took Michael to the Welfare today. He now weighs 19.8,six ounces more then Keith did at twelve months. He is about the same as Sheila was. I also had him immunised while I was there, he seems alright today though. He's a bit wittery and I think he is about to get some more teeth. The doctor said he was alright but a little pale but I think that is only being so fair, Keith never had much colour. Michael eats and sleeps well so there is nothing to worry about and he certainly is strong. When I put him in the playpen he stands up alone. He tries to talk too and knows when we say 'where's your Dad', he looks at your photo so I think he will know you when he sees you again  Your mother thought Keith was growing, I think so too, he is eating much better now and I'm giving him malt, cod liver oil and chemical food. Sheila doesn't seem too well although she is lively enough but doesn't want her food. I give them all a cup of milk and Michael a bottle before they go to bed.

It's been a blowy day today and on the way to Nora's this morning I lost my hat and then while I was looking after that several things blew out of my basket. By the way Mr. Quinn's address is 56 not 36.Mrs Quinn comes and spends an evening pretty often. We just sit and sew or knit and sometimes just talk. Have you written to Dick Hammond at all ? I always forget to ask how you are love but I hope you are well and used to the weather now and have that glorious Mediterranean that people rave about in peacetime.

I haven't had any alterations made yet as Harry doesn't seem to want the job and the other chap round here isn't too good at it so it looks as though the house will be dull and dirty when you come home. What do you say 'you won't notice that ?' 

Well love I feel hungry and I have not got a bit of bread in the house. Keith went to fetch it from Mrs S but could not make anyone hear and I don't like to go now myself and leave the house. I thought she might bring it as she knows I haven't any. I guess I will have to make a few chips and fritters, 'are you coming over for supper?' I've got a bottle of medicine too. I'm trying to make a teddy bear for baby for Christmas and I want to get Keith a pencil case and some pencils and plastercine. I don't know what to get for Sheila as I don't fancy paying the fancy prices for the rubbish they are selling, still love I suppose we shall make a Christmas somehow. Well goodnight my love. I'm always thinking and telling the children about you. All my love, your loving wife and family.

Well love your family are all in bed and I've just put their clothes and toys tidy. Sheila is asleep, Keith won't be long but Michael just rolls around and finishes in the most awkward position on his tummy then yells but he goes off when I put him alright again. He has been having me up quite a bit again the last night or two.. I should have loved you to have  seen his face tonight when I gave him your photograph. He just talked in his way and gave the biggest smile with his mouth as wide as it would go, he knows it's his dada.

Sheila has taken you airgraph to bed with her tonight and put it under he pillow. She is eating better and Keith is still doing well. Keith has got another job at school going round the classes with the bus book and this afternoon he said he hardly did any work as Miss Bamford asked him to do something else after he finished so I think he must get on well at school.

Cath came to see me with Winnie and Iris last night and Ernie and her are coming on Wednesday. I went to see Dr. Airee on Friday and had one injection. I could have done with the lemons this weekend as Mrs. Brown has been very ill, her temperature was 104 on Sat and the doctor called again Sunday and it had gone down one point. I think it was near enough pneumonia. She is still poorly but a bit brighter today. She see sees things when she does manage to drop off to sleep. I feel sorry that I cannot nip across to do things for her as I should like. I'll let you know love how she gets on. He mother has come today for a bit. 

Mrs. Woodcock has some trouble as well. They took Christine away with diphtheria but after two days found it was a bad attack of tonsillitis. They kept her in hospital for nine days to make sure. Now she has another worry as well but is still hoping that what she has taken will bring her OK again. If only this war was over, it's times like this when we need our husbands but they were saying in the paper the other day it may be over in six months. Some hopes. 

Jack is in hospital and so is Oliver and our Percy has dermatitis. They haven't said what is wrong with Jack. Oliver has Cyrosis or something like that. I had AG8 this morning. I am glad you are getting your papers. I stopped sending them but I shall send a few more this week. I saw Mrs Silver and she wishes to be remembered to you and said Albert has joined his unit and is on the coast somewhere.

I'd love you to hear Sheila sing 'coming in on a wing and a prayer' in my arms. She gets all the songs off a treat. Keith is waiting for his airgramme so don't disappoint him. Have you had my parcel yet ? It was sent on the 5th October. When you send money over it is sent by the Paymaster isn't it. I don't know what I shall be able to buy. Mabel sent an airmail last week but I suspect you will have had it by now.

Well love we have had our first fall of snow yesterday but it didn't settle thank goodness. I dread this winter somehow. It is bitterly cold again today. I took the kiddies as far as the Post Office this afternoon but was glad to get back to the fire. I bought myself a calendar with two bare babies on, it's grand. I'll save it unless you are home before the year is out which I sincerely hope you will be.

Well love it is Tuesday night now and I have just come home from the pictures. I saw 'the Gentle Sex' It was very good. I wish I knew more about what you are doing at certain times and your surroundings then I could, picture you better. As it is I just know that you are on some ground 3000 miles away, it's a lousy thought love. You do know your home. I'd better close now as it's getting late and my heart aches and my throat is sore and I feel very sorry for poor little Olive. All my love.

I expect you have been wondering where I had got to as it's over a week since I last wrote to you. Well love there seems to be a lot of colds about and of course I had to have a dose again. It was in my throat and Dr. Mann came on Friday and said it was tonsillitis. Bernice stayed at night but was poorly the next day herself. By Monday Keith wasn't too great and Mabel and Peggy were both away from work, but I'm pleased to say we are all improving now.

I did feel a lost little soul on Saturday night. I hadn't heard from you and Mabel and Bernice couldn't get up and to top it all they forgot to leave me a Leicester Mercury and I hadn't anything to read and I didn't feel like work.

Mr Fewkes has died, I think it was heart trouble. Ernie has had another operation on his leg making nine in all. They have grafted some flesh on as it was healing over dead tissues. He seems alright in himself. Mrs. Gill has gone into the infirmary again. Well love so far this letter is cheery, now about your own family Keith said isn't God good for letting us win and Sheila said, when I asked her what I should tell daddy, 'Eila's Nice'. We had her dressed up as a nurse and she grabs Michael under the arms and says 'come on baby and be weighed' then she drags him along to me (the doctor) and I have to see how many teeth and she pokes his arm and he is immunised. What this child doesn't know isn't worth knowing. Michael takes it like a hero. I think he should walk by his first birthday.

I have had a fire in the sitting room this week and think I shall keep it on as the kiddies are not under my feet so much and there is more room for them to play now that Michael shuffles about as well. I'd love you to see him when the door's open, he puts on speed them. Dr. Mann thought he was two on Boxing day, he was in his pram and no doubt looked bigger. He said he would pass as two so you can see he is a fine boy but still a little pale at times. He has a face as big as Sheila's and apart from crying out a few times he sleeps from 6.30 until 7.30 sometimes so I can't grumble.

Keith is getting on alright at school and he is still in the top section of his class but he still doesn't want to win a scholarship but I hope he does. It's a wretched night, as black as pitch and rain and wind blowing on the windows. Oh for a peace night with lights all aglow. I bet Berlin is wondering if the RAF are paying a visit again tonight, thank the lord we are not there.

It will be a fortnight tomorrow since I heard from you apart from the A.G. I do hope there is one in the morning. I am sure it would cheer me up not that I'm glum but you know, love,. I have just listened to the news. There's nothing fresh, they are still on about Mosley and his phebitis. Well love I hope you are alright and that your shin responded to the elastoplast. You shouldn't wander around at nights. I don't suppose there is much hope of you being home at Xmas, still love my thoughts will be with you. Bob's lad Walter joins the navy on Monday. They though he wouldn't pass as he has always seemed delicate but he was A.1. I am having my usual Guinness for supper tonight and some red cheese and I wish you were here to share it with me. Still that day will dawn but it still seems a long way off to me. I did have hopes a little while back but now they seem to have gone away again. I'm getting morbid so I had better say goodnight.

Your loving wife. 

Go to next letter from Eric...Go to top of page
NOVEMBER 29th 1943

My Dear Eric

Well after a fortnight without a letter from you I had one each day for four days. They must have got a bit mixed. I hope you have got rid of your cold. I have a fresh one but it is improving. There's not many people without one of some sort or another.

I bought Michael a grand little coat on Friday in Teddy Bear cloth- a pale blue. I thought it would be warmer than a knitted one. He looks quite a bruiser in it. I thought it would do for Christmas from us (33/6).I have made him a teddy bear and Winnie and Iris bought him a penguin. I have a book, pencil box and paints for Keith and Sheila and have got a skipping rope for Sheila and a writing set for Keith. That is all so far. I want to get into town during the week to get Sheila something for her birthday.

Michael has just shouted out this morning. He was sitting up in his cot all beans and when I looked up he said "Hello" quite clearly. He is a perky little rascal and quite hard work as he won't be still a minute. Keith said today isn't he lovely. He has hair almost like Sheila's a bit on the sandy side and inclined to curl a bit and his eyes are like yours according to Mabel, not real blue.

Bernice told Sheila she would have some birthday cards of her own soon and she said with a look of astonishment "will me ?" and when I said yes she clapped he hands and said "oh goody". It's her expression which makes her so sweet.

I hope I can manage when the colder weather comes. It's been a better day today but a very cold wind and I haven't been out. I'm sorry you won't get the photos till Christmas love but they will help to cheer you up, no dashing around for the midwife this year. I forgot to tell you, Alf joined the Home Guard. Harry told him he was daft but it gives him something to do. He hasn't got the Pub habit as Harry has !

I was thinking the other day that Keith was five when you were called up - doesn't it seem a long time love. Let's hope it won't be long the other way. I have started taking halibut capsules again. I have just had to go up to Keith as he was crying. He had cramp. He said daddy used to put oil on and that made it better. He's just started crying again so it looks as if I'll have to finish for tonight.

Tuesday. Another wet day. Sheila and Michael are playing in the pen and Keith has gone to school. They don't start until 9.20 now. Sheila is building puff trains so you can see Keith has done a bit of training her. Michael has just put a brick on top of another and sat back to admire his handiwork. It's good to see him developing so intelligently, just like his mother, sorry his father. I was dreaming of you last night love. We were out walking together and a host of planes were coming over but they were ours and we had a lovely kiss, it seemed so real.

All my love to you, Your ever loving wife.

Go to next letter from Eric...Go to top of page
6th DECEMBER 1943 

Another damp washday. Sheila had a happy birthday, she had 13 cards and over six shillings. By the way love your card hasn't arrived but she will think as much of it when it does come. We had Eric, John, Billy and Bernice for tea then Nora and Alf called in and we had a good time (although I say it myself). There was prunes, blancmange, cress with dried egg and chopped ham sandwiches, tarts, small cakes and a cake from the baker which I put a frill round and three candles. I covered it with milk and sugar to make it look like snow.

We had games, forfeits, blind man's buff and passing the parcel. For forfeits Keith had to go outside the front window and sing a carol. Mrs. Potter heard him and said it was very nice and gave him a sixpence. Of course Keith then wanted Billy to go out Christmas singing with him.

I went into town on Friday and bought myself some stuff for cushions and made them on Friday night. I looked for something to buy the kiddies but there was nothing but books. I bought Keith a cut-out and Sheila one about the ten little nigger boys. Mrs.S has made a goliwog and Peggy has bought an elephant for them. I shall be glad when Christmas is over. I might buy myself a dress. I bought Eric a tie, Billy a book and I expect it will be a Whyggy tie for John.

I had the first lot of brussels for dinner yesterday but I don't think there will be many. Harry is having the allotment. I put the Christmas tree up on Sunday. Keith was thrilled.

Well god bless you and keep you safe. You are all my love. Your loving wife.

Go to next letter from Eric...Go to top of page
12th December 

I'm pleased to say Sheila has had her birthday card, it came yesterday afternoon. My was she thrilled with it because it was from her Daddy. Keith said Sheila is prettier than the little girl on it but Bernice says she isn't. Aunt Mabel and granny both say she is. They came up this afternoon to let me go out for half an hour as things were getting a bit too much for me. I have the kiddies all with colds but not enough to make them lie about but just enough to make them tachy and one thing or another I began to think I should do some harm. 

I had a rotten night last night, Michael was off almost from going to bed. That woke Sheila up and she felt lively and started singing 'Johnnies got a zero' so I though that I would be better off in bed. I also found I had left the switch on under the kettle for 1½ hours with only about a cup of water in. When I did get settled down Michael started crying and I got out three times and listened to him umpteen times and at four o/clock I had had enough so I picked him up and snuggled him in bed with the rest of the family and from then until 7.30 peace reigned apart from Sheila kicking and Keith moaning because he was squashed what with the bed being full and glory what a b. awful night. Don't you see,love, what joys you are missing. That was the second time this week I  have had that little lot so of course today my temper hasn't been at it's sweetest and Keith had to start off by knocking the jug of  milk off the cooker while I was feeding Michael who was yelling for every spoonful. I don't think I had better say any more or I will be filling this letter with moans.

Mabel has come up and told me to give you a bit of love now but honest I don't know how at present. Wal Doores came up on Friday night and stayed about two and a half hours during which time we had an alert lasting five minutes. He says he will be writing to you. They are all well and Vicky is just toddling about and having her say about things. He left ten shillings to get the kiddies something. I shall get Keith a pencil box and get Eric to paint a picture on it for me. I'll send you a list of things they have for Xmas. We shall all be going to Mabel's for Xmas day all being well. Keith says he don't want to go so I shall leave him at home. We shall be having duck and green peas unless the duck comes to an untimely end. It's one from over the garden wall.

Wal took Keith's lights and put them right for him but when he put them on they popped off after a few minutes so that's that. I took Michael to be weighed and to have the last injection. He has gained 19 oz in four months making his 20 oz more than Keith was at 13 months and he is cutting his back teethe as well. I am sure you would love to see him but he's a mummy's boy, that is until he sees his wonderful daddy. Let's hope this war will soon be over for I for one have had just about enough of it. I little thought what it would mean to us. Do you remember that night after Chamberlain had been to Munich and I said then it worried me that there should be a war little knowing that we should be separated by the beastly thing.

Peggy and Mabel have received their Airgramme but Bernice hasn't. Mabel has just said that she is going to make a Christmas cake that's if she can come across some fat for it so I have offered to make the pudding when I have time (heaven help them) I've never made one yet. Well love I don't seem to be in the mood to think of things that have happened. I might go to the pictures with you Glad one night if I can get her to go. I'll try to keep smiling and keep my chin up until you come home. God bless you and keep you safe. 

I have received your sea letter thanking me for the pen and watch this week and Keith had his Airgraph. Who did the drawings of the soldiers on it. I also had the airmail today dated 3.12. I am glad you are keeping fit and warm, it's very cold here, we have been having frost since the rain stopped but it was thawing this afternoon. I had to start the oil lamp in the lavatory, it soon started filling up then. I don't know if I'm in for another cold, I don't seem able to get warm tonight but it's not to be wondered at as the kiddies have all got bad colds.

Keith has started back to school today after a week at home. Sheila isn't eating anything and looks a poor little mite when she says 'Eilas not very well' but I guess she will soon pick up when she gets rid of this cough and Michael is eating well but gets bad bouts of coughing, it's just like whooping cough without the 'whoop'

I had some medicine for Keith and Sheila but Sheila's isn't nice as it has a tonic in it and it's a job to get her to have it and she coughs and splutters afterwards. I do wish you were home love. I seem to be missing you more, I don't know if it's the kiddies being off colour or whether it's to do with Christmas coming along but I shall be glad when it's over and I can be sure you are coming home at 1.0 and 6.15 and on Saturday my tea will be ready for me after a trip into town and best of all I can have a rest after dinner on Sunday while you wash up. Those little things would mean so much now love.

I was surprised that you had heard of Mr. Turves death from Kath before you heard from me. Mr. Quinn received your letter and I should think you will be hearing from him shortly. Mabel and Peggy had their Airgraph but Bernice is still waiting for hers. I expect you will get this around Christmas time, love, and we will all be thinking about you. I have made two Christmas puddings and I told Keith to stir and wish. I asked him what he had wished for and he said for Daddy to come home then I had my wish and he asked me what it was and I told him the same as yours. He said, No I wished for that, you wish for another little Michael this Christmas. Trust Keith !

Mam has been up today. She didn't look too well. I am trying to get ten shilling's worth of Brandy for your Mam, and I think I had better get Mam the same, she looks as if she needs something. I bought dad a shaving brush, he has sent me three nice hankies today and Mam has bought Michael and Keith some socks. She gave Sheila two pairs for her birthday. I have just been looking for the Electric trains for sale in the Leicester Mercury, anything up to twenty pounds.

I have not got any lemons yet, I hope they are alright when they do get here, I could do with them right now. I can hear Michael blowing bubbles, he seems restless tonight, I think Peggy and Les are thinking of getting married at Whit. I don't know whether I'm for or against marriage at this moment. Mrs Brown is back to her normal self but Mrs. Woodcock doesn't feel too great these days, all her efforts were in vain. I guess by the time you get this we shall all be back on our feet again so don't worry I'll try and write again at the weekend. I've just been to Michael, that boy does love a bit of fuss. I was saying to your Mam on Sunday how much he liked it. Well the time is getting on and Michael is yelling again so I'll say goodnight love,

Go to next letter from Eric...Go to top of page
21st December 1943 

Dear Eric,

In five days Michael will be one year old. It hardly seems that long when we look back but it has seemed a terribly long time going through those twelve months. I think the months you have been overseas have been to me a lifetime and it makes me shudder to think of the months ahead. This week I feel so depressed at times and Keith is so thrilled at the thought of Christmas. I know love that I've got to enter into the Christmas spirit. I expect I shall but it's hard. 

Keith had a party at school today, he was very happy about it. They are all still awake as Keith keeps calling to Michael and then he shouts back. Bernice is going to sleep here on Christmas eve. I think she wants to join in all the fun on Christmas morning. I gave her one of those lady's dressing sets and she was very pleased with it.

We have at present sixteen Christmas cards and I have only sent out five but what with the kiddies being poorly and me not really feeling well myself and the blessed weather, I have not had the chance or the inclination for card writing. I have been trying to write this letter since Friday. I feel like I should just like to sleep for a fortnight and forget the war and everything else. I think I had better bump my head again.

Well love I'd better tell you how the family health is at present. We all seem much better, Sheila and Michael are still coughing a little but are on the mend. Mr Roberts next door to Dick in Barton Road has died suddenly this weekend, he was 53 and I read in the paper tonight that the chap who used to collect the Prudential in Barton Road has met with an accident and died and between those two houses a baby has been born this week. Barton Road seems to be in the news.

I had a box of Oranges and lemons on Friday. I think that the box of lemons must have got lost. There was one Orange and one lemon bad but the kiddies soon made a raid on the others. I made two lots of lemon water and gave them the oranges to suck. They were very sweet and Michael liked them. He doesn't like the bottled juice. I am sure it helped clear Sheila's cough.

By the way I had a card from Roy and Michael had a card with the Leicester coat of arms on from the Health Officer. I haven't had an airmail yet this week but I guess the post is too busy to bother with soldier's letters in the Christmas rush.

I am thinking of going to the Panto, Aladdin, with Bernice, Keith and Sheila if we can book at your expense when we get it from the paymaster. I don't think Michael will walk for his birthday.  He tries now to get hold of things to pull himself up and he trots when you hold him up by his hands but he moves pretty fast on his bottom and seems to turn over and round about as quick as lightning. He has a hard head and he's always using it to bump me with. I guess that's a bit of you heading the ball. I reckon he will be a sandy boy. His hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are slightly ginger. 

I shall have to go up to them now as it's nine thirty and they are still awake. 

Well Michael was sitting up in his cot with his cheekiest smile and his pyjama sleeves were wet through where he had been chewing them. Keith was full of Christmas and Sheila was asleep

I have got a nice pencil case and I shall put 'from Daddy to Keith on it. Here is a list of things they are getting.

KEITH.  Pencil case, 6 pencils, 6 refill paints, pair slippers, bar of chocolate, jigsaw puzzle, writing set, reading book and a cut out book.

SHEILA. Skipping Rope, Golliwog, Elephant, Knitting set, Bottle scent. hair band. paints, 6 pencils, Ten little niggers book and a book of ship pictures from her daddy.

MICHAEL.a Teddy, a penguin and 2/6

Mammy might have a new dress from Daddy and I have had a button hole from Winnie

All my love to you. 

My Dear Eric,

Christmas is almost over love and we now look forward to a brighter New year. I received a much battered box of lemons on Christmas Eve. The man who brought them said I was very lucky as they had to piece the wood together to see the address. There were sixteen lemons in it so let me know if that was so and also a Christmas Greeting. I also had an airmail and I was very pleased and bucked up to get two on Christmas morning.

Well love, Michael is one year old today and it hardly seems twelve months since everyone was rushing around. He hasn't started to walk yet but he tries to get up a bit at times. I shall be pleased when he does as he is hard work at present although he is such a lump of loveliness. They all enjoyed their Christmas gifts and the lights were working again on the tree so of course Keith was pleased.

I was pleased to hear that you had received the parcel OK and glad you liked the contents especially the photographs. I shall have to get a better one of me if I can raise a smile sometime ! Keith does seem to grow up quickly and granny knitted him a pullover for Christmas and he looks grand in it. Mabel has bought Michael some white shoes for his birthday and I bought Sheila a pair of black patent ones and she thinks they look grand.

By the way did you send Nora a greetings airgraph as she is the only one who hasn't had hers yet apart from Bernice and she never received that airgraph you sent her.

We have been to Nora's for tea today and we went to Mabel's yesterday. Peggy and Les took me out to the booser last night and I felt too ill to take the children home (some hopes !) We went to the Blackbird and had a couple of shandies. It was 9.45 when I took the children home and Mabel and Bernice walked up with me. I soon had them in bed and Bernice and I were in bed by 10.15. We all enjoyed our day out and the kiddies behaved well and it didn't take them long to get to sleep.  Keith half woke up when Bernice got in bed and he said 'Oh why don't you go to your own house and said he wasn't going to move for her'

Well love it's eleven o'clock and I feel very tired so I'll say Goodnight love.

I'm afraid I've been neglecting you as it's now Wednesday night, I don't know whether it was the exciting Christmas or what but after I had put the kiddies to bed and cleared up I just went all tired and on Monday night I just fell fast asleep. I have just had my supper and listened to the news and I have got ready to do a spot of washing tomorrow.

Bernice has booked four seats for the Pantomime at the Opera House for next Tuesday afternoon. Nora has also booked for the same afternoon and Gladys has also got four seats. Mam is going with her so we will be well represented. I wonder what Sheila will think of it. I'll let you know.

I haven't got your money yet. I want to get a new dress or something when it comes I  hope you find the photographs a bit of a comfort although I don't suppose we look a lot different from when you saw us last nearly five months ago. Each time I get a letter I glance at the censor's number to see if you are still in the same place. Things seem to be moving towards a second front. Tom is learning to drive. It's a bit better than the infantry.

 I had a letter and postal order for four shillings from Polly so I have four letters to answer, one from Ina,one from your pal, Jack and one from somebody, I'll have to find it to know who it is. Keith was very thrilled with his pen box but I curse it at times. He has written to you but it is all blots. I hope you will be able to read it. He says something about lights on or off. He means the tree lights. They were on one day and then off. They aren't worth bothering with.

I would have loved you to seen Sheila and Keith cleaning up for me this morning. Keith turned the chairs up and Sheila with the brush, brushing away at the rug and the floor. Keith said be careful mammy when you put the wireless on as I may have altered the knobs with the duster. He's very thoughtful at times.

Well love I'm getting to the end. All my love to you. Please hurry home as we all miss you. 

Go to next letter from Eric.... Go to top of page